Scrapbookpages Blog

December 30, 2013

New book tells about a Holocaust survivor who escaped from the Mauthausen gas chamber

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:15 am

My blog post today is about a book entitled My Bargain with God: The Story of Holocaust Survivor Lou Dunst, by Ben Kamin. Sunbelt Publishing, Inc., El Cajon, California, 2014.  You can read all about the book in a news article here.

The Nazis had a plan to kill all the Jews in Europe, known as “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Europe.”  Their plan was never accomplished, and today there are numerous survivors still living.  These survivors are publishing books, and their stories must explain how they beat the odds and weren’t gassed.

My photo of the Mauthausen gas chamber

Mauthausen gas chamber has shower fixtures on the ceiling

Here is a quote from the article about the story of Holocaust survivor Lou Dunst:

Lou and his brother survived Auschwitz only to be forced once again into a boxcar to another death camp, Mauthausen. Once again, they were herded into a gas chamber, expecting to die, choked to death by poisonous gas. “We were pressed together, naked, shrieking with horror, people falling on each other, some trampled, gasping for air, unable to think, function, even form some kind of prayer.” The killing machine did not work.

Sign on the wall of the Mauthausen gas chamber explains how th gassing apparatus worked

Sign on the wall of the Mauthausen gas chamber explains how the gassing apparatus worked

The killing machine, mentioned in the news article, was in a separate room behind one of the walls in the gas chamber. The machine was allegedly removed by the Nazis, on April 29, 1945, shortly before the camp was liberated on May 5, 1945.   Lou Dunst was liberated from Ebensee, a sub-camp of Mauthausen, on May 6, 1945.

The quote from the news article continues below:

Barely alive at the death camp Mauthausen, starving and thirsty, the emaciated inmates cried out for water or a little piece of stale bread, anything that could help them survive, but the guards only responded with contempt. “They told us not to worry; we were going to the gas chamber anyway.” The next morning the prisoners were shoved, pushed, kicked into the gas chamber. They waited for the smell of the gas, but it didn’t come. There was a malfunction in the system and the poisonous gas was not funneled through the gas lines to reach its destination so it did not work. Lou and the others miraculously got out from the gas chamber, hysterical, demoralized, relieved, confused, grateful, terrorized, but still not dead.”

The gassing apparatus was located in a small room behind the gas chamber

The gassing apparatus was located in a small room behind the gas chamber

The photo above shows one of the doors into the Mauthausen gas chamber on the left.  On the right, in the photo, is the gassing apparatus room; the gassing apparatus is no longer there.

The two photos below show the door handle on the outside of the room, and the door latch on the inside of the gas chamber.

Door handle outside the gas chamber at Mauthauen

Door handle outside the gas chamber at Mauthausen

Door latch inside the Mauthausen gas chamber

Door latch inside the Mauthausen gas chamber

The Mauthausen gas chamber was a fully functioning shower room in addition to being a gas chamber with a gassing apparatus behind one of the walls.

Lou Dunst is indeed lucky to have survived the notorious Mauthausen camp where prisoners could be gassed in the shower room, that is, if the gassing apparatus was working on the day that they were scheduled to take a shower.

This quote is from the news article about the book:

Finally the doors [of the gas chamber] opened and the stunned slaves [prisoners] rush out into the open air.  The Nazis pushed and shoved the scared and naked prisoners into the central meeting ground, where the commandant of Mauthausen casually remarked: “To burn our bodies was too expensive. Instead, he would send us to a place where we would vanish without any cost to the Third Reich.”

Lou and Irving were transferred once again, this time to Ebensee, a sub-camp of Mauthausen, where they were to work underground making pilotless VI rockets that would rain down on London. At Ebensee, one of the harshest death camps, Lou was placed on a pile of corpses; hardly breathing and with little pulse, Lou awaited death.

On May 6, 1945, American GI Robert Persinger of the Third Cavalry of General George S. Patton’s Third Army drove his tank, the Lady Luck, through the camp fence to liberate the inmates of Ebensee. Irving Dunst grabbed Persinger’s hand and tugged him over to his brother’s seemingly lifeless body on the pile of corpus and shouted: “That’s my brother. Please rescue him.”

The photo below shows a pile of corpses at Ebensee.  The soldier in the photo, which was taken on May 8, 1945, is Al Winters.

Dunst was on a pile of corspes at Ebensee when he was resuced

Lou Dunst was on a pile of dead bodies, like this, at Ebensee when he was rescued

You can read about Ebensee on my website at