Scrapbookpages Blog

August 2, 2014

John Breyer “operated the wooden door on a gas chamber at Auschwitz”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:59 am

The title of my blog post today comes from an article which you can read in full here.  The photo, shown below, accompanies the article.

Photo of John Breyer who worked at the Auschwitz main camp

Photo of John Breyer who worked at the Auschwitz main camp

In the news article, the caption on the photo above says “John Breyer, it is said, operated the wooden door on a gas chamber at Auschwitz.”  So it is SAID that John Breyer “operated the wooden door on a gas chamber at Auschwitz.”  How does one OPERATE a wooden door?  Does it take some special training to operate a wooden door?  Did John Breyer have a choice?  Could he have refused to operate that wooden door?

When I visited the Auschwitz main camp in 2005, I took photos of a wooden door, which might have been the door that John Breyer allegedly “operated.”

Wooden door into the gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp

Wooden door into the gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp

In the photo above, you can see a metal door, opening to the outside of the building; this door was added to the “gas chamber” in the main Auschwitz camp, in 1943, when it was converted into a bomb shelter, for German soldiers stationed at the camp.  The door handle, on the wooden door into the bomb shelter, is silver colored and hard to see.

There were virtually no door KNOBS in all of Germany in those days. John Breyer might have had some special training to learn how to OPERATE a door handle.

Door handle on a door into the Kehlsteinhaus in Germany

Door handle on a door into the Kehlsteinhaus in Germany

Door handles, instead of knobs, were typically used in Germany for many years.  America was known to the soldiers who occupied Germany, after World War II, as “the land of the round doorknob.”

My photo of a door handle on a door into the Kehlsteinhaus, shown in the photo above, was taken in 1997.

John Breyer started working at the Auschwitz main camp, beginning in May 1944, at which time, the Auschwitz gas chamber was a bomb shelter for German guards.

Wooden door is shown in the background of a photo of the gas chamber

Wooden door is shown in the background of a photo of the gas chamber

The wooden door, shown in the background of the photo above, was not there in 1941 when Jews were allegedly gassed in the morgue room of the crematorium in the Auschwitz main camp.

Door into the "wash room" that is now included in the Auschwitz gas chamber

Wooden door into the “wash room” that is now included in the gas chamber

The photo above shows what was allegedly the back door into the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp; it is actually the door into a washroom that was not included in the alleged gas chamber.

When I visited Auschwitz for the first time in 1998, tourists were being told that the door, in the photo above, was the back door of the gas chamber in the main camp. I was told that a German guard stood outside this door and prevented the Jews from breaking the glass so that they could escape.  Was John Breyer the guard who stood outside this door and “operated it” so that the prisoners could not escape?  No, he was not a guard at the Auschwitz main camp until May 1944.

Krema I gas chamber in the Auschwitz 1 camp

Krema I gas chamber in the Auschwitz 1 camp shows wooden door in the background