Today is April 29th, the anniversary of the day that the Dachau concentration camp was liberated in 1945. I wrote about the Dachau liberation last year on this blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/emaciated-survivors-of-the-dachau-horror-camp/
On this blog post, I wrote about the “Dachau massacre” on the day that the camp was liberated: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/new-book-about-felix-sparks-gives-a-new-perspective-on-the-liberation-of-dachau-and-the-dachau-massacre/ Wikipedia calls the “Dachau massacre” a “reprisal.
Whatever. Now I am blogging about something different. Read on.
The title of my blog post today is a quote from Tadeusz Barowski’s famous book entitled This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, which is about his time, as a prisoner at Auschwitz-Birkenau, when 400,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed in only 10 weeks.
Or was it 560,000 Jews that were killed in only 10 weeks? Sadly, no one knows the exact number because no one recorded their names, nor their prison identification numbers. I wrote about the number of Hungarian Jews that were killed, in 10 weeks, on this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/how-many-hungarian-jews-were-murdered-in-the-holocaust/
The gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau were not a secret; all the prisoners were aware of what was going on. Many of the Jews saved themselves by lying about their age, or sneaking over into the line of the prisoners that had been chosen to be workers in the 425 acre camp. The worker Jews were marched, on the same road, to the Central Sauna where they took a shower and had their hair shaved off. They were then assigned to barracks in the camp.
According to Tadeusz Borowski, a Polish political prisoner at Birkenau, a soccer field was built at the camp in the Spring of 1944 “on the broad clearing behind the hospital barracks.” Hospital barracks? Surely not! Why would a “death camp” have a hospital? Something wrong!
The team of prisoners played against a team of SS men who worked in the nearby hospital.
By 1944, the railroad tracks into the camp had been extended all the way from the Gate of Death at Birkenau to the gas chambers at the western end of the camp; the men playing soccer were able to see the victims arrive on the trains and then walk to Krema III, which was “right by the fence” that separated the gas chambers from the barracks in the camp. Note the fence in the black and white photo above.
Borowski famously wrote, in his book, that he was the goalkeeper in a soccer game on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in May, and “Between two throw-ins, right behind my back, three thousand people had been put to death.”
Three thousand was the number of Jews that typically arrived on each train transport.
During the extermination of the Hungarian Jews in May 1944, an entire transport would be gassed without going through a selection process, in spite of the fact that the Nazis were desperate for workers in their munitions factories.
Most of the Holocaust survivors, who are still alive today, are Hungarian Jews and each of them has his or her unique story of how they escaped the gas chambers.
I wrote about some of the stories of escape from the gas chambers on this blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/stories-of-escape-from-the-gas-chambers-at-auschwitz-birkenau/
In other news today, you can read about a movie that is being made about Deborah Lipstadt’s victory over “Holocaust denier David Irving.” at http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Authors-battle-with-Holocaust-denier-to-hit-silver-screen-400609
I blogged about this trial on this blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/deborah-lipstadt-who-defeated-hard-core-holocaust-denial-now-worries-about-soft-core-denial/