The latest Holocaust news is that a “Holocaust professorship” has been launched in Germany; you can read the full story here.
The photo below accompanies the news article.
In the photo shown above, the prisoners have removed their pants in order to show off their skinny legs. Note that the prisoner on the far right is holding his pants in front of himself.
The following quote is from the news article, cited above:
Goethe University in Frankfurt has secured funding to establish Germany’s first ever professor position dedicated to studying the Holocaust, the Hessian Ministry for Science and the Arts announced on Monday.
The programme will launch in 2017 to support a professor researching the history and impact of the Holocaust in which six million Jews were killed by the Nazi regime during the Second World War.
“Seventy years after the end of the Holocaust this is a long overdue step. In the land of the perpetrators, one must not forget what happened,” said regional Science Minister Boris Rhein in a statement.
“It is our duty to be at the forefront of this research. What is special about this Holocaust professorship is that it is not only about understanding the past. Specifically it is about the repercussions of the events up until the present, and that will be the focus of the research.”
There was no explanation for the photo that was shown above the news article, so I am going to explain it to you now.
The photo in the news article shows survivors of the Ebensee sub-camp of the Mauthausen prison camp, posing on May 7, 1945 after they had been liberated by American troops a few days day before.
In the photograph, the prisoners all have shaved heads, a procedure which was used in all the Nazi concentration camps in an effort to control the lice which spreads typhus. Their heads were shaved first on the sides and the next time on the top. These prisoners have a regrowth of hair on the top, but have recently been shaved on the sides of their heads. The privileged Kapos were allowed to have a full growth of hair or a beard if they were bald.
The photograph above shows a sign that was erected by the German prisoners at Ebensee. It reads “We welcome our liberators.” Among the German prisoners were some who were condemned criminals.
The photograph immediately above was taken on May 6, 1945, after Ebensee, a sub-camp of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, had been liberated by soldiers in the 80th Division of the US Third Army on May 4th and 5th. The banner, written in French, reads “The French prisoners Salute the Allies.” (Note that all of the prisoners are wearing trousers.)
The banner, that is shown in the photo, had been erected by the anti-Nazi resistance fighters who were imprisoned here after being captured and accused of doing acts of sabotage during the Nazi occupation of France.
The prisoners in these photos are not Jews who were being Holocausted, and such photos should not be used to teach the Holocaust.
According to author Martin Gilbert, the last “death marches” of the war began on May 1, 1945 as the American Army approached; prisoners from the main camp at Mauthausen and the sub-camps at Gusen and St. Valentin were marched to Gunskirchen and Ebensee.
Hundreds of these prisoners died from exhaustion, or they were shot because they couldn’t keep up with the march, or as they attempted to escape.
When American troops in the 80th Infantry Division arrived on May 4, 1945, there were around 60,000 prisoners from 25 different countries at Ebensee.
The prisoners at Ebensee had been working in underground factories in which Messerschmitt airplanes were being manufactured. German engineers and German civilians also worked in these factories. The site had been chosen because there were natural caves which could be enlarged into tunnels so that the munitions factories could be protected from Allied bombing raids.
According to Martin Gilbert, the author of a book entitled Holocaust, Ebensee was an “end destination” for Jewish prisoners who had been evacuated from camps farther east as the Soviet Army advanced toward Germany.
In the last months of the war, the Ebensee camp was seriously over-crowded with these exhausted prisoners, many of whom had just arrived in the weeks prior to the liberation.
Martin Gilbert wrote the following regarding the evacuations and the death marches:
“Jews who had already survived the ‘selections’ in Birkenau, and work as slave laborers in factories, had now to survive the death marches. Throughout February and March  columns of men, and crowded cattle trucks, converged on the long-existing concentration camps, now given a new task. These camps had been transformed into holding camps for the remnant of a destroyed people, men and women whose labor was still of some last-minute utility for a dying Reich, or whose emaciated bodies were to be left to languish in agony in one final camp.”
According to Martin Gilbert, a train loaded with 2,059 Jews arrived at Ebensee on March 3, 1945. They had survived the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau and had first been sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp, then on to Ebensee.
Forty-nine of the Jewish prisoners had died on the train, and on their first day in the camp, 182 more prisoners died during the disinfection procedure. New arrivals had to be disinfected to kill the body lice which spreads typhus. There was a typhus epidemic in Mauthausen and the sub-camps. According to Martin Gilbert, 30,000 prisoners died in these camps in the last four months of the war.
I sincerely hope that “the professor” will tell the true story of the photo which is shown in the news article, but I don’t think that there is much chance of that happening.