Scrapbookpages Blog

September 30, 2015

Free speech in America doesn’t include the Holocaust

Filed under: California, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:50 pm

It is well known that America is one of the few countries that still has free speech with regard to Holocaust denial, but that does not extend to college campuses.

Auschwitz main camp

Auschwitz main camp

A news article, which you can read in full here, tells the story of a college student who got into trouble because he questioned the sacred 6 million.

The following quote is from the news article:

The elected student member of the community college system serving the Sacramento region is in hot water after questioning the number of Jews killed in World War II concentration camps and other controversial statements made during an interview with a college newspaper.

It is student trustee Cameron Weaver’s comments on the Holocaust in the Sept. 18 interview that have drawn the most ire and have started rumblings of a recall against him. Weaver was interviewed by the Current, the American River College student newspaper.

“Now I’m definitely not gonna go out and venture and say anything like ‘Oh, Holocaust didn’t happen.’ There are tons of people that make that argument. And from a really non-biased perspective, I completely disagree, but I also completely agree. What I mean when I say both is I don’t know the answer,” Weaver told his college paper.

Weaver, 26, also suggested that some percentage of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust actually died during earlier religious persecution. He did not deny that Jewish people were tortured.

Weaver earns a stipend of $8,500 for the one-year term. He was seated in June.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article37005681.html#storylink=cpy

September 29, 2015

The American soldiers who liberated Dachau

Yesterday, a comment was made on my blog about an American soldier, named Jimmy Gentry, who claims to have participated in the liberation of Dachau. I wrote about Jimmy Gentry on this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/jimmy-gentry-liberator-of-dachau-concentration-camp/

You can read about the various claims regarding the liberation of Dachau on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/LiberationDay3.html

I am answering the comment about Jimmy Gentry on my blog post today.

Begin quote of comment:

“I have no idea who this furtherglory person is, other than a faceless coward. If you are picking apart a story of a Patriot who served this country honorably, Jimmy Gentry, who also was my history teacher, then you are basically nothing more than a worm. Who are you to accuse him of lying? Apparently that’s what worms do. I know for a fact Coach Gentry would never attempt to draw attention to himself regarding his experiences during the War. You should be ashamed. For anyone coming across this blog- warning….it’s garbage journalism.”

End of comment

I went to the website of Jimmy Gentry in order to refresh my memory regarding his claim that he was a liberator of Dachau.

I copied the following quote from his website:

“Off in the distance I saw boxcars lined up with hundreds of dead bodies inside. They looked starved and tortured,” remembers Jimmy Gentry. “I asked another soldier, ‘Who are these people?’ He said, ‘They are Jews.’“

American infantryman Jimmy Gentry had seen combat at the Battle of the Bulge, but it paled in comparison to what he saw that day. “No one told us what we would find. No one explained what our mission was. We saw a wall and that was the entrance to a prison camp like I have never seen.” The camp was Dachau.
End quote from comment

Both the 45th Thunderbird Division and the 42nd Rainbow Division were advancing on April 29, 1945 toward Munich with the 20th Armored Division between them. Dachau was directly in their path, about 10 miles north of Munich.

According to Lt. Col. Felix Sparks, the commander of the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Thunderbird Division, he received orders at 10:15 a.m. to liberate the Dachau camp, and the soldiers of I Company were the first to arrive at the camp around 11 a.m. on April 29, 1945.

The 101st Tank Battalion was attached to the 45th Thunderbird Division.  The 101st arrived in the town of Dachau at 9:30 a.m. on April 29th.

Model of Dachau concentration camp shows that it was right next to an SS garrison

Model of Dachau concentration camp shows that it was right next to a large SS garrison where German soldiers were stationed.  There was no wall between the SS garrison and the concentration camp.

Fence around Dachau concentration camp

Fence around the Dachau concentration camp at the time that the camp was liberated (not a wall)

Main gate into the Dachau complex which included the concentration camp

Main gate into the Dachau complex which included the SS garrison and the concentration camp

The photo above shows SS men surrendering to American soldiers who liberated Dachau.  The concentration camp is a considerable distance from this spot.

Railroad track where trains entered the SS camp, not the concentration camp

Railroad track where trains entered the SS camp; trains did not enter the concentration camp

A short railroad branch line, or rail siding, shown in the photo above, was built in 1915 from the train station in Dachau to a gunpowder and munitions factory. In July 1936 when the Nazis acquired all the property of the abandoned gun powder factory, construction began on an SS training camp and garrison, which was built next to the concentration camp that had opened in 1933.

On September 23, 1936 the industrial railroad branch line, that had formerly served the munitions factory, became the property of the Nazis. It was used primarily to bring supplies into the SS camp, but a few transport trains carrying prisoners also arrived on this railroad line, which went a short distance inside the SS camp through a railroad gate on the southwest side of the complex. The railroad tracks did not extend into the concentration camp.

A short piece of the track on this branch line has been preserved as a memorial to the prisoners who entered the Dachau complex by train. The train tracks entered the SS garrison, but not the concentration camp.

The rest of the branch railroad line was ripped out in 1985. The English translation of the sign in the photo reads “Railroad track to the former SS camp where between 1933 and 1945 tens of thousands of prisoners were transported into the concentration camp.”

Railroad track at Dachau complex

Railroad track at Dachau complex did NOT enter the concentration camp

Train with dead prisoners was parked outside the Dachau camp

Train with dead prisoners was parked outside the Dachau complex which included the concentration camp

When the former Dachau concentration camp was turned into a Memorial Site in 1965, the US Army was still occupying the former SS Army Garrison, so a new entrance for tourists was made through an opening in the fence on the east side of the camp, which is shown in my photo below. At that time, there was a high wall which separated the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gatehouse building from the US Army garrison.  That wall was not there when American soldiers liberated Dachau.

Jimmy Gentry: We saw a wall and that was the entrance to a prison camp like I have never seen.” The camp was Dachau.

Entrance into Dachau Memorial Site in 2003 was through this fence

Entrance into Dachau Memorial Site in 2003 was through this fence

There was no wall between the concentration camp and the SS garrison when Jimmy Gentry was there in 1945.  The wall was built when American soldiers occupied the Army garrison for 17 years after the end of World War II.

Prisoners entered the Dachau concentration camp by going through the SS camp on this brick road

Prisoners entered the Dachau concentration camp by going through the SS camp on this brick road

September 28, 2015

What was it like for children in Theresienstadt?

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:46 am

One of the regulars, who read my blog and frequently comment, is Dr.Wolf Murmelson, who was a prisoner in Theresienstadt when he was a child.  Dr. Murmelson was the son of Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, who has been criticized for allegedly co-operating with the Nazis, although he has now been exonerated.

I previously blogged about another child at Theresienstat at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/inge-auerbacher/

Dr. Wolf Murmelson always refers to his stay in Theresienstadt as “that Time of Darkness.”  I did not get that impression when I went to Theresienstadt in the year 2000 and toured the town.  After my visit, I created a website about Theresienstadt, including a page about the children doing artwork.

The following information is from my website:

Building L410 was a girls barracks and school where art lessons were taught

Building L410 was a girls barracks and school where art lessons were taught

Shown in the photo above is Building L410, located next to the Catholic Church on Hauptstrasse, the main street of the ghetto. This was the home for Jewish girls from 8 to 16 years of age. The older girls, aged 14 to 16, had to work during the day, but still took classes at night.

The building also had a basement where concert practice took place. It was here that Mrs. Friedl Dicker-Brandejsova gave art lessons.

Theresienstadt was the designated site for the deportation of Jewish children from the orphanages in the Greater German Reich. Children were also sent to the ghetto with their parents or other relatives.

Approximately 10,000 children passed through the Theresienstadt ghetto. The drawings and paintings produced by these children in their art classes is known the world over. Some of their artwork hangs at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Many other Holocaust museums display their work also. The Jewish Museum in Prague has a collection of 4,000 pieces of children’s art from Theresienstadt.

Under expert adult supervision, the children were encouraged to express their feelings in their artwork. Some of the drawings that have been preserved show practice sheets where the children were obviously being taught the various elements of drawing.

The children depicted their surroundings in the ghetto in their drawings and watercolors, but they also painted what they remembered from their world before they were deported to the camp.

The drawings of the children were not censored by the Nazis, who allowed them free reign to express themselves on paper. Remarkably, the Nazis carefully preserved the children’s artwork after the children were deported to the death camp at Auschwitz.

Of the approximately 8,000 children who were deported out of Theresienstadt, only a fraction of them ever returned. Their paintings, which now hang all over the world, are a unique memorial to these innocent victims of the Holocaust.

 Post office building which was formerly the children's nursery


Post office building which was formerly the children’s nursery

At the corner of Rathausgasse and Langestrasse, where the bus from Prague stopped, [when I visited the town in 2000] I photographed the building, shown above, that [was being used as the post office] in Terezin in 2000, but in the former ghetto, it was a home for infants. It also housed a pre-school and a kindergarten.

Some books [that I have read] say there were 207 babies born in the Theresienstadt ghetto, but others say it was 275.

All adults up to age 60, and young people over the age of 14, had to work in the Theresienstadt ghetto, so the infants and small children were taken care of in the building shown in the photo above, and returned to their mothers in the evening.

The building for the babies also had space for theater performances in the evening. In addition, there was a bakery and kitchen which supplied the meager food for the Jews who lived in the ghetto. To the right of the post office is the current town hall, which is barely visible in the photo above.

Across Langestrasse, to the west of the bus stop at the Post Office shown in the photograph above, is a block of buildings which were used as homes for Jewish children in the former ghetto. Some of the buildings in this block were also used for theater and cultural performances and building L216 in this block was the children’s library.

Buildings which were used as homes for children in the Theresienstadt ghetto

Buildings which were used as homes for children in the Theresienstadt ghetto (Click on photo to enlarge)

Theresienstadt building where live theater performances were held

Theresienstadt building where live theater performances were held

Another building on Langestrasse, which faces the market square on the west side of the square, is today [in the year 2000] the Culture House of Terezin, shown in the photograph above. During the ghetto days, there was a theater here where live performances were given.

The rear of the Magdeburg building (Click on photo to enlarge)

The rear of the Magdeburg building (Click on photo to enlarge)

The photograph above shows the rear view of the Magdeburg barracks, which is now the second Museum in Terezin; it is devoted to the artwork produced by the inmates in the ghetto. This same building was formerly used to house women prisoners when Theresienstadt was a ghetto and a transit camp.

The Magdeburg building extends from one end of the block to the other and has a series of three interior courtyards, one of which is shown in the photograph below. The Dresden barracks for women has an identical courtyard, but the Dresden building was not open to tourists when I visited.

The prisoners played soccer in the courtyard shown in the photo below.

Magdeburg courtyard

Magdeburg courtyard (click on photo to enlarge)

The Magdeburg building was also used to house the offices of the Jewish “self government” during the ghetto days. [Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein was part of the “self government]”

The Art Museum at Terezin, which is located in the former Magdeburg barracks, shown in the photo above, is devoted to the artwork produced in the Theresienstadt ghetto.

Before World War II, the German people were considered to be the most cultured in the world. Art and music had such importance for them that they allowed cultural events in even the worst of the concentration camps, and encouraged the prisoners to create art and music in what little free time they had.

Every concentration camp had its orchestra, made up of inmate musicians, and concerts were staged even in the worst camp of all, the one at Birkenau, the Auschwitz II camp.

Typically, the camp orchestra would play classical music as the prisoners marched off to the factories to work and even as they [allegedly] marched to their deaths in the gas chamber.

During the week of cultural events in June 1944, on the occasion of the Red Cross visit, there were performances of Brundibar in the Magdeburg building.

The prisoners were allowed to do art work in the concentration camps, although not what Hitler called “degenerate” art. Hitler favored classic art or beautiful pictures, as opposed to modern art or realistic drawings depicting the horrors of the camps.

The prisoners had to hide their drawings and paintings that the Nazis didn’t approve of, but they had the courage to produce this art, even with the threat of death if they were found out.

In 1944, the Nazis discovered some of the “degenerate” artwork illicitly done in the camp, and sent the artists and their families to the Gestapo prison in the Small Fortress across the river from the ghetto. Only one of them survived the harsh conditions in the Small Fortress.

Although several of the Nazi concentration camps, such as Majdanek, Buchenwald and Auschwitz, had artists who sketched, painted or sculpted, leaving works of art which are now displayed in the museums there, the Theresienstadt ghetto was unique for the sheer volume of artwork that the prisoners produced during the war.

Taking advantage of the many famous artists who were incarcerated in Theresienstadt, the Nazis set up a drafting workshop in the ghetto where the Jews had to use their talents to produce blueprints for the Germans.

The Jewish artists in the Theresienstadt ghetto were also commissioned to do paintings for the SS headquarters.

=======

Meanwhile, what was I doing during the years that the Jews were living in luxury in Theresienstadt?  Was I doing artwork, under the supervision of expert teachers?  Was I playing music?  Was I playing soccer in a courtyard?

NO, NO, NO, a thousand times NO.  I  was living in a wood frame house with no central heat and no indoor plumbing.  I was sleeping on a mattress made of corn husks. I did not have an art teacher.  I barely had a box of crayons. In spite of this, I do not refer to my childhood as “that time of Darkness.”

September 27, 2015

The many gates at Theresienstadt

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:49 am
Main gate into the walled town of Theresienstadt

Main gate into the walled town of Theresienstadt

This morning, I went to Wikipedia to get the facts on Music at  Theresienstadt.  On the Wikipedia page, I saw the photo below, which was purported to be the gate into the Theresienstadt camp.

The gate into the Small Fortress, NOT the gate into the Theresienstadt camp

The gate into the Small Fortress, NOT the gate into the Theresienstadt ghetto (Click on photo to enlarge)

Gate into the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt

Gate into the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt, NOT the gate into the Theresienstadt ghetto

The wall around Theresienstadt fortress

The wall around the Theresienstadt fortress

When Theresienstadt was built as a military fortress in 1780, it consisted of two parts: the Main Fortress, where the Jews were later imprisoned by the Nazis in World War II, and the Small Fortress which was originally built as a prison and was used as such from the time it was completed until a few years after World War II, when the last of the German war criminals, who were incarcerated here by the victorious Allies, were executed.

Old building in Theresienstadt ghetto

Old building in Theresienstadt ghetto (click on photo to enlarge)

Detail of old building at Theresienstadt

Detail of old building at Theresienstadt

The Small Fortress is on the east side of the Ohre river that divides the two parts of the old military fortress, which was named Theresienstadt. The Theresienstadt ghetto is on the west side.

The Main Fortress is now the town of Terezin, which is open to visitors, and even has a hotel where tourists can stay if they don’t mind spending the night in the exact location where Hitler’s SS soldiers once slept.

Gate into the section of the Small Fortress which has the Arbeit Macht Frei sign

Courtyard of the Small Fortress which has the gate with the Arbeit Macht Frei sign

The Small Fortress became a Gestapo prison in June 1940, even before the Main Fortress was turned into a transit camp for the Jews in November 1941.

The following quote is from a pamphlet that I obtained when I toured the Small Fortress:

Begin quote:

People were sent here [to the Small Fortress] for taking part in the democratic and communist resistance movement, for aiding parachutists sent from the west and east to help the Czech resistance, for supporting partisans, escaped prisoners-of-war and Jews, or for individual acts against the Nazi regime. They were intellectuals, workers, farmers, clericals, artists and students, men and women.

The fate of the Jewish prisoners here was particularly tragic. After arrest by the Gestapo for taking part in the resistance movement or breaking the rules established for Jews in Terezin town, they were sent here, given the hardest work and subjected to the worst terrorism by the guards.

It was actually a transit prison as most of the inmates were sent after a certain time before a Nazi court and from there to other prisons and penitentiaries or to concentration camps in Germany, Poland and Austria.

End quote

After visiting the firing range in the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt, tour groups go through the Gate of Death which was the gate through which condemned prisoners had to walk to reach another execution site outside the fortress.

If you don’t want to go through the tunnel to get to the execution site, you can reach the Gate of Death by walking straight ahead when you enter the Small Fortress, instead of turning left into the Administration Court. You will then enter the Fourth Courtyard which is where my tour group emerged when we came through the Gate of Death.

September 26, 2015

The one and only war crime that was not committed by the Germans

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:19 am

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full here.

It is hardly possible to exaggerate the guilt of the Nazi regime, but not all of the wartime crimes committed in eastern Europe can be laid at its door.

The above quote is a reference to a crime, in which German Waffen SS soldiers were wrongly blamed. This was the massacre that took place in the Polish town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941 during the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Sixteen hundred Jews in the town were viciously murdered by the Polish residents, two weeks after the German soldiers had left.

Innocent men, women and children in the town were forced into a barn and then burned alive. The perpetrators claimed that they had been ordered by the Germans to commit this crime, but a trial in 1949 proved that this was a lie.

Map shows location of Jedwabne

Map shows location of Jedwabne

The news story continues with this quote:

Begin quote

The younger men [in Jedwabne] were clubbed to death. Older people, and mothers with children, were driven into a barn that was set alight, burning them to death. When the Soviet Union regained control of the area an investigation into the massacre was ordered and a memorial was erected, announcing that 1,600 Jews had been killed there by the German Gestapo.

It wasn’t until 2000 that this version of events was challenged publicly by the Polish-American historian Jan Tomasz Gross in his book Neighbours. “One day, in July 1941,” Gross wrote, “half of the population of a small east European town murdered the other half.” The killers, in other words, were not the German invaders, but the Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne.

End quote

I wrote this previous blog post about the Jews in Poland:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/the-long-road-from-the-shetetls-of-eastern-europe-to-the-good-life-in-america-and-the-uk-via-auschwitz/

Martin Zaidenstadt, who claims to be a Holocaust survivor, was born in 1911 in Jedwabne. Zaidenstadt would be 104 years old if he is still alive. I wrote about him on this page of my websiter:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauSurvivor.html

September 25, 2015

British pupils enjoy life overseas, after which they hear a Holocaust survivor speak

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:04 am

This morning, I read a news article here which started off with this quote:

During activities week in July, 41 pupils from Woldgate School’s Years Eight and Nine, accompanied by five staff, visited Cantabria in the North of Spain.

We arrived on Monday afternoon and visited the village of Santillana where we stayed for four nights.

Eventually the article disintegrated into this quote:

Visiting speaker: Arek Hersh

Once again, the History department was privileged to welcome Arek Hersh to Woldgate [school].

Arek is a holocaust survivor and for several years now he has come into school to talk to our year nine pupils following their study of Hitler’s Germany and the Holocaust.

Arek was born and lived in Poland until he was 11 years old. Before the age of 15, he had lived through two ghettos and four concentration camps.

He narrowly escaped the gas chambers of Auschwitz, before eventually being freed and brought to England at the end of the war.

His story is very moving and inspiring and it has been published in a book entitled, A detail of History. This title has been deliberately chosen to echo the words of those who have sought to deny or dismiss the events of the Holocaust.

A film of his life, Arek, was shown to Year Nine pupils, after which they were encouraged to ask him questions. This year the event went especially well.

Pupils were attentive throughout the film and the questions they put to Arek were exceptional. At the end many of them came to shake his hand and buy his book, the proceeds of which go to continuing Holocaust education.

End quote

Do any of these students ever ask Arek how he managed to escape the gas chambers — when he was under the age of 15? This man’s whole life is Holocaust denial. As everyone knows, children under the age of 15 were sent immediately to the gas chamber when they arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

I don’t know if Arek mentioned the name of the SS man who was doing the selections when he went through the line, but it had to be Dr. Mengele, the SS man who was always whistling tunes from classical music and not paying attention to the children that he was letting through, instead of waving them to the gas chamber line, as he was supposed to do.

September 22, 2015

11 million Jews mentioned in minutes of Wannsee conference

The house where the Wannsee conference was held

Rear of the house where Wannsee conference was held

A reader of my blog wrote this in a comment:

“German numbers place the number of Jews in Europe at 11 million. I’ve already posted the Wannsee minutes, they said 11 million.”

After visiting the Wannsee house years ago, I wrote about the Wannsee Conference on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/EasternGermany/Wannsee/

The Wannsee house where the conference was held

Wannsee house where conference was held

The following information is from my website:
The minutes or protocols of the Wannsee meeting, 15 pages in all, were written by 36-year-old Adolf Eichmann. The copy that was found in 1947 was undated and unsigned; it had no stamp of any Bureau. The copy appeared to be a draft report of the meeting that was held on January 20, 1942 at Wannsee.

[Did you catch that?  The copy that was found in 1947!  I wonder who wrote the copy that was mysteriously found after 5 long years.]

The full title of the Conference was “The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe.” The original phrase was “a final territorial solution of the Jewish question.” The term “Jewish Question” referred to a question that had been discussed for years: Should the Jews have their own state within the country where they lived, or should they assimilate?
After World War II ended on May 8, 1945, the Allied powers began a search for the Nazi documents that they would need as evidence at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal which was set to begin in November 1945. They found tons of paperwork including secret documents hidden in salt mines and behind walls in the Nazi administration buildings. But the one most important document, the order signed by Adolf Hitler which gave the authority for the genocide of the Jews, was never found.

Finally, in 1947, long after the first proceedings of the Nuremberg IMT had ended, the minutes of a conference held on January 20, 1942 at a villa in Wannsee, a district of Berlin, were found. At this conference, the plans for the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” had been discussed. Today, tourists can stand in the very room where the plans were made for the genocide of the Jews.

The dining room of the Wannsee house where the conference was held

The dining room of the Wannsee house where the conference was held

Fifteen top officials of the Nazi bureaucracy and the SS attended the Wannsee conference, which was led by 38-year-old Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA). On May 27, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich was wounded when a group of Czech resistance fighters, who had escaped to England, returned and made an attempt on his life in Prague. Heydrich died of his wounds on June 4, 1942.

The minutes or protocols of the Wannsee meeting, 15 pages in all, were written by 36-year-old Adolf Eichmann. The copy that was found in 1947 was undated and unsigned; it had no stamp of any Bureau. The copy appeared to be a draft report of the meeting that was held on January 20, 1942 at Wannsee.

Was this alleged copy actually a document that was written by someone other than Adolf Eichmann?

The full title of the Conference was “The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe.” The original phrase was “a final territorial solution of the Jewish question.”

The term “Jewish Question” referred to a question that had been discussed for years: Should the Jews have their own state within the country where they lived, or should they assimilate?

The front of the Wannsee house where the conference was held

The front of the Wannsee house where the conference was held

On the witness stand at the Nuremberg IMT, Hermann Goering said that the conference was about “the total solution to the Jewish Question” and that it meant the evacuation of the Jews, not extermination.

September 21, 2015

Woman accused of being a member of the SS is charged with 260,000 deaths at Auschwitz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:52 pm

There were women in the SS?  Who knew!

I rushed to Wikipedia and looked it up, just to make sure:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_guards_in_Nazi_concentration_camps

Here’s what Wikipedia says:

The Aufseherinnen were female guards in Nazi concentration camps during The Holocaust. Of the 55,000 guards who served in Nazi concentration camps, about 3,700 were women. In 1942, the first female guards arrived at Auschwitz and Majdanek from Ravensbrück. The year after, the Nazis began conscripting women because of a guard shortage. The German title for this position, Aufseherin (plural Aufseherinnen) means female overseer or attendant. Later female guards were dispersed to Bolzano (1944–45), Kaiserwald-Riga (1943-44), Mauthausen (March–May 1945), Neue Bremm (1943–44), Stutthof (1942–45), Vaivara (1943–44), Vught (1943–44), and at other Nazi concentration camps, subcamps, work camps, detention camps, etc.

Wikipedia does not say that women were members of the SS. But it doesn’t matter.  Germany is running out of 90-year-old men to put on trial, so now they are going after a 91-year-old woman.

Was this 91 year old woman responsible for killing Jews at Auschwitz?  Of course — she was there, wasn’t she? That makes her guilty.

I blogged about Herte Botha, a female guard at Bergen Belsen in this blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/herte-bothe-a-cruel-female-guard-at-bergen-belsen-who-served-time-in-prison/

Herte Bothe is the woman on the right

Herte Bothe is the woman on the right

I previously blogged about Irma Grese at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/irma-grese/

Hitler’s mountain retreat

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:12 am
The Berghof, Hitler's mountain retreat

The Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat

Today, I read a news article here, which had the following quote:

On March 16, 1941 – with European cities ablaze and Jews being herded into ghettos – The New York Times Magazine featured an illustrated story on Adolf Hitler’s retreat in the Berchtesgaden Alps.

The ruins of the Berghof after it was bombed by the British

The ruins of the Berghof after it was bombed by the British

The news article continues with the following quote:

Begin quote:

But once Hitler became chancellor – and particularly after the royalties from Mein Kampf made him a wealthy man – he focused considerable energies on the redesign and furnishing of his residences: the Old Chancellery in Berlin; his Munich apartment; and the Berghof, his mountain home on the Obersalzberg.

The timing of these renovations in the mid-1930s coincided with Hitler’s public makeover as a statesman and diplomat, a transformation also promoted by Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda films.

The rough edges of the extreme anti-Semite and agitator of the masses were sanded away through the creation of a new, sophisticated persona that emerged in carefully crafted domestic surroundings. With silk curtains and porcelain vases, Hitler’s designers suggested an internal world that was both cultivated and peaceful.

Gerdy Troost, Hitler’s interior decorator, played an important role in conveying an image of her client as a man of taste and culture. Inspired by British design reform movements, she emphasized quality of materials and craftsmanship over showy display.

End quote

A room in the Berghof

A room in the Berghof

Large picture window at the Berghof

Large picture window at the Berghof

American soldiers stand at the ruins of the picture window

American soldiers stand at the ruins of the picture window

Hitler strolling with his dogs in the mountains

Hitler strolling with his dogs in the mountains

Hitler feeding tame deer at his mountain retreat

Hitler feeding tame deer at his mountain retreat

On April 25, 1945, the British bombed the Nazi homes on the Obersalzberg, including Hitler’s home called the Berghof. The bombed-out ruins of Hitler’s former residence were completely razed to the ground by the Bavarian government in 1952 at the request of the U.S. Army.

The Berchtesgaden area was occupied by American troops shortly before the war ended on May 8, 1945. The Obersalzberg was turned into a recreational area for the American troops that occupied Germany after the war. After 50 years of American occupation, the Obersalzberg was given back to Germany in 1995.

To this day, many Americans are confused by the names Berghof and Eagle’s Nest, which are two separate places. The Berghof was located on a plateau called the Obersalzberg which is on the route to the top of the Kehlstein, the mountain where Hitler’s tea house, called the Eagle’s Nest, was built in 1938. To add to the confusion, Hitler had another tea house, called Mooslahnerkopf, which was a short walk from the Berghof. The German name for the Eagle’s Nest is Kehlsteinhaus, which means house on Kehlstein mountain.

The

The “Eagle’s Nest” which Hitler rarely visited

View of the Eagle's Nest from the north side

View of the Eagle’s Nest from the north side

September 20, 2015

New information about the dome of ashes at Majdanek

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 2:13 pm
Ashes underneath a dome at the Majdanek Memorial site

Ashes underneath a huge dome at the Majdanek Memorial site  Photo credit: Simon Robertson

I am on Bradley Smith’s mailing list, and today I got a message from him directing me to his latest article on the internet.

In his latest article, Bradley writes about Rafi Farber and an article which Mr. Farber wrote.

In answer to the article, Bradley wrote in an e-mail to Farber:  “Interesting article [that you wrote] but … it appears that you believe the gas chamber stories. Perhaps I’m wrong.”

What’s wrong with Bradley! Of course Rafi Farber believes in the gas chambers at Majdanek.

Bradley published the e-mail answer from Mr. Farber, which you can read below:

[from] Rafi Farber
September 7, 2015 at 9:04 pm (Six minutes later)
Wow! I actually got a Holocaust denier to comment here! That’s a strange accomplishment. I am building bridges I’m not sure I even want built. Surely those who disagree with me will cite this as evidence that I have “gone too far”. Yes Bradley Smith. I “believe the gas-chamber stories”. I am a Jew whose extended family was murdered in the gas chambers. And I physically visited the gas chambers and saw the 17-ton pile of human ash at Majdanek filled with my family who died there in the gas chambers that I was physically in. Those Jews who are reading this who want to know where I’m drawing the line, it’s here. This guy is on the other side. Do not comment here again, Mr. Smith.

I am sorry that I have to disagree with Rafi Farber and cause him more pain.

The ashes of his family are not in the 17-ton pile of human ashes at Majdanek — unless he has family members who were fighting as illegal combatants, aka resistance fighters, in World War II.

My photo of the bunk beds in the barracks at Majdanek

My photo of the bunk beds in the barracks at Majdanek

Here is the real story behind the ashes under the dome at Majdanek:

A gigantic, circular Mausoleum at the Majdanek Memorial Site [shown in the photo at the top of this page] stands at the end of the former “black path” to the crematorium, a walkway that is now called the Road of Homage in English.

The structure was designed by architect and sculptor Wiktor Tolkin, the same man who designed the Monument of Struggle and Martyrdom at the other end of the walkway, near the street.

The dome of the Mausoleum is pockmarked, as though it had suffered bomb damage in the war. The English translation of the inscription on the frieze of the dome reads “Let our fate be a warning to you.”

Under the dome is a huge circular urn, shaped like a saucer, which contains the ashes of some of the victims who died at Majdanek.

Before visiting Majdanek, I had heard about the ashes and wondered what kept them from blowing away in the wind. The answer is that the ashes were recovered from a compost pile in the camp, where they had been mixed with dirt and garden refuse and composted in preparation for spreading on the vegetable garden in the camp.

The material under the dome looks like compacted dirt; it is the color of adobe. There are a few bone fragments visible. To the left, in front of the steps, are four containers to hold eternal flames for special ceremonies.

Also to the left, as you face the dome, is the very inappropriate location of the toilets, which are underground but have air vents sticking up, that look like some weird sculpture. The first thing that the tour guides explain to Americans is the toilet etiquette in Poland.

In many places, including the camp at Majdanek, one must pay an attendant on duty to use the toilets. Bring your own toilet paper because there is usually none available, even though the charges are supposed to pay for the cost of the paper.

The toilets are for both sexes and there is no door on the men’s facility. When I visited the camp, the toilets were unbelievably filthy, just like at the Auschwitz II camp at Birkenau.

The photograph at the top of this page shows the Mausoleum. To the right of it is located the reconstructed crematorium building. Standing on this spot, you have a panoramic view of the camp below you.

Behind the Mausoleum are new modern apartment houses, their balconies painted red, yellow and blue, resembling buildings made with children’s colorful building blocks.

As you are standing in front of the Mausoleum facing the camp area, to the left there are more apartment buildings in the city of Lublin. To the right, as you face the camp area, is Lublin’s main Catholic cemetery which borders the camp; this cemetery was being used when the concentration camp was in operation. There are noisy black crows flying overhead, which the tour guide says are always present here, as if to give further warning to visitors.

According to the camp guidebook, Heinrich Himmler ordered the liquidation of the Jews in the Lublin district after the insurrection on October 14, 1943 at Sobibor, one of the Operation Reinhard extermination camps on the Polish-Russian border, in which 300 Jews, led by a Jewish Russian Prisoner of War, escaped into the nearby woods.

At this time, the three largest concentrations of Jews in Eastern Poland were at the camp at Majdanek and at the labor camp at Poniatowa, a tiny Polish village where 18,000 people were held, and at the Polish village of Trawniki where 10,000 Jews were imprisoned in a labor camp.

According to the Majdanek guidebook, “In the autumn of 1943, the Nazi authorities were alarmed by the uprisings in the Warsaw and Bialystok ghettos, by the activity of the resistance movement in the camps and by the rebellions in the death camps at Sobibor and Treblinka.” Their greatest fear was that the Jewish prisoners at Lublin would start a rebellion that would result in their escape to the forests where they would join the Polish partisans who were fighting the German Army.

The Nazis also feared that their plans to exterminate the Jews were being thwarted by the cooperation of the camp resistance movement at Majdanek with the Polish underground organizations fighting as partisans outside the camp.

The Memorial Site guidebook devotes a whole section to the activities of the camp resistance movement, which included activists from the Polish Home Army, and the main political parties: the Polish Socialist Party, the Peasant Party, the National Party, and the Polish Worker’s Party.

Along with the Polish civilian partisans and the Jewish partisans hiding in the forests, there were also escaped Russian Prisoners of War, who would sometimes shoot the Jewish partisans.

Although Poland had been conquered, within a month after the country was invaded, by the joint effort of the Germans and the Russians, guerrilla warfare continued in Poland until the Germans finally surrendered to the Allies in May 1945.

According to a book entitled The forgotten Holocaust: the Poles under German Occupation, written by Richard Lucas, the Polish resistance fighters were responsible for 6,930 damaged train engines, 732 derailed trains, 979 destroyed train cars, 38 bridges blown up, 68 aircraft destroyed, 15 factories burned down, 4,623 military vehicles destroyed, 25,125 acts of sabotage and 5,733 attacks on German troops.

The bodies of the victims of the massacre at Majdanek were burned near the ditches on pyres formed from old truck chassis, and the ashes were thrown onto the compost pile behind the clothing warehouse barracks, which now hold the tourist exhibits. It is these ashes of the massacre victims which have now been given a place of honor in the Mausoleum.

Resistance fighters marching to their deaths at Majdanek

Resistance fighters marching to their deaths at the Majdanek camp on “bloody Wednesday”, November  3, 1943

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