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October 25, 2015

A Jew visits Majdanek and completely misunderstands what happened there.

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:04 am

Today I read an article, written by a man named Jordan Lustman, entitled A Flame Re-Ignited: My Trip to Poland, Part II  

I was struck by the fact that this man saw the former Majdanek concentration camp, not as I saw it on my visit there 17 years ago, but through completely different eyes.

Madanek is famous for the huge Monument of Ashes

Madanek is famous for the huge Monument of Ashes

The Majdanek camp had a double fence around it

The Majdanek camp had a double fence around it

This quote is from the article written by Jordan Lustman:

It is at this point that I would like to take a moment to describe the process in which the Nazis operated. For those of you who may not know, to the Nazis, the Holocaust was a large game. The more deceptive the process of killing Jews could be, the more exciting this game was. As a proof to my point, I offer the following: why make those whose fate is nothing more than being gassed and cremated take showers? Deception.

The Jews who arrived at Majdanek were not forced to take a shower for the purpose of deceiving them into thinking that they were not going to be gassed.

The shower room at Majdanek with a concrete bathtub in the background

The shower room at Majdanek with a concrete bathtub in the background (Click to enlarge)

When I visited the former Majdanek camp, many years ago, my tour guide told me that the prisoners were forced to take a shower before being gassed, so that the hot water would warm up their bodies and make the gas work faster.

I think that the real purpose of taking a shower was to remove any lice from the bodies of the prisoners.  Lice spreads typhus, a sickness that killed many prisoners in the concentration camps. All of the prisoners, coming into all of the concentration camps, had to take a shower, including the prisoners who were selected to work.

This quote is also from the article written by Jordan Lustman:

The room I am currently in is a gas chamber. Stained with a blue residue left over by Zyklon-B, the gas used to kill Jews, the walls are marred by the scratch-marks of the thousands of Jews who never lived to see the outside world again. Packed in the room, the forty of us fan out to form a circle. Locked arm in arm, we break out into song proclaiming G-d’s greatness; I feel as though we are joined by the screams of the hundreds of thousands who perished here, screams that forever echo off the cold walls of the warm room. As we exit the building and move onward, my eyes are fixated upon the black chimney of the camp’s crematorium, far in the distance. My mind is again flooded with questions: Who could perpetrate such a crime? What could motivate a group of people – a group of highly cultured people – to carry out such an abomination? Yet there is one question which seems to scream louder than any and all other: how could it be that the residents of Lublin, the very people with this concentration and death camp in their backyard, did absolutely NOTHING to stop this from happening? Two answers pop into my head, answers which are relevant to what is going on in Israel as well:

It is either that the smoke from burning Jews carries no smell, or the people of the world just get used to it.

End quote

The scratch marks must have been added recently.  There were no scratches made by the dying prisoners when I was there. (How does one scratch concrete with his fingernails?)

My blog post about the scratch marks on the walls of the Auschwitz gas chamber has gotten the most hits of any of my blog posts:

The original story of the Majdanek concentration camp was that 1.5 million people were killed there.  This was the number given by the Soviet liberators of the camp.  Now that figure has been reduced 78,000 deaths, of which 59,000 were Jews.  However, that does not reduce the 6 million figure of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

My photo of the inside of a barracks building at Majdanek

My photo of the inside of a barracks building at Majdanek

In his article about Majdanek, Jordan Lustman mentioned that there are some buildings that tourists are no longer allowed to see because they are now empty.  When I was there, tourists were still allowed to see the inside of the buildings.

Most of the barracks at Majdanek have now been torn down

Most of the barracks at Majdanek have now been torn down

This monument in Field III at Majdanek was done by one of the priosoners

This monument in Field III at Majdanek was done by one of the prisoners

I have written several blog posts about Majdanek including this recent one:


  1. Furtherglory! I think that the tour guide had been right as the problem to solve by shower had not been the iice of the new arrived victims but the fastening of the murder operations. Then I think that Mr.Lustman has no idea of the terror regime in Poland under Nazi rule so Lublin population had to avoid to see and to hear. about things going on in Majdanek. But what did the Allied Powers after getting reliable informations? And I am afraid that no one knows how many victims – Jewis or Gypsies – had been murdered in any single Death Camp; figures can only conjectured. As Mass Extermination occured in various ways I mean that the total figure of Six Milion seems underestimated as related only to the affiliated of Jewish Comunities but does not consider those who were Jews only according Nazi racism. We ought to pray in remembrance of victims and seat down and study the history of the Shoah.

    Comment by Wolf MURNELSTEIN — October 25, 2015 @ 2:10 pm

    • Wolf,

      Here is what it says on the German language Wikipedia page about Majdanek:

      Neue Forschungsergebnisse von 2006 reduzieren die Gesamtzahl aller derjenigen, die in Majdanek ums Leben kamen, auf 78.000, darunter 59.000 Juden.

      You know German, so no xlation is needed. Don’t you find it at least regrettable that such gross exaggerations — and likely deliberate falsehoods, which had their origin in the times of Soviet occupation/domination — have been spread about Majdanek?

      A few specific questions: Do you believe the room with heavy Prussian blue staining that is shown to tourists at Majdanek was used as a homicidal gas chamber? Do you believe the alleged scratch marks on the walls were made by victims of gassing? In Auschwitz I there is an alleged gas chamber, but it has no Prussian blue staining — why is that?

      Comment by eah — October 25, 2015 @ 2:58 pm

      • eah! I am a special child survivor who after war wanted to know what occured and why and not a specialist in mass killings. The numbers of victims murdered in each of the Death Camps, in the mass shooting. in the Ghettoes by deseases or starvation or by exhaustion through forced labor is matter of studies. I am not a specialist in mass murder technics or so. I can only consider the estimated total number of victims. So I am not the right adress for You above questions. Clear?

        Comment by Wolf MURNELSTEIN — October 26, 2015 @ 2:32 am

    • Many people believe that the Jews were forced to take a shower before they were gassed in order to warm up their bodies so that the gas would kill them quicker. I wrote about this on this recent blog post:

      Comment by furtherglory — October 26, 2015 @ 7:57 am

  2. The Germans went to all this trouble merely for “excitement.” The war at that time engulfing their country didn’t provide them enough excitement.

    Comment by Jett Rucker — October 25, 2015 @ 10:44 am

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