Scrapbookpages Blog

November 5, 2015

Jews riding in boxcars — the exception that proves the rule

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:22 am
A railway car, shown in 2005, in the Paris suburb of Drancy commemorates the deportation of 76,000 Jews and others from France to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. (Jack Guez / AFP/Getty Images)

A railway car, shown in 2005, in the Paris suburb of Drancy commemorates the deportation of 76,000 Jews and others from France to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. (Jack Guez / AFP/Getty Images)

The following quote is from a news article, which you can read in full here: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-holocaust-reparations-20151105-story.html

Do the Jews, and their descendants, who were forced to ride to Auschwitz in a boxcar deserve reparations — 70 years after their ordeal?

The news article implies that all the Jews had to ride in boxcars.  But there was at least one exception: Ruth Elias.

Ruth Elias, a survivor of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, who wrote a book entitled Triumph of Hope, was one of several women who gave birth to a child at Auschwitz.

In her book, Ruth described Dr. Mengele as follows:

“Mengele was an attractive man. A perennial little smile showed the gap between his front teeth. Immaculately dressed in jodhpurs, he wore a cap bearing the SS insignia and carried the obligatory riding crop, constantly slapping it against his gleaming black boots.”

Whenever he [Dr. Mengele] spoke to me, he was very polite, giving the impression that he was interested in me. It was hard to believe that his little smile and courteous behavior were just a facade behind which he devised the most horrific murderous schemes.”

Ruth Elias and her husband had conceived a child while she was a prisoner in the Theresienstadt camp, and when she arrived at Birkenau on a transport of Czech prisoners in December 1943, she was three months pregnant.

Ruth passed several selections for the gas chamber even though she was obviously pregnant; she and her husband were both assigned to the Czech “family camp” where men, women and children lived together.

On July 11, 1944, after a selection made by Dr. Mengele, 3,000 prisoners in the Czech family camp, who were not considered fit to work, were allegedly sent to the gas chamber, but Ruth passed the selection even though she was in her eighth month of pregnancy.

On July 14, 1944, Ruth was sent, along with other female prisoners,  to Hamburg, Germany to work in clearing rubble from Allied bombing raids.

After only four days of working in Hamburg, Ruth Elias was escorted by an SS man, in a private compartment on a passenger train, to the infirmary at Ravensbrück, the women’s concentration camp near Berlin. From there, Ruth and Berta Reich, another prisoner who was nine months pregnant, were soon sent back to Auschwitz on another passenger train.

Ruth gave birth to a baby girl at Auschwitz, but Dr. Mengele cruelly ordered her to bind her breasts and not to nurse her child because he wanted to see how long it would take for a baby to die without its mother’s milk.

Mercifully, a woman dentist named Maca Steinberg, who was a prisoner at Auschwitz, obtained some morphine and gave it to Ruth so that she could inject her baby and end its life, after Ruth told her that Dr. Mengele was due to arrive the next morning to take Ruth and her child to the gas chamber.

Auschwitz personnel on holiday

Auschwitz personnel on holiday at Solahuette

Do the men and women in the photo above look like people who would gas a pregnant woman?