Scrapbookpages Blog

March 20, 2016

It’s in the books: Over 70 years ago the Holocaust claimed the lives of 11 million people

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:24 pm

And you thought that only 6 million people were killed by the Nazis. No, it was 11 million. The famous 6 million victims were all Jews.

You can read about all the victims of the Holocaust in this news article: http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Books/Books-that-Shed-Light-on-the-Holocaust.aspx

The following quote is from the website cited above:

Begin quote

Over 70 years ago the Holocaust claimed the lives of 11 million people after Hitler took power in 1933. Of these victims were children, the disabled, the elderly, and gays. There were also gypsies, pastors, ending interracial marriages and the sterilization of black children. The reasons behind these despicable actions were to create a master race.

The leader and murder wanted a master race that would control the world after conquering Europe. The idea was if this Aryan race took the helm that Germany would become more fruitful and successful. The Nazis killed two-thirds of Jews living in Europe. Those who escaped and survived remind us through the written words that we should never forget the sins and bloodstains of the past.

End quote

Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Books/Books-that-Shed-Light-on-the-Holocaust.aspx#mGXruvPfGoYdV7oo.99

Note that the article mentions that disabled people and gays were killed in the Holocaust. I blogged about gay people and the Holocaust at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/hitler-started-with-the-gays-say-what/

I mentioned the “Master Race” in this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/the-master-race/

The article continues on with the story of Corrie ten Boom who “rescued Dutch Jews from the Gestapo during the Holocaust.”

I wrote about Corrie ten Boom on this blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/corrie-ten-boom-forgave-a-ravensbruck-ss-guard/

Another book that is recommended is “The boy in the striped pajamas.”

I wrote about this book in two blog posts:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/my-review-of-the-boy-in-the-striped-pajamas/

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/the-boy-in-the-striped-pajamas-is-back-in-the-news-today/

Elie Wiesel’s book Night is also recommended. I have written several blog posts under the tag “Elie Wiesel.”

The following quote about Elie Wiesel is from the article:

Begin quote

[Elie Wiesel’s] book, Night, was published in 1960 and explored the terror he witnessed as a teen. His family was marched into cattle cars and the men and women were separated upon reaching the camp. Those who were selected to the right were gasses [gassed] and those to the left were sent to work camps. After the war he’s worked to end anti-Semitism through education, and shared that the rise of Hitler could’ve been averted.

End quote

I have written several blog posts about Elie Wiesel, which you can read at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/elie-wiesel/

Holocaust survivor says she “was taken to the extermination camp Bergen-Belsen”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:11 am

Today, I read a news article about Holocaust survivor Magda Hertzberger, who says that she is “A survivor of three death camps.”  She has written a book, entitled “Survivor” and is now out on the lecture circuit, telling her story.

One of the three camps, which Magda survived, was the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp.

British soldier driving the bulldozer that shoved bodies into graves at Bergen-Belse

Famous photo of British soldier driving a bulldozer to shove bodies into graves at Bergen-Belsen

In today’s world, Bergen-Belsen has become a symbol of the Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews in Europe more than sixty years ago. The photo above was shown in newsreels in theaters around the world. I remember seeing this in a theater, and being horrified.

In 1943, Bergen-Belsen was initially set up as a detention camp (Aufenthaltslager) for prisoners who held foreign passports and were thus eligible to be traded for German citizens being held in Allied internment camps. Sadly, no other country want to exchange prisoners, so in December 1944, Bergen-Belsen was converted into a concentration camp under the command of Josef Kramer, the former Commandant of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

A section for sick prisoners, who could no longer work in the Nazi forced labor camps, had been set aside at Bergen-Belsen in March 1944. Anne Frank was one of the sick prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkeanau who was transferred to Bergen-Belsen, where she died.

Fake grave of Anne Frank at Bergen-Belsen

My photo of the fake grave of Anne Frank and her sister Margo at Bergen-Belsen

In 1945, when World War II was drawing to a close, civilian prisoners were evacuated from other concentration camps as Soviet troops advanced westward; thousands of these prisoners were brought to the Bergen-Belsen camp which was not equipped to handle such a large number of people.

Finally, the Bergen-Belsen camp was right in the middle of the war zone where bombs were falling and Allied planes were strafing the Autobahn and the railroads.

British and Germans troops were doing battle on the Lüneberg heath right outside the Bergen-Belsen camp.

In February 1945, the situation at Bergen-Belsen became catastrophic when a typhus epidemic broke out in the crowded camp. It was at this time that Anne Frank died in the camp.

Magda Hertzberger’s story is told in the following quote from a news story, which you can read in full at :  http://dcourier.com/news/2016/mar/20/holocaust-remembrance-day-marked-survivors-story/

Begin quote from Magda’s account of her ordeal:

Selection [at Auschwitz-Birkenau] was at the end of each week and [Dr.] Mengele took pleasure in selecting people for the gas chambers, humming his favorite opera arias while selecting, Herzberger said. Those selected were those not considered useful, such as children up to age 14, the old, the sick, pregnant women, invalids and mentally disturbed, she said.

End quote

Several years ago, I visited the site of the former Bergen-Belsen exchange camp which is now a Memorial Site. I was the only English-speaking person there. How do I know this? When a movie about the camp was shown, it was in German, but as the only English speaker there, I was allowed to see the movie on a TV set in a private room.

After my visit to the Memorial site,  I added a section about the camp to my website, which you can read at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/index.html

Start with this section, which is about the history of the camp: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/Introduction.html

The following quote is from the Bergen-Belsen history section on my website:

A section for sick prisoners, who could no longer work in the Nazi forced labor camps, was set aside at Bergen-Belsen in March 1944. In 1945, when World War II was drawing to a close, civilian prisoners were evacuated from other concentration camps as Soviet troops advanced westward; thousands of these prisoners were brought to the Bergen-Belsen camp which was not equipped to handle such a large number of people.

Finally, Bergen-Belsen itself was right in the middle of the war zone where bombs were falling and Allied planes were strafing the Autobahn and the railroads. British and Germans troops were doing battle on the Lüneberg heath right outside the camp. In February 1945, the situation at Bergen-Belsen became catastrophic when a typhus epidemic broke out in the crowded camp.

End quote

Magna Herzberger’s story starts with this quote from the news article:

Herzberger was born and raised in Transylvania, which was a part of Romania when she was born and became a part of Hungary by 1940, she said.

Even at a young age, Herzberger was a fighter, working hard and fighting for her education as well as becoming a junior fencing champion at age 15 following instruction in the sport from her uncle.

The Germans occupied Herzberger’s city in March 1944 and forced Jewish people to wear the yellow Star of David, Herzberger said. In May of the same year, they were forced into the ghetto and at the end of May, were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, she said. After arrival, they were forced to undergo selection headed by Josef Mengele, who Herzberger said she saw every single day.

“At the selection platform, my father and uncle were at my side. Both of them wanted to give me some guidelines of principles and behaviors should we be separated. My father reminded me to follow the path of love, forgiveness and tolerance,” Herzberger said. “My uncle advised me to try and maintain my emotional and my physical strength, even if he wasn’t around. Pain increases our endurance and we have to tolerate pain in order to survive and not fall apart under any adverse situation which we may encounter in our lives. I have lived my life living up to that promise.”

Selection was at the end of each week and Mengele took pleasure in selecting people for the gas chambers, humming his favorite opera arias while selecting, Herzberger said. Those selected were those not considered useful, such as children up to age 14, the old, the sick, pregnant women, invalids and mentally disturbed, she said.

What Herzberger was selected for while in Auschwitz was corpse gatherer, hauling bodies to the pits they dug and incinerating them. The gas chambers were working full time and the crematory ovens could not keep up, she said.

After seven weeks, Herzberger was selected for her second camp in the city of Bremen. She and 500 other women were taken for slave labor in order to clear the city and people who were hit by the bombs. By the end of 1945, Herzberger had lost a great deal of weight due to the hard work, lack of food and harsh winter.

End quote