Scrapbookpages Blog

May 15, 2016

a flock of geese, whose honking was intended to drown out the screams of Jews being murdered

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:42 am

I am commenting on a news article which you can read in full at

The following information is from the news article:

Begin quote:

Some 600 Jewish children were spirited to safety via the school [a former teacher training school in the heart of Amsterdam’s old Jewish quarter] from a neighboring kindergarten where they were being held while awaiting deportation, said curator Annemiek Gringold. On the other side of the street stands the Hollandsche Schouwburg, a theater used by the Nazi occupiers as a gathering point for Jews who were rounded up — often with the help of Dutch collaborators paid a bounty for each person they betrayed — and transported to their deaths.

In all, 104,000 Dutch Jews were among the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The theater is now home to a memorial to those victims. Nearby are also the Jewish Historical Museum and a 17th-century Portuguese Synagogue.

The nine paintings on show Monday are collectively titled “The Demise of Abraham Reiss.” They trace the life of Krabbe’s grandfather, who was murdered by the Nazis in 1943 in the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland.


the paintings trace Reiss’ life in pre-war Amsterdam to his detention in the Westerbork camp in the northeastern Netherlands and his arrival at Sobibor, where he was greeted by a snarling dog and shadowy, faceless guards. The final painting shows thick smoke billowing out of the chimney of Sobibor’s gas chamber and a flock of geese, whose honking was intended to drown out the screams of Jews being murdered, according to a text accompanying one of the paintings.

End quote

I have a section on my website about the Sobibor camp:

The following information is from my website:

The Sobibor camp was 400 meters wide and 600 meters long; the entire area was enclosed by a barbed wire fence that was three meters high. On three sides of the camp was a mine field, intended to keep anyone from approaching the camp.

The watch towers were manned by Ukrainian SS guards who had been conscripted from captured soldiers in the Soviet Army to assist the 30 German SS men who were the administrators of the camp. In 1965, a German court put 11 of the German SS guards on trial; 6 of them were sentenced to prison, and one committed suicide during the trial; the others were acquitted.

The victims arrived on trains which stopped at the ramp across from the Sobibor station, or in trucks from nearby Polish villages. Most of the Jews were transported in cattle cars, but the 34,000 Dutch Jews who were sent to Sobibor arrived in passenger trains, according to Toivi Blatt. The luggage of the Dutch Jews was transported in separate cars and the victims were given tags which they were told would be used to reclaim their bags. All of the belongings of the Jews were confiscated upon arrival.

At the entrance to the camp, the victims were instructed to deposit their hand baggage and purses before proceeding along the path, called the “Himmelfahrtstrasse” (Street to heaven), which led to the spot where the hair was cut from the heads of the women, and then on to the gas chambers disguised as showers. According to Toivi Blatt, all documents, photos and personal items were removed from the confiscated baggage and anything that could not be recycled to send to Germany was burned in open fires that lit up the night sky.

Monument at Sobibor shows location of gas chambers

Monument at Sobibor shows the location of the gas chamber where Jews were killed

The photo above shows the spot in Camp III at Sobibor, where a brick building with gas chambers once stood. A large block of stone [shown in the photo above] represents the gas chambers in two buildings at Sobibor, which were torn down long ago.

Survivors of Sobibor do not agree on the number or size of the gas chambers. The victims were killed with carbon monoxide from the exhaust of engines taken from captured Soviet tanks, which were stored in Camp IV. There is also disagreement on whether these were diesel engines or gasoline engines.

Stone monument at Sobibor

Red stone monument at Sobibor

The red stone sculpture shown in the photos above represents a woman, looking up at the sky, holding a small child in her arms. In the background can be seen the huge mound of ashes that is located in the former Camp III. These are the ashes of the Jews who were allegedly gassed and burned at Sobibor. Holocaust deniers believe that Sobibor was a transit camp.

A photo accompanies the news article. The caption on the photo, which I couldn’t put up for some unknown reason, is quoted below:

Dutch actor and artist Jeroen Krabbe poses in front of his painting which tells the story of his grandfather Abraham Reiss, left, who was murdered in the Sobibor Nazi German extermination camp, during a press preview at the National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Thursday, May 12, 2016. More than 70 years after tens of thousands of Dutch Jews were deported and murdered by the Nazis, the Netherlands is finally getting a national Holocaust museum. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Abraham Reiss was not actually murdered “during a press preview” but perhaps he did “throw mama from the train a kiss.”



The Jewish boy who was saved from the gas chamber because of his good penmenship

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 8:22 am

Ernest Michel on a trip to Auschwitz

Ernest Michel on a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1983 [photo credit: Robert A. Cummins]

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

Begin quote

Ernest Michel survived the Auschwitz death camp because of a calligraphy course he had taken at his father’s insistence. Having been expelled with other Jewish students from German public schools, he needed to develop a skill, his father had told him.

He did just that: His penmanship became flawless, and the Nazis put it to use at Auschwitz, sparing him from the gas chambers. They conscripted him in a cynical scheme to falsify the death certificates of his fellow inmates, hoping to hide the actual cause of death: extermination. That they enlisted a Jew to do their dissembling was doubly grievous.

End quote

Bad Nazis! They refused to put the real cause of death [extermination] on the Jewish death certificates.  At the very least, the Nazis should have put “gassed to death with Zyklon-B” on the Jewish death certificates.

There might be some young people reading this, who do not know the meaning of the word penmanship, so I will attempt to explain it.

Back in the olden days, when your great-grandfather was in grammar  school, students used to write in cursive handwriting with a fountain pen, or a pencil, on a piece of paper that had 3 lines on it to indicate where the top and the bottom of a cursive letter should go.

Good handwriting was the mark of an educated person, who had completed the eighth grade. For example, my mother completed the 8th grade at the age of 13. Her teacher was her 14 year old cousin, who had completed her 8th grade education the previous year. My father only went to school as far as the 4th grade; as an adult, he could neither read nor write.

Ernest Michael had been educated up to the sixth grade, and this saved his life because he was able to write in beautiful cursive handwriting.

The news article continues with this quote:

Begin quote

Mr. Michel (pronounced mish-ELL) died on May 7 in Manhattan at 92. [He was born in July 1923.] His account of mechanically forging the death certificates was one of many he would tell in his decades of bearing witness — in writing and public speaking — to the horrors he had observed beginning in 1936, when he was 13 and barred from public school by Nazi racial codes. He never received a formal education beyond the sixth grade.

He was barely 20 when he was given the writing task at Auschwitz. He was in the camp infirmary, being treated for a head wound inflicted by a prison guard during a beating, when an aide asked whether any of the inmates had good handwriting. Mr. Michel volunteered.

“It didn’t take me long to figure out what I was doing,” he wrote in his 1993 memoir, “Promises to Keep: One Man’s Journey Against Incredible Odds.”

“The list contained the names of those who were shipped to Birkenau and the gas chamber,” he wrote. “The Nazis, with their usual efficiency and attention to detail, kept records of all inmates sent to be gassed. Only nobody died being gassed to death. They all died by being ‘weak of the body’ – ‘Koerperschwaeche’ – or from ‘Herzschlag’ – ‘heart attack.’ ”

End quote

The following quote is also from the news article:

Begin quote

Mr. Michel had been put to work building a synthetic rubber plant [Monowitz?] when the beating occurred that sent him to the infirmary. He later became a medical aide there himself and saw Dr. Josef Mengele performing his horrific experiments on prisoners [at Monowitz?]

He was evacuated from the camp on Jan. 18, 1945, as Russian troops approached. It was on a forced march between camps a few weeks before the war ended that he and two other prisoners escaped.

Remaining in Germany immediately after the war, Mr. Michel covered the Nuremberg war crime trials for a German news agency. He insisted on the byline “Special Correspondent Ernst Michel, Auschwitz No. 104995,” the number that was branded on an arm. He sat not far from the defendants.

“There were times when I wanted nothing more than to jump up and grab them all by the throat,” he said.

End quote

Only one more quote from this news article, I am [literally] finished:

Begin quote

One day, a lawyer for Hermann Göring, the Luftwaffe commander and the founder of the Gestapo, said that Göring wanted to meet the correspondent who was a former concentration camp inmate.

“So we went to Göring’s cell and the door opened,” Mr. Michel recalled. “Göring smiled, came up to me and wanted to shake my hand. At that moment I suddenly froze. I couldn’t move. I looked at his hand, his face, and then his hand again — and then just turned round. I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t speak to this man. Not one single word.”

End quote