Scrapbookpages Blog

October 25, 2016

The gassing of prisoners in Block 11 at Auschwitz

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 7:05 pm

I feel as if I am being put on trial.

Door into Block 11

Door into room 27 in Block 11 at Auschwitz

There is an argument going on, in the discussion section of my blog, regarding the alleged first gassing of prisoners in Block 11 in the Auschwitz main camp.

The following questions, about the alleged first gassing have been put to me:

  1. So what exactly about it is unbelievable?

2. Dirt being used as a cover for an internally barred window?

3. Seems like the bars after enough would build up could act as a block for the dirt.

4. The door not being air tight?

I am going to answer these questions with the following information:

Karl Fritzsch, the camp commander and the deputy of Rudolf Höss, allegedly took it upon himself to carry out this first gassing, while his superior officer, Rudolf Höss, was away. IOW, the commandant of the camp did not have permission to gas these prisoners.

In 1998, my private tour guide told me that the room, where the prisoners were gassed, was sealed by packing dirt into the concrete well around the window outside; then the prisoners were shoved inside. Zyklon-B crystals were thrown in through the door, and the door was quickly shut. I don’t think that a German person would put dirt down into a window well because it would have been very hard to clean it out.

The subjects of this first mass killing on September 3, 1941 were 600 Russian POWs and 250 sick prisoners. According to my tour guide, testing, that had been done in the previous months, had determined the right amount of Zyklon-B needed to kill a room full of people. There is no information on the names of the prisoners killed in the testing.

The exact date of the gassing is apparently unknown. In a book entitled “Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp,” edited by Israel Gutman and Michael Berenbaum, it was stated that the murder of 600 Soviet Prisoners of War and about 250 sick prisoners took place in Block 11 between September 3rd and September 5th.

The authors also quoted from a report by the prisoner underground which said that 600 Soviet prisoners and 200 Poles were gassed in Block 11 on the night of September 5th and 6th.

The complete story of Rudolf Hoess

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 4:33 pm

There has been some discussion, in the comments section on my blog, about Rudolf Hoess, the first Commandant of the Auschwitz main concentration camp. Rudolf Hoess is sometimes confused with Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. Hoess is the English spelling of the German name Höß or Höss.

Some people pronounce the name as Hess. The correct pronunciation of the name depends on what part of Germany you are from. In Germany, I have heard some people pronounce the name as “hearse”.

Hoess was an officer in Hitler’s elite army called the SS; he had received his training at Dachau and had then been assigned to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp before becoming the Commandant of Auschwitz in May 1940.

After the war, Hoess was hunted down and arrested by the Jewish Brigade in the British Army.

Hoes testified as a defense witness for Ernst Kaltenbrunner at the Nuremberg IMT.  Kaltenbrunner had been charged with committing Crimes Against Humanity but Hoess testified that Kaltenbrunner didn’t know about the gassing of the Jews since he had never visited Auschwitz, which Hoess freely admitted was a death camp.

Hoess was later extradited to Poland to stand trial himself. He was convicted and subsequently hanged on April 16, 1947 in front of the Gestapo building at Auschwitz which is right next to the Krema I gas chamber in the main camp.

Hoess was the one who put the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign over the gate into the main Auschwitz camp. Translated into English, the words mean “Work will set you free.” In his autobiography, Hoess explained that this expression means that work liberates one in the spiritual sense, not that the prisoners literally had a chance of being released if they worked hard.

However, according to Franciszek Piper, the former director of the Auschwitz Museum, the camp records show that around 1,500 prisoners were actually released from the Auschwitz main camp.

Hoess was eventually relieved of his duties as Commandant of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex and sent to Oranienburg to replace Arthur Liebehenschel as the Senior Director of WVHA, the SS Economic Department.

On December 1, 1944, Liebehenschel became the new Commandant of Auschwitz, but only the Auschwitz I camp, not the whole Auschwitz-Birkenau complex.

Hoess was allegedly having an affair with a woman prisoner in Block 11 at the Auschwitz I camp. The woman, identified only as E.H., told her story to the American liberators at Dachau and it was included in a book entitled “Dachau Liberated, The Official Report by The U.S. Seventh Army.”

Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen, an SS judge who was assigned to investigate corruption in the Auschwitz camp, allegedly learned of the affair and fired Hoess from his position as Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The daughter of Arthur Liebehenschel wrote in a book entitled “My father, the Auschwitz commandant,” published in 2009, that her father was demoted and sent to Auschwitz in 1944 because he had left his wife for another woman who was friendly with Jews.

According to Danuta Czech, who wrote a book entitled “The History of KL Auschwitz,” which was published in 1967, the administration of the three camps that comprised the vast Auschwitz complex was divided among three different Commandants on November 22, 1943.

The original Auschwitz I camp was put under the command of Liebehenschel while Auschwitz II (Birkenau) was placed under the command of SS Major Fritz Hartjenstein, who was later transferred to Natzweiler and then to Ravensbrück. SS 2nd Lt. Hans Schwarzhuber was put in charge of the men’s camp at Birkenau and SS 2nd Lt. Franz Hössler was put in charge of the woman’s camp.

Hans Schwarzhuber, who was transferred to Ravensbrück on January 12, 1945, was put on trial in a British military court at Hamburg after the war. Schwarzhuber confessed that prisoners were gassed at Ravensbrück and at Birkenau. He was convicted of war crimes and executed on May 3, 1947.

Franz Hössler (sometimes spelled Hoessler) was later transferred to Bergen-Belsen where he stayed behind to assist the British when the camp was voluntarily turned over to them on April 15, 1945. Hössler was put on trial by the British in the Belsen trial in 1945. He was convicted of war crimes committed at Birkenau and was hanged on December 13, 1945.

The TWO confessions of Rudolf Hoess

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 12:31 pm

Why did Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of the Auschwitz camp, write TWO confessions?

The first confession signed by Hoess was labeled by the Allies as Nuremberg Document No-1210. It was an 8-page typewritten document written in German. Hoess wrote the date 14.3.1946 2:30 (March 14, 1946 2:30 a.m.) next to his signature. This date was three days after his capure on March 11, 1946. Hoess had been beaten half to death; alcohol had been poured down his throat, and he had been kept awake for three days and nights before he finally signed this confession at 2:30 in the morning.

A second affidavit signed by Rudolf Hoess on April 5, 1946 was labeled by the Allies at the Nuremberg IMT as document PS-3868. It was a typewritten document, about 2 and a quarter pages long, written in English.

Another document, also labeled PS-3868, was purported to be the English translation of the original deposition given by Hoess in German. The second document was the one that was entered into the proceedings of the Nuremberg IMT.

During his cross-examination of Rudolf Hoess, American prosecutor Col. Harlan Amen quoted from the second affidavit which was alleged to be the English translation of a deposition given by Hoess in German. After reading each statement made by Hoess in his affidavit, Col Amen asked Hoess if this was what he had said and Hoess answered “Jawohl.” [the English equivalent would be “Yes, indeed.”]

You can read more about Rudolf Hoess on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/RudolfHoess.html

How many holes on the roof of a gas chamber does it take to gas a room full of Jews?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:33 am

Today, I am writing, in an answer to a comment, made by a guy named Denying-History, one of the new readers of my blog.

I am quoting his comment:

Begin quote

Hans stark talks about the pouring of Zyklon though the room of two holes, then the holes being closed. Morgue 1 (based on HC’s view) had three holes, but they say that Stark could have mistaken the number of holes in use. This again fits broads model of two cans of 1kg, though we don’t have a size record from Stark.

End Quote

My 1998 photo of the roof of Krema 1 gas chamber

My 1998 photo of roof of the Krema 1 gas chamber in Auschwitz main camp

In September 1998, I climbed up on the roof of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp and photographed the holes, through which the Zyklon-B poison gas was allegedly poured. My photo above shows the holes, which are covered with wooden lids.

My 1998 photo of SS hospital and the roof of the gas chamber

My 1998 photo of SS hospital and the roof of the Auschwitz 1 gas chamber

The photo above shows the hospital for wounded or sick SS soldiers in the German Army. Stupid Germans!!! Didn’t they realize that some gas fumes might have wafted over to the hospital on a hot summer day?

No, actually it was perfectly safe because the holes on the roof were covered with wooden lids. One SS man would lift up the lid, while another SS man would quickly pour the poison pellets into the gas chamber room below.

Gas chamber in foreground and SS hospital in the background

Gas chamber in foreground and SS hospital for wounded soldiers in the background

The famous photo above, which I did not take, shows that there was only a narrow street between the gas chamber and the hospital. The SS men in the hospital could have just dashed across the street, and into the gas chamber, if they decided to commit suicide.

Front entrance into gas chamber in main camp

My 1998 photo of the front entrance into gas chamber in the Auschwitz I camp

My photograph above shows one of the entrances into the reconstructed Krema I gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp. This door was added by the Nazis in the fall of 1944 when the gas chamber was converted into an air raid shelter.

When I visited Auschwitz in 2005, this door was locked and the tourist entrance was through the original door on the other side of the building. In 1998, my tour guide and I entered through the metal door.

The gas chamber room at Auschwitz, which was actually a morgue for dead bodies, was designed to be used by the SS men for shelter in case of an air raid attack.

In my 2005 photo below, notice the peephole in the metal door. This peephole was for SS soldiers to look out to see if all was clear after a bombing raid. Anyone looking in, through this peephole, would only have seen the black wall behind the door.

Air raid shelter door has peephole to look out

My 2005 photo of the air raid shelter door

Wooden door inside gas chamber

My 2005 photo of wooden door into the gas chamber room

Robert Jan van Pelt & Deborah Dwork wrote in their book entitled “Auschwitz 1270 to the Present,” that the routine gassing of humans was inaugurated at the Auschwitz I camp on September 16, 1941 when 900 Soviet Prisoners of War were killed in the mortuary room of the crematorium which had just been converted into a gas chamber.

According to these two historians, shortly before that, the mortuary room had been put into service as an execution chamber where Polish political prisoners were shot because the Black Wall, formerly used for executions, proved to be too far away from the crematorium for an efficient system.

Sadly, the bullet holes, made by the shooting of the Polish prisoners, have been plastered over and can no longer be seen.

My photo of the washroom door, which opens into the gas chamber, is shown below. Note that there is a glass window in the door.

My photo of the washroom door into the gas chamber

My 1998 photo of the washroom door into the gas chamber

On my visit to the gas chamber in 1998, I asked my tour guide what kept the prisoners from breaking the door and letting in fresh air. She told me that an SS man was posted behind the door, ready to shoot anyone who tried to break the glass.

After Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss had been beaten half to death by his British captors, he described the 1941 gassing of the Soviet Prisoners of War in the following quote from his memoirs:

Begin quote

I have a clearer recollection of the gassing of 900 Russians that took place shortly afterwards in the old crematorium, since the use of block 11 for this purpose caused too much trouble. While the transport was detraining, holes were pierced in the earth and concrete ceiling of the mortuary. The Russians were ordered to undress in an anteroom; they then quietly entered the mortuary, for they had been told they were to be deloused. The whole transport exactly filled the mortuary to capacity. The doors were then sealed and the gas shaken down through the holes in the roof. I do not know how long this killing took. For a little while a humming sound could be heard. When the powder was thrown in, there were cries of “Gas!” then a great bellowing, and the trapped prisoners hurled themselves against both doors. But the doors held. They were opened several hours later so that the place might be aired.

End quote

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