Scrapbookpages Blog

November 6, 2017

A Holocaust survivor who is still alive describes what it was like in the camps

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — furtherglory @ 1:35 pm

The following description was given by Eduard Kornfeld, a Holocaust survivor, who is still alive and well. You can read his story in full at

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a37kbk/portraits-of-europes-remaining-holocaust-survivors

Begin quote from the website above:

Eduard Kornfeld was born in 1929 near Bratislava, Slovakia. He was taken to Auschwitz and several other concentration camps. On April 29, 1945, he was freed by American troops from the Dachau camp in Germany, weighing only 60 pounds at the time. His mother Rosa, his father Simon and his siblings Hilda, Josef, Alexander, and Rachel were all murdered in the camps. Kornfeld arrived in Switzerland in 1949 and was nursed in Davos, Switzerland for four years as he recovered from severe tuberculosis. Later, he trained to become a gemstone setter in Zurich. He has two sons, a daughter, and seven grandchildren.

End quote

The following quote is the words of Eduard Kornfeld:

“We were deported in a cattle car, the journey took three days. When the train suddenly stopped, I heard someone shouting outside in German, ‘Get out!’ I looked out of the carriage and saw Nazi officers beating people they thought were moving too slowly. A mother wasn’t moving quick enough because she was trying to take care of her child, so the officers took her infant and threw him in the same truck they put the old and sick in. Those people were sent to be gassed immediately.”

End quote

My photo of a Nazi gas chamber at Auschwitz

How does Eduard Kornfeld know that the people on the truck were “gassed immediately”? Was there a sign that said “This way to the gas chamber”?

Did the Nazi officer say: “Listen up, you stupid Jews. We are taking these people to the gas chamber, but we are allowing you to live, so that there will be Jews who can tell the story in future years.”

I lived in Germany for 20 months after World War II, and I met many German men. I was amazed at how nice they were. The German men were very polite and charming. I assume that they were also polite and charming as they led the Jews to the gas chamber.

 

The story of Oradour-sur-Glane from the SS point of view

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — furtherglory @ 11:20 am

There are two sides to every story, including the story of Oradour-sur-Glane.

I have a section on my website about Oradour-sur-Glane, including a section about the story from the SS soldier’s point of view.

You can read about Oradour-sur-Glane, from the SS point of view, on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Oradour-sur-Glane/Story/SSversion01.html

My version of the story starts with this quote:

Begin quote

The SS justification for the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre centers on their claim that the destruction of the village was a reprisal, which was legal under international law up until the Geneva Convention of 1949.

Reprisal does not mean revenge. It is a legal term defined in international humanitarian law. It means that an Army has the right, during war time, to respond in kind when guerrilla fighters violate international law, and there is no other way to stop them from continuing their illegal activity except by a reprisal action.

The SS did not follow every attack by the French resistance with a reprisal. Most of the time, the guerrillas were captured and sent to concentration camps such as Natzweiler-Struthof, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Dachau.

This reprisal action was taken because the SS believed that the Oradour-sur-Glane villagers were heavily involved with the Maquis, a French Resistance group; they claimed to have discovered that almost every house in Oradour was filled with weapons and ammunition.

End quote

You can read about every aspect of the Oradour-sur-Glane story on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Oradour-sur-Glane/Story/index.html

 

Bergen-Belsen — the camp where Anne Frank died

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — furtherglory @ 10:52 am

Famous photo of a British soldier shoving bodies into a mass grave at Bergen-Belsen

Bergen-Belsen was the name of an infamous Nazi camp which has become a symbol of the Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews in Europe more than sixty years ago.

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. In December 1944, Bergen-Belsen became a concentration camp under the command of Joseph Kramer.

On April 15, 1945, the Bergen-Belsen camp was surrendered to British Officer Derrick Sington, who wrote about it in a small book called “Belsen Uncovered” which was published by Duckworth, London in 1946.

In the last days of the war, Hitler’s second in command, Reichsf├╝hrer-SS Heinrich Himmler, had been plotting behind Hitler’s back in an attempt to negotiate a peace with America and Great Britain, with the aim of forming an alliance to fight against the Communists.

Himmler knew that half of Germany and all of Eastern Europe, with a population of 120 million people, had been promised to the Communists by American president Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Yalta Conference. As the leader who was in charge of all the concentration camps (his rank in the SS was equivalent to a 5-star General in the US Army), Himmler planned to use the Jewish prisoners as bargaining chips in his negotiations with the non-Communist Allies.

Himmler was determined to do all he could to hamper the inevitable take-over of Europe by the Communists. To this end, beginning on April 5, 1945, he ordered the execution of Communist leaders being held at the three main concentration camps in Germany: Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald.

Before surrendering the Bergen-Belsen camp to the British on April 15, 1945, Himmler ordered about 7,000 people to be evacuated from the camp. The three train loads of prisoners, which left the camp between April 6 and April 11, were made up of prominent Dutch Jews, Hungarian Jews, Jewish prisoners from neutral countries and Jewish prisoners who held foreign passports. Himmler was hoping to use these prisoners to negotiate with the Allies. The rest of the prisoners at Bergen-Belsen were to be voluntarily turned over to the British.

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 L├╝neberg 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.

By April 1945, the war in Europe was very definitely over. All that was needed now was a formal surrender signed by Adolf Hitler. Hitler was a broken man: his dream of uniting the German folk into a Thousand Year Reich was gone, his health was ruined by Parkinson’s disease and for the past several years, his mental capacity had been increasingly failing. He was holed up in an underground bunker beneath his Chancellery in Berlin, still moving his armies around on a map and unwilling to admit defeat.

The Nazis has gotten their start in 1919, fighting against the Communists in the streets of Berlin; it was now 26 years later and Hitler was not ready to surrender his beloved Fatherland to the Communist Soviet Union and its American and British Allies. He would rather see Germany completely annihilated, and in the last days of the war, he ordered his best friend, Albert Speer, the chief of Nazi war production, to destroy what was left of Germany after Allied bombs had reduced every major city to rubble. Speer ignored the order.

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