Scrapbookpages Blog

March 30, 2018

Do piles of clothing in the Nazi concentration camps prove that Jews were killed?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 12:51 pm

On May 5, 1945, Dutch resistance fighter Pim Boellaard was interviewed about his ordeal during his three years of captivity in a German concentration camp. As a resistance fighter, who continued to fight after the surrender of the Netherlands, he did not have the same protection as a POW under the Geneva Convention of 1929.

He was one of 60 Dutch “Nacht und Nebel” prisoners who were transferred from the Natzweiler concentration camp to the Dachau camp in September 1944. Boellaard was a member of the International Committee of Dachau, representing approximately 500 Dutch prisoners at Dachau.

In the Dachau camp, there were piles of clothing waiting to be deloused in the four disinfection chambers at the south end of the crematorium building. The photo below, which is stored in the National Archives in Washington, DC, was printed in newspapers in 1945 with this caption:

Tattered clothes from prisoners who were forced to strip before they were killed, lay in huge piles in the infamous Dachau concentration camp.

Piles of clothing waiting to be deloused.

There was a typhus epidemic raging in the Dachau camp and 900 prisoners were dying of the disease when the liberators arrived, according to the account of Marcus J. Smith. Smith was an Army doctor, who along with 9 others, formed Displaced Persons Team 115, which was sent to Dachau after the liberation of the camp.

In his book entitled “Dachau: The Harrowing of Hell,” Smith wrote that eleven of the barracks buildings at the Dachau camp had been converted into a hospital to house the 4,205 sick prisoners. Another 3,866 prisoners were bed ridden.

Smith put the total number of survivors at around 32,600, but said that between 100 and 200 a day were still dying after the camp was liberated. He mentioned that the American Army tried to keep the freed prisoners in the camp to prevent the typhus epidemic from spreading throughout the country. Typhus is spread by lice, and the clothing was being deloused in an attempt to stop the epidemic.

The 116th Evacuation Hospital arrived at Dachau on the 2nd of May, 1945 to take care of the typhus victims.

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