Scrapbookpages Blog

April 23, 2018

The cure for Holocaust ignorance

Filed under: Auschwitz, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 11:14 am

The following quote is from this news article:

https://www.theglobalist.com/united-states-holocaust-ignorance-fascism/

Begin quote

More than 40% of Americans do not know that Auschwitz was a Nazi concentration camp. Over one-fifth of U.S. millennials have not or are not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust.

Findings of widespread ignorance of the Holocaust emerge from a new poll taken by Schoen Consulting and commissioned by the New York based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Almost half of U.S. adults (45%) and millennials (49%) cannot name one of the over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust.

The survey results coincide with the publication in the U.S. of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s new book, “Fascism: A Warning.”

She writes: “The 20th century was defined by the clash between democracy and Fascism, a struggle that created uncertainty about the survival of human freedom and left millions dead.”

End quote from news article

Don’t worry — I have seen the Auschwitz gas chamber on several trips to Poland and I can tell you all about it.

I wrote about the gas chamber on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz07.html

I also wrote about the Auschwitz gas chamber on this page of my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz08C.html

I happen to be one of the very few people in this world who has actually seen a real gas chamber — the one in Jefferson City, Missouri, which was only 25 miles from where I lived when I was a child.

To me, a gas chamber was no big deal. I thought that everyone knew how to identify a gas chamber — but I was wrong. The room that is called a gas chamber, in the Holocaust, is definitely not a gas chamber.

The photo above allegedly shows a gas chamber, but this is a morgue, not a gas chamber

April 21, 2018

The Holocaust: don’t know, don’t care

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 2:35 pm

Obviously, I do care about the Holocaust: I write about it on a daily basis.  In the title of my blog post, I am quoting from a news article, which you can read at https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/apr/21/people-dont-know-about-the-holocaust-they-dont-care

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

Last week, the rather striking results of a survey were published, which found that 41% of Americans and 66% of American millennials do not know what Auschwitz is. On the day the story came out, this particular American was feeling especially au fait with the Holocaust because I was visiting Auschwitz with my father. (Should any of you be looking for an effective if intense parent-child bonding trip, allow me to recommend an excursion to Auschwitz.) My grandmother escaped to America before the war, but the rest of her family were not so lucky. Most of her cousins were killed by the Nazis and her older brother, Jacques, was murdered in the camp in 1942, three months after he arrived there by train. His younger brother, Alex, managed to escape and walked to safety by following the tracks in the opposite direction. He died in 1999.

Our trip coincided with the March of the Living, a little covered annual event in which Jews from all around the world march between Auschwitz and Birkenau as part of Holocaust Memorial Day. Our hotel was filled with Israeli teenagers and elderly Americans; there were even Israeli flags outside Auschwitz, a sight that would have made my great-uncle Alex cry: the camp that killed his brother, in the country where his family were terrorised by pogroms for decades, now covered in the insignia of the Jewish homeland, a place he dreamed of as a Polish child.

So, after such an immersive day at the camps, that survey about the widespread ignorance of the Holocaust should have felt shocking. And in some ways it did. Yes, the Holocaust happened almost 80 years ago, but the most mainstream of movies, from Indiana Jones to Inglourious Basterds, have long used Nazis as a plot device, and there is, I believe, something called the internet. So if people don’t know about the Holocaust, it’s because they don’t really care. And in this regard, the survey felt utterly unsurprising, because we swim in self-serving ignorance about antisemitism these days.

The day I landed in Poland I saw a headline on my phone: “Ken Loach says Labour MPs who joined antisemitism protest should be ‘kicked out of Labour’,” it said, referring to the recent rally in Westminster at which hundreds of Jews protested against Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude towards antisemitism. Loach later said the reported quotes “do not fairly reflect what I said”. Yet he gave a TV interview last year in which, when asked about Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth’s claim that she had “really come up against antisemitism”, Loach dismissed such allegations as merely “mischief”. “The aim is to destabilise Jeremy’s leadership,” Loach said, apparently unaware that suggesting Jews make allegations about antisemitism for their political or personal benefit is, in fact, one of the oldest antisemitic tropes there is.

End quote from news article

I have a lot of information on my web site about Auschwitz:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/index.html

Start reading here if you want to learn about Auschwitz: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/journal.html

 

 

April 20, 2018

Remembering the Holocaust

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 12:42 pm

Recent news reports say that today’s young people don’t know much about the Holocaust and couldn’t care less.

The Memorial for murdered Jews of Europe is shown below

View of completed Memorial in Berlin

Photo Credit: Deutsche Welle

The 19,000 square-meter Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe, which was opened to the public on May 12, 2005, consists of 2711 stones placed on sloping, uneven ground in an undulating wave-like pattern, giving visitors the feeling of insecurity as though the stones were on unstable ground.

Visitors can enter from all four sides, day or night, and wander on their own through the maze of stones, as though visiting a graveyard with nameless tombstones.

The columns are sunk into the ground to various depths and at some places, they are higher than the heads of the visitors. There are no set paths or sign posts to guide viewers. The memorial was designed by architect Peter Eisenman to deliberately disorient visitors by having all the stones tilted slightly and paths that are not level.

Completed Memorial site covers five and a half acres

Photo Credit: Bonnie M. Harris

On the west side, a row of 41 trees stands next to the Tiergarten park on Ebertstrasse, as shown in the photo above, which was taken by Bonnie M. Harris in 2006.

The photo below, also taken by Bonnie M. Harris, shows the Potsdamer Platz, a business district and shopping center, in the background. The second photo below shows the same view of the south end of the Memorial site when it was under construction in June 2002.

View of Memorial Site with Potsdamer Platz in background Photo Credit: Bonnie M. Harris

My photo of the construction site of Jewish Holocaust memorial in Berlin, June 2002

The site of the Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Berlin was formally dedicated on January 27, 2000 in a “symbolic event” which could not be termed a ground-breaking ceremony because the project had not yet received approval from the German parliament. The 27th of January is Europe’s international day of mourning for the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.

The first dedication ceremony for the Memorial was held on November 15, 1993. Originally expected to be finished by January 27, 2004, the Memorial was dedicated on May 10, 2005 and opened to the public on May 12, 2005, exactly 60 years after Germany was liberated from the Nazis in World War II.

German citizens view a Sign at the corner of Ebertstrasse and Behrenstrasse, June 2002

The design for the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europes was approved on 25 June 1999 by the German parliament. The vote was 314 to 209 with 14 members abstaining. The project cost the German tax-payers 35.1 million euro. The 5.5 acre site covers an area the size of three soccer fields.

Before 1945, this location was part of the Ministry Gardens; it was adjacent to the large complex of buildings which included Hitler’s Chancellery. After the war, it was part of the “death strip” along the Berlin wall. The memorial covers an area very close to the underground bunker where Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945. There is no access to Hitler’s bunker which still exists underground.

On the first day that the memorial was open, disrespectful teenagers used it as a playground and the site was desecrated with a swastika, which was quickly removed. The architect of the Memorial, Peter Eisenman, said that he was not worried about the threat of graffiti as he thought this might even make the Memorial more interesting.

Photo Credit: Deutsche Welle

At the opening ceremony on May 10, 2005, Paul Spiegel, the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, sharply criticized the new Holocaust memorial, saying that it was too abstract and that it failed to confront the issue of German guilt. In his speech, Spiegel said that the Memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe honors the victims of Nazism, but the Memorial does not refer directly to the perpetrators.

According to Spiegel, viewers are not confronted with questions of guilt and responsibility. Spiegel complained that the Memorial leaves an “incomplete message” and merely shows the Jews “as a nation of victims poured into 2,711 concrete pillars.” Spiegel said that the Monument fails to ask the question “Why?”

Personal Perspective by Bonnie M. Harris

 

April 19, 2018

Ohrdruf – a sub-camp of Buchenwald

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — furtherglory @ 2:27 pm

Col. Hayden Sears poses with some Ohrdruf survivors, April 8, 1945

On April 4, 1945, American soldiers of the 4th Armored Division of General Patton’s US Third Army were moving through the area south of the city of Gotha in search of a secret Nazi communications center when they unexpectedly came across the ghastly scene of the abandoned Ohrdruf forced labor camp.

A few soldiers in the 354th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division of the US Third Army reached the abandoned camp that same day, after being alerted by prisoners, who had escaped from the march out of the camp, which had started on April 2nd. Prior to that, in September 1944, US troops had witnessed their first concentration camp: the abandoned Natzweiler camp in Alsace, which was then a part of the Greater German Reich, but is now in France.

Ohrdruf, also known as Ohrdruf-Nord, was the first Nazi prison camp to be discovered while it still had inmates living inside of it, although 9,000 prisoners had already been evacuated from Ohrdruf on April 2nd and marched 32 miles to the main camp at Buchenwald.

According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the camp had a population of 11,700 prisoners in late March, 1945 before the evacuation began.

The photograph at the top of this page, taken at Ohrdruf on April 8, 1945, shows survivors who had escaped during the evacuation of the camp, but came back after the American liberators arrived.

One of the American liberators who saw the Ohrdruf camp on April 4, 1945 was Bruce Nickols. He was on a patrol as a member of the I & R platoon attached to the Headquarters company of the 354th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division, Third US Army. According to Nickols, there were survivors in the barracks who had hidden when the SS massacred 60 to 70 prisoners on the roll call square before they left the camp on April 2nd.

The body of a dead SS soldier lay at the entrance to the camp, according to Nickols.

Dead prisoners at Ohrdruf forced labor camp

In the photo above, the prisoners have been partially covered by blankets because their pants had been pulled down, an indication that these men might have been killed by their fellow prisoners after the Germans had left.

The first Americans on the scene said that the blood was still wet. The liberators all agreed that these prisoners had been shot, although some witnesses said that they had been shot in the neck, while others said that they had been mowed down by machine gun fire.

The American soldiers were told by Ohrdruf survivors that these prisoners had been shot by the SS on April 2nd because they had run out of trucks for transporting sick prisoners out of the camp, but there were sick prisoners still inside the barracks when the Americans arrived.

Among the soldiers who helped to liberate Ohrdruf was Charles T. Payne, who is Senator Barak Obama’s great uncle, the brother of his maternal grandmother. Charles T. Payne was a member of Company K, 355th Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division.

According to an Associated Press story, published on June 4, 2009, Charles T. Payne’s unit arrived at the Ohrdruf camp on April 6, 1945.

The following is an excerpt from the Associated Press story:

“I remember the whole area before you got to the camp, the town and around the camp, was full of people who had been inmates,” Payne, 84, said in a telephone interview from his home in Chicago.

“The people were in terrible shape, dressed in rags, most of them emaciated, the effects of starvation. Practically skin and bones.”

When Payne’s unit arrived, the gates to the camp were open, the Nazis already gone.

“In the gate, in the very middle of the gate on the ground was a dead man whose head had been beaten in with a metal bar,” Payne recalled. The body was of a prisoner who had served as a guard under the Germans and been killed by other inmates that morning.

“A short distance inside the front gate was a place where almost a circle of people had been … killed and were lying on the ground, holding their tin cups, as if they had been expecting food and were instead killed,” he said. “You could see where the machine gun had been set up behind some bushes, but the Germans were all gone by that time.”

He said he only moved some 200-300 feet (60-100 meters) inside of the camp. But that was enough to capture images so horrible that Gen. George S. Patton Jr. ordered townspeople into Ohrdruf to see for themselves the crimes committed by their countrymen – an order that would repeated at Buchenwald, Dachau and other camps liberated by U.S. soldiers.

“In some sheds were stacks of bodies, stripped extremely – most of them looked like they had starved to death. They had sprinkled lime over them to keep the smell down and stacked them several high and the length of the room,” Payne said.

On April 11, 1945, just a week after the discovery of the Ohrdruf camp, American soldiers liberated the infamous Buchenwald main camp, which was to become synonymous with Nazi barbarity for a whole generation of Americans. Buchenwald is located 5 miles north of the city of Weimar, which is 20 miles to the east of Gotha, where General Dwight D. Eisenhower had set up his headquarters.

The Ohrdruf forced labor camp was a sub-camp of the huge Buchenwald camp. Ohrdruf had been opened in November 1944 when prisoners were brought from Buchenwald to work on the construction of a vast underground bunker to house a new Führer headquarters for Hitler and his henchmen. This location was in the vicinity of a secret Nazi communications center and it was also near an underground salt mine where the Nazis had stored their treasures.

A. C. Boyd was one of the soldiers in the 89th Infantry Division who witnessed the Ohrdruf “death camp.” In a recent news article, written by Jimmy Smothers, Boyd mentioned that he saw bodies of prisoners who had been gassed at Ohrdruf.

The following quote is from the news article in The Gadsden Times:

On April 7, 1945, the 89th Infantry Division received orders to move into the German town of Ohrdruf, which surrendered as the Americans arrived. A mile or so past this quaint village lay Stalag Nord Ohrdruf.

[…]

When regiments of the 89th Division got to the camp, the gates were open and the guards apparently all had gone, but the doors to the wooden barracks were closed. Lying on the ground in front were bodies of prisoners who recently had been shot.

“When I went into the camp I just happened to open the door to a small room,” recalled Boyd. “Inside, the Germans had stacked bodies very high. They had dumped some lime over them, hoping it would dissolve the bodies.

[…]

“I still have vivid memories of what I saw, but I try not to dwell on it,” Boyd continued. “We had been warned about what we might find, but actually seeing it was horrible. There were so many dead, and some so starved all they could do was gape open their mouths, feebly move their arms and murmur.

“There were ditches dug out in the compound and we could see torsos, lots of arms, severed legs, etc., sticking out. Many had been beaten to death, and bodies were still in the ‘beating shed’. Many had been led to the ‘showers,’ where they were pushed in, the doors locked and then gassed.”

One of the survivors of Ohrdruf was Rabbi Murray Kohn, who was then 16 years old. He was marched from Ohrdruf on April 2nd to the main camp at Buchenwald and then evacuated by train to Theresienstadt in what is now the Czech Republic.

The following quote is from a speech that Rabbi Kohn made on April 23, 1995 at Wichita, Kansas, at a gathering of the soldiers of the 89th Division for the 50ieth anniversary of the liberation of the camps:

It has been recorded that in Ohrdruf itself the last days were a slaughterhouse. We were shot at, beaten and molested. At every turn went on the destruction of the remaining inmates. Indiscriminant criminal behavior (like the murderers of Oklahoma City some days ago). Some days before the first Americans appeared at the gates of Ohrdruf, the last retreating Nazi guards managed to execute with hand pistols, literally emptying their last bullets on whomever they encountered leaving them bleeding to death as testified by an American of the 37th Tank Battalion Medical section, 10 a.m. April 4, 1945.

Today I’m privileged thanks to God and you gallant fighting men. I’m here to reminisce, and reflect, and experience instant recollections of those moments. Those horrible scenes and that special instance when an Allied soldier outstretched his arm to help me up became my re-entrance, my being re-invited into humanity and restoring my inalienable right to a dignified existence as a human being and as a Jew. Something, which was denied me from September 1939 to the day of liberation in 1945. I had no right to live and survived, out of 80 members of my family, the infernal ordeal of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Ohrdruf, and its satellite camp Crawinkel and finally Theresienstadt Ghetto-Concentration Camp.

I must tell you something about Crawinkel, just outside Ohrdruf. It was recently discovered after the reunification of east and West Germany that in nearby Crawinkel, the Nazis were preparing the Führerbunker, the final headquarters of Hitler from where he planned to strike a deal with the Americans to join in fighting the Red Army. We worked around the clock, the project was known as the Olga Project. We were excavating inside the hills a bunker. Ten thousand people died there and it was completed with rivers of blood right down to the cutlery to embellish Hitler’s table.

When in Auschwitz my eyes witnessed the gassed transports of Jews at the Birkenau Crematories. My own eyes have witnessed Buchenwald terror and planned starvation. My body was decimated, starved and thrashed to the point of no return in Ohrdruf for stealing a piece of a potato, and my flickering life was daily, and hourly on the brink of being snuffed out from starvation or being clubbed for no reason or literally being pushed off a steep cliff over a yawning ravine at Crawinkel.

[….]

The war was intrinsically a war against the shallowness of a civilization which had evidently so little moral depth, a nation which can acquiesce in such a short time to the demagoguery of a “corporal” and accept the manifesto of racial superiority, entitled to destroy their supposed inferior enemies, as a moral right. World War II was by far not a testing ground of arms or strategic skills and sophistication, but A MORAL WAR, which declared that human rights, freedom and the equality of all men and women are the highest divine commandment, the supreme commandment to deny the Nazi racists and their cohorts any victory. My friends, many of your comrades (a half million Americans lost their lives to declare eternal war against inhumanity). Six million innocent Jews, five million Christians and some 27 million plus, lost their lives to secure finally that humanity is never to rest until crimes against humans have been eradicated.

The American military knew about the Nazi forced labor camps and concentration camps because Allied planes had done aerial photographs of numerous factories near the camps in both Germany and Poland, and many of these camps, including Buchenwald, had been bombed, killing thousands of innocent prisoners. In fact, General George S. Patton bragged in his autobiography about the precision bombing of a munitions factory near the Buchenwald concentration camp on August 24, 1944 which he erroneously claimed had not damaged the nearby camp. Not only was the camp hit by the bombs, there were 400 prisoners who were killed, along with 350 Germans.

On Easter weekend in April 1945, the 90th Infantry Division overran the little town of Merkers, which was near the Ohrdruf camp, and captured the Kaiseroda salt mine.

Hidden deep inside the salt mine was virtually the entire gold and currency reserves of the German Reichsbank, together with all of the priceless art treasures which had been removed from Berlin’s museums for protection against Allied bombing raids and possible capture by the Allied armies.

According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum web site, the soldiers also found important documents that were introduced at the Nuremberg IMT as evidence of the Holocaust.

All of America’s top military leaders in Europe, including Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton, visited the mine and viewed the treasure.

The photo below shows General Dwight D. Eisenhower as he examines some paintings stored inside the Kaiseroda salt mine, which he visited on April 12, 1945, along with General Omar Bradley, General George S. Patton, and other high-ranking American Army officers before going to see the Ohrdruf camp. The Nazis had hidden valuable paintings and 250 million dollars worth of gold bars inside the salt mine.

General Eisenhower on visit to salt mine near Ohrdruf

 

Dwight D. Eisenhower examines treasure in salt mine

The soldier on the far left is Benjamin B. Ferencz. In the center is General Eisenhower and behind him, wearing a helmet with four stars is General Omar Bradley.

In 1945, Ferencz was transferred from General Patton’s army to the newly created War Crimes Branch of the U.S. Army, where his job was to gather evidence for future trials of German war criminals. A Jew from Transylvania, Ferencz had moved with his family to America at the age of 10 months.

General Patton, left, and General Bradley, center, 12 April 1945

On the same day that the Generals visited the salt mine, they made a side trip to the Ohrdruf forced labor camp after lunch. The photo above was taken at Ohrdruf. Except for General Patton, who visited Buchenwald on April 15, 1945, none of the top American Army Generals ever visited another forced labor camp, nor any of the concentration camps.

One of the first Americans to see Ohrdruf, a few days before the Generals arrived, was Captain Alois Liethen from Appleton, WI.

Liethen was an interpreter and an interrogator in the XX Corp, G-2 Section of the US Third Army. On 13 April 1945, he wrote a letter home to his family about this important discovery at Ohrdruf.

Although Buchenwald was more important and had more evidence of Nazi atrocities, it was due to the information uncovered by Captain Liethen that the generals visited Ohrdruf instead.

The following is a quote from his letter, in which Captain Alois Liethen explains how the visit by the generals, shown in the photo above, came about:

Several days ago I heard about the American forces taking a real honest to goodness concentration camp and I made it a point to get there and see the thing first hand as well as to investigate the thing and get the real story just as I did in the case of the Prisoner of War camp which I described in my last letter. This camp was near the little city of OHRDRUF not far from GOTHA, and tho it was just a small place — about 7 to 10000 inmates it was considered as one of the better types of such camps. After looking the place over for nearly a whole day I came back and made an oral report to my commanding general — rather I was ordered to do so by my boss, the Col. in my section. Then after I had told him all about the place he got in touch with the High Command and told them about it and the following tale bears out what they did about it.

The photograph below was contributed by Mary Liethen Meier, the niece of Captain Liethen. The man standing next to General Eisenhower, and pointing to the prisoner demonstrating how the inmates were punished at Ohrdruf, is Alois Liethen, her uncle. Left to right, the men in the front row are Lt. General George S. Patton, Third U.S. Army Commander; General Omar N. Bradley, Twelfth Army group commander; and General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander.

The photo below was published in an American newspaper above a headline which read: U.S. GENERALS SEE A “TORTURE” DEMONSTRATION

Generals watch a demonstration of the whipping block

In the photo above, an ordinary wooden table is being used to demonstrate punishment on a whipping block. By order of Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, whipping prisoners on a wooden block was discontinued in 1942, so no whipping block was found at Ohrdruf.

The first photo below shows another demonstration at Ohrdruf on a reconstructed wooden whipping block. The second photo below shows the whipping block that was found at Natzweiler by Americans in September 1944.

Ohrdruf survivors demonstrate the whipping block

Whipping block used at Natzweiler

All punishments in the concentration camps had to be approved by the head office in Oranienburg.

Rudolf Hoess became a member of the staff after he was removed as the Commandant of Auschwitz at the end of December 1943.

According to the testimony of Rudolf Hoess on April 15, 1946 at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, this punishment was rarely used and it was discontinued in 1942 because Heinrich Himmler, the head of the concentration camp system, had forbidden the SS guards to strike the prisoners.

Some of the prisoners at Ohrdruf, who had previously been at the Buchenwald main camp for a number of years, were familiar with this punishment device and were able to reconstruct it.

Captain Liethen’s letter, dated 13 April 1945, continues as follows:

Yesterday I had the honor of being the interpreter for such honorable gentlemen as Gen EISENHOWER, Gen BRADLEY, Gen PATTON and several lesser general officers, all in all there were 21 stars present, Eisenhower with 5, Bradley with 4, Patton 3, my own commanding general with 2 and there were several others of this grade as well as several one star generals. Since I had made the investigation with some of the men who had escaped from the place the day that we captured it I was more or less the conductor of the tour for this famous party. There were batteries of cameras that took pictures of us as we went about the whole place and as I made several demonstrations for them — hell I felt like Garbo getting of (sic) a train in Chicago.

Now about this concentration camp. It was evacuated by the germans when things got too hot for them, this was on the night of April 2. All the healthy ones were marched away in the night, and those who were sick were loaded into trucks and wagons, and then when there was no more transportation available the remainder — about 35 were shot as they lay here waiting for something to come to take them away. Too, in another building there were about 40 dead ones which they did not have the time to bury in their hasty departure.

One of the survivors of Ohrdruf was Andrew Rosner, a Jewish prisoner who had escaped from the march out of the camp and was rescued by soldiers of the 89th Division in the town of Ohrdruf.

The following is a quote from Andrew Rosner on the occasion of a 50ieth anniversary celebration of the liberation of the camp, held on 23 April 1995 at Wichita, Kansas:

At the age of 23, I was barely alive as we began the death march eastward. All around me, I heard the sound of thunder – really the sound of heavy artillery and machinery. I looked for any opportunity to drop out of the march. But, any man who fell behind or to the side was shot instantly by the Nazis. So, I marched on in my delirium and as night fell, I threw myself off into the side of the road and into a clump of trees. I lay there — waiting — and waiting — and suddenly nothing! No more Nazis shouting orders. No more marching feet. No more people. Alone. All alone and alive — although barely.

I moved farther into the woods when I realized I was not really left behind. I slept for awhile as the darkness of night shielded me from the eyes of men. But, as the light of dawn broke, I heard shooting all around me. I played dead as men ran over me, stumbling over me as they went. I lay there as bullets passed by me and Nazis fell all around me. Then all was quiet. The battle was over. I waited for hours before I dared to move. I got up and saw dead German soldiers laying everywhere. I made my way back toward the road and started walking in the direction of a small village, which I could see in the distance. As I approached the village two Germans appeared. One raised his gun toward me and asked what I was doing there. I told him I was lost from the evacuation march. He told me that I must have escaped and I knew he was about to shoot me when the other German told him to let me be. It would not serve them well to harm me now. They allowed me to walk away and as I did, I said a final prayer knowing that a bullet in the back would now find me for sure. It never did!

In the small village I was told to go farther down the road to the town of Ohrdruf from where I had come three days before. There, I would find the Americans. And so I did.

As I entered the outskirts of the town of Ohrdruf two American soldiers met me and escorted me into town. I was immediately surrounded by Americans and as their officers questioned where I had been and what had happened to me, GIs were showering me with food and chocolate and other treats that I had not known for almost five years.

You were all so kind and so compassionate. But, my years in the camps, my weakened state of health, the forced death march, and my escape to freedom was more than a human body could bear any longer and I collapsed into the arms of you, my rescuing angels.

End quote

When the generals and their entourage toured the Ohrdruf-Nord camp on April 12th, the dead bodies on the roll-call square had been left outside to decompose in the sun and the rain for more than a week. The stench of the rotting corpses had now reached the point that General Patton, a battle-hardened veteran of 40 years of warfare, the leader of the American Third Army which had won the bloody Battle of the Bulge, and an experienced soldier who had seen the atrocities of two World Wars, threw up his lunch behind one of the barracks.

The photo below shows the naked bodies of prisoners in a shed at Ohrdruf where their bodies had been layered with lime to keep down the smell.

Corpses sprinkled with lime in shed at Ohrdruf-Nord


General Eisenhower was not as easily sickened by the smell of the dead bodies. Although he didn’t mention the name Ohrdruf in his book entitled “Crusade in Europe,” Eisenhower wrote the following about the Ohrdruf camp:

I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that ‘the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.’ Some members of the visiting party were unable to go through with the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton’s headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt.

General Patton wrote in his memoirs that he learned from the surviving inmates that 3,000 prisoners had died in the camp since January 1, 1945. A few dozen bodies on a pyre, constructed out of railroad tracks, had recently been burned and their gruesome remains were still on display.

End quote

According to General Patton, the bodies had been buried, but were later dug up and burned because “the Germans thought it expedient to remove the evidence of their crimes.” But after all that effort to cover up their crimes, the SS guards had allegedly shot sick prisoners when they ran short of transportation to move them out of the camp, and had left the bodies as evidence.

The first news reel film about alleged German war-time atrocities, that was shown in American movie theaters, referred to the Ohrdruf labor camp as a “murder mill.” Burned corpses were shown as the narrator of the film asked rhetorically “How many were burned alive?” The narrator described “the murder shed” at Ohrdruf where prisoners were “slain in cold blood.” Lest anyone should be inclined to assume that this news reel was sheer propaganda, the narrator prophetically intoned: “For the first time, America can believe what they thought was impossible propaganda. This is documentary evidence of sheer mass murder – murder that will blacken the name of Germany for the rest of recorded history.”

The documentary film about all the camps, directed by famed Hollywood director George Stevens, which was shown on November 29, 1945 at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, claimed that the Germans “starved, clubbed, and burned to death more than 4,000 political prisoners over a period of 8 months” at Ohrdruf-Nord. These atrocities allegedly took place while the Nazis were desperately trying to finish building a secret underground hideout for Hitler who was holed up in Berlin.

Ohrdruf-Nord survivor shows shallow grave to the Generals

In the photo above, the soldier on the far right, holding a notepad in his hand, is Benjamin B. Ferencz, who was at Ohrdruf to gather evidence of Nazi atrocities for future war crimes trials.

Five years after seeing the Ohrdruf camp, General Bradley recalled that “The smell of death overwhelmed us even before we passed through the stockade. More than 3,200 naked, emaciated bodies had been flung into shallow graves. Others lay in the streets where they had fallen. Lice crawled over the yellowed skin of their sharp, bony frames.” The presence of lice in the camp indicates that there was probably an epidemic of typhus, which is spread by lice.

In his letter to his family, written 13 April 1945, Alois Liethen wrote the following regarding the burial pit:

Then, about 2 kilometers from the enclosure was the ‘pit’ where the germans had buried 3200 since December when this camp opened. About 3 weeks ago the commandant of the camp was ordered to destroy all of the evidence of the mass killings in this place and he sent several hundred of these inmates out on the detail to exhume these bodies and have them burned. However, there wasn’t time enough to burn all of the 3200 and only 1606 were actually burned and the balance were still buried under a light film of dirt. I know that all of this may seem gruesome to you, it was to me too, and some of you may think that I may have become warped of mind in hatred, well, every single thing that I stated here and to the generals yesterday are carefully recorded in 16 pictures which I took with my camera at the place itself.

Both General George S. Patton and General Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to the Ohrdruf-Nord camp as a “horror camp” in their wartime memoirs.

Eisenhower wrote the following in his book, “Crusade in Europe” about April 12, 1945, the day he visited the salt mines that held the Nazi treasures:

The same day, I saw my first horror camp. It was near the town of Gotha. I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain, however that I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.

Eisenhower did not take the time to visit the main camp at Buchenwald, which was in the immediate area and had been discovered by the American army just the day before.

The Ohrdruf camp did not have a crematorium to burn the bodies. Instead, the bodies were at first taken to Buchenwald for burning, but as the death rate climbed, the bodies were buried about a mile from the camp. During the last days before the camp was liberated, bodies were being burned on a pyre made from railroad tracks. The rails were readily available because the underground bunker that was being built by the Ohrdruf prisoners featured a railroad where a whole train could be hidden underground.

In the photo below, the man on the far right wearing a dark jacket is a Dutch survivor of the camp who served as a guide for the American generals on their visit.

The second man from the right, in the photo below, is Captain Alois Liethen, who is interpreting for General Bradley to his left and General Eisenhower in the center of the photo. The man to the left of General Eisenhower is Benjamin B. Ferencz, who is taking notes. On the far left is one of the survivors of Ohrdruf.

Gen. Eisenhower views burned bodies, April 12, 1945

On the same day that the Generals visited Ohrdruf, a group of citizens from the town of Ohrdruf and a captured German Army officer were being forced to take the tour. Colonel Charles Codman, an aide to General Patton, wrote to his wife about an incident that happened that day. A young soldier had accidentally bumped into the captured German officer and had laughed nervously.

“General Eisenhower fixed him with a cold eye,” Codman wrote “and when he spoke, each word was like the drop off an icicle. ‘Still having trouble hating them?’ he said.” General Eisenhower had no trouble hating the Germans, as he would demonstrate when he set up a POW camp in Gotha a few weeks later.

After his visit to the salt mines and the Ohrdruf camp on April 12, 1945, General Eisenhower wrote the following in a cable on April 15th to General George C. Marshall, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC; this quote is prominently displayed by the U.S. Holocaust Museum:

. . .the most interesting–although horrible–sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to “propaganda.”

Ironically, General Eisenhower’s words about “propaganda,” turned out to be prophetic: only a few years later, Paul Rassinier, who was a French resistance fighter imprisoned at the Buchenwald main camp, wrote the first Holocaust denial book, entitled Debunking the Genocide Myth, in which he refuted the claim by the French government at the 1946 Nuremberg trial that there were gas chambers in Buchenwald.

Note that General Eisenhower referred to Ohrdruf as an “internment camp,” which was what Americans called the camps where Japanese-Americans, German-Americans and Italian-Americans were held without charges during World War II. Ohrdruf was undoubtedly the first, and only, “internment camp” that General Eisenhower ever saw.

Why was Captain Alois Liethen investigating this small, obscure forced labor camp long before he arrived in Germany? Why did all the US Army generals visit this small camp and no other? Could it be because there was something else of great interest in the Ohrdruf area besides the Führer bunker and the salt mine where Nazi treasures were stored?

The Buchenwald camp had been liberated the day before the visit to the Ohrdruf camp. At Buchenwald, there were shrunken heads, human skin lampshades and ashtrays made from human bones. At Ohrdruf, there was nothing to see except a shed filled with 40 bodies. So why did Captain Alois Liethen take the four generals to Ohrdruf instead of Buchenwald?

What was Captain Liethen referring to when he wrote these words in a letter to his family?

After looking the place over for nearly a whole day I came back and made an oral report to my commanding general — rather I was ordered to do so by my boss, the Col. in my section. Then after I had told him all about the place he got in touch with the High Command and told them about it and the following tale bears out what they did about it.

There has been some speculation that the Germans might have tested an atomic bomb near Ohrdruf. In his book entitled “The SS Brotherhood of the Bell,” author James P. Farrell wrote about “the alleged German test of a small critical mass, high yield atom bomb at or near the Ohrdruf troop parade ground on March 4, 1945.” The “troop parade ground” was at the German Army Base right next to the Ohrdruf labor camp.

Why did General Eisenhower immediately order a propaganda campaign about Nazi atrocities? Was it to distract the media from discovering a far more important story? The first news reel about the Nazi camps called Ohrdruf a “murder mill.”

News reel film calls Ohrdruf a “murder mill”

Ohrdruf, Continued

Buchenwald main camp

 

It all started with the Warsaw Ghetto upsising

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 11:53 am

I have been reading in the news recently that young people today don’t know anything about the Holocaust.

Where to start? In my opinion, young people should start their Holocaust education by studying the story of the Warsaw ghetto.

I have a section about this on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/WarsawGhetto/index.html

You can read about the Warsaw ghetto heroes on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/WarsawGhetto/WarsawGhetto02.html

 

April 18, 2018

“genocide education including the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide during grades 8-12.”

Filed under: Holocaust, Language — furtherglory @ 3:30 pm

Remember the expression “throw Mama from the train a kiss”?

This expression was used for years to teach children in America how to speak English correctly. The above expression should be “throw a kiss from the train to Mama”.

Now read this recent news article: http://michiganradio.org/post/world-war-ii-generation-wanes-holocaust-education-grows-importance

The following quote is from the article:

He’s hopeful, though, that the next generation in Michigan will demonstrate a better understanding. In 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill at the Holocaust Museum that requires genocide education including the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide during grades 8-12.”

The above quote should read “Rick Snyder signed a bill that requires genocide education, including education  about the Armenian genocide, for students during grades 8 to 12.”

April 17, 2018

Holocaust Knowledge and Awaremess Study

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 3:28 pm

I am writing about a new study entitled

2018 Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study

The following quote is from the article above:

Begin quote

Last week, we observed Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, to commemorate the approximately six million Jews who lost their lives in The Holocaust.

End quote

I thought that the latest number of Jews who lost their lives is 1.1 million. Since when have we gone back to the six million figure?

The article ends with the following quote:

Begin quote

Broadly, Holocaust awareness in the United States is high. According to our findings, nearly 9 in 10 US adults, or 89 percent, know what The Holocaust is.

End quote

Goody, goody — 9 out of 10 adults in America know what the Holocaust is!

What about the other 10 percent? Are they mentally ill or retarded or what?

The article continues with this quote:

Begin quote

As time passes and The Holocaust becomes a more distant point in history, it is vital that we remain not just aware of The Holocaust, but also ensure that future generations are educated about the important details of one of the most horrific mass genocides in world history.

While prior research exists on baseline Holocaust awareness and denial in the United States, there had been no published study to date that assessed what attitudes that Americans have towards the current state of Holocaust education in the United States, or what detailed knowledge American adults have about The Holocaust.

To better understand the state of Holocaust education and knowledge in the United States, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, a group that negotiates for grants from the German government to protect survivors and support Holocaust education, commissioned my firm, Schoen Consulting, to conduct the first comprehensive study of Holocaust awareness, knowledge, and education in the United States.

End quote

It’s about time that someone is looking after the Holocaust story. I am doing my part — how about you, dear reader?

April 16, 2018

Whatever happened to the Nazi gas chambers?

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 2:38 pm

A new generation of young people is now studying the Holocaust. Many people in this generation do not know, nor care, about Auschwitz, which is the main place where the Holocaust happened.

You can see photos of the Auschwitz gas chambers on the Internet.  The following quote is from another website:

http://www.deathcamps.org/gas_chambers/gas_chambers_auschwitz.html

Begin quote

Already mentioned, Bunker 2 was reactivated for the “Hungarian Jews Action”, and finally demolished.
Crematory IV was set on fire by its Sonderkommando during the uprising on 7 October 1944, and thereafter was no longer use able. Crematories II and III were blown up by the SS on 20 January 1945.
Crematory V was blown up as the last one 26 January 1945, just before the liberation of Auschwitz.

End quote

You can see my photos of the Auschwitz gas chamber at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz08.html

 

 

April 14, 2018

James Comey’s new tell-all book

Filed under: Trump — furtherglory @ 4:20 pm

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/383114-comey-trump-feud-takes-vicious-turn

Begin quote from news article:

In the book, [Former FBI director James] Comey expresses regret for his explanation of the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server for government business. Clinton and her aides have argued Comey’s decision to revive the probe days before the election contributed to her loss.

“I’m sorry that I couldn’t do a better job explaining to her [Hillary Clinton] and her supporters why I made the decisions I made,” he writes.

He also says his handling of the Clinton investigation was likely affected by his expectation that she would win the White House.

End quote

The news article continues with this quote:

Begin quote

The new book has reignited the feud between Comey and Trump that has raged for more than a year, since Comey first confirmed the existence of the investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

Trump has gone on offense, labeling Comey an “untruthful slimeball” and a “leaker” deserving of prosecution.

Republicans, meanwhile, are mounting an all-out campaign against the former FBI director, attacking his credibility.

End quote

In my humble opinion, I believe that Hillary won the election. I went to bed on the night of the election, thinking that she had won, only to learn the next morning that Trump had somehow won.

 

Two thirds of millenials don’t know what Auschwitz is

Filed under: Auschwitz, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 1:00 pm

According to this news article, we are forgetting about the Holocaust: https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/04/the-nyt-says-were-forgetting-about-the-holocaust-but-history-suggests-otherwise.html

Begin quote

We’re forgetting about the Holocaust. Or so argues a survey by the Claims Conference, released Thursday and written up in the New York Times under the desolate headline “Holocaust Is Fading From Memory, Survey Finds.” Among the startling statistics: 11 percent of all U.S. adults, and 22 percent of millennials, are “unaware” or “not sure” of the Holocaust. And 31 percent of adults (and 41 percent of millennials) think that 2 million Jews, or fewer, had been killed. (The real number is 6 million.) Also, 41 percent of adults couldn’t identify Auschwitz as a concentration camp, a death/extermination camp, or a forced-labor camp.

The Claims Conference’s survey, and the Times’ write-up, presumes that our knowledge gaps are getting worse and will only become more dire as we move forward in time. The emphasis on millennials’ relative ignorance drives this point home. Because things today feel worse (see: creeping ambient fascism and anti-Semitism), this conclusion seems to make a kind of dark, intuitive sense. But how did people’s knowledge of the Holocaust in years past compare to our bad showing in 2018? And are we really, as the Times’ coverage implies, less committed to remembering the genocide than we were in years past, when we had more survivors on hand to testify to what they saw?

End quote

I have a whole section on my website about Auschwitz:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/index.html

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