Scrapbookpages Blog

April 21, 2018

The Holocaust: don’t know, don’t care

Filed under: Holocaust, Germany, Auschwitz — 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 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

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

April 13, 2018

The gassing of the Hungarian Jews…

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 12:15 pm

This blog post is about the deportation and gassing of Hungarian Jews.

Hungarian Jews arrived at Auschwitz May 26,1944

It was not until May 1944, when the Hungarian Jews were deported, that the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp became the site of the largest mass murder in modern history and the epicenter of the Final Solution.

In 1942, there were 2.7 million Jews murdered by the Nazis, including 1.6 million at the Operation Reinhard camps, but only 200,000 Jews were gassed at Auschwitz that year in two old converted farm houses. This information is from the book “Auschwitz, a New History” by Laurence Rees, published in 2005.

Almost one half of all the Jews that were killed at Auschwitz were Hungarian Jews who were gassed within a period of 10 weeks in 1944. Up until the Spring of 1944, it had been the three Operation Reinhard camps at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor, that were the main Nazi killing centers for the Jews, not Auschwitz.

The order to round up the Hungarian Jews and confine them in ghettos was signed by Lazlo Baky of the Royal Hungarian government on April 7, 1944. Jews in Hungary had been persecuted since 1092 when Jews were forbidden to marry Christians.

The deportation of the Hungarian Jews began on April 29, 1944 when a train load of Jews were sent to Auschwitz- Birkenau on the orders of Adolf Eichmann, according to the book by Laurence Rees.

According to The Holocaust Chronicle, a huge book published in 2002 by Louis Weber, the CEO of Publications International, Ltd., another train filled with Hungarian Jews left for Birkeanu on April 30, 1944; the two trains with a total of 3,800 Jews reached Birkenau on May 2, 1944. There were 486 men and 616 women selected to work; the remaining 2,698 Jews were allegedly gassed upon arrival.

On May 8, 1944, former Commandant Rudolf Höss (Hoess) was brought back to Auschwitz-Birkenau to supervise the further deportation of the Hungarian Jews. The next day, Höss ordered the train tracks to be extended inside the Birkenau camp so that the Hungarian Jews could be brought as close as possible to the gas chambers.

According to Laurence Rees, in his book “Auschwitz, a New History,” the first mass transport of Hungarian Jews left on May 15, 1944 and arrived at Birkenau on May 16, 1944. The mass transports consisted of 3,000 or more prisoners on each train.

In October 1940, Hungary had become allies with the Axis powers by joining the Tripartite Pact. Part of the deal was that Hungary would be allowed to take back northern Transylvania, a province that had been given to Romania after World War I. Hungarian soldiers participated in the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

On April 17, 1943, after Bulgaria, another ally of Germany, had refused to permit their Jews to be deported, Hitler met with Admiral Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian leader, in Salzburg and tried to persuade him to allow the Hungarian Jews to be “resettled” in Poland, according to Martin Gilbert in his book entitled “Never Again.” Admiral Horthy rejected Hitler’s plea and refused to deport the Hungarian Jews.

From the beginning of the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis in 1933, until March 1944, Hungary was a relatively safe haven for the Jews and many Jews from Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland sought refuge within its borders. However, in 1938, Hungary had enacted laws similar to the laws in Nazi Germany, which discriminated against the Jews.

On September 3, 1943, Italy signed an armistice with the Allies and turned against Germany, their former ally. Horthy hoped to negotiate a similar deal with the Western allies to stop a Soviet invasion of Hungary.

“Sonderkommando Eichmann,” a special group of SS soldiers under the command of Adolf Eichmann, was activated on March 10, 1944 for the purpose of deporting the Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz; the personnel in this Special Action Commando was assembled at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and then sent to Hungary on March 19, 1944 during the celebration of Purim, a Jewish holiday.

 

Hungarian Jews walking to the gas chamber

On March 18, 1944, Hitler had a second meeting with Horthy at Schloss Klessheim, a castle near Salzburg in Austria. An agreement was reached in which Horthy promised to allow 100,000 Jews to be sent to the Greater German Reich to construct underground factories for the manufacture of fighter aircraft. These factories were to be located at Mauthausen, and at the eleven Kaufering sub camps of Dachau. The Jews were to be sent to Auschwitz, and then transferred to the camps in Germany and Austria.

When Horthy returned to Hungary, he found that Edmund Veesenmayer, an SS Brigadeführer, had been installed as the effective ruler of Hungary, responsible directly to the German Foreign Office and Hitler.

On March 19, 1944, the same day that Eichmann’s Sonderkommando arrived, German troops occupied Hungary. The invasion of Hungary by the Soviet Union was imminent and Hitler suspected that Horthy was planning to change sides. As it became more and more likely that Germany would lose the war, its allies began to defect to the winning side. Romania switched to the Allied side on August 23, 1944.

After the formation of the Reich Central Security Office (RSHA) in 1939, Adolf Eichmann had been put in charge of section IV B4, the RSHA department that handled the deportation of the Jews. One of his first assignments was to work on the Nazi plan to send the European Jews to the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa. This plan was abandoned in 1940.

According to Rudolf Höss, the Commandant of Auschwitz, “Eichmann had concerned himself with the Jewish question since his youth and had an extensive knowledge of the literature on the subject. He lived for a long time in Palestine in order to learn more about the Zionists and the growing Jewish state.”

In 1937, Eichmann had gone to the Middle East to research the possibility of mass Jewish emigration to Palestine. He had met with Feival Polkes, an agent of the Haganah, with whom he discussed the Zionist plan to create a Jewish state. According to testimony at his trial in 1961 in Jerusalem, Eichmann was denied entry into Palestine by the British, who were opposed to a Jewish state in Palestine, so the idea of deporting all the European Jews to Palestine was abandoned.

At the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, at which the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was planned, Eichmann had been assigned to organize the “transportation to the East” which was a euphemism for sending the European Jews to be killed at Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Jewish children walk to gas chambers at Auschwitz Birkenau

The next day after German forces took over Hungary, Adolf Eichmann arrived to oversee the process of deporting the Hungarian Jews. There were 725,000 Jews living in Hungary in 1944, including many who were previously residents of Romania, according to Laurence Rees, who wrote a book entitled “Auschwitz, a New History.”

The Jews in the villages and small towns were immediately rounded up and concentrated in ghettos. One of the ghettos was located in a brick factory in the city of Miskolc, Hungary, where 14,000 Jews were imprisoned while they waited to be transported to Auschwitz-Birkeanu.

Magda Brown, who was born in Miskolc on June 11, 1927, said in a speech at a Synagogue in Morgan Hill, CA that her family was marched though the city to the Miskolc ghetto on her 17th birthday in 1944. From there, Magda was transported on a train to Birkenau, where she was immediately separated from her family.

After two months at Birkeanu, Magda was sent, along with 1,000 Hungrian women, to work in a munitions factory at Allendorf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald. In March 1945, the prisoners at Allendorf were evacuated and marched to the Buchenwald main camp; Magda escaped from the march and hid on a farm until she was rescued by American soldiers.

Vera Frank Federman is another Hungarian survivor who was sent to Auschwitz and then transferred a few weeks later to the Allendorf sub-camp of Buchenwald.

The following quote is from an article published on April 29, 2003 in The Daily, the newspaper of the University of Washington. Vera Frank is a graduate of UW.

Begin quote

On Federman’s 20th birthday, June 27, 1944, she and her parents were herded onto one of the transports and spent the next three days traveling to Auschwitz.

“We arrived [at] Auschwitz, and they separated the men from the women, and my father went with the men, and my mother and I arrived in front of an S.S. officer,” Federman said.

The officer ordered Federman and her mother in different directions, despite Federman’s claim that she was only 13 years old. She never saw either of her parents again.

Federman stayed in Auschwitz for six or seven weeks, and saw her health and that of others rapidly deteriorate.

“Girls came down with scarlet fever, and my cousin, with whom I came, became ill with scarlet fever, but she was so lucky, because up to that time, [the Nazis] took [sick people] immediately, and took them to the gas chamber,” she said.

After several weeks, Federman and her two friends, Vera and Zsuzsi, were marched in front of Dr. Josef Mengele, the camp’s human-genetics researcher, so he could decide which women would be sent to other labor camps, and which would be killed. Federman and Vera were rejected, while Zsuzsi was chosen to go to a labor camp.

Zsuzsi insisted that her sister come with her, and after some questioning by Mengele about whether they were twins, he approved Vera. Federman tried to convince Mengele to approve her as well, but he rejected her again.

“I said, ‘Oh, but I am very strong, I can work.’ And a German officer standing next to him whispered, kind of a loud whisper, ‘Lassen sie das kleine gehen’ – ‘Let the little one go,’ and he let me go,” she said.

End quote

The photo below shows Hungarian women who have been selected to work.

Hungarian women who have just arrived

According to a book which she wrote, Holocaust survivor Eva Fahidi was 18 years old when, together with her family in the town of Debrecen, Hungary, she was herded into a cattle car headed to the Birkenau death camp.

Her Mother and 11-year-old sister, Gilike, were instantly murdered. Her father bore the hard labour for a few weeks only.

Eva spent six weeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Then she was shipped with one thousand other women to Allendorf, a slave-labour sub-camp of Buchenwald. Here, the women had to work with harmful chemical agents, “without protective gloves or masks; we inhaled all the dangerous vapor and walked in saltpeter up to our knees,” twelve hours a day, incredibly hard work, “but in comparison with a death camp it was a better option.” Here, being able “to maintain a reasonable hygienic standard; in times of great need being able to help each other,” dignified their lives and contributed to survival.

Hungarian women who have been selected to work

The photo above shows Hungarian women walking into the women’s section on the south side of the Birkenau camp after they have had a shower and a change of clothes. Behind them is a transport train and in the background on the left is one of the camp guards.

The woman with dark hair in the center of the photo is Ella Hart Gutmann who is in the outside row facing inward. Next to her is Lida Hausler Leibovics; both women were from Uzhgorod. Their heads have been shaved in an attempt to control the lice that spreads typhus.

One of the Hungarian Jews who survived was Alice Lok Cahana, whose story was recounted by Laurence Rees in his book entitled “Auschwitz, a New History.” Alice was 15 when she was registered in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, but months later she was sent to the gas chamber in Krema V and told that she would be given new clothes after taking a shower. The purpose of the red brick Krema V building was deceptively disguised by red geraniums in window boxes, according to Alice. She was inside the gas chamber in Krema V when the revolt by the Sonderkommando unit in Krema IV began on October 7, 1944. This was the occasion when the Sonderkommando blew up the Krema IV gas chamber building with dynamite that had been sneaked into Birkenau by some of the women prisoners who worked in factories outside the camp.

Laurence Rees wrote:

But the revolt did save some lives. It must have been because of the chaos caused by the Sonderkommando in crematorium 4 that the SS guards emptied the gas chamber of crematorium 5 next door without killing Alice Lok Cahana and her group.

Eva Olsson is a Hungarian Jew who arrived at Birkenau on May 19, 1944; she was 18 years old. In a speech at St. Patrick’s High School and St. Christopher Secondary School, as reported by Tara Hagan in The Observer, a Canadian newspaper, Olsson told about a Nazi official who came to her neighborhood in Hungary and began rounding up the Jews, telling them that they were going to be sent to Germany to work in a brick factory. Instead, they were sent to Birkenau. Out of 89 members of her family, Eva and her sister Fredel were the only survivors.

Olsson has spoken to over a million people since she started giving lectures about the Holocaust in 1995. In her talks, she tells about the gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen and about children being burned alive, five at a time, in the crematory ovens at Bergen-Belsen.

According to the article by Tara Hagan, Eva Olsson told the students that when the Jews arrived at Birkenau “People who didn’t do what they were told were shot on the spot. If a mother was holding a baby, they shot the baby and the bullet would go through to the mother. You save a bullet that way.”

Tara Hagan also wrote that, at the Birkenau camp, Olssen “recalled living on bread and black, watery soup that had tufts of human hair in it, bones and mice.”

Eventually, Olsson was sent to work in a factory in Essen, Germany, then to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. At Bergen-Belsen, Olsson was starving, covered in lice and sores and had a fever. She told the students that she “dampened a cloth with her own urine” in order to cool down. Others, she recalled, drank their urine.

Iby Knill was 18 and working as a resistance fighter in Hungary when she was arrested and eventually transported to the Birkenau death camp in June 1944, according to this news article by Virginia Mason, published on January 26, 2010.

Iby’s story begins when she was a young girl growing up in her native Czechoslovakia; when the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, she escaped over the border into Hungary but was arrested as an illegal immigrant.

“There were five of us, all girls and we made a pact to stay together as we walked through those gates and were greeted by the man we later learned was Dr Josef Mengele,” she says of her arrival at Birkenau. “From that day on it became a test of survival.” Miraculously, she adds, all five of them lived to witness the liberation from the Nazis in 1945.

By 2010, Iby had started writing her story and was seeking a publisher for her manuscript, which is chillingly brutal in its frankness, according to Virginia Mason’s article.

According to Iby Knill, “The shower unit and the gas chamber looked the same. They had been built that way, so we never knew if we were to be gassed or just showered.”

In her lectures on the Holocaust, Iby describes the infamous Dr Mengele, whose experiments in the name of medical science earned him the nick name, Angel of Death. “We lined up and he would walk in front of us, picking out the weakest. Their fate was the gas chambers.”

She talks of the cramped, inhuman conditions at Birkenau, the incredible hunger and thirst, and worst of all, the scraps of gray, latherless soap made from human ashes, and the constant fear of extermination in the gas chamber.

According to her story, Iby was able to leave the Birkenau death camp only by volunteering to go to the Lippstadt labour camp, a sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp, where she worked in the hospital unit. On Easter Sunday, 1945, while on a death march to the main Buchenwald camp, she was freed by Allied Forces.

The following information about Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert is from an article by Ross Lydall in the London Evening Standard on January 26, 2010:

Begin quote

At the age of 14, Lily Ebert was taken from the Hungarian town of Bonybad to Birkenau in a packed cattle car, along with her mother, brother and three sisters. Lily was registered upon arrival in July 1944 and tattooed with the number A-10572, even though she was below the age of 15 and could have been sent directly to the gas chamber.

End quote

After about four months at Birkenau, Lily and her three sisters were transferred to an ammunition factory near Leipzig, Germany, which was a sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp.

April 12, 2018

Only nine states mandate Holocaust curriculum in schools

Filed under: Auschwitz, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 3:36 pm

The title of this blog post is a quote from this news article: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/study-shows-americans-are-forgetting-about-holocaust-n865396

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

In 1945, Sonia Klein walked out of Auschwitz. Every day of the 73 years since she has been haunted by the memory of what happened there, and the fate of the millions who never made it out of the Nazi death camps.

But Klein wonders, once she and the few survivors still alive are gone, who will be left to remember?

“We are not here forever,” said Klein, now 92. “Most of us are up in years, and if we’re not going to tell what happened, who will?”

Klein’s worries are borne out by a comprehensive study of Holocaust awareness released Thursday, Holocaust Remembrance Day, which suggests that Americans are doing just the opposite.

End

Oh no! Are people forgetting the Holocaust? Are young people being denied information about the Holocaust?

What can I blog about — if there is no more interest in the Holocaust?

The “actual number” of Jews killed in the Holocaust is around 6 million

Filed under: Auschwitz, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 9:52 am

Yes, it is true. The “actual number” of Jews killed in the Holocaust is around 6 million, according to this news article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/12/us/holocaust-education.html

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

For seven decades, “never forget” has been a rallying cry of the Holocaust remembrance movement.

But a survey released Thursday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, found that many adults lack basic knowledge of what happened — and this lack of knowledge is more pronounced among millennials, whom the survey defined as people ages 18 to 34.

Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. Only 39 percent of Americans know that Hitler was democratically elected.

“As we get farther away from the actual events, 70-plus years now, it becomes less forefront of what people are talking about or thinking about or discussing or learning,” said Matthew Bronfman, a board member of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

End quote

You can read all about Auschwitz on my kosher website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz02.html

April 7, 2018

“the Nazis would go on to kill more than 6 million Jews in the Holocaust”

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 6:34 pm

The title of this blog post is the last words in a news article, which you can read in full at https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/1924-film-anticipates-holocaust-found-and-restored-180968654/

The original number of Jews killed in the Holocaust was 6 million, but that number has been reduced to 1.1 million.

When it comes to the Holocaust, you must keep up. The story changes every day.

April 4, 2018

David Irving is NOT a veteran Holocaust denier

Filed under: Auschwitz, David Irving, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 4:28 pm

David Irving might be a Holocaust denier, but he is a RECENT denier, not a VETERAN denier.

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

https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/03/20/veteran-holocaust-denier-david-irvings-tour-of-nazi-extermination-sites-may-run-foul-of-controversial-polish-legislation/

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

National newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported on Tuesday that British convicted Holocaust denier David Irving intends to lead a tour of World War II landmarks in September 2018 which includes extensive stops at Holocaust sites in Poland.

Irving has conducted these and similar tours for his followers and admirers for nearly a decade — the forthcoming visit, however, would be his first since Poland passed a controversial amendment to its existing Holocaust commemoration legislation on Feb 6. Public discussion of wartime antisemitism and collusion with the Nazis among Poles is now a criminal risk, which carries a maximum prison sentence of three years.

Irving told Rzeczpospolita reporter Wiktor Ferfecki in an email on Monday that he had every intention of conducting the tour this year, which includes visits to the sites of Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka — Nazi extermination camps where nearly two million Jews who were trapped in German-occupied Poland were murdered.

 […]

Describing Irving as the “guru” of Holocaust deniers, Ferfecki pointed out that his presence in Poland might well further damage the country’s image in the eyes of international critics”

End quote

David Irving is NOT the “guru” of Holocaust deniers. David Irving is a historian, He has only recently become a Holocaust denier. It should be pointed out that Holocaust deniers are a dime a dozen. There is nothing unusual about being a Holocaust denier in today’s world.

April 2, 2018

Shoes worn by Holocaust victims were saved by the Nazis and are now displayed in a museum

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 1:26 pm

My 1998 photo of Block 15 at Auschwitz

The Block 15 barrack building at Auschwitz was later used to house Museum exhibits.

When I visited Auschwitz for the first time in 1998, the visitors’ tour of the main Auschwitz camp began in Block 15, shown in the photo above, which housed an exhibit entitled “Historical Introduction”.

That building is located at the corner of the first intersection of camp streets after you pass the camp kitchen near the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate, which is behind the camera on the left. Organized groups begin their tour of the museum buildings here and then move on to Blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7 which are in the last row of barracks buildings.

Blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7 at the former Auschwitz I concentration camp have been converted from barracks into museum rooms with glass display cases. All of these exhibit buildings are located on the second cross street, to your right after you enter through the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate. At the end of this street is Block 11, the prison block which is open to visitors.

In Block 5, there are displays devoted to the “Material Evidence of Crime.” One of the saddest sights at Auschwitz is the display of shoes in a huge glass case that takes up half a barracks room in Block 5. The shoes seem to be deteriorating and are mostly the same dark gray color, except for a few women’s or children’s shoes that are made of red leather. The red shoes stand out like the red coat worn by the little girl in Schindler’s List, a black and white picture.

My photo of shoes in display case at Auschwitz Museum

When the Soviet Union liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 1945, there were 43,000 pairs of shoes in the camp. The photo below shows the shoes that were found in a warehouse.

Shoes and clothing of prisoners found at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The Theatergebäude (theater building) which is located just outside the Auschwitz main camp, was used as a clothing warehouse and it was stuffed full when the camp was liberated. All but six of the clothing warehouse buildings at Birkenau had been set on fire when the camp was abandoned by the Nazis on January 18, 1945 and the buildings were still burning when the Soviet liberators arrived on January 27, 1945.

There is a large display case in Block 5, taking up half of a barracks room, which contains the suitcases brought by Jewish victims to the camp. The Jews were instructed to mark their suitcases for later identification; you can still see the names written on the leather cases in large letters in the photo below.

On some of the suitcases is the word Waisenkind, which means orphan; this is proof that there were children among the victims at Auschwitz.

Display case of suitcases used by the victims

The leather suitcases have not deteriorated like the shoes, which probably means that the shoes were disinfected with Zyklon-B in preparation for sending them back to Germany, but the suitcases weren’t. There are also some baskets in this display, used by the victims to carry their meager belongings with them to the camp.

Another display case in Room 5 of Block 5, pictured below, is filled with the artificial legs and crutches which were brought to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps by incoming prisoners. My tour guide in 1998 explained that the wounded Polish war veterans from World War I accounted for most of this huge collection.

April 1, 2018

Eichmann — “an unknowing cog in the killing machine”

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 4:35 pm

The title of this blog post is a quote from the following news article:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-man-in-the-glass-booth-adolf-eichmann-and-operation-finale/

Begin quote from news article:

April 1961, 16 years after the end of World War II.  A Nazi colonel named Adolf Eichmann stood trial in Israel for his part in the Holocaust … a master planner of what the Nazis called “The Final Solution” — their plan to eradicate Europe’s Jews.

“First count, nature of offense: crime against the Jewish people…”

Through a translator, Eichmann told the court, “As far as this question is concerned, I can only say that I’ve never killed anyone.”

Eichmann would become the only Nazi prosecuted by the Jewish people — enclosed in a bulletproof glass booth that anchors a traveling exhibit, currently at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg.

The purpose of the glass booth, said curator Avner Avraham, was to defend Eichmann “from people in the crowd that maybe can try [to] kill him.”

Eichmann would mount a defense [that] he was “just following orders,” overseeing the logistics of murdering millions — an “unknowing cog,” he claimed, in the killing machine.

“But he was the machine,” said Avraham. “He was in charge of all the schedules, all the trains. He sent the people to the camps.”  [But did he order the killing of the Jews? No]

adolf-eichmann-promo-ap-100318145560.jpg

This 1961 file photo [above] shows Adolf Eichmann standing in his glass cage, flanked by guards, in the Jerusalem courtroom during his trial for war crimes committed during World War II.

AP Photo

The last time Jeff Cohen saw the glass booth, he was an 18-year-old American student visiting Israel, when his group was given tickets to the Eichmann trial.

He had sat about 15 yards from the defendant.

“But you could see him?” Axelrod asked.

“Yeah, oh, I could see him.”

“What exactly does it bring back?”

“It brings back the thoughtlessness of a human being who’s taken it upon himself to make the final decision,” said Cohen.

The trial is only half the story told by the exhibit. It also tells of his escape from Germany at the end of the war.

Eichmann was in U.S. custody, but his captors didn’t know who they had. He escaped, making his way to Italy, then in 1950 to Argentina, setting up home in a poor neighborhood, and living under the assumed name of Ricardo Klement. There, he got a position as the head of a department in Mercedes-Benz.

All would’ve been fine for Eichmann had his son, Nicholas — who didn’t change his last name — not started dating a young German woman whose family had also come to Buenos Aires. But her father had spent the war on the other side of the barbed wire: he was a concentration camp survivor.

“So that name, Eichmann, Nicholas Eichmann, it caught the attention of this girl’s father?” asked Axelrod.

“Yes,” said Avraham. “When he came to visit her at home, her father realized immediately that he is probably Eichmann’s son.”

Capturing Eichmann was the job of 11 Mossad agents — Israel’s version of the CIA — who snatched him off the streets of Buenos Aires in May of 1960, and transported him to Israel to meet justice.

End quote

I recall reading about Eichmann when this story was happening. This was what got me started in the study of the Holocaust.

The news article continues with this quote:

Begin quote

During the five-month trial, Adolf Eichmann would never admit his guilt. “I had to obey orders; I had to do it,” he said.

But for the first time survivors of the death camps had the chance to testify about the horrors they had endured.

One witness said, “We walked from early morning ’til late in the night. There were many who on the very first day fell and never got up.”

“What happened to those?” a lawyer asked.

“They remained on the roadside. They were either shot or beaten until they died.”

When asked if Eichmann showed even a shred of repentance, Cohen replied, “No, No. No. And if anything, he was kind of puffed up.”

If Eichmann thought he would just serve a few years in an Israeli prison before heading back to Argentina, then he gravely miscalculated. Eichmann was convicted of crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. He was hanged.

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End of story — that’s all she wrote, and she rubbed that out.

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