Scrapbookpages Blog

April 2, 2018

Holocaust could have been thwarted if the Jewish people had guns.

Filed under: Dachau, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 10:50 am

The title of my blog post today is a quote from this news article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/facebook-post-claiming-guns-could-have-prevented-the-holocaust-met-with-backlash/2018/04/01/04036e20-35e1-11e8-8fd2-49fe3c675a89_story.html?utm_term=.4273de4efed0

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

A Facebook page purporting to be that of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach promoted a controversial and debunked theory over the weekend claiming that the Holocaust could have been thwarted if the Jewish people had guns.

The post garnered nearly 900 shares and 400 likes as of Sunday afternoon, but the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach said the page was a copycat and not the official party Facebook, and she denounced its contents.

Party chairman Tina Mapes called the post “horrible.” She said the copycat page often posts comments that the official Republican Party of Virginia Beach disagrees with.

End quote

The news article also includes this quote:

Begin quote

“… hundreds of thousands of students who have walked out of school in recent weeks in support of the victims of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting and to rally for stricter gun laws. It was posted alongside a photograph hundreds of shoes belonging to Holocaust victims.

 “These are the shoes of Jews that gave up there firearms to Hitler. They where led into gas chambers, murdered and buried in mass graves,” the post read. “Pick up a history book and study the US Constitution, and you’ll realize what happens when you give up freedoms and why we have them.”
Content from Harry
I have photos of piles of shoes on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/LiberationDay.html
These were allegedly shoes taken from the Jews that were killed, but there is no evidence that the owners of these shoes were killed. They could have just died from some disease in the camp.

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.

March 15, 2018

Gerog Elser – the man who tried to kill Hitler

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — furtherglory @ 1:10 pm

Georg Elser, who tried to kill Hitler

Museum Display about Georg Elser

According to an exhibit in the new Dachau Museum which opened at the Dachau Memorial Site in 2003, Georg Elser was secretly executed at Dachau on April 9, 1945, and his death was blamed on an Allied bombing raid.

In the old Museum exhibits which were put up in 1965 and replaced in 2003, the execution of Georg Elser, the German hero who tried to kill Hitler, was not mentioned.

For five and a half years, Johann Georg Elser had been in prison, first at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and then at Dachau, awaiting trial for his attempt to kill Adolf Hitler on November 8, 1939 with a bomb placed at the Bürgerbräukeller where Hitler was giving his annual speech on the anniversary of his 1923 Putsch. Hitler left the hall early and was not hurt, although 8 people were killed by the blast and 63 others were injured, according to the Dachau Memorial Site.

Georg Elser

Along with Elser, Captain Sigismund Payne Best, a British intelligence agent, was also imprisoned at Sachsenhausen, and later at Dachau, while he awaited trial on a charge of conspiracy in the assassination attempt by Elser, which was believed by Hitler to have been instigated by the British government.

The story of Georg Elser’s execution, according to Captain Sigismund Payne Best, is that either Adolf Hitler or Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had ordered the head of the Gestapo, SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller, to deliver a letter, authorizing the execution of “special prisoner Georg Eller” during the next Allied air raid, to the Commandant of the Dachau concentration camp, Obersturmbannführer Eduard Weiter, on April 5, 1945. Eller was a code name for Elser so that the other prisoners would not know his true identity. By some strange coincidence, Captain Payne Best had come into possession of this letter in May 1945 shortly before the end of World War II.

Normally, an execution order would have come from RSHA (Reich Security Main Office) in Berlin, addressed to the head of the Gestapo branch office at Dachau, Johann Kick. Kick would have given the order to Wilhelm Ruppert who was the SS officer in charge of executions at Dachau. Ruppert would have given the order to either Franz Trenkle or Theodor Bongartz, the two SS men who carried out executions at Dachau. After the execution, RSHA and the Gestapo would have received documentation that the execution had taken place. In the case of Georg Elser, none of this happened.

Heinrich Müller, the chief of the Gestapo, who had allegedly ordered the murder of Georg Elser, was last seen leaving Hitler’s bunker on April 29, 1945, the day that Dachau was liberated. No trace of him has ever been found. Hitler killed himself the next day on April 30, 1945 and Himmler allegedly committed suicide after he was captured by the British in May 1945.

Dachau Commandant Wilhelm Eduard Weiter, who had allegedly received the order to execute Elser, shot himself at Schloss Itter, a subcamp of Dachau in Austria, on May 6, 1945, according to Johannes Tuchel, the author of “Dachau and the Nazi Terror 1933-1945.”

However, Nerin E. Gun claimed in his book “The Day of the Americans” that Weiter was shot in the neck by Ruppert at Schloss Itter because he had refused to obey Hitler’s order to kill all the Dachau prisoners.

Georg Elser had been a prisoner in the Dachau prison, called the bunker, since he was transferred from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in February 1945, according to Nerin E. Gun, a journalist who was also a prisoner at Dachau. Captain Payne Best was transferred from Sachsenhausen to Buchenwald, and from there to Dachau in April 1945.

Prison cells on both sides of hallway in the Dachau Bunker

The following account of the assassination attempt by Georg Elser is from the book entitled “Hitler’s War,” first published in 1977:

Normally Hitler spoke for about ninety minutes, but this time he spoke for just under an hour, standing at a lectern in front of one of the big, wood-paneled pillars. Many of the Old Guard were away at the front, so the hall was filled with other senior Party members and local dignitaries as well as the next of kin of the sixteen Nazis killed in the 1923 putsch. Hitler’s speech was undistinguished, a pure tirade of abuse against Britain, whose “true motives” for this new crusade Hitler identified as jealousy and hatred of the new Germany, which had achieved in six years more than Britain had in centuries. Julius Schaub, who was responsible for seeing to it that his chief reached the railroad station on time, nervously passed him cards on which he had scrawled increasingly urgent admonitions: “Ten minutes!” then “Five!” and finally a peremptory “Stop!”-a method he had previously had to use to remind his Führer, who never used a watch, of the passage of mortal time. “Party members, comrades of our National Socialist movement, our German people, and above all our victorious Wehrmacht: Siegheil !” Hitler concluded, and stepped into the midst of the Party officials who thronged forward. A harassed Julius Schaub managed to shepherd the Führer out of the hall at twelve minutes past nine. The express was due to leave from the main railway station in nineteen minutes.

At the Augsburg station, the first stop after Munich, confused word was passed to Hitler’s coach that something unusual, though as yet undefined, had occurred at the Bürgerbräu. At the Nuremberg station, the local police chief, a Dr. Martin, was waiting with more detailed news: just eight minutes after Hitler had left the beer hall a powerful bomb had exploded in the paneled pillar right behind where he had been speaking. There were many dead and injured. Hitler’s Luftwaffe aide, Colonel Nicolaus von Below, later wrote: “For a moment Hitler refused to believe it. He had been there himself and nothing had happened then…. The news made a vivid impression on Hitler. He fell very silent, and then described it as a miracle that the bomb had missed him.”(3) He spoke by telephone with SS General von Eberstein, the Munich police chief (who had been flatly forbidden to encroach on this strictly Party preserve with regular police security measures), and consoled the anguished SS general: Don’t worry-it was not your fault. The casualties are regrettable, but all’s well that ends well.” By 7 A.M. the news was that six people had been killed (the death toll later rose to eight) and over sixty injured.

Georg Elser’s motive was, in his own words: “Ich habe den Krieg verhindern wollen.” (I wanted to prevent the war.)

A plaque on the wall of a building in Königsbronn, where Elser spent his youth, credits Elser with saying “Ich wollte ja durch meine Tat noch grösseres Blutvergiessen verhindern.” (I wanted to prevent, through my deed, even more bloodshed.)

In Germany, Georg Elser is not considered a traitor to his country, but is honored as a hero. A stamp with his photo was issued and a small square in Munich is named Georg-Elser-Platz.

There is also a concert hall in Munich, Georg Elser Halle, named after him. A new memorial for Elser is being planned in Berlin. The Bürgerbräukeller where the assassination attempt took place has since been torn down.

In November 1939, Great Britain and France were at war with Germany, both countries having declared war against Germany two days after German troops invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, but at that point, the war was a “sitzkrieg” or “phony war” with no fighting going on.

On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the other side, but the British and the French did not declare war since they had only agreed to defend Poland against an attack by Germany.

Following the conquest of Poland, Hitler had made an appeal for peace in a speech on October 6, 1939 in the Reichstag, but British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had said in a speech to the Commons six days later that “No reliance can be put on the promises of the present German government.”

By November 1939, Hitler had had to face the fact that the war would not be a “sitzkrieg” forever and that the British and the French were probably making plans to invade Germany at that very moment.

According to the book entitled “Hitler’s War,” Hitler had provisionally ordered the German attack on the British and the French, coded named “Yellow,” to begin on Sunday, November 12, 1939, but he was willing to postpone the offensive until spring if need be. Two days later, Hitler postponed the offensive for three days, giving bad weather as the reason.

The following quote is from “Hitler’s War”:

Hitler was aware that the army’s opposition was not limited to objective debate of the merits of “Yellow.”

There was a clique of as yet unidentifiable officers bent on his forcible removal from power, and their contacts with the western governments made them potentially very dangerous men indeed. During October he accordingly authorized Heydrich’s secret service to develop its contacts with the British Intelligence network in Holland. Heydrich’s men were to pretend to represent dissident German army generals willing to risk all in a plot to overthrow the Führer. If they could secure the British agents’ confidence, the names of the real German conspirators might be revealed, or gleaned from the subsequent radio traffic between the agents and their Intelligence masters in London. This was the SS plan, and it worked up to a point. After a convincing series of false starts and unkept rendezvous, the first clandestine meeting between the British agents and Heydrich’s “army generals” took place on Dutch soil in the second half of October; certain questions were submitted for the British Cabinet to answer, on the assumption that the generals captured Hitler and ended the war; and an additional rendezvous was arranged for early November. Hitler was intrigued by the possibility of embarrassing the Dutch government by exploiting the evidence of Anglo-Dutch staff collaboration revealed by these SS ploys, and he discussed this with Ribbentrop and Heydrich’s lieutenant, Dr. Werner Best; a plan to kidnap the British agents was first considered, then shelved for the time being.

On November 9, 1939, the day after the assassination attempt, two British intelligence officers, Captain Sigismund Payne Best and Major Richard H. Stevens, were arrested in a sting operation at the Cafe Bacchus near Venlo in the Netherlands, 125 feet from the German border.

According to Nerin E. Gun, the British had been contacted previously by a German anti-Nazi named Dr. Franz who told them that some German officers were planning a revolt and wanted the support of Great Britain.

The following quote is from “The Day of the Americans”:

British Intelligence agents were to meet there (at the Cafe) with a group of German conspirators, including a Wehrmacht general, who had tried to overthrow the regime. It had first been planned that Hitler himself, made prisoner by the general, would be turned over, bound hand and foot, to the men who came there from The Hague.

This fantastic plot had been afoot since the first days of September, right after war broke out. Captain (preferring to be called Mister) S. Payne Best, whose functions within the British Intelligence service remain shadowy even today, but about whom we can guess that he was head of its European network, had been contacted by a German anti-Nazi emigre, Dr. Franz. Some German officers, Franz had told him, were planning a revolt and wanted the support of Great Britain. Mr. Best asked the home office to give him competent military advice. They sent him Major R. H. Stevens. Since it was an important affair, at least in the imagination of the British, the head of the Dutch Secret Service, Major General van Oorscholt, had also been brought in on it. The latter respected the obligations of neutrality in his own way, and did not hesitate to plunge into this international intrigue, which had the earmarks of a Hollywood thriller. He delegated Lieutenant Dirk Clopp (Klop), to whom the British were to give the code name of “Captain Coppers, of His Gracious British Majesty’s Guard Regiment,” to represent him, and contact was established with the plotters.

According to Nerin E. Gun’s book, the plot was to capture Hitler, smuggle him across the German border to Venlo and then sneak him onto a submarine anchored outside of Rotterdam.

On the morning of November 9th, the German radio announced the failed attempt on Hitler’s life, but Captain Payne Best assumed that this was a ruse designed to explain the disappearance of Hitler whom he believed was already in the hands of the plotters.

One of the German plotters was a man named “Major Schaemmel” who was, in reality, Walter Schellenberg, the Chief of German Intelligence. There was an actual person named Schaemmel, in case the British checked him out.

After the arrest of Captain S. Payne Best and Major Richard H. Stevens, Hitler came to the conclusion that the failed assassination had been planned by the British in an attempt to overthrow the government of Germany.

The following quote is from the memoirs of Walter Schellenberg, entitled “The Labyrinth”:

He (Hitler) began to issue detailed directives on the handling of the case to Himmler, Heydrich, and me and gave releases to the press. To my dismay, he became increasingly convinced that the attempt on his life had been the work of the British Intelligence, and that Best and Stevens, working together with Otto Strasser, were the real organizers of this crime (the assassination attempt).

Otto Strasser was a left-wing politician who had formed his own faction within the Nazi Party, along with his brother, Gregor Strasser. After he was expelled from the Nazi party by Hitler in 1930, Otto Strasser formed an organization called the “Black Front.” At the time of the assassination attempt, Strasser was living in Switzerland. Georg Elser had worked for a time as a carpenter in Switzerland.

The quote from the memoirs of Schellenberg continues as follows:

Meanwhile a carpenter by the name of Elser had been arrested while trying to escape over the Swiss border. The circumstantial evidence against him was very strong, and finally he confessed. He had built an explosive mechanism into one of the wooden pillars of the Beer Cellar. It consisted of an ingeniously worked alarm clock which could run for three days and set off the explosive charge at any given time during that period. Elser stated that he had first undertaken the scheme entirely on his own initiative, but that later on two other persons had helped him and had promised to provide him with a refuge abroad afterward. He insisted, however, that the identity of neither of them was known to him.

I thought it possible that the “Black Front” organization of Otto Strasser might have something to do with the matter and that the British Secret Service might also be involved. But to connect Best and Stevens with the Beer Cellar attempt on Hitler’s life seemed to me quite ridiculous. Nevertheless that was exactly what was in Hitler’s mind. He announced to the press that Elser and the officers of the British Secret Service would be tried together. In high places there was talk of a great public trial, to be staged with the full orchestra of the propaganda machine, for the benefit of the German people. I tried to think of the best way to prevent this lunacy.

Schellenberg mentioned in his memoir that Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, had told him that “there is no possibility of any connection between Elser and Best and Stevens.” Himmler then said that Elser had admitted that he was connected with two unknown men, but whether or not he was in touch with any political group was unknown. One other clue that Himmler confided to Schellenberg was that “our technical men are practically certain that the explosives and the fuses used in the bomb were made abroad.”

Heinrich Himmler stands behind Hitler, Nürnberg rally, 1934

The Gestapo went to great lengths to get more information out of Elser, but to no avail. They tried drugs and hypnosis, but he would not reveal the names of the two men who had helped him. He confessed to planting the bomb, but claimed that he did not know the names of his two accomplices.

When Elser was captured, he was found to be carrying various incriminating pieces of evidence. The following quote is from “Hitler’s War”:

On the night of November 13 this man, Georg Elser, a thirty-six-year-old Swabian watchmaker, confessed that he had single-handedly designed, built, and installed a time bomb in the pillar. In his pockets were found a pair of pliers, sketches of grenade and fuse designs, pieces of a fuse, a picture postcard of the Bürgerbräu hall’s interior; a badge of the former “Red Front” Communist movement was found concealed under his lapel. Under Gestapo interrogation a week later the whole story came out-how he had joined the Red Front ten years before but had long lost interest in politics, and how he had been angered by the regimentation of labor and religion as well as by the relative pauperization of craftsmen such as himself in the early years of Nazi rule. The year before he had resolved to dispose of Adolf Hitler and had begun work on an ingenious time-bomb controlled by two clock-mechanisms for added reliability. After thirty nights of arduous chiseling at the pillar behind the paneling, he installed the preset clocks in one last session on the night of November 5, the evening after Hitler’s furious altercation with Brauchitsch in Berlin. The mechanism was soundproofed in cork to prevent the ticking from being heard, and Elser’s simple pride in his craftsmanship was evident from the records of his interrogations.

According to William L. Shirer, in his book entitled “The Nightmare Years: 1930-1940,” Heinrich Himmler announced on November 21, 1939 that he had found and arrested the culprit, Georg Elser, a carpenter who had formerly resided in Munich but lately in a concentration camp. Himmler said, according to Shirer, that Elser had been aided and abetted by two British secret agents, Captain S. Payne Best and Major R. H. Stevens.

Shirer wrote that Georg Elser was treated very well after he was imprisoned, but he was eventually murdered by order of Heinrich Himmler. The following quote is from Shirer’s book “The Nightmare Years: 1930 – 1940”:

But Himmler kept his eye on him. It would never do to let the carpenter survive, if the war were lost, to tell his tale. When it (the war) became irretrievably lost, the Gestapo chief (Müller) acted. On April 16, 1945, as the end of the Third Reich neared, it was announced that Elser had been killed in an Allied bombing attack. Actually, Himmler had him murdered by the Gestapo.

Curiously, Himmler had allowed Captain S. Payne Best and Major Richard H. Stevens to live to tell their tale.

Just as there were people who immediately claimed that the Reichstag fire on the night of February 27, 1933 was an inside job, perpetrated by the Nazis themselves, there were journalists, including Ernest R. Pope, who immediately speculated that the bomb set off in the Bürgerbräukeller was put there by the Nazis.

The following quote is from an article written by journalist Ernest R. Pope, which is included in a book entitled “They were There” by Curt Riess:

There were many telltale indications that the Munich explosion was an inside Nazi job.

[…]

My own opinion is that the Bürgerbräu explosion was a job inspired by Goebbels and executed by Himmler in order to make the Germans hate the British. The jubilation over the Polish conquest had expired, there was a dismal stalemate on the western front, and the disgruntled Germans were beginning to grumble more audibly about the blackout, the rationed food, and the freezing temperatures in their homes. They were still angry at Hitler for plunging their country into war, and had not yet been seriously bombed or attacked by the Allies, so had no reason to hate England. The Munichers especially remembered Chamberlain vividly as their angel of peace. Goebbels thought that six dead, petty Brown Shirts and one Munich waitress was a bargain price to pay for getting obstinate Germans to curse the British Prime Minister.

The 8th victim of the blast died after the above news article was written.

The next day after the bomb blast, the only newspaper to cover the story was Hitler’s own paper, the Voelkischer Beobachter, according to William L. Shirer, author of the book entitled “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” Shirer wrote that the newspaper account blamed the “British Secret Service,” and even Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for the foul deed.

Shirer wrote in his diary on the evening of November 9th: “undoubtedly will buck up public opinion behind Hitler and stir up hatred of England . . . Most of us think it smells of another Reichstag fire.”

The following quote is from “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William L. Shirer:

An hour or two after the bomb went off in Munich, Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS and the Gestapo, telephoned to one of his rising young subordinates, Walter Schellenberg at Duesseldorf and ordered him by command of the Fuehrer, to cross the border into Holland the next day and kidnap two British secret-service agents with whom Schellenberg had been in contact.

[…]

Up to this moment, the objectives of the two sides were clear. The British were trying to establish direct contact with the German military putschists in order to encourage and aid them. Himmler was attempting to find out through the British who the German plotters were and what their connection was to the enemy secret service. That Himmler and Hitler were already suspicious of some of the generals as well as men like Oster and Canaris of the Abwehr is clear. But now on the night of November 8, Hitler and Himmler found need of a new objective: Kidnap Best and Stevens and blame these two British secret-service agents for the Buergerbräu bombing!

After their arrest at Venlo, Captain S. Payne Best and Major Richard H. Stevens were both sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where Georg Elser was soon to become a prisoner in Cell No. 13, according to a book entitled “The Venlo Incident,” written by Captain Payne Best. Captain Payne Best was later transferred to Buchenwald, and then to Dachau on April 9, 1945. In January 1941, Major Richard H. Stevens was moved to the bunker at Dachau where he remained until the VIP prisoners were evacuated on April 26, 1945.

Room where Richard H. Stevens was a prisoner at Dachau, 1943 to 1945

According to Captain S. Payne Best, Georg Elser had been sent to the Dachau concentration camp prior to the assassination attempt. He had been arrested for being “anti-social” and “workshy,” according to Payne Best.

The following quote about Elser’s time in Dachau is from “The Venlo Incident” by Captain Payne Best, who claimed that he learned this information from Elser himself in letters that he secretly passed to Payne Best at Sachsenhausen:

One day early in October 1939 he (Elser) was called to the Kommandantur (at Dachau) where he was interviewed by two men who asked him a number of questions about his antecedents, and in particular about the names of former associates and relations. As for the latter he had none as far as he knew and friends, well he knew them as Paul, Heinz, or Karl, just as they knew him as the little Georg – surnames were not much used in the circles he had frequented.

A week or two later he was again called for and again met the same two men. On the first occasion he had been questioned while standing at attention, but this time he was taken into another office, was told to sit down, and was given a cigarette. The men were extremely friendly, told him that the commandant had shown them some of his work and that really it was a shame that so good a workman should be wasting his life in a concentration camp. Would he not like to regain his freedom? To this suggestion Elser expressed cordial agreement. Well, this could easily be arranged if he would only be absolutely discreet and obey orders without question; all that they wanted from him was that he should do a little job in his own line, and when this was finished he would be handsomely rewarded and sent to Switzerland where he would be free to live as he liked and hold whatever opinions he pleased. As Elser put it: “What else could I do but say yes. If I had refused, I should certainly have gone up the chimney that evening.” This was the expression used by the inmates of concentration camps to describe the process of execution and cremation.

I do not know whether it was on this or on a later occasion that he was told the story of a plot against Hitler in which some of his closest associates were involved. Hitler was to speak at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich on 8th November in commemoration of his comrades who fell during the 1923 Putsch, when he made his first attempt to overthrow the government. After Hitler had finished speaking it was his custom to stay a while talking to his old associates, and certain scoundrelly traitors had conceived the plan of hustling him to one side and shooting him. Although the names of the people involved in the plot were known it was not considered advisable to arrest them, as this would occasion a big scandal which, now, in war-time, must be avoided, and it was therefore intended to adopt other measures to liquidate the traitors. The idea was to build an infernal machine in one of the pillars in the cellar which could be exploded immediately the Führer left the building, which he would do directly his speech was finished; in this way all the conspirators would be exterminated, lock, stock, and barrel, and no one need hear anything more about their plot.

Elser was not such a fool really to believe that after he had been told so much he would be set free or even left alive, but since it was a question of certain immediate death or liquidation at some uncertain future date, he naturally promised to do what was required of him.

After this interview Elser was not allowed to return to his old quarters in the camp, but was put in a comfortable cell in a building used to house important political prisoners. Here, instead of his striped prison garb, he was given civilian clothes, and he was also brought good food and as many cigarettes as he wished. Next day, as he expressed a desire to finish some work which he had on hand, a carpenters’ bench was brought to a large cell in the building and he was given his tools.

In the first week of November 1939 Elser was on two occasions fetched at nightfall by the same two men and taken by car to the Bürgerbräukeller where he was shown the pillar into which the bomb was to be built. This pillar was covered with an ornamental wood panelling over bricks, so all that he had to do was remove part of the panelling and extract a couple of bricks. Into the recess thus formed, he inserted the explosive, which was of a putty-like nature, the inside of an alarm clock, and a fuse. From the fuse he was instructed to make an electric lead to a push button in an alcove near the street level entrance to the building. The whole job was to him mere child’s play and he was at a loss to understand why such a fuss had been made about it.

I took a great deal of trouble to get from Elser the clearest possible description of the bomb, and from what he wrote it was quite clear that the clock, which he called an ordinary Swiss alarm, had nothing to do with the fuse which could only be actuated by electric current applied from outside.

Elser’s comfortable life at Dachau continued for yet a few days; he had been told that he would have to wait for his release until it had been proved that he had carried out his task properly. He was not afraid of any failure here, though he had little faith in the promise made him of freedom and reward.

On the 9th or 10th November the two men called for him again and when he got into a car which was waiting, they told him that he was now on the way to Switzerland and a life of liberty. They took the road leading to the Swiss frontier near Bregenz at the eastern end of the Lake of Constance which Elser knew well since for a time he had worked at St. Gallen just across the frontier, so at all events he could check the direction of his journey. When they reached a point about a quarter of a mile from the frontier customs post the car stopped and he was told that he would have to make his way farther on foot. He was handed an envelope which, as far as he could see, contained a large sum in German and Swiss notes; he was also given a picture postcard which illustrated the Bürgerbräukeller and on which the pillar into which he had built the bomb was marked with a cross. He was told that if he showed this to the frontier guards they would know who he was and would let him through without asking him for his papers; everything had been arranged.

He did as he was told, but neither frontier guard nor customs seemed to know anything about him or to understand the meaning of the postcard. He was asked a lot of questions and, as he had no passport or other papers, he was searched. The envelope containing the money was found and he was immediately marched off and put into jail on a charge of currency smuggling. Presumably, if the pretended ignorance of the men at the frontier was real, someone who saw the marked postcard became suspicious and, having heard of the bomb outrage at Munich, reported the arrest of Elser to a higher quarter. Anyhow, next day Elser was taken, handcuffed and heavily guarded, by prison van to an airfield and flown to Berlin. On arrival, still handcuffed, he was put into a cell and later was interrogated, being badly beaten up in the process. He was, however, wise, and said nothing about the trick which had resulted in his capture. He admitted that he had built the bomb into the pillar, but denied that he had had accomplices, stating that his action was the result of his own political opinions and his hatred of Nazi domination. His interrogation continued until deep into the night, but nothing more could be got out of him.

Next morning he was taken by lift to one of the upper floors where, in a room to which the jailer took him, he found the two men with whom all his previous arrangements had been made. They were most friendly and sympathetic and told him that his arrest at the frontier was entirely due to the unfortunate fact that the guard who had instructions to let him through had suddenly been taken ill and was therefore not on duty when he reached the frontier; he was not to worry though, everything would come all right in the end. Unfortunately, he could not be liberated at once as his photograph had been circulated to the police throughout the country and had also appeared in the Press; everyone thought that he had been guilty of an attempt on the Führer’s life, and if he were to show his nose anywhere he would simply be torn to pieces for, as he could well imagine, everyone in Germany was overcome with fury at the dastardly outrage which had so nearly succeeded. For the time being he would have to remain safely under cover but he need fear no more ill-treatment, everything possible would be done to make him comfortable, and as soon as the first excitement had blown over steps would be taken to get him to Switzerland as had been promised. He was then taken to a big room on the top floor of the building which, as he later discovered was the Gestapo Headquarters in the Prinz Albrechtstrasse, where he found a bed, a carpenter’s bench and the tools which he had used at Dachau. Two men remained with him as guards and from that moment he was never left alone for a moment. He was not, however, interfered with and was well fed; having been given suitable wood he set to work and made himself a zither; he could not play it but it had always been his ambition to learn.

He remained here undisturbed for about a fortnight when he was again visited by his two friends who took him down to one of the corridors where he was told to sit on a bench. He was told that an Englishman would be brought along past him, and he must look at him carefully so that he would be sure to recognize him if he saw him again. A tall dark man followed by two others passed him twice, apparently on his way to and from the lavatory. A few days later he was taken to the same place again and shown the same man. After this he was taken to an office where there was a high-ranking officer of the SS in uniform and another man, obviously an ex-student, as his face was covered with duelling scars. This man now talked to him and asked him whether he understood that his life was forfeit, and that he was nothing more than a candidate for death. This phrase was often used. He had already admitted to the police that he had built the bomb into the pillar of the cellar, and the whole German people was eagerly awaiting news of his trial and execution. He had, however, been promised life and freedom and the Gestapo always kept its word; he must though do something more to earn his security. He was then told the following story:

The German Army had already proved in Poland that it was invincible, and nothing now could save England from defeat. When that country was occupied by the victorious German Army he would have to appear as witness at a trial of the British Secret Service chiefs who, as all the world knew, were a gang of murderers and gangsters, and through their false information were really responsible for the whole war. At this trial one of the chief defendants would be the Englishman whom he had just seen; a certain Captain Best who had been captured a short time ago while attempting to leave Germany where he had been spying.

Elser would have to declare at the trial that for a long time he had been in relation with Otto Strasser in Switzerland and had acted for him as courier to and from Germany. In December 1938, Strasser had called him to Zurich where, at the Hotel Bauer au Lac, he had introduced him to the Englishman Best, telling him that in future he wished him to work for the British who were determined to get rid of Hitler and who could certainly do more than he could himself. Elser was therefore to take his orders from Captain Best who lived in Holland, and arrangements were made so that they could communicate with each other via the Dutch frontier. The Englishman handed Elser a thousand Swiss francs in notes as earnest money.

During the months that followed he had maintained regular contact with Captain Best, and had acted as courier between him and other agents in Germany; in this way the British Intelligence had received valuable information regarding German rearmament, and for his work he had been very well paid. In October 1939 he had met Captain Best at a place in Holland called Venlo, and there he had been given instructions about planting a bomb in the Bürgerbräukeller at Munich with the promise that if he did so he would receive a sum of 40,000 Swiss francs as reward. At first he had refused to have anything to do with this but Best put pressure on him and left him no choice but to do as he was told or be denounced to the Gestapo as a British agent. In the end he had agreed to do what was required of him and he was given an address in Germany where he would receive his final instructions and be given the infernal machine. He was then to tell in his evidence how he went to the Bürgerbräukeller some four weeks before the date fixed for the explosion and had little difficulty in concealing himself there so that he could do his work during the night. He built the bomb into one of the pillars as he had been instructed, but did not wind up the clock which actuated the fuse as this could only be set to work a maximum of ten days later. He was therefore obliged to pay a second visit to the cellar at the end of October in order to wind and set the clock. He had no difficulty in doing so as he went in the afternoon when the place was quite deserted.

Elser was given a typewritten copy of this story which contained a lot of further details about the work he was supposed to have done for Strasser and me, and this he was told to learn by heart. Subsequently he was several times examined to see whether he was word perfect.

Captain S. Payne Best was transferred from Buchenwald to Dachau on April 9, 1945 on the very day that Georg Elser was executed, according to the Dachau Museum. Elser’s execution “apparently accounted for our long wait at the entrance to the camp,” according to Captain Payne Best’s account in his book, “The Venlo Incident.”

In his book, Captain S. Payne Best wrote that immediately upon his (Payne Best’s) arrival at Dachau, Georg Elser “was taken out into the garden by Stiller and shot in the back of the neck. The man who shot him had been brought from one of the condemned cells and had been executed immediately after and both bodies had been taken at once to the crematorium.” The “garden” was the landscaped area north of the crematorium building at Dachau where the execution wall was located.

Sign designates spot where prisoners were executed

In his book entitled “The Venlo Incident,” Captain S. Payne Best included a copy of the order for The Englishman Best (Wolf) and other prisoners to be taken to Dachau which was in the same letter as the order for Georg Elser’s execution.

This letter is quoted below from “The Venlo Incident”:

THE CHIEF OF THE SECURITY POLICE AND THE SD – IV – g. Rs
Please quote date and above reference
your reply
(Rubber stamp)

KLD Dep. VIa-F-Sb. ABw
Received: 9-4-45
Daybook No. 42/45
BERLIN SW 11.
the 5. April 1945
(in pencil)
SECRET

State affair!

Express Letter

To the
Commandant of the K.L.
Dachau
SS-Obersturmbannführer Weiter
Personal

On orders of the R(eichs) F(uhrer) SS and after obtaining the decision of the highest authority the prisoners scheduled below are immediately to be admitted to the K.L. Dachau.

The former Colonel-General Halder
General Thomas
Hjalmar Schacht
Schuschnigg with wife and child
The former General v. Falkenhausen
The Englishman Best (Wolf)
Molotov’s Nephew Kokorin
The Colonel, General Staff, v. Bonin

As I know that you only dispose of very limited space in the Cell Building I beg you, after examination to put these prisoners together. Please, however, take steps so that the prisoner Schuschnigg, who bears the pseudonym Oyster under which name kindly have him registered, is allotted a larger living cell. The wife has shared his imprisonment of her own free will and is therefore not a ‘prisoner-in-protective-custody’. I request that she may be allowed the same freedom as she has hitherto enjoyed.

The RF-SS directs that Halder, Thomas, Schacht, Schuschnigg, and v. Falkenhausen are to be well treated.

I beg you on all accounts to ensure that the prisoner Best (pseudonym Wolf) does not make contact with the Englishman Stevens who is already there.

v. Bonin was employed at the Führer’s Head Quarters and is now in a kind of honourable detention. He is still a Colonel on the Active List and will presumably retain this status. I beg you therefore to treat him particularly well.

The question of our prisoner in special protective custody, ‘Eller’, has also again been discussed at highest level. The following directions have been issued:

On the occasion of one of the next ‘Terror’ Attacks on Munich, or, as the case may be, the neighbourhood of Dachau, it shall be pretended that ‘Eller’ suffered fatal injuries.

I request you therefore, when such an occasion arises to liquidate ‘Eller’ as discreetly as possible. Please take steps that only very few people, who must be specially pledged to silence, hear about this. The notification to me regarding the execution of this order should be worded something like this:

On … on the occasion of a Terror Attack on … the prisoner in protective custody ‘Eller’ was fatally wounded.

After noting the contents and carrying out the orders contained in it kindly destroy this letter.

Signature: illegible.

Captain Payne Best explained that Eller was a pseudonym for Elser and that his own code name was Wolf, while Major Richard H. Stevens was known as Fuchs (Fox).

The following quote is from “The Venlo Incident”:

It is perhaps worth noting that the above letter, although written to the camp commandant, was contained in an envelope addressed to Untersturmführer Stiller with a note that, in the event of the latter’s death, it should be destroyed unopened. Stiller appears to have been a direct representative of the SD at Dachau and thus, although a subordinate, possessed of more real authority than the commandant. This was directly in line with Nazi policy which, as is the case in Soviet Russia, always took care that every man holding a position of any importance was kept under observation. There was another man, a Hauptscharführer, who appeared to spy on Stiller in turn.

Captain Payne Best’s book was published in 1950, but the transcript of Elser’s interrogation by the Gestapo was not released until the 1960ies.

Captain Payne Best wrote in his book that Georg Elser was guarded day and night at Sachsenhausen by three guards who stayed inside the cell with Elser. No one was allowed to get near Elser, but Captain Payne Best claimed that he nevertheless established a relationship with Elser by sending him gifts through the guards. Elser was so grateful that he built a bookshelf for Payne Best and hid a letter inside it. The letter contained Elser’s story of how he was approached by the two men at Dachau who offered him 40,000 Swiss francs and freedom in exchange for planting a bomb at the beer hall.

The Reverend Martin Niemöller, who was a prisoner at Sachenshausen, claimed that Georg Elser also told him his story, according to a footnote in William L. Shirer’s book “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” Based on what Elser told him, the Reverend Niemöller said later that his personal conviction was that Hitler had sanctioned the bombing to increase his own popularity and to stir up the war fever of the people. Did the Reverend Niemöller really talk with this heavily-guarded, code-named prisoner, or did he get this opinion from fellow prisoner Captain Payne Best’s book? Did Hitler actually sanction an attempt on his own life in which he stayed inside the beer hall until 8 minutes before the bomb was set to go off?

Captain Payne Best wrote that Elser was stopped at the Swiss border on November 9th or 10th but the press reported that he had been arrested at the border while Hitler was still speaking, before the bomb went off.

Regarding Georg Elser, Dr. Johannes Neuhäusler, a prisoner in the bunker at Dachau, wrote the following in his book entitled “What was it like in the concentration camp Dachau?”:

A thick veil enveloped him (Elser) and his outrage. It was characteristic that this joiner journeyman from Munich, who, it was reputed, had made an attempt on the life of the “Führer” (Hitler) on November 9, 1939 (sic), was not executed at once as the men of July 20, 1944. He was not even brought to trial, but he was carefully secluded from all the world, first in the camp at Sachsenhausen, later Dachau. Nevertheless, he always enjoyed special privileges, for example, he received a larger cell and a workshop, also sheet music for playing the zither, etc. When he was transferred to Dachau from Sachsenhausen because of the approach of the Russians on Berlin, a wall dividing two cells was taken down – men worked all day and night at it – to provide a larger cell for him. However, he was not allowed to come in contact with the other prisoners (except later in the shelter bunker during air raids); a guard had to sit in front of his door continuously.

Apparently, Elser was not taken to the shelter bunker during the air raid on the day that he was allegedly killed and Dr. Neuhäusler did not know what had happened to Elser until weeks later.

The following is a quote from Dr. Neuhäusler’s book:

In April 1945, he (Elser) suddenly disappeared. At that time, it puzzled us, but it was cleared up, however, when we were transferred to South Tyrol at the end of April 1945. Then our fellow-prisoner, Captain S. Paine (sic) Best, one of the two English officers who had been carried off by force after the Bürgerbräu outrage at Venlo, succeeded in taking an “express letter” from a SS-escort watchman, a letter which the chief of the Security Police and of the Security Service had addressed to the commandant of the Dachau camp on April 5, 1945.

Dr. Neuhäusler was wrong about the letter, according to Captain Payne Best’s version of the story. Payne Best had not taken the letter to anyone; he had only come into possession of the letter much later. According to Payne Best, the letter was in an open envelope addressed to SS man Edgar Stiller, who was in charge of the prisoners in the Dachau bunker. The letter itself was not addressed to anyone and the name of the man who signed it was not typewritten.

In a letter in answer to questions asked by the Magistrate of the Landgericht München II Court which was investigating Edgar Stiller as an accessory to the murder of Georg Elser in August 1951, Payne Best wrote:

8. Question: How did you come into possession of the above designated letter (Schnellbrief) dated 5 April 1945, together with the envelope?

Answer: On either 2nd or 3rd May 1945 an SS man belonging to Stiller’s guard troop came up to the Prags Wildbad Hotel and asked to see me. He was a tall man wearing a leather jacket and was, I believe, one of the drivers. He pulled out of his pocket an untidy bunch of papers saying: “Obersturmführer Stiller is burning all the papers he had with him. I put these in my pocket when he wasn’t looking. Perhaps they might interest you. He then went on to say that he was really Wehrmacht and not SS and had been drafted to the SS after his release from hospital; he showed me his Soldbuch in proof of his statement and asked whether I would let him stay with us and rejoin the Wehrmacht troops who had been sent by General von Vietinhof to protect us. We had had several similar cases and I believe Colonel von Bonin arranged with von Alvensleben for the man to be incorporated in the Wehrmacht troops under the latter’s command. When I examined the papers given to me by this man I found that most of them were merely daily routine orders regarding the running of the Sonderbau but amongst them I found the envelope containing the ‘Schnellbrief’ both of which I handed over some months ago to Dr. Josef Müller, Bayrisch Justizminister.

The Sonderbau, referred to by Captain Payne Best in the above quote was the “special building,” called the annex by Americans. It was the former brothel that was turned into a prison for VIP prisoners, including Payne Best, who was transferred from the bunker to the Sonderbau on April 21, 1945.

Dr. Neuhäusler wrote the following regarding the reason that the Nazis allegedly executed Georg Elser:

H. Best solved the further riddle for me why they first treated Elser favorably for six years and then suddenly and secretly “liquidated” him by the explanation:

“Very simple. At first they wanted to save Elser for a great staged trial after the victory, in which the (British) ‘Intelligence Service’ would have been exposed as the instigator of the Bürgerbräu outrage. All the taking of depositions had been practiced with Elser. But as they began to realize that the victory would not now take place, the staged trial fell through, the man who hid the secret of the outrage in his breast had to be silenced. An air-raid would give a good opportunity for the ‘liquidation’.”

If the motive for executing Georg Elser was that a staged trial could no longer take place because Germany was losing the war, why weren’t Captain Payne Best and Major Richard Stevens also “liquidated” at the same time, since they were also being held for the same trial which was to take place after the war was over?

If the cover-up story was that Elser was killed during an air raid, wouldn’t this have raised questions about why Elser had not been taken to the air raid shelter with the other important prisoners? The bunker was never hit by a bomb, so how was Elser supposed to get out of his cell and into a place where he could allegedly be killed during an air raid?

Was it just a coincidence that the order to transfer Captain Payne Best to Dachau was given in the same letter in which Hitler allegedly gave the order to secretly kill Elser and blame it on the next Allied air raid? Hitler believed that Captain Payne Best was involved in the plot to kill him, so why didn’t he also order the execution of Payne Best in this same letter? Captain Payne Best made a point of saying in his book that he was held up at the gate into Dachau on April 9, 1945 because, just as he arrived, the execution of Elser was taking place at the crematorium which was outside the camp. He did not mention that there was an air raid on Munich or the Dachau area on that day.

On April 9, 1945, the Dachau complex was allegedly hit by an Allied bomb, providing the cover-up story for the secret execution of Georg Elser. Elser was the only person in the bunker who was alleged to have been killed by a bomb that hit Dachau.

However, William L. Shirer wrote the following regarding the air raid:

Shortly before the war ended, on April 16, 1945, the Gestapo announced that Georg Elser had been killed in an Allied bombing attack the previous day. We know now that the Gestapo murdered him.

In a book entitled “Target Hitler,” by James P. Duffy and Vincent L. Ricci, it was stated that Eduard Weiter, the Commandant of Dachau, announced that Georg Elser had been mortally wounded during an Allied bombing raid. No date for the announcement or the air raid was given by Duffy and Ricci.

On April 21, 1945, after more VIP prisoners had been brought to Dachau and housed in the bunker, Captain Payne Best was moved to a barracks building called the annex, also known as “the girl’s school” or brothel, according to Dr. Johannes Neuhäusler. This date is important because this means that Captain Payne Best was still a prisoner in the bunker on April 15th, the day that Georg Elser was killed, according to William L. Shirer. Captain Payne Best made a point of saying that he had not yet entered the Dachau camp on April 9, 1945, the day that he claimed that Georg Elser was killed.

On the same day that the Dachau Museum says that Georg Elser was killed by a bomb, April 9, 1945, a group of traitors to the Fatherland, including Rear Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and General Hans Oster were executed at the Flossenbürg concentration camp on the orders of Gestapo Chief Heinrich Müller, but there was no attempted cover-up of these executions. Canaris, who was the head of the Abwehr, Nazi Germany’s military intelligence agency, before he was arrested, was involved in two failed attempts to assassinate Hitler in 1938 and 1939. General Oster had been arrested the day after the failed July 20, 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler. On April 8, 1945, General Wilhelm Canaris and General Hans Oster were put on trial and both were convicted.

The death of Georg Elser was not the first time that an important prisoner was allegedly killed during a bombing raid at a concentration camp. Dr. Rudolf Breitscheid, chairman of the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, and Mafalda, the Princess of Hesse and daughter of the Italian king, were kept under arrest at the Buchenwald concentration camp, in a separate isolation barrack, surrounded by a wall, beginning in 1943. The Nazis claimed that both of them were killed in a bombing raid on the nearby armament factories at Buchenwald on August 24, 1944.

Map shows where bomb hit Buchenwald camp

The Nazis also claimed that Ernst Thälmann, chairman of the German Communist political party and a member of the Reichstag, was killed in the same bombing raid. However, a sign on the crematorium building at Buchenwald says that Thälmann was shot at the entrance to the crematorium during the night from 17th to 18th August 1944. Curiously, there is no plaque in honor of Georg Elser at the execution spot at Dachau.

The Memorial Site at Sachsenhausen claims that both Breitscheid and Thälmann were executed at Sachsenhausen.

Theodor Bongartz

The two SS men who were in charge of carrying out executions at Dachau were Franz Trenkle and Theodor Bongartz.

According to the Museum at Dachau, Theodor Bongartz was the man who carried out the secret execution of Georg Elser on April 9, 1945, the secret execution of General Charles Delestraint on April 19, 1945, and the secret execution of Dr. Sigmund Rascher in the Dachau bunker on April 26, 1945. No execution orders from the Reich Security Head Office (RSHA) in Berlin were ever found for any of these executions.

Theodor Bongartz was born in 1902 in Krefeld, Germany. He joined the SA in 1928 and the SS in 1932. The day before the Dachau camp was liberated by American troops, Bongartz fled along with the acting Commandant of the camp, Martin Gottfried Weiss, and most of the guards. Disguised as a Wehrmacht soldier, Bongartz was captured and imprisoned in an American Prisoner of War camp at Heilbronn-Böckingen. He allegedly died of natural causes on May 15, 1945 while in captivity.

Franz Trenkle survived to be put on trial by an American Military Tribunal in November 1945. He was convicted and hanged on May 28, 1946.

On the 60ieth anniversary of the death of Georg Elser, Barbara Distel, the director of the Dachau Museum, said the following in a speech in which she claimed that Theodor Bongartz murdered Georg Elser with a shot in the neck and his body was cremated fully clothed in the Dachau crematorium. Her speech is quoted below:

Ein SS-Mann brachte ihn zum Krematorium, wo ihn der Leiter des Krematoriums, der SS-Mann Theodor Bongartz durch Genickschuss ermordete. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt wurden die toten Häftlinge des Lagers Dachau aufgrund von Kohlemangels nicht mehr eingeäschert, sondern in einem nahe gelegenen Massengrab verscharrt. Eine Ausnahme bildeten die Gefangenen, die dort einzeln exekutiert und anschließend verbrannt wurden. Mitglieder eines Häftlingskommando, deren Aufgabe darin bestand, die Toten einzuäschern wohnte noch immer im Krematoriumsgebäude. Sie wurden beauftragt, den toten Georg Elser im Gegensatz zu sonstigen Gepflogenheit nicht nackt, sondern mit seinen Kleidern zu verbrennen.

In 1954, Theodor Bongartz was determined to have been the murderer of Georg Elser during a German court proceeding in which SS-Unterscharführer Edgar Stiller was on trial as an accessory to murder. As the SS man in charge of the special prisoners in the bunker from 1943 to 1945, Stiller was accused of escorting Elser to the crematorium where he was allegedly shot by Bongartz.

In a previous proceeding before an American Military Tribunal at Dachau which started in November 1945, Stiller had been convicted of being a war criminal, although there were no specific charges brought against him, according to the Dachau Museum. Stiller was sentenced to 7 years in prison by the American Military Tribunal. The death of Georg Elser was not mentioned at the American Military Tribunal proceedings against Stiller and 39 other staff members at Dachau.

Stiller was released in 1950, before finishing his sentence, but was then arrested and brought before a German court in 1951. The American Military Tribunal only tried cases in which the victims were citizens of the Allied countries. Crimes against German citizens, such as Georg Elser, were tried in German courts, beginning in 1948 when America and Germany became Allies.

Stiller was acquitted by the German court after Captain Payne Best gave him an excellent report in a letter to the judge. Captain Payne Best said that Stiller had saved the lives of the special prisoners in the bunker by turning them over to him after they were evacuated from the camp on April 26, 1945. According to Captain Payne Best, the VIP prisoners at Dachau had been sent to the South Tyrol to be killed.

However, in his letter to the Magistrate, Captain Payne Best answered another question with these words:

As far as I can remember it was (Wilhelm) Visintainer who told me that Elser had been killed by a “Genickschuss” and also that the SS-man who had shot him, a man taken from one of the death cells, had been executed immediately after Elser’s death. I cannot, however, state definitely from whom I had this information.

Captain Payne Best’s description of “the SS-man who shot him, a man taken from one of the death cells” could be a reference to one of the 128 SS men who were imprisoned in one wing of the bunker at Dachau.

 

March 9, 2018

The day that American soldiers liberated the Dachau concentration camp…

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — furtherglory @ 2:01 pm

The execution of German SS soldiers at Dachau

The following quote was written by Flint Whitlock, in his book entitled “The Rock of Anzio, From Sicily to Dachau: A history of the U.S. 45th Infantry Division”

Begin quote

“The killing of unarmed POWs did not trouble many of the men in I company that day for to them the SS guards did not deserve the same protected status as enemy soldiers who have been captured after a valiant fight. To many of the men in I company, the SS were nothing more than wild, vicious animals whose role in this war was to starve, brutalize, torment, torture and murder helpless civilians.”

End quote

 

Waffen-SS soldiers being executed by the American liberators at Dachau

The photograph above is a still photo that was taken by T/4 Arland B. Musser, 163rd Signal Photographic Company, US Seventh Army, on April 29, 1945, the day that the Dachau concentration camp was liberated.

The photo shows 60 Waffen-SS soldiers on the ground, some wounded, some playing dead, and 17 dead, according to Flint Whitlock, the historian for the 45th Thunderbird Division, who got this information from Lt. Col. Felix Sparks, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Division of the US Seventh Army, the first unit to arrive at the Dachau camp.

Read more on my website at

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/SoldiersKilled.html

February 22, 2018

Joseph A. Bank mentioned by Mike Pence in a speech today

Filed under: Dachau, Germany — furtherglory @ 8:53 am

I was listening to Mike Pence give a speech today when I heard him mention Joseph A. Bank, which is the name of a men’s clothing store. This famous store originated in the town of Dachau in Germany many years ago.

I wonder if Mike Pence knows where this store got it’s start. Probably not.

Anyway, I thought maybe some people would look it up, so I decided to write about it.

You can read all about Dachau on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/index.html

 

December 17, 2017

The story of Dachau

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 3:12 pm

If Dachau was in Germany and even Simon Wiesenthal says that it was not an extermination camp, why do thousands of army veterans in America say that it was an extermination camp?

The following quote is from Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s book entitled:

Hitler’s Willing Executioners, Ordinary Germans & the Holocaust

“During the Holocaust, Germans extinguished the lives of six million Jews and, had Germany not been defeated, would have annihilated millions more. The Holocaust was also the defining feature of German politics and political culture during the Nazi period, the most shocking event of the twentieth century, and the most difficult to understand in all of German history. The Germans’ persecution of the Jews culminating in the Holocaust is thus the central feature of Germany during the Nazi period. It is so not because we are retrospectively shocked by the most shocking event of the century, but because of what it meant to Germans at the time and why so many of them contributed to it.”

End quote

Gate into Dachau concentration camp, 1945

Dachau is a name that will be forever associated with Nazi atrocities and the Holocaust. Opened on March 22, 1933 in a former World War I gunpowder factory, just outside the 1200-year-old Bavarian town of Dachau, the Dachau concentration camp was one of the first installations in the Third Reich’s vast network of concentration camps and forced labor camps throughout Germany and the Nazi-occupied countries.

Although there were other spontaneous camps (wild camps) set up in Nazi Germany around the same time, Dachau was the first of these camps to be called a “concentration camp” and it was the first to use SS soldiers as the guards. The other camps used SA soldiers (Storm Troopers) as guards.

Throughout its history, Dachau was primarily a camp for men; it was used to incarcerate Communists, Social Democrats, trade union leaders, religious dissidents, common criminals, Gypsy men, homosexuals, asocials, spies, resistance fighters, and others who were considered “enemies of the state.” It was not a death camp for the genocide of the Jews, although there were Jewish prisoners at Dachau.

During its 12-year history, Dachau had 206,206 registered arrivals and there were 31,951 certified deaths. Many of the Dachau prisoners, including Jews, were released after serving an indeterminate sentence. The Jews were always kept isolated from the other prisoners and were treated far worse than the others.

Dachau was the place where many famous, high-level political opponents of the Nazi government were held near the end of the war. Just before the camp was liberated, there were 137 VIP prisoners at Dachau, including the former Chancellor of Austria, Kurt von Schuschnigg, and the former Jewish premier of France, Leon Blum. They were evacuated to the South Tyrol in April 1945 on three separate trips, shortly before soldiers of the American Seventh Army arrived to liberate the camp.

Although Dachau was in existence for 12 years, most people know only the horror described by the soldiers in the 42nd Rainbow Infantry Division and the 45th Thunderbird Infantry Division after they had liberated the camp on April 29, 1945. Three weeks before, on April 9, 1945, a bomb had hit the camp, knocking out a water main and the source of electricity. There was no running water in the camp and drinking water had to be brought in by trucks. There was no water for the showers, nor any water to flush the toilets. There was however, one last vestige of what the camp had been like before Germany was bombed back to the Stone age: fresh flowers in a vase in the undressing room for the gas chamber.

The prisoners were not starving because there were 5 truck loads of food, which had been brought in by the Red Cross, although it had to be cooked over wood-burning stoves. Just before the guards and SS officers left the camp on April 28th, they turned the food warehouses in the SS garrison over to the prisoners.

The evacuation of prisoners from the sub-camps to the main Dachau camp had begun in March 1945, in preparation for surrendering the prisoners to the Allies. The evacuated prisoners had to walk for several days to the main camp because Allied bombs were destroying the railroad tracks as fast as the Germans could repair them. The few trains that did bring prisoners to Dachau, including a train load of women and children, were bombed or strafed by American planes, killing many of the prisoners.

The first thing that the American liberators saw at Dachau was the “death train” filled with the dead bodies of prisoners who had been evacuated three weeks before from Buchenwald; the train had been strafed by American planes, but the soldiers assumed that these prisoners had been machine-gunned to death by the guards after the train arrived. After the war, Hans Merbach, the German soldier who was in charge of this train was put on trial by an American Military Tribunal at Dachau.

Most of the prisoners in the sub-camps of Dachau were Jews who had survived Auschwitz and had been brought on trains to Germany in January 1945 after a 50-kilometer death march out of the camp. By the time that the survivors staggered into the Dachau main camp in the last weeks of April, they were emaciated, sick and exhausted. Other Jews at Dachau in 1945 had been brought from the three Lithuanian ghettos in the Summer of 1944 to work in the Dachau sub-camps. The American liberators got most of their information about the Dachau camp from these Jews who had only recently arrived and were eager to tell their stories about abuse at the hands of the Nazis.

Since March 1945, around 15,000 new prisoners had been accommodated in a camp that was originally designed for 5,000 men. By the time the liberators arrived, there were over 30,000 prisoners in the camp. There was a typhus epidemic in the camp but the Germans had no DDT, nor typhus vaccine, available to stop it. Up to 400 prisoners per day were dying of typhus by the time that the Americans arrived. There was no coal to burn the bodies in the ovens and the staff could not keep up with burying the bodies in mass graves on a hill several miles from the camp.

At the Bergen-Belsen camp, a sign had been put up outside the gate to warn the British liberators that there was typhus in the camp, but there was no sign at Dachau since there was no danger to the Americans who had all been vaccinated against typhus and other diseases before going overseas. The American liberators assumed that the emaciated bodies that they found piled up in the camp were the bodies of prisoners who had been deliberately starved to death.

The name Dachau became a household word for Americans following World War II. This was because it was the only major Nazi concentration camp in the American occupation zone in western Germany. Bergen-Belsen was in the British zone of occupation and Natzweiler was in the French zone. Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen were in the Soviet zone of occupation in eastern Germany and Mauthausen was in the Soviet zone of Austria.

All the major death camps were behind the “Iron Curtain” and few Americans had even heard of them before the fall of Communism; the six death camps, Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Chelmno were all located in what is now Poland, and they were controlled by the Communists. For many years in America, Dachau was the name most associated with the Holocaust, not Auschwitz.

The excuse for setting up concentration camps, including the Dachau camp, was the hysteria following the burning of the Reichstag, which was the Congressional building in Berlin, on the night of February 27, 1933, only four weeks after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Hermann Goering accused the Communists of starting the fire in protest of the appointment of Hitler as the Chancellor and the scheduled Congressional election to confirm his appointment, but the Communists claimed that the Nazis had set the fire themselves in order to begin a reign of terror. The arrests of Communists and Social Democrats began even before the fire was put out.

After President Paul von Hindenburg was asked by the Nazi-controlled German Cabinet that night to use his emergency powers under Article 48 of the German Constitution to suspend certain civil rights, 2,000 leading Communists throughout Germany were imprisoned without formal charges being brought against them and without a trial. They were held in abandoned buildings such as the camp in an old brewery in Oranienburg; this camp was rebuilt in 1936 as the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On March 21, 1933, Communists in the town of Dachau were imprisoned in the building which now houses the New Gallery for modern art. Other Communists were sent to prisons such as the federal prison at Landsberg am Lech, where Hitler himself had formerly been a prisoner after his failed Putsch in 1923.

The first prisoners brought to the old gunpowder factory at Dachau on March 22, 1933 were 200 Communists, including some of the members of the Reichstag, who had been taken into “protective custody” and had, at first, been sent to the Landsberg am Lech prison near Munich.

After the Reichstag fire, the Congressional election took place on March 5, 1933 as scheduled. The Nazis won the most seats and they were able to put together a coalition government to form a majority, which confirmed Hitler as the new Chancellor.

On March 7, 1933, an important law was passed by the newly-elected German Congress, which called for all high-level government officials in the German states to be appointed by the Nazis and for all state government positions to be supervised by the Nazis in the event of an emergency. Germany was already in an emergency situation and Article 48 of the German Constitution had already been invoked. Under this new law, Heinrich Himmler was appointed the acting Chief of Police in Munich, although his real job was Reichsführer-SS, the leader of Hitler’s elite private Army.

As the acting Police Chief, Himmler announced the opening of a Konzentrationslager (concentration camp) at Dachau in a news conference on March 20, 1933.

The concept of a concentration camp was not originated by the Nazis. The following quote is from Wikipedia:

Although the first modern concentration camps used to systematically dissuade rebels from fighting are usually attributed to the British during the Boer War, in the Spanish-American War, forts and camps were used by the Spanish in Cuba to separate rebels from their agricultural support bases.

Theodore Eicke, who became the second Commandant of Dachau in June 1933, is called the “father of the Nazi concentration camp system” because all subsequent camps used the rules and regulations which he wrote for the Dachau camp.

The first commander of Dachau, Hilmar Wäckerle, was dismissed from his position by Heinrich Himmler after charges of murder were brought against him by a Munich court for the deaths of several prisoners who had died after being severely punished. Another Dachau Commandant, Alex Piorkowski, was also dismissed by Himmler and was expelled from the Nazi party for breaking the strict rules set by Eicke.

An office was set up at Dachau in 1934 to administer all the camps; this office, called the WVHA, was later moved to Oranienburg near Berlin. All punishments of prisoners in all the Nazi camps had to approved by the WVHA. All punishments for women prisoners had to be approved by Heinrich Himmler himself.

On March 23, 1933, the German Congress passed another important law, called the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler the power to rule by decree in case of an emergency. On that day, Germany still had a President and as Chancellor, Hitler was not yet the undisputed leader of Germany. The next day, on March 24, 1933, front page headlines in The Daily Express of London read “Judea Declares War on Germany – Jews of All the World Unite – Boycott of German Goods – Mass Demonstrations.” The newspaper article mentioned that the boycott of German goods had already started.

The following is a quote from the Daily Express of London on March 24, 1933:

The whole of Israel throughout the world is uniting to declare an economic and financial war on Germany. The appearance of the Swastika as the symbol of the new Germany has revived the old war symbol of Judas to new life. Fourteen million Jews scattered over the entire world are tight to each other as if one man, in order to declare war against the German persecutors of their fellow believers. The Jewish wholesaler will quit his house, the banker his stock exchange, the merchant his business, and the beggar his humble hut, in order to join the holy war against Hitler’s people.

In America, the boycott of German goods was announced on March 23, 1933 as 20,000 Jews protested against Hitler’s government at the City Hall in New York City. On March 27, 1933, a mass rally, that had already been planned on March 12th, was held in Madison Square Garden; there were 40,000 Jewish protesters, according to the New York Daily News. The next day, on March 28, 1933 Hitler made a speech in which he deplored the stories of Nazi atrocities that were being published in the American press and announced a one-day boycott of Jewish stores in Germany on April 1, 1933 in retaliation.

The following is a quote from Hitler’s speech on March 28, 1933:

Lies and slander of positively hair-raising perversity are being launched about Germany. Horror stories of dismembered Jewish corpses, gouged out eyes and hacked off hands are circulating for the purpose of defaming the German Volk in the world for the second time, just as they had succeeded in doing once before in 1914.

In spite of the Jewish “holy war” against the Nazis, there were no Jews sent to a concentration camp solely because they were Jewish during the first five and a half years that the Nazi concentration camps were in existence. Jews were sent to Dachau from day one, but it was because they were Communists or trade union leaders, not because they were Jewish. The first Jews to be taken into “protective custody,” simply because they were Jews, were arrested during the pogrom on the night of November 9th & 10th in 1938, which the Nazis named Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass).

Kristallnacht was the night that German citizens smashed windows in Jewish shops and set fire to over 200 Jewish Synagogues throughout Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland in what is now the Czech Republic. Ninety-one people were killed during this uncontrolled riot which the police did not try to stop. That night, Hitler and his henchmen were gathered at the Bürgerbräukeller, a beer hall in Munich, celebrating the anniversary of Hitler’s attempt to take over the German government by force in 1923; Hitler’s failed Putsch had been organized at the Bürgerbräukeller.

Joseph Goebbels made a speech at the beer hall in which he said that he would not be surprised if the German people were so outraged by the assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by a Polish Jew named Herschel Grynszpan that they would take the law into their own lands and attack Jewish businesses and Synagogues. Goebbels is generally credited with being the instigator of the pogrom. (Pogrom is a Polish word which means an event in which ordinary citizens use violence to drive the Jews out.)

Approximately 30,00 Jewish men were arrested during the pogrom, allegedly for their own protection, and taken to the 3 major concentration camps in Germany, including 10,911 who were brought to Dachau and held as prisoners while they were pressured to sign over their property and leave the country. The majority of these Jews were released within a few weeks, after they promised to leave Germany within six months; most of them wound up in Shanghai, the only place that did not require a visa, because other countries, except Great Britain, refused to take them.

In anticipation of such violence against the Jews by the Nazis, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had invited 32 countries to a Conference in Evian, France in July 1938 to discuss the problem of Jewish refugees. The only country which agreed to allow Jewish refugees as immigrants was the Dominican Republic; 5,000 German Jews emigrated to the Dominican Republic before the start of World War II. The American Congress refused to change the US immigration laws, passed in 1920 and 1921, to allow a higher quota of Jewish refugees from Germany to enter, although America did start filling the quota under the existing laws for the first time.

After the joint conquest of Poland, by Germany and the Soviet Union, in September 1939, numerous Polish resistance fighters were imprisoned, including 1,780 Catholic priests. When the Catholic Church complained about the harsh treatment the priests received in the concentration camps, all the priests were moved to Dachau because it was the mildest camp of all. Dachau was designated as the main camp for Catholic priests who had been arrested on various charges, including child molestation, and a total of 2,720 from 19 different nations were sent there. The priests did not have to work in the factories and were given special privileges.

The most famous priest at Dachau was Leonard Roth who was a prisoner there from 1943 to 1945.

Regarding Father Roth, the following was written by Harold Marcuse, the author of “Legacies of Dachau”:

The camp administration gave him the “black triangle” badge of the “asocials” because he was accused of homosexual conduct as well as anti-Nazi activity. He was one of the few priests imprisoned in the Dachau KZ to survive the work caring for inmates dying of highly infectious typhus at the end of the war. Roth remained in Dachau as a priest for the SS men interned there by the US Army after July 1945. When that internment camp was dissolved and the Bavarian government converted the camp to housing for German refugees from Czechoslovakia in 1948, Roth remained as their “curate” (he had been demoted from priest status). A stern but well-liked pastor, he worked tirelessly to better the living conditions of the refugees. Around 1957 he joined the Dachau camp survivors’ organization as a representative of the priests who had been imprisoned in the camp. By 1960 he was in heated conflict with the Catholic hierarchy in Bavaria. Relieved of his post in the refugee settlement, he took his own life.

Also among the Dachau inmates were 109 anti-Nazi Protestant clergymen, including the Reverend Martin Niemöller, one of the founders of the Protestant Confessional Church. Niemöller had been tried in a German court and convicted of treason; after being sentenced to time served, he was first sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin, then later to Buchnwald and finally to Dachau. After the war, he continued to preach against the Nazi regime, including making a speech before the American Congress.

Niemöller is famous for the following words which he spoke many times:

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist.
Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.
Als sie die Juden holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Jude.
Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Russian Prisoners of War were sent to Dachau. On Hitler’s orders, Russian POWs who were determined to be Communist Commissars were executed at Dachau and other major concentration camps in Germany. The Communist Soviet Union had both political Commissars and military Commissars whose job it was to keep their citizens or soldiers in line. The military Commissars were stationed behind the front lines in order to urge reluctant Soviet soldiers forward since only one out of every 5 men had been furnished with a rifle. The Soviet soldiers were expected to pick up a rifle after another soldier had been shot; those who tried to retreat were shot by the Commissars. If captured, the Commissars were under orders to organize an escape or otherwise create havoc in the POW camp.

Throughout its 12-year history, Dachau was predominantly a camp for non-Jewish adult males. At first, the few women who were sent to Dachau lived with German families in the town of Dachau and worked as servants. In 1944, Jewish women were brought to Dachau from Hungary, but most of them were then transferred to some of the 123 Dachau sub-camps to work in German factories. Other women at Dachau were non-Jewish prostitutes who worked in a camp brothel for the inmates, which was set up in 1943. There were 11 prostitutes at the camp when it was liberated.

Resistance fighters and high-ranking Communists from France, Belgium, Albania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and many other countries were also brought to Dachau. Several captured British SOE agents, and even one American in the OSS, a secret agent who was working with the French Resistance, were imprisoned at Dachau during the war.

According to Nerin E. Gun, a Turkish journalist who was a prisoner at Dachau, there were 11 Americans at Dachau at some time during its 12-year history.

Frank Cappabianca e-mailed us the information that his grandfather Frank Machnig spent some time as a POW at Dachau after he was captured by the Germans following the D-Day invasion.

Prisoners at Dachau and the other Nazi concentration camps wore badges which indicated their classification. Most of the prisoners at Dachau wore a red triangle to indicate that they were political prisoners. German criminals in the camp wore a green triangle.

The political prisoners at Dachau were the Resistance fighters from many countries which Germany had conquered, but there were also German Resistance fighters, according to a book entitled “That was Dachau” by former Dachau inmate Stanislav Zámecník

The following quote is from “That was Dachau” by Stanislav Zámecník

The anti-Hitler movement inside Germany, which included German communists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, was the largest indigenous resistance movement of any country during the whole war. Only in Germany was an attempt made to assassinate their leader. Around 800,000 were sent to prison at one time or another for active resistance to the regime. While the western allies did all in their power to help other resistance movements, ie in France and the Netherlands, they did nothing to help or encourage the movement in Germany which in all probability could have ended the war sooner. But the Allies were intent on unconditional surrender and refused to make any deals at all with Germans. Accordingly the Allies viewed all Germans as bad, not only Nazis.

Dachau was never a camp that was specifically intended for murdering the Jews; the Nazi plan was to consolidate all the Jews into ghettos, from which they were later sent to the death camps. German Jews were sent to the Lodz ghetto in what is now Poland where they worked in factories until 1944; those who could no longer work were sent to the Chelmno death camp. In 1942, the Jews who were still living in Germany were sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto in what is now the Czech Republic and from there to the gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In January 1941, Dachau was designated a Class I camp and Buchenwald became a Class II camp; Mauthausen and Gusen in Austria were the only Class III camps in the Nazi system. The Class I designation meant that treatment of the inmates was less harsh and that prisoners had a better chance of being released. Dachau was the best of the Nazis camps, as far as the treatment of the prisoners was concerned.

According to testimony given at the Nuremberg IMT, approximately 150 Dachau inmates were forced to participate in medical experiments conducted by Dr. Sigmund Rascher for the German Air Force, and about half of them died as a result. The subjects for these experiments were allegedly German “professional criminals” and Soviet POWs who were Communist Commissars, sentenced to be executed on the orders of Adolf Hitler. One Jew, who had been condemned to death for breaking the law against race mixing, was used in these experiments.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Schilling, a renowned expert on malaria, was persuaded to come out of retirement in order to conduct medical experiments on approximately 1,200 Dachau prisoners in an attempt to find a cure for malaria after German troops began fighting the Allies in North Africa. Hundreds died as a result of Dr. Schilling’s experiments, including a few who died from malaria and others who died from other diseases after being weakened by malaria. The subjects for the malaria experiments were the Catholic priests in the camp because they were not required to work, and would not be missed in the labor force if they died.

In February 1942, the Nazis began systematically rounding up all the Jews in Germany and the Nazi-occupied countries, and transporting them to what is now Poland or the area that is now Belarus, in a program of extermination, which had been planned at the Wannsee conference on January 20, 1942. The title of the conference was “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”

After the evacuation process began in February 1942, there were only a few Jews left in any of the camps in Germany, including Dachau. On April 29, 1945 when Dachau was liberated, there were 2,539 Jews in the main camp, including 225 women, according to the US Army census. Most of them had arrived only weeks or even days before, after they were evacuated from the Dachau sub-camps, mainly the Kaufering camps near Landsberg am Lech, where they had been forced to work in building underground factories for the manufacture of Messerschmitt airplanes.

In April 1942, at the same time that the Jews were being sent to the death camps in the East, a new brick building called Baracke X was planned for the Dachau camp. It was designed to house a homicidal gas chamber, disguised as a shower room, and four cremation ovens. The new Baracke X also has four disinfection gas chambers, designed to kill lice in clothing with the use of Zyklon-B, the same poison gas that was used to kill the Jews in the homicidal gas chambers at Majdanek and Auschwitz. The clothing was disinfected in all the Nazi camps in an attempt to prevent typhus which is spread by lice.

Construction on Baracke X began in July 1942, using the labor of the Catholic priests who were the only prisoners not forced to work in the factories at Dachau. The building was finished in 1943, but a sign that was put in the gas chamber in 1965 inexplicably informed tourists that this room was never used for gassing people. By May 2003, the sign was gone and a poster on the wall of the undressing room next to the gas chamber said that the gas chamber “could have been used” to kill prisoners.

The Dachau museum mentions in one of its displays that 3,166 “terminally ill” prisoners were transported from Dachau to Hartheim Castle near Linz, Austria where they were murdered in a gas chamber there, beginning in February 1942.

A letter from Dr. Sigmund Rascher to Heinrich Himmler, the head of all the concentration camps, which makes a reference to a facility like the one at Hartheim which the Nazis were planning to build at Dachau, is the best proof that the fake shower room in Baracke X was actually a gas chamber. A copy of this letter was displayed in the gas chamber building in May 2001, but it was later moved to the Dachau Museum.

When the death camps in what is now Poland had to be abandoned, as the Soviet troops advanced westward, the Jewish survivors were brought back to Germany and crowded into camps such as Bergen-Belsen and Dachau, which did not have enough room to accommodate them properly.

Typhus, transmitted by body lice, which had been prevalent in the ghettos and death camps in occupied Poland throughout the war, now spread to the concentration camps in Germany. After January 1945, conditions in all of Germany and Austria, including the concentration camps, became intolerable due to the chaos caused by the intensive Allied bombing of civilian areas in all the major cities.

Just west of the concentration camp at Dachau, a large SS army garrison was set up in 1936 on the grounds of the former gunpowder factory. This facility, which was four or five times the size of the Dachau prison camp, included an officers’ training school where German SS soldiers were educated to be administrators. Some of the famous graduates of this school were Adolf Eichmann, who became the head of Hitler’s Race and Resettlement office, and Rudolf Hoess, the infamous Commandant of Auschwitz, who confessed that 2.5 million Jews had been gassed while he was in charge there, from May 1940 through November 1943.

Beginning in 1936, most of the old gunpowder factory buildings were torn down and the prisoners were forced to build a new camp with 34 barrack buildings, a gate house and a large service building. Two rows of poplar trees were planted along a main camp road; the service building and all the barrack buildings had flower beds in front of them.

Also in 1936, a new camp called Sachsenhausen was built to replace the former “wild camp” that had been set up in an abandoned brewery in Oranienburg in 1933. The camp in the old brewery was the place where the famous “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign was first erected. When the new Dachau gate house was finished in June 1936, this slogan was put on the iron gate. The words mean “work will set you free.” According to Rudolf Hoess, who was on the Dachau staff in 1936, the slogan meant that work sets one free in the spiritual sense, not literally.

The existence of the Dachau concentration camp was far from a secret; visitors were frequently brought to the camp and given a tour in the years before World War II started, including some American prison officials. Heinrich Himmler even brought his small daughter, Gudrun, to visit the Dachau camp.

Himmler had a college degree in Agriculture and was interested in the health movement which began in Germany. He established a large farm just outside the Dachau camp where some of the prisoners worked. According to this news story, experiments were done on the farm to find out why potatoes had become so vulnerable to pests and early decay. Herbs were grown for use as medicine and vitamins were extracted from plants.

Fermented blackberry and raspberry leaves from the Dachau farm were used to create German tea, reducing dependency on imports. Work was done on growing German pepper and gladioli flowers were grown in great quantities for their vitamin C. The gladioli leaves were dried and pulverized, then combined with a mixture of spices, beef fat and cooking salt to make a food supplement for SS soldiers.

Himmler was way ahead of his time in his knowledge of plants that could be used as medicine; he planted fields of primroses in a first attempt to extract evening primrose oil for use as medication.

On the Dachau farm, there were herds of cows in 1,850 acres of pastures, tended by up to 800 inmates, whose task was to gather the dung for testing in the camp gardens. A special compost was devised to speed the growth of healing herbs, and there were also experiments using worms to improve the soil.

Beginning in 1943, a series of 123 sub-camps were set up near the Dachau main camp. The worst of these sub-camps were the 11 camps near Landsberg am Lech, which were named Kaufering I – XI; Kaufering was the name of the railroad station where the prisoners arrived by train. Beginning on June 18, 1944, Hungarian Jews from the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau were brought to the Kaufering camps to work on construction of underground factories where airplanes were to be built.

By March 9, 1945, a total of 28,838 prisoners had been brought to Dachau and then transferred to the 11 Landsberg sub-camps. Approximately 14,500 prisoners died in these camps. In April 1945, the Kaufering camps were evacuated, except for the Kaufering IV camp where sick prisoners were left behind. Kaufering IV was liberated by American soldiers two days before the main camp was liberated.

According to a book published by the US Seventh Army immediately after the war, entitled “Dachau Liberated, The Official Report by The U.S. Seventh Army,” there was a total of 29,138 Jews brought to Dachau from other camps between June 20, 1944 and November 23, 1944. This report says the Jews were brought to Dachau to be executed and that they were gassed in the gas chamber disguised as a shower room and also in the four smaller gas chambers, which were designed to be disinfection chambers. The report also says that 16,717 non-Jewish, German prisoners were executed at Dachau between October 1940 and March 1945.

On April 26, 1945, three days before the camp was liberated, there were 30,442 prisoners counted during roll call. On that same day, 1,759 Jews were put onto a train and evacuated, on the orders of Heinrich Himmler. Then 6,887 other Dachau prisoners, half of them Jews and half of them Russian POWs, were marched in the direction of the South Tyrol.

There were an additional 37,223 prisoners counted in the sub-camps near Dachau on April 26, 1945, the date of the last roll call. According to the US Army Report, there were approximately 7,000 prisoners who arrived at Dachau after April 26, 1945 who were not registered in the camp. They were prisoners from the sub-camps who had been evacuated to the main camp. One group of prisoners from a subcamp arrived on April 28th, escorted by Otto Moll, a notorious SS man who had formerly worked in the Auschwitz death camp.

Due to horrific overcrowding and the spread of contagious diseases brought from what is now Poland by new arrivals who had been evacuated from the death camps, the number of recorded deaths at Dachau in the last four chaotic months of the war jumped to 13,158. After the camp was liberated by the US Seventh Army on April 29, 1945, an additional 2,226 prisoners died from disease in the month of May and 196 more died in June.

The total number of deaths in the first five months of 1945 was almost half the total deaths in the 12-year history of the camp. The death rate in the other Nazi concentration camps also rose dramatically in the last months of the war, as the typhus epidemic spread throughout Germany. American POWs in German camps were saved from the epidemic by booster shots of typhus vaccine sent to them from America by the International Red Cross. The Germans were conducting experiments at the Buchenwald camp in an effort to develop a vaccine for typhus, but had not been successful. After the war, the doctors who had attempted to develop a typhus vaccine at Buchenwald were put on trial as war criminals at Nuremberg in the Doctor’s Trial conducted by Americans.

By October 1944, there was a shortage of coal in all of Germany and the dead could no longer be cremated. A new cemetery was opened on a hill north of the camp, called Leitenberg, where the last Dachau victims were buried in unmarked mass graves. Ashes of earlier unknown victims are buried in the area north of the new crematorium. Markers were placed on the sites of the mass graves of ashes between 1950 and 1964.

On April 28, 1945, the day before the liberation of the camp, Dachau citizens joined with escaped prisoners from the camp in an uprising led by Georg Scherer, a former prisoner who had been released, but was still working in a factory at the Dachau complex. Their attempt to take control of the town of Dachau failed; 3 of the prisoners and 4 of the locals were killed in a battle that took place in front of the Dachau town hall. Georg Scherer survived and later became the mayor of Dachau.

On April 29, 1945, Dachau became the second major Nazi concentration camp to be liberated by American troops, after Buchenwald was liberated on April 11, 1945 by the 6th Armored Division of General George S. Patton’s Third Army.

The last Commandant of the Dachau Concentration Camp was Wilhelm Eduard Weiter, who replaced Martin Gottfried Weiss on November 1, 1943; Weiss was transferred to the Majdanek death camp in Poland.

Eduard Weiter left the Dachau camp on April 26, 1945 with a prisoner transport to the Schloss Itter, a subcamp of Dachau in Austria. Weiter shot himself at Schloss Itter on May 6, 1945, according to Johannes Tuchel who wrote about The Commandants of the Dachau Concentration Camp in his book: Dachau and the Nazi Terror II, 1933-1945.

In May 1944, Martin Gottfried Weiss was appointed the department head of the Office Group D in the SS Main Office of Economic Administration (WVHA) at Oranienburg. That same year, Weiss became the commander of the five sub-camps of Dachau at Mühldorf; when the Mühldorf prisoners were evacuated and brought to the main camp in the Spring of 1945, Weiss returned to Dachau. Fourteen members of the staff at Mühldorf were put on trial at Dachau from April 1 through May 13, 1947 in the case of US vs. Franz Auer et al.

On April 28, 1945, Martin Gottfried Weiss escaped from the Dachau camp along with most of the regular guards; he had been the highest ranking SS officer and the acting Commandant for two days before the camp was liberated by the US Seventh Army on April 29, 1945.

Weiss had previously been the Commandant of the Neuengamme concentration camp from 1940 to 1942. From September 1942 until the end of October 1943, Weiss was the Commandant of Dachau. During his time as the Commandant of Dachau, some of the worst atrocities had occurred, including the building of the gas chamber and the medical experiments conducted for the German air force. In spite of this, several former prisoners testified in his defense when he was put on trial at Dachau in the first American Military Tribunal in November 1945.

Martin Gottfried Weiss should not be confused with another man named Martin Weiss, who was named by one of the prosecution witnesses at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal as the man that he saw killing Jews in Vilna, Lithuania in 1941. Martin Gottfried Weiss was the Commandant at Neuengamme during that time.

On April 29, 1945, SS 2nd Lt. Heinrich Wicker surrendered the camp to the 42nd Rainbow Division of the US Seventh Army, which had found the camp on its way to take the city of Munich, 18 kilometers to the south. Accompanied by Red Cross representative Victor Maurer, 2nd Lt. Wicker surrendered the Dachau concentration camp to Brigadier General Henning Linden, commander of the 42nd Rainbow Division, under a white flag of truce. The 45th Thunderbird Division of the US Seventh Army also participated in the liberation of Dachau, arriving at the nearby SS garrison before the 42nd Division approached the installations’s main entrance on the south side of the Dachau complex where 2nd Lt. Wicker was waiting to surrender the camp.

Before reaching the concentration camp, the 45th Thunderbird Division had discovered an abandoned train, with no engine, on a branch railroad line which at that time ran from the Dachau station along Freisinger Street in the direction of the camp. Inside the 39 train cars were the corpses of prisoners who had been evacuated from Buchenwald on April 7, 1945 and, because of heavy bombing and strafing by Allied planes in the last days of the war, had not reached Dachau until three weeks later, two days before the American soldiers arrived.

Most of the regular SS guards and the administrative staff had fled from the camp the next day and there was no one left to oversee the burial of the bodies. No precise figures are available, but the train had started out with approximately 4,500 to 6,000 prisoners on board and between 1,300 and 2,600 had made it to Dachau still alive. Some of the dead had been buried along the way, or left in rows alongside the tracks. The gruesome sight of the death train, with some of the corpses in the open cars riddled by bullets, so affected the young soldiers of the 45th Thunderbird Division that they executed Waffen-SS soldiers stationed at the Dachau garrison after they had surrendered.

SS soldiers in guard tower B on the west side of the concentration camp were ordered to come down and were then shot by the American liberators, even though the tower was flying the white flag of surrender and the guards in Tower A had already surrendered without incident.

After the regular guards had escaped from the camp on the day before the liberation, 128 SS soldiers who had been imprisoned in a special wing of the Dachau bunker were released and ordered to serve as guards until the Americans arrived to take over the camp. 2nd Lt. Wicker had stayed behind when the other guards escaped because his mother was staying at the Dachau garrison, visiting him. Wicker’s mother reported him missing after the war, and it is presumed that he was killed after he surrendered the camp to the Americans.

Prisoners in the camp were given guns by some of the liberators and were allowed to shoot or beat to death 40 of the German guards while American soldiers looked on. The German Sheppard guard dogs were shot in their kennels. The bodies of some the dead SS soldiers were later buried in unmarked graves inside the garrison, after their dog tags had been removed; their families were not notified of their deaths. Some of the bodies of the executed SS soldiers were burned in the ovens in the crematorium at Dachau.

Upon entering the camp after the surrender, the American liberators, and the news reporters accompanying them, were horrified to discover over 900 dying prisoners in the infirmary barracks. According to the court testimony of the camp doctor, as many as 400 prisoners were dying of disease each day in the final days before the liberation.

Accompanied by Communist political prisoners, who served as guides, the Americans toured the prison camp and were shown the building, just outside the barbed wire enclosure, which housed the homicidal gas chamber disguised as a shower room. The Americans heard eye-witness accounts from Dachau survivors who said that prisoners had been gassed to death in the fake shower room; they also heard stories of how prisoners had been shoved into the crematory ovens while still alive. Bodies of fully-clothed dead inmates were found piled inside the new crematorium building and many more naked corpses were piled up outside. Outside the disinfection chambers, there was a huge pile of clothing waiting to be fumigated with Zyklon-B gas pellets.

There were no charges of killing prisoners in a gas chamber brought against the accused in the proceedings against the staff members of the Dachau camp, which were conducted by an American Military Tribunal at Dachau in November 1945, although a film of the gas chamber was shown at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal on November 29, 1945, while the Dachau tribunal was in progress. This documentary film was taken by the Allies, under the direction of famed Hollywood director George Stevens; it showed the pipes through which the gas flowed into the gas chamber and the control wheels which regulated the flow of gas that came out of the shower heads.

The top Nazis on trial at Nuremberg were stunned and claimed that they were hearing about the Dachau gas chamber for the first time. Some of the footage from this film is currently being shown at the Dachau Museum, although in May 2003, the staff at the Memorial Site was telling visitors that the Dachau gas chamber had actually been designed so that the introduction of poison gas was done by pouring Zyklon-B pellets onto the floor of the gas chamber through two chutes on the outside wall of the building.

Several of the “special prisoners” in the bunker were shot just before the camp was liberated, including Dr. Sigmund Rascher, who had formerly conducted experiments on condemned prisoners in the camp for the German Air Force. Dr. Rascher had been arrested and imprisoned in Munich after it was learned that he had illegally adopted two children and told everyone that these were his own children.

Georg Elser, who was imprisoned at Dachau as a suspect in the attempted assassination of Hitler on November 8, 1939, was allegedly shot around the time that an Allied bomb hit the camp on April 9, 1945 and his death was blamed on the bombing. General Charles Delestraint, a Dachau prisoner who had been the leader of the French Secret Army in the Resistance, was allegedly executed at Dachau on April 19, 1945, although no execution order from Berlin was ever found. Four female British SOE agents were also allegedly executed Dachau, although the execution order was never found.

After the German surrender on May 7, 1945, the American Army took over the barracks of the SS garrison and set up a command post called Eastman which they occupied until 1973. On the orders of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, all available American soldiers were brought to Dachau so that they could be eye-witnesses to the existence of the homicidal gas chamber, disguised as a shower room.

Many of the naked corpses found in the camp were left out until May 13, two weeks after the liberation, so that American Congressmen, newspaper reporters and as many American soldiers as possible could view the horror. Thirty male citizens from the town of Dachau were brought to the camp and forced to view the rotting corpses, even though the typhus epidemic was still raging in the camp, and the Germans had not been vaccinated.

Young boys of the Hitler Youth were brought to see the dead bodies on the train. Mutilated corpses of SS guards, who had been killed by the Americans after discovering the train, were lying nearby. Before the corpses in the camp were finally given a decent burial, the stench could be smelled up to a mile away, according to the American liberators. When the bodies of the typhus victims were finally taken to the cemetery on a hill called Leitenberg for burial by the citizens of Dachau, the horse-drawn wagons had to be driven slowly though the town, on the orders of the American military, so that the town’s people would be forced to confront the horror of what the Nazis had done.

Rabbi Eli Bohnen was the Jewish Chaplain of the 42nd Rainbow Division; he arrived at Dachau on April 30, 1945 along with Rabbi David Max Eichhorn of the US Army XV Corps, who conducted the first Shabbat at Dachau on May 5, 1945.

After the liberation of Dachau, the commanding officer of the Rainbow division, Major General Harry J. Collins, made sure that the Jewish survivors were taken care of properly. Some of the Jewish survivors were given private housing in homes in the town of Dachau after their owners had been evicted. In some cases, the home owners were allowed to live in the attic of their homes, but they were forbidden to remove any of the linens, china or silverware, which had to be left for the use of the new occupants. A few of the Jewish survivors settled in Dachau permanently after the war.

In the first few days after the liberation, the town’s people were forced to scrounge for food and deliver it to the camp inmates. The two bakeries in Dachau had to deliver wagon loads of bread for the starving inmates. Major General Collins, with the help of Rabbi Bohnen, made sure that the former Jewish inmates of Dachau received the best rations, including kosher foods.

All of the food in the army warehouse of the SS garrison was given to the inmates, although there was a food shortage also in the town of Dachau. There were 1,268 prisoners, who died after the liberation, that were buried in individual graves by the Dachau residents at Waldfriedhof, the town cemetery, on the orders of the US Army.

The liberated inmates had to be kept in the camp until the typhus epidemic could be brought under control. The Americans used DDT, a new insecticide not being used in Germany, to kill the lice in the camp. When the epidemic ended, the concentration camp was immediately turned into War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 for 30,000 Germans who had been arrested as war criminals and were awaiting trial by an American Military Tribunal. Most of them were released by 1948 for lack of evidence, although some were transferred to France for trial.

Former concentration camp inmates of Dachau and Displaced Persons from other camps were housed at the Dachau army garrison, next door to the concentration camp; they were fed by the American Army. Former inmates were paid to be prosecution witnesses in a series of American Military Tribunals that were held on the grounds of the Dachau complex, beginning in November 1945.

In the first proceeding of the American Military Tribunal at Dachau in November 1945, 36 of the 40 accused staff members at Dachau were sentenced to death by hanging. Only 28 of the 36 condemned men were actually hanged.

The American Military Tribunal proceeding against the Waffen-SS soldiers who were accused of shooting American POWs at Malmédy was also held at Dachau, as were the proceedings against the accused guards and staff at the Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Flossenbürg and Nordhausen concentration camps. The proceedings against the infamous Ilse Koch, dubbed the “Bitch of Buchenwald” by the press, also took place in Dachau. As the wife of the Commandant at Buchenwald, she was accused of selecting tattooed prisoners to be killed by her alleged lover, Dr. Waldemar Hoven, so that their skin could be made into human lamp shades to decorate her home.

All of the Dachau proceedings were conducted by US Army Military Tribunals in which the accused were presumed to be guilty; most of the interrogators, prosecutors and judges were Jews, many of whom were foreign-born American citizens. After the Jewish interrogators in the Malmédy trial were accused of torturing the Waffen-SS soldiers into confessing, a Congressional investigation was conducted, and by December 1957, all of the convicted men in this case had been released.

Another Congressional investigation was conducted after General Lucius D. Clay commuted the sentence of Ilse Koch to time served. Gen. Clay claimed that the lamp shades, allegedly made from human skin, were actually made from goat skin.

Immediately after the war, Erich Preuss, a former Dachau prisoner, set up an exhibit in the crematory building, located just outside the barbed wire enclosure of the concentration camp. American soldiers stationed in Germany were brought to Dachau to see the gas chamber, which they were told had been used to murder innocent inmates of the concentration camp. Mannequins were used in a display that was set up to illustrate how the Dachau prisoners were punished on the whipping block. During this time, the former concentration camp itself was off limits to visitors because it was filled with accused German war criminals awaiting the proceedings of the American Military Tribunals at Dachau, and later by homeless German refugees.

The prisoner barracks at Dachau were renovated in 1948 and 5,000 refugees from Czechoslovakia, who were among the 12 to 18 million ethnic Germans that were expelled from their homes after the war, lived in the Dachau camp until 1964 when an organization of Communist camp survivors began demanding that they be removed so that a Memorial could be built in honor of the former concentration camp political prisoners.

A symbolic cornerstone for the International Memorial at Dachau had already been dedicated in 1956 by the International Committee of Dachau. The remaining 2,000 German refugees were moved in 1964 to Dachau East, a new suburb which was created for them.

The first Dachau Memorial building was erected in 1960; it is a Catholic chapel in honor of the priests who were imprisoned at Dachau, including Dr. Johannes Neuhäusler, a Bishop from Munich, who was arrested for objecting to the policies of the Nazi government. With Neuhäusler’s help, a Carmelite convent was opened in 1964 on the site of the gravel pit just outside the north wall of the camp; the convent has an entrance through one of the guard towers. In the same year, the dilapidated barracks buildings, by now vacated by the refugees, were torn down.

A Protestant Church and a Jewish Memorial were dedicated in 1967. The International Memorial with its poignant sculpture, designed by Yugoslavian artist Nandor Glid, was dedicated on September 8, 1968.

A Museum was opened in the Administration building on May 9, 1965, after the original museum was closed in 1953 due to protests by the Bavarian government.

New Museum exhibits were under construction for two years, starting in 2001, and the special section on “The Final Solution” was not open from 2001 to 2003; the Museum was expanded to include the West wing of the administration building. The Museum now tells the complete story of Dachau and there is no section on Auschwitz or other death camps.

An exhibit in the former camp prison, called the bunker, was formally dedicated on January 27, 2000.

In 1973, the American Army left the Dachau complex for good and the former SS garrison area was turned over to the Bavarian government. Most of the beautiful stone SS barracks buildings, which had been used by the U.S. Army for 28 years, have been torn down, and the site of the former SS installation is now being used by the Bavarian Police.

Eicke Plaza, which was a formal garden in front of the main entrance to the Dachau complex, is now a soccer field. New homes and apartments have been built directly behind the south wall of the former concentration camp. There are some nice new homes also built on the street that borders the former SS garrison.

The Memorial Site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays and admission is free. It is located east of the town of Dachau, which can be reached from the main train station in Munich in 20 minutes via S-Bahn train number 2 going towards Petershausen.

Until 2005, the entrance to the former camp was located at Alte Römerstrasse 75, a few yards north of where Alte Römerstrasse intersects Sudetenlandstrasse. In May 2005, the entrance was changed so that visitors now enter the camp through the original gate with the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign, on the west side of the camp, opposite the old entrance.

The first thing that visitors are told by their tour guides at Dachau is that the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign was put up to taunt the prisoners who had no chance of being set free because the policy of the Dachau camp was extermination through work. Actually, the Arbeit Macht Frei sign was only put on Class 1 camps where prisoners had a good chance of being released. Buchenwald was a Class II camp where the sign on the gate said “Jedem das Seine,” which means “To each his own.” Mauthausen was a Class III camp where the prisoners were designated “Return unwanted” and there was no sign at all.

Bus number 726 runs from the train station in Dachau directly to the Memorial Site, following the route along Freisinger Street, the same street on which prisoners, arriving on transports, were forced to walk 3 kilometers to the concentration camp.

One of the alleged survivors of Dachau is Martin Zaidenstadt, a Polish Jew born in 1911, who settled in the town of Dachau after the war and married a German woman. He lives in a very nice house in the heart of Old Town Dachau, and up until May 2003 he would come to the Memorial Site every day to talk with the tourists. As many American tourists learned, he expected a donation and would get angry if he was handed less than $20. Although Martin told the tourists that he was a prisoner at Dachau for 3 years before the camp was liberated, the staff at the Museum claims that there is no record of him being incarcerated there.

German students over the age of 12 are required to tour a concentration camp as part of the on-going education of the present generation of German citizens in the evil perpetrated by the Nazi regime over 60 years ago. German soldiers are also required to tour the former concentration camps. Most visitors associate Dachau with the death of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, although the majority of the inmates at Dachau were Catholics.

Few visitors to the camp bother to visit the town of Dachau which has grown from 13,000 residents in 1945 to 50,000 residents. Dachau is now multicultural and has a diverse population which includes many people who are not ethnic German. Older residents of Dachau are quick to point out that the majority of the people in the town did not vote for Hitler when he ran for President of Germany in 1932.

Dachauers have accepted the fact that their town will always be reviled as the home of the best-known Nazi concentration camp, but they are sometimes resentful that the town of Dachau is always associated with Nazi atrocities. They refer to the town itself as “the other Dachau.” They have pretty much given up trying to persuade tourists to visit the town, since the Holocaust is the only thing that attracts visitors to Dachau today.

December 8, 2017

naked game of tag in Nazi gas chamber

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 11:50 am
Game of naked tag filmed in Nazi death camp of Stutthof. (Screen capture/Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw)

Stutthof gas chamber tag

You can read about the naked games of tag in a Nazi gas chamber in this November 29th, 2017 news article in the Times of Israel:  https://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-groups-demand-poland-explain-naked-game-of-tag-in-nazi-gas-chamber/

I wrote about the naked games of tag on this previous blog post about an article on the same subject in the New York Post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/naked-tag-game-inside-nazi-gas-chamber/

The following quote is from a page on my web site:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/HungarianJews1.html

Begin quote

Nerin E. Gun was a Turkish journalist who was imprisoned at Dachau in 1944; his job was to take down the names and vital information from Hungarian Jewish women who were on their way to be gassed in the fake shower room in the Dachau crematorium.

In his book entitled “The Day of the Americans,” published in 1966, Gun wrote the following regarding his work at Dachau:

I belonged to the team of prisoners in charge of sorting the pitiful herds of Hungarian Jewesses who were being directed to the gas chambers. My role was an insignificant one: I asked questions in Hungarian and entered the answers in German in a huge ledger. The administration of the camp was meticulous. It wanted a record of the name, address, weight, age, profession, school certificates, and so on, of all these women who in a few minutes were to be turned into corpses. I was not allowed in the crematorium, but I knew from the others what went on in there.

Some of the Jews who were selected for slave labor were sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and its subcamps where they worked in German aircraft factories.

Others were sent to the Stutthof camp near Danzig, according to Martin Gilbert, who wrote the following in his book entitled “Holocaust”:

On June 17 Veesenmayer telegraphed to Berlin that 340,142 Hungarian Jews had now been deported. A few were relatively fortunate to be selected for the barracks, or even moved out altogether to factories and camps in Germany.

On June 19 some 500 Jews, and on June 22 a thousand, were sent to work in factories in the Munich area. […] Ten days later, the first Jews, 2500 women, were deported from Birkenau to Stutthof concentration camp. From Stutthof, they were sent to several hundred factories in the Baltic region. But most Jews sent to Birkenau continued to be gassed.

According to the Museum at the former Theresienstadt ghetto in what is now the Czech Republic, there were 1,150 Hungarian Jews sent to Theresienstadt and 1,138 of them were still there on May 9, 1945.

Other prominent Jews that were sent to Theresienstadt were transferred to Auschwitz in October 1944, including the famous psychiatrist Victor Frankl from Austria, who was not registered in Auschwitz, but was transferred again, after three days in the Birkenau camp, to Dachau and then sent to the Kaufering III sub-camp.

The Jews who were neither gassed nor registered at Auschwitz upon arrival, but instead were transferred to a labor camp, were called Durchgangsjuden because they were held in a transit camp in the Mexico section of the Birkenau camp for a short time.

End quote

 

 

November 11, 2017

Holocaust survivor Steve Ross is back in the news

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 11:00 am

You can read about Holocaust survivor Steve Ross in this recent news article: http://www.wbur.org/radioboston/2017/11/09/holocaust-steve-ross

Begin quote from news article:

Steve Ross was just 9 years old when he was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.

Over the next five years, he was starved, beaten, experimented on, forced into labor, and terrorized at 10 different death camps. He escaped death by hiding in human waste in an outhouse and by holding onto the axle of a train as it went to another death camp.

On April 29, 1945, American soldiers liberated Dachau. Some 30,000 Holocaust survivors were freed. Ross was among them. As he walked away from the camp, he came upon a U.S. army lieutenant, sitting on a tank, eating food. What happened next transformed Ross’ life.

“After I was rescued from hell, in the valley of death, I came upon a soldier on a tank that showed me compassion for the first time, concern, and took me back to God to civilization and mankind,” Ross often tells people. “He gave me his food, he puts his arm around me, and he he gave me a flag.”

That encounter also set Ross on a path that eventually lead to Dorchester, and his work with at-risk youth in Boston, trying to ensure that such evil was never forgotten.

His story is told in a new documentary, “Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross,” which premiers Friday at Coolidge Corner Theatre.

End quote from news article

I wrote about Steve Ross on my scrapbookpages.com website several years ago.

The following information is from my website:

Steve Ross is allegedly the boy on the far left in the photo above

The young boy on the far left in the photograph above is Stephen Ross, a 14-year-old Jewish orphan from Poland, who said that he had survived 10 different concentration camps in 5 years before he was liberated at Dachau by American soldiers. Standing next to Steve Ross is Juda Kukieda, the son of Mordcha Mendel and Ruchla Sta.

According to the book “Dachau 29 April 1945, the Rainbow Liberation Memoirs,” edited by Sam Dann, Stephen Ross (real name Szmulek Rozental) was one of the lucky few who was rescued in the nick of time when Dachau was liberated. Ross was interviewed for the book and according to his own story, he was one of the 1,800 prisoners who were crowded into one quarantine barrack, which was designed to hold only about a hundred prisoners.

Ross said that the prisoners in the quarantine barrack had not been fed for two weeks before the Seventh Army arrived. Food was scarce, and according to Ross, the prisoners were fed only occasionally when they were given “a biscuit, hard as a rock and covered with mold.”

From the quarantine block, Ross said that 80 to 100 prisoners a day were carried out and put on the pile of dead bodies near the barbed wire fence, from where they were taken to the crematory.

According to Ross, the quarantine block was where the German SS Doctors Sigmund Rascher and Klaus Schilling selected prisoners for their ghastly experiments. The doctors “removed thirty to forty prisoners on a daily basis for experiments” according to Ross.

Ross said that he “had been isolated in quarantine for experiments since 1944.” On the day of liberation, Ross made his way to the main gate, although he “was very weak and hardly able to walk.” With the help of his brother, who was also in the camp, Ross made it to the front of the crowd and was included in one of the most famous photographs of the liberation, shown at the top of this page.

After the liberation of Dachau, Ross had to stay in the camp until the typhus epidemic was brought under control. When he was released, he made his way to Munich where he was hospitalized for 6 months and treated for tuberculosis. He was then sent to a Displaced Persons camp for orphans at a former forced labor camp in Landsberg am Lech, near Munich. Finally, he was brought to America where he was able to recover his health.

Stephen Ross is the founder of The New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston.

 

November 10, 2017

Young students can learn about the Holocaust by playing video games

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 1:31 pm

You can read all about it in this news article: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/249092/call-of-duty-and-the-holocaust

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

Released last week, the game, a first-person shooter set in Europe’s killing fields, goes to great lengths to give players the feeling that they’re experiencing a slightly quicker-paced interactive version of a Ken Burns documentary. From D-Day to the Battle of the Bulge, a small band of brothers, American soldiers all, bond as they shoot Nazis by the dozens, making for a game that prides itself as much on its character development and attention to detail as it does its smooth mechanics and great graphics.

Which leaves us, alas, with the question of the Holocaust.

As a serious-minded game, Call of Duty: WWII cannot afford to skip the question of Nazi atrocities. Previous games, although not too many, have tackled the same subject, usually making the horror more palatable by adding fantastical elements to the plot. Cruelty, as titles like 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order proved, is easier to stomach when perpetrated by Nazi robots that remind you with every overwrought metallic movement that you’re only playing a silly game. The new Call of Duty is made of sturdier stuff, and as it heads to its conclusion, it enters a concentration camp, determined to keep the same somber and realistic tone it has sustained from the start.

End quote

I wrote about Auschwitz on my website BEFORE I became a Holocaust denier, which means that my website is kosher, and completely devoid of Holocaust denial.

You can read the kosher version of the Holocaust on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz02.html

It was only after I began visiting the Holocaust sites that I became a Holocaust denier. One of the reasons that I became a denier is that I had actually seen a gas chamber in Jefferson City, Missouri, when I was 11 years old, so I knew what a gas chamber was supposed to look like.

I knew that a gas chamber could not have a door with a glass window in it, which could easily be broken by the victims who were being gassed.

Gas pellets were allegedly put into Dachau gas chamber through this opening

The news article continues with this quote:

Begin quote

What if Call of Duty had allowed us, instead of shooting mindlessly at every German soldier we see, to capture a few of the concentration camp’s guards and then decide whether they deserved fair treatment as prisoners of war or brisk and violent retribution for their hideous crimes? And what if the game took just a bit more of a risk and infused its narrative with, say, interviews with witnesses and survivors? Another stellar indie game, recently released, does just that: Called Attentat 1942, it looks at the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia by weaving together archival footage, testimonies from civilians who lived under German occupation, interactive comics, and other innovative forms that make gameplay not only entertaining but edifying.

In video games, then, like in cinema, the future seems bittersweet, with a glut of big and loud titles that numb the eye, the mind, and the soul interspersed with a few daring exceptions that help us ponder the question great art has always addressed, which is: What does it mean to be human?

End quote

 

August 7, 2017

Why Holocaust denial is against the law in some countries

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 10:57 am

You can read an answer on Quora about why “Holocaust denial” is against the law in some countries: https://www.quora.com/Why-is-holocaust-denial-a-crime-in-some-countries

The following quote is from the answer:

Begin quote

Clearly criminalising holocaust denial is against free speech.  Equally clearly, some countries have made a decision that free speech is not a be all and end all, but must be balanced against the other rights of the people in their society.

The countries that have laws making holocaust denial a crime are almost entirely those that were directly affected*: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania

The European Union also has a Framework Decision for Combating Racism and Xenophobia** by which signatories agree to criminalise inciting violence or hatred, against race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin, condoning, denying or grossly trivialising genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Although full implementation was blocked by the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries.

In addition several of the countries with laws criminalising holocaust denial, and several other countries, have more generic laws preventing either usage of Nazi symbols or denial of crimes against humanity.

Many of these countries:

  • feel the right not to be subjected to racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism is more important than the right to free speech
  • limit speech in other ways, such as banning hate speech.
  • have other laws designed to suppress any potential revival of Nazism

End quote

There is an easy way to stop people from denying the Holocaust: Don’t let anyone see the former concentration camps. Especially, don’t let anyone see the alleged gas chambers.

Seeing the alleged gas chambers was what put me on the Road to Denial. Of course, I had one advantage: I had seen a real gas chamber in Jefferson City, MO. I knew that a gas chamber requires a high smoke stack to get rid of the gas fumes. So when I saw the alleged gas chamber at Dachau, I said to myself: “Something wrong!” There was no high smoke stack.

 

Older Posts »