Scrapbookpages Blog

November 15, 2015

“Brennt Paris?” (Is Paris burning?) Did Hitler really say this?

Filed under: TV shows, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:09 am
After Germany conquered France, Hitler visited the Eifel tower

After Germany conquered France, Hitler visited the Eiffel tower

Until today, I had always thought that Hitler had given orders not to destroy Paris, after the Germans conquered France during World War II.

Today, I was watching Fox News, when I heard some news about the attack in Paris last night. I heard a reporter say that Hitler had famously said “Is Paris burning?”

I rushed to my computer to look it up.  I found this quote on Wikipedia:

A popular account holds that Hitler phoned [Dietrich Hugo Hermann] von Choltitz a week later at his headquarters in the Hôtel Meurice, in a rage, screaming, “Brennt Paris?” (“Is Paris burning?”)[5] By another account, the question was addressed to Hitler’s Chief of Staff, Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, on 25 August at the Wolf’s Lair: “Jodl, is Paris burning?”[6]

I also found the following information at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_von_Choltitz

General der Infanterie Dietrich Hugo Hermann von Choltitz (9 November 1894 – 4 November 1966) was a German career military officer who served in the Imperial German Army during World War I and the Wehrmacht during World War II. He is chiefly remembered for his role as the last commander of Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, wherein he disobeyed Hitler’s orders to level the city, but instead surrendered it to Free French forces.[1][2] He was hailed in many contemporary accounts as the “Saviour of Paris” for not allowing it to be destroyed.

Von Choltitz later asserted that his defiance of Hitler’s direct order stemmed from its obvious military futility, his affection for the French capital’s history and culture, and the realization that Hitler had by then become completely insane.

After France surrendered in World War II, the French continued to fight in the French Resistance.  I wrote about this on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Natzweiler/History/FrenchResistance.html

The following quote is from my website:

The French resistance fighters blew up bridges, derailed trains, directed the British in the bombing of German troop trains, kidnapped and killed German army officers, and ambushed German troops. They took no prisoners, but rather killed any German soldiers who surrendered to them, sometimes mutilating their bodies for good measure. The Nazis referred to them as “terrorists.”

The fact that the French continued to fight, during World War II, as illegal combatants might be what angered Hitler to the point where he wanted to burn Paris.

This quote is also from my website:

In the days immediately following the Normandy invasion, the FFI, or the French Forces of the Interior, became a French Army under the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) commanded by General Eisenhower, who unilaterally informed the Germans that the French resistance fighters were to be regarded as legal combatants. Eisenhower authorized a French combat division to be commanded by General Jacques-Philippe Leclerc. This division was called the 2nd Armored Division, but it was more commonly known as Division Leclerc. De Gaulle contacted the Communist resistance in Paris and unilaterally informed them that Division Leclerc would be the liberators of Paris.

Meanwhile, Hitler was holed up in his Berlin bunker and he had seemingly gone mad; he ordered the destruction of Paris rather than surrender it to the Allies. His generals ignored this order and Paris was saved.

Eisenhower had finally agreed that the 2nd Armored Division should lead the liberation of Paris with the US Fourth Infantry Division providing backup. Paris was liberated on August 25, 1944; Charles de Gaulle rode into Paris in triumph, holding up his arms, spread wide in a V for victory sign.

October 31, 2015

An interesting and important subject for discussion

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:43 am
German boy looks at the bomb damage in Nuremberg, Jan. 1945

German boy looks at the bomb damage in Nuremberg, Jan. 1945

Nurenberg Germany January 1945 (Click to enlarge)

Nurenberg Germany January 1945 (Click to enlarge)

Wolf Murmelstein, one of the regular readers of my blog, has offered a subject for discussion.  I am astounded at the knowledge of history, shown by the readers of my blog in the comments section, so I am looking forward to the comments on the following essay, written by Wolf Murmelstein:

To furtherglory, Hermie and other readers of this blog:

In various comments here, the question about the post World War II and Holocaust trials has been brought up, so I am answering all of them here.

From personal experience and from historical research, I admit that some of those trials were driven by political rivalries for positions or interest to prevent some really informed person from giving evidence concerning many wrong doings and enunciations by careless talk, appropriations of Jewish owned assets, etc. which occurred during World II and the Holocaust.

Another chapter refers to the interest of the Communist parties to weaken the middle class in the countries where they rose into power, so said by Clement Gottwald on April 10, 1945 in a speech to party activists at Kosice.

At Theresienstadt that day, we were still in danger of being killed in a mass shooting.

So, in the East, as well as in the West, the Communist parties enlisted former Nazis and Fascists, and many of them were able to avoid trial for their wrongdoing, as long as they obeyed party orders.

When there had not been any political interest, many accusations leading to Judiciary investigations had been found baseless and due to hysteria and the persecution complex of traumatized persons. Stating this, the judge could avoid starting procedures for slander.

In many trials, the statements of the defendants would have been precious historical documents.

I am quoting from memory, but I could find many other examples:

1. Herr Groening had been employed in sorting the money and jewels of the victims. In this way, he avoided being sent to the battlefront in the East.
2 . Herr Demjanjuk stated in a Munich court that he had had a choice: Enlisting in the SS auxiliaries  or starving.

3. In the Auschwitz trial, it had been stated by a defendant that selection started only after the train with the police escort had left the station; this was clearly done for better secrecy.

At Nuremberg, Papen was acquitted by a German court for his high responsibilities for the Nazi rise to power.

This subject deserves better analysis and research, so I hope that this essay will generate some discussion.

October 29, 2015

Irish Holocaust denier sentenced to 5 months in jail

This man was sentenced to 5 months in jail for

Dermot Mulqueen was sentenced to 5 months in jail for “performance art” related to the Holocaust

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full here.

Sentencing Mr Mulqueen, Judge Durcan said that Mr Mulqueen “may have a view and an interpretation of history, but it is an historical fact that the Holocaust was the greatest crime perpetrated against a section of mankind in the history of mankind”.

Does Ireland have a law against Holocaust denial?  Not that I know of, but what difference does that make?  Judge Durcan has decreed that the Holocaust is a historical fact.

The news article continues with this quote:

[Dermot Mulqueen’s attorney] Mr Moylan said that his client “was taken aback” to be arrested in the first place. He said that his client is single with no children, has no previous convictions and is currently on social welfare after previously working in Dublin as a taxi-driver.

In his statement to Gardai, Mr Mulqueen said: “I found out that the Holocaust was a hoax in August 2013 after coming across a video by David Cole on Auschwitz on YouTube.”

[David Cole is a famous Jewish Holocaust denier who had to go into hiding after he did his famous video.]

Mr Mulqueen told Gardai: “I am not a racist but I have found out that the Holocaust was a hoax and I wanted to highlight this so that other people would realise this.”

He said that “people are not aware that Jews declared war first on Germany in 1933” and that putting the axe through the TV was an act against “Zionist Holocaust brainwashing”.

He said: “I had no intention to harm any member of the public.” He confirmed to Gardai that he was not on any medication or suffering from any mental illness.

Mr Mulqueen said that the Nazis had no plans to exterminate the Jews but had a territorial final solution to move the Jews from German held territory “and I have problems with this Holocaust religion”.

In evidence, Mr Mulqueen told Judge Durcan: “I never realised you could get arrested for swinging any axe into your own TV.”

Mr Mulqueen said that the YouTube video he watched shows that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were actually a bomb shelter converted into a gas chamber after WWII.

[The Nazis converted a crematorium at Auschwitz into a bomb shelter, and after the war, the Holocaustians converted the bomb shelter into a fake gas chamber. http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz08.html ]

Under cross examination from Insp Tom Kennedy, Mr Mulqueen said: “I wasn’t breaking the law – I was breaking a taboo. There was nothing threatening about what I did.”

End quote

The news article continues with this quote:

Begin quote:
Asked by Insp Kennedy did he realise how his ‘performance’ would be so offensive in his claim that the Holocaust was a hoax, Mr Mulqueen replied: “There is a whole industry out there that have made a fortune out of putting forward the Holocaust hoax. The legal profession has made a fortune and it it offensive to all the people on the gravy train. The Germans never had a extermination final solution – they had a territorial final solution.”

In response to a plea by Mr Moylan to suspend the jail term, Judge Durcan refused by virtue of Mr Mulqueen’s behaviour.

End quote

In my humble opinion, this is a dangerous precedent.  A country that has no law against Holocaust denial is now preparing to send a man to jail for 5 months for expressing an opinion through performance art.

I previously blogged about what people will be required, by law, to believe if there is ever a Holocaust denial law passed in the USA:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/when-a-holocaust-denial-law-is-eventually-passed-in-america-what-will-us-citizens-be-required-to-believe/

October 17, 2015

How come Nazi war criminal Albert Speer got off with a slap on the wrist?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:41 am

Today, I am answering a question, posed in a comment on my blog, with a new post.

One of the regular readers of my blog asked this question:

“How come Speer got off with basically a slap on the wrist? Compared with the other top dogs in the company, that’s what it seemed like to me.”

I previously blogged about Albert Speer, three years ago, on this blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/did-albert-speer-really-design-the-nazi-gas-chambers/

This quote is from that blog post:

Way back in 1997, I purchased and read the book entitled Inside the Third Reich, Memoirs by Albert Speer in preparation for a trip to Germany during which I planned to visit Nuremberg and then the Dachau concentration camp.

I got out the book and decided to look through it to find out if Albert Speer really acknowledged that he had designed the Nazi gas chambers. Fortunately, his book has an extensive index, which I consulted before reading the book again. The book is 526 pages long, so Thank God, he included an index.

In checking the index of Speer’s Memoirs, I found the term “Gas warfare,” but not “gas chambers,” nor any other reference to gassing. In reading Speer’s book, back in 1997, I was struck by the fact that he was very proud of the structures that he had designed. Did he leave out any mention of the gas chambers in his Memoirs because he was not proud of designing them?

Near the end of his book, on page 523, Speer admitted his guilt as a war criminal. This quote is from Speer’s Memoirs:

Begin quote:

I had participated in a war, which as we of the intimate circle should never have doubted, was aimed at world domination. What is more, by my abilities and my energies, I had prolonged that war by many months. I had assented to having the globe of the world crown that domed hall which was to be the symbol of the new Berlin. Nor was it only symbolically that Hitler dreamed of possessing the globe. It was part of his dream to subjugate other nations. France, I had heard him say many times, was to be reduced to the status of a small nation. Belgium, Holland, even Burgundy, were to be incorporated into his Reich. The national life of the Poles and the Soviet Russians was to be extinguished; they were to made into helot peoples. Nor, for one who wanted to listen, had Hitler concealed his intention to exterminate the Jewish people. In his speech of January 30, 1939, he openly stated as much. Although I never actually agreed with Hitler on these questions, I had nevertheless designed the buildings and produced the weapons that served his ends.

End quote

Albert Speer

Albert Speer

October 16, 2015

Born Survivors at Mauthausen camp…it’s in the book

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:47 am

For the last few days, my blog posts about Mauthausen have been getting lots of hits, and I have been unable to determine why there is a sudden interest in Mauthausen, the only Class III camp in Nazi concentration camp system.

I have searched and searched the news, and finally I have learned what is going on:  The book entitled Born Survivors is being promoted anew.

Book about Holocaust suvivors who were born in the Mauthausen camp

Book about Holocaust survivors who were born in the Mauthausen concentration camp

You can read my previous blog post about the book at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/new-book-by-wendy-holden-tells-about-new-born-babies-who-survived-the-holocaust/

This quote is from the news article:

Begin quote:

The story starts in the [year] 1945. Mark Olsky’s mother was packed into a rail car that was headed to Mauthausen – a concentration camp in Austria. She knew death was waiting for her. While en route, she gave birth to Mark.

“They left Freiberg on April 12, 1945. They arrived at Mauthausen on April 29. The gas chambers at Mauthausen were operating until April 28. So, if that train would have made it in 15 or 16 days instead of 17 days, we would have just been crammed into the gas chamber and gassed,” said Olsky.

End quote from the news article

Wait a minute!  I don’t understand this.  Did those mean ole Nazis wait until just days before a concentration camp inmate was ready to give birth before sending her to a death camp to be gassed? Why wasn’t she gassed as soon as it became known that she was pregnant?

Mauthausen gas chamber had two doors into the room

Mauthausen gas chamber had two doors into the room

Continue reading the news article:

Begin quote:

Olsky is alive because of an American soldier who stumbled upon the concentration camp. Albert Kosiek and his men were responsible for checking the quality of bridges in Austria. Mauthausen was one of the last operational camps in Europe. The soldier’s son is now telling the story of how his father freed 40,000 prisoners – including Mark and his mother – with just 23 men.

“The way we learned about his story is he had written a letter to his mother explaining what he had found when he liberated the camp in Austria,” said Larry Kosiek. “That letter was then rewritten in the newsletter for the 11th armored division. It became one of their newsletters in 1953. So that’s about eight years later.”

Olsky was just three weeks old when he and his mother were freed because of Larry’s father. Olsky moved to the U.S. when he was a teen and eventually went on to become a doctor. For the last 30 years, he’s called Madison home.

End Quote

I wrote about Albert Kosiek and the liberation of Mauthausen on this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/the-liberation-of-mauthausen-may-5-1945/

This quote is from my previous blog post, cited above:

On May 5, 1945, the date usually given for the official liberation of the Mauthausen main concentration camp, a platoon of 23 men from the 11th Armored Division of the US Third Army, led by Staff Sgt. Albert J. Kosiek, arrived at the main camp near the town of Mauthausen. They were guided there by Louis Haefliger, a Red Cross representative in the camp, and two German soldiers, after first liberating the Gusen sub-camp, 6 kilometers to the west.

Haefliger had taken it upon himself to go out and find American soldiers fighting in the area. He brought them first to the Gusen sub-camp because of the rumors that Hitler had instructed Ernst Kaltenbrunner to give the order to kill all the prisoners by blowing them up in the underground tunnels of the munitions factories there.

After the prisoners in the Gusen sub-camp were released by the American liberators, fighting broke out among the inmates and over 500 of the prisoners were brutally killed by their fellow inmates, according to Sgt. Kosiek. The platoon of American soldiers was unable to control the released prisoners, so they left the Gusen camp and proceeded to the main camp, where the Communist prisoners were already organized into an International Committee that was ready to take control.

In my humble opinion, Albert Kosiek is being given too much credit for saving this mother and her baby.

This quote is from my previous blog post about the liberation of Mauthausen:

Robert Abzug wrote in his book, Inside the Vicious Heart, that after Commandant Franz Ziereis handed over the administration of the  Mauthausen camp on May 2, 1945 to a captain in the Vienna Police, leaving only a small group of SS men to help guard the camp, the prisoners organized resistance operations and began to sabotage the factories. But there was nothing the resistance movement in Mauthausen and the Gusen sub-camp could do about the lack of food, medicine and clothing in the camps. In the chaos of the final days of the war, the transportation system had broken down and everything was in short supply.

Abzug wrote that, until the American liberators arrived, “the camps festered in dirt and disease. Thousands of prisoners died. Conditions were especially appalling among the latest transported prisoners. These men and women had survived Auschwitz, Dachau and forced marches – only to perish at Mauthausen in the final week of the war.”

The pregnant women who arrived at Mauthausen in the last days of the war, had been in Auschwitz and other camps until they were marched out in order to save their lives.  Pregnant women were not taken to Mauthausen to be gassed in a gas chamber, which looks suspiciously like a shower room.

Sign on the wall of the Mauthausen gas chamber

Sign on the wall of the Mauthausen gas chamber tells how the gas chamber worked

Update 1:15 p.m. today

This quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.thelocal.at/20150327/doctor-71-sentenced-for-holocaust-denial

Begin quote:

A 71-year-old doctor from Upper Austria has been sentenced to one year’s house arrest for Holocaust denial.
On Thursday a jury at Linz Court unanimously agreed that a letter the doctor had sent to the local council and the administration of the Mauthausen concentration camp memorial site proved that he believed that the gas chambers and the systematic genocidal killing had been made up.

The man, from the Mühlviertel region, wrote that he became convinced after visiting the Mauthausen site that the gas chambers had never existed and that therefore the Holocaust “must be a lie made up by Zionist bankers, who are still up to their mischief in Israel and the ‘Arab Spring’”.
The defendant pleaded not guilty and said that he had only been trying to uncover the truth. He said that whilst he was at Mauthausen he noticed that there was no gas pipe leading to the gas chamber, and he could find no explanation of why this was so.

The head of the Mauthausen Memorial appeared as a witness and described in detail to the 71-year-old how SS men had removed the gas pipes shortly before the camp was liberated in 1945. He said that historic records proved this was the case, and that it was clearly visible that the area where the pipes had been had been plastered over.

End quote

So that’s what happened.  The gas pipes were removed from the Mauthausen gas chamber before the Mauthausen camp was liberated.  Actually, I wrote about the gas pipes on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/Gas%20Chamber/ApparatusRoom.html

September 29, 2015

The American soldiers who liberated Dachau

Yesterday, a comment was made on my blog about an American soldier, named Jimmy Gentry, who claims to have participated in the liberation of Dachau. I wrote about Jimmy Gentry on this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/jimmy-gentry-liberator-of-dachau-concentration-camp/

You can read about the various claims regarding the liberation of Dachau on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/LiberationDay3.html

I am answering the comment about Jimmy Gentry on my blog post today.

Begin quote of comment:

“I have no idea who this furtherglory person is, other than a faceless coward. If you are picking apart a story of a Patriot who served this country honorably, Jimmy Gentry, who also was my history teacher, then you are basically nothing more than a worm. Who are you to accuse him of lying? Apparently that’s what worms do. I know for a fact Coach Gentry would never attempt to draw attention to himself regarding his experiences during the War. You should be ashamed. For anyone coming across this blog- warning….it’s garbage journalism.”

End of comment

I went to the website of Jimmy Gentry in order to refresh my memory regarding his claim that he was a liberator of Dachau.

I copied the following quote from his website:

“Off in the distance I saw boxcars lined up with hundreds of dead bodies inside. They looked starved and tortured,” remembers Jimmy Gentry. “I asked another soldier, ‘Who are these people?’ He said, ‘They are Jews.’“

American infantryman Jimmy Gentry had seen combat at the Battle of the Bulge, but it paled in comparison to what he saw that day. “No one told us what we would find. No one explained what our mission was. We saw a wall and that was the entrance to a prison camp like I have never seen.” The camp was Dachau.
End quote from comment

Both the 45th Thunderbird Division and the 42nd Rainbow Division were advancing on April 29, 1945 toward Munich with the 20th Armored Division between them. Dachau was directly in their path, about 10 miles north of Munich.

According to Lt. Col. Felix Sparks, the commander of the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Thunderbird Division, he received orders at 10:15 a.m. to liberate the Dachau camp, and the soldiers of I Company were the first to arrive at the camp around 11 a.m. on April 29, 1945.

The 101st Tank Battalion was attached to the 45th Thunderbird Division.  The 101st arrived in the town of Dachau at 9:30 a.m. on April 29th.

Model of Dachau concentration camp shows that it was right next to an SS garrison

Model of Dachau concentration camp shows that it was right next to a large SS garrison where German soldiers were stationed.  There was no wall between the SS garrison and the concentration camp.

Fence around Dachau concentration camp

Fence around the Dachau concentration camp at the time that the camp was liberated (not a wall)

Main gate into the Dachau complex which included the concentration camp

Main gate into the Dachau complex which included the SS garrison and the concentration camp

The photo above shows SS men surrendering to American soldiers who liberated Dachau.  The concentration camp is a considerable distance from this spot.

Railroad track where trains entered the SS camp, not the concentration camp

Railroad track where trains entered the SS camp; trains did not enter the concentration camp

A short railroad branch line, or rail siding, shown in the photo above, was built in 1915 from the train station in Dachau to a gunpowder and munitions factory. In July 1936 when the Nazis acquired all the property of the abandoned gun powder factory, construction began on an SS training camp and garrison, which was built next to the concentration camp that had opened in 1933.

On September 23, 1936 the industrial railroad branch line, that had formerly served the munitions factory, became the property of the Nazis. It was used primarily to bring supplies into the SS camp, but a few transport trains carrying prisoners also arrived on this railroad line, which went a short distance inside the SS camp through a railroad gate on the southwest side of the complex. The railroad tracks did not extend into the concentration camp.

A short piece of the track on this branch line has been preserved as a memorial to the prisoners who entered the Dachau complex by train. The train tracks entered the SS garrison, but not the concentration camp.

The rest of the branch railroad line was ripped out in 1985. The English translation of the sign in the photo reads “Railroad track to the former SS camp where between 1933 and 1945 tens of thousands of prisoners were transported into the concentration camp.”

Railroad track at Dachau complex

Railroad track at Dachau complex did NOT enter the concentration camp

Train with dead prisoners was parked outside the Dachau camp

Train with dead prisoners was parked outside the Dachau complex which included the concentration camp

When the former Dachau concentration camp was turned into a Memorial Site in 1965, the US Army was still occupying the former SS Army Garrison, so a new entrance for tourists was made through an opening in the fence on the east side of the camp, which is shown in my photo below. At that time, there was a high wall which separated the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gatehouse building from the US Army garrison.  That wall was not there when American soldiers liberated Dachau.

Jimmy Gentry: We saw a wall and that was the entrance to a prison camp like I have never seen.” The camp was Dachau.

Entrance into Dachau Memorial Site in 2003 was through this fence

Entrance into Dachau Memorial Site in 2003 was through this fence

There was no wall between the concentration camp and the SS garrison when Jimmy Gentry was there in 1945.  The wall was built when American soldiers occupied the Army garrison for 17 years after the end of World War II.

Prisoners entered the Dachau concentration camp by going through the SS camp on this brick road

Prisoners entered the Dachau concentration camp by going through the SS camp on this brick road

September 28, 2015

What was it like for children in Theresienstadt?

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:46 am

One of the regulars, who read my blog and frequently comment, is Dr.Wolf Murmelson, who was a prisoner in Theresienstadt when he was a child.  Dr. Murmelson was the son of Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, who has been criticized for allegedly co-operating with the Nazis, although he has now been exonerated.

I previously blogged about another child at Theresienstat at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/inge-auerbacher/

Dr. Wolf Murmelson always refers to his stay in Theresienstadt as “that Time of Darkness.”  I did not get that impression when I went to Theresienstadt in the year 2000 and toured the town.  After my visit, I created a website about Theresienstadt, including a page about the children doing artwork.

The following information is from my website:

Building L410 was a girls barracks and school where art lessons were taught

Building L410 was a girls barracks and school where art lessons were taught

Shown in the photo above is Building L410, located next to the Catholic Church on Hauptstrasse, the main street of the ghetto. This was the home for Jewish girls from 8 to 16 years of age. The older girls, aged 14 to 16, had to work during the day, but still took classes at night.

The building also had a basement where concert practice took place. It was here that Mrs. Friedl Dicker-Brandejsova gave art lessons.

Theresienstadt was the designated site for the deportation of Jewish children from the orphanages in the Greater German Reich. Children were also sent to the ghetto with their parents or other relatives.

Approximately 10,000 children passed through the Theresienstadt ghetto. The drawings and paintings produced by these children in their art classes is known the world over. Some of their artwork hangs at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Many other Holocaust museums display their work also. The Jewish Museum in Prague has a collection of 4,000 pieces of children’s art from Theresienstadt.

Under expert adult supervision, the children were encouraged to express their feelings in their artwork. Some of the drawings that have been preserved show practice sheets where the children were obviously being taught the various elements of drawing.

The children depicted their surroundings in the ghetto in their drawings and watercolors, but they also painted what they remembered from their world before they were deported to the camp.

The drawings of the children were not censored by the Nazis, who allowed them free reign to express themselves on paper. Remarkably, the Nazis carefully preserved the children’s artwork after the children were deported to the death camp at Auschwitz.

Of the approximately 8,000 children who were deported out of Theresienstadt, only a fraction of them ever returned. Their paintings, which now hang all over the world, are a unique memorial to these innocent victims of the Holocaust.

 Post office building which was formerly the children's nursery


Post office building which was formerly the children’s nursery

At the corner of Rathausgasse and Langestrasse, where the bus from Prague stopped, [when I visited the town in 2000] I photographed the building, shown above, that [was being used as the post office] in Terezin in 2000, but in the former ghetto, it was a home for infants. It also housed a pre-school and a kindergarten.

Some books [that I have read] say there were 207 babies born in the Theresienstadt ghetto, but others say it was 275.

All adults up to age 60, and young people over the age of 14, had to work in the Theresienstadt ghetto, so the infants and small children were taken care of in the building shown in the photo above, and returned to their mothers in the evening.

The building for the babies also had space for theater performances in the evening. In addition, there was a bakery and kitchen which supplied the meager food for the Jews who lived in the ghetto. To the right of the post office is the current town hall, which is barely visible in the photo above.

Across Langestrasse, to the west of the bus stop at the Post Office shown in the photograph above, is a block of buildings which were used as homes for Jewish children in the former ghetto. Some of the buildings in this block were also used for theater and cultural performances and building L216 in this block was the children’s library.

Buildings which were used as homes for children in the Theresienstadt ghetto

Buildings which were used as homes for children in the Theresienstadt ghetto (Click on photo to enlarge)

Theresienstadt building where live theater performances were held

Theresienstadt building where live theater performances were held

Another building on Langestrasse, which faces the market square on the west side of the square, is today [in the year 2000] the Culture House of Terezin, shown in the photograph above. During the ghetto days, there was a theater here where live performances were given.

The rear of the Magdeburg building (Click on photo to enlarge)

The rear of the Magdeburg building (Click on photo to enlarge)

The photograph above shows the rear view of the Magdeburg barracks, which is now the second Museum in Terezin; it is devoted to the artwork produced by the inmates in the ghetto. This same building was formerly used to house women prisoners when Theresienstadt was a ghetto and a transit camp.

The Magdeburg building extends from one end of the block to the other and has a series of three interior courtyards, one of which is shown in the photograph below. The Dresden barracks for women has an identical courtyard, but the Dresden building was not open to tourists when I visited.

The prisoners played soccer in the courtyard shown in the photo below.

Magdeburg courtyard

Magdeburg courtyard (click on photo to enlarge)

The Magdeburg building was also used to house the offices of the Jewish “self government” during the ghetto days. [Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein was part of the “self government]”

The Art Museum at Terezin, which is located in the former Magdeburg barracks, shown in the photo above, is devoted to the artwork produced in the Theresienstadt ghetto.

Before World War II, the German people were considered to be the most cultured in the world. Art and music had such importance for them that they allowed cultural events in even the worst of the concentration camps, and encouraged the prisoners to create art and music in what little free time they had.

Every concentration camp had its orchestra, made up of inmate musicians, and concerts were staged even in the worst camp of all, the one at Birkenau, the Auschwitz II camp.

Typically, the camp orchestra would play classical music as the prisoners marched off to the factories to work and even as they [allegedly] marched to their deaths in the gas chamber.

During the week of cultural events in June 1944, on the occasion of the Red Cross visit, there were performances of Brundibar in the Magdeburg building.

The prisoners were allowed to do art work in the concentration camps, although not what Hitler called “degenerate” art. Hitler favored classic art or beautiful pictures, as opposed to modern art or realistic drawings depicting the horrors of the camps.

The prisoners had to hide their drawings and paintings that the Nazis didn’t approve of, but they had the courage to produce this art, even with the threat of death if they were found out.

In 1944, the Nazis discovered some of the “degenerate” artwork illicitly done in the camp, and sent the artists and their families to the Gestapo prison in the Small Fortress across the river from the ghetto. Only one of them survived the harsh conditions in the Small Fortress.

Although several of the Nazi concentration camps, such as Majdanek, Buchenwald and Auschwitz, had artists who sketched, painted or sculpted, leaving works of art which are now displayed in the museums there, the Theresienstadt ghetto was unique for the sheer volume of artwork that the prisoners produced during the war.

Taking advantage of the many famous artists who were incarcerated in Theresienstadt, the Nazis set up a drafting workshop in the ghetto where the Jews had to use their talents to produce blueprints for the Germans.

The Jewish artists in the Theresienstadt ghetto were also commissioned to do paintings for the SS headquarters.

=======

Meanwhile, what was I doing during the years that the Jews were living in luxury in Theresienstadt?  Was I doing artwork, under the supervision of expert teachers?  Was I playing music?  Was I playing soccer in a courtyard?

NO, NO, NO, a thousand times NO.  I  was living in a wood frame house with no central heat and no indoor plumbing.  I was sleeping on a mattress made of corn husks. I did not have an art teacher.  I barely had a box of crayons. In spite of this, I do not refer to my childhood as “that time of Darkness.”

September 26, 2015

The one and only war crime that was not committed by the Germans

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:19 am

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full here.

It is hardly possible to exaggerate the guilt of the Nazi regime, but not all of the wartime crimes committed in eastern Europe can be laid at its door.

The above quote is a reference to a crime, in which German Waffen SS soldiers were wrongly blamed. This was the massacre that took place in the Polish town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941 during the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Sixteen hundred Jews in the town were viciously murdered by the Polish residents, two weeks after the German soldiers had left.

Innocent men, women and children in the town were forced into a barn and then burned alive. The perpetrators claimed that they had been ordered by the Germans to commit this crime, but a trial in 1949 proved that this was a lie.

Map shows location of Jedwabne

Map shows location of Jedwabne

The news story continues with this quote:

Begin quote

The younger men [in Jedwabne] were clubbed to death. Older people, and mothers with children, were driven into a barn that was set alight, burning them to death. When the Soviet Union regained control of the area an investigation into the massacre was ordered and a memorial was erected, announcing that 1,600 Jews had been killed there by the German Gestapo.

It wasn’t until 2000 that this version of events was challenged publicly by the Polish-American historian Jan Tomasz Gross in his book Neighbours. “One day, in July 1941,” Gross wrote, “half of the population of a small east European town murdered the other half.” The killers, in other words, were not the German invaders, but the Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne.

End quote

I wrote this previous blog post about the Jews in Poland:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/the-long-road-from-the-shetetls-of-eastern-europe-to-the-good-life-in-america-and-the-uk-via-auschwitz/

Martin Zaidenstadt, who claims to be a Holocaust survivor, was born in 1911 in Jedwabne. Zaidenstadt would be 104 years old if he is still alive. I wrote about him on this page of my websiter:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauSurvivor.html

September 15, 2015

Hannah Arendt and her opinion about the role of the Jewish leaders in the Holocaust

The name Hannah Arendt came up in a comment today, so I am expanding on this subject on my blog.

Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt

The name Hannah Arendt used to be a household word, but today’s young people might not be familiar with her name, nor her writing. It used to be that, if you did not know who Hannah Arendt was, you were obviously not a college graduate. Her reporting on the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem was, at one time, world famous; her words were studied in colleges throughout America.

Wolf Murmelstein, who is a regular reader of my blog, mentioned Arendt in a comment.  He thinks that she got the story of Theresienstadt completely wrong.  Wolf was a child at Theresienstadt; he is the son of Benjamin Murmelstein, the last Jewish Elder of the camp.

My photo of an old building at Theresienstadt

My photo of an old building at Theresienstadt

My photo of an old building at Theresienstadt which has the date 1941 on it

My photo of an old building at Theresienstadt which has the date 1941 on it

This quote from Wikipedia tells who Hannah Arendt was:

JohannaHannahArendt[3] (/ˈɛərənt/ or /ˈɑrənt/; German: [ˈaːʀənt];[4] 14 October 1906 – 4 December 1975) was a German-born political theorist. Though often described as a philosopher, she rejected that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with “man in the singular” and instead described herself as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact that “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world.”[5] An assimilated Jew, she escaped Europe during the Holocaust and became an American citizen. Her works deal with the nature of power, and the subjects of politics, direct democracy, authority, and totalitarianism. The Hannah Arendt Prize is named in her honor.

=======

A few years ago, Dr. Murmelstein sent me a series of essays, including an essay in which he included information about Hannah Arendt.

The following quote is from his essay, which you can read in full on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Contributions/Murmelstein/JudenratQuestion.html

Begin quote:
The opinion of Hanna Arendt that the Jewish Leaders, by their “participation,” had helped the Nazis to hasten the deportations, hardly meets any test of consistency:

Hanna Arendt, in 1940, was able to go to New York and stay safe there, because there had been Jewish Leaders and volunteers who “participated” in order to help fellow Jews to leave Nazi-Fascist ruled Europe.

Jewish Leaders certainly were not stronger than the various army commanders and statesmen who surrendered to Nazi Germany. Jewish communities in those times of darkness stood in an often hostile or, at least, indifferent environment.

As a disciple of the Nazi Philosopher Heidegger, Hanna Arendt is hardly entitled to pass judgment on Jewish Leaders, who were almost all Martyrs. On the other hand, it should be discussed whether, or how, Hanna Arendt’s opinions had been influenced by Heidegger’s theories.

When reporting on the Eichmann trial, Hanna Arendt failed to note that Attorney General Hausner had not called a witness like Benjamin Murmelstein to give evidence.

But at a certain moment, the Nazis realized that the tale of “resettlement of Jews for work” could hardly justify deportation of aged or sick persons, war officers holding medals for merit, etc.

Furthermore, as explained by Heinrich Himmler: “Germans all agree on the idea of getting rid of the Jews. But then every German has his own Jews, stating that this is a righteous Jew; send away the others but let him stay here.” What Himmler did not explain was that some Germans could not be ignored at all. Besides, there were among the Jews highly qualified persons well known abroad, who could not simply disappear in the East.

The solution was THERESIENSTADT, a little town in Bohemia surrounded by walls and with many barracks, just on the Reich border, now better known under the Czech name TEREZIN. There Eichmann had the opportunity to set up a Ghetto under his own authority and to show the real meaning of his “great ideas.” Many Germans could then “be at peace with their conscience” having obtained for their “righteous Jew” – a relative, a divorced wife, etc. – a place in the “Model Ghetto.” Qualified Jews, known abroad, could for a while, send postcards.

From October 1941 until September 1942, Benjamin Murmelstein had to watch the deportations. At Yom Kippur 1942, he had a nervous crisis of desperation about things that happened in that year. He was in doubt about being ritually qualified to lead the prayer service for the very few believing Jews still in Vienna.

From the beginning to the end of the deportation waves, almost all Jews had been deported from Vienna. Besides the very few believing Jews – community staff members – there were many persons in mixed marriage and descendants of Jewish parents or grand-parents. In that year Benjamin Murmelstein had to face the Vienna Branch of the CENTRAL OFFICE FOR JEWISH EMIGRATION where the rule was “promises are valid only when served.” Amid harsh orders, he tried to save what was possible.

The number of the few believing Jews for the community staff had been the result of a difficult “bargaining” (requests had to be submitted in a suitable form) with SS Ltd Alois (Anton) Brunner. At end of August 1942, Benjamin Murmelstein, with his family, was about to be sent to Terezin. But Eichmann decided to delay the “re-organization” of Terezin “Jewish Self-Government.”

Read more at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Contributions/Murmelstein/JudenratQuestion.html

September 6, 2015

A letter from Holocaust survivor Wolf Murmelstein

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:17 am

I have received the following letter from Wolf Murmelstein, one of the regular readers of my blog. Wolf was a child during World War II, and his memories of that time still haunt him. He was confined to the Theresienstadt ghetto, where his father Benjamin Murmelstein was the last Jewish elder. His father was accused of co-operating with the Nazis, which is considered to be a terrible shame for the Murmelstein family.

Magdeburg barracks at Theresienstadt

Magdeburg barracks at Theresienstadt

It is very upsetting to Wolf that most of the people who comment on my blog are revisionists and they do not think that his war-time experience was as bad as he describes it. I can relate, because I am as old as dirt and I was also a child during World War II. To me, the war time years were an unhappy time.

Read the letter from Wolf Murmelstein below:

Dear Furtherglory!

I take it that you were being ironical when you stated that I could make a lot of money talking and writing about my sad life experience as a Holocaust survivor.

I am commenting here on what suddenly has been written on your blog.

1. In 1961, my Father [Benjamin Murmelstein] wrote a book in Italian about Theresienstadt, entitled “The SHOW GHETTO of Eichmann”.

Author fees hardly covered his expenses of typing and other things connected with book publishing. The Italian Publishing House at the Frankfurt Book Show could not find any English or German Publishing House interested in publishing it.

2. In 2013, the book was published again in Italian; fees are at a very low level. Thanks to my personal connections, a Vienna based Publishing House published the German version last year; I still have not seen the sales record.

3. I have relatives and friends who really (!) survived Auschwitz and the Death Marches but avoided recalling their experience as this was painful. I listened only to what they were willing to say and avoided asking any questions.

4. I did not get any money when I was interviewed by the SPIELBERG FOUNDATION, Yale University FORTUNATE ARCHIVE and researchers.

5. In 2011, I was interviewed for the film entitled WOLF, which in 2013 got praise at a Film Festival. I declined any financial reward, so I was free to answer questions in my manner, stating my version of the facts. Furthermore, I could also decline to meet persons with whom I had been in conflict.

6. Instead of lamenting about things which I passed through, I prefer to study the historical background of events which occurred, and to reach conclusions which are not considered to be politically correct in all the various branches of Shoah Business. My studies certainly will not be sponsored by any side of the discussions; see also my comments to the blog posts.

You will be surprised but many Shoah survivors did not achieve success after WWII and, while still alive, are needy.

8. So the deportations, as the lasting defamation of my family after Liberation, had not been helpful for my career, nor for my health.

9. As with many other survivors, I too am told by doctors to avoid taking part in public debates at various meetings, and I myself – as a special survivor – am allowed only to write articles and essays.

When paying for attending a meeting where Mister so and so recalls his so called experience, then the money is wasted. Indeed the interviewers ask suggestive questions which compel the answer which many attendees are ready to accept; this in my opinion.

As you can see, freedom of mind has a heavy cost.

I feel that, in the USA, historical studies are at a poor level, not just in schools and Universities, so that is why I am explaining things on many comments on this blog.

Best Regards.
Wolf Murmelstein.

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