Scrapbookpages Blog

May 15, 2016

The Jewish boy who was saved from the gas chamber because of his good penmenship

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 8:22 am

Ernest Michel on a trip to Auschwitz

Ernest Michel on a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1983 [photo credit: Robert A. Cummins]

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/15/nyregion/ernest-michel-who-survived-auschwitz-and-led-jewish-charities-dies-at-92.html?_r=0

Begin quote

Ernest Michel survived the Auschwitz death camp because of a calligraphy course he had taken at his father’s insistence. Having been expelled with other Jewish students from German public schools, he needed to develop a skill, his father had told him.

He did just that: His penmanship became flawless, and the Nazis put it to use at Auschwitz, sparing him from the gas chambers. They conscripted him in a cynical scheme to falsify the death certificates of his fellow inmates, hoping to hide the actual cause of death: extermination. That they enlisted a Jew to do their dissembling was doubly grievous.

End quote

Bad Nazis! They refused to put the real cause of death [extermination] on the Jewish death certificates.  At the very least, the Nazis should have put “gassed to death with Zyklon-B” on the Jewish death certificates.

There might be some young people reading this, who do not know the meaning of the word penmanship, so I will attempt to explain it.

Back in the olden days, when your great-grandfather was in grammar  school, students used to write in cursive handwriting with a fountain pen, or a pencil, on a piece of paper that had 3 lines on it to indicate where the top and the bottom of a cursive letter should go.

Good handwriting was the mark of an educated person, who had completed the eighth grade. For example, my mother completed the 8th grade at the age of 13. Her teacher was her 14 year old cousin, who had completed her 8th grade education the previous year. My father only went to school as far as the 4th grade; as an adult, he could neither read nor write.

Ernest Michael had been educated up to the sixth grade, and this saved his life because he was able to write in beautiful cursive handwriting.

The news article continues with this quote:

Begin quote

Mr. Michel (pronounced mish-ELL) died on May 7 in Manhattan at 92. [He was born in July 1923.] His account of mechanically forging the death certificates was one of many he would tell in his decades of bearing witness — in writing and public speaking — to the horrors he had observed beginning in 1936, when he was 13 and barred from public school by Nazi racial codes. He never received a formal education beyond the sixth grade.

He was barely 20 when he was given the writing task at Auschwitz. He was in the camp infirmary, being treated for a head wound inflicted by a prison guard during a beating, when an aide asked whether any of the inmates had good handwriting. Mr. Michel volunteered.

“It didn’t take me long to figure out what I was doing,” he wrote in his 1993 memoir, “Promises to Keep: One Man’s Journey Against Incredible Odds.”

“The list contained the names of those who were shipped to Birkenau and the gas chamber,” he wrote. “The Nazis, with their usual efficiency and attention to detail, kept records of all inmates sent to be gassed. Only nobody died being gassed to death. They all died by being ‘weak of the body’ – ‘Koerperschwaeche’ – or from ‘Herzschlag’ – ‘heart attack.’ ”

End quote

The following quote is also from the news article:

Begin quote

Mr. Michel had been put to work building a synthetic rubber plant [Monowitz?] when the beating occurred that sent him to the infirmary. He later became a medical aide there himself and saw Dr. Josef Mengele performing his horrific experiments on prisoners [at Monowitz?]

He was evacuated from the camp on Jan. 18, 1945, as Russian troops approached. It was on a forced march between camps a few weeks before the war ended that he and two other prisoners escaped.

Remaining in Germany immediately after the war, Mr. Michel covered the Nuremberg war crime trials for a German news agency. He insisted on the byline “Special Correspondent Ernst Michel, Auschwitz No. 104995,” the number that was branded on an arm. He sat not far from the defendants.

“There were times when I wanted nothing more than to jump up and grab them all by the throat,” he said.

End quote

Only one more quote from this news article, I am [literally] finished:

Begin quote

One day, a lawyer for Hermann Göring, the Luftwaffe commander and the founder of the Gestapo, said that Göring wanted to meet the correspondent who was a former concentration camp inmate.

“So we went to Göring’s cell and the door opened,” Mr. Michel recalled. “Göring smiled, came up to me and wanted to shake my hand. At that moment I suddenly froze. I couldn’t move. I looked at his hand, his face, and then his hand again — and then just turned round. I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t speak to this man. Not one single word.”

End quote

 

May 14, 2016

How could I have been so wrong about Theresienstadt?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 1:44 pm
Gate into the former Theresienstdt ghetto

Gate into the former Theresienstadt ghetto

The wall around Theresienstadt

The wall around Theresienstadt fort, the site of the ghetto where Jews were imprisoned

Today I read a news story at http://www.newspostleader.co.uk/news/local/holocaust-horrors-brought-to-life-for-students-1-7907002#ixzz48f2Zrchi

The following quote is from the news article, cited above:

Begin quote:

History students at Blyth’s Bede Academy heard the first hand account from Joanna Millan, a grandmother who spent two years in a concentration camp at Theresianstadt, [Theresienstadt] near Prague.

Less than 100 children out of 15,000 deported there survived, with Joanna just three-years-old when she came to England in August, 1945.

End quote

Several years ago, I visited the Theresienstadt ghetto on two separate days.  I took a tour bus there and walked around the former camp, which is still a town in the Czech Republic, where non-Jews now live.

After my extensive visit, I wrote the following about Theresienstadt on my website:

The total number of Jews transported from their homes to the Theresienstadt ghetto, from the day that it opened on November 24, 1941 until April 20, 1945, was 139,654, according to a 1991 book called “The Terezin Ghetto” by Ludmila Chladkova, which I purchased from the Theresienstadt Museum. Out of the total who were originally deported to Theresienstadt, there were 33,430 persons who died in the ghetto. There were 207 babies born in the camp, despite the fact that the men and women were housed in separate barracks.

There were also 13,454 persons who arrived at the ghetto after April 20, after being evacuated by the Nazis from other concentration camps that had to be closed before the Soviet Army arrived.

In the first week of May 1945, the Nazis turned the camp over to the Red Cross, and the SS staff left the camp on May 5, 1945. At that time, there were 16,832 of the original 139,654 who had been deported to Theresienstadt that were still alive and living in the ghetto. The book by Ludmila Chladkova, which is sold at the Theresienstadt Museum, has no explanation for the discrepancy between this number of 16,832 and the number of survivors which her book says was 17,472.

About half of these 16,832 prisoners, or 8,565 persons, had arrived in Theresienstadt after October 28, 1944, so they had been in the ghetto for only seven months or less. The last transport out of the ghetto left on October 28, 1944.

The majority of the Jews sent directly to Theresienstadt were from the German protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia which is now the Czech Republic and from Slovakia which became an independent country when Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in 1939. There were 75,666 Czech and Slovak Jews sent to Theresienstadt and 8,542 of them were still alive in the ghetto when the Red Cross took over in the first week of May, 1945. From Germany, there were 42,104 Jews transported to Theresienstadt, and 5,221 were still alive in the ghetto on May 9, 1945. There were 15,253 Austrian Jews, most of them over 60 years old, who were sent to the ghetto but only 1,293 of them were still there on May 9, 1945. The total number of Jews deported to Theresienstadt from the Netherlands was 4,897, out of which 1,285 were still alive in the camp on May 9, 1945.

The deportation of the Hungarian Jews did not begin until the end of April 1944 and 1,150 of them were sent to Theresienstadt. Because of the short length of their stay in the ghetto, there were 1,138 still there on May 9, 1945.

There were 117 Jews sent to Theresienstadt from Gdansk, which was the former German port city of Danzig that was made into an international port under the control of Poland after World War I, and 11 of them were still there at the end.

According to the book “The Terezin Ghetto” by Ludmila Chladkova, the 466 Danish Jews who were sent to Theresienstadt were all sent back to Denmark by the Nazis on April 15, 1945, shortly before the ghetto was handed over to the Red Cross. Other sources give the number of Danish Jews sent to Theresienstadt as 481, 475, 456 and 464. No two web sites or books agree on the number of Danish Jews sent to Theresienstadt or the number who returned to Denmark. Other sources give various numbers for the Danish Jews who died at Theresienstadt: 31, 43, 51, 52, 53, 58 and 116.

Not counting the Danish Jews, there were 17,472 survivors of the 139,654 Jews originally sent to the ghetto who were still there when the Russian army arrived on May 8, 1945, according to Ludmila Chladkova.

Out of the 139,654 Jews who were originally deported to Theresienstadt, 86,934 were subsequently transported to the east to various concentration camps, not counting the 1,260 children from Bialystok in eastern Poland.

According to Martin Gilbert in his book “Holocaust Journey,” the Bialystok children were survivors from the Bialystok ghetto. They arrived in Theresienstadt on August 24, 1943 and on October 5, 1943 they were sent out of the camp, along with 53 volunteer doctors, nurses and attendants. According to Gilbert, the Nazis claimed that these children were going to be exchanged in neutral Switzerland for German POWs held by the Allies, but instead “they were taken to Auschwitz and murdered.” These children were not counted in the official Nazi records of those who were transported to the east.

In addition, there were 1,623 Jews from Theresienstadt who were sent, before the end of the war, to the neutral countries of Switzerland and Sweden with the help of the Red Cross. Out of the 86,934 Jews who were sent farther east, there were 3,097 who returned to their home countries.

There were 701 Jews who managed to escape from Theresienstadt and 336 others who violated the rules of the ghetto and consequently were sent to the Gestapo prison in the Small Fortress across the river. Those who served their time in the Small Fortress, and survived, were later sent to concentration camps in the east.

When the concentration camps in the East closed, because the Russians were advancing into Poland during the last months of the war, all the inmates who could walk were marched to Germany and crowded into the camps there. This caused a disaster in Germany because they brought the typhus epidemic with them from Poland. In the last three weeks of the war, there were 13,454 prisoners from the concentration camps in the east who were admitted into the Theresienstadt ghetto, and the typhus epidemic spread to Theresienstadt.

According to the Ghetto Museum, a total of 34,396 prisoners died in Ghetto Theresienstadt including 966 who had just arrived from the camps in the east after April 20, 1945. When the war ended on May 8, 1945, the total number of people in the ghetto was 29,320 which included the survivors from the eastern camps who had arrived in the last weeks of the war and the 16,832 survivors of the original transports.

End of information from my website

O.K. it is time to go to Wikipedia, the website that knows all: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theresienstadt_concentration_camp

Wikipedia is strictly a kosher website, where no Holocaust denial is allowed.

Begin quote from Wikipedia:

Approximately 144,000 Jews were sent to Theresienstadt. Most inmates were Czech Jews, but 40,000 were from Germany, 15,000 from Austria, 5,000 from the Netherlands, and 300 from Luxembourg. In addition to the group of approximately 500 Jews from Denmark, Slovak and Hungarian Jews were deported to the ghetto. 1,600 Jewish children from Białystok, Poland, were deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz; none survived. About a quarter of the inmates (33,000) died in Theresienstadt, mostly because of the deadly conditions, which included hunger, stress, and disease. The typhus epidemic at the very end of war took an especially heavy toll.

About 88,000 prisoners were deported to Auschwitz and other extermination camps, including Treblinka. At the end of the war, 17,247 had survived. An estimated 15,000 children lived in the ghetto. Willy Groag, one of the youth care workers, mistakenly claimed after the war that only 93 survived.[33] However, 242 children younger than 15 survived deportation to camps in the East, and 1,566 children survived in the ghetto proper.[citation needed]

End quote

I wrote about the Bialystok children on my blog at: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/the-fate-of-the-bialystok-ghetto-children-who-were-sent-to-theresienstadt/

 

 

How Stalin inadverently saved Jews from the Nazi gas chambers

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 7:56 am

You can read about how Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin saved Polish Jews from the Nazi gas chambers in this recent news article: http://www.ibtimes.com/how-joseph-stalin-inadvertently-saved-some-polands-jews-1099571

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, perhaps the worst mass killer in human history with the blood of tens of millions of people on his hands, once inadvertently saved Polish Jews from the Nazi death camps and gas chambers by deporting them to Siberia and other parts of the USSR.

In 1940, one year before the Nazis commenced their program of extermination, Stalin ordered the deportation of some 200,000 – perhaps as many as 300,000 — Polish Jews from Russian-occupied Eastern Poland to Gulag labor camps deep in the Soviet Union.

Notwithstanding his virulent anti-Semitism (and his own sanctioning of the killing of Jews within Russia itself), Stalin’s order ironically saved these Jewish lives – indeed, these deportees represented the bulk of Polish Jewry who survived the Nazi Holocaust.

In 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, Poland boasted a Jewish population of some 3.3-million, or about 8.5 percent of the total (and almost one-third of Warsaw’s population).

End quote

How many of those Jews, who had been deported to Siberia, came back and settled in Poland where they told their stories of how they had been saved from the Nazi gas chambers?

You can see photos of all the Nazi gas chambers on this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/how-many-of-the-nazi-gas-chambers-are-still-in-existence/

 

May 13, 2016

Auschwitz survivor not allowed to speak at trial of German war criminal

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 7:51 am

5735ec6078da7.image

Please, I implore you: let me speak; I will convict the bastard

Depraved German war Criminal Reinold Hanning

Depraved German war criminal Reinold Hanning

Just because he is old now, and his killing days are over, Reinold should not expect mercy from the Jews. Reinold has apologized to the Jews, but that’s not enough. He has to pay for his crimes.

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

Begin quote

DETMOLD, Germany — An 88-year-old Auschwitz survivor who traveled from his home in California to Germany was denied the opportunity to testify at a former Nazi SS guard’s trial Friday.

[Holocaust survivor] Joshua Kaufman, who lives [the good life] in Los Angeles, had hoped to win permission to tell the court about how he removed bodies from gas chambers at the World War II death camp after victims had been killed with Zyklon B.

Reinhold Hanning, 94, is on trial accused of being accessory to the murder of at least 170,000 people. Although Hanning was not directly involved in any killings at Auschwitz, prosecutors accuse him of facilitating the slaughter in his capacity as a guard at the camp.

End quote

It might be hard for some people to understand what is going on here, so I will attempt to explain it.  Anyone who was anywhere near where a Jew died, during the Holocaust, is now considered to be guilty of a war crime and should spend the rest of his life in prison.  Just because Hanning is 94 years old now, that doesn’t mean that the Jews should let him die in peace.

No! He’s a war criminal because he was within a few yards of where a Jew died in the Holocaust, so he should spend the rest of his years in prison. End of story!

The news article continues with this quote:

Begin quote

At the start of Friday’s [court] session, Kaufman’s German lawyer Markus Goldbach asked the court if his client could also be heard.

“He will be able to tell you that the bodies looked as if they were frozen and that he could see the horror of the death fight in their faces,” Goldbach said in his application statement.

The lawyer argued that his client would be able to give evidence of the specific killing process.

Judge Anke Grudda agreed to consider the request but after a break in the proceedings ruled that Kaufman would not be allowed to testify. She stressed that the decision was based entirely on German law and was not out of “reasons of respect or disrespect.”

Speaking before the Grudda [judge] announced her ruling, Kaufman said he “came to speak for those who can no longer be heard.”

End quote

Did you catch that, dear reader? Kaufmann was allowed to survive so that he could testify, years later, that the Germans gassed the Jews.

Who is going to pay Kaufmann’s expenses for his trip to Germany to testify?  The German people will pay for his trip, of course.

If you hear a noise, that’s the sound of me, climbing down from my soap box now.

May 12, 2016

A new version of the liberation of Mauthausen

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 6:33 am
The entrance into the Mauthausen camp

The entrance into Mauthausen camp

Note the eagle over the gate into the Mauthausen camp. This eagle was pulled down by the prisoners in the camp when they liberated themselves on May 5, 1945. The photo below shows some of the prisoners re-enacting the pulling down of the eagle emblem on May 6, 1945.

Prisoners re-enact the pulling down of the Nazi eagle

Prisoners re-enact the pulling down of the Nazi eagle

One of my very first blog posts, six years ago, was about the liberation of the Mauthausen camp in Austria:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/the-liberation-of-mauthausen-may-5-1945/

Yesterday, I read a new version of the liberation of Mauthausen, as told by 90-year-old Army veteran William Phelps.

The following quote is from the news article about Phelps:

SAN ANTONIO (AP) William Phelps wore a first sergeant’s stripes at the unlikely age of 19 as a World War II tank gunner, heard Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s unvarnished opinions over lunch one day and made the cover of Yank Magazine in 1945 in a memorable photo, patching his trousers with a sewing machine in front of a tank.

But his most important day in Europe was in liberating a Nazi extermination camp in Austria.

Outside Linz, [Austria] Phelps and two dozen soldiers entering the Mauthausen concentration camp 71 years ago last week were stunned at the sight of dead, dying and emaciated prisoners. The Americans saw German guards in the distance running for their lives, prisoners killing some of them with rocks and clubs.

End quote

Note that the article does not say that Phelps was with the 11th Armored Division, which was the division which arrived at Mauthausen the day after the prisoners had liberated themselves.

Americans enter Mauthausen camp after the prisoners had libeated themselves

Americans enter Mauthausen camp after the prisoners had liberated themselves

Several years ago, I visited the former Mauthausen camp and the town of Mauthausen. I have a whole section about Mauthausen on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/index.html

I have a section about the history of the camp at: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/KZMauthausen/History/index.html

Start by reading this page:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/KZMauthausen/History/introduction.html

The town of Mauthausen

My photo of the town of Mauthausen

I have a section about the town of Mauthausen at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/Town/index.html

 

 

May 10, 2016

free online course that teaches about the Holocaust from the Jewish perspective

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 5:38 pm

You can read about a new online history course that teaches about the Holocaust: https://www.coursera.org/learn/holocaust-introduction-1/

The following quote is from the website, cited above:

Begin quote

This free online course was produced jointly by Tel Aviv University and Yad Vashem – the World Center for Holocaust Research. The course tracks the history of the Holocaust and has two parts. “The Holocaust – An Introduction (I): Nazi Germany: Ideology, The Jews and the World” is the first of the two courses and covers the following themes in its three weeks:

Week 1

From Hatred to Core Ideology; From Democracy to a Totalitarian State; Nazi Germany and the Jews

Course Introduction trailer
Introduction:
Why the Jews?
Nazi Antisemitism
Gleichschaltung
Life in Nazi Germany
Jewish Life in Nazi Germany
1938 – A Major Turning Point

End quote

Gleichshaltung was a new word made up by the Nazis. I will try to explain it to you:

Building in the town of Dachau

Buildings in the town of Dachau

By March 1933, the Nazis had taken over every town in Germany, including the town of Dachau.  The building on the left in the photo above is where the Nazis raised their flag on March 9, 1933, after they took over the town of Dachau.

An important policy of the Nazi party in Germany was called Gleichschaltung, a term that was coined in 1933, to mean that all German culture, religious practice, politics, and daily life should conform with Nazi ideology. This policy meant total control of thought, belief, and practice, and it was used to systematically eradicate all anti-Nazi elements, after Hitler came to power in January 1933.

Under the Gleichschaltung policy, every member of the Nazi party was given a second job, in addition to his regular job.

Heinrich Himmler was given a second job as the supervisor of the German prisons.  On his first visit to the Munich prison, Himmler noted that the prison was overcrowded because Communists had been rounded up after the fire in the German Reichstag on February 27, 1933 and sent to “wild camps” or to regular prisons, including the Munich prison.

On March 22, 1933, Heinrich Himmler opened the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany at an old factory just outside of the town of Dachau. The first prisoners were 200 Communists who had been taken into “protective custody” after the burning of the Reichstag on the night of February 27, 1933; the justification for the imprisonment of the Communists was that they were “enemies of the state.”

Here is a little history of Germany to put everything into context:

Following World War I, Germany became a democratic Republic with a Constitution based on the American Constitution. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, a new congressional election was required to confirm his appointment.

In the election which took place on March 5, 1933, the Nazis gained enough seats in the Reichstag (German Congress) so that, with the help of other conservative parties, they were able to pass legislation on March 7th, which ended state’s rights in Germany. This legislation allowed Hitler to unite Germany for the first time into “ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer” (one people, one empire, one leader).

After this legislation was put into effect on March 9, 1933, all the German states were now controlled by the federal government, under the rule of the Nazis; the governors of each state and all the government positions of any importance were now appointed by the Nazis, and of course, the appointees were loyal members of the Nazi party.

The Nazi term for this new unity among the German people was Gleichschaltung; it meant that everyone was on the same page with all the people pulling together, united in their beliefs and objectives.

After March 9, 1933, the former German states, such as Prussia and Bavaria, no longer had state’s rights and the German people were now ruled by one government and one leader for the first time ever in the history of the German people.

One reason that the Nazis wanted to bring all the German states under their central control was to make sure that Bavaria would never again be taken over by the Communists, which was what happened on November 7, 1918 when Jewish leader Kurt Eisner led a revolution, forced the King of Bavaria to resign, and then set up a Communist Republic in Bavaria.

So, long story short, Gleichschaltung was the start of Germany for the Germans, not for the Jews. The Jews thought that it was their right to live in any country in the world, and to control that country for their benefit. The Jews have now achieved that goal, and Hitler is now the worst person who ever lived on this earth.

 

What Jewish children are taught about the Holocaust

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 10:20 am

Today I read a news article, which really shocked me:  http://atlantajewishtimes.com/2016/05/never-forget-still/

The article is about what Jewish children are taught today, regarding the Holocaust.

For example, this quote is from the news article, cited above:

Begin quote

Majdanek was much more than a death camp. The couple who ran it invented murderous techniques such as dragging a body behind a motorcycle and skinning women to create art canvases.

I still could not connect with the stories we were told, but it all became real when we were taken to the mountain of ashes. Those were Jews. Those were victims. Those were the tortured. Those ashes were once human beings. The relatively small mound of dust and bones represented countless human beings — unidentified and unclaimed.

I could not and still cannot fathom how those ashes used to have arms, legs and heartbeats. Right before we went back to the buses, I looked down and saw scattered bones. I finally felt the devastation of the Shoah.

End quote

What was the name of the couple who ran the Majdanek camp? I have never heard that story.

Where are the “art canvases” that were created, at Majdanek by using the skin of women? I have never seen them.

I have an entire section about Majdanek on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/index.html

Start with this page about Majdanek:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek.html

One thing about the Majdanek memorial site that this young Jewish girl completely misunderstood was the Mausoleum. I wrote about it on this page of my website:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Majdanek/Majdanek06.html

The Mausoleum at Majdanek Photo credit: Simon Robertson

The Mausoleum at Majdanek Photo credit: Simon Robertson

The following quote is from my scrapbookpages.com website:

Begin quote

A gigantic, circular Mausoleum at the Majdanek Memorial Site stands at the end of the former “black path” to the crematorium, a walkway that is now called the Road of Homage in English. The structure was designed by architect and sculptor Wiktor Tolkin, the same man who designed the Monument of Struggle and Martyrdom at the other end of the walkway, near the street.

The dome of the Mausoleum is pockmarked, as though it had suffered bomb damage in the war. The English translation of the inscription on the frieze of the dome reads “Let our fate be a warning to you.”

Under the dome is a huge circular urn, shaped like a saucer, which contains the ashes of some of the victims at Majdanek. Before visiting Majdanek, I had heard about the ashes and wondered what kept them from blowing away in the wind. The answer is that the ashes were recovered from a compost pile in the camp, where they had been mixed with dirt and garden refuse and composted in preparation for spreading on the vegetable garden in the camp.

The material under the dome looks like compacted dirt, the color of adobe. There are a few bone fragments visible. To the left, in front of the steps, are four containers to hold eternal flames for special ceremonies.

End quote

Let’s get back to the article written by the young Jews girl. The following quote is from the article:

Begin quote

I stepped on each plank of wood on the train track [at Auschwitz-Birkenau]. The planks seemed to never end, but when I reached the camp [entrance] gate, I sighed. I knew I could walk out and return to my reality, but for the deported men, women and children, Birkenau was their reality.

The most common mode of mass killing in the Holocaust was the gas chamber. I learned about the gas chambers in history classes at home, but stepping inside one [in the main Auschwitz camp] was nothing like the textbooks. There were smudges of blue on the floor and walls from the Zyklon B poison tablets. The walls had scratch marks from people trying to pull themselves up for a last gulp of air.

train tracks going into the Auschwitz-Birkeanu camp

My 2005 photo of the train tracks going into the Auschwitz-Birkeanu camp

With the exception of one young girl shielded by a larger woman, no one survived the gas chambers. Jews went into showers thinking they were gas chambers, and they went into gas chambers thinking they were showers. Life for them was one giant question mark.

I looked at my shoes and thought to myself how hundreds and thousands of bodies were beneath my feet. Death was right below me. And it was one of the smallest gas chambers: It killed only 700 people a day.

End quote

“hundreds of bodies were beneath [her] feet”?

Are visitors to Auschwitz told today, that the bodies of Jews who were gassed, are buried beneath the alleged gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp?

My 2005 photo of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp

My 2005 photo of the gas chamber in Auschwitz camp

 

 

90-year-old American war veteran recalls the liberation of Mauthausen

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:08 am

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at https://www.rt.com/news/342485-war-love-aviation-regiment/

Begin quote

William Phelps wore a first sergeant’s stripes at the unlikely age of 19 as a World War II tank gunner, heard Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s unvarnished opinions over lunch one day and made the cover of Yank magazine in 1945 in a memorable photo, patching his trousers with a sewing machine in front of a tank.

But his most important day in Europe was in liberating an Austrian extermination camp.

Outside Linz, Phelps and two dozen soldiers entering the Mauthausen concentration camp 71 years ago last week were stunned at the sight of dead, dying and emaciated prisoners. The Americans saw German guards in the distance running for their lives, prisoners killing some of them with rocks and clubs.

“I’ll tell you, it’s really tough for me to describe because when you come into something like that, you haven’t seen a hundred people naked and stacked up, shriveled up all over the place, and it was unbelievable for me and most of the troops that were there,” said Phelps, 90, of San Antonio.

End quote

The liberation of Mauthausenn was re-enacteed a day later

The liberation of Mauthausenn was re-enacted a day later

The photograph above was taken on May 6, 1945, the day after the official liberation of the Mauthausen main camp. It shows prisoners surrounding an M8 Greyhound armored car.

According to Pierre Serge Choumoff, the liberation of Mauthausen, as shown in the photo above, was reenacted for photographers at the request of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Nazi eagle over the gate had already been removed by the prisoners and a banner, written in Spanish, had been put up by the Spanish political prisoners. The English translation reads “The Spanish Anti-Fascists Salute the Liberating Forces.”

These prisoners were Spanish Republicans who had fought against General Francisco Franco’s Fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War and had escaped to France when the Republicans lost the war. The Spanish Republicans were interned by the French and later, when the Germans defeated France in 1940, they were incarcerated as political prisoners because they were opposed to the Nazis. Germany had fought on the side of Franco in the Spanish Civil War, which was a war between the Fascists and the Communists. For the anti-Fascist Spanish Republicans, Mauthausen has the same significance as Auschwitz does for the Jews.

The news article continues with the following quote:

“We’d seen dead Germans because that’s what we were paid to do. We had to kill them or they had to kill us. But you didn’t have a stack of a hundred people, 200 people, 300 that had been laying there for days.”

As the week began, Phelps, 90, of San Antonio was back in Europe, where he visited the Auschwitz concentration camp as part of a tour marking the Holocaust.

He did not go to Mauthausen, a facility designed to be the last stop for criminals, political prisoners and religious conscientious objectors but that later also housed accused communists, Jews and defeated refugees of the Spanish Republic who had fought Gen. Francisco Franco.

End quote

Here is what really happened when the Mauthausen camp was liberated.

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.

According to Manuel Razola and Mariano Constante, two Spanish inmates at Mauthausen who wrote a book entitled “Triangle Blue,” in the last days of the war, the prisoners had formed an International Committee, which took over the camp as soon as the American liberators arrived on May 5, 1945.

Razola and Constante are quoted by Christian Bernadac in his book entitled “The 186 Steps.” According to their story, “The international committee had taken the decision to execute the most criminal SS and common-law elements.” On the night that the camp was liberated, the international committee killed 8 of the Kapos in the camp and 6 of the SS officers.

 

 

May 9, 2016

the family camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 7:25 am

The subject of the “family camp” came up in a recent comment on my blog.  Actually, the full name for this camp was “the Czech family camp.”

Here is what I know about “the Czech family camp”:

In 1944, the main camp road into Auschwitz-Birkeanau intersected a north-south road at the western end of the Birkenau camp; the north-south road led to the Central Sauna where those who were selected for labor took a shower before being assigned to their barracks.

Jews getting off a train at Birkenau

Jews getting off train at Birkenau

In the photo above, the tall chimneys of Krema II and Krema III can be seen in the background.

Hungarian Jews waiting for their turn in the gas chamber at Birkenau

Hungarian Jews waiting for their turn in a gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

A short distance beyond the Sauna were the fake shower rooms in Krema IV and Krema V, where those unfit for work were gassed.

The intersection of these two roads can no longer be seen today because the International Monument has been built in that location at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In 1944, the main camp road at Birkenau went all the way to the western end of the camp and continued outside the camp. Today visitors must turn north at the ruins of Krema III to get to the north-south road to the Sauna and the ruins of Krema IV and Krema V.

In a 2006 interview with Don Moore, a writer with the Sun-Herald, Holocaust survivor William Schick told about how he narrowly escaped being gassed at Birkenau on two separate occasions.

Schick was a Czech Jew who had been first sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto, before being transferred to the Czech family camp at Birkenau. As a prisoner in the Czech family camp, Schick played in the soccer matches at Birkenau. The soccer field was located near the Krema III gas chamber.

Regarding the liquidation of the Czech family camp in section BIIb, the following quote is from Don Moore’s article in the Sun-Herald:

Begin quote

“They told everyone in Camp B2B we were going to be sent to Germany as slave laborers, but we had to clean up and shower first and we’d be issued new uniforms,” he said. “When we reached what the guards said were the ‘showers’ there was a commotion going on. I could speak a little German and I heard the guards say something was ‘kaput.'”

He learned later that the apparatus that filled the showers with poison gas was ‘kaput.’ The prisoners from B2B had escaped death. They were marched back to their barracks. Three days later they were marched back to the gas chambers to die.

“We were just about to go into the gas chambers once more and there was another commotion out front.

“A train with 10,000 Jews from Hungry had just arrived. They had no place to put them. We were sent back to our barracks once again. They marched all 10,000 Hungarian Jews into the three gas chambers at Auschwitz and killed them all in 24 hours.”

End quote

In the book written by Ruth Elias, entitled “Triumph of Hope,” which I read years ago, the following sequence of events in the liquidation of the Czech family camp is given:

On July 2, 1944, Dr. Josef Mengele made a selection in the Czech family camp. He selected 1,000 male prisoners whom he considered fit for work, and on July 7, they were transported out of Birkenau. Women who were considered fit for work, including Ruth Elias who was pregnant, were transferred from the Czech family camp to the women’s camp at Birkenau.

On July 11, 1944, the liquidation of the Czech family camp began when 3,000 prisoners were sent to the gas chamber. The next day, 4,000 more prisoners were sent to the gas chamber, after being selected by Dr. Mengele, and the family camp ceased to exist. On July 14, the women who had been selected for work, including Ruth Elias, were sent to Hamburg or to the Stutthof concentration camp near the city formerly known as Danzig.

Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz was 18 years old when she was sent from Czechoslovakia to the Birkenau camp in 1943 and tattooed with the number 34042 on her left arm. In a newspaper article in the Salisbury Post, Scott Jenkins reported on a talk that Cernyak-Spatz gave to sixth-graders at Corriher-Lipe Middle School in May 2000. She stressed to the Corriher-Lipe students that the Holocaust was not a single event, but an efficiently conceived and executed process that began “the minute Adolf Hitler came to power” as Germany’s dictator in 1933.

Elaine Geller is a famous Holocaust survivor who was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau at the age of 4, after seeing her mother and grandparents shot right in front of her. Geller now gives frequent lectures about the Holocaust, telling about her experience.

Geller told an audience in Granite Hills, CA on March 4, 2009 that she never officially got any food while she was in the Birkenau camp, since she was a child and because of her age, she wasn’t counted at Auschwitz; Geller survived only because her aunt shared her food. She did what was necessary to survive, including stealing food, eating toothpaste and drinking her own urine.

Geller said that “two Nazi soldiers said her hair was too pretty for a Jewish girl, and they shaved her bald. When her aunt came back from work she saw Elaine and began to cry. For crying, the Nazis beat Geller’s aunt right in front of her, and then they hit Geller’s head with their fists so now she has calcified ears.”

Somehow Elaine Geller managed to survive at Auschwitz-Birkenau and was eventually sent to Bergen-Belsen where she was liberated by British soldiers in April 1945.

From all over Europe, Jews were brought by train to the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, mostly in cattle cars. According to Olga Lengyel, a doctor who was a prisoner at Birkenau, the new arrivals went through a selection process during which 30 SS officers took turns selecting workers for the factories and sending those who were too young or too old to the gas chamber with a wave of the hand.

Woman who has been selected for the gas chamber struggles to escape

Woman who has been selected for the gas chamber struggles to escape at Auschwitz-Birkenau

To the left meant immediate death in the gas chamber; to the right meant a few months of slave labor, living in miserable conditions, and barely subsisting at a starvation level. The woman in the photo above tries to escape after being selected for the gas chamber because she is too old to work.

In her book entitled “Five Chimneys,” Lengyel wrote that Dr. Fritz Klein was the “Chief Selector.” She described Dr. Klein as “different from the other S.S. He never shouted and had rather nice manners.”

Dr. Fritz Klein had arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on December 15, 1943; he had first served as a camp doctor in the women’s camp in Birkenau. Later, Dr. Klein worked as a camp doctor in the Gypsy camp at Birkenau.

In December 1944, Dr. Klein was transferred to Neuengamme concentration camp; he was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in January 1945, where he was arrested by the British in April 1945.

Dr. Fritz Klein was put on trial by the British after the war, charged with committing war crimes at both Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen; he was sentenced to death and hanged on December 13, 1945.

Two women who have been sent to shower

Two women who have been sent to the shower room (gas chamber) at Auschwitz-Birkenau

 

May 8, 2016

Jews were offloaded directly from the cattle cars into the gas chambers

The title of my blog post today is a line from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/general-news/20160507/oakland-woman-traces-familys-holocaust-story

The following quote is from the news article cited above:

Begin quote

The Nazis started weekly transports from Amsterdam in July 1943.

“Relatives tried to get them off the transport list,” Vasos-Baczewski said. “That’s when they knew it was over.”

The Mosbachers did not remain in Auschwitz, Vasos-Baczewski and her husband learned. “We knew that they had been there, but didn’t have specific dates, documentation that they had been killed immediately,” she said.

The world knows now what occurred at the concentration camp. “They had a ramp,” Vasos-Baczewski said. “They could offload directly from the cattle car into the gas chambers.”

End quote

Trains brought Jews into the Birkenau camp in 1944

Trains brought Jews into the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in 1944

On the map below, note that the gas chambers are marked in red at the top of the map. The train tracks going into the camp are shown at the bottom of the map.

The top of the map shown below points west and shows the western end of the Birkeanu camp where the Zentral Sauna is located. “The little white house” is shown behind the Sauna and to the right. The Sauna was the building where the clothing was disinfected in steam chambers; this building also had a large shower room. The buildings shown just below the Sauna on the map were the clothing warehouses. To the right of the clothing warehouses were Krema IV and Krema V (No. 17 on the map) which had gas chambers disguised as showers. Behind the clothing warehouses were the hospital barracks. On the left side of the map below (No. 15) are Crematorium II and Crematorium III, shown in red. The white part of these two buildings in the drawing denotes the undressing rooms and the gas chambers which were partially underground. No. 14 on the map denotes the main camp road with the women’s camp on the left; the women’s kitchen is right below Crematorium II.

Map of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

Map of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

The following quote is also from the news article, cited above:

Begin quote

The other piece of Vasos-Baczewski’s story came via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and an archive called the International Tracing Service. The tracing service is a portal to “more than 150 million pages of documents relating to 17 million people,” according to the museum’s Raymund Flandez.

It was maintained in Bad Arolsen, Germany, and kept closed to the international community until 2007.

Since then, at no charge, the museum has fielded about 250 requests a month arriving from 75 countries around the world, from people hoping to trace missing relatives or shed light on the experiences of Holocaust victims, Flandez wrote in a release.

The Nazis kept meticulous records of their atrocities, Vasos-Baczewski said. “That was the most sobering thing to see: their names on the documents, the transport lists. The Germans were just great record keepers,” she said.

The Nazis started weekly transports from Amsterdam in July 1943.

“Relatives tried to get them off the transport list,” Vasos-Baczewski said. “That’s when they knew it was over.”

The Mosbachers did not remain in Auschwitz, Vasos-Baczewski and her husband learned. “We knew that they had been there, but didn’t have specific dates, documentation that they had been killed immediately,” she said.

The world knows now what occurred at the concentration camp. “They had a ramp,” Vasos-Baczewski said. “They could offload directly from the cattle car into the gas chambers.”

End quote

Original boxcar that brought Jews to Birkenau

My photo of original cattle car that brought Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau

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