Irene Zisblatt shows where her Auschwitz tattoo was removed
Irene Zisblatt is a famous Holocaust survivor, who was saved from the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau when she was tossed over a fence and into an open railway car on a parked train.
Some Holocaust deniers don’t believe Irene’s story, but I have found some videos, which show that a toss like this could have easily been done, by a strong man.
The videos show scenes taken at Scottish games, where men would toss heavy objects over a bar. I have been to Scottish games, held in America, on two separate occasions, so I know that tossing a heavy object over a bar can be done by a strong man.
In the above video a man throws a 56 pound weight over a 16 foot high bar, demonstrating a 56 pound throw for height.
In the above video, a man is shown throwing a 56 pound weight for distance. Notice the difference in technique in the throw for distance.
Irene Zisblatt wrote a book, published in 2008, entitled “The Fifth Diamond”. She wrote about her [alleged] time in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. The title of her book refers to a necklace with four diamonds, set into a pendant, that she wears around her neck when she speaks to American school children who are studying the Holocaust.
As a survivor, Irene is the Fifth Diamond. Gail Ann Webb, a school teacher, helped Irene write the book, which is concise and especially suitable for students who are studying the Holocaust in middle school.
For 50 years, Irene kept quiet about her ordeal in the Nazi concentration camps, but in 1994, after Steven Spielberg’s movie “Schindler’s List” came out, she decided to tell her story. In 1995, she was interviewed for 3 hours by Jennifer Resnick while her testimony was videotaped for Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation.
She was then chosen as one of five Hungarian survivors to be featured in Spielberg’s Academy Award winning documentary entitled “The Last Days,” which was released in 1998. A book, also entitled “The Last Days,” was published in 1999.
In the documentary “The Last Days,” Irene tells about how her mother gave her the diamonds before the family was sent to the Auschwitz death camp. She managed to keep them through all the time that she was in the concentrations camps, and on a death march out of a camp, by swallowing them before being searched, excreting them, cleaning them and then swallowing them again. She said that she sometimes cleaned her diamonds “in the soup we were going to get.”
In “The Last Days,” Irene said that she “was about 9 years old” when she was expelled from school in 1939. A curfew was established and “Jewish people were forbidden to leave their houses after six in the evening or before eight in the morning.”
Irene’s father lost his business when it was given to a Gentile. Hungary was allies with Germany, and according to Irene: “We didn’t see a Nazi in our home town until 1944; everything had been done by the Hungarian police and by local youths under Nazi orders.”
Irene was living with her family in the small resort town of Polena in the Carpathian mountains; at that time, Polena was in Hungary.
There were 62 Jewish families in the town; her father owned a business, but the family had no electricity in their house, according to Irene. This was not unusual in those days; many towns in Eastern Europe had no running water and no electricity.
After Germany invaded Hungary on March 19, 1944, Irene and her family were put into the Miskolc ghetto, which Irene said “consisted of a couple of streets around a brick factory.” All the houses “were already crammed full” so Irene and her family “built a little tent from our tablecloths and sheets, whatever we had in our suitcases, and we lived under that.”
In her talks to students, Irene tells that she was 13 years old when she was put on a train from the Miskolc ghetto, and sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp during the deportation of the Hungarian Jews in May 1944. When she arrived at Auschwitz, she was immediately separated from her family; she says that she was the only one of her 40 family members that survived the gas chambers.
According to Irene’s story in her book entitled “The Last Days,” Irene’s father was born in 1908, so he was 36 years old in 1944, and he was young enough to be selected for work at Birkenau.
In the selections upon arrival at Birkenau, everyone older than 45 or younger than 15 was sent immediately to the gas chamber. Irene says that her entire family, except her, was gassed in Gas Chamber #2 on the day that they arrived, including her parents who were of working age.
Irene says that the Jews in the Miskolc ghetto were tricked into getting on the train to Birkenau. “The train came in the night and it was announced that everybody who wanted to go to Tokaj to work in the vineyards should get on the train.”
In the book “The Last Days,” Irene tells how her mother gave her advice, before the train left the ghetto, that saved her from being immediately selected for the gas chamber at Birkenau.
The following quote is from the book entitled “The Last Days”:
And she told me to say I was twenty years old – I was only thirteen – because then I would be sent to work in a factory where I would get food and I would survive.
The following quote is from a newspaper article written by Nate Hubbard after Irene gave a talk to students in Bland County, Virginia on March 9, 2009:
But the most gripping part of Zisblatt’s account came when she told the students about how she had narrowly escaped the gas chamber. She said she was selected along with approximately 1,500 other women to be killed. When the prisoners were herded into the gas chamber, though, there wasn’t room for them all. Zisblatt said she wound up right in the doorway, clinging to a piece of wood as her fingernails were ripped off causing blood to gush from the tips of her fingers. When the door couldn’t be closed with Zisblatt blocking the way, she was flung out of the chamber.
With the help of another prisoner, she said she was able to escape Auschwitz by getting on a train traveling across tracks running near the No. 3 gas chamber. The train took her to the Neuengamme labor camp in Germany where shortly after she was forced to go on a “death march” as the war wound down. After marching for days upon days in hellacious conditions, Zisblatt said she and a friend realized they had a chance to escape during a dark night as they stood between two forests. […] Providence, though, finally smiled down on Zisblatt as she and her friend made a successful escape and were soon thereafter discovered by American soldiers.
Irene Zisblatt had been saved by a young Sonderkommando (Jewish crematorium worker) who rescued her after she was thrown out of the Krema III gas chamber because the room was too full. He wrapped her in a blanket and tossed her over the 10-foot-high barbed wire fence around Krema III; she landed in an open railroad car of a train that was bound for the Neuengamme concentration camp in Germany.