Scrapbookpages Blog

August 18, 2015

Truth or fiction: Wilhelm Boger and the Auschwitz trial

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:01 am

You can read about Wilhelm Boger and the Auschwitz trial in a news article today, which has this headline:

Auschwitz trial ensured that Germany would never forget

I wrote about Wilhelm Boger in this previous blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/05/15/the-grandchildren-of-the-nazi-monsters/

This quote is from the news article, cited above:

On the witness stand, Wilhelm Boger, the man in charge of interrogations at Auschwitz, was confronted with his invention: the “Boger swing.” Prisoners would be brought in for questioning, stripped naked and hung over an iron bar with their hands manacled to their ankles. Their heads down and their genitals exposed to brutal beatings, the victim would swing there. “I didn’t beat them to death,” Boger told the court. “I just carried out orders.” Boger’s attitude was shared by his fellow defendants: They showed no regret, even as, for the first time since 1945, the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial made public the full horrors of the extermination camp.

The news article shows a horrible photo of Boger. I found an old photo, shown below, which is a photo of Boger as a young man.

Wilhelm Boger

Wilhelm Boger

Several years ago, there was a movie entitled The Reader which showed a trial that was something like the Auschwitz trial.  I blogged about the movie at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/the-reader-is-it-a-pernicious-book-and-movie/

I was amazed to learn that Wilhelm Boger was not sentenced to death for his horrible crime of beating prisoners on a swing. He was given life in prison and lived to the age of 70.

This quote is from the news article:

The big Auschwitz trial came about because of a coincidence. A journalist conducting research at the end of 1958 met a former concentration camp prisoner who managed to take some charred documents from a police court when the Polish city of Wroclaw, known to the Germans as Breslau, was burning toward the end of the war. He gave them to the journalist, who sent them to Fritz Bauer, the general state prosecutor of Hessen. Bauer immediately saw that the information contained in the documents would be explosive: They detailed shootings at Auschwitz and included the names of those killed, those who did the killing and the reasons for the executions. They were signed by Rudolf Höss, the commandant in charge of the camp, who died in 1947. The initials of Robert Mulka, the commandant’s adjutant and a future defendant in the Auschwitz trials, could also clearly be identified. It was enough to trigger a major lawsuit and indict several people who had served the Nazis in various functions at Auschwitz. It was a chance to uncover the systematic nature behind the killing machine.

This quote from the news article describes the procedure at Auschwitz-Birkenau when the trains arrived:

The so-called ‘clear-up commando’ was then ordered to come onto the ramp and steal the valuables of the arriving Jews. After this the condemned were taken to the gas chambers in heavy goods vehicles or had to march there in columns. Once there, the innocent and defenseless victims were deceived with mendacious speeches and ordered to undress for a ‘shower’. They were then brought to the gas chambers and the doors were locked. A medical truck brought the deadly gas, Cyclon B, to the death factories. They tossed gas into the chambers and observed the agonizing process of their victims being gassed through a peephole. After this they ascertained the death of their victims, arranged that the bodies be burned in the crematoriums and supervised the pulling out of gold teeth. The hair of female corpses was shaved off and the robbery of valuables from dead bodies was supervised. These figures were then reported by telegram to the official bookkeeper stationed in the Imperial Security Authority (Reichssicherheithauptamt) and responsible for recording the mass murder. He logged the total number of deportees, the number of detainees brought to the camp and the number of those gassed.

Note that the hair of the women was not shaved off until after they were dead.  What a revolting mess that must have been!

Prisoners at Auschwitz had their heads shaved to prevent lice which spreads typhus

Prisoners at Auschwitz had their heads shaved to prevent lice which spreads typhus

Stupid me! I thought that the hair was shaved off because lice, which spreads typhus, hides in the hair. I thought that the in-coming prisoners were given a shower to remove any lice from their bodies, in an attempt to prevent typhus. The photo above shows women at Auschwitz with their heads shaved, before they were killed.

August 17, 2015

The Holocaust is mainly the strory of the Hungarian Jews

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:02 am
Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwtiz-Birkenau May 1944

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwtiz-Birkenau on May 26, 1944

The Holocaust, as we know it today, is mostly about the Hungarian Jews.

This quote is from a recent news article, which you can read in full here.

They [the Hungarian Jews] were massacred by their fellow Hungarian citizens.

​Sent to their deaths through the efficient work of their elected government’s bureaucrats.

Their neighbors, their business partners, their fellow club members, the chimney sweeps, police officers, tax collectors, the electric meter readers, the mailmen, the chauffeurs, their grocers and their teachers actively ​and willingly ​participated in the genocide.

The Jews – regardless of their social standing – eagerly and efficiently were served up to the gallows and ovens on a silver platter by elected public office. Almost one half of all the Jews that were killed at Auschwitz were Hungarian Jews who were gassed within a period of 10 weeks in 1944.

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

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

Almost one half of all the Jews that were killed at Auschwitz were Hungarian Jews who were gassed within a period of 10 weeks in 1944.

Up until the Spring of 1944, it had been the three Operation Reinhard camps at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor, that were the main Nazi killing centers for the Jews, not Auschwitz.

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

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

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

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

Train tracks were extended from the Auschwitz station to the Birkenau camp

Train tracks were extended from the Auschwitz station into the Birkenau camp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hungarian Jewish children walking to the gas chamber at Birkenau

Hungarian Jewish children walking to the gas chamber at Birkenau; they were allowed to carry their pails of food into the gas chamber

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

The Jews in the villages and small towns were immediately rounded up and concentrated in ghettos. One of the ghettos was located in a brick factory in the city of Miskolc, Hungary, where 14,000 Jews were imprisoned while they waited to be transported to Birkeanu.  Many of the Holocaust survivors, still alive today, talk about the brick factory. Famous survivor, Irene Zisblatt, was one of the Jews who was allegedly at the brick factory, before being sent to Auschwitz.

Hungarian women are not happy after their arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Hungarian women are not happy after their arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau

One of the Hungarian Jews who survived Auschwitz was Alice Lok Cahana, whose story was recounted by Laurence Rees in his book entitled Auschwitz, a New History.

Alice was 15 when she was registered in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, but in spite of being over the age of 14, she was sent, only months later, to the gas chamber in Krema V and told that she would be given new clothes after taking a shower.

According to Alice, the purpose of the red brick Krema V building was deceptively disguised by red geraniums in window boxes, so that the prisoners would not suspect that they were going into a gas chamber. Alice was inside the gas chamber in Krema V when the revolt by the Sonderkommando unit in Krema IV began on October 7, 1944. This was the occasion when the Sonderkommando blew up the Krema IV gas chamber building with dynamite that had been sneaked into Birkenau by some of the women prisoners who worked in factories outside the camp.

Laurence Rees wrote:

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

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

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

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

By 2010, Iby had started writing her survivor story and was seeking a publisher for her manuscript.

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

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

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

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

 

August 16, 2015

How Lou Dunst survived a gas chamber twice, and now lives the good life in San Diego, CA

Filed under: California, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:54 pm

You can read the full story about how Lou Dunst survived a gas chamber twice here: http://www.sdjewishworld.com/2013/12/27/biography-of-lou-dunst-tells-of-his-three-lives/

This quote is from the link cited above:

Lou and his brother survived Auschwitz only to be forced once again into a boxcar to another death camp, Mauthausen. Once again, they were herded into a gas chamber, expecting to die, choked to death by poisonous gas. “We were pressed together, naked, shrieking with horror, people falling on each other, some trampled, gasping for air, unable to think, function, even form some kind of prayer.” The killing machine did not work.

But as Lou asserts, “Ha-Shem (God) made another miracle.” Lou’s deep faith in God was once again affirmed.

Barely alive at the death camp Mauthausen, starving and thirsty, the emaciated inmates cried out for water or a little piece of stale bread, anything that could help them survive, but the guards only responded with contempt. “They told us not to worry; we were going to the gas chamber anyway.” The next morning the prisoners were shoved, pushed, kicked into the gas chamber. They waited for the smell of the gas, but it didn’t come. There was a malfunction in the system and the poisonous gas was not funneled through the gas lines to reach its destination so it did not work. Lou and the others miraculously got out from the gas chamber, hysterical, demoralized, relieved, confused, grateful, terrorized, but still not dead.”

Finally the doors opened and the stunned slaves rush out into the open air. The Nazis pushed and shoved the scared and naked prisoners into the central meeting ground, where the commandant of Mauthausen casually remarked: “To burn our bodies was too expensive. Instead, he would send us to a place where we would vanish without any cost to the Third Reich.”

Lou and Irving were transferred once again, this time to Ebensee, a sub-camp of Mauthausen, where they were to work underground making pilotless VI rockets that would rain down on London. At Ebensee, one of the harshest death camps, Lou was placed on a pile of corpses; hardly breathing and with little pulse, Lou awaited death.

On May 6, 1945, American GI Robert Persinger of the Third Cavalry of General George S. Patton’s Third Army drove his tank, the Lady Luck, through the camp fence to liberate the inmates of Ebensee. Irving Dunst grabbed Persinger’s hand and tugged him over to his brother’s seemingly lifeless body on the pile of corpus and shouted: “That’s my brother. Please rescue him.”

Lou’s miraculous rescue was the beginning of the third phase in the life of Lou Dunst. Lou was slowly nursed back to health and life by many, including a stay in a Catholic hospital where the Sisters of Mercy showed respect and treated him humanely, until he was well enough to leave on his own. Lou and Irving, like so many other survivors went in search of their relatives and of any survivors they could find. They made their way back to Jasina walking, hitch-hiking or riding on army vehicle and on trains going east. They placed hand-written notes on bulletin boards in towns along the way, notifying anyone who was searching for survivors that they were alive and that they could be reached at the main European Jewish office that was trying to connect surviving relatives with one another. Most of all, they looked for any information they could find about Risi, their sister.

After reading this story about the failure of the gas chambers, I was left wondering why oh why didn’t the Nazis send someone to Missouri to learn how to construct a workable gas chamber.

Missouri is a state that is full of German-Americans, even to this day.  In the 1940ies, most of the citizens of Missouri could still speak German.

I blogged about the Missouri gas chamber on this blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/what-does-a-real-gas-chamber-look-like/

You can read all about the Mauthausen gas chamber on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/Gas%20Chamber/GasChamberEntrance.html

Door into the Mauthausen gas chamber

Door into the Mauthausen gas chamber with water pipe going into the room, shown on the left

The photo above shows the door into the Mauthausen shower room gas chamber. Looking through the door, one can see the interior of the gas chamber with heating pipes or cooling pipes on the north wall and the single drain hole on the brick floor.

On the wall to the right of the shower gas chamber door is a water pipe going into the gas chamber, which could have been used as a fully functioning shower room, when it was not in use as a gas chamber.

On the other side of the wall adjacent to the gas chamber is a small room which is now empty. Former prisoners at Mauthausen said that the “gassing apparatus” was located in a room adjoining the gas chamber.  This was the apparatus which did not work properly when Lou Dunst was being gassed.

I wrote about the Ebensee camp on this page of my website:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/KZMauthausen/Subcamps/Ebensee01.html

I blogged about the Holocaust gas chambers that are still in existence on this blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/how-many-of-the-nazi-gas-chambers-are-still-in-existence/

August 15, 2015

Holocaust survivors who were sent from Auschwitz to Theresienstadt to be gassed

Filed under: Buchenwald, Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 12:55 pm
Holoaust survivors who were saved when they were sent to the UK

Holoaust survivors who were saved when they were sent to the UK (Click to enlarge)

This quote is from a news story, which you can read in full here. The photo above is included in the news article.

In 1945, a group of Jewish children who came to be known as the “Windermere Boys” were granted refuge at hostels in the Lake District [in the UK].

The youngsters who arrived at the scenic Calgarth Estate near Windermere were orphaned boys and girls aged four to 18 who had somehow managed to survive the unimaginable horror of the Holocaust.

Among them was Samuel Laskier, a Polish Jew who spent seven months in Auschwitz before taking the “worst journey imaginable” to Theresienstadt concentration camp in the Czech Republic, which was liberated by the Russians on May 8, the day Germany surrendered.

Why was going from Auschwitz to Theresienstadt the “worst journey imaginable”?  Auschwitz was a “death camp” where Jews were gassed; Theresienstadt did not have a reputation for gassing Jews. At least not until the very end of the war.

Gate into the Theresienstadt ghetto

Gate into the Theresienstadt ghetto (click to enlarge)

I blogged about the gas chamber at Theresienstadt in this previous blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/gas-chamber-at-theresienstadt/

Toward the end of World War II, there were rumors circulating in all of the major Nazi concentration camps, that Hitler had given the order for all the inmates to be killed before the arrival of the Soviet or American soldiers, who would liberate the camps. This was believed to be the purpose for building a gas chamber at Theresienstadt in 1945 at the tail end of the war.

At Auschwitz, the inmates were given the choice of staying in the camp, or following the Germans on a death march to other camps in the west before the Soviet army arrived. Very few prisoners stayed behind, except those who were too old or too sick to walk; the prisoners believed that they would be killed by the Soviets if they stayed at Auschwitz.

After April 20, 1945, there were 13,454 of these wretched survivors from Auschwitz and other camps who poured into Theresienstadt. Some were housed in the Hamburg barracks, right by the railroad tracks. The others were put into temporary wooden barracks outside the ghetto, which were taken down soon after the war.

Some of the people who arrived from the evacuated camps were former inmates of Theresienstadt who were now returning. Others were Jews who had been in the eastern concentration camps for years. On May 3, 1945, the Theresienstadt  ghetto was turned over to the Red Cross by Commandant Karl Rahm.

Some of the newcomers had been evacuated from Buchenwald on April 5th just before the camp was liberated by American troops on April 11, 1945. Before the Americans arrived, Hitler himself had given the order to evacuate the Jews from Buchenwald in an effort to prevent them from exacting revenge on German citizens after they were freed.

Some of the Buchenwald prisoners, who arrived at Theresienstadt, were in terrible condition after they had been traveling by train for two weeks without food.

After the liberation of Buchenwald, some of the prisoners, who had not been evacuated, commandeered American army jeeps and weapons, then drove to the nearby town of Weimar where, in an orgy of revenge, they looted German homes and shot innocent civilians at random. This was the type of thing that the Nazis were trying to prevent by evacuating the concentration camps before they were liberated.

According to Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott, who was one of the prisoners brought to Theresienstadt in the last days of the war, the inmates of the Theresienstadt ghetto went on a rampage as soon as they were released. They looted homes, beat to death an SS guard from the ghetto, and attacked the ethnic Germans who were now homeless refugees, fleeing to Germany, after being driven out of the Czech provinces of Bohemia and Moravia.

According to Martin Gilbert in his book Holocaust Journey, Commandant Karl Rahm told the Red Cross that he had received orders from Berlin to kill all the inmates in the ghetto before the Russians arrived, but he had disobeyed the order. Because of this, Rahm was allowed to leave the Theresienstadt camp unmolested on the day before the Russians arrived on May 8, 1945. He was later captured and tried in a Special People’s Court in nearby Litomerice; he was convicted and was executed in 1947.

The life and death of Samuel Pisar, a Holocaust survivor

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:50 am

This quote is from a recent news article: “Samuel Pisar, who survived Auschwitz as a boy to become a successful lawyer, an adviser to presidents and the creator of the text for Leonard Bernstein’s symphony “Kaddish,” died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 86.”

Samuel Pisar

Samuel Pisar (Click to enlarge)

When I read in the news today that Samuel Pisar had died recently, that name instantly rang a bell.  I knew that I had written about him on my website many years ago.  I looked up his name, and sure enough, I found what I had written  about his survival, as a teenager in the Auschwitz death camp, and his march out of Dachau, just before the camp was liberated by American soldiers.

Prisoners marching out of Dachau

Prisoners marching out of Dachau just before the camp was liberated

This quote is from the news story about Samuel Pisar’s death:

In a series of interviews with The New York Times in 2009, he [Samuel Pisar] described how he had survived the death camps by becoming pitiless and cruel, finding older protectors and ways to appear privileged in a hierarchy of despair, like persuading a prisoner-tailor to refashion a cap so that the stripes on the top perfectly met the stripes on the side. He was condemned to die at least twice, but managed to slip back into the general prison population, once convincing a guard that he was there only to wash the floor.

“I had to learn bad habits,” he said, “to be good at lying and make instant judgments about people, what they were saying, what they really thought, and not just the guards and torturers, but my fellow prisoners, too. I was a cute kid, and there were a lot of psychotics around.”

At the end of the war, he escaped during a death march [out of Dachau].

But to rejoin the world, “I had to wipe out the first 17 years of my life,” he said. “I muted the past” and “turned to the future with a vengeance.”

This is what I wrote about Samuel Pisar on my website years ago:

Acting upon Hitler’s orders, the Commandant of Dachau, Wilhelm Eduard Weiter, made an attempt to evacuate the Dachau main camp before the American liberators arrived. On April 26th, 1945, Weiter left the camp with a transport of prisoners bound for Schloss Itter, a subcamp of Dachu in Austria. On that same day, 1,759 Jewish prisoners were put on a train that was headed south.

Also on April 26th, there were 6,887 other prisoners, half of whom were Jews, that started on a march south to the mountains.

[These prisoners were being marched out of Dachau because the Nazis were afraid that they would roam the countryside, killing German civilians, if they were released from Dachau by the American liberators. A few did escape and that is exactly what happened.]

One of the prisoners who survived the march out of Dachau was Samuel Pisar, a Polish Jew who emigrated to America after the war, became an international lawyer and wrote a book entitled Of Blood and Hope.

Pisar was 13 years old when the Bialystock ghetto in northeastern Poland was liquidated. He was sent to the extermination camp at Majdanek, but his mother and younger sister were sent to Auschwitz. His father had already been shot by the Gestapo.

A few months later, Pisar was transferred to Auschwitz where he was given a job working near the crematoria at Birkenau. He could hear the cries of the innocents as they were herded into the gas chambers while an orchestra played classical music.

When Auschwitz was evacuated in January 1945, Pisar was one of the prisoners on the death march out of the camp; he ended up in Dachau where his misery continued. When American planes strafed the column of Jews marching out of Dachau, he managed to escape and was eventually rescued by American soldiers. He had just turned 16 and had survived three long years of Nazi persecution.

End of quote from my website

Samuel Pisar’s whole story is one of Holocaust denial. As everyone knows, the Jews went through a selection process in the death camps, and everyone under the age of 16 was gassed.

Pisar was sent to Majdanek, which was a death camp, at the age of 13, but he wasn’t gassed. From Majdanek, he was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau, another death camp. When the Nazis marched out of Birkenau, he joined them instead of waiting to be liberated by the Soviets. For some reason, he had no fear of following the Nazis to Dachau where there was another gas chamber waiting for him.

Then he was sent on a death march out of Dachau, but he wasn’t killed. His whole story is one of Holocaust denial. The purpose of a “death march” was to kill the prisoners. The first time that I was called a Holocaust denier was when I wrote that the purpose of a “death march” was NOT to kill the prisoners, but to prevent them from roaming the countryside and attacking German civilians.

August 14, 2015

Anniversary of the death of Auschwitz martyr Father Maksymilian Kolbe

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:24 pm

You can read a news article about the anniversary of the death of Father Maksymilian Kolbe here.

Friday [August 14, 2015] marks the 74th anniversary of the death of the Polish Franciscan monk, Father Maksymilian Kolbe, who offered his life in exchange for another inmate’s in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz.
Father Maksymilian Kolbe who did in a starvation cell at Auschwitz

Father Maksymilian Kolbe who was put into a starvation cell at the Auschwitz death camp

The prison cell where Father Kolbe died is now a shrine

The prison cell of Father Kolbe is now a shrine

It was in cell No. 18, one of the starvation cells in the main Auschwitz camp, that Father Maksymilian Kolbe, a Franciscan friar, was kept until he was near death. According to my tour guide, on my trip to Auschwitz in 1998, Father Kolbe was taken out of his cell after three weeks and given a more merciful death by an injection to the heart.

Father Kolbe had been arrested by the German Gestapo on February 17, 1941 because he had hidden 2,000 Jews in his friary and because he was broadcasting reports over the radio condemning Nazi activities during World War II. On May 25, 1941, he was sent to the main Auschwitz camp as a political prisoner.

The following quote is from Wikipedia:

In July 1941, a man from Kolbe’s barrack had vanished, prompting SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritsch, the Lagerführer (i.e., the camp commander), to pick 10 men from the same barrack to be starved to death in Block 11 (notorious for torture), in order to deter further escape attempts. (The man who had disappeared was later found drowned in the camp latrine.) One of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, lamenting his family, and Kolbe volunteered to take his place.

Gajowniczek was a Polish political prisoner who had been arrested because he was aiding the Jewish resistance in Poland, although he was not a Jew himself.

Father Kolbe was canonized a saint in the Catholic Church on Oct. 10, 1982 in a ceremony held at the Auschwitz I camp. The cell where Father Kolbe was imprisoned has been decorated with a commemorative plaque and flowers. Note the window at the top of the photo above; you can see a tourist standing in the courtyard between Block 10 and Block 11.

Block 11 where Father Kolbe was kept in a prison cell in the basement

Block 11 where Father Kolbe was kept in a prison cell in the basement

Door into a starvation cell in Block 11 at Auschwitz

Door into a starvation cell in Block 11 at Auschwitz

John Wiernicki, an illegal combatant in World War II, has died

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:54 am

You can read the obituary of John Wiernicki here.

This headline is on a news story about Wiernicki’s recent death:

Janusz Mikolaja Strojnowski (John Wiernicki), Holocaust survivor and architect: born Sarny, Poland (now Ukraine) 28 July 1925; married Anne Macander (died 2015; two sons); died Bethesda, Maryland 17 July 2015.

John Warnicki when he was an illegal combatant in World War II

John Wiernicki when he was an illegal combatant in World War II

This quote is from the news article about Wiernicki’s death:

He [Wiernicki] was a cadet at military school and was 14 when Germany invaded his country [Poland]. He fled into the forests with a band of older cadets and for the next four years fought in guerrilla units, launching hit-and-run attacks.

He was captured by the [German] Gestapo in a mass round-up in 1943 at a railway station and sent to Auschwitz for having false identification papers. Had the Gestapo known he was a partisan fighter, [illegal combatant] he would doubtless have been shot.

[…]

Shortly before Auschwitz was liberated [on Jan. 27, 1945], Wiernicki was transferred to Buchenwald in Germany. He escaped while being marched to yet another camp, and was not yet 20 when Germany surrendered.

Wars are fought on the battlefield, unless you are fighting against Germany. Then it is O.K. to fight as an illegal combatant, or partisan.

August 12, 2015

How a nice Jewish girl was taken advantage of by a hateful Nazi

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:54 am
A nice Jewish girl was taken advantage of by this hateful SS man

A nice Jewish girl was taken advantage of by this hateful SS man at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

This quote is from a news story, about a nice Jewish girl named Helena Citronova, which you can read in full here:

Begin quote

There [in Auswchwitz-Birkenau] she met [Franz] Wunsch in 1942. Their relationship was portrayed by the American PBS network in a programme about the death camp in which at least 1.2 million people were liquidated. [the official count is 1.1 million people, including 900,000 Jews]

‘The relationship between SS man Franz Wunsch and Jewish woman Helena Citronova is certainly one of shock,’ it said.

‘Who could comprehend that, in a place such as Auschwitz, a place full of death, pain and sadism, an emotion as pure as love could be around?

‘Had it not been for the fateful moment when Helena was asked to sing for Wunsch’s birthday, she wouldn’t have survived. She had been sentenced to death earlier that day.’

[Wait a minute!  She had been “sentenced to death, but her death had been delayed so that she could sing for an SS man’s birthday? What a revolting development that was!  The Nazis were the worst — “the worst Jerry, the worst.”]

Wunsch sent her biscuits, passed her notes saying ‘Love – I fell in love with you’. He even saved her sister Rozinka from certain death.

[How did Wunsch save Rozinka? Did he rush into the gas chamber and pull her out just in the nick of time?]

‘When he [Wunsch] came into the [Canada] barracks where I was working, he threw me that note. I destroyed it right there and then, but I did see the word “love” — “I fell in love with you”,’ she said years later in Israel.

‘I thought I’d rather be dead than be involved with an SS man. For a long time afterwards there was just hatred. I couldn’t even look at him.’

Helena Citronova who saved herself from the gas chamber by singing Happy Birthday to an SS man

Helena Citronova who saved herself from the gas chamber by singing Happy Birthday to an SS man

Oh, the Humanity! What the poor Jews had to go through to save themselves from the Nazis!

August 11, 2015

New book about a survivor of the Lodz ghetto

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:57 am
The cover of a new book written by the son of a Holocaust survivor

The cover of a new book written by Goran Rosenberg,  the son of a Holocaust survivor

You can read  all about this new book at http://www.ydr.com/crime/ci_28614456/son-recounts-his-fathers-struggle-new-holocaust-memoir

I wrote about a survivor of the Lodz ghetto on this page of my website:  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/JackAdler.html

This quote is from the very end of the news article, cited above:

In this haunting exploration of the Auschwitz legacy — how it crushes long after the gas chambers are shut down — Goran Rosenberg [the son of a Holocaust survivor] has wrought, from the second-generation perspective, a book that overwhelms.

Brimming with duty-bound love but inescapably tragic at its core, “A Brief Stop on the Road From Auschwitz” is a tour de force fully on par with Primo Levi’s “If This Is a Man” and other literary classics of the Holocaust.

I wrote about Primo Levi in this previous blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/primo-levi-the-story-of-ten-days-jan-18th-to-jan-27th-1945/

This quote from the news story tells about the Jews, who went to Sweden after they survived the Holocaust, but found that even the Swedes hated the Jews:

Sweden has its own dark side. Snowballs hit the kitchen window as children shout “Jews!” Goran learns on the playground that a “marble Jew” is someone who cheats at the game. And his father sustains a concussion in a violent fight at the truck factory with a co-worker who insinuates that he is a good-for-nothing Jew.

This quote is from the beginning of the news article:

But a recent book by Swedish author and journalist Goran Rosenberg is both. In “A Brief Stop on the Road From Auschwitz,” Rosenberg masterfully retraces the struggle of his father to rebuild a completely shattered life after surviving Nazi slave labor and death camps, including the infamous Auschwitz.

[..]

David Rosenberg, a Polish Jew from Lodz who barely survives the war, arrives in Sweden in 1945 at age 24. He eventually settles in the bland, industrial town of Sodertalje in search of a place to replace the sights, smells, sounds and people of a world that has disappeared.

[…]

… he reunites with Hala, from whom he was separated on the selection ramp at Auschwitz-Birkenau; they marry and soon have a child. They want to name him Gershon, after David’s father, who died in the Lodz ghetto. But friends say the name sounds too foreign. How about Goran? It’s nice, Swedish-sounding, and will help the child blend in.

Did you catch the part about the “marble Jew”?  Even in Sweden, the citizens didn’t like Jews because they cheat.  Is this why the Jews were Holocausted?

August 10, 2015

Oskar Groening stood on the ramp at Birkenau 3 times, but was sentenced to four years in prison

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 12:04 pm
Oskar Groening at his trial

Oskar Groening at his trial

Today, I read an old news story here about the trial of Oskar Groening, a former German SS man, who was prosecuted as a war criminal because he had formerly served as an accountant at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

Oskar Groening as a young soldier

Oskar Groening as a young soldier

This quote is from the news story:

Though he [Groening] was more regularly assigned to the camp’s Auschwitz I section, he said he guarded the Birkenau ramp three times, including one busy 24-hour shift. The main gas chambers were located at Birkenau.

“The capacity of the gas chambers and the capacity of the crematoria were quite limited. Someone said that 5,000 people were processed in 24 hours but I didn’t verify this. I didn’t know,” he said. “For the sake of order we waited until train 1 was entirely processed and finished.”

Auschwitz survivors describe their arrival as chaotic, with Nazi guards yelling orders, dogs barking and families being ripped apart.

But Groening, 93, maintained the opposite, saying “it was very orderly and not as strenuous” on the ramp at Birkenau.
“The process was the same as Auschwitz I. The only difference was that there were no trucks,” he said during the second day of his trial. “They all walked – some in one direction some, in another direction … to where the crematoria and gas chambers were.”

Wait a minute! Where were the crematoria?  The gas chamber buildings at Birkenau, and in the main Auschwitz camp, did not have a crematorium.  The room, which would normally have been a crematorium, was instead an undressing room.  Everyone knows that!

Note that Groening worked at the ramp, where selections for the gas chamber were made, only 3 times. Yet he was sentenced to 4 years in prison. I don’t think that this was a fair sentence.  Groening should have been sentenced to only THREE YEARS in prison, one year for each time when he was at the ramp, collecting money from the luggage.

Groening had nothing to do with the prisoners being gassed, but he was THERE, so he is guilty of a war crime. This is according to the ex-post-facto law, known as “common plan.”

Groening committed his crime BEFORE the common plan law was created by the Allies after the war.

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