Scrapbookpages Blog

July 11, 2015

“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” is back in the news today

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:15 am

In the news today, I read about a controversy that has been caused by Netflix recommending a comedy film for young people, that is supposedly comparable to the 2008 Holocaust film entitled The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

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

Two outraged teenagers have condemned Netflix as “highly inappropriate” after it suggested the Inbetweeners [movie] was like the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas [movie].

Disgusted Sid Clayton and Jarvis George said they were worried comparing a comedy about schoolboys to a bleak film about a boy slaughtered in the concentration camps could offend those who lost loved ones in the Holocaust.

The two 16-year-old boys were scrolling through the film streaming site at looking for something to watch at about 8pm on Tuesday when they came across the recommendation.

Under the heading “more like the Inbetweeners” the harrowing Holocaust film was listed high school comedies like 22 Jump Street.

When I first started blogging, over 5 years ago, one of my first blog posts was a review of the movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. In my blog post, I did not reveal the ending, but you can probably guess what happens to the 8-year-old Jewish boy, who wears “striped pajamas” in what is supposed to be the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

This quote is from the end of my original blog post about the boy in the striped pajamas:

As the fable comes to an end, Bruno peeks through a transom (a glass window at the top of a door) and sees his father and other SS officers watching a movie about the concentration camps in which it is shown that they had orchestras, libraries, soccer matches and a cafe for the inmates. Actually, this movie is based on real life because the Nazis did make a film of the Theresienstadt concentration camp where the prisoners enjoyed all these things before many of them were sent to Auschwitz to be gassed.

The place, where the orchestra practiced at Birkenau, was close enough to the Crematorium III gas chamber that the prisoners could hear classical music as they descended into the undressing room. The soccer field at Birkenau was a stone’s throw from the Crematorium III gas chamber. There were large libraries for the prisoners at Dachau and Buchenwald and at the Auschwitz main camp, although not at Birkenau.

After seeing part of this movie, Bruno sneaks off to the concentration camp, taking an American style Subway sandwich with him for his friend Schmuel. (Back then, the Germans typically ate one slice of bread with a slice of sausage on top and German cookbooks had to explain how to make an American “sandwich.”)

Then we see Bruno’s father as he consults with other SS men in his office. There is an architectural drawing on the table, labeled Crematorium IV, which shows a gas chamber, disguised as a shower room.

As the music gets louder and louder, we know that the unthinkable is about to happen.

July 10, 2015

Auschwitz Survivor says that she is “unable to forgive Oskar Groening”

Oskar Groening awaits the decision in his trial

94-year-old Oskar Groening awaits the decision on his potential prison time

According to a recent news article, German national Oskar Groening, 94, stands accused of 300,000 counts of  “accessory to murder” in the cases of deported Hungarian Jews sent to the gas chambers between May and July 1944.”

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944  (click to enlarge)

The photo above shows a typical scene of a train arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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

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

Oskar Groening worked at the train tracks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, where he collected money from the luggage brought to the camp by Hungarian Jews in 1944.

Working at the train tracks makes Groening guilty as an “accessory to the fact” of the murder of 300,000 Jews, according to the prosecutor at his trial, which has just ended.  Groening has admitted his “moral guilt” in court, but he denies that he is guilty of this latest ex-post-facto law, which became a new law as a result of the John Demjanjuk trial.

The following quote is from the news article which you can read in full at http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-bookkeeper-of-auschwitz-survivor-testify-as-trial-nears-end-2015-7

As the final witness during the [Groening] trial, Irene Weiss, 84, a Czech-born Auschwitz survivor from the United States, gave searing testimony against Groening.

Dressed in a black trouser suit and speaking in an unwavering voice, Weiss described her terrifying ordeal as a 13-year-old girl.

Showing two photographs of her family as they arrived at Auschwitz that were recovered 25 years after the Holocaust, Weiss said her mother, three younger siblings, and older brother were all murdered soon after in the gas chambers.

Her father was forced to work as a Sonderkommando, removing corpses from the gas chambers and cremating them, until the SS shot him.

Weiss said she was unable to forgive Groening.

“He has said that he does not consider himself a perpetrator but merely a small cog in the machine,” she said.

“But if he were sitting here today wearing his SS uniform, I would tremble and all the horror that I experienced as a 13-year-old would return to me.

“Any person who wore that uniform in that place represented terror and the depths to which humanity can sink, regardless of what function they performed.”

You can read all about Irene Weiss on this website: http://www.ushmm.org/remember/office-of-survivor-affairs/survivor-volunteer/irene-fogel-weiss

This quote is from the USHMM article, cited above:

Over a two-month period beginning in May 1944, nearly 425,000 Jews were deported from Hungary to Auschwitz-Birkenau, including Irene and her family. Irene was 13 years old. Upon arrival at the camp, her mother, three younger siblings, and older brother were killed.

SS authorities selected Irene and her sister Serena for forced labor, while their father was forced to work as a Sonderkommando, removing corpses from the gas chambers and cremating them. The SS camp staff periodically killed the members of the Sonderkommando and replaced them with persons from newly arriving transports. While still in the camp, Irene’s aunt learned through a boy from their hometown that when Meyer could no longer perform this work, the SS shot and killed him.

Wait a minute! Irene was only 13, but she was selected to work, while her older brother was sent to the gas chamber. It was the policy of the SS, at the death camps, to kill everyone younger than 15 or older than 45 immediately upon arrival. How was 13-year-old Irene able to pass the selection while her older brother was sent to the gas chamber?

The USHMM article continues with this quote:

Irene, Serena, and two maternal aunts, Rose and Piri Mermelstein, worked in the “Canada” section of Birkenau—storage warehouses located near two crematoria—for eight months until January 1945,

Working in the “Canada” warehouse was the best job that a prisoner at Auschwitz-Birkenau could get. How was Irene so fortunate that she got one of the best jobs in the camp, at the tender age of 13? Didn’t someone notice that she should have been gassed?

Selections at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Selections for work or the gas chamber  at Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

But wait, there’s more: “One day during morning roll call, the SS separated Serena and other prisoners from the group, deeming them too weak and emaciated to work. Irene said to a camp guard, “She is my sister,” and was then allowed to go with Serena. The sisters heard from other inmates that they would be sent back to Ravensbrück, where there were gas chambers. They were locked in a room with other prisoners to await the transport truck, but it never arrived.”

So Irene was finally selected to be sent to Ravensbrück, “where there were gas chambers”? But once again, Irene was saved because the transport truck never arrived.

Irene should be arrested as a “Holocaust denier.”  Her testimony at the trial goes against all the facts of the Holocaust.

Religious Jews who were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau to be killed

Religious Jews who were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau to be gassed

Meanwhile, Holocaust survivors are asking for more money: http://www.news4jax.com/news/holocaust-survivors-ask-for-financial-aide/34051298

July 8, 2015

Oh Goody! A new 865 page book about the Holocaust

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:34 am

The latest Holocaust book is entitled A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Written by Nikolaus Wachsmann

Illustrated. 865 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $40.

The New York Times article about the new book, which you can read in full here, begins and ends with Buchenwald.

A photo of Ilse Koch, “the bitch of Buchenwald,” is shown at the top of the New York Times article about the book.

Ilse Koch and her husband Karl Otto Koch

Ilse Koch and her husband Karl Otto Koch

Take a look at the photo of Ilse Koch and her husband, shown above. Note the flirtatious look and the way that Ilse pulls back her coat to show off her figure. You know she’s trouble with a capital T. You just know that she had human skin lamp shades made to decorate her home. I am sure that this will be explained in great detail in the new book.

The Buchenwald concentration camp was located near the German city of Weimar where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany’s most famous writer, had lived from 1775 until his death in 1832. The area where the Buchenwald Memorial Site now stands was Goethe’s favorite forest retreat, where he had sat under his favorite oak tree.

The Buchenwald camp was built in the spot where Goethe used to sit under this oak tree

The Buchenwald camp was built in the spot where Goethe used to sit under this oak tree

When a spot in the forest on the Ettersberg was cleared for the Buchenwald camp, Goethe’s oak was left standing, and when the tree was killed in an Allied bombing raid on the camp on August 24, 1944, the Nazis cut it down but carefully preserved the stump, which is shown in my photo below.

The stump of Goethe's oak tree is located on the grounds of the former Buchenwald camp

My photo of the stump of Goethe’s oak tree on the grounds of the former Buchenwald concentration camp

The article about the new book begins and ends with Buchenwald. The photo of Ilse Koch is at the top of the article and the article ends with the story of how the Nazis saved Goethe’s oak.

In the following paragraphs, I am quoting from the New York Times article:

This explanation is given: Wachsmann focuses on one [prisoner]. His name is Moritz Choinowski, a Polish-born Jew detained by the Gestao in 1939 in the German town of Magdeburg. By the time of his liberation on April 29, 1945, Choinowski has survived Buchenwald, Auschwitz, a slowly growing German camp called Gross-Rosen and finally Dachau as well as the nightmarish forms of transportation between them. Is this possible? he sobs in the Dachau infirmary. It was, just.

Wachsmann, a history professor at London University’s Birkbeck College, has written a work of prodigious scholarship. At 865 pages, it is, in every sense, no light read. In fact it is claustrophobic in its evocation of the depths to which people can succumb. Readers may find themselves wanting out, but there is always worse to come. The book does not upend our understanding of the camp system, whose core elements are well known by now. But it imbues them with agonizing human texture and extraordinary detail. This is as relentless a chronicle of the collapse of an entire society and civilization — from its doctors drawn to every inhuman experiment to its foot soldiers looting the dead — as may be imagined.

Were the SS camps “typically German,” as some prisoners believed? Wachsmann answers that this “seems doubtful” in that “the men behind the KL system were far more invested in radical Nazi ideology than most ordinary Germans, who felt more ambivalent about the camps.”

[…]

One Olga Lengyel arrives in Auschwitz determined to protect her son from hard labor. She is asked by an SS physician (strange oxymoron), Dr. Fritz Klein, how old her son is. She says he is under 13, although he looks older. The boy is promptly sent to the gas. As Wachsmann writes, “Those under the age of 14 were almost all gassed on arrival.” After the war, Lengyel writes in despair, “How should I have known?” How indeed could anyone, so far had the Nazis gone in the application of the unthinkable.

[…]

The mystery remains. The Holocaust can never quite be digested, even when it is dissected into such minute detail. Buchenwald stood near Goethe’s hometown, Weimar. As Wachsmann writes, the connection with Goethe could not be severed: “A large oak tree, under which he had supposedly met with his muse, stood right on the new camp grounds; because it was protected, the SS had to build around it.”

They did and, step by step, Höss and his ilk found a way to usher Germany from the inspiration of its greatest writer to the inferno of mass murder.

End of quote from the New York Times.

I visited the Buchenwald Memorial Site several years ago, and wrote about it on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Buchenwald/index.html

The Buchenwald gate house with the clock stopped at 3:15 p.m.

The Buchenwald gate house with the clock stopped at 3:15 p.m., the exact time that the prisoners liberated themselves, before the Americans arrived

July 5, 2015

The little-known, sad story of Franz Hössler

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 4:17 pm

Update July 6, 2015:

The latest death toll for Bergen-Belsen is 72,000. You can read the true facts about Bergen-Belsen in this news article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3056202/Holocaust-survivors-paying-sombre-tribute-commemorate-liberation-Bergen-Belsen-concentration-camp-70-years-ago.html

However, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum says that only 50,000 people died at Bergen-Belsen.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005224-title=Bergen-Belsen-accessdate=April

Survivors of Bergen-Belsen camp

Survivors of Bergen-Belsen camp attend ceremony

Continue reading my original blog post

Ever since I saw the British movie about Bergen-Belsen at the Memorial Site, many years ago, I have been concerned about the sad story of Franz Hössler.

Franz Hoessler standing in front of a wagon load of dead bodies at Bergen-Belsen

Franz Hoessler standing in front of a wagon load of dead bodies at Bergen-Belsen (click to enlarge)

In the movie, Hössler was forced to stand in front of a wagon load of bodies that were the bodies of prisoners who had died of typhus or other diseases after the Bergen-Belsen camp had been voluntarily turned over to the British.  The movie showed that he was being deliberately humiliated by being forced to tell lies about his duties in the camp.

Franz Hoessler looks very unhappy in his mug shot after he was arrested by the British

Franz Hoessler looks very unhappy in his mug shot after he was arrested by the British

I wrote about Hössler in this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/franz-hoessler-the-commander-of-the-womens-camp-at-auschwitz-birkenau/

Hössler was convicted of “Crimes Against Humanity,” in the Belsen Trial, conducted by the British, after the camp had been voluntarily turned over to them. Hössler had voluntarily stayed behind to help the British.

British soldiers force SS men to load diseased bodies onto a truck with their bare hands

British soldiers force SS men to load diseased bodies onto a truck with their bare hands at Bergen-Belsen

I’m sure that Hössler didn’t know that he would be arrested and charged with “Crimes Against Humanity” when he foolishly stayed behind to help the British, so I am going to give the definition of this crime for the benefit of his descendants, if he has any.

“Crimes against humanity” include any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

murder; extermination; enslavement; deportation or forcible transfer of population; imprisonment; torture; rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds; enforced disappearance of persons; the crime of apartheid; other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.

Which of these crimes did Hössler committ at Dachau, Auschwitz, or Bergen-Belsen? Let’s go to Wikipedia to find the answer:

Franz Hößler, also Franz Hössler was a Nazi German SS-Obersturmführer and Schutzhaftlagerführer at the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dora-Mittelbau and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps during World War II. Wikipedia

Born: February 4, 1906, Marktoberdorf, Germany
Franz Hößler, also Franz Hössler

Captured by the Allies at the end of the war, Hößler was charged with crimes against humanity in the First Bergen-Belsen Trial, found guilty, and sentenced to death. He was executed by hanging at Hameln Prison in 1945.[…]

After the establishment of the Dachau concentration camp in July 1933, he became the first member of the guard staff and worked later as a cook. He served at Dachau until after the outbreak of World War II.[6][7]

[…]

On 8 April 1945, Hößler arrived with his transport at Bergen-Belsen and became deputy camp commander under Josef Kramer.[15] There he directly shot prisoners until the liberation of the camp, crimes for which he would be eventually arrested andtried. On 15 April 1945, Hößler was found hiding among the prisoners in camouflaged clothing and was detained with the remaining SS staff by a unit of the British Army. The SS detainees were then forced to bury thousands of corpses lying around on the camp grounds in mass graves.[16]

[…]

Hößler and 44 other camp staff were tried in the Belsen Trial by a British military court at Lüneburg. The trial lasted several weeks from September to November 1945. During the trial Anita Lasker testified that he took part in selections for the gas chamber.[17] On 17 November 1945 Hößler was sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence was carried out by British hangman Albert Pierrepoint on 13 December 1945 at Hameln prison.[6]

Note that Wikipedia says this:  On 15 April 1945, Hößler was found hiding among the prisoners in camouflaged clothing and was detained with the remaining SS staff by a unit of the British Army.

So Hössler volunteered to stay behind at Bergen-Belsen, to help the British, but then he hid in camouflaged clothing and was detained by the British, along with the remaining SS staff.

Notice that Hössler had kept his uniform and he put it on after he was “detained by the British” and forced to speak in a movie that they made, to show the horror of the Belsen camp and the war crimes committed by the Germans.

The barracks at Bergen-Belsen were burned down by the British to stop the epidemic of typhus

The barracks at Bergen-Belsen were burned down by the British to stop the epidemic of typhus which had killed thousands of prisoners

Here’s the rest of the story, according to this page on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Lasker-Wallfisch

During the Belsen Trial which took place from September to November 1945 Anita testified against among others the camp commandant Josef Kramer, camp doctor Fritz Klein and deputy camp commandant Franz Hössler who were all sentenced to death and hanged that year.[3]

To what could Anita Lasker-Wallfisch have testified at the Belsen trial? Did she testify that Franz Hössler had failed to bow low enough to her when he voluntarily stayed behind to help the prisoners at Bergen-Belsen during a typhus epidemic?

I would really like to know which “crime against humanity” was committed by Hössler. Did he deliberately infect prisoners with typhus?

The “Ballerina of Auschwitz” is still alive and still kicking

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

I previously blogged about Edith Eger, the “Ballerina of Auschwitz” in this blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/holocaust-survivor-edith-eger-was-pulled-from-a-pile-of-corpses-by-an-american-g-i/

Today, I read in this news article that Edith is still alive and still kicking — literally.

Edith Eva Eger

Edith Eva Eger at age 16, doing a split in a bathing suit

This quote is from the news article, cited above:

Meet Edith Eva Eger, the “Ballerina of Auschwitz,” and hear her inspirational story firsthand at a July 14 event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.

A black-and-white photo shows the 16-year-old ballerina at her prime, mere months before her world would be destroyed.

She is dressed in a bathing suit, smiling while performing a gymnastic split. Eger says the portrait was taken by her first teenage crush: a Jewish boy named Imre. He, like so many others, would not survive the Holocaust.

“I had my 17th birthday in Auschwitz,” Eger said.

I also wrote about Edith in this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/holocaust-survivor-turned-cartwheels-at-auschwitz/

Edith Eger was liberated from Gunskirchen, which I wrote about in this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/gunskirchen/

July 4, 2015

10,000 people per day now visit Auschwitz and take photos with a selfie stick

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:24 am
Ruins of a gas chamber at Auschwtiz-Birkenau (click on the photo to enlarge)

Ruins of gas chamber III at Auschwtiz-Birkenau (click on the photo to enlarge)

The first time that I visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, in September 1998, I was the only person there and my Jewish tour guide would not let me get off the main road in the camp because she said that there were snakes in the grass.  She meant real snakes, not Nazis who might be lurking there, ready to throw me into a gas chamber.

Now there are 8,000 to 10,000 people per day walking through Auschwitz-Birkenau, and there might be a real danger of being trampled to death.

Today, I read a news article here which told about how tourists take selfies with a “selfie stick” at Auschwitz. Is taking a selfie with a “selfie stick” worse than taking one with just a hand held device?

I have no objection to using a “selfie stick” if one is so inclined; my concern is with the description of the “crematorium” near which these photos were being taken.

This quote is from the news article:

A couple of weeks ago, I stood before a crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau and listened to the tour guide talk about the sonderkommandos. The sonderkommandos, he explained quietly, were the prisoners tasked with removing dead corpses from the gas chambers – after the victims had been showered with cyanide and choked to death – and then with hurling them into ovens or onto piles of other lifeless bodies and burning them to ash. The sonderkommandos, who sometimes found their own family members in the heaps, would be killed off and then replaced to prevent their gruesome stories from circulating to others in the camp. I stood there and listened, catatonic and sick to my stomach, perturbed by the lush green fields and flowers growing along the perimeter of the gas chamber.

The description of the “lush green fields and flowers growing along the perimeter of the gas chambers” identifies this location as being in the Auschwitz II camp — Auschwitz-Birkenau. But the quote starts out by referring to a “crematorium”, not a gas chamber.

There were TWO underground rooms in each of the alleged gas chamber buildings at Birkeanau: an undressing room and a gas chamber. There was no crematorium. As far as I know, the bodies had to be stored outside in the snow, while they were being burned in the ovens a few at a time.

The quote from the news article then continues with this:

But what disturbed me just as much was the tourist I saw tiptoeing his way into the ruins of the gas chamber – which at this point looks like little more than volcanic rubble because the Nazis bombed it to erase evidence before they retreated. Selfie stick in hand, this guy was taking photos of himself in the remains of the crematorium where hundreds of thousands of people were murdered.

The “crematoria” in all the gas chamber buildings at Birkenau were underground. Several people have climbed down into one of the so-called gas chambers, which was in a separate room, but it is completely dark and there is no room for a “selfie stick.”

I think that the author of this article is confused. She obviously meant that tourists are walking down into the former undressing rooms at Birkenau and taking selfies, not into one of the gas chambers.

My photo at the top of this page shows the ruins of the gas chamber in Krema III, which was underground, but the ruins can be accessed now.

Another view of the ruins of the gas chamber in Krema III at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Another view of the ruins of the gas chamber in Krema III at Auschwitz-Birkenau

I suspect that tourists are actually climbing down into the ruins of one of the undressing rooms, not into the ruins of a gas chamber.

Ruins of undressing room in Krema III at Birkenau

Ruins of undressing room in Krema III at Birkenau

July 1, 2015

“Bergen Belsen, for example” was a film made by the British

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:53 am
Dead prisoners at Bergen-Belsen

Dead prisoners at Bergen-Belsen camp

Josef Kramer, the commandant of the Bergen-Belsen camp

Josef Kramer, commandant of Bergen-Belsen camp, who stayed to help the British

In the year 2002, I took a tour of the Bergen-Belsen memorial site, and as far as I know, I was the only American there that day.

I arrived, by bus, at the memorial site at 1:30 p.m. and by 2:30 p.m. I had finished my tour of what is left of the former camp. I then went to the Document Center to see the English version of a British-made documentary movie that was supposed to start at 3 p.m.

There was a large theater where the movie was being shown in German; the movie had just ended, when I arrived, and the audience of young German students was having a discussion period when I peeked into the theater.

Since I was the only person that wanted to see the movie in English, the film was shown to me in a small room on a TV set with a relatively small screen. Apparently, there were very few English-speaking visitors in the year 2002.

The title of the film was “Bergen-Belsen for Example.” This is obviously a translation of the German title “Bergen-Belsen zum Beispiel.” Zum Beispiel is a German expression which means “for example” but it is used more often and in more different ways than our English expression.

The film opened with scenes of the prisoners greeting the British soldiers as they entered the concentration camp on April 15, 1945.

Not all of the inmates at Bergen-Belsen were starving

Not all of the inmates at Bergen-Belsen were starving

The prisoners looked remarkably healthy, considering the ordeal that they had just been through; everyone was happy and smiling, as shown in the photo above.

Then a British soldier, who said his name was Arthur Bushnell, explained that when the British soldiers first arrived, they got a “false impression” because at first, they didn’t see any dead bodies or emaciated prisoners. All the inmates who rushed up to greet them appeared to be healthy and well-fed.

Bushnell said that there had been 400 German guards in the camp, but only half of them were there when the British arrived. For some strange reason, he didn’t explain why all of guards had not run away to avoid being captured and put on trial as war criminals.

What had actually happened was that the Bergen-Belsen camp had been voluntarily turned over to the British with the agreement that the guards would stay on in the camp to maintain order and help with the work of cleaning up the camp.

Nothing was said about what would happen to the guards, but it was implied in the negotiations that the German guards would be treated with respect and not arrested as war criminals. The movie did not mention that the camp was formally surrendered to the British after both sides had negotiated an agreement.

Instead, the movie led viewers to believe that the British had captured the camp and surprised half of the guards who hadn’t managed to escape like the other half.

According to Eberhard Kolb of the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site Committee, there were only 80 guards who remained in the camp, 50 men and 30 women. The photographs taken by the British after the liberation show that this number is probably correct.

Bushnell went on to say that there was no food at all in the camp when the British arrived. What had happened to all the food?

Eberhard Kolb wrote that the 30,000 prisoners who had arrived in the camp on April 8, one week before the liberation, had raided the food supplies of the camp. Would it have killed the British to have mentioned this in their film that was made for German children who were not yet born?

The water pump, which pumped drinking water out of cisterns at Bergen-Belsen, had been destroyed by allied bombs and there was no water in the camp. Some water was being brought to the camp by the Germany Army, but not enough for the 60,000 prisoners who were in the camp by the time that the British arrived.

It was not mentioned in the film that the British proceeded to pump water out of a nearby creek, which caused the deaths of more Bergen-Belsen prisoners.

Was the bombing of the water pump mentioned in the film?  No, of course not.

At one time, Bergen-Belsen was an EXCHANGE CAMP. Were any prisoners ever exchanged? The film doesn’t tell us. [Read on]

German citizens and a few German-Americans had been rounded up and put into a prison on Ellis Island two days before Germany declared war on America.

For the German-American citizens, this was a violation of their civil rights under the Constitution of the United States because no charges were brought against them and they were never put on trial. They were held for as long as a year after the war ended.

For the most part, very few prisoners were ever exchanged, but a few lucky inmates were sent to Palestine in exchange for German citizens imprisoned in Great Britain who were released and sent back to Germany.

A few American Jews, who were stranded in Europe when the war started, were held in the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp, but this was not mentioned in the film. America did not offer to exchange any prisoners.

The narrator in the film, that was shown at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site, said that the “Germany Army” had refused to bury the dead in the camp. Bergen-Belsen was right in the middle of a war zone and the Germany Army was engaged in fighting in a last-ditch effort to save their country from Communism. Were they supposed to stop fighting in the war, and bury dead Jews who had died of typhus?

Some of the dead bodies at Bergen Belsen were buried near the German Army base, shown in the background

Some of the dead bodies at Bergen Belsen were buried near the German Army base, shown in the background

After the Bergen-Belsen camp was voluntarily turned over to the British, Hungarian soldiers in the German Army were assigned to maintain order at Bergen-Belsen for six days during the transfer of the camp to the British, according to the negotiated agreement. After six days, they had been promised that they would have safe passage back to the German lines.

When they were ordered by the British officers to handle the diseased bodies with their bare hands, the Hungarian soldiers refused because this was not part of the negotiated agreement; their job was to maintain order.

The narrator of the film did not mention that some of the Hungarian soldiers were shot, in violation of the agreement, because they had refused to help with the burial of the bodies.

The next person, who was featured in the film shown at Bergen Belsen, was Mike Lewis, who said he was a Jewish soldier in the British army. He said that it was purely an “accident” that he was sent to Bergen-Belsen as one of the liberators.

British soldier driving a bull dozer to shove the bodies of prisoners into a grave

British soldier driving a bulldozer to shove the bodies of prisoners into a grave

Mike Lewis said that he took photos and movie film at the liberation but he could never bear to look at the photographs afterwards.

The film that Lewis took was shown at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal; this was the famous footage of British bulldozers shoving the bodies into the mass graves. Remarkably, Lewis says that he took a turn driving the bulldozer himself while someone else filmed him.

Next, a short film clip is shown of a woman naked from the waist up, washing herself with water in a wash basin. The narrator explains that the prisoners were so demoralized that they thought nothing of doing their “body functions” out in the open.

In the film, Lewis asks “Why Germany?” Then he explains that “any race is capable of this.” So why the Germans?

Lewis says in the film that “some disease made them [the Germans] prone” to do this.

The implication was that the Germans had deliberately starved or killed the prisoners in the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp, and that they did this because of some strange disease  from which only the German “race” suffers.

It was not explained in the film that the emaciated corpses in the camp were those of people who had died of typhus in an epidemic that was out of control. Keep in mind that most of the visitors who were watching this film, when I was there, were 14-year-old German students.

The film shows the British feeding the prisoners only a clear broth, but says that many of them died, in spite of this, after the liberation. It was not mentioned how many died. (There were 13,000 who died in the six weeks AFTER the liberation.) The film doesn’t say what was the cause of these deaths.

Martin Gilbert, one of the foremost Jewish Holocaust writers, says that many of the prisoners at Bergen-Belsen died from being given too much rich food too soon by the British, and that the rest died from disease before the epidemics could be brought under control.

Next the narrator tells us that the prisoners who were from Eastern Europe didn’t want to return to their homes. The film doesn’t say why.

What the film didn’t tell us is that, the reason that some of the prisoners didn’t want to return to their homes, was that some of the prisoners had been selected for the exchange camp because they were Zionists who wanted to go to Palestine.

The prisoners who didn’t want to leave Bergen-Belsen stayed on, for TEN YEARS, in the German army barracks nearby where they were quartered in brick or stone buildings. This became the largest of all the DP camps, as the prisoners waited for years to get into Canada, Australia and Israel, according to the film. They had a long wait because Israel did not exist until 1948 and before that, the British were restricting Jewish immigration into Palestine.

The narrator then says that, 10 days after the British arrived, which would have been on April 25th, the local German people were brought to the camp to see the bodies which had not yet been buried. Since the burial had begun on April 18th, the bodies that were still to be buried were probably those of the typhus victims who had died after the camp was liberated.

A British soldier speaks to these elderly German civilians in German telling them, “Your sons and daughters are responsible for these crimes.” Then we see scenes of the German SS guards who had risked their lives to stay behind and help, as they take the bodies off the trucks and put them into the mass graves.

There is an audience of former prisoners, mostly healthy-looking women, who are screaming at the top of their lungs, in German, at the guards: “Who is responsible?”

The German civilians were forced to watch this horrible scene in silence while the Jewish soldier filmed it for posterity. The narrator didn’t mention that some of these German civilians were now homeless because they had been forced to move out so that Jewish survivors of Bergen-Belsen could live in their homes.

Former German guard at Bergen-Belsen after she was forced to carry bodies to graves at Bergen-Belsen

Former German guard at Bergen-Belsen after she was forced to carry bodies to graves at Bergen-Belsen

After seeing the film, I went to the Bergen-Belsen museum where I saw photos of the former prisoners. The photo below was shown in the Museum.

Photo of a Bergen-Belsen prisoner who survived

Photo of a Bergen-Belsen prisoner who survived

Kurt Gerson, aka Kurt Gerron, was gassed at Auschwitz on October 28, 1944

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 7:36 am
Kurt Gerson who changed his name to Kurt Gerron

Kurt Gerson who changed his name to Kurt Gerron

Yesterday, I blogged about Kurt Gerron, who was gassed at Auschwitz, according to Wikipedia. I did not realize that this was Kurt Gerson, a man that I had previously read about in my extensive research on the Holocaust.

According to an article on the Holocaust History Project website, which you can read in full here, “Kurt Gerron was born Kurt Gerson to Jewish parents in Berlin, Germany on 11 May 1897.”

The following information is from the Holocaust History Project:

After the German occupation of the Netherlands he was interned in Westerbork transit camp in mid –1943 before being sent to Theresienstadt – the paradise ghetto, near Prague on 25 February 1944.

There he ran a cabaret called “The Karussell” to entertain the ghetto inmates.

He was subsequently forced by the Nazis to make a propaganda film showing how well the Jews were treated at Theresienstadt. The film was called Der Fuhrer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt – The Fuhrer Gives a City to the Jews.

The Germans promised Gerron his life, but they did not keep this promise.

Gerron submitted a script to Commandant Karl Rahm – “The connecting tissue, the leitmotif was water – the rivers,bathtubs, faucets, showers, irrigation ditches – Berlin liked the theme and approval was given to start filming.

Filming commenced on 16 August 1944 and was completed on 11 September 1944, the film was a grotesque lie, and as soon as filming stopped the ghetto slipped back to its cruel regime of starvation and transports.

After completion of the film, Gerron was deported to Auschwitz on the final transport, and he was gassed in Birkenau on 28 October 1944.

So Bradley Smith can stop asking for the name of one person who was gassed by the Nazis. We now know the name of at least one Jew who was gassed: Kurt Gerron, formerly known as Kurt Gerson.

My 2000 photo of one of the buildings at Theresienstadt

My 2000 photo of one of the buildings at Theresienstadt which has fallen into ruins

My 2000 photo of the building where a store for the Jewish residents could shop

My 2000 photo of the store building where the Jewish residents could shop at Theresienstadt

The Dresden barracks for women had a courtyard where the prisoners could play soccer

The Dresden barracks for women had a courtyard where the prisoners could play soccer

The film made by Kurt Gerron featured prisoners playing soccer in the courtyard inside the Dresden barracks.

The film is shown in this You Tube video:

June 30, 2015

Found at last — the name of one person who was gassed by the Nazis

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:52 am

For many years, Bradley Smith has been asking for the name of one person, who was gassed during the Holocaust. Now at last, the name of one person has been found. Kurt Garron was gassed, according to Wikipedia.

The Small Fortress, across the road from the Theresienstadt ghetto

My photo of the Small Fortress, across the road from the Theresienstadt ghetto

Photo on Wikipedia page about Theresienstadt

Photo on Wikipedia page about Theresienstadt

In the FIRST photo above, notice the “Arbeit macht Frei” sign in the background. This sign was NOT over the entrance into the Theresienstadt camp for Jews. The SECOND photo, which is on the Wikipedia page about Theresienstadt, purports to show that the entrance into the Theresiensadt camp had the dreaded sign: “Arbeit macht Frei.” The “Arbeit macht Frei” sign was only put over Class I camps, not over death camps, as claimed by today’s Holocaust True Believers.

After my two visits to Theresienstadt, many years ago, I wrote about the camp on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/History/GhettoHistory.html

Wikipedia’s misuse of a photo gives you a heads-up that the Wiki page about Theresienstadt might contain some errors. This morning, as I was reading the Wikipedia page on Theresienstadt, I read the following:

Following the successful use of Theresienstadt as a supposed model internment camp during the Red Cross visit, the Nazis decided to make a propaganda film there. It was directed by Jewish prisoner Kurt Gerron, an experienced director and actor; he had appeared with Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel. Shooting took eleven days, starting September 1, 1944.[31] After the film was completed, most of the cast and the director were deported to Auschwitz. Gerron was murdered by gas chamber on October 28, 1944.[32]

Here is the text of source [32]

Evans, Richard J. (2008). The Third Reich At War. Penguin. p. 302. ISBN 978-1-59420-206-3. Retrieved 8 December 2011.

Yes, Virginia there is a gas chamber at Theresienstadt. One of my very first blog posts, on May 13, 2010, was about the Theresienstadt gas chamber.

However, it is not clear whether Gerron was murdered in a gas chamber at Auschwitz, or a gas chamber at Theresienstadt. https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/gas-chamber-at-theresienstadt/

You can read about Richard Evans on this website: http://codoh.com/library/document/402/

June 29, 2015

Which Allied soldier arrested Josef Kramer, the Commandant at Bergen-Belsen?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:14 am

You can read about the trial of Josef Kramer in this previous blog post that I wrote: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/before-the-nuremberg-imt-there-was-the-belsen-trial/

Prisoners in the typhus barracks at Bergen-Belsen

Prisoners in the typhus barracks at Bergen-Belsen

I have always thought that it was a well-known fact that the Bergen-Belsen camp was voluntarily turned over to the British, and that  Commandant Josef Kramer was arrested by some unknown British officer.

Joseph Kramer was immeditely arrested after he met the British at the gate and offered is help

Joseph Kramer was arrested after he met the British at the gate and offered his help

A few days ago, an American woman sent me an e-mail, in which she wrote this:

My Father Raymond Arthur Swanson was sent in when our troops got to this camp [Bergen Belsen] by his commander to arrest this man [Josef Kramer]. At my Fathers funeral all of this came out and was told and recorded by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars] is a well known institution in America. If the VFW says that Kramer was arrested by an American, it must be true.

It is well known that the British were fighting in the area around Bergen-Belsen during World War II. I had always thought that American troops were not fighting in this part of Germany, but what do I know?

I did a google search and found an excellent article, written by Joseph Bellinger on the Inconvenient History website.  I know that some people [you know who you are] have made fun of Joseph Bellinger and questioned his research, but in my humble opinion, he is one of the best revisionist writers and the  Inconvenient History website is possibly THE BEST revisionist website. In other words, I trust the writing of Joseph Bellinger and the Inconvenient History website.

This quote is from the article written by Joseph Bellinger:

Three Jewish men were among the first British soldiers who entered the liberated [Bergen-Belsen] camp on April 15, 1944.

Among these liberators was Captain Derek Sington, a young man working for British Intelligence at the time these events occurred. Sington appears to have been one of the designated senior officials to first enter Belsen. His written account of the camp’s liberation indicates that he acted with authority and decisiveness when initially confronting the camp commander, Josef Kramer, who was waiting just outside of the main camp to greet and escort the British troops upon arrival.
According to Sington’s account, the Germans had made overtures to his commanding officer seeking to surrender the camp intact. An agreement was reached whereby a small contingent of guards, mainly comprised of Hungarians employed in the service of the Wehrmacht, would remain at the camp site to maintain order, along with a smaller contingent of about fifty SS staff-members and employees, retained for purely administrative purposes. It was implicitly understood that, once the surrender and transfer of the camp were completed, these units were to be allowed to pass on to the German lines without further molestation. Unfortunately for Kramer and his staff, events and emotions were soon to render that agreement null and void.

It is very clear to me, after reading the above quote, that the Bergen-Belsen camp was turned over to the British, and there were no American soldiers there. The Americans were fighting in the area south of Bergen-Belsen.

Dead bodies found by the British at Bergen-Belsen

Emaciated bodies found by the British at Bergen-Belsen

Bellinger’s article continues with this quote:

Sington was met by Commandant Kramer, who jumped onto the running board of his vehicle and saluted. Dispensing with formalities, Sington asked him how many prisoners were currently being held in the camp. Kramer gave a figure of 40,000, plus an additional 15,000 in Camp number 2, which was further up the road. When asked what types of prisoners were being held in confinement there, Kramer replied, “Habitual criminals, felons, and homosexuals.”

[..]

As Sington fought to hold back tears, he strode back to his vehicle and, still accompanied by Kramer, plunged deeper into the foul underbelly of the camp. By this time, the masses of inmates were fully aroused and began surging past the barbed wire enclosures into the main thoroughfare of the camp. At this point, Kramer suddenly leaned toward Sington and remarked, “Now the tumult is beginning.”

The following quote from Bellinger’s article tells how Kramer was treated with contempt by the British. Kramer gets no credit for saving some of the lives of the Bergen-Belsen prisoners.

On the morning of April 18th, after having spent five days and nights in a vile underground cellar enveloped in total darkness, Josef Kramer was taken out of his cell and prepared for transfer out of the camp. The former commandant was manhandled and shackled, both hands and legs. The shackles were much too small for his enormous wrists and cut gaping gashes into his flesh. Kramer was then prodded into a jeep, his shirt ripped from his back, and paraded throughout the camp half-naked, to the accompaniment of jeers, hooting, catcalls, and a resonant howling which sounded to one witness as a “terrifying blend of joy and hate.” Insults and accusations were not the only items thrown at Kramer. Whatever object the inmates could lay their hands on was thrown at Kramer as he crouched as low as he could in the vehicle, trying to avoid any potentially damaging missiles. Two British soldiers were poised directly behind Kramer, constantly prodding him in the spine with their sten guns, which was a cause for great jubilation among the gleeful inmates, and provoked them to howling with “joy and hate.” After he had been duly exposed to the contempt and wrath of the inmates, Kramer was driven out of the compound, amidst a hail of garbage and debris, never to return.

The photo below shows the healthy women and children who greeted the British liberators at the Beren-Belsen gate.

Not all of the inmates at Bergen-Belsen were starving

Not all of the inmates at Bergen-Belsen were starving

The Bergen-Belsen

The Bergen-Belsen “potato peelers” were mentioned in Bellinger’s article

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