Scrapbookpages Blog

August 26, 2015

Did Fred Leuchter actually go to Auschwitz?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:25 am
Fred Leuchter, the man who climbed down into a gas chamber at Auschwitz

Fred Leuchter, the man who climbed down into a gas chamber at Auschwitz

One of the new readers of my blog made a comment in which he claimed that Fred Leuchter never even went to Auschwitz, much less climbed down into a gas chamber.

Fred Leuchter climbing out of the gas chamber No. 2 at Auschwitz

Fred Leuchter climbing out of the gas chamber No. 2 at Auschwitz

Fred Leuchter has been demonized and driven out of polite society because he climbed down into a gas chamber, but claimed that it was not a gas chamber.

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 6, 2015

Persecuted Gypsies get no respect

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:00 am

A news article, which you can read in full here, begins with this headline:

Current plight of Gypsies highlighted as Europe commemorates the Roma Holocaust

The news article begins with this quote:

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Europe’s top human right official has drawn attention to the abuses and discrimination faced by the Roma minority as Europe commemorated the tens of thousands of Gypsies killed during World War II.

The European Parliament has designated Aug. 2 as Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, remembering the approximately 220,000 Roma killed by Nazi Germany and its allies.

The exact number of Gypsies killed in the Holocaust is unknown. Numbers vary, from 220,00, estimated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, to an estimated 500,000.

It is important to know that the Gypsies were not rounded up by the Nazis and put into camps solely because they were Gypsies.  No, they were sent to camps under the category of “work shy” because they were wandering around, not employed, with no visible means of support.  In other words, the Gypsies were out traveling around, and gyping the hard-working German people, instead of working for a living. In Nazi Germany, everyone was required to have a job and a  permanent address.

In the 1938 Nazi action against the work-shy, there were 4,500 vagrants and urban campers rounded up and sent to the concentration camps where they were forced to work against their will.

There is no memorial, in any of the former camps, for the work-shy, other than the one in Buchenwald for the Gypsies who were arrested because they were unemployed and did not have a permanent address.

The Auschwitz Gypsy Camp was created in 1942 when all Roma and Sinti, with the exception of those belonging to two tribes considered to be “pure Gypsies” of the original Indo-Germanic people, were rounded up and transported to a “family camp” in Birkenau, the Auschwitz II camp. The pure Gypsies were settled in the district of Ödenburg on Lake Neusiedler.

According to Lucie Adelsberger in her book, Auschwitz: A Factual Report, there was a total of 20,943 Gypsies registered in Auschwitz in 1943 and 7,000 had died by September 1943.

The first Gypsies to be killed were sent to Belzec, the first “death camp.”

A group of Gypsies wait to be gassed at the Belzec death camp

The photo above shows a  group of Gypsies waiting to be gassed at Belzec, the first death camp.

The gassing of the Gypsies began at the Belzec death camp in 1942.

Why do the Gypsies [Roma] get no respect? For the answer, start by reading an article at http://www.policemag.com/channel/gangs/articles/2001/06/gypsies-kings-of-con.aspx

The following quote, about the gassing of the Gypsies, is from the web site of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

They (the Gypsies) were killed by gassing or died from starvation, exhaustion from hard labor, and disease (including typhus, smallpox, and the rare, leprosy-like condition called Noma.) Others, including many children, died as the result of cruel medical experiments performed by Dr. Josef Mengele and other SS physicians. The Gypsy camp was liquidated on the night of August 2-3, 1944, when 2,897 Sinti and Roma men, women, and children were killed in the gas chamber. Some 1,400 surviving men and women were transferred to Buchenwald and Ravensbrück concentration camps for forced labor.

According to a guidebook sold by the Auschwitz Museum in Poland, there were 20,943 Roma (Gypsies) who were gassed in the Krema V gas chamber; their bodies were burned in the pits adjacent to Krema V.

According to Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz,  Heinrich Himmler inspected the Gypsy camp on his visit to Auschwitz in July 1942.

Hoess wrote the following in his autobiography entitled Death Dealer:

Himmler inspected everything thoroughly. He saw the over-crowded barracks, the inadequate hygienic conditions, the overflowing infirmaries and the sick in the isolation ward. […] Himmler saw everything in detail, as it really was. Then he ordered me to gas them [the Gypsies]. Those who were still able to work were to be selected, just as with the Jews.

In his date book, Heinrich Himmler noted that, on his visit to Auschwitz in July 1942, he had inspected the main camp, the farm at Auschwitz and the Monowitz factories, where photographs were taken of him. He did not mention that he had visited Birkenau, the Auschwitz II camp.

Danuta Czech wrote in her book entitled Kalendarium that 1,408 Gypsies, who were able to work, were transferred to the main Auschwitz camp and housed in Blocks 10 and 11 on May 23, 1944. They were later sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where there is a memorial sculpture in commemoration of the Roma.

The selection of the Gypsies for the gas chamber took two years, according to Commandant Rudolf Hoess. Regarding the liquidation of the Gypsy Family Camp on August 2, 1944, Hoess wrote the following:

By August 1944 there were only about four thousand Gypsies left and these had to go into the gas chambers. Until that time they did not know what fate was in store for them. Only as they were marched barrack after barrack to Crematory 1 [one] did they figure out what was going on.

When Hoess wrote that the Gypsies were marched to Crematory 1, he was undoubtedly referring to Krema II, which was a short distance from the Gypsy camp. Crematory 1, or Krema I in German, was in the main Auschwitz camp, three kilometers from Birkenau. By August 1944, Krema I was no longer in operation as a gas chamber. [Hoess made many mistakes in his memoir, indicating that he might have suffered head injuries when he was almost beaten to death by the British, to force him to confess to the gassing of the Jews.]

Both the USHMM and the Auschwitz Museum say that the number of Gypsies gassed on August 2, 1942 was 2,897, not “four thousand” as Hoess stated.

Regarding the gassing of the Gypsies, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, who was allegedly a prisoner at Auschwitz,  wrote the following:

Annihilation time had come for the 4,500 inhabitants of the Gypsy Camp. The measures taken were the same as those taken for the liquidation of the Czech Camp. All the barracks were quarantined. SS guards, leading their police dogs, invaded the Gypsy quarters and chased the inhabitants outside, where they were made to line up. Rations of bread and salami were distributed. The gypsies were made to believe that they were being shipped to another camp, and they swallowed the story. A very easy and efficacious way of calming their fears. No one thought of the crematoriums, for then why would rations of food have been distributed?

This strategy on the part of the SS was dictated neither by pity nor a regard for those condemned to death, but merely by their desire to expedite a large group of people, without any unnecessary incidents or delays, to the gas chambers, guarded by a relatively small patrol. The strategy worked to perfection. Everything went off as planned. Throughout the night the chimneys of number one and two crematoriums sent flames roaring skyward, so that the entire camp was lighted with a sinister glow.

If Dr. Nyiszli’s story is correct, the method of calming the fears of the Gypsies amounted to a tremendous waste of bread and salami. Or was the “salami” actually what Americans call Thuringer, a type of smoked, semi-dry German sausage similar to our summer sausage? It is doubtful that the Nazis imported salami for the Auschwitz prisoners.

Note that Dr. Nyiszli, who worked in the “crematoriums” performing autopsies for Dr. Josef Mengele, referred to “number one and two crematoriums” but he obviously meant Krema II and Krema III at Birkenau, not Krema I, which was at the main camp.

In April 1997, a Memorial to the Romany and Sinti victims of the Nazis was built at the Buchenwald Memorial Site, on the spot where the Block 47 barracks once stood.

The memorial to the Gypsies is shown in the photograph below. This was the first memorial, to be put up, in recognition of the suffering of the Romany and Sinti under the Nazi regime.

Memorial to the Gypsy victims of the Nazis at the former Buchenwald camp

Memorial to the Gypsy victims of the Nazis at the former Buchenwald camp

In the foreground of the photo above is an inscription which begins “In memory of Sinti and Romany..”

Each of the upright stones in the memorial shown in the background of the photo above has the name of another Nazi concentration camp where the Roma were sent.

In the far background in the photo above is the gate house on the left and the camp canteen on the right.

The following quote is from the Buchenwald camp guidebook:

The racist persecution of the Sinti in Germany had already started under the cover of the Aktion Abreitsscheu Reich (i.e. during an action against “work-shy” people in Germany) carried out in 1938. Approximately 700 people called Burgenland Gypsies were deported to Buchenwald by way of the Dachau camp about one year later, i.e. in September 1939. They were put in Blocks 14 and 15. Many of them were driven to death in the quarry and in the excavation and stone-carrier parties. Hundreds of people belonging to the Romany Gypsies were provisionally put in Block 47 as the SS deported the survivors of the mass extermination of this people from the dissolved Auschwitz Gypsy Camp to the camps in Germany. Two hundred young Sinti and Romany Gypsies who were unfit for work were still sent back from Buchenwald into the gas chambers of Auschwitz in September 1944. Only a few survived among those who had to crush stones and dig tunnels in external working parties.

August 4, 2015

New movie about Miklós Nyiszli is being planned

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:17 am
Dr. Miklos at Ebensee

Dr. Milklos Nyiszli at the Ebensee sub-camp of Mauthausen in Austria

Update: 3:10 p.m

A reader of my blog has just made a comment in which a new book about Dr. Nyiszli is mentioned.  The title of the book is  I was doctor Mengele’s assistant.

This quote is from the comment:

Begin quote:
The excerpts from the memories:

“There was a pile of corpses in the gas chamber of Crematorium I. The Sonderkommando had begun to pull them down. The whirr of the lift and the sound of its slamming door reached my room. Work was proceeding at full pace. The gas chamber had to be emptied immediately, for another transport was due to arrive.
Suddenly the Vorarbeiter of the Gaskommando burst into by room and excitedly informed me that in among the corpses they had found a woman who was still alive.
I grabbed my medical bag, which was always kept close at hand, and rushed downstairs to the gas chamber.(…)”

End Quote

I don’t understand the above quote.  There was no “lift” in the gas chamber in Crematorium 1, which was located in the main camp. The Crematorium 1 gas chamber was on level ground with dirt piled up around it. It was NOT underground and no lift or elevator was required. The alleged gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau were underground, and one of them, Crematorium III,  did have  a  “lift” or elevator.

I believe that Dr. Nyiszli is a complete and total liar. You can see photos of the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz08.html

You can see the ruins of Crematorium III on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Birkenau/RuinsIII01.html

You can read about the mistakes that Dr. Nyiszli made in his book on this blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/dr-miklos-nyiszli-the-jewish-doctor-who-volunteered-to-help-dr-josef-mengele-in-his-experiments/

Continue reading my original post:

Dr. Miklós Nyiszli, who will be the subject of a new movie,  is shown in the photo at the top of this page.

One of the survivors of the Ebensee concentration camp, according to Martin Gilbert’s book entitled Holocaust, was Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a prisoner who had allegedly worked as a medical doctor in the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Dr. Nyiszli is shown in the photo above, wearing a white coat. The movie entitled The Gray Zone is based on his story. Now a new movie about him is being planned.

Dr. Nyiszli was allegedly an eye-witness to the gassing of prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau and to the horrible medical experiments conducted on the prisoners by Dr. Josef Mengele.

When Auschwitz-Birkenau was evacuated in January 1945, Nyiszli was among the prisoners on the death march, out of the camp, to central Germany. As the American Army approached, the prisoners was marched again to Ebensee, a sub-camp of Mauthausen in Austria.

In his book entitled Holocaust, Martin Gilbert wrote the following quote from Dr. Nyiszli’s story:

On May 5, a white flag flew from the Ebensee watch-tower. It was finished. They had laid down their arms. The sun was shining brightly when, at nine o’clock, an American light tank, with three soldiers on board, arrived and took possession of the camp. We were free.

I have written extensively about Dr. Miklós Nyiszli in several blog posts which you can read in full at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/dr-miklos-nyiszli/

In my humble opinion, I am convinced that Miklós Nyiszli is a complete and total fraud. I don’t believe that Dr. Nyiszli was ever at Auschwitz.  If a new movie is ever made about him, it should be classified as fiction.

This quote is from the news article, which you can read in full here:

American director Abel Ferrara is planning a film based on the memoir of an assistant to Josef Mengele, the notorious doctor who conducted experiments at the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Ferrara, who is best known for films such as ‘King of New York’ and ‘Bad Lieutenant’, is basing the Auschwitz project on the 1946 book ‘I Was Doctor Mengele’s Assistant’, by Miklós Nyiszli.

Nyiszli was a Hungarian Jew who was transported to Auschwitz as a prisoner in 1944.

His skills as a doctor came to the attention of Dr Mengele, and he was forced to work as an assistant to the infamous medic, carrying out numerous experiments on camp inmates.

Mengele evaded capture by the Allies and fled to South America, living under a false name in Argentina, followed by Paraguay and Brazil, until his death in 1979.

Nyiszli died of a heart attack in 1956. (nh)
– See more at: http://www.thenews.pl/1/11/Artykul/215985,Abel-Ferrara-planning-Auschwitz-film#sthash.9ZyN447P.dpuf

August 3, 2015

The story of Holocauast survivor Albert Rosa, as told in his own words

Filed under: Buchenwald, California, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:17 am

Yesterday, I had the privilege of hearing Holocaust survivor Albert Rosa speak to a crowd of people in Folsom, CA. [Yes, the town of Folsom, about which Johnny Cash sang, in his famous song Folsom Prison Blues]

In the past, I have blogged about Albert Rosa at Dachau here. In his speech at Folsom, he briefly mentioned Kaufering and Dachau, but didn’t elaborate on what he did there.

You can read about what Albert Rosa essentially said in his speech on this website:

Eventually, he was transported from Greece to Poland in a cattle truck. They were cramped in that space for 10 days and nights with no food, water or facilities. People were suffocating and starving to death. The air was hot and filled with the smell of decomposing bodies.

“The children were crying, ‘Mommy I’m hungry, I’m thirsty,’” said Rosa. “Me, I was an athlete, I used to compete in other sports, I could take the punishment.”

When they arrived at the “death camps” they had been totally dehumanized. Those who were too old or too young for slave labor were sent to the gas chambers. Rosa had never seen a crematory before that, but the horrible smoke that filled the air was impossible to ignore.

In the concentration camp, the men and women were divided. Shortly after their arrival, Rosa traded uniforms with another prisoner to see his older sister Luna. His sister, who had once been beautiful and wealthy, was now malnourished and bald, which broke Rosa’s heart.

For just a moment Rosa forgot he was in a concentration camp; he called out to his sister and a female guard noticed. He watched as they killed his sister and then took her away in small wagon “like trash.”

On the day of Albert Rosa’s speech, I arrived early and was escorted down to the 2nd row, where I was sitting only a few feet away from Rosa, who did not stand on a stage while he talked.

I was treated very well by everyone, with whom I came in contact there; I think that I was mistaken for a Jew. I had purchased a ticket online and printed it out, but the man at the door didn’t take my ticket; he just waved me on through the door, which was being manned by a guy with a beard, dressed entirely in black, including a large black hat.

Fortunately, before going to hear the speech, I had read Rosa’s story on the Internet at http://www.jewishjournal.com/survivor/article/survivor_albert_rosa_20120315

Rosa’s speech, in Folsom, covered everything that is included in the link above, and nothing more. I had brought a notepad with me and was prepared to take notes, but this was impossible because he talked a-mile-a-minute and there was not enough time for me to take even very short notes.  Besides that, he spoke with a heavy Greek accent which I could not understand. I could only catch a few words here and there.

As everyone knows, Albert Rosa is famous for the fact that he did not mention the Holocaust, nor his imprisonment, for over 50 years. This has caused many people to think that he was never in a concentration camp. Rosa explained all that in his speech.  He said that he had had “electric shock treatment” late in life and after that, he remembered everything and he began to talk.   [Electric shock treatment used to be used as a cure for mental illness, so I don’t think that he should have mentioned this.]

Strangely, Albert Rosa does not have an entry on Wikipedia.

For his Folsom speech, Rosa had brought along an 8 by 10 photo album, filled with faded and yellowed photographs, which he showed on a huge screen on the stage behind him.

Before he began his talk, there was a huge photo of prisoners at Buchenwald put up on  the screen. It was a faded and yellowed copy of the photo below.

Famous photo taken at Buchenwald allegedly shows Eli Wiesel

Famous photo taken at Buchenwald allegedly shows Eli Wiesel (Click on the photo to enlarge)

As this photo was up on the screen, no one in the audience said a word.  I suspect that few people in the audience knew that this was a photo of Buchenwald, not Auschwitz, where Rosa was allegedly a prisoner. Rosa used this photo to show what the beds were like in Auschwitz.

During his talk, Rosa said that the prisoners at Auschwitz slept on beds like the beds shown in the photo.  He should have tried to locate a photo of the bunks at Auschwitz, which were nothing like these bunk beds.

Every Holocaust survivor’s story must include some version of the claim that the survivor saw an SS man bash a baby’s head against the side of a train.  Rosa claimed to have seen this on the very day that he arrived at Auschwitz.

He claimed that he was on a train, bound for Auschwitz, for 10 days and 10 nights, without food or water. On the train, he was dressed only in his shorts [underwear] and he had no shoes. He said that he rested on a dead body on the train.

Recently, there has been a story in the news about two young Jewish boys who went out into the ocean, and their boat capsized.  The search for the boys has been called off  because allegedly, a young healthy Jewish boy cannot survive more than four days without water.  The search should continue because Albert Rosa has proved that a Jew can go without food or water for TEN days.

During his talk, Rosa mentioned a friend who was hanged at Auschwitz and his body was left hanging for days.  As he said this, a photo that was taken at Buchenwald, was shown.  Rosa claimed that this was a photo of his friend. I wonder how many people in the audience noticed that there were American soldiers in the backgrounds of the photo, so this could not have been taken at Auschwitz. [American soldiers did not liberate Auschwitz.]

Throughout his talk, the photos changed.  Strangely, all the photos were taken at Bergen-Belsen, including the photo of the Auschwitz commandant, who was sent to Bergen-Belsen when Auschwitz closed.

Josef Kramer

Josef Kramer, Auschwtiz commandant

Many photos of Bergen-Belsen were shown during his speech, but were purported to have been taken at Auschwitz.

Rosa made many mistakes in his story, as he talked about Auschwitz. For example, he said that he talked to his older sister, Luna, through a CHAIN LINK FENCE.  At this point, he should have put up an old photo of a chain link fence at Auschwitz.  I have been to Auschwitz 3 times, and all the chin link fences are now gone.

Rosa claimed that he had seen his sister killed by an SS man, who then threw her naked body onto a pile of bodies.  I find it hard to believe this story. He showed an old photo of his sister, and kept saying how beautiful she was.  He seemed to be saying that this was a more heinous crime because she was so beautiful.

Rosa also told about taking an SS ring from the dead body of an SS man, whom he had killed by using his boxing skills. He had this ring changed into a ring with a Jewish emblem and he used it later to hit an SS man, scarring his face with a Jewish emblem.  The audience loved this story.

During his speech, Rosa brought out his 5 medals, which he had earned fighting with the American Army after he escaped from a concentration camp. He also mentioned that he had fought with the Irgun. I was surprised that he told this.

I don’t know how old Albert Rosa is, but he is in very good shape for a man who allegedly survived the Holocaust.  His daughter was there, helping him with his photos.  She is very beautiful and seems to be in very good health.

Most of the people in the audience were young people; many of the girls and young women were wearing shorts, which I don’t think was appropriate for a speech about the Holocaust.  There were not enough seats in the auditorium and three rows of young people had to sit on the floor in front of the stage.

In closing, I have to say that “a good time was had by all.”

July 28, 2015

Is there any standard at all for carrying oneself through a museum honoring 4.1 million lost souls?

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 8:07 am

My blog post today is a tribute to an excellent piece of writing, which I read this morning in the Irish Times online.

This is the headline of the article:

Travel Writer Auschwitz: “I remained ashamedly stoic, wondering ‘why did we come here?'”

Underneath a photo of the gatehouse at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, I read this quote: “Is there any standard at all for carrying oneself through a museum honoring 4.1 million lost souls?”

I would like to make Kelly Konya, the author of the article, feel better by pointing out that it was not 4.1 million Jews who were murdered at Auschwitz — it was only 1.1 million people.  The number of 4 million, which was given at the International Nuremberg Trial of the German war criminals, was a gross exaggeration. The number has been officially cut down to 1.1 million, which includes 900,000 Jews, several thousand Gypsies and a few miscellaneous others.

The article includes an excellent photo of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gatehouse taken from an unusual angle.  I took the photo below on one of my three trips to the camp.

My 2005 photo of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gate house

My 2005 photo of the gate house entrance into the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

This quote is from the article:

I knew that going to Poland for the sole purpose of seeing Auschwitz was problematic, and our roundabout trek from Kraków to the site underscored this fact. The woman at the airport gave us confused directions; the Starbucks barista put us on the wrong bus entirely. It was as if the town itself wanted to forget that the camps were there.

“the Starbucks barista”?  There was a time when the idea of a Starbucks, located anywhere near Auschwitz, would have been considered unthinkable.

This quote is also from the article:

The unexplainable attraction to sites of mass death or suffering is labeled “thanatourism,” or dark tourism. Ground Zero in New York City, the Dachau, Mathausen, and Terezin concentration camps, and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Cambodia are only a few of such places that tourists flock to each year. Some psychologists believe the appeal of dark sites is hidden beneath a human desire to feel more alive. According to Dr. Philip Stone of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research, people feel anxious before visiting dark places, “and then better when they leave, glad that it’s not them.”

Whatever my reason for visiting Auschwitz, I did not leave feeling alive, nor did I satisfy any morbid intrigue. In fact, walking through Auschwitz left me feeling anything but full of life; instead, I felt demoralized and more alienated by humanity than ever before.

July 5, 2015

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/

June 11, 2015

A reporter’s recent trip to Auschwitz

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:21 am
Auschwitz-Birkenau camp is now in ruins

My 2005 photo of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp shows that the camp is now in ruins

Alert: The first “hate speech” and “Holocaust denial” case is being tried in Montana now: http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/05/montana-hate-speech-case

The following quotes are from a news article, headlined “Lessons from Auschwitz,” which you can read in full here.

Globe senior reporter Emma Rigby accompanied teachers from Wirral to the Nazi concentration camps as part of a project aimed at giving them a fresh insight into the horror that occurred there, enhancing their teaching of the Holocaust and helping to make sure it never happens again.

This quote from the news article amazed me:

As we made our way around Auschwitz I, we were taken into what remains of the crematorium. We stood where 70,000 people died.

In the quote above, the reporter was obviously referring to the morgue in the main Auschwitz camp, not to the crematorium where the bodies of the Jews were burned. In the kosher version of the Holocaust, the morgue was a gas chamber where 70,000 Jews were gassed, and there was no morgue to store the bodies until they could be burned.

I blogged about the Arbeit Macht Frei sign on this previous blog post; https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/arbeit-macht-frei-slogan-hi-jacked-by-holocaust-historians/

This quote is also from the news article:

Walking through the iron gates of Auschwitz I, I looked up and saw the infamous phrase “Arbeit macht frei”  – “Work will set you free”.

At that point, I knew that what I was about to see would be worse than I could have ever imagined because for those who were taken Auschwitz-Birkenau – made up of three separate main camps Auschwitz I, Birkenau and Monowitz and dozens of satellite camps – work certainly did not set them free.

Here is another quote from the news article:

The Holocaust was not carried out in secret. There were those who are known as “bystanders” who did exactly that.

Sorry, but I beg to differ. I believe that the “bystanders” stood by and did nothing because they didn’t know about the Holocaust until several years after the war.

I wrote about the citizens of Dachau, who were bystanders on this blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/why-the-citizens-of-dachau-did-nothing-to-save-the-dachau-prisoners/

I wrote about how the citizens of Dachau were punished for being “bystanders” on this  blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/how-the-citizens-of-dachau-were-punished-for-not-helping-the-dachau-prisoners/

I also wrote about the citizens of Dachau at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/residents-of-the-town-of-dachau-were-forced-to-view-the-atrocities-in-the-dachau-camp-after-it-was-liberated/

This quote is also from the news article:

Homes which existed before the construction of Birkenau are visible from the guard tower. And those living within several miles would have been able to see and smell the fumes from the crematoria.

On my two trips to Auschwitz-Birkenau, I climbed  up on the tower of the gate house, and looked out over the camp. I don’t know of any other guard tower that tourists are allowed to climb at Birkenau. I could not see any homes from the guard tower. The distance from the guard tower to any homes, that might have been built recently, is over a mile.

My photo of the Mexico section of Auschwitz shows houses very nearby

My photo of the Mexico section of Auschwitz-Birkenau shows houses very nearby (click on the photo to enlarge)

When I was at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2005, there was a sign that said that 7 small villages had been torn down to make room for the 425 acre camp. There were no houses that were visible in 2005. I believe that the houses, which this reporter saw, have been built recently.

June 8, 2015

Recent escape from an American prison brings back memories of an escape from Auschitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:41 am
This photo of the gate into the Auschwitz main camp accompanies the news story

This photo of the gate into the Auschwitz main camp accompanies a news story about prison escapes

A newspaper article about a recent prison escape in America, which you can read in full here has brought back memories of a daring escape from Auschwitz, pulled off by two prisoners, Alfred Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba, in April 1944.

The news article about the American prison escape included this quote about Wetzler and Vrba:

Alfréd Wetzler’s escape from Nazi death camp Auschwitz is possibly the most important prison escape in history.

Wetzler, a Slovakian jew, escaped from Auschwitz [Birkenau] with fellow inmate Rudolf Vrba in April 1944 by hiding in a wood pile that other inmates soaked with tobacco and gasoline to fool guard dogs.

After four nights hiding among the wood, the two men donned stolen suits and overcoats and began a 80 mile journey to the Polish border with Slovakia.

In his pockets, Wetzler carried a report on the inner workings of the death camp, including a ground plan, details of the gas chambers, and a label from a canister of Zyklon B – the gas that the Nazi’s used to kill millions of inmates. It was the first detailed report about Auschwitz that the Allies regarded as credible, and led to the bombing of buildings that housed Nazi officials who dealt with the railway deportations.

120,000 Hungarian Jews are said to have been saved as a result.

Rudolf Vrba (real name Alfred Rosenberg)

Rudolf Vrba (real name Alfred Rosenberg)

I wrote about Rudolf Vrba on this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/rudolf-vrba/

Scroll down, in reading my previous post about Vrba; the part about him is near the end.

Before I knew anything about the Holocaust, I read a book about Vrba and his famous escape from Auschwitz-Birkenau. I was amazed by his stories of life in Auschwitz.  He was living such a good life there, that I couldn’t understand why he escaped.  His motive in leaving the good life at Birkenau was apparently that he wanted to tell the truth lies about Birkenau.

Child survivors marching out of the Birkenau death camp after it was liberated

Child survivors marching out of the Birkenau death camp after it was liberated

The photo above is a still shot from a film made by the Soviet liberators of Auschwitz about 4 weeks after the camp was liberated. The children in front are wearing adult uniforms. The children at Auschwitz did not wear uniforms. Look at the chubby cheeks of the children; how did that happen in a death camp?

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