Scrapbookpages Blog

June 16, 2017

The story of the Bergen-Belsen camp

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 3:21 pm

Dead prisoners at the Bergen-Belsen camp

The prison camp that first became known as Bergen-Belsen in 1943 was located about a mile from the tiny village of Belsen and a few more miles from the village of Bergen, a town with a population of 13,000. Today, there is no such place as Bergen-Belsen. The former camp is now a Memorial Site, but if you ask one of the locals how to get to Bergen-Belsen, they will ask you, “Which one? Bergen or Belsen?”

The scenery in this area is very beautiful; it looks much like England with mostly brick houses and charming old brick barns with green-painted doors.

The Bergen-Belsen camp was in an area adjacent to an Army training camp for the Wehrmacht, as the regular German Army was called. Between the end of the war and 1950, this Army base was turned into the largest Displaced Persons camp for the Jews who did not want to return to their native countries.

Bergen-Belsen later became a British Army base, and visitors to the Memorial Site on the grounds of the former camp could get an idea of what it must have been like in April 1945, with a war going on right outside the camp, as they listen to the sounds of gunfire coming from the Army training grounds next door to the former camp.

Because of the Army base which was located there, the area near the village of Belsen was first used for a Prisoner of War camp for 600 French and Belgian soldiers, who were housed in the existing Army barracks, beginning in 1940. In May 1941, the POW camp became known as Stalag 311. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union, 20,000 captured Russian POWs were brought to Stalag 311 in July 1941; at first they were held in barbed-wire enclosures in the open air. Most of them died because the Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention and, because of this, the Germans were not required by international law to treat them humanely.

According to the Memorial Site, “Huts to accommodate the prisoners of war were only provided over a period of time, and in most cases the prisoners themselves had to construct them.”

In contrast, the Germans treated their American POWs very well and 99% of them survived. America and Germany had both signed the Geneva Convention and both countries followed the rules for POWs, but the Soviet Union did not.

According to the Memorial Site, 18,000 of the Russian POWs had died by February 1942. There were only 2097 survivors of Stalag 311. Some of the prisoners died of dysentery, but most of them perished in an epidemic of spotted fever (typhus) which broke out in mid November 1941.

Before the German invasion of the Soviet Union on July 22, 1941, Hitler had given the order that Communist Commissars within the ranks of the Soviet Army should be taken to the nearest concentration camp and executed. Consequently, Communist party officials were selected from the prisoners of war at Stalag 311 and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where they were executed at a special shooting range in the Autumn of 1941.

The first Commandant in Bergen-Belsen was SS Captain Adolf Haas. Previously he had been in charge of the concentration camp called Niederhagen near the Wewelsburg Castle.

When it was decided to make Bergen-Belsen into a concentration camp in December 1944, Haas was replaced by SS Captain Josef Kramer. Kramer was born November 10, 1906 in Munich; he joined the NSDAP (Nazi party) in 1931 and became a member of the SS in 1932.

After the Nazis took over all important administrative positions in the state of Bavaria on March 9, 1933, in accordance with a new law passed by the Nazi-controlled Congress, Kramer was appointed to a clerical position in Augsberg. In 1934 he became an SS guard at Dachau and received instruction at the SS Training Camp at Dachau under Commandant Theodor Eicke, who is called “the father of the concentration camp system.”

Kramer served in many of the large concentration camps during his 11 years of service in the system. In 1940, he was an adjutant to Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss for several months before he was transferred to Natzweiler to become the Commandant there.

After the war, Kramer testified at the British Military Tribunal that he had murdered 80 prisoners, who were brought from Auschwitz, in a gas chamber in Natzweiler, so that their bodies could be used for research by Dr. August Hirtz at the University of Strasbourg.

In May 1944, Kramer was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he took over as the leader of the Birkenau camp just at the time that thousands of Jews from Hungary were being brought there to be gassed.

In December 1944, when the Auschwitz Camp had to be evacuated because the Russian troops were advancing, Kramer was ordered to go to Bergen-Belsen. Many of the women on his staff at Auschwitz were transferred along with him, including the notorious Irma Grese (pronounced GRAY-suh).

On December 2, 1944, Kramer became the Commandant of Bergen-Belsen which was now officially designated a concentration camp (Koncentrationslager). On that date, there were 15,257 prisoners in the camp, of which 6,000 were exchange prisoners who were being held for possible trade for Germans detained by the Allies. Kramer’s first step in making Bergen-Belsen into a real concentration camp was to deny the exchange prisoners the special privileges that they had been accustomed to.

Prior to Kramer taking over as Commandant, the Star Camp had been self-administered with Jews being in charge of the day to day supervision of the camp. This was abolished and Kapos from the Prison Camp were put in charge of the work details in the camp. The Kapos were inmates who assisted the guards; they reported to Chief Senior Prisoner Walter Hanke.

Fortunately, America has never witnessed a tragedy on the scale of the disaster at Bergen-Belsen. The closest would be the infamous Prisoner of War camp at Andersonville, Georgia where 12,912 Union soldiers succumbed to dysentery and malnutrition in only 14 months time during the American Civil war. The reason was that 32,000 prisoners were crowded into a camp that was meant for only 10,000. It was the worldwide outrage at this disaster that finally led to the Geneva Convention where rules for the treatment of POWs were made a part of international law.

At Bergen-Belsen, 60,000 civilian prisoners were eventually confined in a camp that was in no way designed to handle this number of people. Around 35,000 of the prisoners at Bergen-Belsen died from hunger and disease in just the three months prior to the camp being voluntarily turned over to the British on April 15, 1945.

The booklet published by the Memorial site calls the conditions at Bergen-Belsen “Hell.” Here is a quote from the booklet:

Begin quote

The more evacuation transports arrived in Bergen-Belsen the more catastrophic the situation became there. The over-crowded huts, often without any heating lacked all equipment or furnishings and people had to lie on the bare floors. The camp authorities deliberately refrained from easing the situation and made no attempt to draw on the reserves of food, clothing and medical supplies which were stored at the nearby military training grounds.

The lack of water was so severe that prisoners in Bergen-Belsen died of thirst. Others went mad with hunger and thirst and turned to cannibalism in their despair.

End quote

According to the Memorial Site at Bergen-Belsen, the camp population on December 1, 1944 was 15,257. By February 1, 1945, there were 22,000 prisoners in the camp, and by March 1, 1945, the number of inmates had swelled to 41,520.

On April 15, 1945, there were an estimated 60,000 prisoners in the camp. A total of 50,000 prisoners died during the two years the camp was in operation, including 13,000 who died of weakness and disease after the camp was liberated. By far the biggest killer in the camp was typhus, a deadly disease that is transmitted by body lice.

The story of Bergen-Belsen can be summed up by a chart that hangs on the wall of the Museum there. It shows that there were 350 deaths in the camp in December 1944 before the typhus epidemic started. In January 1945, after a typhoid epidemic started, there were between 800 and 1000 deaths; in February 1945, after the typhus epidemic broke out, there were 6,000 to 7,000 deaths.

In March 1945, the number of deaths had escalated to an incredible 18,168 in only one month. In April 1945, the deaths were 18,355 in only one month, with half of these deaths occurring after the British took over. Unlike the death camps in Poland, the Bergen-Belsen camp was not equipped to handle this kind of death rate; there was only one crematory oven in the camp.

When the British arrived on April 15, 1945, there were 10,000 bodies that were still unburied, and more were dying every day because the Germans could not control the epidemics. By the end of April, in only two weeks time, 9000 more had died. Another 4,000 died before the end of May.

To fight typhus epidemics during World War II, the Germans used an insecticide, called Zyklon B, to kill the lice which were common in the overcrowded Nazi concentration camps. Zyklon B was also allegedly used as a poison gas to kill the Jews in the gas chambers, although most historians say that there was no gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen. Initially, the Jews at Bergen-Belsen were well-treated because the Nazis were hoping to use them for exchange for German prisoners.

Normally, all new arrivals in the concentration camps were given a hot shower, all their body hair was shaved, and their clothes were then disinfected with Zyklon B. As a further precaution in the larger camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, newcomers were sometimes put into Quarantine barracks for a period of several weeks before being allowed into the main camp. Other prisoners arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau were allegedly “selected” to be gassed in fake shower rooms with Zyklon B.

In February 1945, a transport of Hungarian Jews arrived at Bergen-Belsen at a time when the disinfection chambers were temporarily not in use, and as a result, lice got into the camp, causing a typhus epidemic to break out. Heinrich Himmler, who was in charge of all the concentration camps, ordered that “all medical means necessary to combat the epidemic should be employed” but in spite of this, the epidemic quickly spread beyond control.

There were also epidemics of typhoid and dysentery at Bergen-Belsen, as well as a shortage of food and water after the camp became part of the war zone in Germany in the final days of World War II.

Anita Lasker-Walfisch, a survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, explained how important personal hygiene was for preventing disease during a British radio broadcast on August 9, 1999:

Begin quote

“Washing in Belsen was a big problem. Because the washing possibilities were outside. You can imagine what it was like in the winter. You were already hungry. You were half-dead. But we knew that, the moment you didn’t wash every day, it was the beginning of the end. So we used to wash each other and bully each other: “Come on”. We saw so many dead people that we didn’t even notice them, especially in Belsen. Heaps and heaps of corpses stacked up. There was no way of burying them, getting rid of them. People died so fast and in such enormous quantities, we didn’t even notice it. I think a way of survival is also just to let the shutters down and not see things. I mean, lots of people went mad, you know. How can you possibly survive this? You must be terribly tough or insensitive to actually survive.”

End quote

In December 1944, Bergen-Belsen had been designated a concentration camp (Koncentrationslager) and the Commandant of Auschwitz, SS Captain Josef Kramer, was transferred there as the new commandant.

By March 1, 1945 conditions in the Bergen-Belsen camp had reached the point of a major catastrophe and Camp Commandant Josef Kramer appealed for help in a letter to Gruppenführer Richard Glücks, who was the head of the SS camp administration.

Excerpts from Kramer’s letter are quoted below:

If I had sufficient sleeping accommodation at my disposal, then the accommodation of the detainees who have already arrived and of those still to come would appear more possible. In addition to this question a spotted fever and typhus epidemic has now begun, which increases in extent every day. The daily mortality rate, which was still in the region of 60-70 at the beginning of February, has in the meantime attained a daily average of 250-300 and will increase still further in view of the conditions which at present prevail.

Supply. When I took over the camp, winter supplies for 1500 internees had been indented for; some had been received, but the greater part had not been delivered. This failure was due not only to difficulties of transport, but also to the fact that practically nothing is available in this area and all must be brought from outside the area […]

For the last four days there has been no delivery [of food] from Hannover owing to interrupted communications, and I shall be compelled, if this state of affairs prevails till the end of the week, to fetch bread also by means of truck from Hannover. The trucks allotted to the local unit are in no way adequate for this work, and I am compelled to ask for at least three to four trucks and five to six trailers. When I once have here a means of towing then I can send out the trailers into the surrounding area […] The supply question must, without fail, be cleared up in the next few days. I ask you, Gruppenführer, for an allocation of transport […]

State of Health. The incidence of disease is very high here in proportion to the number of detainees. When you interviewed me on Dec. 1, 1944, at Oranienburg, you told me that Bergen-Belsen was to serve as a sick camp for all concentration camps in northern Germany. The number of sick has greatly increased, particularly on account of the transports of detainees that have arrived from the East in recent times — these transports have sometimes spent eight or fourteen days in open trucks […]

The fight against spotted fever is made extremely difficult by the lack of means of disinfection. Due to constant use, the hot-air delousing machine is now in bad working order and sometimes fails for several days […]

A catastrophe is taking place for which no one wishes to assume responsibility […] Gruppenführer, I can assure you that from this end everything will be done to overcome the present crisis […]

I am now asking you for your assistance as it lies in your power. In addition to the above-mentioned points, I need here, before everything, accommodation facilities, beds, blankets, eating utensils — all for about 20,000 internees […] I implore your help in overcoming this situation.

End quote

Kramer also appealed to the German Army officers at the nearby Army base for additional food after a trainload of food and the camp water pump were destroyed by Allied planes. Colonel Hans Schmidt arranged for the local volunteer fire department to provide water and for food supplies to be brought to the camp from abandoned railroad cars. Schmidt testified later that Kramer “did not at all impress one as a criminal type. He acted like an upright and rather honorable man. Neither did he strike me as someone with a guilty conscience. He worked with great dedication to improve conditions in the camp. For example, he rounded up horse drawn vehicles to bring food to the camp from rail cars that had been shot up.”

Joseph P. Farrell, who wrote a book entitled “The SS Brotherhood of the Bell,” has a different explanation for how the water pump at Bergen-Belsen was destroyed. Farrell claims that a small number of SS guards remained at the camp after the others had fled and as a final act of defiance, the retreating SS guards sabotaged the water supply to the barracks, making it hard for the British troops to treat the sick prisoners. There is another claim that “On the 13th day after liberation, the Luftwaffe bombed one of the hospitals in the DP camp, injuring and killing several patients and Red Cross workers.” The DP camp was the former SS training camp, next door to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which the SS had turned over to the British liberators.

Since Bergen-Belsen was in western Germany, it became the destination for thousands of prisoners who were evacuated from the concentration camps in the east, as the Russian Army advanced. In spite of the typhus epidemic in the camp, Bergen-Belsen had been kept open to receive prisoners evacuated from other camps, such as Buchenwald in eastern Germany, right up to the time it was turned over to the British on April 15, 1945.

Commandant Kramer described the situation at Bergen-Belsen after the evacuated prisoners were brought there from Auschwitz:

Begin quote

The camp was not really inefficient before you (the Allies) crossed the Rhine. There was running water, regular meals of a kind — I had to accept what food I was given for the camp and distribute it the best way I could. But then they suddenly began to send me trainloads of new prisoners from all over Germany. It was impossible to cope with them. I appealed for more staff, more food. I was told that this was impossible. I had to carry on with what I had.

Then as a last straw the Allies bombed the electric plant that pumped our water. Loads of food were unable to reach the camp because of the Allied fighters. Then things really got out of hand. During the last six weeks I have been helpless. I did not even have sufficient staff to bury the dead, let alone segregate the sick [… ]

I tried to get medicines and food for the prisoners and I failed. I was swamped. I may have been hated, but I was doing my duty.

End quote

One of the survivors of Bergen-Belsen was 24-year-old Freddie Knoller, a Jew who was a member of the French resistance. Originally from Vienna, he had been deported from Austria in 1938 and had gone to Paris. In an interview with the BBC News Online in July 2004, he said that he was captured by the Nazis after an angry girl friend denounced him to the Gestapo. He was eventually sent to Auschwitz where he was tattooed with the number 157103 on his arm. He was among the 60,000 survivors of Auschwitz who were death marched out of the camp just before Russian troops arrived on January 27, 1945. Out of 1,000 Jews on his train transport to Bergen-Belsen, he was one of only 13 survivors.

Bergen Belsen is back in the News

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 1:01 pm

The famous photo below is from news reel footage that was shown in American theaters. It shows a British soldier shoving Jewish bodies into a mass grave at Bergen-Belsen.

Bulldozer.jpeg

The Bergen Belsen concentration camp is the place where Anne Frank died. Remember that as you read this news article: http://theislandnow.com/new_hyde_park-108/holocaust-survivors-share-stories-strength-remembrance-forum/

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

Memories of the Holocaust are as fresh as they were decades ago for the women who were forced into World War II concentration camps as children and miraculously lived to tell the tale as adults.

“When you look at these survivors, know you’re looking at miracles,” Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Senior Director of Education Beth Lilach said. “For any child to have survived the Holocaust is nothing less than a miracle because it was a very intentional plan by the Nazis to destroy every single Jewish child, so these people represent the tiny percent of Jewish children that survived.”

Parker Jewish Institute hosted “Stories of Strength: a Holocaust Remembrance” Thursday afternoon to document the stories of three survivors.

Chana Pfeifen, Alice Tenenbaum and Mia Feuer, wife of survivor Samuel Feuer, shared memories with a heartbroken audience as they recounted tales of gas chambers, death marches and the traumatic loss of their parents at the hands of the guards and doctors who imprisoned them.

Lilach opened the forum with a presentation focused around what can be learned from the Holocaust and how many times history could have gone differently with earlier help from countries around the world.

“By looking at the evolution of Nazism, you see so many red flags when the Holocaust could have been stopped,” Lilach said. “We need to look to see if our country is experiencing any of these red flags, and we need to act on it. We can’t be silent — that was an incredibly destructive force during the Holocaust, and we need to speak up.”

End quote

I wrote at length about Bergen Belsen on my website, starting at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/Introduction.html

The following quote is from my website:

Begin quote

Bergen-Belsen was the name of an infamous Nazi camp which has become a symbol of the Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews in Europe more than sixty years ago. In 1943, Bergen-Belsen was initially set up as a detention camp (Aufenthaltslager) for prisoners who held foreign passports and were thus eligible to be traded for German citizens being held in Allied internment camps. In December 1944, Bergen-Belsen became a concentration camp under the command of Josef Kramer, the former Commandant of the Auschwitz II camp, also known as Birkenau.

A section for sick prisoners, who could no longer work in the Nazi forced labor camps, was set aside at Bergen-Belsen in March 1944. In 1945, when World War II was drawing to a close, civilian prisoners were evacuated from other concentration camps as Soviet troops advanced westward; thousands of these prisoners were brought to the Bergen-Belsen camp which was not equipped to handle such a large number of people.

Finally, Bergen-Belsen itself was right in the middle of the war zone where bombs were falling and Allied planes were strafing the Autobahn and the railroads. British and Germans troops were doing battle on the Lüneberg heath right outside the camp. In February 1945, the situation at Bergen-Belsen became catastrophic when a typhus epidemic broke out in the crowded camp.

End quote

February 25, 2017

Holocaust survivor says Donald Trump is not the human being to be president

Filed under: Dachau, Holocaust, Trump, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 2:30 pm

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at https://collegian.com/2017/02/holocaust-survivor-shares-experience-in-auschwitz/

Begin quote

[Fanny] Starr is concerned that under the current presidential administration, she will become a victim again.

“I’m very much against this government, and I’m very scared I will become a victim again,” Starr said. “(President Donald Trump) is not the human being to be president.”

Starr says she continues to speak to counteract anti-Semitism present in the world today.

The following quote is from the news artical:

Begin quote

Fanny Starr said she lost her will to live when she entered the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp months before it was liberated by the British.

“I told my sister, ‘I don’t want to live. I don’t have nobody,’” Starr said upon entering Bergen-Belsen.

Starr said her sister, Rena Alter, grabbed her by the collar of her striped outfit.

“She grabbed me by my clothes, stood me up and said, ‘This is our life, no mom, no dad,’” Starr said.

fanny-starr-elliott-jerge2.jpg
Fanny Starr, this year’s featured speaker for Holocaust Awareness Week, shares her story about surviving internment in several Nazi concentration camps during World War II. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

Starr shared her experience as a Holocaust survivor in the Nazi concentration camps with over 1200 students Wednesday night for the 20th annual Holocaust Awareness Week. Rebecca Chapman, a freshman at East High School, and Alex Ingber, the Vice President of Students for Holocaust Awareness, asked Starr questions about the Holocaust.

Starr, born in 1922, was a teenager when her family was forced into the Lodz ghetto.

According to Starr, there was very little food, and people received food once a month if they were lucky.

Starr and her family were taken to Auschwitz in a train car of nearly 60 people after the [Lodz] ghetto was liquidated in 1944.

Starr remembers Auschwitz as a horrid place where the Jewish people were stripped of their clothes, and their identities were reduced to numbers. She remembers seeing the writing “Arbei Macht Frei” and Dr. Josef Mengele in his black uniform as she got off the train.

Starr remembers how [Dr.] Mengele assessed each Jew who got off the train and decided who looked healthy enough to work or who would be sent to the gas chambers.

“My youngest sister, (as) we were standing in the line to see him, … pinched my cheeks, and I pinched her cheeks to look (healthy),” Starr said.

Starr remembers laying in a field in Auschwitz, looking up at the night sky as bodies burned in the ovens.

“The sky was red, and the smell was horrid,” Starr said. “You could smell the body smell and the hair smell. We could see the ashes coming down like snow.”

Starr lost her mother and two siblings to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Her father starved in Dachau.

She said she and her sister came to America in 1951. Starr said they visited a cemetery to say their goodbyes to family members even though their family’s bodies “were just ashes.”

End quote

What can I say about this? She is a typical “liar, liar, pants on fire” Jewish Holocaust survivor.

October 1, 2016

The little boy with his hands up is back in the news

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:06 am
Famous photo of little boy with his hands up

Famous photo of little boy with his hands up

The famous photo above is from the Stroop Report; the photo was taken in the Warsaw Ghetto in April or May, 1943.

You can the read the recent news article, which includes the photo of “the little boy with his hands up” at http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/147906-adolf-hitler-holocaust-duterte

This headline is from the news story, cited above:

LOOK BACK: Hitler and the Holocaust

Begin quote from news article:

President Rodrigo Duterte sparks outrage after he drew parallels between the Holocaust and his own bloody war on drugs …

End of quote from the news article.

Here is the full story about the controversial “little boy with his hands up” photo:

Seven-year-old Tsvi C. Nussbaum, who claims to be the boy shown in the photo above, was one of the Polish Jews who had been arrested, along with his aunt, on July 13, 1943, in front of the Hotel Polski on the Aryan side of the Warsaw ghetto, where they had been living as Gentiles.

Since they had foreign passports, they were sent to the Bergen-Belsen detention camp as “exchange Jews.”

Little Tsvi’s parents had emigrated to Palestine in 1935, but had returned to Sandomierz, Poland in 1939 just before World War II started. Tsvi was one of the survivors of Bergen-Belsen.

In 1945, Tsvi went to Palestine, but in 1953, he returned and moved to America. He became a doctor, specializing in ear, nose and throat, in Rockland County in upstate New York.

Tsvi Nussbaum claimed to be the little boy in the famous photo.

However, this photo was allegedly taken during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which took place between April 19, 1943 and May 16, 1943 before Tsvi was arrested; it is one of the photos included in the Stroop Report about the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.

The soldier, who is holding a gun on the little boy in the photo, was Josef Blösche; he was put on trial in East Germany after the war and was executed after being convicted of being a war criminal.

End of story

 

July 1, 2016

What really happened at Bergen-Belsen

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: — furtherglory @ 7:18 pm

A reader of my blog put up this website about the liberation of Bergen-Belsen:

http://www.bergenbelsen.co.uk/pages/Trial/Trial/TrialProsecutionCase/Trial_009_Berney.html

On my website, I have a section about the British liberation of Bergen-Belsen, which tells the true story of what happened:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/BergenBelsen05.html

I also have these pages about Bergen Belsen on my website:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/BergenBelsen09

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/BergenBelsen05

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/ConcentrationCamp.html

There were two small towns in the area where the camp was located: Bergen and Belsen

If you decide to go there, and you want to take a bus to the camp, don’t tell the bus driver that you want to got to Bergen-Belsen. He will say “Which one? Bergen or Belsen?  Tell the driver that you want to go to the Memorial site at the former Belsen camp.

May 22, 2016

The Nazis counted Jews and murdered every tenth person, says Holocaust survivor

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 7:43 am

FlowersInBarracks

My photo above shows the bunk beds in one of the barracks buildings at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The flowers are on the stove which runs the length of the building.

The title of my blog post today is a quote from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/local/how-we-live/2016/05/22/holocaust-survivor/84233700/

I know what you are thinking, dear reader: Why would those mean ole Nazis allow every tenth Jew to live during the Holocaust? Obviously, it was to insure that there would be survivors, who would live to be at least 90. The survivors would write great books and give lectures, telling their stories to the children of future generations of goyim. This was intended to be a warning to future generations: Never kill a Jew because, if you do, you will never hear the end of it.

This survivor’s name was Margit Feldman, which reminded me of a character, named Feldman, in the Seinfeld TV series, which I still watch every night. The Seinfeld show has helped me to understand Jews and why the act as they do — lying, stealing and cheating.

The news article begins with this quote:

Feldman’s life after liberation from Auschwitz has now been chronicled in a documentary film titled ‘Not A23029’

She was 17 years old when she arrived in America in 1946 with hopes and dreams for a life filled with possibilities. But for Margit Buchhalter Feldman who had endured life in a German concentration camp and witnessed the demise of her parents in Auschwitz, the memories would form an invisible shroud around her as she attempted to assimilate into the exuberance of life in post war America.

Feldman’s life after liberation has now been chronicled in a documentary film titled: ‘Not A23029’ – produced by Peppy Margolis, director of community programs at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies established in 1981. Feldman is a founding member.

End quote

The title of the film “Not A23029” means that Margit Buchhalter Feldman was not the number tattooed on her arm. No, she was a person who retained her humanity in spite of the fact that the Nazis tried to reduce her to a number in the Auschwitz death camp.

Here is another quote from the news article:

A23029 is the number stamped into Feldman’s left arm. According to Margolis, one of the key messages of the film is that Feldman, who settled and has lived in Central Jersey for decades, would not be defined by that Holocaust number but by the courage to share her experiences and establish a new life.

Feldman, born on the same day and year as author Anne Frank, said because she survived, she has a responsibility to speak for those who could not speak for themselves. Frank and Feldman were both forced into the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Nazi Germany [after they had survived Auschwitz]. However, Frank, author of “Diary of a Young Girl,” did not survive [Bergen-Belsen].

Margolis developed the 26-minute documentary with filmmaker Harry Hillard, adjunct professor of film at RVCC and proprietor of Warehouse Photography and H2H Films in Somerville. The final version of the film will be narrated by Michael Berenbaum, an internationally recognized Holocaust scholar.

End quote

I wrote about Michael Berenbaum on this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/what-students-can-learn-from-michael-berenbaums-book-a-promise-to-remember-the-holocaust-in-the-words-and-voices-of-its-survivors/

 

April 19, 2016

Belsen had forced much of the world to confront the undeniable reality of the Final Solution

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:09 am
Famous photo of a man struggling to survive at Bergen-Belsen

Famous photo of a man struggling to survive at Bergen-Belsen

I am four days late, and probably four dollars short, in writing about the 71st anniversary of the day, April 15, 1945, when Bergen-Belsen was voluntarily turned over to the British near the end of World War II because of a typhus epidemic in the camp. British soldiers did not liberate the camp, as news stories would have you believe. The Belsen camp was voluntarily turned over to the British.

Famous photo shows a Jewish soldier driving a bulldozer

Famous still photo from a movie shows a Jewish soldier driving a bulldozer to shove bodies into a mass grave

The title of my blog post today is a quote from a news article with the headline The Legal Lessons of Bergen-Belsen, which you can read in full here.

The news article begins with the following quote:

Begin quote

Editor’s note: The following is a version of the speech delivered by the author on Sunday, April 17, 2016, at a ceremony in Germany marking the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen.

“Earth Conceal Not the Blood Shed on Thee!”

These words from the Book of Job are engraved on the Jewish monument that my father, Josef Rosensaft, unveiled here in the midst of the mass graves of Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1946—the first anniversary of the liberation of this notorious Nazi concentration camp. Only one year earlier, thousands of corpses had borne mute witness to the mass murder that had been perpetrated in this place, and the photographs of the human devastation encountered at Belsen by British troops had forced much of the world to confront the undeniable reality of the Final Solution.

It is eerily symbolic, therefore, that exactly 70 years ago today, on April 17, 1946, Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi Party’s chief ideologist and pseudo-philosopher, was being cross-examined before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg about the precise meaning and context of the German term “Ausrottung,” meaning “extermination,” that he had used with respect to Jews in war-time communications with Hitler. Rosenberg also testified that day that he considered the shooting of hostages to be “an accepted act of reprisal.”

End quote

You can read about Bergen-Belsen on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/ConcentrationCamp.html

Note that the news article gives a link to my website to show the monument of Alfred Rosenberg.

 

 

 

 

March 20, 2016

Holocaust survivor says she “was taken to the extermination camp Bergen-Belsen”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:11 am

Today, I read a news article about Holocaust survivor Magda Hertzberger, who says that she is “A survivor of three death camps.”  She has written a book, entitled “Survivor” and is now out on the lecture circuit, telling her story.

One of the three camps, which Magda survived, was the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp.

British soldier driving the bulldozer that shoved bodies into graves at Bergen-Belse

Famous photo of British soldier driving a bulldozer to shove bodies into graves at Bergen-Belsen

In today’s world, Bergen-Belsen has become a symbol of the Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews in Europe more than sixty years ago. The photo above was shown in newsreels in theaters around the world. I remember seeing this in a theater, and being horrified.

In 1943, Bergen-Belsen was initially set up as a detention camp (Aufenthaltslager) for prisoners who held foreign passports and were thus eligible to be traded for German citizens being held in Allied internment camps. Sadly, no other country want to exchange prisoners, so in December 1944, Bergen-Belsen was converted into a concentration camp under the command of Josef Kramer, the former Commandant of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

A section for sick prisoners, who could no longer work in the Nazi forced labor camps, had been set aside at Bergen-Belsen in March 1944. Anne Frank was one of the sick prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkeanau who was transferred to Bergen-Belsen, where she died.

Fake grave of Anne Frank at Bergen-Belsen

My photo of the fake grave of Anne Frank and her sister Margo at Bergen-Belsen

In 1945, when World War II was drawing to a close, civilian prisoners were evacuated from other concentration camps as Soviet troops advanced westward; thousands of these prisoners were brought to the Bergen-Belsen camp which was not equipped to handle such a large number of people.

Finally, the Bergen-Belsen camp was right in the middle of the war zone where bombs were falling and Allied planes were strafing the Autobahn and the railroads.

British and Germans troops were doing battle on the Lüneberg heath right outside the Bergen-Belsen camp.

In February 1945, the situation at Bergen-Belsen became catastrophic when a typhus epidemic broke out in the crowded camp. It was at this time that Anne Frank died in the camp.

Magda Hertzberger’s story is told in the following quote from a news story, which you can read in full at :  http://dcourier.com/news/2016/mar/20/holocaust-remembrance-day-marked-survivors-story/

Begin quote from Magda’s account of her ordeal:

Selection [at Auschwitz-Birkenau] was at the end of each week and [Dr.] Mengele took pleasure in selecting people for the gas chambers, humming his favorite opera arias while selecting, Herzberger said. Those selected were those not considered useful, such as children up to age 14, the old, the sick, pregnant women, invalids and mentally disturbed, she said.

End quote

Several years ago, I visited the site of the former Bergen-Belsen exchange camp which is now a Memorial Site. I was the only English-speaking person there. How do I know this? When a movie about the camp was shown, it was in German, but as the only English speaker there, I was allowed to see the movie on a TV set in a private room.

After my visit to the Memorial site,  I added a section about the camp to my website, which you can read at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/index.html

Start with this section, which is about the history of the camp: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/Introduction.html

The following quote is from the Bergen-Belsen history section on my website:

A section for sick prisoners, who could no longer work in the Nazi forced labor camps, was set aside at Bergen-Belsen in March 1944. In 1945, when World War II was drawing to a close, civilian prisoners were evacuated from other concentration camps as Soviet troops advanced westward; thousands of these prisoners were brought to the Bergen-Belsen camp which was not equipped to handle such a large number of people.

Finally, Bergen-Belsen itself was right in the middle of the war zone where bombs were falling and Allied planes were strafing the Autobahn and the railroads. British and Germans troops were doing battle on the Lüneberg heath right outside the camp. In February 1945, the situation at Bergen-Belsen became catastrophic when a typhus epidemic broke out in the crowded camp.

End quote

Magna Herzberger’s story starts with this quote from the news article:

Herzberger was born and raised in Transylvania, which was a part of Romania when she was born and became a part of Hungary by 1940, she said.

Even at a young age, Herzberger was a fighter, working hard and fighting for her education as well as becoming a junior fencing champion at age 15 following instruction in the sport from her uncle.

The Germans occupied Herzberger’s city in March 1944 and forced Jewish people to wear the yellow Star of David, Herzberger said. In May of the same year, they were forced into the ghetto and at the end of May, were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, she said. After arrival, they were forced to undergo selection headed by Josef Mengele, who Herzberger said she saw every single day.

“At the selection platform, my father and uncle were at my side. Both of them wanted to give me some guidelines of principles and behaviors should we be separated. My father reminded me to follow the path of love, forgiveness and tolerance,” Herzberger said. “My uncle advised me to try and maintain my emotional and my physical strength, even if he wasn’t around. Pain increases our endurance and we have to tolerate pain in order to survive and not fall apart under any adverse situation which we may encounter in our lives. I have lived my life living up to that promise.”

Selection was at the end of each week and Mengele took pleasure in selecting people for the gas chambers, humming his favorite opera arias while selecting, Herzberger said. Those selected were those not considered useful, such as children up to age 14, the old, the sick, pregnant women, invalids and mentally disturbed, she said.

What Herzberger was selected for while in Auschwitz was corpse gatherer, hauling bodies to the pits they dug and incinerating them. The gas chambers were working full time and the crematory ovens could not keep up, she said.

After seven weeks, Herzberger was selected for her second camp in the city of Bremen. She and 500 other women were taken for slave labor in order to clear the city and people who were hit by the bombs. By the end of 1945, Herzberger had lost a great deal of weight due to the hard work, lack of food and harsh winter.

End quote

March 2, 2016

Will your children ever have the chance to meet a Holocaust survivor?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:47 am

My blog post today is a comment on a news article which you can read at http://highschool.latimes.com/champs-charter-high-school-of-the-arts/opinion-millennials-will-soon-be-responsible-for-kindling-the-holocausts-flame/

The headline of the article is this:

Opinion: Millennials will soon be responsible for kindling the Holocaust’s flame

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

[the word “millennial” refers to young people today]

Many adults seem exasperated by the “typical” millennial attitude, and our tendency to disregard problems that do not directly impact our own lives. We have been dubbed “Generation ADD” and “The Selfie Generation” by those who do not believe we are capable of being the future movers and shapers of society.

However, in the next decade or so, one incredibly important responsibility will fall upon our shoulders: keeping the memory of the atrocities of the Holocaust alive.

It’s not an easy period of history to recall, whether you are Jewish, German, or of any other cultural background. But the reality is, there will come a time when those who actually lived through these events are no longer with us. It is not unlikely that my own children will never meet a Holocaust survivor.

End quote

The article continues with this quote:

Anne Frank’s diary must remain a staple in schools, as it plays such an important role on educating young people about the monstrosity of the Holocaust, and making us feel connected to the events that transpired. Just this year, a new German film based Frank’s diary premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and Variety says that it is a “compassionate and intelligently made contribution to the ever-growing body of work on the subject.” Art about the Holocaust must be continually produced, as it makes knowledge about the topic accessible to almost everyone. Young people are fully capable of creatively sharing more stories about the Holocaust in the forms of literature and writing, plays, songs, poems, and films. We can continue exposing the subject, and we must. We should not leave the teaching to a chapter in a history textbook.

End quote

“Anne Frank’s diary must remain a staple in schools…”

Sorry, but I think that Anne Frank’ diary promotes Holocaust denial.  Anne Frank was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau after her hiding place was found and her family was arrested.  She stayed there only 5 months before she was transferred to Bergen-Belsen on a “sick transport.”  She died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen.  How does her story prove the Holocaust?

My personal opinion is that the Holocaust should be laid to rest. People today are suffering from Holocaust fatigue.  Enough already!

February 21, 2016

Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank, felt guilty about not saving his famous daughter

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:40 am
Anne Frank at age 13

This photo of Anne Frank photo at age 13 was used in news article

Otto Frank, who died on August 19, 1980, at the age of 91, is back in the news because he revealed, several years ago, that he felt guilty about not saving his wife and daughters during the Holocaust. There is no mention, in the recent news story, about HOW Otto might have saved his family, nor of how he managed to save himself.

Otto Frank and his family hid in an attic in Amsterdam during World War II, and saved themselves until the war was nearly over. Eventually, the family was betrayed by someone who revealed their hiding place to the Nazis.

Front door into the building where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis

My photo of the front door into the building in Amsterdam where Anne Frank hid in the attic

The whole family was sent to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, after their hiding place was discovered.

Soon after he arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Otto Frank had himself put into the camp hospital, claiming that he was too sick to work. He stayed in the hospital until the camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers on January 27, 1945.

I blogged about Otto Frank, and his stay in the camp hospital, on this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/how-does-the-story-of-anne-frank-prove-the-holocaust/

Later, Otto Frank apparently felt guilty because he did not advise the rest of his family to voluntarily put themselves into the hospital at Auschwitz-Birkenau so that they would not have to work, and would get better food, as he did, because he was  supposedly sick.

After less than two months in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, Anne and her sister Margot were transferred to the Bergen Belsen exchange camp in Germany in October 1944.  We know that the train carrying Anne and Margot to Bergen-Belsen was a “sick transport” because the Red Cross was asked to monitor the train along the way.

You can read about Otto Frank in this news article: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/anne-franks-dad-otto-told-7407747

Begin quote from news article:

The guilt that Anne Frank’s father felt after his two daughters and wife died in the Holocaust has been revealed by a former penpal.

The letters were sent to an Australian woman, who said Otto Frank told her of his turmoil following the deaths of Anne, Margot and Edith who all died in 1945 – just weeks before the end of the Second World War. [Anne, Margot and Edith all died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen]

Writing to 19-year-old Anne Finlayson in 1965, Mr Frank told her he blamed himself for the fate of his wife and two daughters and that he should have done more to protect them.

Anne was inspired, like many others, to write to the Holocaust survivor following the publication of The Diary of Anne Frank in 1947.

Anne’s diary entries spread across the globe after she began to write as a 13-year-old Jew hiding from the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in a secret annexe of her father’s factory in Amsterdam.

The guilt that Anne Frank’s father felt after his two daughters and wife died in the Holocaust has been revealed by a former penpal.

The letters were sent to an Australian woman, who said Otto Frank told her of his turmoil following the deaths of Anne, Margot and Edith who all died in 1945 – just weeks before the end of the Second World War.

Writing to 19-year-old Anne Finlayson in 1965, Mr Frank told her he blamed himself for the fate of his wife and two daughters and that he should have done more to protect them.

Anne [Finlayson] was inspired, like many others, to write to the Holocaust survivor [Otto Frank] following the publication of The Diary of Anne Frank in 1947.

Anne’s diary entries spread across the globe after she began to write as a 13-year-old Jew hiding from the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in a secret annexe of her father’s factory in Amsterdam.

End quote from news article

Here is the full story on the family of Otto Frank:

In February 1942, the Nazis had began rounding up all the Jews in Germany and the occupied countries for evacuation to the East in what the Nazis called “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”

Knowing that his family would soon be deported, Otto Frank began preparing a hiding place in the annex with a two-year supply of food and other essentials. Five months later, Anne and her family suddenly disappeared, leaving behind notes saying that they had gone to Switzerland, which was a neutral country during World War II. Otto Frank’s brother actually did escape from occupied France to Switzerland, but Otto Frank wanted to remain in Amsterdam because he had a thriving business there.

Many other Jewish families in Amsterdam also went into hiding, trusting that their Dutch neighbors and business associates would not betray their hiding places to the police. Approximately 25,000 Dutch Jews hid during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands which began after the Germans defeated the Dutch in May 1940 in the early part of World War II.

Those unfortunate Dutch Jews who did not go into hiding were sent to the transit camp at Westerbork, from where they were then transported by train to Auschwitz, the infamous killing center, located in what is now Poland, where millions of Jews perished in the gas chambers. Many of the 160,000 Jews in the Netherlands were refugees, like the Franks and their friends in the annex, who had escaped from Germany after Hitler and the Nazis came to power in 1933. Westerbork was originally a refugee camp for German Jews who were regarded as illegal immigrants in the Netherlands after they escaped over the border from Nazi Germany before the war.

I have a section, on my website, about the house where Anne Frank hid:  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AnneFrank/AnneFrank01.html

 

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