Scrapbookpages Blog

January 17, 2011

Buchenwald crematorium — was it built by the Russians?

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:02 pm

Yesterday a friend e-mailed me about something that Gordon Duff said on a radio show about the Buchenwald crematorium.  Duff said that the Buchenwald crematorium was a completely new building which was built by the Russians after the old one was destroyed.  I had never heard this before, so I decided to look up the photos that I took on my visit to Buchenwald and compare them with photos taken by the Americans immediately after the camp was liberated on April 11, 1945.

Buchenwald crematorium, Oct. 1999

The photograph above shows the Buchenwald crematorium and the pathology annex, which today houses several exhibits. The crematorium is located to the right of the gate house as you enter the camp. In the foreground of the photo, you can see rocks which have been arranged to show where the barracks formerly stood. Unlike Dachau and Sachsenhausen, where the crematorium was outside the camp fence and hidden from the prisoner’s view by trees or a wall, all of the Buchenwald inmates could see this building, which was at the top of a slope. The pathology lab was located in an annex built onto the crematorium; this was where autopsies were done to determine the cause of death.

My photo of the Buchenwald Crematorium, taken in 1999

Buchenwald crematorium, April 16, 1945

Notice the two small windows in the photo above.  The people in the background are German civilians who have been marched to the camp at gun-point to view the one small pile of bodies.  My photo, taken Oct. 1999, shows the same type of windows. Note that my photo shows a tiny bit of the fence around the courtyard and tiny bit of the zoo in the background on the left side; it does not show the wall in the old photo, but I am sure that it is the same building in both photos.

Maybe Gordon Duff got the Sachsenhausen camp and the Buchenwald camp mixed up.  Both camps were in the Soviet zone after the war and the building which housed the ovens at Sachsenhausen was blown up by the Soviets.  I visited both Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen in 1999.  The photo below shows the ruins of the ovens at Sachsenhausen.

Ruins of the cremation ovens at Sachsenhausen

My photos of the Buchenwald crematorium show that it was the same building that was photographed by the Americans in April 1945 shortly after the camp was liberated and before the camp was turned over to the Russians.

Photo of entrance into Buchenwald crematorium in April 1945

Photo of entrance into crematorium, taken in 1999

I will leave it up to the experts to tell me if these two photos show the same building.

As for the ovens in the crematorium, they look the same now as in the old photos.

Photo of oven at Buchenwald, April 1945

Ovens at Buchenwald, taken in Oct. 1999

The photo below shows the courtyard of the crematorium building, taken in April 1945.

Corpse wagon in the courtyard of the Buchenwald crematorium

Note the fence around the crematorium building which is on the left and the Buchenwald zoo in the background.   This photo was taken several days after the camp was liberated and it shows bodies of prisoners who died after the liberation.  The photo below shows Margaret Bourke White taking a photo of the same wagon on April 15, 1945.

Margaret Bourke White at Buchenwald, April 15, 1945

In the photo above, famous photographer Margaret Bourke White is taking an exposure reading with a hand-held light meter before taking a photo of the wagon in the courtyard of the Buchenwald crematorium.

Bodies stacked up outside the crematorium, April 17, 1945

It was the policy of the American liberators to leave the bodies out as long as possible so that American soldiers could be brought to see them, on the orders of General Eisenhower, who wisely predicted that some day people would say that the stories told by the Allies were propaganda.  Eisenhower wanted as many witnesses as possible to tell future generations about the atrocities in the camps.

Corpses piled up at the Buchenwald camp weeks after the camp was liberated

The photo above shows the fence around the courtyard at Buchenwald that is still there today.  Note the windows which are the same as the windows in the building today.

The first newsreel about the camps in Germany, which was shown in American theaters, was entitled Nazi Murder Mills.  You can see it on YouTube here.  The part about Buchenwald starts at 4:11 and the Buchenwald ovens are shown at 4:41.

Buchenwald crematorium; east gate in the foreground

On July 3, 1945, the city of Weimar and the Buchenwald camp were turned over to the Soviet Union, according to a prior agreement. But before the American Army turned the Buchenwald and Mittlebau-Dora camps over to the Soviet Union, they removed as much as they could from the V-2 rocket factories and recruited the best of the German engineers who were sent to America. German doctors were recruited from the Buchenwald camp to do medical experiments in America.

The Soviet Union wasted no time in turning Buchenwald into an internment camp for Germans. On August 20, 1945, Buchenwald became Special Camp Number 2, a prison camp for Germans.

July 30, 2010

Do you know what a “retort” is?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 7:29 am

If you don’t know by now what a “retort” is, you can look it up on google.  You will find several web sites which give the definition of retort, which means a sharp reply.  But what if you are reading something on the Internet, and you find the word “retort” used as a noun to mean an object at a former Nazi concentration camp? What is a “retort” at Dachau, for example.  Several years ago, I took it upon myself to illustrate what a “retort” looks like at Dachau.

O.K. I won’t keep you in suspense.  The photo below shows four “retorts” at Dachau.  The “retorts” are openings in the ovens to place the bodies for cremation.  The new  crematorium at Dachau has four “retorts” and the old crematorium has two “retorts.”

Four “retorts” for burning bodies in the new crematorium at Dachau

The old crematorium at Dachau has two “retorts.”

On my web site scrapbookpages.com, there is  page on which I put the text of the Leuchter Report with links to photos illustrating the words used in the report.  You can read this page here. At the top of the page, I very clearly wrote:

The Leuchter Report on the Dachau gas chamber is printed here in order to show photos which illustrate and explain the terms used. Fred Leuchter, who does not have a degree in Engineering, has been discredited as a gas chamber expert and he no longer works as a gas chamber consultant.
(Click on the links below to see photographs of the features of the gas chamber referred to in the Leuchter Report. These photographs were NOT taken by Fred Leuchter and were NOT included in his report.)

On July 20, 2010, another blogger posted this.  On July 24, the post was updated to include this paragraph in which the blogger accused me of being a Holocaust denier:

* * * * * * F u r t h e r g l o r y / s c r a p b o o k   p r o v i d e s˛ˇ   l i n k   t o   d i s c r e d i t e d     F r e d   L e u c h t e r   s i t e   ,   t h u s   c l i n c h i n g   h i s   d e n i a l   a s   a   f a c t .

D a c h a u   C o n c e n t r a t i o n   C a m p ,   g a s   c h a m b e r ,   S S   T r a i n i n g   C a m p ,   D a c h a u   & P h o t o g r a p h s   o f   D a c h a u   g a s   c h a m b e r   a n d   t h e   L e u c h t e r   R e p o r t   w i t h   i l l u s t r a t i o n s .

h t t p : / / w w w . s c r a p b o o k p a g e s . c o m / d a c h a u s c r a p b o o k /

The moral of this story is that it doesn’t take much to become a criminal in today’s world.  If I ever go to Germany again, I could be put in prison for 5 years, just for illustrating something written by a Holocaust denier.

Update, August 4, 2010

The blog referenced above has now put up a new blog post which acknowledges that the page on scrapbookpages.com which links to the Leuchter Report  clearly states that Fred Leuchter has been discredited and no longer works as a gas chamber consultant.  So I assume that it’s O.K. to illustrate the Leuchter Report, according to today’s blog which you can read here.

June 17, 2010

Dachau ovens had two sets of doors

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:44 pm

I’ve seen the crematorium at Dachau many times, but I didn’t realize until just yesterday that there are actually two sets of doors on the cremation ovens.  An engineer e-mailed me and told me that the pulleys above the ovens were used to raise and lower the inner doors.

Pulley and counterweight was used to raise and lower inner door of oven at Dachau concentration camp

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