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April 2, 2013

Did Auschwitz prisoners have a choice to stay in the camp, or were they forced to go on a “death march”?

I have been researching my fingers to the bone, trying to find a source that proves that Auschwitz prisoners were FORCED to march out of the camp if they were able to walk.  Since the purpose of the march out of the camp was allegedly to march the prisoners to death, according to Daniel Goldhagen’s book entitled Hitler’s Willing Exectioners, it seems to me that those who were too sick to walk would have been killed before the Nazis left the camp with the prisoners on the march.  Otherwise, the death march would have accomplished nothing.  There would still have been prisoners alive who would be witnesses to the atrocities committed by the Nazis.

My blog post today is in answer to the following comment made by Carolyn Yeager:

How do you know these [prisoners in a photo] are actual liberated Auschwitz prisoners? Almost all the photos of the masses of people supposedly taken at “liberation” were actually taken later, up to a month later, or even more. I wrote about this at the end of this article at EWCTW:

When I was on “the tour” at Auschwitz, the Polish tour guide stood before a big blow-up of a well-known photo of healthy (even chubby) youngsters behind a barbed wire fence, some in over-size striped shirts over their street clothing … and said matter-of-factly that it was taken “several months” after the liberation. I jumped on that and she explained that all the liberation photos, or most of them, were stills from a film made later with local people dressed to look like prisoners. Any photography from the actual first days of “liberation” is lost (been destroyed, more likely).
In my opinion, there was no “liberation” at Auschwitz of the type at Dachau and Buchenwald; it had to be invented by Soviet Intelligence. I really need to do a new article just about this.

One of the photos, to which Ms. Yeager referred, is the photo shown below.

Still shot from a film made by the Soviet liberators of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Still shot from a film made by the Soviet liberators of Auschwitz-Birkenau

The photo above shows some of the 611 children in the Birkenau camp after it was liberated. The girl on the far right is Miriam Mozes, the twin sister of Eva Moses Kor.  The twins were selected by Dr. Josef Mengele for his medical experiments.  Eva and her twin sister Miriam both survived; Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated four days before their 11th birthday.

The photo of the children at the barbed wire fence is a still photo from a documentary film made by the Soviets in February 1945, so this is what the children in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp looked like, no more than four weeks after they were “liberated” on January 27, 1945.

Were these children actually “local people dressed to look like prisoners” as the Polish tour guide claimed.  This would mean that Eva Moses Kor, who is still alive, was not actually in the film, but was being impersonated by a local Polish girl.  I saw the documentary film, which was shown in a theater at the main Auschwitz camp, when I visited in 1998.  I saw the version that had English sub-titles.  I don’t believe that the people shown in the film were locals who were brought in to impersonate  the prisoners.

Perhaps the confusion was caused by the photo below which is also a still shot from the Soviet film.

Prisoners walking out of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

Prisoners walking out of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

The photograph above is a still picture taken from the Soviet movie which was shown at the beginning of the tour at the Auschwitz Museum when I visited in 1998.  It shows some of the 5,800 Birkenau survivors, most of whom look like well-fed Polish peasants, walking out of the camp. In the background you can see the wooden barracks buildings, with windows under the roof, and the posts of the barbed wire fence. These survivors are walking along the interior camp road that bisects the Birkenau camp from north to south, connecting the women’s camp with the new section of Birkenau, known as “Mexico.”  For all I know, these people are imposters who were brought in by the Soviets because all the real prisoners had been forced to march out of the camp.

The tall, skinny guy in the photo is Dr. Otto Wolken, a medical doctor in the Birkenau Quarantine camp, who stayed behind to help his fellow prisoners when the Birkenau camp was evacuated. He is the only one in the photo who looks properly emaciated, as death camp prisoners should look.

Dr. Wolken was the first witness to testify at the Auschwitz Trial, held by the German government in Frankfurt between 1963 and 1965.

This website has some information about the prisoners who were marched out of Auschwitz:

In the evening the female prisoners in the Auschwitz women’s camp were formed into columns, including the female prisoners who were transferred from Birkenau, and driven out in the direction of Rajsko. The female prisoners of the gardening and plant breeding squads from the Rajsko sub-camp join the procession of the male and female prisoners evacuated from Auschwitz-Birkenau and bring up the rear.  There were 5,800 survivors at the Auschwitz II camp (Birkenau) when the Soviets arrived on Januray 27, 1945.

There were more survivors in the Auschwitz I camp (the main camp), some of whom are shown the documentary film taken in February 1945.  The photo below shows men in the main camp.

Survivors in the main Auschwitz camp re-enact the liberation for a documentary made in Feb. 1945

Survivors in the main Auschwitz camp re-enact the liberation for a documentary made in Feb. 1945

They march through the communities of Pszczyna, Poreba, Wielka, and Jastrzebie Gorna to Wodzislaw in Silesia. Only Eugenia Halbreich (No 29700), who had hidden herself in the attic of a dwelling next to the house of SS man Grell, remains in the Rajsko sub-camp.

All the prisoners of the Monowitz sub-camp, the camp near the I.G. Farben works, are assembled on the parade ground in the evening. They are formed into columns of 1,000 prisoners each. Divisions of nurses were placed among the individual columns. The columns lead through Bierun, Mikolow, Mokre Slaskie and Przyszowice to Gleiwitz; 850 prisoners remain in the prisoners infirmary [at Monowitz], among them are assistant doctors, and 18 doctors, including Dr. Czeslaw Jaworski.

The prisoners are evacuated from the Trzebinia sub-camp and those able to march are led to Auschwitz; those that cannot remain there. Those still alive upon their arrival in Rybnik are loaded into open freight cars.

The Trzebinia Sub-Camp

After four days they arrive in the Gross Rosen Concentration Camp stiff from the cold. Because of overcrowding at the camp the transport is refused and is directed onto Sachsenhausen, but after remaining there for two weeks, it was sent to Bergen-Belsen. Arnost Tauber, Abraham Piasecki and Karl Broszio escape during the march.

Those unable to march are sent to the secondary railway track of the Trzebinia refinery, where they are crammed into four freight cars which set off for an unknown destination.

There was no mention on the H.E.A.R.T website, which I quoted above, that the prisoners were forced to march, or be shot if they refused or were unable to march.   In fact, nowhere could I find any information that the prisoners in the three Auschwitz camps were FORCED to join the march out of the camp.

Old women marching out of the Birkeanau camp in Feb. 1945

Old women marching out of the Birkeanau camp in Feb. 1945

The photo above is a still shot from the documentary made by the Soviets in February 1945.  It shows old women marching out of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.  Apparently, these women were allowed to stay in the camp and were not FORCED to join the march.  They were allowed to live and were not shot because they did not join the march.

Chapter 14 of Daniel Goldhagen’s book Hitler’s Willing Executioners is entitled “Marching to What End?”

Goldhagen wrote that “marching the Jews to death, was an end in itself.” Goldhagen wrote that Himmler, the head of all the concentration camps, had given an order not to kill any of the Jews being marched out of the camps, but he wrote that, in spite of this order, the Germans continued to kill the Jews on the marches.

Goldhagen wrote this on page 367:  “Finally, the fidelity of the Germans to their genocidal enterprise was so great as seeming to defy comprehension. Their world was disintegrating around them, yet they persisted in genocidal killing until the end.”

As far as I know, Daniel Goldhagen is the ONLY source of the alleged story that the prisoners were marched out of Auschwitz for the purpose of killing them and that the prisoners were forced to join the march.

August 22, 2010

My long-awaited answer to accusations on Paolosilv’s blog

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 1:32 pm

I am finally feeling well enough to wade through a long blog post accusing me of being a Holocaust denier, and to answer the accusations. You can read the accusations on Paolosilv’s blog here.

The long, tedious post on Paolosilv’s Blog reminds me of the Seinfeld show, which I watch in re-runs every evening.  The Seinfeld show is famously about “nothing” and it includes many long conversations in which the members of the cast argue about something that is very insignificant.  I don’t have the time, nor the motivation, to address all the points brought up on the Holocaust denier accusation blog post, but there is one point which I believe should be cleared up: the reason for the death marches out of the Nazi camps near the end of World War II.

I wrote this in a comment on my blog on February 22, 2010:

“Towards the end of the war, trains were scarce in Europe. The Germans did not use valuable trains to bring prisoners from the Auschwitz death camp to camps in Germany, which were not death camps, in order to kill them. The prisoners were brought to Germany so that they could work in the factories in the sub-camps.”

Paolosilv’s blog wrote this in answer to my comment:

This is again, untrue. The prisoners were ordered to Germany by Hitler/Himmler so they could not testify. The orders were that they were to be killed, as I have posted the quotes from the Nazis elsewhere.

Why would prisoners be marched all the way from Auschwitz -Birkenau to camps in Germany so late in the war (early January 1945)? Just for ‘labor’? Unlikelihood.

Where is the order from Hitler or Himmler, which said that the prisoners should be marched out of Auschwitz to Germany to be killed?  Was this order entered into evidence at the Nuremberg IMT?

What about all the survivors of the march out of Auschwitz who ended up in the sub-camps in Germany where they worked in factories?  Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, said that the prisoners at Auschwitz were given a choice about whether they wanted to join the march or stay behind.  Did the order from Hitler or Himmler say that the Auschwitz prisoners had a choice between being killed or staying behind?

Why did 60,000 prisoners join the march, which was led through two feet of snow, by German soldiers?  Maybe because the prisoners knew the Germans would feed them and keep them in good health because Germany needed workers during World War II.

In America, women worked in the factories, but in Germany, most of the women stayed at home to take care of their six children.

I also wrote this on my blog:

So that leaves the question: Why didn’t the Nazis just kill the 67,000 Jews that were at Auschwitz and all of its sub-camps on January 18, 1945. Even with three large gas chambers still in operation on that date, it would have taken a long time to kill them all and burn the bodies. The Germans had to leave in a hurry because they knew the Soviet soldiers were close by. If they left all the prisoners behind, there would be 60,000 healthy Jews on the loose who would potentially take revenge on the German people, plus 7,000 sick Jews and children. Besides that, the Nazis needed prisoners to work in the German munitions factories, building Messerschmitt airplanes and V-2 rockets so Germany would have at least some chance of winning the war.”

So, actually the “death march” out of Auschwitz does make historical sense.

In answer to the above statement, Paolosilv’s said this on his blog:

Here he denies that there were death marches, or puts them into quotes so as to deny their purpose.

Paolo is still insisting that the prisoners were marched out of Auschwitz in order to kill them.  In fact, he is not the only one who believes this.  Even college professors, who teach the Holocaust, believe that the “death marches” were a means of killing the prisoners so that they could not testify against the Nazis after the war.  So why leave 7,000 prisoners behind, who could potentially testify?

Another quote from Paolosilv’s blog:

Furtherglory writes that the Nazis did not want them to take revenge on the civilian population, as happened at Weimar.

It makes no sense at all. Most of these people were in rough shape, and were not able to work. You would not march people in the dead of winter hundreds of miles so that they could work. This is utter bullshit.

The prisoners, who were marched out of Auschwitz, walked 50 kilometers (around 35 miles) to Gleiwitz which was on the border between what had been Poland and Germany in 1938.  From Gleiwitz, the prisoners were put on trains to camps in Germany and then transferred to sub-camps where they were, in fact, put to work in factories, no bullshit.  The 7,500 prisoners who “were not able to work” were left behind in the three Auschwitz-Birkenau camps.

If the purpose of the death marches was to kill the prisoners, why weren’t they, in fact, killed, as planned?  The prisoners who were marched out of Auschwitz wound up working in the sub-camps of the major camps in Germany.

The most famous prisoner, who marched out of Auschwitz, was Elie Wiesel, who says that he got up out of his hospital bed and voluntarily joined the marchers.  He was taken to Buchenwald where he survived.  Primo Levi, another famous Auschwitz survivor, stayed behind and also survived.

I have already addressed the issue of whether or not the Jewish prisoners at Buchenwald were taken out of the camp to prevent them from taking revenge on the civilians in Weimar.  The original Yiddish version of the book “Night” tells about the Jewish prisoners who did, in fact, go to Weimar to get revenge, just as the Nazis had anticipated that they would.

In February 2010 I wrote this on my blog:

Dachau was a camp for political prisoners who had a good chance of being released. There was a special badge for prisoners who had been released and then re-arrested, which means that there were numerous prisoners that were given their freedom after they had been “rehabilitated.”

Paulosilv wrote this on his blog, in his answer to the above statement:

Here he overlooks the unregistered deaths at Dachau, some of whom were Jews. Others were Poles, Russians and assorted prisoners.———-

If these deaths were “unregistered,” how do we know that the deaths occurred?  Maybe the reason that some deaths were “unregistered” is because the deaths never happened.

There were, in fact, prisoners who were brought to Dachau, given a shower, and then were never seen again.  All of them turned up later, very much alive, at the eleven Kaufering sub-camps.  The Official Army Report, by the American liberators of Dachau, mentions these prisoners who disappeared. The Official Army Report says that their alleged deaths were “unregistered.”  That is the origin of this false information.

I am beginning to feel like Jerry Seinfeld, arguing with George about nothing, so I will end this post now.