Scrapbookpages Blog

September 11, 2015

“demon doctor” August Hirt is back in the news

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 1:13 pm

You can read a news article here about Dr. August Hirt, who experimented on Jews at the Naztweiler concention camp during World War II.

Dr. August Hirt doing an autopsy at Natzweiler concentration camp

Dr. August Hirt doing an autopsy at Natzweiler concentration camp

I wrote about the Natzweiler gas chamber on this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/the-so-called-lethal-gas-chamber-at-natzweiler/

I have a page about Dr. August Hirt and his experiments on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Natzweiler/History/GasChamber.html

Natzweiler gas chamber is not open to visitors

Natzweiler gas chamber is not open to visitors

The following quote is from my website:

Le Struthof, as the Natzweiler camp is known to the French, was located 31 miles from Strasbourg where Dr. August Hirt, a Professor at the University of Strasbourg, was conducting research on racial characteristics. When he requested Jewish skeletons that were undamaged by bullet holes or body blows, Heinrich Himmler ordered that Jews should be brought from Auschwitz to Natzweiler so that they could be killed in a gas chamber there.

In August 1943, a special gas chamber was constructed by adapting an existing building, formerly owned by the Struthof hotel, which was located about a mile from the concentration camp on a side road. This room had previously been used as a refrigerator room by the hotel.

Killing the Jews in one of the gas chambers at Auschwitz and shipping the skeletons to Strasbourg wouldn’t do — the skeletons had to be prepared with great care by Dr. Hirt himself.

According to a Tübingen Professor, Dr. Hans-Joachim Lang, two anthropologists, who were both members of the SS, Dr. Hans Fleischhacker and Bruno Beger, were sent in June 1943 to Auschwitz to select Jews to be gassed so that their skeletons could be added to the rassistische/rassenideologische collection of Dr. August Hirt. There were 57 men and 29 women in the group that was selected.

July 19, 2015

Found in Strasbourg: bodies of Jews used in experiments at Natzweiler

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:08 am

In a news article, which you can read in full here, it was reported today that the remains of 86 Jews, used in Nazi experiments during World War II, have been found.

This quote is from the news article:

The remains of 86 Jews used for Nazi experiments have been found at a laboratory in eastern France, it emerged today.

They had been killed in German gas chambers in 1943 during the Second World War Holocaust before their corpses and body parts were taken to the legal medical institute in Strasbourg.

It was thought they had been buried in a common grave in 1946, following the liberation of the city by the Allies two years earlier.

But the Strasbourg authorities confirmed many of the remains were, more than 70 years on, still being stored.

The discovery has raised serious concerns, with one organisation, which represents the UK Jewish community, stating that ‘serious questions’ needed to be asked.

A Board of Deputies of British Jews spokesman said: ‘This discovery raises serious questions about who knew about these remains and why they did not reveal this sooner.

This building, near the Natzweiler concentration camp, was the gas chamber building

This building, near the Natzweiler concentration camp, was the  building where Jews were gassed

When I visited the former Natzweiler concentration camp in 2004, I had to hire a driver to take me there, as there were no trains nor buses that went to the former camp.

I tried to hire another driver to take me to the gas chamber building, but I was told that it was strictly off limits and no one is allowed to get anywhere near it. I don’t know if that is still the case.

August Hirt conducting an autopsy on the body of a Jew that was gassed at Natzweiler

Dr. August Hirt conducting an autopsy on the body of a Jew who was allegedly gassed at Natzweiler

A book which I purchased from the Natzweiler Memorial Site, on my visit in 2004, has this to say about the gas chamber:

4. The affair of the Israelite corpses

Hirt, professor of anatomy in Strasbourg, received corpses from the camp of Russian war prisoners at Mutzig, but as he thought they were too lean, he asked for people in a good physical condition for studies on heredity.

87 Israelites (30 of whom were women) were sent from the camp at Auschwitz. They were shut up in block 13 at the Struthof where they were measured, and they had to undergo experiments on sterilization. On August 11, 13, 17, 19, 1943, under the direction of doctors from Strasburg, the S.S. gassed the 87 Israelites in the gas chamber at Struthof with cyanide. Death occurred after 30 to 60 seconds. The corpses were transported to the Institut d’Anatomie in Strasburg. 17 entire corpses (3 of which being women’s) were found at the liberation as well as many dissected pieces.

According to Dr. Lang, there were 16 of the 86 bodies (3 women and 13 men) that were found intact in November 1944, not 17, and an autopsy was performed on the bodies.

“The liberation” referred to in the above quote probably means the liberation of France in August 1944. The Natzweiler-Struthof camp was abandoned in September 1944 so it was not actually “liberated.”

Dr. Hans-Joachim Lang was able to identify the 86 Jews who were gassed at Natzweiler after locating their prisoner numbers in the Auschwitz archives. The 29 women and 57 men who were gassed had been deported to Auschwitz from Norway, Poland, Greece, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The bodies of the 86 victims are buried in the Jewish cemetery of Strasbourg and a grave stone with the 86 names was placed there in December 2005.

The Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp was located on top of a 2,500 foot high mountain in the Vosges range, which was a ski area before the camp was built, and still is today as far as I know.

Natzweiler-Struthof was not a death camp, specifically built for the Holocaust, which was the mass extermination of the Jews. It was a camp for the imprisonment of convicted German criminals and Anti-Fascist resistance fighters.

However, the reason that Natzweiler is so well known today is that a small number of Jews were killed there in a gas chamber, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The gas chamber building, shown in the photo above, has been preserved, although I don’t know if anyone is allowed to see it. However, it is not necessary to examine the gas chamber because we have the confession of Josef Kramer, in which he said that he personally gassed 80 Jews. Kramer made his confession after he was arrested at Bergen-Belsen when that camp was voluntarily turned over to the British on April 15, 1945.

Le Struthof, as the camp is known to the French, was located 31 miles from Strasbourg where Dr. August Hirt, a Professor at the University of Strasbourg, was conducting research on racial characteristics. When he requested Jewish skeletons that were undamaged by bullet holes or body blows, Heinrich Himmler ordered that Jews should be brought from Auschwitz to Natzweiler so that they could be killed in a gas chamber there.

In August 1943, a special gas chamber was constructed by adapting an existing building, formerly owned by the Struthof hotel, which was located about a mile from the concentration camp on a side road. This room had previously been used as a refrigerator room by the hotel.

Killing the Jews in one of the gas chambers at Auschwitz and shipping the skeletons to Strasbourg wouldn’t do – the skeletons had to be prepared with great care by Dr. Hirt himself.

According to a Tübingen Professor, Dr. Hans-Joachim Lang, two anthropologists, who were both members of the SS, Dr. Hans Fleischhacker and Bruno Beger, were sent in June 1943 to Auschwitz to select Jews to be gassed so that their skeletons could be added to the rassistische/rassenideologische collection of Dr. August Hirt. There were 57 men and 29 women in the group that was selected.

In the documents submitted to the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, it is mentioned that the Jewish victims were put into quarantine for a time at Auschwitz because there was a typhus epidemic in the camp; then they were brought to Natzweiler-Struthof.

The Nuremberg IMT documents show that 86 corpses were brought to the Anatomie Institute of the Reichsuniversitat Strassburg and that an assistant of Prof. August Hirt saw the tattoos on the arms and secretly wrote down the 86 numbers on a piece of paper.

Update, 9:30 a.m. today

According to another news article, which you can read in full here:

When the story of Alice Simon was last told in the newspaper in 1994, her family in Wisconsin believed they finally had learned her fate. Records at Auschwitz death camp suggested she was murdered there by the Nazis.

Another shock was yet to come.

Alice, a 56-year-old widow who had sent her two children to safety in England, actually left Auschwitz alive, only to be killed days later in the gas chamber at another camp, Natzweiler-Struthof, in August 1943.

And there was more. The Nazis had a diabolical plan to create a museum display of Jewish people’s skeletons. Alice was one of those 86 people.

Hans-Joachim Lang, a German historian, painstakingly identified all of those victims from the numbers tattooed on their arms. Alice was marked with 45263. Lang learned as much as he could about each one and their families, and in 2004 wrote a book called “Die Namen der Nummern,” which translates to “the names of the numbers.”

August 4, 2011

The “so-called lethal gas chamber” at Natzweiler

I previously blogged here about the Nazi gas chambers which are still in existence.  I neglected to mention the “so-called lethal gas chamber” at the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp, which was located on top of a mountain in the Vosges range in Alsace which is now in France. When the camp was built, Alsace was in the Greater German Reich. The camp was set up near a quarry as a labor camp for convicted German criminals and captured Anti-Fascist resistance fighters who had been fighting as illegal combatants.  Natzweiler was the main camp for French Resistance fighters.

The photo below shows a building, which is located about a mile from the camp.  Josef Kramer, the former Commandant of Natzweiler confessed to the British, after he was arrested at Bergen-Belsen, that he had personally gassed Jews in this building near the Natzweiler camp, but this is NOT the “so-called lethal gas chamber” in the title of my blog post.

Gas chamber building at Natzweiler-Struthof

The Natzweiler camp was abandoned by the Nazis in September 1944 and all the prisoners were transferred by train to Dachau. The Natzweiler camp was discovered by both French and American troops, but only after it had been abandoned.

On December 9, 1944, Col. Paul Kirk and Lt. Col. Edward J. Gully of the US 6th Army made an inspection of the Natzweiler camp. According to Robert H. Abzug, the author of Inside the Vicious Heart, the two men “qualified just about every observation that had to do with instruments of death and torture” in their report.  They did not mention the building shown in the photo at the top of my post; apparently they never found this building which is set back from the road up to the camp and not at all conspicuous.

The following is a quote from Inside the Vicious Heart:

[Kirk and Gully] found, among other things, “what appeared to be a disinfestation unit” and “a large pile of hair appearing and reputed to be human female.” They were shown a building with a space “allegedly used as a lethal gas chamber. ” In this building was “a cellar room with a special type elevator,” and “an incinerator room with equipment obviously intended for the burning of human bodies…a cell room and an autopsy room.” Kirk and Gully then described in detail the “so-called lethal gas chamber,” noting every pipe and outlet and its two steel doors. In the cellar they found four coffins and a sheet metal elevator “of a size which would take a human body” with “stains which appeared to be caused by blood.”

Outside wall of the “so-called lethal gas chamber”

When I visited the former Natzweiler camp in 2004, I peeked thought the small barred window, shown in the photo above.  The room looked to me like an ordinary shower room.  Part of the cremation oven can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the photo.

The report about the “so-called lethal gas chamber” at Natzweiler, written by Kirk and Gully, was sent to the US War Crimes Division. Based on their report, there were no charges pertaining to a gas chamber at Natzweiler brought against the Nazis on trial before the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg.

Josef Kramer was put on trial by the British in 1945, but he was not charged with gassing prisoners at Natzweiler, even though he had confessed to this crime.

Building where the “so-called lethal gas chamber” was located at Natzweiler

The building described in the quote from Abzug’s book is shown in the photo above. This building is the crematorium which has an elevator, an incinerator room, a cell room, an autopsy room and what looks like a shower room, but was described as the “so-called lethal gas chamber” in the inspection Report written by Kirk and Gully.

The photo above shows the crematory oven described by the American Army officers who investigated the Natzweiler camp in an attempt to find evidence of war crimes. The “so-called lethal gas chamber” is behind the oven and to the right. The Natzweiler camp had only one crematory oven since it was not intended to be a death factory for mass murder.

Apparently Kirk and Gully were not told by their French tour guides that the actual gas chamber was located on a side road, about one mile distant from the camp. Since they never saw the real gas chamber, shown in the photo at the top of my blog post, they didn’t include it in their report, and consequently no charges were brought at the Nuremberg IMT with regard to the gassing of Jews at Natzweiler-Struthof.

I visited the Natzweiler camp in 2004, but I was not able to see inside the gas chamber building shown in the first photo above because it was locked and could only be seen by special permission.

In the small museum at Natzweiler-Struthof, I read Kramer’s confession which was on display. In his confession to the British, Kramer described how he personally mixed “salts” with water to produce a lethal gas. The gas was dumped through a hole which had been chiseled through the tiled wall of a room previously used for the refrigeration of perishable food; the building had previously been a restaurant. Then Kramer watched through a peephole as the Jews died from the fumes of the poison gas.

In a British Military Tribunal held in 1945, Josef Kramer was convicted and hanged for the crimes which he had allegedly committed at Auschwitz II and Bergen-Belsen. The charges against Kramer at the proceedings of the British Military Tribunal did not include the crime of gassing Jews at Natzweiler-Struthof. He was only charged with crimes committed at Bergen-Belsen and with gassing Jews at Auschwitz, where he was the Commandant of the Auschwitz II camp before being transferred to Bergen-Belsen in December 1944.

The fact that Kramer was not tried by the British for the crime of gassing prisoners at Natzweiler does not mean that the gassing did not take place. It could be that the British did not have jurisdiction for crimes committed at Natzweiler because the camp was located in the French zone of occupation.

In 1989, a plaque was placed at Natzweiler-Struthof, in memory of the “87 Jews who were gassed” there. This was accomplished through the joint efforts of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a New Jersey lawyer, Stephen Draisin. The number 87 includes the 86 Jews who were brought from Auschwitz to be gassed and one Jewish inmate at Natzweiler who died during the same time period.

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “the gas chamber was also used in pseudoscientific medical experiments involving poison gas. The victims of these experiments were primarily Roma (Gypsies) who had been transferred from Auschwitz. Prisoners were also subjected to experiments involving treatment for typhus and yellow fever.”

A book which I purchased from the Natzweiler Memorial Site has this quote about the gas chamber:

4. The affair of the Israelite corpses

(August) Hirt, professor of anatomy in Strasbourg, received corpses from the camp of Russian war prisoners at Mutzig, but as he thought they were too lean, he asked for people in a good physical condition for studies on heredity.

87 Israelites (30 of whom were women) were sent from the camp at Auschwitz. They were shut up in block 13 at the Struthof where they were measured, and they had to undergo experiments on sterilization. On August 11, 13, 17, 19, 1943, under the direction of doctors from Strasburg, the S.S. gassed the 87 Israelites in the gas chamber at Struthof with cyanide. Death occurred after 30 to 60 seconds. The corpses were transported to the Institut d’Anatomie in Strasburg. 17 entire corpses (3 of which being women’s) were found at the liberation as well as many dissected pieces.

According to Dr. Hans-Joachim Lang, there were 16 of the 86 bodies (3 women and 13 men) that were found intact in November 1944, not 17, and an autopsy was performed on the bodies.

“The liberation” referred to in the above quote probably means the liberation of France in August 1944. The Natzweiler-Struthof camp was abandoned in September 1944 so it was not actually “liberated.”

Dr. Hans-Joachim Lang was able to identify the 86 Jews who were gassed at Natzweiler after locating their tattoo numbers in the Auschwitz archives. The 29 women and 57 men who were gassed had been deported to Auschwitz from Norway, Poland, Greece, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The bodies of the 86 victims were buried in the Jewish cemetery of Strasbourg and a grave stone with the 86 names was placed there in December 2005.

Dr. Lang has published a book with the names of the 86 Jews who were gassed at Natzweiler. You can read the 86 names here.