Scrapbookpages Blog

April 25, 2013

Holocaust Survivor tells students that Dutch Jews were sent to Auschwitz III where the women were marched straight to the gas chamber

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:06 pm
Quarantine barracks at Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

Quarantine barracks at Auschwitz II (Birkenau)

The photo above shows tourists looking at the barracks, just inside the gate, at the Auschwitz II camp. Incoming prisoners had to spend time in quarantine in these barracks until it could be determined that they had no communicable diseases.  All except Phil Gans and his family, who were sent from the Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands directly to the Auschwitz III camp (Monowitz) in 1943.

Tracks where incoming prisoners were brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau

Tracks on which incoming prisoners were brought inside the Auschwitz II camp in 1944

The photo above shows the tracks which were built in 1944 to bring prisoners inside the Birkenau camp.  To the left of the tracks, you can see the main camp road and the women’s camp. On the right, but not shown in the photo, are the quarantine barracks.  This photo was taken in the early morning, but already there are two tour groups at the Auschwitz II camp, aka Birkenau.

In 1943, when Phil Gans was sent to Auschwitz, the prisoners got off the transport trains at the Judenrampe, which was near the town of Auschwitz; they were taken by truck to the Auschwitz II camp (Birkeanau), NOT to the Auschwitz III camp (Monowitz).

According to Phil, the women, on his transport to the Auschwitz III camp in 1943, were sent directly to the gas chamber.  On the contrary, the women prisoners, who were capable of working, were sent to the barracks in the women’s camp in Auschwitz II, which was very near the gate into the camp.

Women's camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Women’s camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Phil Gans told his story recently to some American students at the Appoquinimink High School.  The following quote is from his talk, which you can read in full here:

The number tattooed on his left forearm – 139755 – reminds Phil Gans every day of the 21 months he spent imprisoned in concentration camps in Nazi Germany.

After moving from their home in Amsterdam and hiding for nearly a year, his family was arrested on the evening of July 24, 1943 – his father’s birthday. Gans was 15.

Now 85 and living in Clearwater, Fla., Gans said he remembers events like they were yesterday: traveling with his family in cattle cars stuffed with about 1,000 people from Westerbork in Holland, where they were detained for about a month, to the infamous Auschwitz III.


There, each prisoner stood before a Nazi officer, who looked at them and sent them either left, with the women, or right, with some of the men.

When it was Gans’ turn, he said, the soldier hesitated.

“He went to the right,” he said. “Had he gone to the left, I wouldn’t be standing here, because all of the women and people he had chosen to his left marched straight to the gas chambers. Gassed and cremated. I never said goodbye to mom, my sister or grandma, not knowing I would never see them again.

“They didn’t know,” he said. “They were told they were going to get a shower and disinfected, and in front of the so-called shower rooms, a Nazi told them, ‘You had a rough trip in those cattle cars. I’m going to make it up. You’re going to get a shower, and life will be nice from there on in.’

“Little did they know when they walked into those shower rooms that gas came out,” Gans said.

In his talk to the students, Phil Gans said that ALL OF THE WOMEN were sent to the left and marched straight into the gas chambers.  This took place at the Auschwitz III camp, according to the news article.  Did he really say Auschwitz III or did the reporter make a mistake?  Phil Gans is now 85 years old; it could be that his memory is failing.

The selection process at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944

The selection process at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944

The photo above shows how women and men formed two lines at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  SS men at the camp then selected those who would work and those who would go immediately to the gas chambers.

Women who have been sent to the left in the selection at Birkenau

Women who have been sent to the officer’s left in the selection at Birkenau

The photo above shows two women who have been sent to the left to the gas chamber in 1944.  Or maybe, they are on their way to the Sauna, which was to the left of the train tracks, as you are facing the gate into the Birkenau camp.

The Sauna where prisoners took a shower at Birkenau

The Sauna where prisoners took a shower at Birkenau

Should a Holocaust survivor, who spent 21 months in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II, be out of the lecture circuit, telling egregious lies to uninformed students?  No, this should be a crime, punishable by five years in prison.