The photo above shows some of the 6,887 Jewish prisoners and Russian POWs, who were marched out of the Dachau concentration camp on April 26, 1945. Today’s students are taught that the purpose of this “death march” was to kill the prisoners before the camp could be liberated by the Allies. Note the two German soldiers who are marching with them. There is no photo of the march out of Auschwitz, but the photo above will give you an idea of how the Auschwitz march might have taken place.
On a similar march out of Auschwitz-Birkenau, on January 18, 1945, the German soldiers marched at the head of the column, tramping down two feet of snow to make it easier for the Jews to march.
I am on the e-mail list of Bradley Smith, a famous Holocaust denier, and today I received an e-mail from him, which included a letter which he had recently sent to Kent State University, where Elie Wiesel was expected to give a talk to the students.
As you may know, Elie Wiesel and his father were allegedly on the death march out of Auschwitz on January 18, 1945. Elie wrote, in his book Night, that they were given a choice of either marching or staying behind to be liberated by Soviet soldiers. The Dachau prisoners, shown in the photo above, were not given a choice. They were marched out of Dachau, so that they could not attack civilians in the town of Dachau, after they were liberated.
I love Bradley Smith and I am a great admirer of his writing. I read the copy of Bradley’s letter to the University and laughed out loud. I am quoting from the letter, so as to share it with those who may not be on Bradley’s e-mail list.
Quote from letter written by Bradley Smith to Kent State University:
In his autobiographical book Night, Elie Wiesel writes that in January 1945, when he and his father were both prisoners of the murderous German Nazis at Auschwitz, they were asked by their captors if they would prefer to remain in that death camp, where countless Jews had already been murdered in gas chambers, to await the imminent arrival of their Soviet liberators, or would they rather leave with the Nazi Jew-killers who were abandoning the camp. Elie Wiesel and his dad, talking it over, agreed they would prefer to leave on the death-march retreat with German Nazis dedicated to exterminating Jews as a race rather than wait for their Soviet liberators.
Is there one professor at Kent State University who thinks it might be worthwhile that students consider the significance of this confession? Why not?
I don’t think that Bradley Smith will get an answer to his letter, so I am going to explain to him and to the students, the purpose of the death march out of Auschwitz.
I learned the reason for the death marches from Professor Harold Marcuse, who teaches the history of the Holocaust at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Professor Marcuse wrote the following in a comment on my blog several years ago:
In any case the death marches in 1945 were a largely futile attempt to keep human evidence of and witnesses to atrocities from falling into Allied hands. That rationale hinged on the illusory notion that the Germans would ultimately defend some territory and in some bizarre way “win” the war. When some responsible German officials realized beyond doubt that the war was lost, they drew the “logical” conclusion and burned the marching prisoners alive, as happened at Ohrdruf, Gardelegen and numerous other places. For them apparently, dead evidence was better than alive evidence.
I am assuming that the professors at Kent State University teach the students the same story that is taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Elie Wiesel and his father trusted the Nazis not to burn them alive on the march, so they didn’t stay behind at Auschwitz, when given a choice. If you have ever read Elie Wiesel’s book, you know that Elie and his father survived the burning ditches at Auschwitz on the Night that they arrived. They expected to survive the burning of the prisoners on the march out of the camp. They didn’t know what the Soviets might do, so they chose the Nazis instead.
The Jews who stayed behind at Auschwitz found out that they had made the wrong choice because the Soviets didn’t take care of them at all.
After the three Auschwitz camps were liberated, the survivors were on their own. Unlike the concentration camps in Germany, where the liberated prisoners remained in the camps as Displaced Persons and were cared for by the Americans or the British, the Auschwitz prisoners from 29 countries were released to find their own way home.
Primo Levi was an Auschwitz survivor who wrote a book, later made into a movie, about his long journey home to Italy which took him many months. He described how the Jewish prisoners were greeted with hostility in every country along the way. (Primo Levi was forced to stay behind because he was sick at the time of the death march out of the camp.)
Binjamin Wilkomirski, who falsely claimed to be a child survivor of Auschwitz, wrote in his fake book, entitled Fragments, that there was no liberation. “We just ran away without permission,” he wrote. “No joyous celebration. I never heard the word ‘liberation’ back then, I didn’t even know there was such a word.” Binjamin Wilkomirski also describes this in his book, Fragments: “And the people outside the camp, in the countryside and the nearby town — they didn’t celebrate when they saw us.”
Wilkomirski’s fake book is still being taught in American schools, but it is now called a novel. Elie Wiesel’s fake book was at one time classified as a novel, but is now being taught in American schools as the Gospel truth.