Scrapbookpages Blog

June 3, 2013

89-year-old Holocaust survivor has died — he was a “commando” at Auschwitz

I have just finished reading the online obituary of Benny Hochman, who was sent to Auschwitz in 1939 and later marched to Buchenwald where he was liberated by American soldiers.

According to Benny Hochman’s obituary, “One night in the winter of 1939, Nazi soldiers arrived at the family’s home to take Benny’s older brother Boleak, a Polish officer, to Auschwitz. They took 16-year-old Benny, too. He became B-3156.”

Gate into the Auschwitz main camp which was opened in 1940

Gate into the Auschwitz main camp which was opened in 1940

Several years ago, I wrote this on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Tour/Auschwitz1/Auschwitz02.html:

The decision to open a concentration camp for Polish political prisoners in the town of Auschwitz was made by Heinrich Himmler on April 27, 1940. The first prisoners, a group of 728 Poles, arrived at the Auschwitz I camp on June 14, 1940. They were political prisoners from the Gestapo prison at Tarnow, a Polish town about 40 miles east of Krakow. Tarnow was also the site of a Ghetto set up by the Nazis in 1940 where 3,000 Jews worked in a clothing factory making uniforms for the German army; over 40,000 Jews lived in the Tarnow Ghetto until it was liquidated.

I suppose that I will have to go back and correct the information on my website, since Auschwitz was opened in 1939, according to Benny Hochman.

The first prisoners, that were sent to Auschwitz, were Polish “political prisoners,” so Benny is admitting that he was sent to Auschwitz because he was fighting with the Polish Resistance.  Nowhere in his obituary does it say that Benny was Jewish, yet he had a mis-spelled German name, not a Polish name.

Benny Hochman was given the number B-3156 at Auschwitz when he arrived in 1939, at least a year before the Auschwitz camp was opened.

On their website, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has this quote, regarding the Auschwitz tattoo numbers:

In order to avoid the assignment of excessively high numbers from the general series to the large number of Hungarian Jews arriving in 1944, the SS authorities introduced new sequences of numbers in mid-May 1944. This series, prefaced by the letter A, began with “1” and ended at “20,000.” Once the number 20,000 was reached, a new series beginning with “B” series was introduced. Some 15,000 men received “B” series tattoos. For an unknown reason, the “A” series for women did not stop at 20,000 and continued to 30,000.

The obituary in the online Journal Star starts out with this quote:

An American soldier found Benny Hochman lying near the perimeter of the Buchenwald concentration camp in central Germany.

The 21-year-old Polish man stood 6 feet tall and weighed 78 pounds.

For three years at Auschwitz, Hochman fought for scraps of food and wheeled bodies out of gas chambers. Days before the Allies arrived [at Auschwitz], the Nazis marched the prisoners to Buchenwald. He worked on Autobahn and avoided the wrath of Ilse Koch.

I thought that the Autobahn was completed before World War II started, but maybe he was working to repair sections of  the Autobahn that had been bombed.  In any case, Hochman was able to avoid Ilse Koch, the wife of the Buchenwald Commandant, who ordered lampshades to be made from the skin of Buchenwald prisoners.

Hochman survived Auschwitz because he “wheeled bodies out of gas chambers,” meaning that he was a Sonderkommando, who worked in a crematorium at Auschwitz.  The Sonderkommando workers were killed every three months, but the last group was marched out of Auschwitz because the Nazis wanted to make sure that there would be witnesses to the gas chambers.

I previously blogged about the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/if-this-is-a-gas-chamber-im-groucho-marx/

The most interesting part of Hochman’s obituary comes at the end:

Hochman worked as a “commando.” He removed the thousands of bodies from the gas chambers, loaded them onto wagons and wheeled them to the crematoriums. When the furnaces couldn’t keep up with the number of corpses, Hochman unloaded them into open dirt pits, into open flames.  [This contradicts Elie Wiesel’s story about prisoners being thrown ALIVE into open flames.]

Hochman was given a small hammer to knock out any gold teeth in the mouths of the dead. The scraps of food he found in the pockets of the dead helped him stay alive.

Wait a minute!  Benny ate food found in the POCKETS of the dead?  No, no, no!  The Jews were marched into an UNDRESSING ROOM and told to take off all their clothes before proceeding into the gas chamber. Benny’s story indicates that he was working in the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp which did not have an undressing room.  Filip Mueller, one of the Commandos who worked in the main camp gas chamber, wrote that he ate some cheese that he found in the gas chamber in the main camp.

Besides that, the food in the pockets of the dead, in the gas chamber, would have been saturated with Zyklon-B gas and anyone who ate the food would have died a horrible death.

Benny Hochman’s obituary continues with this quote:

Nazis moved those left at Auschwitz to Buchenwald in 1944. About 80 percent died on the monthlong trip. Hochman worked to avoid death, but eventually the five years he’d spent fighting for his life started to take their toll.

He was lying on the ground, near death when the 926th Signal Battalion of the American Army arrived.

Benny can be excused for not knowing that the 926th Signal Battalion is not credited with being liberators of Buchenwald, since he was near death at the time.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has a list of Army units which liberated the camps.  I checked on the 926th Signal Battalion to make sure and found this:  http://www.ushmm.org/shared/search/main.php?q__typ=&q=926th+Signal+Battalion&Submit=

Truck loads of American soldiers were brought to see Buchenwald after the camp was liberated

Truck loads of American soldiers were brought to see Buchenwald after the camp was liberated

After the Buchenwald camp was liberated by the prisoners themselves on April 11, 1945, the US Army brought as many soldiers as they could to see the exhibits that had been put up by the survivors.  Benny may have been lying on the ground, near death, days after the Buchenwald camp was liberated, when a soldier from the 926th Signal Battalion found him.

I also found another obituary for Benny Hochman.  It was written by Klark Byrd in the Dickinson Press; you can read it at http://www.thedickinsonpress.com/event/article/id/68954/

This quote is from the article written by Klark Byrd:

After the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, Benny’s life was on a course for something terrible. Though he and his family weren’t Jewish, his brother was educated and a member of the Polish army. For those reasons, he was targeted by the Gestapo in 1940. When they came for his brother, they took Benny too.

Why would the Gestapo be after a member of the “Polish army”?  Could it be that his brother was in an army of partisans who were fighting illegally, not as soldiers on a battlefield?  Was his brother in the “Polish Home Army,” which fought as Resistance fighters, not as soldiers?

The quote from Klark Byrd’s article continues:

His autobiography, “From Hell to Here,” states that “On April 14, 1945, a starving emaciated Polish lad lay in the gutter near the electrically charged perimeter fence of Buchenwald Concentration Camp with guns of war sounding in the distance.”

An American soldier found him. He offered Benny a piece of hard candy. Benny was too weak to take it. The soldier scooped him up and took him to an Army hospital to recuperate.

Benny was found, lying in a gutter, on April 14, 1945 after the Buchenwald camp had been liberated on April 11, 1945.  Had he been lying there in the gutter for 3 days before he was found?

May 18, 2013

The plan to gas all the Jews at Theresienstadt, or if that wasn’t enough, to drown them

Holocaust Survivor Inge Auerbacher is scheduled to give a talk to 7th and 8th students at Clarksburg, MA on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.  Auerbacher claims to be one of only 100 children to have survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp; there was a total of 15,000 children in the camp. She will be telling these American students about the atrocities in the camp, located only a few miles from Prague in the Czech Republic.

You can see photos of Theresienstadt on my website here.

The Clarksburg students have been studying the Holocaust since March and have read Auerbacher’s book, entitled I Am a Star.  (The Star refers to the Star of David which the Jews were forced to wear.)

The Nazis forced all Jews to wear a Star of David

The Nazis forced all Jews to wear a Star of David

I previously blogged here about Inge Auerbacher and her claim that the Theresienstadt gas chamber was never finished and the Jews were saved by the Russian troops who arrived to liberate the camp on May 8, 1945.  Before the Russians arrived, the Theresienstadt camp had been turned over to the Red Cross and the SS guards and administrators had left.

I looked up Auerbacher’s book on the Internet and found this condensed information, which was taken from her book, at this website:

During the last days of World War II, orders were given to build gas chambers at Terezín. The plan was to kill all the remaining Jews. At Terezín they were to kill the Jews by gassing them or by drowning in a specially prepared areas. Not one Jew in all of Europe was to stay alive. It was only a rush of events that spared Inge and some of the other prisoners their lives. The guards fearing capture by the Allies, began to burn all the camp records. The evidence of death had to be destroyed. At the beginning of May, the guards, living outside the barricades, ran away. They made last efforts to kill the remaining Jews by shooting wildly and throwing hand grenades into the camp as they fled.

The quote about “gassing them or by drowning” is on page 66 of Auerbacher’s book.

Before reading this information from Auerbacher’s book, I had never heard about the guards at Theresienstadt “throwing hand grenades into the camp as they fled,” as Auerbacher wrote on page 67 of her book.  Thank God that Auerbacher survived and can educate elementary school children in America about this atrocity.   I wonder how many Red Cross workers were hit by the wild shooting and the hand grenades thrown at them.  Auerbacher’s book should be made into a movie, so that we can see just how cruel the Nazis were.

Students who want to learn more about Theresienstadt can study this quote, from an article on this website:

The situation in Terezin [Theresienstadt] was influenced by the atmosphere connected with the intensive negotiations of Heinrich Himmler and his plenipotentiaries, particularly Kurt Becher, with the representatives of international Jewish organizations and the American Office for War Refugees.

On November 9 the Berlin Central Office of the Gestapo informed the Reich’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that within the framework of plans approved by Hitler on how to “make use of Jews for the German war effort in a manner other than by their work for the Reich”, a transport of 1 000 prisoners would be sent to Switzerland.

On December 6 a train dispatched from the Bergen – Belsen camp with 1 368 Jewish prisoners actually crossed the Swiss border. Among them were 97 Jews from Czechoslovakia. Four days earlier – according to the recollections of Felix Kersten whom Himmler had been using for his international political contacts – the Reichsfuhrer of the SS at a meeting in Triberg promised to free two to three thousand Jewish prisoners from Terezin on condition that the world press would not interpret this release as a sign of weakness on the part of Germany. Himmler refused to set 20 000 Terezin prisoners free. (At that time, however, such a large number of Jewish prisoners were not present in Terezin anymore.)

Shortly afterwards – on December 5 – during an inspection of Terezin, an unknown functionary of the Reich’s Security Main Office visited the Jewish Elder Benjamin Murmelstein (officially appointed as late as December 13). According to Rahm, the Commander of the camp, he was satiied [satisfied] with what he had seen. This visit gave birth to the legend that on the basis of this inspection “by a special commission from Berlin” it was decided not to liquidate Terezin but to make use of it for propaganda purposes.

Various alternatives for liquidating Terezin are documented from the circles of Prague’s Gestapo and from Eichmann’s Office at the Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin. There are documents about actual preparations, particularly about the building of a “food store” in Terezin ravelin No. XVIII, which could easily become a gas chamber, and the building of a “duck pond” in ravelin No. XV, which could be easily changed into the area where all of the camp’s inmates could be shot by machine -guns, burned by flame – throwers or drowned by a gush of water from the Oh e river. However, the leadership of the Reich had different plans for Terezin.

According to Wikipedia, “A ravelin is a triangular fortification or detached outwork, located in front of the innerworks of a fortress (the curtain walls and bastions). Originally called a demi-lune, after the lunette, the ravelin is placed outside a castle and opposite a fortification curtain.”

Theresienstadt was originally built as a military fort; it was surrounded by a dry moat and had five bastions which stuck out.

Theresienstadt was an old military fort

Theresienstadt was an old military fort

Dry moat at Theresienstadt

Dry moat at Theresienstadt

Maybe those stupid Nazis were planning to drown the Jews at Theresienstadt by flooding the moat with water.  They were desperate to kill all the Jews in the last days of the war, and when they were incapable of finishing the gas chamber in time, they decided on this outrageous plan.  Red Cross workers were already there, taking care of the prisoners who had typhus.

All American children should spend several months learning about the Nazi plan to drown the prisoners at Theresienstadt.  Forget American history, this is more important.

March 21, 2013

Is there any proof that gas chambers existed in the Nazi camps?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:19 pm

Today I was doing some searching on the Internet when I came across this website.  The webmaster has apparently been searching for years for proof that gas chambers existed in Europe during Word War II and that they were used by the Nazis.  Here is a quote from this page of the website:

Therefore, it is of no use to talk about “eyewitnesses,” chemical properties of the insecticide supposedly used in the mass exterminations, or anything else. First, we must locate and/or define a Nazi gas chamber. Everything else comes second.

The above quote was written about six years ago, and I don’t know whether anyone ever came forward and revealed the location of a Nazi gas chamber, so I am going to do so now.

The photo below shows a real Gaskammer (German word for gas chamber) in the Dachau concentration camp.  Note the word “Gaszeit” (German for Gas time) on the door into the Gaskammer.  What more proof do you want that this was a gas chamber?

American soldier poses in front of a Gaskammer door at Dachau

American soldier poses in front of a Gaskammer door at Dachau

The photograph above was taken by T/4 Sidney Blau on April 30, 1945; it shows a US soldier standing in front of one of the Gaskammern (plural) doors at Dachau.  Yes, there were multiple gas chambers at Dachau which the American soldiers saw when they liberated the camp. The political prisoners in the camp led the Americans to the gas chambers minutes after they had arrived.

The caption which the US Army put on the photo above was as follows:

Gas chambers, conveniently located to the crematory, are examined by a soldier of the U.S. Seventh Army. These chambers were used by Nazi guards for killing prisoners of the infamous Dachau concentration camp.

The photo below, which I took in May 2003, shows the same door which is now bolted to another door so that it remains open at all times.  Note that the words on the door have been painted over.

Door into gas chamber has been bolted so that it stays open

Door into gas chamber has been bolted so that it stays open

Sign above gas chamber door at Dachau, May 2003

Sign above gas chamber door at Dachau, May 2003

The photo above shows a black sign with white letters near the ceiling which says “Fumigation cubicles” in English. Although the sign says in five languages that these were disinfection chambers, some of the Dachau tour guides tell visitors that these cubicles were used for homicidal gassing. Just after I finished taking this photograph in May 2003, a tour group entered the corridor and an English-speaking guide told the students: “When a transport of Jews was brought to Dachau, they had to remove their clothes, and then they entered these chambers where they were gassed.”

Maybe I misunderstood the tour guide.  Maybe he said that when a transport of prisoners arrived at Dachau, they had to remove their clothes and then the clothes were put into the gas chamber to be fumigated.  It doesn’t matter:  This was a Gaskammer which used Zyklon-B gas for killing.  Whether it was lice or Jews that were killed, this cubicle was a Gaskammer, and it was the Nazis themselves that called it a Gaskammer.  So there is your proof that there were Nazi gas chambers, and don’t you deny it.

But what about Auschwitz-Birkenau where mass gassing took place? Yes, there were gas chambers at Birkenau.  The term used on the blueprints for the gas chamber buildings at Birkenau was Gaskammer.  The photo below shows one of the Gaskammer buildings at Birkenau.

Building at Auschwitz-Birkeanau where a Gaskammer was located

Building at Auschwitz-Birkeanau where a Gaskammer was located

Door into Gaskammer building has blue stains caused by use of Zyklon-B

Door into Gaskammer building at Birkenau has blue stains caused by the use of Zyklon-B

Fortunately, the stains caused by Zyklon-B have not been painted over, so anyone can see that the building at Auschwitz-Birkenau, shown in the photos above, used Zyklon-B.

There are two buildings at Birkenau, where Zyklon-B was used; they are located on the south side of the main road through the Birkenau camp.  Tour guides do not take visitors to these buildings.  The two gas chamber buildings are shaped like the letter T and are mirror images of each other. The photos above shows building BW5b which is located in the B1b section of Birkenau on the left side of the camp as you are standing at the entrance gate into the camp. The east wing of the building above was used for delousing.

The second delousing building is BW5a in the B1a section, which is on the other side of the fence on the right in the photo above. The west wing of the BW5a building was used for delousing. Both of these brick buildings also had shower rooms for the prisoners.

But were gas chambers, designed for disinfecting the clothing of the prisoners,  ever used for gassing the Jews?  Yes, according to Rudolf Hoess, the first Commandant of Auschwitz.

In December 1942, there were 19 fumigation chambers, which were designed to use Zyklon-B, installed in the Administration building in the main Auschwitz camp, which is now the Visitor’s Center. According to Rudolf Hoess, the disinfection chambers at the Auschwitz main camp were also used for gassing the Jews on one occasion in 1944. In his autobiography entitled Death Dealer, Hoes wrote the following on page 364:

After the destruction of the Hungarian Jews and the Jews from the Lodz ghetto, it was decided that the sonderkommando who had worked burning the bodies in the ovens of the crematory and during the open-pit cremations should themselves be killed in order to destroy the only witnesses who were in a position to tell what happened. About two hundred of the Sonderkommando were transferred to the main camp at Auschwitz, where they were gassed in the chamber used to disinfect clothing.

Why would the Sonderkommando prisoners have been gassed in disinfection gas chambers?  The Sonderkommando men at Auschwitz were the Jewish prisoners who had to carry the bodies out of the homicidal gas chambers, so they knew a gas chamber when they saw one.  They had to be fooled into entering a gas chamber, so that is why they were put into disinfection chambers.

Why not just shoot the the Sonderkommano men?  That would have been a foolish thing to do because it would have destroyed the whole gas chamber story.  The Holocaust is based on the belief that Jews were gassed in gas chambers. Those mean ole Nazis were gassing lice as fast as they could, trying to prevent the spread of typhus, but in spite of that, thousands of prisoners died of typhus in the Nazi camps.

The photo below shows a Degesh machine that was used to input the Zyklon-B gas into the disinfection chambers.  The Degesh machine was used at Dachau and these machines were also used at the main Auschwitz camp to disinfect the clothing.

Degesh machine used to input Zyklon-B gas into a disinfection chamber

Degesh machine used to input Zyklon-B gas into a disinfection chamber

A unopened can of Zyklon-B pellets was inserted into the Degesh machine, which automatically opened the can and poured the pellets into a basket, from which they could be retrieved.  The machine then blew hot air over the pellets so that the gas could be released.

There is ample proof that killing was done, using Zyklon-B in a room called a Gaskammer (gas chamber).  Killing lice counts, so don’t go denying that the Nazis used gas chambers.

March 8, 2013

The amazing journey of William Schick — from the Nazi death camps to the good life in America

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:39 am

You can read the tale of William Schick on Don Moore’s War Tales website here. Schick died on New Year’s Eve in 2010, at the age of 90, in Gloucester, MA in the USA.  Schick is shown below in his back yard at his winter home in Venice, Florida. (Photo credit: Don Moore)

WilliamSchick

William Schick was a young Jew, living in Prague, Czechoslovakia, innocently minding his own business, when he was sent, as one of the first prisoners, to the concentration camp formerly known as Theresienstadt.  After spending time in Theresienstadt, which Schick called a “show camp,” he was sent in 1941 to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp where prisoners were expected to live for only three months, according to the War Tales article.

At Auschwitz-Birkenau, Schick was put into the Czech family camp, where men, women and children lived together; this section of Auschwitz-Birkenau was called B11b or B2B. You can read about the Czech family camp and the selections for the gas chamber on my website here.

This quote is from the article about William Schick on the War Tales website:

After three months at Auschwitz, a prisoner’s time was up.

“They told everyone in Camp B2B we were going to be sent to Germany as slave laborers, but we had to clean up and shower first and we’d be issued new uniforms,” he said. “When we reached what the guards said were the ‘showers’ there was a commotion going on. I could speak a little German and I heard the guards say something was ‘kaput.’”

He learned later the apparatus that filled the showers with poison gas was ‘kaput.’ The prisoners from B2B had escaped death. They were marched back to their barracks. Three days later they were marched back to the gas chambers to die.

“We were just about to go into the gas chambers once more and there was another commotion out front.

“A train with 10,000 Jews from Hungry had just arrived. They had no place to put them. We were sent back to our barracks once again. They marched all 10,000 Hungarian Jews into the three gas chambers at Auschwitz and killed them all in 24 hours.”

[…]

The third call-up for Schick and the other Jews in B2B was ordered by Dr. Josef Mengele, the notorious “Angel of Death.” He checked them out to determine if they lived or died.

“When Dr. Mengele came to our camp, we had to stand before him completely naked. We were nothing but skin and bones,” Schick said.

“He was dressed to kill,” no pun intended. “He was unbelievable in his tailor-made uniform and handcrafted boots. I could see myself in his shiny, black boots as I stood for 10 or 15 seconds before him while he looked me over.”

He signaled with one thumb that Schick was to join those in the right line. Those in Schick’s line looked healthier. The less healthy prisoners in the left line would be sent to the gas chambers.

Dr. Josef Mengele who selected prisoners for the gas chamber at Auschwitz

Dr. Josef Mengele who selected prisoners for the gas chamber at Auschwitz

William Schick was saved from the Nazi gas chambers THREE times; what are the odds of that?  Actually, it was not at all unusual for Jews to escape the gas chamber multiple times. Every Holocaust survivor has a story to tell about how he or she survived the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Some survivors were saved from the gas chamber as many as six times.  What a sloppy way to conduct a genocide!  Hitler would be turning over in his grave, if he had a grave.

February 10, 2013

youngest survivor on Schindler’s List has died at the age of 83

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 1:38 pm

Leon Leyson, who was 13 years old, when his name was put on Schindler’s List, has died in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 83.  You can read the news of his death here.

This quote is from the news article about his death:

Because of Schindler’s interventions and after being ultimately placed on his list of workers which meant they were save from the death camps, Leon survived alongside his parents and an older brother and sister.

His other two brothers were killed.

“Five of us survived the war, this is the bottom line, out of everyone who was related to me in Poland. And we survived because we were on Schindler’s list,” Leon said during an interview in 2008 on NBC4.

On June 1, 2010, I blogged about Leon Leyson and Schindler’s List here.

I am re-posting part of my original blog post from 2010:

Scene from the movie Shindler's List

Scene from the movie Shindler’s List

Schindler did not personally make up the “List of Jews” for his factory, as it was portrayed in the movie. David Crowe wrote a book entitled Oskar Schindler, in which he revealed that the movie scene, shown in the photo above, is pure fiction.

According to Crowe, Oskar Schindler had no role in preparing the famous list, other than giving SS-Hauptscharführer Franz Josef Müller some general guidelines for the type of workers he wanted on the list.

Amon Göth, the Commandant of the Plaszow camp, who shot prisoners from his balacony in the movie, had been arrested by the SS on September 13, 1944 and was in prison in Breslau when the list was prepared, but this is not mentioned in the movie.  Göth just disappears in the movie and no one notices that he is gone.

David Crowe wrote that the person responsible for the preparation of Schindler’s List was Marcel Goldberg, a corrupt Jewish prisoner at the Plaszow camp, who was a member of the Ordnungdienst, the camp’s Jewish police force. Goldberg was the assistant of SS-Hauptscharführer Franz Josef Müller, the SS man responsible for the transport lists. Only about one third of the Jews on the list had previously worked in Schindler’s factory in Krakow.

The novel, Schindler’s Ark tells about how Goldberg accepted bribes from the prisoners who wanted to get on the list.

In his book Oskar Schindler, David Crowe wrote:

“… watch how Steven Spielberg traces the story of Marcel Goldberg, the real author of Schindler’s List, in his film. He begins in the early part of the film with Goldberg sitting near Leopold “Poldek” Page and other Jewish black marketeers in Krakow’s Marjacki Bazylika (church) as Oskar Schindler tries to interest them in doing business with a German. What follows throughout the rest of the film is the subtle tale of Goldberg’s gradual moral degeneration. Schindler, for example, gives Itzhak Stern first a lighter, then a cigarette case, and finally a watch to bribe Goldberg to send more Jews to his factory from Plaszow.”

Here is the true story of what actually happened:

After Germany conquered Poland in 1939,  Oskar Schindler purchased a factory in the city of Krakow, where he employed Jews from the Krakow ghetto.  When the Krakow ghetto was closed, all the Jews were sent to the nearby Plaszow labor camp which was just outside the city of Krakow.

Schindler got permission to turn his factory into a sub-camp of the Plaszow camp, so that he could continue to employ Jews, instead of Polish workers.

He built barracks at his factory for Jewish prisoners, who were then transferred from the Plaszow camp to his sub-camp. After the Plaszow labor camp became a concentration camp, Schindler’s  factory sub-camp was then put under the authority of the WVHA, the economic office of the Nazi concentration camp system.

Oskar Schindler was making a fortune during the occupation of Poland during World War II.  Schindler was hiring Jews in his factory and paying lower wages than what he would have had to pay Polish workers.

By 1944, the Nazis were only allowing munitions factories to become sub-camps in their concentration camp system. 

Schindler’s factory in Krakow had two parts; one part of his factory made enamel pots and pans for the German army, but he was also producing munitions for the German military.  The Nazis did not want to open a munitions factory that would be a sub-camp of Gross Rosen, so Schindler had to bribe them to allow him to open a munitions factory near his home town of Brünnlitz, in what is now the Czech Republic.

When the Plaszow camp was closed in 1944, all the men in the camp were sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp, including the Jews on Schindler’s List.

All the women in the Plaszow camp had to go to Auschwitz temporarily until barracks could be built for them at Gross Rosen, which was a men’s camp.

After barracks, for both men and women, were built at Schindler’s new sub-camp, the Jews on his List were sent there, including his female workers, who were temporarily staying at Auschwitz.

In real life, Schindler sent his secretary to Auschwitz to make sure that his Jewish workers got on the right train, but he didn’t go himself.

What if Schindler had just closed his munitions factory in Krakow and not bribed the Nazis to allow him to move it to Brunnlitz?  What would have happened to the prisoners on his famous list?  Would they have been sent immediately to the gas chambers?  No.  The men would have been sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp which did not have gas chambers.  The women and children would have been sent, temporarily, to Auschwitz which was only 37 miles from Krakow, but they would not necessarily have been gassed.  There were numerous survivors of Auschwitz, including old women and little children.

The food for the prisoners in Oskar Schindler’s sub-camp was provided by the Nazis, but Schindler spent his own money to buy extra food and medicine for them.  His workers had a better chance of survival than they would have had in any other camp, but even then, some of his workers died of disease.  The Plaszow prisoners, who did not get on Schindler’s List, were not condemned to “certain death.” 

This quote is from the news article about Leyson’s death:

When the Nazis ordered the remaining Jews of Krakow to be sent to Auschwitz., Schindler acted again paying huge bribes and using all of his influence to ensure as many as possible were relocated to outside [his] home town and thus away from the Final Solution.

Schindler also dramatically intervened when Leyson’s mother and sister were among 300 Schindler women accidentally re-routed to Auschwitz when they were meant to be led to safety.

They knew the gas chambers awaited them until they heard Schindler’s voice.

The information in the above quote is based on the story that is told in the movie Schindler’s List.  It is true that Schindler had to bribe the Nazis to allow him to set up a factory outside his home town in what is now the Czech Republic, but the reason that Schindler had to bribe the Nazis was not because the workers in his factory had been ordered to be sent to Auschwitz to be killed.  No, the prisoners in Schindler’s factory in Krakow had been scheduled to go to Gross Rosen, a concentration camp which did not have a gas chamber.  Schindler’s Jews had not been scheduled to be killed.

The female prisoners on Schindler’s List had to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau to wait until barracks at Schindler’s new factory could be built for them.  In the movie Schindler’s list, the women are shown in the shower room at Auschwitz and they are over-joyed to see water come out of the faucets, not gas.

January 8, 2013

Grandson of Dachau survivors takes a tour of the former camp

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:07 am

There has been some recent discussion in the comments on my blog about the Dachau gas chamber and what visitors are currently being told by their tour guides.  I decided to do a search to learn what other bloggers are saying about their recent visits to Dachau.  I found this blog post which you can read in full here.

This quote is from the blog cited above:

Then we came to the spot I had been dreading. The showers. I had heard the stories before. In college, I took a Holocaust history class, where everything was explained in graphic detail. Prisoners were told to take off their clothes and enter the showers to clean themselves off.

The next part refers to what he was taught in “Holocaust history class” as it does not describe the gas chamber at Dachau:

Once they got inside, the doors were slammed shut, and a gas bomb was slid though a sliding door. When people realized what was going on, they would claw and fight there way to the top, gasping for air. Eventually, they would lose control of their bowels, before they would finally succumb.

To get back to the beginning, this quote is from the start of the blog post:

On a recent trip to Germany, I met my in-laws and discovered the rustic beauty of Bavaria. […]  …hidden just miles from these beautiful sites, is a place that holds a much darker story — a history that many people would like to forget.

This is Dachau…The first Nazi Concentration Camp. And, a place both of my grandparents barely escaped with their lives. This is not another lesson in the horrors of the Holocaust. There are plenty of those. This is just my personal story…The story of a descendent of Jewish survivors…The story of my first experience visiting the site where they were robbed of their childhoods.

In the above quote, the writer reveals that he is Jewish; both of his grandparents were survivors of Dachau.  His grandparents were robbed of their childhoods, which means that they were young children when they were in Dachau. Or were they?  It sounds suspicious to me.

There were a few young boys in the Dachau camp when it was liberated, but I have never seen any photos of young girls in the camp.

Young boys at the Dachau camp when it was liberated

Young boys at the Dachau camp when it was liberated

Women at Dachau when he camp was liberated

Women at Dachau when the camp was liberated

Dachau was mainly a camp for adult men, but there were a few children there according to Paul Berben who was a member of the International Committee at Dachau, which controlled the camp near the end. He wrote the following in his book entitled Dachau: 1933 – 1945: The Official History:

As has already been mentioned, there were times when even children were imprisoned in Dachau. The International Committee saw to it that they were not abandoned. A school was organized for Russian children under a Yugoslavian teacher, and the older ones were placed in Kommandos [subsidiary work camps of Dachau] where they were looked after by prisoners who tried not only to keep them in good health but to teach them the rudiments of a trade as well.

This quote continues the story of the blogger’s visit to Dachau:

As we walked, arm and arm, down the long winding path to the camp, my wife and I were very nervous. She had been here many times in the past. But this time was different. There is a sense of guilt felt by many Germans that anyone else simply cannot understand. Her family had no involvement with the Nazi party. And, even though her parents were babies when my grandparents were here, they still apologized to me. My father-in-law told me he was embarrassed to be a German.   […]

I tried to fit everything nicely into the puzzle in my head. “Oh, there’s a barrick!, and there’s a guard tower” I nudged my wife. “This is the big open square where they marched everybody out to sounds of classical music.” She nodded. I got upset. “No, no. Don’t you understand how important this is? My grandparents stood here. This is where people were lined up, and murdered.”

Prisoners at Dachau, on their way to work, are marching to music

Prisoners at Dachau, on their way to work, are marching to music

I felt myself trying to convince her of the gravity of it all. We entered a barrick (sic) and overheard an English tour. “After the war, the rest of the barricks were burned down to kill the rampant disease. This is the only one that still stands. It was a model unit used by the SS to give visitors a false impression that inmates were treated humanely.”

“The real units had no toilets. Inmates would urinate and defecate on the ground.” “Did you hear that,” I elbowed my wife. “Yes,” she looked at me somewhat annoyed. […]

Wait a minute!  The barracks were “burned down”?  Where did the German “war criminals” live when the camp was turned into a prison for Germans after the war?  You can read about War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 on my website here.

After the American Military Tribunal trials were completed, the barracks at Dachau were used, for 17 years, to house the German expellees who had been evicted from their homes in the former Czechoslovakia and from their homes in Poland and other countries.  You can read about the ethnic Germans who were expelled here.

The expellees were kicked out of the barracks at Dachau when it was decided to make the former camp into a Memorial site in 1960.  It was at that time that the barracks were torn down.

The barracks that visitors now see at Dachau are reconstructions, built when the camp was turned into a Memorial Site.  The SS did NOT build a “model unit” to show to visitors.  When visitors came to tour the camp, while it was a concentration camp, they were shown the barracks of the Jehovah’s Witness prisoners because these prisoners kept their barracks very clean.  The original barracks had toilets, unlike the barracks in the internment camps in America, which had toilets in a separate building.

The prisoners were originally housed in old factory buildings; the grounds of the Dachau camp originally housed a munitions factory during World War I.  The factory had to be abandoned because the Germans were not allowed to have weapons, according to the Treaty of Versailles, which was imposed on the Germans at the end of World War I.

In 1938, new barracks buildings were built at Dachau.  The photo below shows the barracks that were used for the Dachau prisoners from 1938 to 1945.

barrack1

The description of Dachau from the blog post continues:

We walked up to a rather strange structure. It looked like a jumble of metal with no real purpose. We both commented on how ugly it was. Then we overheard some passersby discussing the site.

It had actually been created by an artist to depict a common occurrence at the camp. Prisoners who had given up on survival, starved and depressed, would simply walk into the electrified fence. If the voltage didn’t kill them, shots from the guard tower would. […]

My 2007 photo of the International Monument at Dachau

My 2007 photo of the International Monument at Dachau

You can read about the International Monument and see more photos of it on my website here.

The blogger who visited Dachau continues with this quote:

We stood inside the gas chamber and I felt sick. I thought I was going to throw up. I didn’t think about what happened there. I couldn’t. I just felt the raw emotions.

Looking at the way the building was set up, you could see how systematic and well organized everything was. There were two separate entrances. The prisoners would enter a waiting room with instructions and benches to hold their clothes.

Blueprint of Baracke X building at Dachau

Blueprint of Baracke X building at Dachau

The building might have been set up to be systematic and well organized, but was it originally set up as a gas chamber? The photo above shows a blueprint of the Baracke X building where the gas chamber (or shower room) is located in the space that is numbered 5.  This space was called the Brausebad (shower) on the original blueprint.

The blogger didn’t mention how the gas entered the room. However, he did take a photo inside the gas chamber — an artistic photo of someone’s legs and feet, beside one of the drain holes.

Wait a minute! Why was there a drain hole in a gas chamber?  Wouldn’t the gas have gone down the drain and poisoned everyone in the whole camp?  Of course, the six drain holes are now closed up, but if the Germans were going to close the drain holes, why put them there in the first place?  The drain holes indicate that the gas chamber was originally a shower room, which was modified to make it into a gas chamber.  I previously blogged about the floor drains in the gas chamber here.

One of six drain holes in the Dachau gas chamber

One of six drain holes in the Dachau gas chamber

This quote is from the blogger’s description of the gas chamber:

On the other side of the “shower” room was the crematorium, with a separate entrance for the SS. The bodies were literally taken out of the gas chamber and shoveled right into the ovens to be cremated.

Not quite.  The bodies were first put into the morgue room, which was right next to the gas chamber room. From there the bodies were carried to the ovens, a few at a time.  There was, in fact, an outside entrance into the oven room, as well as an entrance from the morgue room.

Why would there be a shower room in a crematorium.  I previously blogged about this here.

This is the second blog post that I have read, which was written by a blogger, who did not do any research before visiting Dachau.  Visitors should find out the facts before they go to Dachau, so they can be prepared to challenge tour guides who tell them that the barracks at Dachau had no toilets, and other lies about the former camp.

January 4, 2013

the location of “the little red house,” the first gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:35 am

Someone who is writing a book emailed me, looking for information about “the little red house,” which was the first building used as a gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau. I don’t know the location of this alleged gas chamber, but there are many well-informed people following my blog, who might know.

When I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau for the first time in 1998, I was told by my tour-guide that the locations of “the little white house” and “the little red house” were unknown.  When I returned to Auschwitz in 2005, the location of “the little white house” had been found, and the ruins had been reconstructed.  My 2005 photo of the ruins of “the little white house” is shown below.

Ruins of Bunker #2, the little white house

Ruins of Bunker #2, the little white house

In trying to find the location of “the little red house,” the logical place to start would be the website of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.  According to information, given by the Museum in 1999, a “farm house” now stands in the location of the “little red house” which was apparently torn down. (The “farm house” built on the location has now also been torn down.)  You can see a photo of the alleged location of “the little red house” on the website of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum website here.

According to this website:  ” A blueprint of the prisoner-of-war camp [at Birkenau] shows that Kammler decided to locate the new crematorium in the north-western corner of Birkenau, adjacent to an abandoned cottage that had belonged to a Polish peasant named Wiechuja. The interior of this cottage, known as “the little red house,” was converted into two gas chambers within a few weeks…

On my trip to Auschwitz in 2005, I went to the “north-western corner of Birkenau” where “the new crematorium,” that was mentioned in the quote above, was located.  My 2005 photo of Krema V in the “north-western corner of Birkenau” is shown below.

The ruins of Krema V at Birkenau

The ruins of Krema V at Birkenau

The alleged location of “the little red house” and the mass graves of the victims who died during the typhus epidemic in 1942 is shown on the right side of the photo in the area now covered with trees.

Former SS headquarters at Birkenau is now a Catholic church

Former SS headquarters at Birkenau is now a Catholic church

The photo above shows the SS headquarters, built in 1944 at Birkenau, which has been converted into a Catholic church and a school.  This building is located about a quarter of a mile north of the red brick gatehouse, which is the entrance into the Birkenau camp; the gatehouse is on this same road, but on the opposite side. The road that goes past this building is used by the residents of the village of Birkenau.

In the photo above, the road in the foreground is inside the former Birkenau camp. A barrier gate prevents cars from driving into the former camp. The road in the foreground leads to the ruins of the gas chambers in Krema IV and Krema V, which are on each side of this road. Before these gas chambers were put into operation in the summer of 1943, trucks brought the Jews from the Judenrampe down this road to the “little red house” where the first gassings allegedly took place. Krema V was built on the north side of the Birkenau camp, on the right side of the road that begins at the SS administration building, which is now a Catholic Church. On the left side of this road is Krema IV.
The road that ends at Krema IV and Krema V is parallel to the main camp road, which ends at Krema II and Krema III on the south side of the camp. “The little red house,” called Bunker 1, was used as a gas chamber before Krema IV and Krema V were built.  The bodies of the gassed prisoners were allegedly burned in ditches nearby.  Both times, when I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, I observed that this area is extremely wet.  I remarked to my tour guide, that this whole area is like a bog garden, a place where only plants that love water will grow.  This would be the last place to try to burn bodies in a ditch.

According to Holocaust historians, gassing in Krema V did not begin until the summer of 1943. The crematory ovens in Krema IV and Krema V broke down almost immediately and the bodies had to be burned in pits, located north of the Krema V building.

The gas chamber in Krema V was disguised as a shower room, as was the gas chamber in Krema IV. There was only one real shower room for the prisoners in this section of the Birkenau camp; the shower room was in the Central Sauna building, which is across the road from Krema IV. A display board near the water treatment plant, close to Krema III, says that there were 90,000 prisoners at Birkenau. With so few shower rooms for 90,000 people, the prisoners would have had to wait for weeks for a shower.

Some readers of my blog might be thinking, by now, that there were no little houses, of any color, that were used for gassing prisoners at Birkenau.  If the Germans had started gassing prisoners at Birkeanu in 1942, would they have converted two old farm houses into gas chambers?  I don’t think so.  They would have brought in some of the best German engineers and built the world’s best gas chambers.  They would not have thrown gas pellets through the windows of some old farm house.

Strangely, the two old farmhouses were allegedly located on either side of one of the two major roads into the Birkenau camp; this was the road that was used to bring trucks, loaded with Jews, from the Judenrampe into the camp, before the railroad line was extended into the camp.  Many survivors tell stories of how they escaped the gas chambers by jumping off the truck.

What do the Holocaust revisionists say about the two old farmhouses that were allegedly used as gas chambers?  One of the foremost revisionists is Carlo Mattogno who has written a book entitled The Bunkers of Auschwtiz,  Black propaganda versus History.

This quote is a description from the book by Carlo Mattogno:

The so-called “Bunkers” at Auschwitz-Birkenau are claimed to have been the first homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz specifically erected for this purpose in early 1942. ….. Carlo Mattogno has combed tens of thousands of documents from the Auschwitz construction office — to conclude that these “Bunkers” never existed.

You can read an article on the Internet, written by Carlo Mattogno, here.

David Irving, who has written many books about World War II, went to Auschwitz and tried to find the location of “the little red house.”  He was doing research for a book about Heinrich Himmler.  There is a YouTube video of Irving at the alleged location of  “the little red house.”  The alleged location of “the little red house” seems to be far from Krema V.  You can hear Irving say: “I am so skeptical about this.” The video shows what appears to be markers where “the little red house” was located and a sign board that tells the story.

December 23, 2012

Holocaust survivor who volunteered for the gas chamber, but a Nazi doctor intervened

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 7:50 am

Holocaust survivor Rose Sherman Williams told her story recently to students in San Antonio, Texas.  Her emphasis was on the consequences of bullying.  The Nazis were the greatest bullies of all time, and God forbid that today’s American children should grow up to be Nazis.

Rose is now speaking out after years of silence. The most remarkable detail in her story is that she was in such misery at the Auschwitz death camp that she VOLUNTEERED to go to the gas chamber so that she could end it all.  But a Nazi doctor stopped her.

In her speech to the school children, Rose said that when “Nazi Germany troops” invaded her home town in Poland, she was about the same age as the middle school students, who were visiting the Jewish Community Center that day to hear her speech.

Rose told the students that, instead of water, gas would come out of the shower heads in the camp where she was taken.

Rose was eventually sent to Auschwitz.

This quote is from the news article about her speech, which you can read in full here:

“They gave us a number which I still carry on my hand, tattooed: “A15049,” Williams said while holding up her arm so students could see the tattoo. “That was the name I had to answer to and God forbid if I didn’t hear my name called. You cannot imagine the beating I would get.”

So much suffering, and Rose said she wanted to die: she volunteered to go to the concentration camp’s gas chamber.

But a Nazi doctor intervened. For years, Williams wondered why.

For years, Rose wondered why a Nazi doctor would not let her volunteer for the gas chamber at Auschwitz?  (By the way, who was this Nazi doctor?  Was this the famous Dr. Mengele, who appears in every Holocaust survivor story?)

Rose was not allowed to volunteer for the gas chamber because she had already been tattooed. She had already been registered in the camp and there was an IBM Hollerith punch card for her in the camp administration records. I previously blogged about the Hollerith punch cards on this blog post.

If her card had been found after Auschwitz was abandoned, this would have been proof that someone had been gassed at Auschwitz after they had been registered.   Of course, the Nazis were not going to let that happen.  The Jews who were gassed were sent immediately to the gas chamber without being registered and tattooed.  The names of the Jews who were gassed are unknown.

Nice try, but no cigar!  Sorry, Rose.

December 10, 2012

British students “walk into Crematorium II” at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 1:02 pm

On Thursday [Nov. 22, 2012] 200 students from north London schools visited Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons From Auschwitz.  This was reported by the Islington Tribune newspaper in an article written by Pavan Amara.

This quote is from what Pavan Amara wrote in the Islington Tribune:

With that, we enter the death camp Birkenau.  […]

As we walk into Crematorium II, Liza Pacarda of Parliament Hill School notes the average everything, apart from the ovens next door used to dispose of the bodies.

She says:  They [the prisoners] would have seen these pipes at the top, really would have thought they were taking a shower.  I can’t get over the lies, they were numbing my mind.  They were told to remember their clothes pegs before they went in there… why?  When the officers knew they were going to die?  It’s beyond words.  I couldn’t describe it in one word, I couldn’t describe it in 10 words.  This isn’t [a human experience], but what is it? I can’t decide.  We hear the Nazis were monsters, they were so average, but if you believe that, it’s frightening because if they weren’t monsters, they were humans, which means what?

I was amazed to read this description of the underground ruins of Crematorium II at Birkenau.  Did the students actually walk into the ruins of the Crematorium II gas chamber at Birkenau?  It is clear that the gas chamber being described is not Krema I in the main camp, which is at ground level.  There are no pipes on the ceiling of Krema I, which is shown in my 2005 photo below.

Reconstructed gas chamber in Krema I in the Auschwitz main camp

Reconstructed gas chamber in Krema I in the Auschwitz main camp

The ruins of Krema II at Birkenau

The collapsed roof of Crematorium II at Birkenau.  The gas chamber is 5 feet underground

I know that it is possible to enter the ruins of Crematorium II, by crawling through a hole in the collapsed roof.  Fred Leuchter and Germar Rudolf (two famous revisionists) climbed down into the ruins many years ago, but I had no idea that it is now possible for British students to “walk into” Krema II, the “Holy of Holies,” where 500,000 Jews were gassed.

Ruins of Krema II at Birkeanau

Ruins of Krema II at Birkeanau —the gas chamber was 5 feet underground

It has been 7 years since I photographed the ruins of Krema II, but apparently, there is now a hole cut into the roof of the ruins, so that British students can walk down a ramp into the underground space.

The British student described the ovens next to the gas chamber.  The photos below show the ruins of the room where the ovens were located.  The ovens were removed by the Nazis before the building was blown up.

Ruins of the oven room at Krema II in Birkenau

Ruins of the oven room at Krema II in Birkenau have been propped up because they are collapsing

Another view of the oven room which was above ground

Another view of the oven room which was above ground

Ruins of the undressing room of Krema II which was 5 feet underground

Ruins of the undressing room of Krema II which was 5 feet underground

Ruins of Krema II at Birkeanu

Ruins of Krema II at Birkeanu

December 5, 2012

Yanina Cywinska gets a standing ovation after she tells how she survived the gas chamber at Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:18 am

As everyone knows, the lethal gas that was used in the gas chambers of Auschwitz was Zyklon-B, the same gas that was used to disinfect the clothing of the prisoners. But according to Holocaust survivor, Yanina Cywinski, carbon monoxide was originally used at Auschwitz.  Yanina Cywinska was inside the Auschwitz gas chamber, where she watched her father die, before she passed out, but was secretly resuscitated by another prisoner.

If someone survived the gas chamber, it was the policy of the Nazis to allow them to live, never sending them to the gas chamber again.  Thanks to this policy, Yanina is still alive today; she recently gave a talk to students on the Pleasant Valley High School campus in Chico, CA.

Yanina Cywinska, a non-Jew, was sent to Auschwitz, after her family was arrested as Polish Resistance fighters early in World War II.

According to the talk that Yanina gave to students at Pleasant Valley High in November, she was put to work, at the age of 10, dragging bodies out of the gas chamber at Auschwitz. One day, she realized, to her horror, that she was pulling her mother’s body out of the gas chamber.  The Sonderkommandos who dragged the bodies out of the gas chambers were all men, except for Yanina and Greta, another female Sonderkommando who yelled at Yanina to stop whining, which prompted her to continue her grim duties, after the horror of finding her mother’s dead body.

The Sonderkommandos, who worked in the gas chambers, were killed every three months, and replaced by new prisoners.  Strangely, Yanina was not killed along with the others.

This quote is from an article in the online Chico News and Review, which you can read in full here:

Cywinska’s 20-minute speech was the most powerful of the performances. She recounted two harrowing escapes from Nazi execution. Her Polish, non-Jewish family was captured by the Nazis for stockpiling weapons and literally going underground, living in sewers as part of the Polish resistance. Cywinska was separated from her family and forced with other prisoners over five days without food or water to dig an enormous ditch that was to serve as their own mass grave.

She recalled that, while lined up along the ditch, she stepped behind a mother and baby to support them as they stumbled. Her maneuver shielded her from the firing squad’s bullets, allowing her to fall unharmed into the grave. She escaped only to be recaptured and sent to Auschwitz with her family. In the gas chamber she held her father’s hand as he died with the others. She passed out but somehow survived the gas—it was carbon monoxide, not the Zyklon B ordinarily used—and was secretly resuscitated by an inmate.

Her spirit, she said, triumphed after the war, when she went on to fulfill her dreams of becoming an actress and ballerina.

Cywinska’s talk elicited several standing ovations. “I’ve been crying for about an hour now,” exclaimed one woman.

I previously blogged about Yanina Cywinska here.

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