Scrapbookpages Blog

July 4, 2015

10,000 people per day now visit Auschwitz and take photos with a selfie stick

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:24 am
Ruins of a gas chamber at Auschwtiz-Birkenau (click on the photo to enlarge)

Ruins of gas chamber III at Auschwtiz-Birkenau (click on the photo to enlarge)

The first time that I visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, in September 1998, I was the only person there and my Jewish tour guide would not let me get off the main road in the camp because she said that there were snakes in the grass.  She meant real snakes, not Nazis who might be lurking there, ready to throw me into a gas chamber.

Now there are 8,000 to 10,000 people per day walking through Auschwitz-Birkenau, and there might be a real danger of being trampled to death.

Today, I read a news article here which told about how tourists take selfies with a “selfie stick” at Auschwitz. Is taking a selfie with a “selfie stick” worse than taking one with just a hand held device?

I have no objection to using a “selfie stick” if one is so inclined; my concern is with the description of the “crematorium” near which these photos were being taken.

This quote is from the news article:

A couple of weeks ago, I stood before a crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau and listened to the tour guide talk about the sonderkommandos. The sonderkommandos, he explained quietly, were the prisoners tasked with removing dead corpses from the gas chambers – after the victims had been showered with cyanide and choked to death – and then with hurling them into ovens or onto piles of other lifeless bodies and burning them to ash. The sonderkommandos, who sometimes found their own family members in the heaps, would be killed off and then replaced to prevent their gruesome stories from circulating to others in the camp. I stood there and listened, catatonic and sick to my stomach, perturbed by the lush green fields and flowers growing along the perimeter of the gas chamber.

The description of the “lush green fields and flowers growing along the perimeter of the gas chambers” identifies this location as being in the Auschwitz II camp — Auschwitz-Birkenau. But the quote starts out by referring to a “crematorium”, not a gas chamber.

There were TWO underground rooms in each of the alleged gas chamber buildings at Birkeanau: an undressing room and a gas chamber. There was no crematorium. As far as I know, the bodies had to be stored outside in the snow, while they were being burned in the ovens a few at a time.

The quote from the news article then continues with this:

But what disturbed me just as much was the tourist I saw tiptoeing his way into the ruins of the gas chamber – which at this point looks like little more than volcanic rubble because the Nazis bombed it to erase evidence before they retreated. Selfie stick in hand, this guy was taking photos of himself in the remains of the crematorium where hundreds of thousands of people were murdered.

The “crematoria” in all the gas chamber buildings at Birkenau were underground. Several people have climbed down into one of the so-called gas chambers, which was in a separate room, but it is completely dark and there is no room for a “selfie stick.”

I think that the author of this article is confused. She obviously meant that tourists are walking down into the former undressing rooms at Birkenau and taking selfies, not into one of the gas chambers.

My photo at the top of this page shows the ruins of the gas chamber in Krema III, which was underground, but the ruins can be accessed now.

Another view of the ruins of the gas chamber in Krema III at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Another view of the ruins of the gas chamber in Krema III at Auschwitz-Birkenau

I suspect that tourists are actually climbing down into the ruins of one of the undressing rooms, not into the ruins of a gas chamber.

Ruins of undressing room in Krema III at Birkenau

Ruins of undressing room in Krema III at Birkenau

June 30, 2015

Found at last — the name of one person who was gassed by the Nazis

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:52 am

For many years, Bradley Smith has been asking for the name of one person, who was gassed during the Holocaust. Now at last, the name of one person has been found. Kurt Garron was gassed, according to Wikipedia.

The Small Fortress, across the road from the Theresienstadt ghetto

My photo of the Small Fortress, across the road from the Theresienstadt ghetto

Photo on Wikipedia page about Theresienstadt

Photo on Wikipedia page about Theresienstadt

In the FIRST photo above, notice the “Arbeit macht Frei” sign in the background. This sign was NOT over the entrance into the Theresienstadt camp for Jews. The SECOND photo, which is on the Wikipedia page about Theresienstadt, purports to show that the entrance into the Theresiensadt camp had the dreaded sign: “Arbeit macht Frei.” The “Arbeit macht Frei” sign was only put over Class I camps, not over death camps, as claimed by today’s Holocaust True Believers.

After my two visits to Theresienstadt, many years ago, I wrote about the camp on my website at

Wikipedia’s misuse of a photo gives you a heads-up that the Wiki page about Theresienstadt might contain some errors. This morning, as I was reading the Wikipedia page on Theresienstadt, I read the following:

Following the successful use of Theresienstadt as a supposed model internment camp during the Red Cross visit, the Nazis decided to make a propaganda film there. It was directed by Jewish prisoner Kurt Gerron, an experienced director and actor; he had appeared with Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel. Shooting took eleven days, starting September 1, 1944.[31] After the film was completed, most of the cast and the director were deported to Auschwitz. Gerron was murdered by gas chamber on October 28, 1944.[32]

Here is the text of source [32]

Evans, Richard J. (2008). The Third Reich At War. Penguin. p. 302. ISBN 978-1-59420-206-3. Retrieved 8 December 2011.

Yes, Virginia there is a gas chamber at Theresienstadt. One of my very first blog posts, on May 13, 2010, was about the Theresienstadt gas chamber.

However, it is not clear whether Gerron was murdered in a gas chamber at Auschwitz, or a gas chamber at Theresienstadt.

You can read about Richard Evans on this website:

January 12, 2015

Sven Norrman, the man who first told the British about the gassing of the Jews in 1942

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 7:03 am

The “Warsaw Swedes” were the men who worked with the Polish resistance in World War II as illegal combatants.  A Swedish man named Sven Norrman was a member of this group; he was the man who smuggled out the first proof of the gassing of the Jews, when he revealed to the British, in May 1942, that the Nazis were gassing the Jews in Poland.

This news was broadcast by the BBC, on June 9, 1942, and the rest is history. This was the beginning of the Holocaust.

I was a child in an American elementary school, that was located 25 miles from the gas chamber is Jefferson City, MO.  I have written about the Missouri gas chamber several times on my blog:

You can read more about the story of the first gassing of the Jews in this article in the British news paper, The Mail Online. This news quickly went around the world.  Anne Frank learned about it, while she was hiding in an attic in Amsterdam, and I heard about it in my elementaryschool classroom in a small town in Missouri.

This quote is from the news article in The Mail Online:

On June 9, 1942, a speech was broadcast on the BBC that would change human history.

Władysław Sikorski, Poland’s prime minister exiled in London, revealed that 700,000 Jews had been systematically murdered in brutal Nazi concentration camps, quarantined and executed en-masse in ghettos, and walked to their deaths in gas chambers.

This was the first time the world and the Allied forces had heard of the crimes of the Holocaust, a secret the Nazi leaders had been able to keep until now.

The information, a dossier of photographs and documents, had come to London from Poland via Stockholm, thanks to a group of Swedish men who had risked their lives to tell the world about the Nazi persecution of Polish Jews

Forgotten hero: Sven Norrman, responsible for couriering the documents that would reveal the Nazi Holocaust and slaughter of 700,000 Polish Jews out of Warsaw, pictured with his Polish-Jewish mistress Gizela 'Iza' Zbyszynska in the years after the war
Forgotten hero: Sven Norrman, responsible for couriering the documents that would reveal the Nazi Holocaust and slaughter of 700,000 Polish Jews out of Warsaw, pictured with his Polish-Jewish mistress Gizela ‘Iza’ Zbyszynska in the years after the war

Was Sven Norrman the man who was called “the terrible Swedish Jew”? No, that was the nickname of General Eisenhower.  You can read about it on my blog post at
Some of my readers might be tempted to deny that the gassing of the Jews started in 1942.  Go ahead and deny.  It is not against the law to deny something that never happened.

June 23, 2014

Johann Breyer was complicit in the murder of 216,000 Jews in the gas chamber at Auschwitz — Updated

John Breyer, at the age of 17, when he was in the German army

John Breyer, at the age of 17, when he was in the German army

Update July 23, 2014:  John Breyer has died while awaiting trial.
You can read about it here.  He will probably be put on trial, even after his death. I wrote that Breyer might be put on trial after his death here.

Update June 24, 2014:

According to a news article, which you can read in full here, Johann Breyer has been charged with crimes committed at the Auschwitz II camp, from May 1944 to October 1944, when the Hungarian Jews were brought to the camp in 158 trains. Starting in May 1944, Breyer was a perimeter guard at the Auschwitz I camp, which was 3 kilometers from the Auschwitz II camp.  Before that, he was a perimeter guard at the Buchenwald concentration camp, where there was no gas chamber.

The following quote is from the news article:

In Germany, Breyer was accused in connection to the extermination of approximately 158 trainloads of Jewish prisoners coming from Hungary, Germany and Czechoslovakia. This is documented to have occurred between May 1944 to October 1944. Thousands of women, men and children from the trains were sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. Breyer has denied any direct involvement in the execution process. Prosecutors argue that being a perimeter guard [at the main Auschwitz camp] and his overall presence in the camps is being involved in the process and that his role served to aid in the the deaths.

The reporter, who wrote this article used a photo from this page of my website:

Unfortunately, the reporter didn’t read the text on my website, after stealing the photo, or she would have known that the Jews, who were gassed between May 1944 and October 1944, were gassed at the Auschwitz II camp, aka Auschwitz-Birkenau.  My photo shows the gate into the Auschwitz I camp, where Breyer was a guard, but the gas chamber in this camp was no longer in operation in 1944.

Another news article, which you can read in full here, also gets the story completely wrong.

This quote is from the article, cited above:

As an armed guard at the Nazi concentration [main] camp at Auschwitz and a member of the notorious SS “Death’s Head” battalion, the authorities charged on Wednesday, Mr. Breyer was complicit in the gassing of 216,000 Jews taken [to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp] in 1944 from Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany.

The Germans, seeking to have him extradited to stand trial, have charged him with 158 counts of aiding and abetting in murder — one count for each of the 158 trainloads of Jews taken to the killing center at [the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp] in a six-month span. Most of the so-called deportees, including many thousands of women, children and old people, were killed in gas chambers almost immediately after arriving at Auschwitz [Birkeanau], with their bodies burned in four crematories.

Mr. Breyer acknowledged two decades ago, when first questioned by the American authorities, that he had worked as a guard at Auschwitz [main camp], but he said that he had done so involuntarily and had nothing to do with the gassings. His lawyer, Dennis Boyle, insisted Wednesday that Mr. Breyer had worked in a prison section of Auschwitz [ main camp], not among the guards in the extermination area [Auschwitz-Birkeanu]. “He was absolutely not one of those guards,” Mr. Boyle said.

You can read about the history of the “Death’s Head” unit of the SS on this page of my website:

Continue reading my original post:

According to a recent news article, which you can read in full here, 89-year old former German SS soldier Johann Breyer, now living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the USA, has been charged with being “complicit” in 158 cases of murder in the deaths of 216,000 Jews at Auschwitz.

Complicit? What does that mean? It means that he was present, somewhere inside one of the three Auschwitz camps, when 216,000 Jews arrived on 158 trains, and he did nothing to prevent the Jews from being taken to the gas chamber.  If he had tried to prevent the deaths of these 216,000 Jews, he would have been shot, on the spot, but he would have gone down in history as a hero, who tried to save Jews from an ignominious death.

Copy of the "criminal complaint" against Johann Breyer

The “criminal complaint” against Johann Breyer (click on the photo to enlarge)

The Talmud teaches that “He who saves a single life, saves the world entire.”

Are the names of the 216,000 Jews, who arrived on these 158 trains known?  Yes, but there was always a “selection” done by Dr. Josef Mengele, who was always at the ramp, looking for twins for his experiments.

The Jews, who were gassed immediately after they got off the trains in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, were not registered, so their names are unknown.

Each of the Holocaust survivors, who is still alive today, has a story about why they were not gassed.

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau

What the news article didn’t tell you is that Breyer will be prosecuted in a German court, under the “common design” theory, an ex-post-facto law, that was made up by the Allies after the war. Under this concept, every German man or woman was guilty of murdering Jews, if they were anywhere near a concentration camp during World War II, working in any capacity. Even a person, who once worked as a baker, or a supply clerk in a Nazi camp, is guilty under the “common plan” or “common design” concept that was dreamed up by the Allies after the war.

This quote is from the news article:

An 89-year-old Philadelphia man [Johann Breyer] was ordered held without bail today on a German arrest warrant charging that he aided and abetted in the deaths of 216,000 Jews while he was a guard at the Auschwitz death camp.

The “Auschwitz death camp” was Auschwitz-Birkenau, aka Auschwitz II, which was located near the “Judenrampe” (shown in the photo below) where the Jews got off the trains, before the tracks were extended inside the camp when the Hungarian Jews were deported in May 1944.

The train ramp, from where the Jews were taken to the Auschwitz II camp

The train ramp, from where the Jews were taken to the Auschwitz II camp to be gassed

However, this quote from the news article says that Breyer worked at the Auschwitz I camp:

Breyer testified in U.S. court that he served as a perimeter guard at Auschwitz I, which was largely for prisoners used as slave laborers, though it also had a makeshift gas chamber used early in the war; it was also the camp where SS doctor Josef Mengele carried out sadistic experiments on inmates.

But [Breyer] denied ever serving in Auschwitz II, better known as Auschwitz-Birkenau, the death camp area where the bulk of the people were killed.

Note that, according to the news article, the Auschwitz I camp had a “makeshift gas chamber.”  What does that mean?  Is this a reference to the fact, now admitted, that the gas chamber in the main camp was created by the Soviets after the war?

Or is the term “makeshift gas chamber” an admission that the so-called gas chamber in the main camp was a morgue room that could not have been used as a homicidal gas chamber?

Will the prosecution have to prove that the “makeshift gas chamber” in the main camp could have been used to kill people?  No, of course not. It is “common knowledge” that Jews were gassed inside what looks like a morgue room in the main Auschwitz camp.

Gas chamber in main Auschwitz camp was located in the morgue room

Gas chamber in main Auschwitz camp was located in the morgue room (Click on photo to enlarge)

Quote from the news article:

By early 1943, [Breyer] arrived at Auschwitz, still a [17-year-old] teenager. He allegedly became a member of the Death’s Head battalion. In the next year, 216,000 Jews arrived by train and “were exterminated upon arrival,” the indictment says. They “were taken from the train ramp by armed Death’s Head guards directly to the gas chambers for extermination. … The armed Death’s Head guards were under orders to shoot to kill anyone who tried to escape.”

Note that all the Jews, who had arrived by train, “were exterminated upon arrival.”  What? There were no selections?  Where was Dr. Mengele when these 216,000 Jews arrived by train? Maybe he was sick.  It is known that Dr. Mengele got typhus while he was at Auschwitz, so maybe he missed doing the selections from 158 trains.

You can read about the “Death’s Head” battalion on my website at

The photo below shows the “Death’s Head” emblem. Any German soldier, who wore this emblem, was a criminal, under the ex-post-facto laws of the Allies.

Death's Head emblem worn by SS men on their caps.

Death’s Head emblem worn by SS men on their caps.

If Johann Breyer is renditioned to Germany for prosecution under the “common design” charge, he will be automatically convicted because there is no defense against the “common design” charge. Any German person, who was anywhere near a German concentration camp is automatically guilty, regardless of his or her job at the camp.

John Breyer claims that he does not have a tattoo, which all SS soldiers were supposed to have, showing their blood type. Dr. Mengele did not have this tattoo either.  If an SS soldier were caught after the war, he would have been instantly recognizable as an SS soldier, so apparently these soldiers were given a choice in the matter, since the tattoo marked them as a “war criminal.”

February 26, 2014

Franz Suchomel’s interview for Claude Lanzman’s documentary entitled Shoah

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:02 am

Franz Suchomel’s interview with Claude Lanzman, for his documentary entitled Shoah, is shown in seven Youtube videos.  There is also a YouTube video entitled “The Treblinka Death Camp — Former SS member confesses” which you can view at the end of this blog post.

Did SS man Franz Suchoml actually confess to the existence of gas chambers at Treblinka?  Yes.  He said, in his interview with Lanzman, that he “heard the motors” of the gas chamber.

The gas chambers at Treblinka had motors?  Oh, how I wish that gas chamber expert Fred Leuchter would come out of hiding and explain how the motors in a gas chamber worked.

The photo below shows the inside of a real gas chamber in Jefferson City, MO.  Fred Leuchter was a consultant for this gas chamber, years ago.  Maybe there are motors underneath the seats, which somehow heated the Zyklon-B lethal gas.

Inside the gas chamber in Jefferson City, MO

Inside the gas chamber in Jefferson City, MO

Strangely, Franz Suchomel did not say anything about the bodies being removed from the gas chamber after the victims had been gassed.

According to Suchomel’s description of Treblinka in his interview, there were 500 to 600 Jews in the “Blue Squad” who helped “3 to 5 Germans” with the gassing procedure.  The Jews in the Blue Squad had been promised that they would live, if they helped to herd the Jews through “the funnel” into the gas chamber. But this was a lie, according to Suchomel.

In his interview, Suchomel said that the Jews in the Blue Squad were “not shot or gassed.”  They were starved to death, and at the end, “a typhus epidemic broke out” at Treblinka, which killed the Jews in the Blue Squad.

In his confession, Suchomel described how the Jewish men were driven into the gas chamber first, while the women had to wait, for a long time in the freezing cold, for their turn.  How the gas chamber was emptied, after each group of men had been gassed, Suchomel didn’t say.

At one point in the interview, Suchomel said (regarding how the women died in the gas chamber) “I didn’t see it.”

What Suchomel did say, in his interview, was “That’s how they were finished off.”  This implies that the Jews were gassed, although he had not actually witnessed the death of the Jews in the alleged gas chambers.

According to the latest estimate, there were 900,000 Jews gassed at Treblinka; this would have taken a long time, because it was so cold when the gassing took place. (The Zyklon-B gas had to be heated to 78.3 degrees Fahrenheit.)  Suchomel was very emphatic about the freezing weather — he mentioned that even the SS men suffered because their uniforms were not adequate.

At one point in his so-called confession, Suchomel said that “…on the roof  (of the gas chamber) were the hell hounds.”  He explained that the “hell hounds” were the Ukrainian helpers at Treblinka.  This implies that there were holes in the roof, through which the Zyklon-B pellets were poured into the gas chambers.  Maybe the “motors” that Suchomel heard were heating the Zyklon-B to the proper temperature to activate the gas.  This would have taken some time, since the weather was below zero when the gassing took place. Or maybe the “motors” were for the tanks that were used to generate carbon monoxide.

In his interview, Suchomel spoke German in a way that I could understand; he did not speak in a German dialect, as many Germans do.  He mentioned that the Treblinka camp was shaped like a rhombus. This indicates to me that he was at least somewhat educated.

The video that includes his confession starts off by showing old trains, that were like the trains that took the Jews to Treblinka. The village of Treblinka was shown.  The village was very small, as shown in my 1998 photo below.

The small village of Treblinka

The small village of Treblinka

Then the Malkinia Bahnhof (train station) was shown.

Malkinia train station was 7 miles from the Treblinka camp

Suchomel said the Malkinia train station was 7 miles from the Treblinka camp

In his so-called confession, Suchomel never explained why the remote location of the Treblinka camp was selected.  I explained this in a previous blog post at

You can watch Suchomel’s confession on the video below.

October 14, 2013

Carla Cohn wrote “My Nine Lives” after surviving Theresienstadt, Auschwitz and Mauthausen

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:45 am

Carla Cohn was a small child, living in Berlin, with her prominent Jewish family, when she was sent, along with her sister and her parents to the Theresienstadt Ghetto, the best of all places, to which the Jews were sent, during the Holocaust.

Building L410 for young girls at Theresienstadt

Building L410 for young girls, ages 8 to 16, at Theresienstadt

I have blogged several times about Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, who is the subject of a new film by Claude Lanzman, the man who made the 9 and 1/2 hour film entitled Shoah. Lanzman interviewed Dr. Mermelstein at great length at the time that he was recording testimony from many Holocaust survivors for Shoah, but the interview ended up on the cutting room floor. Lanzman’s new film features the interview with Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein.

Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein was at Theresienstadt from Sept. 27, 1944 until May 5, 1945, so Carla Cohn was not at Theresienstadt during the time that he was there.  In spite of this, Ms. Cohn calls him Murmelschwein in her book. (In German, the word Schwein means pig; this is the worst insult possible in German, sometimes the insult is given as Schweinehund.)

My previous blog posts, about Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, which you can read here and here have generated a lot of comments, including this comment made by Herbert Stolpmann, who has his own blog at

This quote is from a comment made by Herbert Stolpmann:

… Carla Cohn has [this] to say of Dr. Wolf Murmelstein’s late father in her book ‘MY NINE LIVES’:

…The next Judenrat (Jewish Administration Advisor) was a Rabi, Benjamin Murmelstein, generally referred to as ‘Murmelschwein’ (pig). He was generally disliked and distrusted. Rumour had it, that being in charge of the deportation lists, he would substitute a name on the list for a price.

This ancient rumour has been confirmed to me rather poignantly when the past came to haunt me here in Rome a few years ago. I received a phone call by a man I did not know who insisted to come and see me regarding an important Terezin [Theresienstadt,sic] matter. He would not give his name over the phone. I was unable to refuse since it had to do with Terezin. I found myself face to face with an obviously very distressed man who introduced himself as Rabbi Murmelstein’s son!

His father has died recently but the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Toaff, would not permit a Jewish burial for his father. The son was contacting all surviving Terezin ghetto inmates to ask them to give positive testimony for his father, so that he could be buried as a Jew in honour…

I did a search on My Nine Lives and found that parts of the book can be read online. Ms. Cohn wrote her book in the German language, but I decided to read the English translation.  From my limited understanding of the German language, I was able to deduce that her writing style is very good, but I elected to read the English version, so that I would not misunderstand the meaning of her words.

These quotes are from pages 68 and 69 of her book:

From page 68:

The delousing drill was often repeated.  We never knew whether the shower was intended for the purpose of delousing and a “wash,” or whether it was to prepare our bodies for the gas chamber.  Zyklon B gas works more efficiently when the body is wet. […]

A real shower room, not a gas chamber, at Auschwitz-Birkenau

A real shower room, not a gas chamber, at Auschwitz-Birkenau

From page 69:

During the last “selection” by Dr. Mengele, the “Angel of Death,” I was found to be “unfit” and ordered “left” with the sick and aged.  I did not fully register what that meant at that moment.  I did notice that the scramble for the “shower” was even more frantic, though seemingly taking longer than in other times.  I was nude, in the corridor waiting my turn into the “shower.”

An SS man appeared, grabbed me and shoved me back out while whispering, “I have pulled you out once before, what are you doing in here again”!  I have never seen this SS before or afterwards.  My life was saved by “blind” luck in the guise of a case of mistaken identity!

Another push sent me outside, nude.  I found myself among a group of younger women, out in the icy cold. Someone threw some clothes at me, among them a long, black heavy man’s coat of which I grabbed and frantically  put on while hiding between women.

I read much more of her book, starting with her account of her stay at Theresienstadt, followed by her description of her days spent at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  She wrote about how she was eventually sent, in 1944, to the Mauthausen camp in Austria, where she was put to work, with a group of other women, digging a tunnel.  After World War II ended, there were accusations that Ernst Kaltenbrunner had given the order for all the prisoners at Mauthausen to be taken into the tunnel which was to be blown up in order to kill all the prisoners.

Carla Cohn apparently believed, after the war, that the purpose of the tunnel that she had been digging was to kill all the prisoners before the American liberators arrived.

Long story, short: Carla Cohn’s book is a composite of all the Holocaust claims, from the gassing of prisoners in the showers, to blowing up the prisoners in tunnels.  Her claims about Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein should be evaluated in that context.  In other words, I wouldn’t believe anything that she writes.

October 8, 2013

How long did it take for prisoners to die in a Nazi gas chamber?

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 1:10 pm

Many people have wondered how long it took for the gas to take effect in a Nazi gas chamber.  After reading the story of a Holocaust survivor, who gave a talk to students in Canada recently, I now know the answer.  In a previous blog post, I wrote about how gassing methods were first tested and perfected at Dachau. I also blogged about the story of Eva Olssen here.

According to Holocaust survivor Eva Olssen, it took 20 minutes for her relatives to die in the gas chamber.  This quote is from a news article which you can read in full here.

It was May 15, 1944.

Olsson and her 19 extended family members, who lived in a two-room apartment in Hungary, were forced from their home.

Four days later they arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau — also known as The Killing Factory. She was holding her young niece’s hand and a prisoner whispered to Olsson to give the child to an older woman. Olsson didn’t let go. The prisoner said it again and after a third time, Olsson let go of the girl’s hand. That ensured she would survive.

Her mother, sisters and nieces went the other way to a gas chamber. You would hear screaming for 20 minutes and then there was silence, she said.

An Auschwtiz prisoner was standing beside the trains when Jews arrived

An Auschwitz prisoner was standing beside the trains when Jews arrived

In the photo above, notice the prisoner, wearing a striped uniform, standing beside the train on the far right.  These prisoners, who helped the Nazis, were called Kapos (captains).  They advised the prisoners on how to survive the selection that took place as soon as the train stopped.

Eva Olssen was saved because a Kapo told her not to hold the hand of a child.  Children under the age of 15 were gassed within hours after arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Photos were taken at Auschwitz-Birkenau on May 26, 1944; Eva Olssen arrived on May 19, 1944 so she is not shown in any of the pictures.

You can read about Auschwitz-Birkenau on my website at

You can read about the deportation of the Hungarian Jews, including Eva Olssen, at

Could Eva Olssen have heard the screams coming from the gas chamber?  It is possible, although not very likely.

The photo below shows the ruins of Krema II, one of the four gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  In 1944, railroad tracks were extended inside of the camp, to within a few yards of Krema II and Krema III.  The International Monument, which is shown in the background of the photo, was built a few feet from Krema II and Krema III.

Ruins of Krema II, one of the gas chambers, at Birkenau

Ruins of Krema II, one of the gas chambers, at Birkenau

Ruins of oven room in Krema II with women's camp in the background

Ruins of oven room in Krema II with women’s camp in the background

In the photo directly above, you can see the kitchen in the women’s camp in the background.  The women’s barracks are behind the kitchen, but not shown, in this photo.  The gas chambers in Krema II and  Krema III, were five feet below ground. It would have been hard to hear screams, but not impossible.

In 1944, the train tracks had been extended inside the Birkenau camp, right up to the location of Krema II and Krema III.  The photo below shows how close the tracks are to the Holocaust monument which is between the ruins of Krema II and Krema III.

The end of the train tracks at Birkenau is close to the ruins of Krema II and Krema III

The end of the train tracks at Birkenau is close to the ruins of Krema II and Krema III

In the photo above, the ruins of Krema II are on the left, but not shown.  The ruins of Krema III are on the right.

Prisoners walking past Krema III gas chamber building which is in the background

Prisoners walking past Krema III gas chamber building which is in the background

The prisoners in the photo above are walking past Krema III, which is in the background. They are looking toward Krema II, as they walk to the showers. Strangely, there are some children in the photo, who were not selected to be gassed. There are also some prisoners who look as if they are able to work.

All this is very confusing.  You would think that the Nazis would have put the gas chambers off in the woods somewhere, not out in the open, near a road where other prisoners marching past could hear the screams.  How horrible — to hear the screams of your mother dying in a gas chamber!

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

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

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:

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

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.

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