Scrapbookpages Blog

February 23, 2017

The Jews who were forced to work in Nazi death factories

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:57 am
Survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau with Russian liberator

Survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau with Russian soldier who helped to liberate the camp

A photo that is very similar to the one above is shown in a news article about the Sonderkommando Jews who were forced to help the Nazis, in the killing of the Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The following quote is from the news article which you can read in full at http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/.premium-1.773405

Begin quote from news article:

The members of the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz worked in the gas chambers. They were posted to the undressing rooms, where the victims had to disrobe; they were responsible for the removal of the bodies after the murder; for removing valuables from the bodies; for burning the bodies; for dealing with the body parts that did not burn completely; and finally they carried the ashes to the river and dumped them in the water.

As Shaul Chazan, one of the Sonderkommando survivors, told me: At 9:30, a transport of 3,500 people would arrive, and four hours later, not a trace of them remained – as though they had never existed. [Chazan’s testimony appears in Greif’s “We Wept Without Tears”; Yale University Press, 2005.] The Sonderkommando carried out all those tasks, but it’s important for me to emphasize that they never took part in the work of murder itself. They did not murder anyone. Only the Germans threw the deadly gas into the chambers.

End quote from news article

I wrote about the Sonderkommando Jews on my scrapbookpages.com website BEFORE I became a Holocaust denier.

Begin quote from my scrapbookpages.com website:

One of the survivors of Auschwitz was Samuel Pisar, who was first sent, at the age of 13, to the Majdanek death camp, in August 1943, when the Bialystok ghetto in Poland was liquidated. A few months later, he was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he was put to work.

In an article in the Washington Post, published on January 23, 2005, Samuel Pisar wrote the following about his experience at Birkenau:

My labor commando was assigned to remove garbage from a ramp near the Crematoria. From there I observed the peak of human extermination and heard the blood-curdling cries of innocents as they were herded into the gas chambers. Once the doors were locked, they had only three minutes to live, yet they found enough strength to dig their fingernails into the walls and scratch in the words “Never Forget.”

One of the Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners, who loaded the corpses of the murdered Jews into the Crematoria ovens after they were killed in the gas chambers with Zyklon-B, was Schlomo Venezia who described his work in an interview with Adam L. Freeman, a reporter with the Bloomberg News, on December 17, 2007.

According to Freeman’s article, posted on the web site http://www.bloomberg.com, Schlomo worked for eight months at Birkenau in 1944, “…12 hours a day, seven days a week, cadaver after cadaver until it became a mechanical task, like feeding a heating furnace with cords of wood.”

Schlomo Venezia wrote a memoir entitled “Sonderkommando Auschwitz,” which was originally published in French; a new Italian version was published in 2007.

The following quote about Schlomo’s story is from Adam L. Freeman’s article in the Bloomberg News on December 17, 2007:

Begin quote from news article:

He [Schlomo] recalls, for example, the day he met his father’s emaciated cousin in an undressing room at the gas chambers. Venezia offered him the only solace possible, he writes — some sardines and a lie that the Zyklon B would kill him quickly.

“It was just terrible to have to lie, but there was no way around it,” Venezia explains. “I tried in some way to make the horrible situation easier.”

The Sonderkommandos, as the prisoners working at the gas chambers were known, were privy to how the Nazis went about their butchery. Determined to keep their methods secret, the Nazis killed members of these units at regular intervals, making Venezia’s memoir rare.

He was 20 years old at the time; he will turn 84 on Dec. 29. His own mother was murdered at the camp while he worked at the ovens — one of more than 1 million Jews killed there.

As we talk over a table of ties in his one-room shop near the Trevi Fountain, Venezia remains almost motionless. His Hungarian-born wife, Marika, tends to shoppers entering through the glass door. At one point, she places a box of coffee-filled chocolates between us.

The descendant of an old Jewish family from Spain and Italy, Venezia was born in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, where he grew up fatherless and poor, speaking Greek, Italian and Ladino, a Spanish-Jewish dialect.

Poverty sharpened his wits, he says. Working the black market in Nazi-occupied Greece, Venezia learned some German, which may have saved his life. In the camp, he escaped beatings by understanding when guards shouted out the number tattooed on his arm: 182727.

Cutting the hair off cadavers, pulling their gold teeth and dragging them to the furnaces became mechanical, Venezia says, because it was the only way to stay sane. The routine broke down only once, he recalls, when the prisoners were confronted with the lifeless body of a woman possessing “the absolute beauty of an ancient statue.”

She looked like “a woman in a painting,” Venezia says, pausing for a moment in reflection. “Like Mona Lisa.” Yet there was nothing to do but cremate her.

Another day, his unit found a live baby trying to suck its dead mother’s breast among a heap of corpses in a gas chamber. The prisoners watched without protest as a Nazi guard unloaded his pistol into the infant.

“There were so many terrible things that happened,” he says. “Every day it was something else.”

End quote

 

February 20, 2017

A Jewish visitor to Sachsenhausen completely misunderstands the history of the camp

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 2:44 pm
My photo of the sculpture at Sachsenhausen

My photo of the sculpture at Sachsenhausen

You can read, in this news article, about how a young Jewish woman was completely mislead about Sachsenhausen: http://jewishjournal.com/opinion/215357/burned-ovens-drowned-sea-rammed-vehicles-bombed-pieces-marched-death-world-want-jews-us-today/

I have a section on my website where you can read all about Sachsenhausen: https://www.scrapbookpages.com/Sachsenhausen/index.html

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

I walked into a concentration camp in Germany – and I walked out. A Jewish woman leaving a Nazi camp defies the odds and realities of millions of human beings.

“If you are done with the alt-right you filthy kike, then fuck off to Israel or just get into the oven. Problem solved.” A man wrote me those words, which I read before coming face to face with the crematorium at a Nazi concentration camp in Germany, the very ovens where bodies of millions of Jews were incinerated.

I found myself unexpectedly terrorized, shaken to my core. Never did I imagine visiting a concentration camp. Despite being born to a Jewish mother, I had zero desire and felt no family connection to the Holocaust. But there I found myself in Sachsenhausen: standing trapped within barbed wire and walls, fighting the most intense bone chill of my life, losing hope in humanity and in myself.

On the heels of hearing a German parliamentarian negate that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe or worldwide, a cab driver affirm that Jews were responsible for 9/11, and a former neo-Nazi quote an Austrian military officer in saying his radical political beliefs would have been welcome had they won the war, I felt paralyzed – staring into the ovens in search of answers, of lessons, of direction.

End quote

You can read about Sachsenhausen on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Sachsenhausen/ConcentrationCamp/GasChamber.html

The following quote is from my website:

Station Z was the nickname that the SS gave to the execution site at Sachsenhausen. Beginning in the fall of 1939, Station Z was the site where prisoners who had been condemned to death in a Nazi court were executed by a firing squad.

According to the memoirs of Rudolf Höss, who was on the staff at Sachsenhausen for a time, anyone who was convicted of war-time sabotage or enemy activity against the state was sent to the nearest concentration camp for execution, and the first such execution after the war started in 1939 was carried out at Sachsenhausen when a Communist, who had refused to perform his assigned air raid duties in an aircraft factory, was shot.

Staton Z is also the location of an alleged gas chamber that was allegedly first put into operation in 1943, presumably to gas Russian POWs since there were no Jews in the camp at that time.

At a Military Tribunal conducted by the Soviet Union in October 1947, Camp Commandant Anton Kaindl confessed to the gassing of prisoners, on his own authority, at Sachsenhausen. This was an obvious lie.

The gas chamber and the execution site were both inside the Industrial Yard, where the factories were located; they were separated from the prison enclosure by a brick wall.

The name Station Z was intended to be a joke, according to the Memorial Site, because the entrance to the camp was through Building A, which was the gate house, and Station Z was the exit from the camp for those who had been executed.

End quote from my website

February 14, 2017

Were there two women at Auschwitz, named Edith Stein and Edith Steiner?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:24 am

Sometimes it is possible to find the light of love even in the darkest of times. Like Edith Steiner who was just 20 when she barely escaped death while being held at the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Nazis. John Mackay, the then-23-year-old Scottish soldier who saved Edith, is still with her celebrating their 71st Valentine’s Day together. Edith and her mother were the only remaining members of their family who had not been sent to the gas chambers which meant certain death. But they were saved by a commando team – which Mackay was a part of – that freed a number of Jewish prisoners from the clutches of the Nazis in Poland.

Sometimes it is possible to find the light of love even in the darkest of times. Like Edith Steiner [shown above] who was just 20 when she barely escaped death while being held at the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Nazis. John Mackay [shown above], the then-23-year-old Scottish soldier who saved Edith, is still with her celebrating their 71st Valentine’s Day together.
Edith and her mother were the only remaining members of their family who had not been sent to the gas chambers which meant certain death. But they were saved by a commando team – which Mackay was a part of – that freed a number of Jewish prisoners from the clutches of the Nazis in Poland.

End quote from this news article: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/viral-and-trending/140217/auschwitz-survivor-spends-71st-valentines-day-with-her-rescuer.html

I didn’t know that Scottish soldiers liberated Auschwitz. Stupid me!

I wrote about the liberation of Auschwitz on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Liberation.html

The following quote is from my website:

The Auschwitz main camp, the Birkenau death camp and the Monowitz labor camp were liberated by soldiers of the Soviet Union in the First Army of the Ukrainian Front, under the command of Marshal Koniev, on January 27, 1945.

End quote

How could I have been so wrong! Now I know that it was actually Scottish soldiers who liberated Auschwitz — NOT!

 

February 8, 2017

Democrats want a resolution declaring that Jews were the primary victims in the Holocaust

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Trump, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 7:48 am
Osita Nwanevu

Ostia Nwanevu, editorial assistant at Slate Magazine.

House Republicans blocked a resolution advanced by Democrats on Tuesday declaring that Jews were the primary victims of the Holocaust.

Of course, the Jews were the primary target in the Holocaust. Who else? Why do we need a resolution, stating this, more than 70 years later?

The following are quotes from Ostia Nwaneve in  a Feb. 7, 2017 blog post on “the Slatest” :

Begin quote:

In the wake of controversy over the Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, the White House defended it, saying that it had wished to be inclusive by acknowledging that other groups had been killed by Hitler’s regime as well.

End quote

Begin quote:

The resolution, a shrewd effort to pin Republicans down on something the Trump administration has needlessly made an issue, condemned the White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, which failed to mention Jews or the anti-Semitism that led to Adolf Hitler’s genocide against them.

It also called for the House to reiterate “the indisputable fact that the Nazi regime targeted the Jewish people in its perpetration of the Holocaust,” condemn Holocaust denialism, and demand acknowledgment from the White House that Jews were targeted.

End quote

This blog post from “the Slatest” quoted above referenced a news article in the Washington Examiner that you can read here:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/democrats-try-to-shame-gop-over-white-house-holocaust-statement/article/2614155#.WJolDJCy2G0.twitter

February 5, 2017

Jews who wrote songs at Theresienstadt were gassed at Auschswitz

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Music — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:40 am

Yes, it’s true, dear readers. Jews were allowed to compose music at Theresienstadt, but were then taken to Auschwitz and killed in the gas chamber.

Obviously, the Nazis wanted to steal music from the Jews before killing them. As everyone knows, the Germans can’t carry a tune in a basket!

You can read about this terrible crime in this news article: http://www.poconorecord.com/entertainmentlife/20170204/work-by-jewish-holocaust-victims-lives-on-in-ute-lempers-songs-for-eternity

The following quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

A lot of work [by Jewish composers] actually was written at Theresienstadt, and there are a bunch of songs that are out of this history of this specific camp, but all of those were works written by artists who, in ’44, were brought on the trains to Auschwitz, and all of them were gassed. There was a quite incredible repertoire [of music] out of this concentration camp.

End quote

You can’t get any more cruel than that: the Nazis allowed the Jews to compose music, while they were prisoners in a ghetto, and then they killed them in gas chambers. Oh, the humanity!

The following quote is also from the news article:

Begin quote

Not only does every song have a story, every composer has a story. There’s Ilse Weber, a poet, writer and composer in the Prague ghetto who was brought to Theresienstadt and then brought with her entire family to Auschwitz later on and was killed, but her husband survived, and he was able to hide scrolls of her music in the columns of the horse stables of Theresienstadt. After being liberated from Auschwitz, he made it back to Theresienstadt to look for those scrolls, and he found them and published them many years later.

End quote

My photo below shows the horse stable at Theresienstadt

Terezin02.jpeg

On my scrapbookpages.com website, I have a large section about Theresienstadt: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/index.html

To learn all about Theresienstadt, start with this section on my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/History/index.html

The following quote is also from the news article:

Begin quote:

…. an amazing story about Ilse Weber that really was breathtaking and horrible to tell. She became a nurse at Theresienstadt in charge of the children. She brought them with her on the train to Auschwitz, and she knew for some reason when they arrived they would all be brought straight to the gas chambers.

She told the children once they entered the gas chambers to sing. Because she had always sung with the children. That was always her way of making them feel better. She told them to breathe in deep and sing loud once they would enter the shower rooms, because she knew it would initiate death faster through deep inhalation, so the struggle would not be so long. It’s just so horrible.

End quote

How fortunate that this woman knew all abut the gas chambers! Why didn’t those stupid Nazis keep the gas chambers a secret?

I visited Theresienstadt for the second time in the year 2000 and took photos which you can see here: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/GhettoTour/Tour05.html

February 4, 2017

How the famous Irene Zisblatt toss was done…

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 7:16 am
Irene Zisblatt shows the spot where her Auschwitz tattoo was removed

Irene Zisblatt shows where her Auschwitz tattoo was removed

Irene Zisblatt is a famous Holocaust survivor, who was saved from the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau when she was tossed over a fence and into an open railway car on a parked train.

Some Holocaust deniers don’t believe Irene’s story, but I have found some videos, which show that a toss like this could have easily been done, by a strong man.

The videos show scenes taken at Scottish games, where men would toss heavy objects over a bar.  I have been to Scottish games, held in America, on two separate occasions, so I know that tossing a heavy object over a bar can be done by a strong man.

In the above video a man throws a 56 pound weight over a 16 foot high bar, demonstrating a 56 pound throw for height.

In the above video, a man is shown throwing a 56 pound weight for distance.  Notice the difference in technique in the throw for distance.

Irene Zisblatt wrote a book, published in 2008, entitled “The Fifth Diamond”. She wrote about her  [alleged] time in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. The title of her book refers to a necklace with four diamonds, set into a pendant, that she wears around her neck when she speaks to American school children who are studying the Holocaust.

As a survivor, Irene is the Fifth Diamond. Gail Ann Webb, a school teacher, helped Irene write the book, which is concise and especially suitable for students who are studying the Holocaust in middle school.

For 50 years, Irene kept quiet about her ordeal in the Nazi concentration camps, but in 1994, after Steven Spielberg’s movie “Schindler’s List” came out, she decided to tell her story. In 1995, she was interviewed for 3 hours by Jennifer Resnick while her testimony was videotaped for Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation.

She was then chosen as one of five Hungarian survivors to be featured in Spielberg’s Academy Award winning documentary entitled “The Last Days,” which was released in 1998. A book, also entitled “The Last Days,” was published in 1999.

In the documentary “The Last Days,” Irene tells about how her mother gave her the diamonds before the family was sent to the Auschwitz death camp. She managed to keep them through all the time that she was in the concentrations camps, and on a death march out of a camp, by swallowing them before being searched, excreting them, cleaning them and then swallowing them again. She said that she sometimes cleaned her diamonds “in the soup we were going to get.”

In “The Last Days,” Irene said that she “was about 9 years old” when she was expelled from school in 1939. A curfew was established and “Jewish people were forbidden to leave their houses after six in the evening or before eight in the morning.”

Irene’s father lost his business when it was given to a Gentile. Hungary was allies with Germany, and according to Irene: “We didn’t see a Nazi in our home town until 1944; everything had been done by the Hungarian police and by local youths under Nazi orders.”

Irene was living with her family in the small resort town of Polena in the Carpathian mountains; at that time, Polena was in Hungary.

There were 62 Jewish families in the town; her father owned a business, but the family had no electricity in their house, according to Irene. This was not unusual in those days; many towns in Eastern Europe had no running water and no electricity.

After Germany invaded Hungary on March 19, 1944, Irene and her family were put into the Miskolc ghetto, which Irene said “consisted of a couple of streets around a brick factory.” All the houses “were already crammed full” so Irene and her family “built a little tent from our tablecloths and sheets, whatever we had in our suitcases, and we lived under that.”

In her talks to students, Irene tells that she was 13 years old when she was put on a train from the Miskolc ghetto, and sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp during the deportation of the Hungarian Jews in May 1944. When she arrived at Auschwitz, she was immediately separated from her family; she says that she was the only one of her 40 family members that survived the gas chambers.

According to Irene’s story in her book entitled “The Last Days,” Irene’s father was born in 1908, so he was 36 years old in 1944, and he was young enough to be selected for work at Birkenau.

In the selections upon arrival at Birkenau, everyone older than 45 or younger than 15 was sent immediately to the gas chamber. Irene says that her entire family, except her,  was gassed in Gas Chamber #2 on the day that they arrived, including her parents who were of working age.

Irene says that the Jews in the Miskolc ghetto were tricked into getting on the train to Birkenau. “The train came in the night and it was announced that everybody who wanted to go to Tokaj to work in the vineyards should get on the train.”

In the book “The Last Days,” Irene tells how her mother gave her advice, before the train left the ghetto, that saved her from being immediately selected for the gas chamber at Birkenau.

The following quote is from the book entitled “The Last Days”:

Begin quote

And she told me to say I was twenty years old – I was only thirteen – because then I would be sent to work in a factory where I would get food and I would survive.

End quote

The following quote is from a newspaper article written by Nate Hubbard after Irene gave a talk to students in Bland County, Virginia on March 9, 2009:

Begin quote

But the most gripping part of Zisblatt’s account came when she told the students about how she had narrowly escaped the gas chamber. She said she was selected along with approximately 1,500 other women to be killed. When the prisoners were herded into the gas chamber, though, there wasn’t room for them all. Zisblatt said she wound up right in the doorway, clinging to a piece of wood as her fingernails were ripped off causing blood to gush from the tips of her fingers. When the door couldn’t be closed with Zisblatt blocking the way, she was flung out of the chamber.

With the help of another prisoner, she said she was able to escape Auschwitz by getting on a train traveling across tracks running near the No. 3 gas chamber. The train took her to the Neuengamme labor camp in Germany where shortly after she was forced to go on a “death march” as the war wound down. After marching for days upon days in hellacious conditions, Zisblatt said she and a friend realized they had a chance to escape during a dark night as they stood between two forests. […] Providence, though, finally smiled down on Zisblatt as she and her friend made a successful escape and were soon thereafter discovered by American soldiers.

Irene Zisblatt had been saved by a young Sonderkommando (Jewish crematorium worker) who rescued her after she was thrown out of the Krema III gas chamber because the room was too full. He wrapped her in a blanket and tossed her over the 10-foot-high barbed wire fence around Krema III; she landed in an open railroad car of a train that was bound for the Neuengamme concentration camp in Germany.

End quote

 

January 2, 2017

Pressac says that the Germans used dummy shower heads inside the Dachau gas chamber

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 3:54 pm

DachauE011.jpeg

I took the photo above when I visited the Dachau memorial site. This was the last remaining shower head inside the alleged gas chamber. All the others had been stolen by tourists.

Note that the shower head in the photo above was smashed by a visitor to the Dachau camp.

You can read about Pressac in a recent news article at http://www.5280.com/news/magazine/2016/12/honor-international-holocaust-remembrance-day-boulder

If you have never heard of Jean Claude Pressac, this means that you have never studied the Holocaust.

The news article begins with the following quote:

Begin quote

Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany killed about six million Jews. Nothing will ever adequately answer the question “Why?”—but the Mazal Holocaust Collection, one of the largest private Holocaust archives in the country, provides some clues. In 2014, the daughter of the late Harry Mazal, a Texas businessman, gifted her father’s library to the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. And with January 27 being International Holocaust Remembrance Day, there’s no more appropriate time to explore the collection.

End quote

You can read about the late Henry Mazel at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ahro

I have visited the Dachau memorial site several times, and I have a large section about Dachau on my website at:

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/index.html

The news article also includes the following quote:

Begin quote

American forces liberated the [concentration] camp at Dachau on April 29, 1945. Two days later, a congressional committee toured the site. Its report unveiled the terrors committed there in grim detail: As Allied forces closed in on Germany, the Nazis relocated captives by train to Dachau. “[A]t least 100 of these civilian prisoners had been jammed into each [of the 50 cars]—locked in—and they had been on the road for several days without food or water. Approximately 3,000 of them were dead upon arrival.”

End quote

I wrote about the Dachau “death train” on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/DeathTrain.html

You can read more about the Dachau camp on this section of my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/KZDachau/index.html


December 1, 2016

Is Holocaust education needed more than ever?

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

Why am I asking this question? I have just read this news article which asks the question: http://www.israellycool.com/2016/12/01/does-statement-by-ryerson-student-union-border-on-holocaust-denial/

The following quote is from the news article, sited above:

Begin quote

Today, the Ryerson [University] Student Union released this statement that seems to imply that Holocaust denial is a legitimate disagreement – by claiming that motions like this one on the Holocaust “invoke many views.” It implies there is a legitimate view other than “the Holocaust was a tragedy that needs to be addressed,” a viewpoint that is positively vile and a sign these students need Holocaust education more than ever.

End quote

What a revolting development this is!

There are two sides to everything — except the Holocaust. Regarding the Holocaust, there is only one side to the story. If you believe anything except the Jewish side of the story, you will soon be on your way to jail, in 20 countries, not including America.

My 2005 photo of the gas chamber in the Auschwitz camp

My Oct. 2005 photo of the gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp

Note that the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp was next door to the oven room, but for some unknown reason, the heat of the oven room never caused an explosion.

October 22, 2016

“Museum of an Extinct Race” is back in the news

Filed under: Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:35 pm

I previously blogged about the “Museum of an Extinct Race” at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/hitlers-proposed-museum-of-an-extinct-race/

The subject of the “Museum of an Extinct Race” is back in the news. You can read all about it at: https://www.bu.edu/today/2016/spiritual-resistance-to-the-holocaust/

The following quote is from the news article, cited above:

Begin Quote

Held at Auschwitz during World War II, a man presented fellow prisoner Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Meisels with an impossible ethical choice. His son was marked for execution, he told the rabbi, but he could ransom his boy by swapping another person in his place. Would Jewish law permit that awful decision?

“The rabbi said, ‘Don’t ask me the question,’” says Michael Grodin, a core faculty member at BU’s Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies and director of the center’s Project on Medicine and the Holocaust. “From that, the man gleaned the fact that he probably shouldn’t do that, because otherwise the rabbi would have said OK.…His son died in the gas chambers.”

End quote

The debate over the “Judenrat” –  the Jewish officials who, on behalf of their communities, had to face the Nazi-Fascist authorities in Shoah time – is still going on.

In the following quote, from one of his essays, Wolf Murmelstein, a Holocaust survivor, seeks to defend the good name of the members of the Judenrat.

Begin quote

Begin essay written by Wolf Murmelstein:

WHO WERE THE JUDENRAT?

The Judenrat had been selected mainly among former Community Officials, such as Board members and high ranking clerks; besides, Eichmann wanted to secure also the experience that local Zionist leaders had in the emigration sector. Later, mainly in the Ghettoes, also persons with little or no community affiliation had been appointed.

In 1938 at Vienna, Loewenhertz (Community Manager and Zionist leader), after some weeks of imprisonment, had been appointed by the SS with the order to set up the emigration; Goering had forecasted a two-year time frame for Vienna without Jews. In 1939 at Prague, Weidman, the only qualified Community clerk in office that the Nazis had met upon their arrival, had been appointed; President and Vice-president stood already safe abroad. In 1939 at Lodz, the famous Chaim Rumchowsky had been appointed perhaps only accidentally. In 1941, in many Lithuanian communities, the Judenrat had been chosen by draw. Clearly the right knowledge of German was important.

FOLLOW A NO-PARTICIPATION ATTITUDE OR TAKE THE BURDEN?

Persons who stood safe in the time of “that darknes” worked out the theory that the Judenrat, by taking the burden of their appointment, made it easier for the Nazis to manage the deportation of the Jews. This theory should be evaluated, as much as according to moral point of view as according to consistency with real conditions of power in that time in those countries.

The moral point of view:

In 1941, the rabbis of the Vilna School in Lithuania ruled that the burden had to be taken by accepting appointment as Judenrat. The Rabbi of Kaunas/Kovno ruled that in the event the enemy had decided to exterminate a community, but by one means or another, it is possible to put safe a part of the community, then the leaders have to call upon all their spiritual forces and make every possible effort to put safe that part of their community.

In Poland, a Rabbi remarked that “the law of a kingdom is law even if it is a bad law.”

The real conditions of power at that time in those countries:

In 1933 Hitler had been appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg, according to the Weimar Constitution procedures. So the Holy Seat, as with other foreign governments, had regular diplomatic relationships and negotiated treaties with the Nazi regime, while the racial laws had been considered internal affairs, not subject to any objection. There had not been, in 1938, any meaningful objection to the annexation of Austria, while that of the Sudetenland resulted from the Munich treaty. In March 1939, as Bohemia-Moravia became a Protectorate, Prime Minister Chamberlin expressed deep feelings of sympathy.

The Jewish leaders – Baeck (Berlin), Loewenhertz (Vienna), Murmelstein (Vienna/Terezin), Cerniakow (Warsaw), Rumchowsky (Lodz), Gens (Vilna), Elkes (Kaunas/Kovno) and others – could not be stronger than many “statesmen,” nor resist better than the governments of all the countries defeated and overrun by the Wehrmacht. They had to cope with the real conditions of power and “as ruled by Rabbi Ytzhak Shapiro of Kaunas/Kovno,” put safe the part of their communities that was possible.

The visas for emigration had been granted by the various consular officials on passports issued by the Nazi police. The International Red Cross Commission had to deal through the German General Consul at Geneva in order to obtain access to the last Concentration Camps to help the survivors. In a briefing on May 4th 1945, the Red Cross Delegate M. Paul Dunant referred to the State Minister for the Protektorate, SS General K. H. Frank, and to the Security Police Chief SS Colonel Weinmann for having granted the safe handing over of power at Theresienstadt and the release of the prisoners of the nearby prison. Indeed M. Paul Dunant took over the control of the Theresienstadt Ghetto on May 5th, as the last Commander had just received a regular order to leave from SS General K. H. Frank. The Red Army reached Theresienstadt only two days later.

WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS DID A JUDENRAT HAVE TO COPE WITH?

With the racist laws, economic and social conditions of Jews got continuously worse, so the need for social and educational services that communities had to grant was increasing. Until 1938, people willing to emigrate had to be advised, while from 1938 on, a proper emigration service had to be set up and assistance given for people imprisoned in the Concentration Camps, since for persons at every possible contact with the Nazis, red-tape was involved. Furthermore, new heavy tasks arose in 1939 with the outbreak of war, as Eichmann made an attempt to establish a kind of “Super Ghetto” in Poland, between the Sun and Bug rivers, in the Lublin distict.

As the first groups of Jews from Vienna and Prague had reached the little Polish town of Nisko, thought to become the centre of that “Super Ghetto,” Eichmann in a speech explained clearly the need of various kinds of work to be performed because “otherwise it would mean to die.” Indeed, in the Ghettoes, the Judenrat had to take care of various town services, distribution of food, utilities, etc.

The recruitment of working groups to work for the German army or factories seemed a good way for survival. That this recruitment later turned out as the first step for further deportations is tragic but the Judenrat can not be blamed for it. A Judenrat had the need to keep under strict control, in too many instances without success, all the many associates in order to prevent abuses against the weak categories (like aged or sick people, orphans) since they had dangerous contact with the SS, who looked every time for informers.

Clearly, strict secrecy had to be kept on meaning and details of every action aimed to help people to survive; unfortunately the SS had too many well-informed informers. So a Judenrat stood between the hammer of the SS with its harsh orders and the anvil of the fellow inmates with their natural, but in no way realistic, expectations. When denying a request, the Judenrat could not state the real reasons and so these tragic figures are blamed even sixty years later for the sins of the SS.

HOW DID A JUDENRAT HAVE TO FACE THE SS?

At the time of “that darkness,” Jewish leaders could meet only high-ranking SS officers who had only strict margins of power and were themselves spied upon. Furthermore, the encounters were between those who hated and those who were hated, between one who was sitting comfortably in his armchair and one who had to stand for hours receiving foolish orders expressed in a rude way and could not make any objection. It should be noted that any encounter a Judenrat had with the SS Commander could turn out to be the last one. Indeed, Gens of Vilna had been shot in the mouth as soon he was about to enter the Commander’s Office, Eppstein of Theresienstadt had been shot in a nearby prison

WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS DID A JUDENRAT HAVE TO COPE WITH?

With the racist laws, economic and social conditions of Jews got continuously worse, so the need for social and educational services that communities had to grant was increasing. Until 1938, people willing to emigrate had to be advised, while from 1938 on, a proper emigration service had to be set up and assistance given for people imprisoned in the Concentration Camps, since for persons at every possible contact with the Nazis, red-tape was involved. Furthermore, new heavy tasks arose in 1939 with the outbreak of war, as Eichmann made an attempt to establish a kind of “Super Ghetto” in Poland, between the Sun and Bug rivers, in the Lublin distict.

As the first groups of Jews from Vienna and Prague had reached the little Polish town of Nisko, thought to become the centre of that “Super Ghetto,” Eichmann in a speech explained clearly the need of various kinds of work to be performed because “otherwise it would mean to die.” Indeed, in the Ghettoes, the Judenrat had to take care of various town services, distribution of food, utilities, etc.

The recruitment of working groups to work for the German army or factories seemed a good way for survival. That this recruitment later turned out as the first step for further deportations is tragic but the Judenrat can not be blamed for it. A Judenrat had the need to keep under strict control, in too many instances without success, all the many associates in order to prevent abuses against the weak categories (like aged or sick people, orphans) since they had dangerous contact with the SS, who looked every time for informers.

Clearly, strict secrecy had to be kept on meaning and details of every action aimed to help people to survive; unfortunately the SS had too many well-informed informers. So a Judenrat stood between the hammer of the SS with its harsh orders and the anvil of the fellow inmates with their natural, but in no way realistic, expectations. When denying a request, the Judenrat could not state the real reasons and so these tragic figures are blamed even sixty years later for the sins of the SS.

HOW DID A JUDENRAT HAVE TO FACE THE SS?

At the time of “that darkness,” Jewish leaders could meet only high-ranking SS officers who had only strict margins of power and were themselves spied upon. Furthermore, the encounters were between those who hated and those who were hated, between one who was sitting comfortably in his armchair and one who had to stand for hours receiving foolish orders expressed in a rude way and could not make any objection. It should be noted that any encounter a Judenrat had with the SS Commander could turn out to be the last one. Indeed, Gens of Vilna had been shot in the mouth as soon he was about to enter the Commander’s Office, Eppstein of Theresienstadt had been shot in a nearby prison suddenly after having been put under arrest, etc.

Any request for allowance of conditions, for exemption from deportation transport, etc. had to be submitted in a way that an SS could understand. And in the event, the allowance or the exemption had not been granted for reasons never stated and which today can only be conjectured. Fellow inmates, followed years later by so-called historians, of course blame the Judenrat as not capable or brave enough.

A Judenrat, after having stood for hours before a rude SS officer, certainly could not behave in a polite, gentlemanlike way; the physical stress should be properly considered. In the states allied with Hitler, the Jewish leaders had some possibility of approaching higher ranking figures. In Bulgaria, it was possible to save almost the entire community and in Rumania a large part. In Slovakia, high-ranking officials had been bribed and the deportations had been stopped; a part of the community could survive.

HOW DID THE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE JUDENRAT ARISE?

The first to blame the Judenrat had been, already before the liberation, persons who stood safe in London, Jerusalem, New York or Geneva and, as shown by historians like Hilberg or Laqeur, they had been unable to start any useful action to help those who stood in the hell of that darkness. For such persons, the accusations raised by former inmates against the Judenrat, almost all dead as Martyrs, resulted in being very useful in order to divert attention from their failure to start any useful action, just as from their own political bankruptcy in 1938 and 1939.

The accusations raised by former inmates against the Judenrat can be subdivided into four classes:

1. Accusations arising from hysteria and a persecution complex which suddenly resulted in absurdity at hearings by investigating officers or magistrates.

2. Accusations raised by persons who had been prevented by the Judenrat from trafficking in various ways.

3. Accusations raised by persons for the denial of petty, but absurd, favours.

4. Accusations raised, mainly by Communists, for the purpose of political hatred. Indeed in Poland, the Communist government had an interest in blaming the Judenrat and speaking about Jewish accomplices, in order to have the support of anti-Semite nationalists. Besides those who wanted to divert attention from their failures to help or to politically bankrupt, the absurd accusations against the Judenrat turned out to be advantageous for banks, insurance companies, big corporations and many persons who had bought Jewish properties at very bargain prices. Indeed, the few survivors among the Judenrat – Loewenhertz (Wien), Murmelstein (Wien/Theresienstadt), Cohen (Netherlands) – would have been precious for their knowledge about details of the seizures of Jewish properties in order to obtain a prompt restitution, at a time when documents had been still available and survivors would have had so many more opportunities to start again. Some years later, the “revisionist historians” could speak about Jewish accomplices and guilt.

The writer of the present essay is the son of the last survivor among the few Judenrat who reached the liberation alive, and he feels therefore that it is his duty to fight for the reputation of those Martyrs who had left no one who could do this.

End quote from the writing of Wolf Mermelstein

 

 

 

 

 

October 2, 2016

How a 15-year-old girl was saved when gas chamber number 4 malfunctioned at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:33 am

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/true-stories/miracle-that-saved-girl-from-auschwitz-gas-chamber/news-story/e43b559c8fbd77709547cc31eccee4f2

On the website cited above, you can read the story of how 15-year-old Yvonne Engelmann was saved when gas chamber number 4 malfunctioned at Auschwitz-Birkenau — AND SHE WAS LEFT NAKED IN THE GAS CHAMBER OVERNIGHT.

Were there other naked girls who were in the gas chamber with her, and were also saved? The news story doesn’t tell us. Maybe the other girls are all dead now, and they didn’t get a book deal.

Gas chamber number 4 building

Gas chamber # 4 building

The building, shown in the old photo above, was blown up by Jewish inmates in a camp rebellion on October 7, 1944.

The photograph of Krema IV was taken in the Summer of 1943,  just after the building became operational as a gas chamber.

The gas chamber in Krema IV, which was disguised as a shower room, was located above ground in the wing of the building which is on the left side of the photo.

Note that the roof line of the gas chamber is lower than the roof of the main part of the building. Zyklon-B poison gas pellets were allegedly thrown into the fake shower room through windows on the outside wall of the gas chamber. [a good example of German engineering]

Crematorium IV was across the road from the beautiful brick building, called “die zentrale Sauna”. [the central sauna] This building was used for disinfecting the clothing and for processing the incoming prisoners, by giving them a shower.  The movie Schindler’s List shows incoming prisoners taking a shower in the central sauna.

Crematorium IV was also near “the little white house,” where gassing operations allegedly took place, starting in June 1942, before the Crematorium IV and Sauna buildings were completed.

In the movie “Schindler’s List,” women prisoners are shown exiting from the shower room in the Sauna building; they see the high brick chimney of Crematorium IV, which is across the road from the Sauna. The gas chambers in Crematorium IV and Crematorium V were above ground, but in the movie, the prisoners are shown going down steps into an underground undressing room.

The following quote from the news article tells Yvonne Engelmann’s story:

Begin quote

“I was 14 and a half when war broke out,” Yvonne tells news.com.au.

“I wasn’t allowed to go to school, I couldn’t walk on the street, I had to wear the yellow Star of David and couldn’t mix with any non-Jewish people. Friends I’d grown up with now totally ignored me, solely because I was born a Jew.

“My father was taken to the police station many times and we never knew if he would come back. One day he returned and his front teeth had been knocked out. We lived in fear constantly — we had no idea what would happen to us in the next hour, let alone in the next day.”

Born in Czechoslovakia to shopkeeper parents, Yvonne was an only child.

“I had the most wonderful childhood that anyone could wish for, but unfortunately it was short-lived.”

In the limbo of uncertainty, things went from bad to worse. Her parent’s shop was taken away and the family was forcibly removed from their home to a cramped Jewish ghetto.

At the approach of her 15th birthday, she and her family were taken from the ghetto — along with hundreds of others — to the railway station where they were piled into dozens of cattle wagons.

“Men, women, children, screaming babies — the journey was too horrific to even describe,” she recalls.

“There was no ventilation, it was hot, an overflowing tin bucket was the only toilet … we were stripped of our humanity.”

After five long, gruelling days, Yvonne and the rest of the human cargo had arrived at their final destination: Auschwitz. The most notorious Nazi death camp in history.

End quote

The news article includes a photo of the entrance into the Auschwitz main camp, not the entrance into the Auswitz-Birkenau camp. My photo below shows the entrance into the Birkenau camp.

Gate into Birkenau camp

My photo of the gate into Birkenau

 

 

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