Scrapbookpages Blog

March 9, 2017

Republicans blocked a resolution which declared that Jews were the primary victims of the Holocaust

Filed under: Holocaust, Trump, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:04 am

I am blogging today about a news article which you can read in full at http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/02/07/republicans_block_vote_on_resolution_stating_that_holocaust_targeted_jews.html

This is the headline of the article:

House Republicans Avoid Voting on a Resolution Stating That the Holocaust Targeted Jews

The following quote is from the news article:;

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.

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

The problem is that President Donald Trump has not bowed low enough to the Jews, in spite of the fact that his daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner are both Jewish.

The victims of the Holocaust included many categories of people besides Jews. However, the non-Jews that were killed are not important. Only the Jews count, and Trump seems to ignore this. What is WRONG with him?

February 6, 2017

Is President Donald Trump a Holoaust denier?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Trump, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:13 am
Donald Trump's dance with the devil: Did the White House mean to wink at Holocaust deniers?

Donald Trump and Debora Lipstadt

A recent news article, which quotes Debora Lipstadt, hints that The Donald might be a Holocaust denier. Or maybe he is just ignorant about the Holocaust, in spite of the fact that his son-in-law Jared Kushner is Jewish.

http://www.salon.com/2017/01/31/donald-trumps-dance-with-the-devil-did-white-house-mean-to-wink-at-holocaust-deniers/

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

Begin quote

President Donald Trump has barely been in office for a week and already he’s being accused, by prominent and credible people, of aiding and abetting Holocaust denial. Both Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and conservative commentator John Podhoretz have gone public with such criticisms.

This outcry resulted from the White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which  omitted any mention that the Holocaust was an effort to get rid of the Jewish population of Europe. All previous presidents had made mention of the fact that while many non-Jewish people were killed in Nazi Germany’s concentration camps, the machinery of the Holocaust was created and effectively used to kill more than 60 percent of Europe’s Jewish population.

This omission is especially troubling in light of the fact that Holocaust denialism — which is about either outright denying or aggressively downplaying the Jewish genocide at the hands of the Nazis — is a common feature of the specific variety of white nationalism that’s being mainstreamed by Trump and his “alt-right” advisers, including Steve Bannon, who formerly ran Breitbart. The fact that Trump’s Holocaust statement was issued at almost the same time as his ban on refugees and immigrants from certain countries — which reminded many observers of the efforts to turn away Jewish refugees during World War II — did not help matters.

In addition, Trump is known to be fond of conspiracy theories, including overtly racist ones like the “birtherism” claim he lobbed at former president Barack Obama. Holocaust denial is the granddaddy of conspiracy theories, and many of the common tropes and strategies used by a wide range of conspiracy mongers can be traced to efforts to deny or explain away the Nazi campaign to murder Jews.

“The fact of the matter is that the Holocaust, as defined by historians, is not ‘all the bad things the Nazis did,’” explained historian Deborah Lipstadt over the phone. “The Nazis did lots and lots of bad things. But the Holocaust is the attempt to annihilate European Jewry.”

End quote

America does not have a law against Holocaust denial — yet, but Trump is setting a very bad example. It is time for him to get with the program, and honor the Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.

America should have a special day to acknowledge that Jews, who tried to escape the Nazis in Germany, were turned away when they tried to escape on the ship named the Saint Louis. The ship was forced to return to Germany where the passengers were killed by the Nazis in gas chambers. Oh, the humanity!

April 27, 2015

January 27th is Holocaust Remembrance Day

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:36 am
The ruins of one of the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The ruins of one of the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau

1945 photo of the same gas chamber ruins at Auschwitz-Birkenau

1945 photo of the same gas chamber ruins at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Actually, every day is Holocaust Remembrance Day, but today is one of several official  Holocaust remembrance days.

This quote is from an old article, written by Mark Weber, which is quoted in today’s news about Holocaust Remembrance Day:

Begin quote:

Holocaust Remembrance:
What’s Behind the Campaign?

By Mark Weber

Since the late 1970s “Holocaust Remembrance” has become ever more important in the United States and many other countries. The campaign to remember the Holocaust — often defined as the genocidal killing of six million Jews in Europe during the Second World War – includes numerous commemorative events, education courses in many schools, and a stream of motion pictures, television specials, books and magazine articles.

[…]

Every major American city has at least one Holocaust museum or memorial [except Sacramento, CA]. Worldwide there are more than 250 Holocaust museums and memorials, most of them in the US and Europe. The largest is the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, which is run by a taxpayer-funded federal government agency, and draws some two million visitors yearly.

The public is continually reminded of Jewish suffering during World War II. Between 1989 and 2003 alone, more than 170 films with Holocaust themes were made. In many American and European schools, and in all Israeli classrooms, a focus on the wartime suffering of Europe’s Jews is obligatory.

Yehuda Bauer, a prominent Holocaust specialist and a professor at Hebrew University in Israel, observed in 1992: “Whether presented authentically or inauthentically, in accordance with the historical facts or in contradiction to them, with empathy and understanding or as monumental kitsch, the Holocaust has become a ruling symbol of our culture… Hardly a month passes without a new TV production, a new film, a number of new books of prose or poetry dealing with the subject, and the flood is increasing rather than abating.”

[…]

On the occasion of the opening of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum on the Mall in Washington, noted Jewish author Melvin Jules Bukiet called the Museum a “statement of raw power,” and added: “It’s not Jewish tragedy that’s remembered on the Mall this week; it’s Jewish power to which homage is paid.”

[…]

Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish scholar who has held teaching posts at New York University and DePaul University, writes in his bestselling book, The Holocaust Industry, that “invoking The Holocaust” is “a ploy to delegitimize all criticism of Jews.” He adds: “By conferring total blamelessness on Jews, the Holocaust dogma immunizes Israel and American Jewry from legitimate censure… Organized American Jewry has exploited the Nazi holocaust to deflect criticism of Israel’s and its own morally indefensible policies.”

[…]

This view is echoed by another Jewish scholar, Tony Judt, director of the Remarque Institute at New York University:

“The Shoah [Hebrew term for Holocaust] is frequently exploited in America and Israel to deflect and forbid any criticism of Israel. Indeed, the Holocaust of Europe’s Jews is nowadays exploited thrice over: It gives American Jews in particular a unique, retrospective ‘victim identity’; it allows Israel to trump any other nation’s sufferings (and justify its own excesses) with the claim that the Jewish catastrophe was unique and incomparable; and (in contradiction to the first two) it is adduced as an all-purpose metaphor for evil — anywhere, everywhere and always — and taught to schoolchildren all over America and Europe without any reference to context or cause. This modern instrumentalization of the Holocaust for political advantage is ethically disreputable and politically imprudent.”

In Israel, says Tom Segev, a prominent Israeli journalist and author, the Holocaust has become “an object of worship.” Moreover, he writes, “the ‘heritage of the Holocaust,’ as it is taught in [Israel’s] schools and fostered in national memorial ceremonies, often encourages insular chauvinism and a sense that the Nazi extermination of the Jews justifies any act that seems to contribute to Israel’s security, including the oppression of the population in the territories occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War.”

Amira Hass, an award-winning Israeli journalist and author, is even more blunt. Writing in a leading Israeli daily paper, she says:

“… Israel has turned the liquidation of Europe’s Jews into an asset. Our murdered relatives are being enlisted to enable Israel to continue not giving a damn about international decisions against the occupation. The suffering our parents endured in the ghettoes and concentration camps that filled Europe, the physical and mental anguish and torment that our parents were subjected to every single day since the `liberation,’ are used as weapons to thwart any international criticism of the society we are creating here. This is a society with built-in discrimination on the basis of nationality, and the discrimination is spreading on either side of the Green Line. This is a society that is systematically continuing to banish the Palestinian nation from its land and usurp its rights as a nation and its chances for a humane future.”

The great lesson of the Holocaust, says Israel prime minister Ariel Sharon, is that Jews must “always remain vigilant and trust no one but ourselves. Jews can only rely on themselves.” Young Jews, he adds, “have the duty to bequeath the lesson, memories and stories, to underscore the importance of the existence of the Jewish state.”

End Quote

April 10, 2013

Where was Barak Obama on Holocaust Remembrance Day?

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:26 am

As far as I can determine, President Obama did not show up in person at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC to pay his respects, inside the Hall of Remembrance, to the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

The following quote is from this website:

President Barack Obama, who visited Yad Vashem on his trip to Israel last month, issued a statement saying the day offered a chance to remember the “beautiful lives lost” and to “pay tribute to all those who resisted the Nazis’ heinous acts and all those who survived.”

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, thinks that his visit to Yad Vashem last month takes care of his responsibility to “pay tribute” in person at our Holocaust Museum in the nation’s capitol on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

I previously blogged about Obama’s statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January 2012 here.

The photo below shows the 14th Street entrance into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; there is another entrance, on the other side of the building on 15th Street.

Entrance to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Entrance to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

On the ground floor of the Museum, there is a lighted glass stripe, which cuts across the floor of the Hall of Witness. The stripe is at a slight angle, as is everything in the Hall of Witness. Nothing is lined up straight with the walls; everything is out of kilter so that you get the subtle suggestion that something is not quite right here. The stairs to the second floor, at one end of the Hall of Witness, look like a ladder in a picture which appears to be smaller at the top.

The Hall of Witness is shown in the photo below.

The Hall of Witness inside the USHMM

The Hall of Witness inside the USHMM

At the top of the stairs in the Hall of Witness is a gentle arch which is an exact duplicate of the arch over the doorway of the brick gatehouse at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The photo below shows the “Gate of Death” at Auschwitz-Birkenau, through which the trains, carrying the Hungarian Jews, rolled into the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944.

Gentle arch over the gate into the Birkenau death camp

Gentle arch over the gate into the Birkenau death camp

The Hungarian Jews are important in the Holocaust saga because 400,000 of them were gassed in only 10 weeks time. The railroad line was extended into the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, right up to the gas chambers.  Most of the famous Holocaust survivors today are Hungarian Jews, who managed to escape the gas chambers.  Each survivor has his or her own story of how they beat the system and lived to write a book, documenting the horror.

The USHMM has permanent exhibits, which begin on the fourth floor and continue down to the third floor, then down to the second floor where the exit leads visitors into the Hall of Remembrance. Visitors must take an elevator to the fourth floor, where the first thing they see when the elevator door opens is a giant photo of bodies that were burned on railroad ties.  This photo purportedly proves that the evil Nazis burned Jews alive at Ohrdruf, which was the first camp seen by American soldiers.

The photo below shows the six-sided Hall of Remembrance, where ceremonies are held in honor of the 6 million who died in the Holocaust.

The Hall of Remembrance at the USHMM

The Hall of Remembrance at the USHMM

The 6,000 square-foot Hall of Remembrance, shown in the photo above, is on the second floor of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC at the end of the tour of the permanent exhibit. The room has 6 sides which represent the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, and the 6-pointed Star of David, which is the Jewish emblem.

The 6 walls of the Hall of Remembrance have black marble panels, engraved with the names of the major concentration camps in Poland and Germany. The 6 death camps, where the Jews were gassed, are on a separate panel. The six death camps were Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Trebkinka,  Auschwitz and Majdanek.

The Hall is three stories high and there is a 6-sided skylight at the top. The floor of the Hall of Remembrance is polished marble in a hexagonal pattern.

Six-sided skylight at the top of the Hall of Remembrance

Six-sided skylight at the top of the Hall of Remembrance

As you enter the Hall of Remembrance, the first thing you see is a rectangular block of black marble, topped by an eternal flame, as shown in the photo below. There are no real windows in the room but shafts of light are provided by narrow glass-covered slits at the four exterior corners of the building.

The altar topped by an eternal flame in the Hall of Remembrance

The altar topped by an eternal flame in the Hall of Remembrance

The photograph above shows a closeup of the black marble block, evocative of a coffin, which contains dirt from 38 of the concentration camps in Europe. The dirt was brought to America in urns, like those used by the Nazis for the ashes of the victims who were cremated, and in a touching ceremony, the dirt was deposited inside the block by Jewish survivors of the Holocaust.

Dirt from a cemetery in Europe, where American soldiers are buried, was also included, in honor of the American liberators of the Dachau, Buchenwald and Mauthausen concentration camps.

The black marble panel on the wall behind the eternal flame has this inscription: “Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children and to your children’s children.”

On the other side of the Hall, opposite the eternal flame, are two speaker’s stands, one on each side, resembling two pulpits in a church. It is from one of these stands that the President of the United States would have delivered his speech if he had gone to the Hall on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

As you might have guessed by now, the number 6 is of great importance in the story of the Holocaust. After the Jewish population of Palestine reached the magic number of 600,000, the country of Israel was born in 1948.

April 7, 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day starts Sunday evening, April 7, 2013

Filed under: Buchenwald, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:18 am

While searching for some news about Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins tonight, I came across a website which shows the photo below.  Under the photo are the words of General Eisenhower:  “Get it all on record now — get the films — get the witnesses — because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.”

I had never realized, until now, that it was Eisenhower who coined the phrase “[the Holocaust] NEVER HAPPENED.”

Photo of General Eisenhower at the Ohrdruf camp, April 7, 1945

Photo of General Eisenhower at the Ohrdruf camp, April 12, 1945

Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, will be observed this year starting Sunday evening, April 7th, the 27th of Nissan, and going through Monday night. In America, a ceremony will take place at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in the Hall of Remembrance; you can see photos of the Hall and read about it on my website here.

The world-wide, annual observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day is a celebration of the heroism of the Jews during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943.

So why would anyone use a photo of General Dwight D. Eisenhower viewing dead bodies at the Ordruf sub-camp of Buchenwald on April 12, 1945, the same day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt died? Wouldn’t a photo, taken during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, be more appropriate?

What does the discovery of the Ohrdruf labor camp by American soldiers on April 4, 1945 have to do with the Holocaust?

The prisoners at Ohrdruf were not necessarily Jewish. The dead prisoners in the photo could have been political prisoners, who had been sent to Ohrdruf from the Buchenwald camp, which was the main camp for French Resistance Fighters.  The prisoners in the photo had most likely been killed by their fellow prisoners; the first American soldiers on the scene on April 4th had observed that the blood was still wet, although the SS men had left on April 2nd, along with most of the prisoners.

The dead men in the photo were probably Kapos, [Captains] who had helped the Nazis run the Ohrdruf camp.  However, the story that Eisenhower was told on his visit is that these were sick prisoners, who had been killed by the Nazis on April 2nd because there was no room on the trucks that were evacuating the prisoners who couldn’t walk.

A still shot from a film taken by the Americans during Eisenhower's visit

A still shot from a film taken by the Americans during Eisenhower’s visit

The photo above shows Eisenhower viewing the bodies that had been left out for a week.  The man in the center, wearing civilian clothes was a Kapo, who was killed the next day by the other survivors of Ohrdruf.

Unfortunately, the photo that was chosen by the The Other News website to commemorate Yom HaShoa is the absolute worst photo that they could have used.  The killing of prisoners at Ohrdruf, by other prisoners, has nothing to do with the Holocaust, which is the term for the genocide of the Jews.

In America, Holocaust Remembrance Day will be celebrated at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  The photo below shows a picture that hangs in the Museum.  A copy of the Confession of Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz, is shown, along with a photo of Hungarian Jews walking to the gas chamber, carrying their bundles.

Photo that hangs in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Photo that hangs in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Photo taken at Ohrdruf which hangs in the USHMM

Photo taken at Ohrdruf which hangs in the USHMM

A photo, taken on April 13, 1945 after the liberation of Ohrdruf, is shown above.  This photo is the first thing you see when you step off the elevator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Many people, including Professor Harold Marcuse, have claimed that prisoners were burned alive at Ohrdruf, which is why this photo is shown in America’s Holocaust Museum.

A photo of the 15th Street entrance into the United States Holocaust Museum is shown below.  On the right hand side, you can see the Hall of Remembrance, which has 6 sides, to represent the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Eisenhower Plaza in front of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Eisenhower Plaza in front of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

When I visited the USHMM in the year 2000, four sides of the hexagon, which forms the Hall of Remembrance, had a quotation engraved on the outside wall. These quotations were from the speeches of four recent American presidents: Jimmy Carter (who was president when the museum was first conceived), Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Bush, Sr., and Ronald Reagan.  Eisenhower’s prophetic quote is in the most prominent spot, and it is also the most famous: “The things I saw beggar description…the visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations to propaganda. Ohrdruf April 15, 1945.”

The photo above shows the facade of the Holocaust Museum building, which faces a square, named Eisenhower Plaza. The building has several features which suggest places associated with the Holocaust. Sticking up on the left side of the building is what looks like the tower on top of the red brick gatehouse building at Birkenau, the infamous death camp where the Jews were gassed.

To the right of the tower, as shown in the photo below, is a glass enclosed walkway which looks somewhat like the open wooden walkways which were put over some of the streets of the Warsaw and Lodz ghettos in Poland so that non-Jews could pass through the ghetto on the streetcar, or walk on the street below, without having to come in contact with the Jews. There are two more glass walkways on the west side of the building on the third and second floors.

A two-part sculpture in front of the 15th St. entrance into the USHMM

A two-part sculpture in front of the 15th St. entrance into the USHMM

A two-part modern sculpture entitled “Loss and Regeneration,” designed by Jewish artist Joel Shapiro, who was born in America in 1941, stands in the courtyard on the 15th Street side of the building. One section of the sculpture is near the sidewalk, and the other part near the door to the museum, as shown in the photo above.

The abstract black figures symbolize the destruction of European Jewry and the regeneration of the Jews; the first section is a house which has been tipped over and is now balanced precariously on the tip of one end of the peaked roof, symbolizing the loss of Jewish homes when the Nazis destroyed the shtetls, as the Jewish villages in Poland were called.

The second part of the “Loss and Regneration” sculpture is shown in the photo below.

Part of the "Loss and Regeneration" sculpture is in front of the Holocaust Museum

Part of the “Loss and Regeneration” sculpture is in front of the Holocaust Museum

I don’t want to read anything in the comments about the United States Holocaust Museum being in the “shadow of the Washington monument.”  The photo of the Washington Monument below very clearly shows that its shadow does not fall on the Museum.

The USHMM is close to the Washington Monument

The USHMM is close to the Washington Monument

In the foreground of the photo above, you can see part of the “Loss and Regeneration” sculpture on Eisenhower Plaza in front of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  The red brick building on the right is not part of the Museum.

So exactly where is the USHMM located?  In the shadow of the Washington Monument, or not?

The Capitol Mall in Washington, DC is a long narrow park, which extends two and a half miles from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial at the west end. Lined up along both sides of the Mall are our national museums of American history, art and science. The midway point of the Mall is marked by the Washington monument, which stands like a beacon in a field surrounded by American flags. The street that crosses the Mall in front of the Washington Monument is 15th street, which runs north and south, and goes past the east side of the iron fence surrounding the White House grounds. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum is about a mile from the Capitol and half a mile from the White House. It was built on Federal land with funds donated by private citizens.

At the Washington monument, 15th street suddenly changes to Raoul Wallenberg Place. This section of 15th street was renamed in 1985 in honor of the diplomat who helped thousands of Hungarian Jews escape deportation to the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in what is now Poland, by providing them with papers that said they intended to emigrate to Sweden after the war. Among the survivors saved by Wallenberg was Senator Tom Lantos, who emigrated to America after the liberation of Europe from the Fascists.

On the corner of Raoul Wallenberg Place and Independence Avenue (the street which forms the southern border of the park-like Mall) stands an old traditional style red brick building, now called the Ross Center, which houses the administrative offices of the museum and the museum cafe.  This is the red brick building shown in the photo above.

The Ross center is named after Eric F. Ross whose parents, Albert and Regina Rosenberg, died in Auschwitz in 1942. The back of the Ross Center building is on Independence Avenue while the entrance faces a brick-paved courtyard in front of the 15th street entrance to the USHMM, which is set back from the street. From the courtyard, there is a perfect view of the Washington Monument, as seen in the photograph above.

April 3, 2013

Ebensee, a sub-camp of Mauthausen, was an end destination for Jews during the Holocaust

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:31 am

Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2013 is on Sunday, the 7th of April.

On this website, I read the following quote about Holocaust Remembrance Day:

This Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), take time to remember the victims of the Holocaust.

It is very important to remember this dark time in history, to think about how millions of people were destroyed, because of hatred. The hatred and ignorance continues today, as there are factions of society in America, the Middle East, Europe, and around the globe that are accepting and propagating Holocaust denial.

It’s hard to fathom, but there are people who hate Israel so much, they are bent on “re-writing history” with a concerted effort of Holocaust denial propaganda. They prey on the ignorant and those who already have hate in their hearts for the Jewish people and tell them that the Holocaust never happened, and that it was an elaborate fabrication.

The photo below was included on the website with the above quote.

Prisoners who were liberated from the Ebensee subcamp in May 1945

Prisoners who were liberated from the Ebensee subcamp in May 1945

According to Martin Gilbert, the author of a book entitled Holocaust, Ebensee was an “end destination” for Jewish prisoners who were evacuated from camps farther east as the Soviet Army advanced toward Germany. In the last months of the war, the Ebensee camp was seriously over-crowded with these exhausted prisoners, many of whom had just arrived in the weeks prior to the liberation. Gilbert wrote the following regarding the evacuations and the death marches:

Jews who had already survived the ‘selections’ in Birkenau, and work as slave laborers in factories, had now to survive the death marches. Throughout February and March [1945] columns of men, and crowded cattle trucks, converged on the long-existing concentration camps, now given a new task. These camps had been transformed into holding camps for the remnant of a destroyed people, men and women whose labor was still of some last-minute utility for a dying Reich, or whose emaciated bodies were to be left to languish in agony in one final camp.

According to Gilbert’s book, a train loaded with 2,059 Jews arrived at Ebensee on March 3, 1945. They had survived the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau and had first been sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp, then on to Ebensee. Forty-nine of the Jewish prisoners died on the train, and on their first day in the camp, 182 died during the disinfection procedure. New arrivals had to be disinfected to kill the body lice which spreads typhus. There was a typhus epidemic in Mauthausen and the sub-camps and, according to Martin Gilbert, 30,000 prisoners died in these camps in the last four months of the war.

Mauthausen and the sub-camp of Ebensee were not camps specifically for Jews.  The photograph below was taken on May 6, 1945, after Ebensee had been liberated by soldiers in the 80th Division of the US Third Army on May 4th and 5th. The banner, written in French, reads “The French prisoners Salute the Allies.” It was erected by the anti-Nazi resistance fighters who were imprisoned here after being captured and accused of doing acts of sabotage during the Nazi occupation of France.

Ebensee sub-camp of Mauthausen after it was liberated in May 1945

Ebensee sub-camp of Mauthausen after it was liberated in May 1945

The prisoners in the photo, shown on the website about Holocaust Remembrance day, may or may not have been Jewish prisoners who had been evacuated from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Gross Rosen and then to Ebensee.

The photo below shows German prisoners marching out of the camp after it was liberated.

German criminals and Resistance fighters marching out of Ebensee camp

German criminals and political prisoners marching out of Ebensee camp

According to Martin Gilbert, the last death marches of the war began on May 1, 1945 as the American Army approached; prisoners from the main camp at Mauthausen and the sub-camps at Gusen and St. Valentin were marched to Gunskirchen and Ebensee. Hundreds of them died from exhaustion, or were shot because they couldn’t keep up, or as they attempted to escape. When American troops in the 80th Infantry Division arrived on May 4, 1945, there were around 60,000 prisoners from 25 different countries at Ebensee.
Evelyn le Chene, the historian of Mauthausen, wrote that, as the American armies approached Ebensee, all thirty thousand prisoners in the camp were ordered into a tunnel packed with explosives. There were similar reports of plans to kill all the prisoners at other camps, such as Nordhausen, and even Dachau, but none of these plans were ever carried out.

Hitler did not want the prisoners to be released to get revenge on German and Austrian civilians. In fact, the Russian liberators at Theresienstadt did release the Jewish prisoners there, and according to Theo Richmond, the author of the book Konin, One Man’s Quest For a Vanished Jewish Community, the former inmates did get “nekomeh” or Revenge. Richmond quotes Louis Lefkowitz, a Jewish survivor of Buchenwald and Theresienstadt, who recounted the following story regarding German civilians who were trying to flee from the Russian soldiers who were also exacting vengeance on the Germans:

I saw nekomeh in Theresienstadt. For two days after the liberation, the Russians let us do whatever we want. I was too weak to join in, but I saw our boys bring in Germans who were running away on horse and wagons. They brought them in – whole families on the wagons. They put gasoline over the people and burned them up. Wagons with whole families were burning day and night for two days.

The following quote, regarding the plan to force all the Ebensee prisoners into a tunnel, is from Evelyn le Chene:

The prisoners, to a man, blankly refused. The SS guards were paralyzed with indecision. The hordes of humans swayed and murmured. For the first time since their arrest, the prisoners who were not already dying saw the possibility that they might just survive the war. Understandably, they neither wished to be blown up in the tunnel, nor mowed down by SS machine guns for refusing. But they knew that in these last days, many of the SS had left and been replaced by Ethnic Germans. […] With the war all but over, they were thinking of the future, and the punishment they would receive for the slaughter of so many human beings was something they still wished – even with their already stained hands – to avoid. And so the prisoners won the day.

So what is the point that I am trying to make in my blog post today?  I think that the website, that is asking for money for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, could have used a better photo in their effort to combat Holocaust denial.  The prisoners in the photo, taken at Ebensee, do not look Jewish to me.

I like the photo below, which is a still photo from the documentary made by the Soviet liberators of Auschwitz.

Survivor of Auschwitz shown in a movie made by the Soviet liberators

Survivor of Auschwitz shown in a documentary made by the Soviet liberators

The expression on this woman’s face says it all.  She is angry because she has been pulled out of her warm bed, wrapped up in a thick comforter, to pose for a documentary.  She didn’t leave with the prisoners who marched out of the camp and were taken first to the Gross Rosen concentration camp, and then on to Ebensee.  No, she stayed put, because she knew that she would not be killed if she didn’t join the death march out of Auschwitz.

January 26, 2013

January 27, 2013 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:00 am

January 27, 2013 is the 68th anniversary of the official liberation of the three Auschwitz camps by the Soviet Union on January 27, 1945.  The German SS men, who ran the camp, had left on January 18, 1945, taking 60,000 prisoners with them on a “death march” out of the camp.

You can read all about Holocaust Remembrance Day here on a website, which includes a video about the Auschwitz Album, a book of photos that gives “visual evidence” of the mass murder at Auschwitz.

Still shot from a movie taken by the Soviets after Auschwitz was liberated

Still shot from a movie taken by the Soviets after Auschwitz was liberated

I previously blogged about International Holocaust Remembrance Day here and here.

Artwork at the entrance to the Auschwitz Museum

Artwork at the entrance to the Auschwitz Museum

The photo above was taken by me in 2005. The green arrow in the photo points to the exit door from the Auschwitz administration building.  The next thing that visitors see is the iconic sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” over the entrance to the Auschwitz I main camp.

Two tourists entering the Auschwitz main camp in 1998

Two tourists entering the Auschwitz main camp in 1998

Last year, a new record was set for the number of visitors to Auschwitz: over 1.4 million people visited the camp.  In 1998, when I first visited the Auschwitz complex, there were only a few visitors to the main camp. No one, besides me and my tour guide, was there when I toured the Auschwitz II (Birkenau) camp in 1998.  (Raul Hilberg wrote a three-volume set of books entitled The Destruction of the European Jews after touring only the main Auschwitz camp for half a day; he did not visit the Birkenau camp where the Jews were gassed.)

Recent photo of visitors leaving the Auschwitz main camp

Recent photo of visitors leaving the Auschwitz main camp which is now a Museum

Children marching out of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp after they were liberated on Jan. 27, 1945

Children marching out of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp after they were liberated by the Soviet Union on Jan. 27, 1945

The ruins of Krema III, one of the four gas chamber buildings at Auschwitz-Birkenau, are shown in the photo below.

Ruins of Krema III gas chamber building

Ruins of Krema III gas chamber building which was blown up on Jan. 20, 1945

There were 611 children in the Birkenau camp who stayed behind when the camp was evacuated on January 18, 1945. There were 4,428 women and girls and 169 boys who stayed behind when the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex was evacuated. Around 2,000 prisoners were left behind in the men’s camp at Birkenau; there were around 1250 men in the main camp who did not join the march out of the camp and 850 men, including famous survivor Primo Levi, who chose to stay behind at Monowitz.

According to Holocaust historian Danuta Czech, the evacuation of the three camps began in the early morning hours of January 18, 1945 when 500 women with children were escorted out of the Birkenau camp by SS guards. They reached Wodzislaw on January 21st. The men arrived the next day and all men, women and children were loaded onto open railroad cars and taken to Germany.

The prisoners at the Auschwitz III camp (Monowitz), and all the prisoners in the Auschwitz sub-camps, marched to the four concentration camps at Gleiwitz near the German border, arriving on January 21st. They were then taken on trains to the Buchenwald, Dachau, Sachsenhausen or Mauthausen camps in the Greater German Reich.

Old women who stayed behind when Auschwitz was evacuated

Women who stayed behind when Auschwitz was evacuated on Jan. 18, 1945

Jews waiting for the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Photo from Auschwitz Album shows Jews waiting for the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The Hungarian Jews, shown in the photo above, are looking toward the Sauna building, where there was a shower room.  Behind them are the clothing warehouse buildings, known as “Canada.” There were no showers for them; this photo is “visual evidence” that these Jews are waiting for the gas chamber in Krema IV (not shown), which is behind them, and to the left in the photo. Krema IV was blown up by the prisoners.

Child survivors leaving the barracks at Birkenau after the camp was liberated

Child survivors leaving the barracks at Birkenau after the camp was liberated

Each of the survivors in the photo above has a story to tell about how they beat the odds and were not chosen by Dr. Death (Dr. Josef Mengele) for the gas chamber.

January 30, 2012

Who wrote Obama’s statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:59 am

On January 27th, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Obama issued a “written statement” which was reported by the press.  You can be sure that he didn’t write this statement himself.  Not after he goofed when he said this in a speech in May 2008:

“I had a uncle who was one of the, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps,” Obama said, slowly and methodically. “And the story in my family is that when he came home, he just went into the attic, and he didn’t leave the house for six months. Alright? Now, obviously something had affected him deeply, but at the time, there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain.”

Did whoever wrote Obama’s Remembrance Day statement get it right this time?  This is a quote from Obama’s statement on January 27, 2012:

“We commit ourselves to keeping their memories alive not only in our thoughts, but through our actions,” Obama said in a written statement.

“As we remember all those who perished in camps from Auschwitz to Treblinka, Dachau to Sobibor, we pledge to speak truth to those who deny the Holocaust.”

I would not have put Dachau in the same sentence as Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor. Dachau was not a death camp, although thousands “perished” there from typhus.  The other three were death camps where Jews were gassed.

Even Auschwitz doesn’t belong in the same list as Treblinka and Sobibor. Auschwitz was a large complex consisting of three separate camps; it was a transit camp and a labor camp, as well as a death camp. Since this sentence seems to be directed at “those who deny the Holocaust,” the author should have named Belzec instead of Dachau.  Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec were strictly extermination camps where Jews were gassed immediately upon arrival, while Dachau was mainly a camp for political prisoners.

Charles T. Payne, who helped to liberate Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, was Barak Obama’s great uncle, the brother of his maternal grandmother. Charles T. Payne was a member of Company K, 355th Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division. According to an Associated Press story, published on June 4, 2009, Charles T. Payne’s unit arrived at the Ohrdruf camp on April 6, 1945. Ohrdruf was discovered by American soldiers on April 4, 1945.  The camp had been abandoned on April 2nd.

Why is all this important?  In his written statement, Obama said “we pledge to speak truth to those who deny the Holocaust.”  In speaking the truth to Holocaust deniers, one must pay attention to details.  Holocaustians regard any tiny detail that deviates from their official story as “Holocaust denial.”  When someone lumps together Dachau, Treblinka and Sobibor, this borders on “Holocaust denial.”

Dr. Deborah Lipstadt famously wrote in Denying the Holocaust that there is no “other side” when discussing the Holocaust.  There is the official version, which is protected by law in at least 16 countries, and that’s it.  Anyone who tries to present the “other side” is a criminal, as far as the Holocaustians are concerned.  In view of this, President Obama should not have mentioned “those who deny the Holocaust.”  It was a big mistake for him to acknowledge that there are people who believe in the “other side” of Holocaust history.

Yesterday, Hillary Rodham Clinton issued her statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day.  This quote is from her statement:

This past year, we have seen Holocaust denial increasing throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. There has been an upsurge in anti-Semitic acts, including hateful graffiti, cemetery desecrations, verbal and physical assaults on Jews, incitement to anti-Semitic violence, and cartoons demonizing Jews.

Denying the truth of the Holocaust is an insult to history. We urge governments, civil society leaders, clerics, human rights groups, and all people of conscience in all nations to speak out against this kind of hatred. The United States will work with all of those who are committed to a world free of anti-Semitism and all other forms of ethnic or religious intolerance.

Her statement puts heavy emphasis on Holocaust denial.  Big mistake — in my humble opinion.  She should have accentuated the positive, instead of bringing up the negative.  Maybe a reference to the Nuremberg IMT, which provides irrefutable proof of the Holocaust, or some mention of the new discovery of mass graves at Treblinka, would have been better.

April 30, 2011

Holocaust Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 3:31 pm

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yom Hashoah which falls on May 2nd this year, is observed in honor of the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which began on April 19, 1943.  According to the Museum, the United States has an official eight-day period, known as Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, that begins the Sunday before Yom Hashoah. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is mandated by Congress to lead this national observance in America. The 8 Days of Remembrance this year will begin on May 1st.

On the Hebrew calendar, April 19, 1943 was the 14th of Nissan – the day before Passover, a very important and happy holiday. Orthodox Jews objected to this date for a Holocaust Remembrance day.  The 27th of Nissan was chosen instead for Holocaust Remembrance because this date falls beyond Passover but within the time span of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ended with the destruction of Mila 18, a house which was the entrance to an underground bunker where Jews were hiding from the SS men who were trying to take them to the Treblinka extermination camp.  Today a memorial stone marks the location of the house.    (more…)