Scrapbookpages Blog

March 7, 2016

Only 1 percent of the Jewish children at Terezin survived?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 6:54 am

If you ever take a city bus to Theresienstadt, be sure to ask for a ticket to Terezin, the name by which this place is now known.  The ticket seller will not know what you mean if you say Theresienstadt, which is the German name of the place that was called “the Paradise Ghetto” years ago when prominent Jews and their children were sent there.

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full here.

Begin quote

Life was anything but peaceful for Inge Auerbacher at a young age. From the time she was 7 years old to 10 her home was Terezin, a Nazi “holding” camp.

According to Auerbacher, she says 15,000 children passed through the Czechoslovakia camp and only one percent survived. Auerbacher was born in Germany and raised Jewish. Her father, Berthold Auerbacher, was a solider for the German Army during World War I. Just a child, she couldn’t fathom why her own country sent her there in 1942. “I didn’t know where I was,” she added.

“It was like going in to hell.”

71 years later, after she was freed in 1945, Auerbacher has written four books. She also has become a motivational speaker. Her message is to help create peace among everyone. Specifically, making sure no one is hungry and discriminated against like she harshly was in Terezin.

End quote

I have visited the town formerly known as Theresienstadt twice. I have a section about the town on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/index.html

The horrible building where little Inge was forced to live

The horrible building where little Inge was forced to live as a child in Theresienstadt

Children's nursery at Theresienstadt was converted to a post office

Theresienstadt children’s nursery  was converted into post office

The newspaper article continues with this quote:

Terezin, the performances setting, was a stopping place before people were sent to “The East” such as the Auschwitz gas chambers. Left behind were writings and artwork, salvaged by survivors, which first made “I never Saw Another Butterfly” a book. “They are memories of Prague or wherever they came from,” said Auerbacher. “Certainly some wrote the poems which signified  what was going on around them.”

Auerbacher spoke after the performance sharing her story and her message. A message she is hoping resonates uniting diverse backgrounds, not separating them.
End quote

Another building where children lived at Theresienstadt

Building where children lived at Theresienstadt

The building shown in the photo above is one of the first buildings that tourists see after getting off the bus to the camp.

A park at Theresienstadt with hotel in background

A park at Theresienstadt with hotel in background

One of 3 courtyards in Magdeburg building at Theresienstadt

One of three courtyards in Magdeburg building where Jewish self government was housed

You can see more photos of the buildings at Theresienstadt on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/GhettoTour/index.html

May 18, 2013

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

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

You can see photos of Theresienstadt on my website here.

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

The Nazis forced all Jews to wear a Star of David

The Nazis forced all Jews to wear a Star of David

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theresienstadt was an old military fort

Theresienstadt was an old military fort

Dry moat at Theresienstadt

Dry moat at Theresienstadt

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

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

May 16, 2013

Theresienstadt survivor says invasion by Russian Army prevented the completion of the gas chambers there

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:49 am

Way back on May 24, 2012, I blogged about Claude Lanzmann’s new documentary film, entitled Last of the Unjust, which will be shown at the Cannes film festival on Saturday and is expected to win an award.  I also blogged about Lanzmann’s film and the gas chambers at Theresienstadt here.

The Last of the Unjust mentions Nisko, the first settlement where the Jews were sent by Adolf Eichmann.  Dr. Wolf Murmelstein, the son of Benjamin Murmelstein, wrote an essay about his father and the Nisko settlement, which you can read on my website here.

The subject of gas chambers at the Theresienstadt concentration camp has been in the news lately, due to the release of Claude Lanzmann’s new film featuring Benjamin Murmelstein, the last Jewish leader at Theresienstadt, who gave testimony 10 years ago about the gas chambers at Theresienstadt for Lanzmann’s film Shoah.  His testimony wound up on the cutting room floor, but has now been included in Lanzmann’s new film.  You can read about Lanzmann and the film here.

In a recent news article which you can read in full here, Inge Auerbacher, a child survivor of Theresienstadt, [Terezin], was quoted as saying this:

Only the invasion of that area by the Russian Army prevented the completion of gas chambers at Terezin, [Auerbacher] said.

Inge Auerbacher was also quoted as saying this in her recent talk to students in Montana:

Holocaust deniers are everywhere she said, noting that the president of Iran claims the crematories in the concentration camps were just bakery ovens.

I also blogged here about the claim that the cremation ovens at Auschwitz were bakery ovens.

Inge was lucky to have survived the Theresienstadt camp; you can read about the death statistics at Theresienstadt on my website here.

This quote is from the newspaper article about Inge Auerbacher’s talk:

Auerbacher was born on Dec. 31, 1934, in a little German village, that was over 1,000 years old. There were 60 Jewish families there and they happily lived next door to Christian families. Her father was a textile merchant and a disabled World War I veteran. Her grandfather, who lived in another village, was also a German war veteran. “We were very patriotic. We died for Germany,” she said. “Yes, we were Jewish, but we were good Germans.”

Her name, she pointed out, is a very common German name for a girl. She wore German clothing, she spoke German, the only difference, she said, was where she worshipped (sic).

Things began to change in 1938 with the beginning of riots against Jewish neighborhoods. On Nov. 10, 1938, riots struck her village, and mobs broke out every window in the homes and businesses of Jews and her father and grandfather were arrested and taken to the concentration camp at Dachau. The mob desecrated the synagogue in their community.

Somehow, after a few weeks, her father and grandfather were allowed to come home, and they immediately began trying to find a way to leave Germany. They sold their home and moved in with her grandparents in an even smaller village. They applied to immigrate to the United States and were put on a waiting list more than 10 years long. “We were stuck, with great hopes of leaving,” she said.

Auerbacher recalls the time they lived in this little village as her only childhood. During that time, her grandfather died of a broken heart from the way Germany betrayed its war veterans and from the physical abuse he endured at Dachau.

In 1941, deportations in her part of Germany started in the winter. The school was closed and she never finished first grade. She didn’t go back to school until she was 15 years old. Her grandmother was deported first. The family did not know for some time, but she was taken to the Black Forest and shot. She lies in a mass grave today. Eventually, Auerbacher, her mother and father, were deported to Terezin [Theresienstadt], a concentration camp built in an old military garrison in what is now the Czech Republic.

Auerbacher remembers that they could take almost nothing when they were deported. A few articles of clothing, metal dishes, a bedroll, and, for her, her special dolly, “Marlene,” named after the German-American movie star Marlene Dietrich.

Her time in Terezin is a blur of brutality, squalor, hunger, sickness and sorrow. She suffered scarlet fever there and many other illnesses. Her hair was filled with lice and her body covered with boils. “Hunger was a constant companion. You didn’t think about anything else but food, food, food,” she said. “You either lived or you died,” she said.

Terezin was a staging place, a transit area where two-thirds of those sent there were eventually shipped to killing centers, and a third died there. Of the 50,000 children under the age of 15 who came through Terezin, only a little more than 100 survived. Only the invasion of that area by the Russian Army prevented the completion of gas chambers at Terezin, she said.

Throughout this brutal time, she said, her father never lost hope. He told his wife, you wait and see, you’ll ride in a car again someday.

His faith sustained them, and on May 8, they were finally liberated. Eventually, they returned to her grandmother’s village and lived in an apartment there. “We were a miracle that our family survived,” she said.

[…]

After retiring, she became an activist for the Holocaust, traveling to Europe, revisiting Terezin and the places of her youth, writing her books and starting on speaking tours.

Theresienstadt, now known as Terezin, is most famous for the Red Cross visit in June 1944.  A second Red Cross visit was scheduled for April 6, 1945 and Adolf Eichmann came to Theresienstadt on March 5, 1945 to check out the camp.  According to some Holocaust experts, that is when he ordered gas chambers to be built at Theresienstadt because the gas chambers at Auschwitz had been closed in November 1944, and he wanted to continue the genocide of the Jews at Theresienstadt.

By March 1945, there was complete chaos in Europe in the final days of the war and Theresienstadt had become shabby again, after the first Red Cross visit in June 1944. Most of the able-bodied Jews in the camp had been sent on the transports to Auschwitz, where there were factories in which the Jews were being put to work for the German war effort. Most of the remaining inmates were elderly people or young children, like 10 year-old Inge Auerbacher, who were not able to work. Eichmann ordered the town to be cleaned up again, and the ghetto passed a second Red Cross inspection in 1945 with a good report.

On April 15, 1945, all the Danish Jews in the ghetto were transported back to Denmark with the help of the Red Cross.

On May 3, 1945, the Nazis turned the whole Theresienstadt camp over to Red Cross workers who now had the difficult task of trying to save the survivors from a raging typhus epidemic.

Typhus had been brought into the Theresienstadt ghetto by 13,454 survivors of the eastern concentration camps who began arriving after April 20, 1945. Some of them had been sent to Auschwitz a few months earlier and were now returning. In the final days of the war, the Theresienstadt ghetto became a hell hole, where a typhus epidemic was totally out of control, just like the epidemic in the unfortunate Bergen-Belsen camp which the Nazis had voluntarily turned over to the British on April 15, 1945.

Typhus is caused by body lice, and the Germans had tried unsuccessfully to control the lice in the death camps in Poland by using Zyklon B, the same chemical that they used to kill the Jews in the homicidal gas chambers.

Way back in 2010, I blogged about the gas chambers at Theresienstadt here.

Lanzmann should get in touch with Inge Auerbacher immediately and set her straight about her denial of the gas chambers at Theresienstadt, which were most certainly finished, according to his new film.  Holocaust denial is against the law in 17 countries and Auerbacher could wind up in prison for 5 years for saying that the gas chambers at Terezin were not finished because the Russian Army arrived in the nick of time.