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September 4, 2012

300 Luxembourg policemen killed at Dachau — Why has this atrocity been suppressed?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 2:05 pm

I was doing some research on the Dachau concentration camp today, when I came across this blog:  Sráid Marx, An Irish Marxist Blog, which has some information here about a tour that the blogger took at Dachau with an Irish tour guide.

This quote is from Sráid Marx, An Irish Marxist Blog:

[The Dachau tour guide] told the story of the three hundred Luxembourg policemen who refused to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler and who were sent to Dachau as punishment.  When they arrived they were ordered to do so again in the main square.  When they again refused seventeen were selected at random and executed.  The same ritual was held every year.

Although I have read many books about Dachau, and I have visited the Memorial Site five times, this is the first and only time that I have ever heard about 300 Luxembourg policemen being killed at Dachau, or about the ritual that was held every year.  One would think that this atrocity would be well known.  I have never taken a tour at Dachau; I have always wandered around on my own.  Maybe I should go back one more time and take a tour given by an Irish guide.

I tried searching the Internet for more information on the 300 Luxembourg policemen, but all I could find was this website which sells military items.  This quote is from the website:

Accused: Kolb, August Heinrich 4 Years 3 Months. Crime Category:NS-Crimes in etainment Centres, War Crimes Court: LG Nürnberg-Fürth 541013 BGH 550624 Country where the crime was committed: Germany Crime Location: HS KL Sachsenhausen Crime Date: 42-45 Victims: Prisoners, Prisoners of War. Nationality: German, Luxembourg, Polish, Soviet, unknown.Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Sachsenhausen. Subject of the proceeding: Participation of a Schutzhaftlagerführer in the hanging of prisoners on the roll-call square as well as in individual executions of a total of at least 100 persons, who were killed in the factory court-yard by a shot in the back of the neck (‘Genickschuss’) or by hanging, on orders of the Reich Security Main Office. Shooting of at least 50 prisoners, who were unfit for work as well as of 19 Luxembourg policemen, who had refused to take the oath of loyalty on Hitler. Participation in the shooting of at least 20 prisoners, who fell behind because of exhaustion during an evacuation march in April 1945

Note that the above reference is to the shooting of 19 Luxembourg policemen at the Sachsenhausen camp, not at Dachau.

Just how reliable is the information given by the Irish tour guide at Dachau?  Here is another quote about what the Irish tour guide said:

He told the story [of] Johann Georg Elser, a religious worker who was a keen defender of workers’ rights who had voted for the Communist Party until 1933. In 1939 he planted a bomb in a Munich beer hall where Hitler was due to speak.  Hitler was due to fly back to Berlin that night but because of fog it was thought he should take the train so he left earlier than planned.  The bomb missed Hitler by 13 minutes.  Elser was caught, severely tortured by the Gestapo, and incarcerated in Dachau.  Hitler planned that when the war was won he would be put in front of a show trial and executed.

Just a few short weeks before the end of the war Hitler ordered the killing of Elser and he was shot in the bunker at Dachau.

I am surprised that a tour guide at Dachau is now telling visitors that Georg Elser was shot in the camp bunker.  The Dachau Memorial Site was previously telling visitors that Elser was killed by a bomb that hit the camp on April 9, 1945. This was the same day that a British prisoner, Sigismund Payne-Best, arrived at the camp; he had been transferred to Dachau from Buchenwald.  All the prisoners in the bunker had been taken to a bomb shelter on the day that the bomb hit, so Elser could not have been killed by the bomb.

I blogged about the death of Georg Elser at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/who-killed-georg-elser-the-man-who-tried-to-kill-hitler/

So now the truth comes out: it was Hitler who ordered the shooting of Georg Elser.   Hitler thought that the British were involved in the plot to kill him. Did Hitler give an order to kill Elser because he didn’t want anyone to know that the British were involved in the assassination attempt? Or was it Sigismund Payne-Best who gave the order to kill Elser?  I previously blogged about the death of Georg Elser here.

Here is one more quote about what the Irish tour guide told visitors to Dachau:

Our guide pointed out that the concentration camp was only a relatively small part of the whole and the much larger part was the SS training camp.  Today it is a training camp for the German police.  In 1972, for the Munich Olympic Games and because of the widespread media attention this would bring, the authorities knocked down parts of the site and built a mound between this training camp and the concentration camp.  In this way it would not be possible to view the training camp and it would perhaps not arouse questions.  This is now covered in grass and trees today.A campaign involving survivors succeeded in getting part of this removed so that today you can see, but not enter, this camp, and see one of the original but otherwise unremarkable buildings still in existence.

On my first three visits to Dachau in 1997, 2001 and 2003, the entrance into the camp was on the east side, through a hole in the fence around the camp, as shown in the 2003 photo below.

The east side of Dachau Memorial Site where the former tourist entrance was located

My photo below shows some of what is left of the SS training camp today.  The mounds that you see on each side cover the old factory buildings that were torn down. The “authorities” did not build these mounds.

A view of the SS training camp that was next to the Dachau concentration camp

Compare the two photos below.  The old black and white photo below shows factories that were formerly outside the entrance through the Dachau gatehouse.  These factories were torn down and covered over with grass, which you see in recent photos.

Current tourist entrance to Dachau Memorial Site has mounds covered with grass on each side

Old photo shows a large factory near the entrance into the  Dachau concentration camp

There was previously a high wall, built by the American military, which separated the Dachau Memorial Site from the SS training camp, which the US Army took over and occupied for 28 years.  This wall was torn down when the Memorial Site officials decided to allow tourists to enter the camp through the Arbeit Macht Frei gate, just as the prisoners did.  The incoming prisoners had to walk from the train station in the town of Dachau to the camp. They did not arrive on the train tracks that you see at Dachau today.  These were narrow gauge tracks for transporting goods into the camp.

March 17, 2010

Gordon Hogan, Dachau tour guide

Today, I read an article posted on this website with the headline “Genocide, the stench of death and eating lunch in a gas chamber.”

The article is about an Irishman from Tipperary, named Gordon Hogan, who conducts tours for visitors to the Dachau Memorial Site. According to the article, Gordon “is one of the leading tour guides at the Nazi death camp of Dachau.”

The following quote is from the article:

“Gordon, 29, who lives in Munich, knows everything there is to know about the dark history of the horrific Dachau concentration camp.

“So who better to show the camp to the huge number of visitors who come to see it annually than the Templemore artist?”

Who better?  I think maybe someone who knows about the real history of the Dachau concentration camp would be better. The visitors probably already know the “dark history of the horrific Dachau concentration camp.”  What the visitors need is an unbiased tour guide with a Neutral Point of View (NPV) and a knowledge of history.

A visitor to Dachau who took Gordon Hogan’s tour on June 30, 2008 wrote this on his blog:

“… we got to see the actual crematorium and gas room that prisoners would be taken to to kill and later incinerate.  It was a somber place to be but I am very glad to be given the opportunity to witness this place first hand.  The gas room was a serious site.  To stand in a room where at least, I think, about a 1,000 prisoners were gased (sic) to death was a sad place to see.”

Some time ago, I read another visitor’s blog about her trip to Dachau. She didn’t identify her tour guide by name, but she did identify him by his accent; how many tour guides with an “Irish accent” could there be at Dachau? I’m guessing that there is only one: Gordon Hogan.

Regarding the Dachau gas chamber, the blogger wrote this:

The guide spoke of how they cleverly pumped warm air into the room, waited for the poisonous capsule to change to cyanide and then 20 minute for the people to die. Then they moved the bodies into the next room and removed the gold fillings. Finally onto the ovens.

Dachau gas chamber has heating vent near the floor, May 2001

The photo above shows the west wall of the Dachau gas chamber; notice the square vent in the corner near the floor.  This appears to be a heating vent to warm what looks like a shower room.  A portable sign in the corner informed visitors in 2001 that this room was never used as a gas chamber or never put into operation as a gas chamber; the sign was removed in 2003.

According to tour guide Gordon Hogan, poisonous capsules were poured into the Dachau gas chamber through two vents on the east wall of the room, as shown in the photo below.

Two vents on the east wall of the Dachau gas chamber

Close-up of  vent through which cyanide pellets were poured into the Dachau gas chamber

The vents shown in the photos above are on the opposite side of the room from the heater. Wouldn’t it have been more efficient to put the heater closer to where the pellets were poured in so that they would heat up faster?

There are two serious problems with Gordon Hogan’s version of how poisonous capsules were put into the Dachau gas chamber disguised as a shower room.  The first problem is that the American prosecutors at Nuremberg showed a film of the gas chamber in which it was explained that the gas came through the shower heads and the gas flow was regulated by control wheels behind the west wall of the gas chamber, as shown in the photo below. According to the evidence presented at Nuremberg, the poisonous gas was not in the form of capsules.

Still photo from film shown as evidence at Nuremberg

Notice the peep hole in the photo above.  The person who was operating the control wheels could look inside the gas chamber to see when all the prisoners were dead.  There was no peep hole on the opposite wall where Gordon tells visitors that poisonous capsules were poured onto the floor. Shouldn’t the peep hole be on the side where the gas is being poured in?

In the film that was shown at Nuremberg, the narrator said that poison gas was vented through empty light fixture boxes and that the input of the gas was regulated by push buttons which you can see in the black and white photo above.

Empty light fixture box described as a “gas vent” in Nuremberg film

The photo above shows a light fixture box in the northeast corner of the Dachau gas chamber. Note the wiring for the light fixture that was removed. This box was described as a “gas vent” in the film, made on May 3, 1945, which was shown at the Nuremberg IMT on November 29, 1945.

How come the American liberators didn’t notice the openings on the east wall where Gordon Hogan tells visitors that poisonous capsules were poured into the room?  Why weren’t these openings mentioned at the Nuremberg IMT? Could it be that these openings weren’t there until much later?

The film that was shown at Nuremberg, which includes the gas chamber footage, can be seen on YouTube.

The second problem with Gordon’s version of the gassing procedure is that Dachau had four machines that were supplied by the Degesh company, which manufactured the poisonous pellets, but there was no Degesh machine in the gas chamber disguised as a shower room.  The Degesh machines were installed in the four disinfection chambers where the clothing was deloused with Zyklon-B, the same gas that was used for homicidal gassing. These machines automatically opened a can of Zyklon-B pellets, poured them into a wire basket and then blew warm air over the pellets.  After the clothing had been deloused, the pellets were retrieved from the basket, put back into the can and returned to the Degesh company to have more poison put into the pellets.  In Gordon’s version of the story, the pellets would have gone down the six floor drains in the gas chamber and poisoned the whole camp. There were no floor drains in the disinfection chambers for this very reason.

Machine used for putting gas pellets into Dachau disinfection chambers

To me, the big question is why didn’t the Germans use one of these Degesh machines in the homicidal gas chamber where people were gassed at Dachau?

Here is a quote from “The Official Report by the U.S. Seventh Army, released only days after the camp was liberated”:

“The internees who were brought to Camp Dachau for the sole purpose of being executed were in most cases Jews and Russians. They were brought to the compound, lined up near the gas chambers, and were screened in a similar manner as internees who came to Dachau for imprisonment. Then they were marched to a room and told to undress. Everyone was given a towel and a piece of soap, as though they were about to take a shower. During this whole screening process, no hint was ever given that they were to be executed, for the routine was similar upon arrival of all internees in the camp.”

The official report seems to be saying that either water or gas could come out of the shower heads since “the routine was similar upon arrival of all internees.”  However, the prisoners would not have been fooled; the photo below shows what a real shower room at Dachau looked like. This shower room is in the building that is now the Dachau Museum.  The shower fixtures have been removed.

Shower room in what is now the Dachau Museum

The gas chamber, that was disguised as a shower room at Dachau, apparently did not have shower fixtures that looked like those in the photo above.   When I visited in 2001, the one remaining shower head was just stuck into the ceiling. Sometime after the film was shown at Nuremberg, it was discovered that the shower heads were not connected to any pipes.  But in the film, there were pipes shown behind the west wall of the gas chamber and those pipes entered the gas chamber disguised as a shower room.

If you look through a window behind the gas chamber, you can see that the pipes shown in the Nuremberg film are still there.  The photo below was taken through the window.

Photo taken through a window shows pipes going into gas chamber

If someone were to cut a hole in the 7.6 ft. dropped ceiling of the Dachau gas chamber, would we be able to see water pipes hanging from the real 10 ft. ceiling above? The two rooms on either side of the gas chamber both have 10 ft. ceilings.

After a group of U.S. Congressmen visited Dachau on May 1, 1945, they wrote a report in which they described the ceiling of the gas chamber as being 10 ft. high. On May 3, 1945, when the film that was shown at Nuremberg was made, the ceiling was 7.6 ft. high.

Curiously, no one was ever put on trial for a war crime involving the gas chamber at Dachau.  Autopsies were conducted on hundreds of bodies at Dachau by Dr. Charles Larson, but no evidence of death by gassing was ever found.

The Dachau Memorial Site leaves it up to the individual tour guides to tell visitors whatever they want to about the gas chamber at Dachau.

Holocaust denial is against the law in Germany.  But what about telling Holocaust lies?  Shouldn’t there be a penalty for that also?