Scrapbookpages Blog

August 14, 2016

The Majdanek camp, as seen by a young Jewish girl

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:46 am

You can read here about a tour of the memorial site at the former Majdanek concentration camp, written by a young Jewish girl named Carly Cohen:  http://www.jewishchronicle.org/2016/08/01/leaving-auschwitz/

Carly Cohen on visit to Auschwitz camp

Carly Cohen on a visit to Auschwitz main camp before visiting Majdanek camp

The following quote is from the news article cited above:

Begin quote

One aspect of Majdanek that stood out to me was that there was a town overlooking the camp. People’s balconies looked out to the gas chambers and the barracks in which thousands of people were imprisoned. It is mind-boggling to me how people can wake up, make coffee, and sit on their balconies and welcome in the morning by staring death in the face. I never thought I would experience a place that could prove to be more emotional than Auschwitz. I thought I had experienced the worst of the worst while at Auschwitz-Birkenau, but when I went to Majdanek, I proved myself wrong.

End quote

One of the first places that I visited, when I began touring the sites of the Holocaust, was Majdanek. I was very impressed by the sight of the Majdanek camp, but not for the same reason that this young girl was impressed.

When I began my tour of the camps in Poland in 1998, the first place that I visited was Treblinka.

In sharp contrast to the alleged extermination camp at Treblinka, which is in a wooded area as remote as Ted Kaczynkski’s Montana cabin, the Majdanek concentration camp is situated in a major urban area, four kilometers from the city center of Lublin, and can be easily reached by trolley car.

The location of the Majdanek camp is in an area of rolling terrain and can be seen from all sides; it could not be more public or accessible.

The Majdanek concentration camp is located in an entirely open area with no ten-foot wall around it to hide the activities inside the camp, as at Dachau. There was no security zone established around the Majdanek camp, as at Birkenau, and there is no natural protection, such as a river or a forest, as at Treblinka.

Besides being bounded on the north by a busy main road, the Majdanek camp was bounded on the south by two small villages named Abramowic and Dziesiata.

According to the camp guidebook, Heinrich Himmler ordered the liquidation of the Jews in the Lublin district after the insurrection on October 14, 1943 at Sobibor, one of the Operation Reinhard extermination camps on the Polish-Russian border, in which 300 Jews, led by a Jewish Russian Prisoner of War, escaped into the nearby woods.

At that time, the three largest concentrations of Jews in Eastern Poland were at the camp at Majdanek and at the labor camp at Poniatowa, a tiny Polish village where 18,000 people were held, and at the Polish village of Trawniki where 10,000 Jews were imprisoned in a labor camp.

People driving past the camp, while it was in operation, had a completely unobstructed view, being able to see the tall brick chimney of the crematorium wafting smoke from the top of a slope not far away, and the gas chamber building which is a few yards from a busy street.

Majdakek is also known as Maidenek, which is the German version of the name.

What really impressed me, when I visited the Majdanek memorial site was the huge stone monument at the entrance.

Huge monument at entrance to Majdanek Memorial site

Huge monument at entrance to Majdanek Memorial site

Monument as viewed from inside the camp

Monument as viewed from inside the former Majdanek camp

The population of Lublin has more than tripled since the end of World War II and the former Majdanek concentration camp is now within the city limits, like a municipal park except that it is a ghastly eyesore. There are several modern high-rise apartment buildings overlooking the camp on two sides.

On one side of the camp, is a Roman Catholic cemetery which was there even when the camp was in operation.

On the other side of the street, directly across from the former concentration camp, there is now a Polish military installation since this street is part of the main road into the Ukraine and Russia. During World War II, the street which borders the Majdanek concentration camp was the main route to the eastern front for the German army.

The city of Lublin is near the eastern border of Poland and what is now the Ukraine. Between 1772 and 1918, when Poland had ceased to be an independent country and was divided between Prussia (Germany), Austria and Russia, Lublin was in the Russian sector.

In April 1835, Russian Czar Nicholas I issued a decree which created the Pale of Settlement, a territory where Russian Jews were forced to live until after the Communist Revolution of 1917. Lublin was located within the Pale of Settlement, as was the city of Warsaw.

The census of 1897 counted 4,899,300 Jews who were crowded into the Pale of Settlement, which was like a huge reservation similar to those where the Native Americans were forced to live during the same time period in the western USA.

In 1881, Russia began evicting the Jews from the Pale, which began a mass migration. By 1914, two million Jews had left the Pale and had settled in Germany, Austria, America and other countries.

In 1939, when Poland was again divided between Germany and the Soviet Union, Lublin came under the control of Russia again. This lasted until June 1941 when the Nazis launched an attack on the Communist Soviet Union, the ideological enemy of Fascist Germany.

Lublin, being close to the border of the German-controlled General Government of Poland, was one of the first cities to be conquered by the Germans. The German conquest of the Soviet sector of Poland in the last 6 months of 1941 brought Polish Communists and also millions of Jews, who were the sworn enemies of the Nazis, under the control of the Germans.

In order to avoid having partisans attack them from the rear as they advanced into Russia, the Nazis rounded up those whom they considered their political enemies and confined them in the Majdanek camp, along with the captured Soviet POWs.

But, to get back to the apartment houses, with their balconies overlooking the camp, I did not photograph them because I did not want to invade their privacy. However, my tour guide did point out the balconies, as she told me about the Polish residents watching as the Germans shot thousands of Jews at Majdanek.

The gas chambers at Majdanek are on the other side of the camp, near the highway, where thousands of vehicles were passing by. People could observe the Jews entering the alleged gas chamber building.

The Nazis claimed that the Jews were only taking a shower, not being gassed to death, in this building. The identical building right next to the gas chamber building is closed to tourists. The clothing of the Jews was disinfected in this building, in order to kill the lice that spreads typhus.

 

 

February 14, 2016

Let me tell you abour Nisko where the Jews were sent during World War II

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 8:46 am
Railroad station in Nisko Poland

Railroad station in Nisko Poland [2010 photo]

The subject of Nisko is frequently mentioned, by Dr. Wolf Murmelstein, one of the regular readers of my blog.  Before I looked up the subject of Nisko on the Internet, I  had imagined that Nisko was some God-forsaken place out in the wilderness of Poland.  Not true — Nisko was, and still is, a beautiful little town in southern Poland.

Nisko Poland

The beautiful town of Nisko in Poland

So why is the subject of Nisko so important?  I am going to attempt to explain it.

The following quote is from Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nisko

When Poland was occupied by German forces during World War II, Nisko became part of the Nazi government’s plan to annihilate the Jews. Beginning in 1939, many Jews were shipped to a reservation at Nisko, where they were left to fend for themselves. At this point in Nazi Germany, the policy of mass Jewish killings had not yet taken shape and Germany’s plan still seemed to be the indirect death of European Jews through exile and deportation to inhabitable locations without sufficient supplies, rather than outright murder in extermination camps. This was known as the “Nisko Plan”. While many Jews were shipped to Nisko and left to die without sufficient food or shelter, the plan of creating a reservation was abandoned, supplanted by the Nazi policy of confinement of Jews in ghettos and then deportation to the extermination camps, including nearby Belzec, Sobibor and Majdanek.[2]

During World War Two, Nisko was an important center of the Home Army and Bataliony Chlopskie. In 1944 – 1945, the Red Army and the Soviet NKVD arrested here a number of Poles, executing members of anti-Communist resistance.

[…]

The reservation idea was devised by Adolf Hitler with Nazi chief ideologist Alfred Rosenberg and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, including active participation of SS-Obersturmbannführer and “architect of the Holocaust”, Adolf Eichmann; as well as Hans Frank and Arthur Seyss-Inquart of the Generalgouvernement administration; and Heinrich Müller of the Gestapo. Odilo Globocnik, the former Gauleiter of Vienna, then SS and Police Leader of the Lublin district, implemented the plan and was in direct charge of both the reservation and the adjacent camps.

In total, about 95,000 Jews were deported to the Lublin reservation.[12] The main camp of the entire complex was set up in Belzec initially for the Jewish forced labor. In March 1942 it became the first Nazi extermination camp of Operation Reinhard, with permanent gas chambers arranged by Christian Wirth in fake shower rooms.[13] Though the Burggraben camps were temporarily closed in late 1940, many of them were reactivated in 1941. Two other extermination camps, Sobibor and Majdanek, were later set up in the Lublin district also. The Lipowa camp became a subcamp of the latter in 1943. The Nisko Plan was abandoned for pragmatic reasons.

End quote from Wikipedia

Dr. Murmelstein wrote an essay about Nisko, which I have published on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Contributions/Murmelstein/JewishSettlements.html

The following quote is from Dr. Wolf Murmelstein’s essay, as published on my website:

The very moment to show the Arab friends how Nazi Germany could address Jewish emigration to a destination far away from Palestine came in October 1939 after Poland had been overrun. On October 6th, Hitler, in his speech before the Reichstag, offering in this manner peace talks to the Western Allies, spoke about the new assessment of Poland and mentioned vaguely the idea of a Jewish Settlement Area there.

In the same days of October, a transport of Jewish men of working age from Vienna and Bohemia-Moravia had to be set up, and some leading Community Officials – Murmelstein from Vienna and Edelstein from Prague – with other staff members – had to join. On October 19, 1939, this first transport reached the station of Nisko, a little town in the Lublin area, near the border between the German and the Soviet zones of Poland. After a long march, the group reached a meadow, their destination. The following day, Eichmann gave a speech about building shanties, setting up a health service, an organization to start, etc. as “otherwise it should mean to die.”

In a personal talk, Murmelstein asked about the means available, realizing that there was nothing, as Eichmann advised only: “kick the Polish peasant out and settle in his house.” This seemed to be madness, but a Jewish official, within this mess and ignoring, of course, the political background, could not appreciate the method there was in it.

In those days, other transports arrived; people had been led by armed SS men for some miles and then ordered to disperse: colonization by dispersion of people. A group had been directed right into the marsh; wounded persons lying around had been picked up by the peasants; some brave man had been able to cross the border line towards the Soviet zone.

Murmelstein, after some days, obtained an authorization to leave the camp to look for accommodation opportunities; clearly the very intent was to reach Lublin, asking the Community there for help. In order to have official evidence of efforts performed to find out accommodation opportunities, Murmelstein asked the area prefect for a hearing in order to ask for assent to use some abandoned building as accommodation. As the prefect stated he had no information about things going on, it appeared possible to let local authorities stop the Eichmann action. Murmelstein therefore referred to the October 6th Hitler speech and then to the advice to “kick the Polish peasant out and settle.” The Eichmann march order did not allow putting Murmelstein and his group under arrest, so the prefect ordered them to go to Lublin without any further delay and wait there for instructions.

The Lublin Community leaders were surprised, learning about things going on nearby. Important is that Area Commander SS Colonel Strauch, did not know anything about the Eichmann action. After ten days, Strauch ordered Murmelstein and his colleagues: Return to Nisko for instructions.

Eichmann, at Nisko, sent the leading Jewish officials home in order to catch every possible further emigration opportunity. From Vienna, Prague and Berlin, some thousand persons, until March 1941, could still emigrate during increasing difficulties. No further transports were scheduled to arrive in Nisko any more. The 450 workers returned home after six months. The camp had been set up for the transit of Germans returning from Eastern European countries to the Reich.

General Governor Hans Frank claimed, in a speech, to be the only authority and representative of the Reich in Poland. Hans Frank was not willing to have there an area controlled directly by the SS which would mean also control over him and he preferred to set up overcrowded Ghettoes in town districts. This was another way to show the Arab friends that Jewish emigration had been addressed far away from Palestine; from Poland, no emigration was allowed any more.

End quote from essay by Dr. Wolf Murmelstein

So why is all this important?  To me, this indicates that Hitler did not want to kill the Jews, but he did want them out of Germany.  He wanted to send them to Poland, but this didn’t work out.

April 19, 2014

A new novel about the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:17 am
A novel about the Holocaust and the Treblinka camp

A novel about the Holocaust and Treblinka

A new novel entitled The Comandant of Lubizec is available on Amazon. This is a fictional book about real places and real events of World War II.  The title includes the name of a fictional death camp. The name seems to be a combination of Lublin, a city in Poland, which was the headquarters of Operation Reinhard, and Belzec, one of the Operation Reinhard camps. The sub-title of the book is “A novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard.”

You can read the first two pages of the novel at http://www.argusleader.com/story/life/2014/03/23/excerpt-from-patrick-hicks-commandant-of-lubizec/6712213/

Near the end of page 2, you can read the following:

“Little is known about Lubizec but by talking about this one single camp perhaps a larger discussion may arise about other death camps like Bełzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka, which aren’t lodged in the public imagination as fully as they should be.”

Bełzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka were the three Operation Reinhard camps. The author of the novel has invented a fourth Operation Reinhard camp for his novel.

This quote is from Amazon’s description of the book:

After the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, they quickly began persecuting anyone who was Jewish. Millions were shoved into ghettos and forced to live under the swastika. Death camps were built and something called “Operation Reinhard” was set into motion. Its goal? To murder all the Jews of Poland.

The Commandant of Lubizec is a harrowing account of a death camp that never actually existed but easily could have in the Nazi state. It is a sensitive, accurate retelling of a place that went about the business of genocide.
Told as a historical account in a documentary style, it explores the atmosphere of a death camp. It describes what it was like to watch the trains roll in, and it probes into the mind of its commandant, Hans-Peter Guth. How could he murder thousands of people each day and then go home to laugh with his children? This is not only an unflinching portrayal of the machinery of the gas chambers, it is also the story of how prisoners burned the camp to the ground and fled into the woods. It is a story of rebellion and survival. It is a story of life amid death.

I can’t emphasize strongly enough how much I disapprove of novels about true historical events. I don’t like to read books, that take liberties with the truth, because I don’t know which parts are really true and which parts are not.

It seems to me that the author is calling his book a novel, so that he can promote lies about the Holocaust without being called a liar.

For example, the text in the ad for the book on Amazon includes this: “How could he [the Commandant] murder thousands of people each day and then go home to laugh with his children?”

The above statement seems to be based on Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz, who lived in a house just outside the main Auschwitz camp.  The two photos below show the front and the rear of the house where Rudolf Hoess lived with his wife and children.

The front of the house where Commandant Rudolf Hoess lived

The front of the house where Commandant Rudolf Hoess lived

The rear of the house where Rudolf Hoess lived was just down the street from the gas chamber

The rear of the house where Rudolf Hoess lived was just down the street from the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp

I used the “search inside” feature and found, on page 18 of the book, that the wife of the Commandant of the fictional Lubizec camp had “moved into a house close by.”

All of the Operation Reinhard camps were way out in the boondocks; there were no houses “close by” which would have been good enough for a Commandant’s wife.  For example, the house in the photo below is “close by” the Treblinka camp. Is this the kind of house, in which the Commandant’s wife lived?

House near the Treblinka camp

House near the Treblinka camp

This quote is also from the ad for the book on Amazon:

With a strong eye towards the history of the Holocaust, The Commandant of Lubizec compels us to look at these extermination centers anew. It disquiets us with the knowledge that similar events actually took place in camps like Bełzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka. The history of Lubizec, although a work of fiction, is a chillingly blunt distillation of real life events. It asks that we look again at “Operation Reinhard”. It brings voice to the silenced. It demands that we bear witness.

In other words, since the Holocaustians can’t prove the truth of their story of the Operation Reinhard camps, just write it up as fiction. Take that, you Holocaust deniers!

I wrote about Treblinka in a previous  blog post at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/the-murder-weapon-used-at-treblinka-carbon-monoxide-or-zyklon-b-gas/