Scrapbookpages Blog

October 25, 2015

A Jew visits Majdanek and completely misunderstands what happened there.

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

Today I read an article, written by a man named Jordan Lustman, entitled A Flame Re-Ignited: My Trip to Poland, Part II  

I was struck by the fact that this man saw the former Majdanek concentration camp, not as I saw it on my visit there 17 years ago, but through completely different eyes.

Madanek is famous for the huge Monument of Ashes

Madanek is famous for the huge Monument of Ashes

The Majdanek camp had a double fence around it

The Majdanek camp had a double fence around it

This quote is from the article written by Jordan Lustman:

It is at this point that I would like to take a moment to describe the process in which the Nazis operated. For those of you who may not know, to the Nazis, the Holocaust was a large game. The more deceptive the process of killing Jews could be, the more exciting this game was. As a proof to my point, I offer the following: why make those whose fate is nothing more than being gassed and cremated take showers? Deception.

The Jews who arrived at Majdanek were not forced to take a shower for the purpose of deceiving them into thinking that they were not going to be gassed.

The shower room at Majdanek with a concrete bathtub in the background

The shower room at Majdanek with a concrete bathtub in the background (Click to enlarge)

When I visited the former Majdanek camp, many years ago, my tour guide told me that the prisoners were forced to take a shower before being gassed, so that the hot water would warm up their bodies and make the gas work faster.

I think that the real purpose of taking a shower was to remove any lice from the bodies of the prisoners.  Lice spreads typhus, a sickness that killed many prisoners in the concentration camps. All of the prisoners, coming into all of the concentration camps, had to take a shower, including the prisoners who were selected to work.

This quote is also from the article written by Jordan Lustman:

The room I am currently in is a gas chamber. Stained with a blue residue left over by Zyklon-B, the gas used to kill Jews, the walls are marred by the scratch-marks of the thousands of Jews who never lived to see the outside world again. Packed in the room, the forty of us fan out to form a circle. Locked arm in arm, we break out into song proclaiming G-d’s greatness; I feel as though we are joined by the screams of the hundreds of thousands who perished here, screams that forever echo off the cold walls of the warm room. As we exit the building and move onward, my eyes are fixated upon the black chimney of the camp’s crematorium, far in the distance. My mind is again flooded with questions: Who could perpetrate such a crime? What could motivate a group of people – a group of highly cultured people – to carry out such an abomination? Yet there is one question which seems to scream louder than any and all other: how could it be that the residents of Lublin, the very people with this concentration and death camp in their backyard, did absolutely NOTHING to stop this from happening? Two answers pop into my head, answers which are relevant to what is going on in Israel as well:

It is either that the smoke from burning Jews carries no smell, or the people of the world just get used to it.

End quote

The scratch marks must have been added recently.  There were no scratches made by the dying prisoners when I was there. (How does one scratch concrete with his fingernails?)

My blog post about the scratch marks on the walls of the Auschwitz gas chamber has gotten the most hits of any of my blog posts:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/dying-victims-scratched-the-walls-of-the-auschwitz-gas-chamber-with-their-fingernails/

The original story of the Majdanek concentration camp was that 1.5 million people were killed there.  This was the number given by the Soviet liberators of the camp.  Now that figure has been reduced 78,000 deaths, of which 59,000 were Jews.  However, that does not reduce the 6 million figure of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

My photo of the inside of a barracks building at Majdanek

My photo of the inside of a barracks building at Majdanek

In his article about Majdanek, Jordan Lustman mentioned that there are some buildings that tourists are no longer allowed to see because they are now empty.  When I was there, tourists were still allowed to see the inside of the buildings.

Most of the barracks at Majdanek have now been torn down

Most of the barracks at Majdanek have now been torn down

This monument in Field III at Majdanek was done by one of the priosoners

This monument in Field III at Majdanek was done by one of the prisoners

I have written several blog posts about Majdanek including this recent one:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/bones-tv-show-has-an-episode-featuring-zyklon-b-used-at-majdanek/