Scrapbookpages Blog

July 12, 2016

the 75th anniversary of a massacre of hundreds of Polish Jews by their neighbors

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:16 am

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.timesofisrael.com/poles-skip-ceremony-to-mark-holocaust-era-jewish-massacre/

Begin quote

JEDWABNE, Poland (JTA) — Some 150 people attended a commemoration on the 75th anniversary of a massacre of hundreds of Polish Jews by their neighbors in the country’s northeast. Absent, however, were the non-Jewish residents of Jedwabne.

End quote

One interesting thing, that you may not know about Jedwabne, is that Martin Zaidenstadt, an old man who used to walk around the Dachau Memorial Site, begging for money from the tourists, claimed to be from Jedwabne.

Martin Zaidenstadt claimed that he was born in 1911 in Jedwabne, a town in Poland that was the site of a pogrom in 1941 when the non-Jews in the town killed over 500 Jewish residents and blamed it on the German troops during the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

My 1997 photo of Martin Zaidenstadt

My 1997 photo of Martin Zaidenstadt

DS087

I was told by a resident of Dachau that Martin Zaidenstadt formerly lived in this house in Dachau which has a beautiful garden in front of it.

On my third visit to the Dachau Memorial Site in May 2003, I looked for Martin Zaidenstadt, whom I had met on my first visit in May 1997, but he wasn’t there. On my second visit in May 2001, I had been told by someone in the Dachau museum that Martin still came to the camp each day to talk with the tourists, but that he had been absent for a few days.

After the Dachau concentration camp was liberated on April 29, 1945, truckloads of American soldiers arrived daily to visit the museum and see the gas chamber, on the orders of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

When I met Martin Zaidenstadt in 1997, he told me that he had been coming to the camp every day for fifty years. That would mean that he began visiting the former concentration camp in 1947 while it was an internment camp for Nazi war criminals and the proceedings of an American Military Tribunal were in progress.

At that time, there was a small museum in the Dachau crematorium, which had been set up in 1945 by a former prisoner, Erich Preuss, and several former Dachau inmates, who were then living in the SS garrison next to the former camp, were available to tell visiting American soldiers about the atrocities committed at Dachau.

Martin allowed me to take his picture, but requested that he pose in front of the Memorial stone which is just to your right as you enter the crematoria area. Just as I snapped the shutter, he was reaching into his coat pocket for one of his cards which he gave me. The card had a rainbow on it because the camp was liberated by the 42nd Rainbow division of the US Seventh Army.

Martin told me that he had been a prisoner at Dachau for three years before the camp was liberated. That means that he arrived some time in the Spring of 1942, just after the Nazis began rounding up the Jews in February 1942 and sending them to the death camps in what is now Poland. For some unexplained reason, Zaidenstadt was sent to Dachau instead, so he escaped the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec and the gas vans at Chelmno.

Martin spoke several languages, including English. He used to hang out near Baracke X, the gas chamber building, where he would tell visitors that the gas chamber was used to murder prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp, although for some unexplained reason, he managed to avoid the gas chamber for three years. On the day that I met him in 1997, I approached him because he was upset after a group of Americans had rudely brushed him off after he tried to tell them about the shower room being used as a gas chamber.

When I visited Dachau in May 1997 and again in May 2001, there was a portable sign in the gas chamber which informed tourists in five languages that the room had never been used for gassing. In May 2003, that sign had been removed and a new sign at the south end of the gas chamber building read as follows:

“Baracke X erected May 1942 to April 1943. It was to serve both as a killing facility and to remove the dead, but the gas chamber in the middle of the building was not used for mass murder. Survivors have testified that the SS did, however, murder individual prisoners and small groups here using poison gas.”

 

April 30, 2014

Have the Jews kicked Martin Zaidenstadt to the curb?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 1:01 pm

I have been searching my fingers to the bone, but I cannot find any recent news on the Internet about Martin Zaidenstadt, the Jew who pan-handled at the Dachau Memorial Site for many years. Zaidenstadt claimed that he had been a prisoner at Dachau for three years; he told the tourists all about the Dachau gas chamber, which he had somehow escaped during his three years of confinement.

My 1997 photo of Martin Zaidenstadt

My 1997 photo of Martin Zaidenstadt

There is currently only one Internet article about Zaidenstadt, which was written by Mark Weber on the IHR website, at http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v19/v19n2p60_Weber.html

This quote is from the article written by Mark Weber several years ago:

Each year many thousands of tourists visit the site of the notorious Dachau concentration camp in southern Germany, not far from Munich. They see the crematory, the memorial shrines, and the museum. And in recent years, as an almost daily fixture, they see Martin Zaidenstadt. This elderly Jewish man lectures visitors to Dachau on his experiences as a wartime prisoner there. He is particularly passionate about the horrors of the camp’s gas chamber where, he explains, many prisoners were put to death with poison gas. He even claims that this gas chamber served as a model for Auschwitz (New York Times, Oct. 26, 1997). Zaidenstadt’s listeners respond to his heart-rending testimony with unquestioning sympathy. Many reach generously into their wallets.

I recall that, for many years, there were numerous photos of Zaidenstadt on the Internet; these photos have now disappeared. His favorite place to pose was at the statue of the unknown prisoner; Zaidenstadt claimed that he had posed for this statue.

Statue of the Unknown Prisoner at Dachau

Statue of the Unknown Prisoner at Dachau

I previously blogged about Martin Zaidenstadt at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/martin-zaidenstadt-the-fake-holocaust-survivor-who-pan-handled-at-dachau/

Has Martin Zaidenstadt become an embarrassment to the Jews? His name has been completely removed from search results, and I cannot find anything on him any more, except on my own website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauSurvivor.html

If Zaidenstadt is still alive, he is now 103 years old, but I have been unable to find anything on the Internet about his death.

When I visited the town of Dachau, several years ago, I was told by a Dachau resident, that the house in the photo below was where Martin Zaidenstadt lived in luxury when he was not out pan-handling at the Dachau Memorial Site.

House in the town of Dachau where Zaidenstadt allegedly lived

Courtyard of the house in the town of Dachau where Martin Zaidenstadt allegedly lived

February 2, 2014

Is Martin Zaidenstadt still alive?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 12:47 pm

I have seen nothing, about Martin Zaidenstadt, the famous Dachau panhandler, in the news for many years, although I have searched and searched.  He does not have an entry on Wikipedia, which is strange, because a few years ago, he was a very famous person in the world of the Holocaustians.

My photo of Martin Zaidenstadt, May 1997

My photo of Martin Zaidenstadt, May 1997

I previously blogged about him on this blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/martin-zaidenstadt-the-fake-holocaust-survivor-who-pan-handled-at-dachau/

If Zaidentadt is still alive, he is 103 years old now.  Just living to such an advanced age would make him famous, so why is there no news of him?

You can read about Martin Zaidenstadt in an article, written by Jewish revisionist Mark Weber, on this revisionist web site:  http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v19/v19n2p60_Weber.html

At one time, Martin Zaidenstadt was the most famous of all the fake Holocaust survivors, so why has there been no news of him for at least 4 years?  I could not find any photographs of him, except for the photo that I took on my first visit to Dachau.  My photo shows him reaching into his pocket for a business card, which he would give to tourists, and then ask for a donation.  If the donation was not enough money to please him, he would snatch the card out of the hand of the person who had stinted on their donation, as happened to me.

March 12, 2010

Martin Zaidenstadt, the fake Holocaust survivor who pan-handled at Dachau

In 1996, author Timothy Ryback visited the Dachau concentration camp Memorial Site and met a Polish Jew named Martin Zaidenstadt, who claimed to have been liberated from the camp on April 29, 1945, after being imprisoned there for three years. In February 2000, a book written by Ryback was published with the title The Last Surivor: In Search of Martin Zaidenstadt.

Martin Zaidenstadt, May 1997

In his book, Ryback revealed that there is no record of Martin Zaidenstadt ever being a prisoner at Dachau. Ryback also revealed the startling information that, before he retired, Martin ran “an independent finance and brokering service.”  So the old guy was apparently loaded, but in retirement he decided to become a pan-handler at the Dachau concentration camp, and beg for money from tourists.

Ryback begins his book by describing how he went to visit Zaidenstadt at his home in the town of Dachau.  Zaidenstadt pulled out a loaded gun and pointed it at Ryback.  On the very first page of text in his book Ryback wrote:

“People in Dachau had warned me about Martin Zaidenstadt.  They said he was a tortured soul, a deeply troubled man.  Some said he was obsessed, others that he was deranged.  Nobody told me that he was armed.”

In 1997, I went to the Dachau Memorial Site for the first time with a friend.  We each went our own way and later met at the crematorium.  My friend told me later that Martin Zaidenstadt had approached him outside the crematorium and told him that he was the prisoner who had posed for the statue of the Unknown Inmate that is located there.  Martin asked for money, but my friend told me that he declined to give him anything.

Statue of Unknown Inmate, May 2007

The statue known as the “Unknown Inmate,” by Fritz Koelle, was erected in 1950 in front of the old crematorium. The model for the statue was Kurt Lange, who was a homosexual imprisoned at Dachau after he was arrested twice under Paragraph 175 of the German law.

Meanwhile, I saw Martin as he was walking away from the crematorium.  He had stopped two American female tourists, but they also brushed him off and refused to hand over any money.  I felt sorry for him, so I approached him and began speaking to him in English.  He perked up right away when he learned that I was an American. He told me that he liked American, British and Canadian people, but he won’t speak to the Germans.

Martin told me that he was a prisoner at Dachau for three years (1942 to 1945), and that he had been coming to the camp every day for 50 years, which would mean that he started pan-handling at Dachau in 1947.  At that time, I didn’t yet know that Dachau had been used as a prison camp for German war criminals from 1945 to 1948.  Nor did I know then that, starting in February 1942, all Jews were sent to the death camps in what is now Poland, not to Dachau. Later, when the camps in the East were closed, the survivors were brought back to Germany, where some of them were eventually sent to Dachau just before the camp was liberated.

I asked Martin if I could take his picture and he agreed, but he wanted me to take the photo in the area of the crematorium, so I walked with him to a memorial stone where he posed.  Then Martin handed me a business card with a rainbow on it; he said that he was liberated by the 42nd Rainbow Division of the US Seventh Army.

I accepted his card and he then asked me for money.  I began to mentally calculate how many Deutschmarks I had left.  At that time, I didn’t  know that my train ticket to Munich could be used for the city bus back to the train station.  I thought that I needed to save some money for the bus for myself and my friend, so I handed him only 5 Marks, which at that time was the equivalent of $2.50 in American money.  He took the money, but grabbed the card out of my hand and walked off with an expression of anger and hatred on his face.  I suppose I should be glad that he didn’t pull a gun on me and take all my money.

In his book, The Last Survivor, Ryback wrote that Zaidenstadt was

“… an elderly man living in contented retirement in a comfortable two-story home on a peaceful tree-lined street with a bus stop (bus #726) at the end of the block.  […] Martin decided to make Dachau his home.  He found a job, married a German woman, and brought three children into this world.  Unwilling to burden his family with the horrors of his past, he discarded his Jewish identify, befriended the locals, including former SS guards who became his drinking buddies, and regularly attended the Catholic church down the street from their home. Martin says that neither his wife, nor any of his three children, two of whom are now physicians, have ever visited the barbed-wire complex on the other side of town where Martin spent the most memorable years of his life.  Until recently, Martin himself rarely stepped foot into the former concentration camp.

Baracke X, the building where the Dachau gas chamber is located

The photo above shows Baracke X, the building where the crematory ovens and the gas chamber are located at Dachau.

Ryback tells in his book about his first meeting with Martin:

I first encountered Martin at the camp on a bitter January day in 1996.  I had brought my father and several visitors to Dachau to tour the camp and afterward to stroll through the old town.  As we entered the tree-lined area that houses Baracke X, the official designation for the extermination unit, I directed my group to the far end of the building, explaining that the compound was originally entered from the west rather than the south.  Visitors, I told them, walk directly into the crematorium room rather than entering the building, as intended, through the disinfectant stalls, into the undressing and holding rooms, and finally into the gas chamber – disguised as a shower – beyond which stand the crematory ovens.

“You are right,” I heard someone say, and turned to see an elderly man standing beside us.  He was wearing a tweed hat with ear warmers, and a heavy coat. “My name is Martin Zaidenstadt.  I come here every day for fifty years.”  He went on to say that he was a Holocaust survivor and that after his liberation from the camp he remained in Dachau.  When I told him that I occasionally wrote about Dachau, he gave me his name, address, and phone number, and told me that I should call on him the next time I was in town.

When Ryback went to visit Martin in his home, he learned that Martin was trying “to break Dachau’s conspiracy of silence about the gas chamber.”

Ryback wrote:

For the last few years, Martin has verbally accosted the tour guides who have promoted the “lie” that the gas chamber was never put into operation.  […]  For his efforts he has been reprimanded by Barbara Distel, the director of the memorial site and archives.

Martin showed Ryback a letter from Max Mannheimer, who was, at that time, the head of the International Committee of Dachau, an organization of former Dachau prisoners who controlled what was said and done at the Dachau Memorial Site.

Ryback quoted from Mannheimer’s letter in his book:

“…I must urgently request that you not interfere in the tours that are being conducted at the memorial site by various professional guides.”

Apparently nothing could stop Martin Zaidenstadt from accosting tourists and tour guides at Dachau, so he was allowed to continue until 2001 when he stopped coming because of illness.  In 2003, the Dachau memorial site removed the portable sign that said in five languages that the gas chamber at Dachau was never used or never put into operation.  Now some of the tour guides tell visitors that the gas chamber was used.  So Martin finally won.

Timothy Ryback went to Poland and did some research on Martin Zaidenstadt’s  previous life, prior to his time in the town of Dachau.  He learned that Zaidenstadt was born in 1911 in the Polish town of Jedwabne.  This is the town that was the subject of a book by Jan Gross, entitled Neighbors, published by Princeton University Press. Neighbors is the story of how the Polish Gentiles killed their Jewish neighbors in Jedwabne on July 10, 1941 and blamed it on the Germans.  The violence was horrible: the head of a beautiful Jewish girl was cut off and used as a soccer ball by the Polish murderers.

After reading the book Neighbors, I can understand why Martin Zaidenstadt didn’t want to live in Poland after the war. There was a Displaced Persons camp set up at Dachau in 1945, which is probably what attracted Martin to the town.  Several other Jews, including some of the former prisoners in the camp, also settled in Dachau.

Catholic church in Dachau which Martin Zaidenstadt attended

Around a million visitors a year now tour the grounds of the former Dachau concentration camp.  During the ten years or so that Martin Zaidenstadt was begging for money at Dachau, there were at least a half a million tourists every year for a total of around 5 million people.  If only one person in 5 gave a donation of only one dollar to Zaidenstadt, that means that he raked in a million dollars during his pan-handling days.

If Martin Zaidenstadt is still alive in the year 2014, he will be 103 years old.  Strangely, Martin Zaidenstadt does not have an entry on Wikipedia. If he dies, will news of his death be published?

This blog post was last updated on February 2, 2014.