Scrapbookpages Blog

December 30, 2013

New book tells about a Holocaust survivor who escaped from the Mauthausen gas chamber

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:15 am

My blog post today is about a book entitled My Bargain with God: The Story of Holocaust Survivor Lou Dunst, by Ben Kamin. Sunbelt Publishing, Inc., El Cajon, California, 2014.  You can read all about the book in a news article here.

The Nazis had a plan to kill all the Jews in Europe, known as “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Europe.”  Their plan was never accomplished, and today there are numerous survivors still living.  These survivors are publishing books, and their stories must explain how they beat the odds and weren’t gassed.

My photo of the Mauthausen gas chamber

Mauthausen gas chamber has shower fixtures on the ceiling

Here is a quote from the article about the story of Holocaust survivor Lou Dunst:

Lou and his brother survived Auschwitz only to be forced once again into a boxcar to another death camp, Mauthausen. Once again, they were herded into a gas chamber, expecting to die, choked to death by poisonous gas. “We were pressed together, naked, shrieking with horror, people falling on each other, some trampled, gasping for air, unable to think, function, even form some kind of prayer.” The killing machine did not work.

Sign on the wall of the Mauthausen gas chamber explains how th gassing apparatus worked

Sign on the wall of the Mauthausen gas chamber explains how the gassing apparatus worked

The killing machine, mentioned in the news article, was in a separate room behind one of the walls in the gas chamber. The machine was allegedly removed by the Nazis, on April 29, 1945, shortly before the camp was liberated on May 5, 1945.   Lou Dunst was liberated from Ebensee, a sub-camp of Mauthausen, on May 6, 1945.

The quote from the news article continues below:

Barely alive at the death camp Mauthausen, starving and thirsty, the emaciated inmates cried out for water or a little piece of stale bread, anything that could help them survive, but the guards only responded with contempt. “They told us not to worry; we were going to the gas chamber anyway.” The next morning the prisoners were shoved, pushed, kicked into the gas chamber. They waited for the smell of the gas, but it didn’t come. There was a malfunction in the system and the poisonous gas was not funneled through the gas lines to reach its destination so it did not work. Lou and the others miraculously got out from the gas chamber, hysterical, demoralized, relieved, confused, grateful, terrorized, but still not dead.”

The gassing apparatus was located in a small room behind the gas chamber

The gassing apparatus was located in a small room behind the gas chamber

The photo above shows one of the doors into the Mauthausen gas chamber on the left.  On the right, in the photo, is the gassing apparatus room; the gassing apparatus is no longer there.

The two photos below show the door handle on the outside of the room, and the door latch on the inside of the gas chamber.

Door handle outside the gas chamber at Mauthauen

Door handle outside the gas chamber at Mauthausen

Door latch inside the Mauthausen gas chamber

Door latch inside the Mauthausen gas chamber

The Mauthausen gas chamber was a fully functioning shower room in addition to being a gas chamber with a gassing apparatus behind one of the walls.

Lou Dunst is indeed lucky to have survived the notorious Mauthausen camp where prisoners could be gassed in the shower room, that is, if the gassing apparatus was working on the day that they were scheduled to take a shower.

This quote is from the news article about the book:

Finally the doors [of the gas chamber] opened and the stunned slaves [prisoners] rush out into the open air.  The Nazis pushed and shoved the scared and naked prisoners into the central meeting ground, where the commandant of Mauthausen casually remarked: “To burn our bodies was too expensive. Instead, he would send us to a place where we would vanish without any cost to the Third Reich.”

Lou and Irving were transferred once again, this time to Ebensee, a sub-camp of Mauthausen, where they were to work underground making pilotless VI rockets that would rain down on London. At Ebensee, one of the harshest death camps, Lou was placed on a pile of corpses; hardly breathing and with little pulse, Lou awaited death.

On May 6, 1945, American GI Robert Persinger of the Third Cavalry of General George S. Patton’s Third Army drove his tank, the Lady Luck, through the camp fence to liberate the inmates of Ebensee. Irving Dunst grabbed Persinger’s hand and tugged him over to his brother’s seemingly lifeless body on the pile of corpus and shouted: “That’s my brother. Please rescue him.”

The photo below shows a pile of corpses at Ebensee.  The soldier in the photo, which was taken on May 8, 1945, is Al Winters.

Dunst was on a pile of corspes at Ebensee when he was resuced

Lou Dunst was on a pile of dead bodies, like this, at Ebensee when he was rescued

You can read about Ebensee on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/KZMauthausen/Subcamps/Ebensee01.html

July 12, 2013

Poison gas sometimes came through the showerheads at Auschwitz, but other times, it was just water

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:42 am

Remember the scene in Schindler’s List, when a group of women are in the shower at Auschwitz, thinking that they are going to be gassed, but then a miracle happens and waters comes out of the shower faucets?

When I first saw Schindler’s List, years ago, I couldn’t understand this scene.  I knew about the gas chambers, disguised as showers, but I didn’t know that water could sometimes come out of the shower heads inside a gas chamber.

In the scene in Shindler’s List, as the women exit the shower room, they look across the road and see prisoners descending the steps into the undressing room of one of the two large gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. [This is a small mistake in the film.  The gas chamber that was across the road from the Sauna was Krema IV, which had no underground rooms.]

These women were Schindler’s Jews, so they had been sent into a shower room, not a gas chamber.  Or were the Holocaust gas chambers multi-purpose rooms, and sometimes water would come out, instead of gas?

The showerheads in the scene in Shindler’s List look like the ones in the photo below, which I took inside the gas chamber at Mauthausen.  Note the sign on the wall, which leaves no doubt that this room is a gas chamber. You can’t have a Nazi camp without a gas chamber, as everyone knows. But was this room also used for showers? These pipes were real water pipes, connected to a water source.

Showerheads hanging from the ceiling of the Mauthausen Gaskammer

Showerheads hanging from the ceiling of the Mauthausen Gaskammer

Note the peephole in the door of the gas chamber in the photo above.  A door with a peep hole, similar to this one, was shown in the shower scene in Schindler’s List.

Sorry to keep you in suspense, but I am finally going to get to the subject of my blog post today.

Holocaust survivor Gena Turgel had an experience just like the women in Schindler’s List.  She was inside a gas chamber at Auschwitz, but she lived to tell about it.  You can read her story in an article, published in January 2005, entitled Amazing escape from Auschwitz gas chamber on this website.

This quote tells her story:

Gena Turgel entered the gas chamber at Auschwitz and lived to tell the tale.

In the winter of 1944, the 21-year-old [Gena Turgel] was made to strip naked with her mother inside the [Auschwitz] concentration camp’s extermination block [building] and wait, but miraculously the deadly poison was never released.

“We were trembling. I didn’t know where we were. Inside, it looked terrible. A woman came in that I recognised (sic) from a previous camp. She was very shocked I was there and went out again.

“We waited a while and then water came through the walls. It was wonderful. For many weeks we had had no water on our backs. We were all drinking it.

“As we came outside, the women there said how wonderful it was to see us. They screamed with happiness. I didn’t understand what they meant. I said ‘What are you shouting about?’

“They said ‘Don’t you know? You were in the gas chamber.’ I lost my voice. I couldn’t produce any saliva.”

Gena puts her survival down to a “power over a power” and believes that God was watching over her.

“The woman who came in. I never saw her again. Perhaps she did something.”

More than 60 years on, the great-grandmother still cannot believe how lucky she was to escape death.

“Many times, I have to touch myself to check I’m really alive. One appreciates life so much.”

Could Gena Turgel have actually been inside a real shower room, not a gas chamber?

The showers at Auschwitz-Birkenau [the extermination camp] were in a building called “the Central Sauna,” which is shown in my 2005 photo below.

The Central Sauna building at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The Central Sauna building at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The shower room in the Central Sauna is shown my 2005 photo below.  The showerheads have since been removed, but I don’t think the shower heads were on the wall, as Gena described.

The women's shower room in the Central Sauna at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The women’s shower room in the Central Sauna at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Showerhead hanging from the ceiling in Mauthausen gas chamber

Showerhead hanging from the ceiling in Mauthausen gas chamber

I have never seen any photos of a gas chamber, nor a shower room, which had shower heads on the wall, instead of the ceiling, as described by Gena Turgel.

But I wasn’t there.  Maybe Gena was sent to the gas chamber, but by some miracle, water came out of showerheads on the wall, not the ceiling.

May 5, 2013

A new Holocaust exhibit has just opened in the creepy morgue of the Mauthausen concentration camp

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:12 am

Today is March 5th, the anniversary of the official liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz, Austria, so of course, I searched the news to see if there is a big celebration going on. Sure enough, I found this news article with the headline Austria Faces Past in Nazi Camp’s New Museum.

This quote is from the news article:

….a new visitor centre open to the public from Monday that tells the dark story of Austria’s main “KZ” and its subcamps between 1938 and 1945. [...]

The two new permanent exhibitions, housed in the original buildings, recreate this not only with the interviews but also dozens of original objects that speak volumes about life — and death — at Mauthausen.  [...]

Another new installation at Mauthausen is the “Room of Names”, where the 81,007 people documented to have died there are inscribed on horizontal glass panels in the camp’s chilly — and chilling — former mortuary.

Excuse me …. I cannot think of anything worse than putting a “Room of Names” in the smelly, creepy morgue room at Mauthausen.  Did the creators of this exhibit somehow clean up the morgue and get the smell out, so that visitors can read the names of the people who died in the camp?

The photo below shows the Mauthausen hospital on the left and the green bunker building, where the gas chamber and the morgue are located, on the right.

Hospital on the left and Bunker on the right

Hospital on the left and Bunker on the right

The photo below, which I took on my trip to Mauthausen in 2003, shows the entrance to the Leichen Raum  (corpse room in English) which is located in the basement of the bunker. In the background, on the left, you can see the execution spot where prisoners were hanged.

Sign on the wall directs visitors to morgue room at Mauthausen

Sign on the wall in the bunker directs visitors to morgue room at Mauthausen concentration camp

May 2003 photo of Mauthausen morgue

May 2003 photo of Mauthausen morgue

The photo above was taken with flash; the morgue was almost completely dark when I walked through it in 2003.

The only reason that I went through this creepy room was to follow the water pipe which goes through the wall of the morgue into the hallway and then into the gas chamber, thus proving that the gas chamber is actually a shower room.

Water pipe goes through wall of morgue into the Mauthausen gas chamber

Water pipe goes through wall of morgue into the Mauthausen gas chamber

Of course, the gas chamber at Mauthausen could have been a multi-purpose room where the prisoners could take a shower, or be gassed to death with Zyklon-B.  The walls of the shower room do not show any blue stains from Zyklon-B use, but those clever Nazis could have scrubbed the tile walls clean.

Door into Mauthausen gas chamber shows water pipe going from morgue into the gas chamber

Door into Mauthausen gas chamber with water pipe going from morgue into hallway and then into the gas chamber

Same door in the open position

Same door in the open position

The photo above shows the door on the south wall of the gas chamber in the open position. To the right of the door is a water pipe that goes through the morgue and into the gas chamber. Note the sparkling clean white tile on the wall of the gas chamber.  How did those clever Nazis get the blue stains out of the grout?

In my personal opinion, it was a big mistake to turn the Mauthausen morgue into Museum space.  This is no way to honor the prisoners who died at Mauthausen.  Taking tourists into the former morgue only calls attention to the water pipes going into the gas chamber, something you don’t want to know if you are a True Believer.

Two doors into the Mauthausen gas chamber

Two doors into the Mauthausen gas chamber

The photo above shows the two doors into the interior of the Mauthausen gas chamber.  The west wall of the gas chamber is on the right; visitors can go through this door into the gas chamber without going through the former morgue, which has the new exhibit.

The door on the left, in the photo, is on the south wall of the gas chamber.  The gassing apparatus, which was behind the south wall, was removed by the SS men when they left the camp a few days before the camp was liberated. The south wall was put back into original condition by the SS and no traces of the gassing apparatus can be seen today.

On the south wall  is a sign (not shown in the photo) in several languages which describes how the gas chamber functioned. Next to it on the wall is a private memorial to one of the prisoners who was gassed here.

The Mauthausen gas chamber ceiling is 7.8 feet high and the white ceramic tile on the walls only goes part of the way up the wall. The floor is glazed brick. The door on the right leads to the corpse room, a single crematory oven, the autopsy room and the execution spot. The door on the left opens into a hallway in which a poster, showing a can of Zyklon-B is displayed.

Mauthausen was not a “death camp” where Jews were sent to be killed.  You can read about the history of the Jews at Mauthausen on my website here.

I think it is time for the Holocaustians to give up on the Mauthausen gas chamber, which only promotes Holocaust denial.  In my opinion, the morgue should have been left in its original state.

January 31, 2013

Painting the Nazi gas chambers with defiant deception, not realism

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:41 am
Painting based on a photograph

Painting by artist Yishai Jusidman was based on a photograph

The photo above was copied from this website.  The heading of the news article is quoted below:

Painting the Nazi gas chambers with defiant realism

Art that deals with the Holocaust isn’t supposed to be abstract, says Mexican-Jewish artist Yishai Jusidman, whose exhibition opens this week in Manhattan.

ShowerPipes

The painting shown in the first photo above is remarkably similar to one of my photos, which is shown above.  I took my  photo inside a building at the Memorial Site of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp and put it on this page of my website. To get this photo, I had to go behind the cremation oven; I suspect that few people have taken this particular shot.

Do you notice any difference between my photo and the painting by Yishai Jusidman?  Look at the lower right hand corner of my photo: there is a bit of a circular metal object.  Above the circular object is what looks like a door frame that is painted blue.  Now look at my photo below, which was taken from the opposite side of the room that shows the pipes. Notice the blue door frame on the right side of the oven.

Cremation oven at Natzweiler-Struthof

Cremation oven at Natzweiler-Struthof

The following text, copied from my website, describes my two photos above:

The photograph [above] shows the single oven in the [Natzweiler-Struthof] crematorium. Until the crematorium was finished in October 1943, the corpses were burned in a mobile crematorium placed near the farm at Struthof, about half a mile from the main camp.

According to a book which I purchased as the [Natzweiler-Struthof] Memorial site, the showers were added in November 1943. Although some tourists believe that this was the gas chamber at Natzweiler, the book says, “The chamber used for the gas experiments was placed outside the camp, near the farm in a building near the hotel: the date when it began working is impossible to tell, but it is known that during the summer of 1943, it was used regularly; it was there that during the summer of 1943 particularly, some Jews, men and women, coming from Auschwitz, were ‘treated’ with gas before they were killed.”

The expression “treated with gas” refers to experiments in which prisoners were subjected to mustard gas and then treated for their burns in an attempt to find the best antidote for the gas. Mustard gas had been used as a weapon by both sides in World War I, so the Nazis wanted to be prepared in case the Allies decided to use it again in World War II. As a young man, serving in the German Army in World War I, Adolf Hitler had been temporarily blinded by a gas attack, so he was not inclined to use gas as a weapon, even though the Nazis had deadly serin gas available as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

In taking the two photos above, my purpose was not to be artistic.  I wanted to show that the cremation oven was located right next to the outside wall of the shower room.  I included a bit of the oven, in order to show how close the oven was to the wall.  In the photo of the oven, I included the door frame in order to show how close the oven was the the wall of the shower room. I believe that the water for the shower might have been heated by the cremation oven.

Jusidman painted a picture of the outside wall of the Natzweiler-Struthof shower room, but deliberately cut the oven out of the picture so that he could pass this off as the inside of a gas chamber.  He deliberately painted in a door to make the viewer think that the inside of a gas chamber is shown, when in actuality, his painting shows the outside wall of a shower room.

The article about the paintings of Jusidman also includes the photo below. Judisman did his paintings from photographs; the painting of the Mauthausen door is remarkably similar to a photo on this page of my website.

Painting of a door into the Mauthausen gas chamber

Painting of a door into the Mauthausen gas chamber

Door into the Mauthausen gas chamber

My photo of a door into the Mauthausen gas chamber

Can anyone guess what my purpose was in photographing the Mauthausen gas chamber door in this way?  Hint: I was not trying to be artistic. I also took the photo below to make it absolutely clear what I was trying to say.

Water pipe entering the Mauthausen gas chamber

Water pipe entering the Mauthausen gas chamber

Water pipe in morgue room at Mauthausen enters the gas chamber

Water pipe in morgue room at Mauthausen enters the gas chamber

water pipes entering the gas chamber at Mauthausen

water pipes entering the gas chamber at Mauthausen

I followed the water pipes from the morgue room into the gas chamber and then photographed the pipes inside the gas chamber.  The Mauthausen Memorial Site does not claim that poison gas came through the shower heads in the gas chamber.  The claim is that the Mauthausen gas chamber had a device for inputting the gas that was removed by the Nazis before they abandoned the camp.

Jusidman’s artistic painting of the door into the Mauthausen gas chamber ignores the fact that my photos prove that the Mauthausen gas chamber was a shower room, not a gas chamber.  Unless, of course, the shower room was a multi-purpose room where the prisoners could shower or be gassed with Zyklon B.

Jusidman made his painting of the Mauthausen door blue because he wanted to show the blue color left by Zyklon-B, the poison gas that was used by the Nazis. The photo below shows Prussian Blue stains on the walls of the Majdanek gas chamber. (Or is this a room at Majdanek where clothing was disinfected with Zyklon-B to kill the lice that spreads typhus?)

Prussian Blue stains on the wall of the Majdanek gas chamber

Prussian Blue stains on the wall of the Majdanek gas chamber

This quote is from the news article:

In contrast to the aesthetic technique of Tuymans, which emphasizes the artificiality of the painting, Jusidman insists on creating near-exact replications of the original pictures, to the point where the viewer questions whether the resulting artwork is a painting, a photograph or perhaps some combination of both. Setting aside the charged subject matter, Jusidman’s technique on its own could evoke controversy: He uses the pigment known as Prussian Blue, a color with complex meanings and implications in the context of the Holocaust. For one, as Jusidman writes on his website: “The Zyklon B product that was used as a killing agent from 1940 through 1945 often produced blue stains on the walls of the gas chambers by way of a chemical reaction with the brick and mortar. Such stains are still very much apparent in the structures at Majdanek. The cyanide-iron compound of these stains is chemically identical to the painter’s pigment known as Prussian Blue.” He studied this chemical compound to arrive at the formula for the blue pigment he used in the painting series.   [...]

Despite his direct use of historical materials, Jusidman reiterates that this is not an exhibition about the Holocaust. “My paintings do not deal with the Holocaust, but rather with the possibility of its representation,” Jusidman says in an interview with Haaretz Gallery.

Or his paintings could deal with misrepresentation of photographs that were taken to disprove the gassing of prisoners.

July 31, 2012

Tour guides re-enacted a “mock gassing” at Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:06 am

I was horrified when I read this on NewsOK, an Edmonton, Oklahoma newspaper website:

Tour guides re-enacted the process of locking the prisoners in the [gas] chamber then dropping solid pellets of Zyklon B, the chemical formulation Nazis used to commit mass genocide, into vents in the walls. After the mock gassing, the guides showed how the bodies were cleaned out of the chamber.

Surely NOT!  A mock gassing conducted by tour guides at Auschwitz?  What is the world coming to?

According to the article in NewsOK, written by Heather Warlick, this horror supposedly happened on a trip made by four “World War II veterans, three survivors of concentration camps and 17 students from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo. The tour was part of College of the Ozarks’ Patriotic Education Travel Program, and all travel expenses were paid for by the college.”

Note that the article says that the Zyklon-B pellets were dropped “into vents in the walls.”  This is a possible hint that the “mock gassing” didn’t actually happen because there are no vents in the walls of the reconstructed gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp.  The reconstructed vents are on the roof of the gas chamber.

The last time that I was at Auschwitz, there was a sign which told visitors that it was forbidden to climb up on the roof of the gas chamber. Surely, the tour guides did not climb up onto the roof and pour pellets into the gas chamber to give these young students a macabre thrill.

When I visited Auschwitz in 1998, there were very few tourists there, and I was able to climb up on the roof where I took the photo below.

Holes for pouring gas pellets into Auschwitz gas chamber

You can read about the vent holes on the roof of the Auschwitz gas chamber on my website here.  You can see photos of the holes on the ceiling of the gas chamber on my website here.  There are no photos of vents in the wall of the Auschwitz gas chamber on my website because these vents didn’t exist.

The NewsOK article includes the photo below, which shows two of the World War II veterans on the trip sitting inside the Mauthausen gas chamber.

WWII veterans sitting inside the Mauthausen gas chamber

I have written extensively about the Mauthausen gas chamber on my website here. I would love to see a re-enactment of the gassing procedure in the Mauthausen gas chamber.  You can read the testimony about the gas chamber at Mauthausen on my website here.

June 3, 2012

What does a real gas chamber look like?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:55 am

The gas chamber at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, MO

The photo above shows the small building which houses a real gas chamber, that was built in 1937 in Jefferson City, MO to execute criminals who had been condemned to death in a court of law.  This small building contains two small cells and a room with two chairs where two persons could be gassed at one time.  The Missouri gas chamber is no longer in use.

Two seats inside the Missouri gas chamber

The photo above and the quote below are from this website:

In the center of the building was the air tight chamber painted white, with two perforated steel chairs. Beneath the chairs were guides to hold the three-gallon earthen jars which contained the sulfuric acid into which the cyanide pellets were dropped when a lever was pulled by the Warden.

After the execution the lethal gas was extracted from the chamber and vented out a forty-five foot pipe through the roof of the building.

The photo below shows the short vent pipe over the Dachau gas chamber.

Short vent pipe on the roof of the Dachau gas chamber

The photo below shows that the short vent pipe over the Dachau gas chamber was there when the camp was liberated. According to Fred Leuchter, the vent pipe should have been 40 feet high.

Photo taken after the liberation of Dachau shows vent pipes on the roof of gas chamber Photo Credit: Donald E. Jackson

A shower room at the Mauthausen Memorial Site which is claimed to have been a gas chamber

The photo above shows a shower room with water pipes and shower heads visible on the ceiling.  You can read more about the Mauthausen shower room, which has real water pipes but no way to put lethal gas into the room, on my website here.

Fred Leuchter is an execution expert who was a consultant for the operation of the Missouri gas chamber.  He did a report on the Mauthausen gas chamber which you can read on my website here.

Shower room that was turned into a gas chamber by Americans after Dachau was liberated

The photo above shows the northeast corner of the Dachau shower room which was claimed to have been a gas chamber in testimony given at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.  I previously blogged about the testimony given at Nuremberg here.

In the photo above, you can see three round holes from which the fake shower heads, put in by the Americans, have been removed.  (They were stolen as souvenirs by tourists.) On the east wall, which is shown on the right in the photo, is a vent through which the Zyklon-B gas pellets were poured, according to claims made by Holocaust believers.  According to the Leuchter Report, these vents were obviously added after the gas chamber was modified.

You can read more about the Dachau gas chambers on my website here.  You can read the Leuchter Report on the Dachau gas chamber here.

March 28, 2012

Nazi Mass Murder … the gas chamber at Mauthausen

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:50 am

A reader of my blog has reccomended a book entitled Nazi Mass Murder, A Documentary History of the Use of Poison Gas which is available from amazon.com here.  One of the “contributors” to this book was Pierre Serge Choumoff, a former concentration camp prisoner, who supplied information for the book about the Mauthausen gas chamber.

I have written on my website here about the trial testimony given in the Mauthausen case.

Gas Chamber in the former Mauthausen concentration camp

Pierre Serge Choumoff was a “Nacht und Nebel” prisoner at Gusen, a sub-camp of Mauthausen. He wrote in one of his books that the gas chamber at Mauthausen was put into operation in either March or May of 1942 and that 3,455 prisoners were gassed in it. He also wrote that the SS guards had removed the gassing equipment from the chamber on April 29, 1945, the day that Commandant Franz Ziereis turned the camp over to the Vienna police. A sign in the Mauthausen gas chamber confirms that the gassing apparatus was removed on April 29, 1945.

The following quote is from the Amazon.com website:

Book Description
Publication Date: February 23, 1994
In the years after World War II, personal accounts and judicial evidence documented how the Nazis used poison gas to murder Jews and other persecuted groups. Yet revisionist historians have recently attempted to deny the Nazi’s systematic gassing of millions. This remarkable book refutes these revisionists by confirming indisputably the grim historical truth about gassings. The volume was written by twenty-four authors from six countries (including Germany and Israel), most of them historians or jurists and many of them survivors of concentration camps. The authors set out the historical situation, provide new details about the dimensions of the gassings, and consider how it was possible for the Holocaust to have happened. Maps of extermination centres, plans of gas chambers and crematoria, and facsimile reproductions of secret Nazi documents are also included. Previously published in German and French, the book has now been translated and revised for English-speaking readers.

I  probably will not buy this book because I have done a lot of research on the Nazi gas chambers and have personally seen and photographed most of them.  I am familiar with the testimony of Pierre Serge Choumoff.  I have written extensively on my website about the testimony regarding the Mauthausen gas chamber.  I will now quote from my own website on a page where I have included the testimony of Choumoff.

In his book “The 186 Steps,” Christian Bernadac includes the statements of several former prisoners which were gathered by Pierre-Serge Choumoff, a former prisoner at Gusen, after revisionists began to deny that there was a gas chamber at Mauthausen. Choumoff was an engineer who had post-graduate degrees in mathematics; he was the author of numerous scientific articles. While he was a prisoner at Gusen, Choumoff was assigned to work in the arms factories of Rüstung Steyr, Daimler and Puch, which were in the immediate vicinity of the Gusen camp. He also served as an interpreter and a secretary at the Gusen camp. In the last week of the war, Choumoff was one of the Gusen prisoners who were evacuated to the main camp where the gas chamber is located.

In his book about the gas chambers, Choumoff quoted the testimony of the SS officers in Mauthausen, which he obtained from the trial testimony that was published in Rome in 1970. Dr. Krebsbach and Dr. Wasicky were among the 61 accused who were convicted by an American Military Tribunal at Dachau in 1946 after they confessed to their part in the gassing operation. Choumoff included in his book the following trial testimony from Dr. Krebsbach, the chief doctor at Mauthausen until June 1943, which is quoted by Bernadac in his book:

It was on the order of Ziereis, the Kommandant of Mauthausen that Doctor Wasicky, the SS pharmacist, proceeded to organize the installation of a gas chamber. It was he who provided the necessary gas. The first gassing, which I attended in my capacity as doctor, took place early in 1942. From two hundred to three hundred prisoners were gassed. I particularly remember the gassing of about one hundred thirty Czechs who were implicated in the Heydrich affair. Ziereis was present….

Note that Dr. Krebsbach names Dr. Wasicky as the man who was in charge of the gas chamber at Mauthausen. Commandant Ziereis, in his deathbed confession, said that it was Dr. Krebsbach who was responsible for the gas chamber, although Dr. Wasicky provided the gas. According to the testimony of some of the prisoners, the Mauthausen chamber did not use Zyklon B pellets. However, a sign in the gas chamber today says that gassing was accomplished by the use of Zyklon B pellets. The Museum at Mauthausen includes a glass display case in which there is an open can of Zyklon B pellets.

The statement of SS Oberscharführer Josef Niedemayer, the Kommandant of the bunker, which was the prison inside the camp, and also the officer in charge of the infamous Block 20, was included in Choumoff’s book and is quoted in Bernadac’s book, as follows:

There was a gas chamber in the camp. About four thousand prisoners were gassed there. When a transport arrived for the gas chamber, I informed the S.S. officers Bachmayer, Zutter or Altfuldisch. The men to be gassed were taken to the bunker where I, personally, with my assistants, S.S. officers Rommel and Proksch, verified the list of names and removed articles of value and documents. Then S.S. guards Roth and Gerber accompanied the condemned men to the gas chamber. After the execution, the S.S. dentists, Henkel and Franz Jutmann, removed the gold teeth. During March and April 1945, one thousand four hundred sick prisoners were gassed, selected by Doctor Wolter, the chief doctor (from August 1944).

This quote, from the same page on my own website, is the most interesting testimony about the Mauthausen gas chamber:

According to Bernadac’s book, Wilhelm Ornstein was a Polish prisoner at Mauthausen who was assigned to work in the crematorium on August 19, 1944 after he had arrived in the camp on August 10, 1944 and had been assigned prison Number 85224. He remained in this job until May 2, 1945 when he managed to hide himself in the infirmary. After the war, Ornstein became an American citizen.

When Zyklon B is used in pellet form, it must be heated in order to release the gas. Regarding the method of heating the pellets, Bernadac wrote the following, which he obtained from a deposition made by Ornstein before the General Consulate of the German Federal Republic in New York on March 6, 1969:

Ornstein further stated that, for the gassings, he had to bring a very hot brick, heated in the Krematorium, and place it in the box in the “gas cell,” in the presence of the S.S. Kommandoführer Roth. He then gave a detailed description of the “gas cell”: table, piping, gas masks, etc., as well as a description of the gassing procedure. When the chamber was not in use, it always remained closed.

Bernadac met with Ornstein in New York in 1971. At that time Ornstein “personally authenticated the preceding text concerning him.” He also gave Bernadac more information about the gas chamber which I have quoted from Bernadac’s book:

Among other matters, he mentioned that the men and women were gassed separately. The gas chamber could hold up to sixty-five to seventy persons, tightly crowded. He and his comrades of the kommando (with the exception of Kapo Kanduth who was housed in the camp) slept in one of the small rooms adjoining the Krematorium under the bunker, in order to be available day and night. They were never permitted to go into the camp itself. Kommandoführer M. Roth also slept in a tiny room close by.

Bernadac says in a footnote in his book that Ornstein acted as a Schreiber (secretary) and was able to take notes on the executions. On January 26, 1945, he noted down that 14 American aviators were executed by a shot to the neck (Genickschuss).

According to the testimony of other prisoners at Mauthausen, the gas used at Mauthausen was not in the form of pellets, but instead flowed through a tube placed low on the wall.

In his book, Bernadac quoted the testimony of Werner Reinsdorf, a prisoner who came to Mauthausen in 1941 and was assigned Prison Number 535 which had previously been assigned to another man who died. Reinsdorf  “took part in the construction of the gas chamber,” according to Bernadac. The follow quote is the words of Werner Reinsdorf:

There was a tube that led into the gas chamber, eighty centimeters above the floor, with its opening turned toward the wall so as to escape notice. The gas flowed through this tube…I, myself, saw Jews being led to the gas chamber….

The tube which Reinsdorf described is no longer in the gas chamber at Mauthausen. According to Choumoff, it was removed by the SS guards before they escaped from the camp.

July 8, 2011

The monuments and memorials at Mauthausen

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:15 am

This morning I was browsing the blogs and came across this blog post by the Black Rabbit which tells about the unique method used to gas prisoners at Mauthausen. (I wrote about the gassing of prisoners at Mauthausen on my web site here.) A photo at the top of the Black Rabbit blog shows the gate house at Mauthausen.

In the photo, there is a monument in front of the gate house which obstructs the view.  This photo upset me because I disapprove of a monument being placed in front of this beautiful gate.  I’m glad that I got to see Mauthausen before this memorial was added to the thousands of memorials which clutter up the site of the former Mauthausen camp and distract visitors who want to see what the camp looked like when it was in operation.  Enough already!

My photo of the gate house at Mauthausen

The prisoners referred to this entrance, pictured above, as the Mongol gate or the Mongolian gate. Note the two guard towers on the top which look like Chinese architecture. On the right is the former Jourhaus which has been converted into a bookstore.   (more…)

December 21, 2010

SS men prosecuted for gassing prisoners at Mauthausen, but not at Dachau

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:41 am

After World War II, staff members of the concentration camps in Germany and Austria were prosecuted by an American Military Tribunal which was held at Dachau.  The charge against all of the accused in all of the AMT proceedings was that they had participated in a “common plan” to violate the Laws and Usages of War under the Geneva Convention of 1929 and the Hague Convention of 1907.

In all of the proceedings of the AMT, only crimes committed against the Allies during World War II were included.  Since the names and nationality of the prisoners who were allegedly gassed at Dachau were unknown, there could be no testimony, during the proceedings against the Dachau staff, about any citizen of an Allied country, or an Allied soldier, who had been killed in the gas chamber at Dachau.   (more…)

May 5, 2010

“Special Finding” in the verdict of the Mauthausen case before an American Military Tribunal in 1946

Today is the anniversary of the liberation of Mauthausen on May 5, 1945

In March 1946, sixty-one members of the staff at the former Mauthausen concentration camp were brought before an American Military Tribunal at Dachau. An American prisoner at Mauthausen, Lt. Cmdr. Jack H. Taylor, testified that he had been scheduled to die in the gas chamber four times, but was saved by the other inmates. His next scheduled date to be gassed was May 6, 1945, but the American liberators arrived the day before, and saved him in the nick of time.

A “Special Finding,” made by Maj. Gen. Fay B. Prickett, the president of the American Military Tribunal court, declared that there was enough evidence of death by shootings, gassings, hangings and starvation to find every member of the Mauthausen camp personnel guilty of war crimes, including Kapos, who were prisoners that had authority over other prisoners.

This “Special Finding” in the main Mauthausen proceeding was later used to establish guilt in subsequent proceedings against the staff and Kapos at Mauthausen.

In today’s college classes in America, the “Special Finding” is studied by law students. The descendants of Fay B. Prickett are very vocal in defending his finding, which was used to convict German war criminals in the proceedings of the American Military Tribunal, conducted at Dachau.  Under the “Special Finding,” anyone associated with the Mauthausen camp in any way, was automatically guilty without any evidence of their guilt being presented in court.

The “evidence” presented at the Mauthausen trial was mainly hearsay testimony by witnesses such as Jack Taylor.

The gas chamber at Mauthausen

When the US Third Army liberated the concentration camp at Mauthausen on May 5, 1945, they found the bodies of several fully-clothed dead prisoners in the gas chamber. According to the Museum at Mauthausen, the last gassing of prisoners in the main camp was on April 28, 1945, only a week before the camp was  liberated.

On April 21, 1945, the Red Cross began evacuating prisoners out of the Mauthausen camp, but the gassing operation still continued during the time that Red Cross representative Louis Haeflig was staying in the camp.

A sign in the gas chamber today says that Ludwig Haider was gassed on April 23, 1945, the same day that a Red Cross truck took selected prisoners out of the camp, with the permission of the Commandant.

Sign on the wall of the gas chamber at Mauthausen

Pierre-Serge Choumoff, a “Nacht und Nebel” prisoner at the Gusen sub-camp of Mauthausen, wrote in one of his books that the gas chamber at Mauthausen was put into operation in either March or May of 1942 and that 3,455 prisoners were gassed in it. He also wrote that the SS guards had removed the gassing equipment from the chamber on April 29, 1945 the day that Commandant Franz Ziereis turned the camp over to the Vienna police. A sign in the gas chamber today confirms that the gassing apparatus was removed on April 29, 1945.

Christian Bernadac, the author of a book about Mauthausen, wrote that Commandant Ziereis turned the camp over to Captain Kern of the Vienna police on the night of May 2-3, 1945 and then fled from the camp. Bernadac wrote that this information came from Louis Haeflig, the Red Cross representative who was staying in the camp near the end. Haeflig said that he had talked with Ziereis on May 2nd.

The narrator of a movie shown in the Museum at Mauthausen confirms that the SS left on May 3, 1945 after removing the “gassing apparatus” from the gas chamber on May 2nd. The narrator explains that the prisoners were gassed “because machine guns were too noisy.” The execution spot, where condemned prisoners were shot at Mauthausen, is in the same building as the gas chamber, and very close to it.

According to the book, Mauthausen: The History of a Death Camp by Evelyn Le Chene, an estimated combined total of 10,000 persons were executed by gassing in the Mauthausen gas chamber, the mobile gas vans that ran between Mauthausen and Gusen, and in the gas chambers at Hartheim Castle.

One of two doors into gas chamber

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, a gas chamber was built at the Mauthausen concentration camp, “probably in 1941.” Disguised as a shower room, the gas chamber was located underground beneath the hospital building, which is now the Museum at the Mauthausen Memorial Site. Regarding the gas chamber, the USHMM website has the following information:

While most inmates were killed by shooting, hanging, beating, starvation, and disease, Mauthausen did have a gas chamber capable of killing about 120 people at a time. The gas chamber was usually used when transports of prisoners arrived. Special demonstration mass killings were organized for the benefit of visiting Nazi dignitaries, such as Heinrich Himmler, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, and Baldur von Schirach, who were able to observe the killings through a small viewing window in the entrance door.

Periodically, prisoners in the Mauthausen camp system underwent selection. Those the Nazis deemed too weak or sick to work were separated from the other prisoners and killed in Mauthausen’s own gas chamber, in mobile gas vans, or at the nearby Hartheim “euthanasia” killing center. Camp doctors in the infirmary used phenol injections to kill patients too weak to move.

Left to right: Heinrich Himmler, Franz Ziereis, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner on the occasion of a visit

During the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal in 1946, the photo shown above was introduced as evidence of Kaltenbrunner’s guilt on a charge of committing Crimes against Humanity. The photo proves that Kaltenbrunner had visited Mauthausen, so he knew about the gassing of prisoners there.

Peep hole in door of Mauthausen gas chamber

After Commandant Ziereis fled from the camp, he was hunted down by the American liberators and eventually captured in late May 1945. The dates and location of his capture and the death of Franz Ziereis vary according to who is telling the story.

Ziereis was shot three times by American soldiers, allegedly while trying to escape. He was allegedly brought to the hospital at the Gusen camp and interrogated by an Austrian Communist political prisoner named Hans Marsalek, who later wrote Ziereis’s deathbed confession in which Ziereis said that, on the order of SS-Hauptsturmführer Dr. Eduard Krebsbach, a gas chamber had been built in the form of a bathroom and that Mauthausen inmates were gassed in this room.

In his alleged 6-to-8-hour confession, which was written up from memory ten months later by Hans Marsalek, Ziereis named Dr. Krebsbach as the man who was responsible for setting up the gas chamber at Mauthausen. Ziereis also allegedly confessed that he personally drove a gas van between Mauthausen and Gusen, killing prisoners with carbon monoxide on the way, and that between 1 million and 1.5 million prisoners were gassed in the 192-square-foot gas chamber at Hartheim Castle.

In the photo below, taken in the camp at Mauthausen, Commandant Franz Ziereis is the third man from the left. Sturmbannführer Eduard Krebsbach, the camp doctor at Mauthausen until June 1943, is the man standing to the left of Ziereis. On the far left is Hauptsturmführer Erich Wasicky, the camp apothecary or chemist. Wasicky and Krebsbach were both tried by an American Military Tribunal at the former Dachau concentration camp; both were found guilty of participating in a common plan to commit war crimes and both were hanged in 1947 at the Landsberg am Lech prison in Bavaria.

SS officers on the staff at the Mauthausen camp

All of the concentration camps in the Nazi system were under the control of a central office in Oranienburg near Berlin. Contrary to what Ziereis confessed on his deathbed, a camp doctor did not have the authority to order the gassing of prisoners without permission from headquarters.

In his confession, Ziereis stated that 65,000 Mauthausen prisoners had been murdered, but he didn’t mention how many had died of disease. Ziereis also confessed that a total of 1 to 1.5 million prisoners had been gassed at Hartheim Castle, near Linz. (Choumoff wrote that 28,000 to 30,00 were gassed at Hartheim.)

On April 8, 1946, Ziereis’ confession was entered into the proceedings at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal as part of document PS-3870, which was the signed confession of Hans Marsalek.  As part of his own confession, Marsalek wrote down his recollection of Ziereis’s confession, 10 and a half months after hearing Ziereis’ dying words.

Numerous statements by former prisoners and SS officers in the camp confirm that what now looks like a shower room was actually a lethal gas chamber before the gassing apparatus was removed by the Nazis.

The gas chamber at Mauthausen looks like a shower room

For example, the Affidavit of SS member Alois Hoellriegl, a guard at Mauthausen, which is quoted in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression – Washington, U.S Government Print Office, 1946, Vol. VIII, p. 630:

“In 1942 a gas chamber resembling a shower room was built next to the incinerator. Gas executions were carried out in the gas chamber approximately three times a week and the bodies were burned in the adjoining incinerator. From my guard post I could hear the sound of the victims pounding on the door when the gas was turned on.”

In his book The 186 Steps, Christian Bernadac includes the statements of several former prisoners which were gathered by Pierre-Serge Choumoff, a former prisoner at Gusen, after revisionists began to deny that there was a gas chamber at Mauthausen. Choumoff was an engineer who had post-graduate degrees in mathematics; he was the author of numerous scientific articles.

While he was a prisoner at Gusen, Choumoff was assigned to work in the arms factories of Rüstung Steyr, Daimler and Puch, which were in the immediate vicinity of the Gusen camp. He also served as an interpreter and a secretary at the Gusen camp. In the last week of the war, Choumoff was one of the Gusen prisoners who were evacuated to the main camp where the gas chamber is located.

In his book about the gas chambers, Choumoff quoted the testimony of the SS officers in Mauthausen, which he obtained from the trial testimony that was published in Rome in 1970.

Dr. Krebsbach and Dr. Wasicky were among the 61 accused who were convicted by an American Military Tribunal at Dachau in 1946 after they confessed to their part in the gassing operation.

Choumoff included in his book the following trial testimony from Dr. Krebsbach, the chief doctor at Mauthausen until June 1943, which is quoted by Bernadac in his book:

“It was on the order of Ziereis, the Kommandant of Mauthausen that Doctor Wasicky, the SS pharmacist, proceeded to organize the installation of a gas chamber. It was he who provided the necessary gas. The first gassing, which I attended in my capacity as doctor, took place early in 1942. From two hundred to three hundred prisoners were gassed. I particularly remember the gassing of about one hundred thirty Czechs who were implicated in the Heydrich affair. Ziereis was present….”

Note that Dr. Krebsbach names Dr. Wasicky as the man who was in charge of the gas chamber at Mauthausen. Commandant Ziereis, in his deathbed confession, said that it was Dr. Krebsbach who was responsible for the gas chamber, although Dr. Wasicky provided the gas.

According to the testimony of some of the prisoners, the Mauthausen gas chamber did not use Zyklon-B pellets. However, a sign in the gas chamber today says that gassing was accomplished by the use of Zyklon-B pellets. The Museum at Mauthausen includes a glass display case in which there is an open can of Zyklon-B pellets.

The statement of SS Oberscharführer Josef Niedemayer, the Kommandant of the bunker, which was the prison inside the camp, and also the officer in charge of the infamous Block 20, was included in Choumoff’s book and is quoted in Bernadac’s book, as follows:

“There was a gas chamber in the camp. About four thousand prisoners were gassed there. When a transport arrived for the gas chamber, I informed the S.S. officers Bachmayer, Zutter or Altfuldisch. The men to be gassed were taken to the bunker where I, personally, with my assistants, S.S. officers Rommel and Proksch, verified the list of names and removed articles of value and documents. Then S.S. guards Roth and Gerber accompanied the condemned men to the gas chamber. After the execution, the S.S. dentists, Henkel and Franz Jutmann, removed the gold teeth. During March and April 1945, one thousand four hundred sick prisoners were gassed, selected by Doctor Wolter, the chief doctor (from August 1944).”

The gas chamber at Mauthausen was underground, beneath  the camp hospital on the left in the photo

In the photo above, the white building in the background is the camp hospital and the green building is the camp prison, called the “bunker.”  The gas chamber is located underneath the hospital building.

Also quoted in Christian Bernadac’s book The 186 Steps, is the following testimony of SS officer Hans Michael Altfuldisch, who was one of the 61 men from the Mauthausen camp that were convicted by an American Military Tribunal at Dachau in March 1946:

“For the rapid extermination of prisoners, a gas chamber was available. I can remember having directed the execution by gas of two hundred fifty men and women, of Russian, Czech and Hungarian nationalities. Executions by gas were ordered by Ziereis or Zoller or Zutter, and in the case of certain sick prisoners, by Doctor Wolter, the chief doctor. The prisoners were first examined by S.S. Niedermayer, who removed their personal belongings. Then men and women were required to undress in the presence of the S.S. and enter the gas chamber. To make the work more rational, a cross was marked on the chest of those who had gold dental work…”

Another SS officer, who was one of 61 staff members of Mauthausen that were prosecuted at Dachau, was SS Oberscharführer Andreas Trum. His testimony, as quoted in Bernadac’s book is as follows:

“Between 1943 and 1945, on several occasions I replaced the S.S. Niedermayer and conducted Russians, Poles and citizens of other nationalities to the gas chamber. After the prisoners had been locked into the chamber, the pharmacist E. Wasicky, gave a gas container to S.S. Roth. After the Spring of 1944, I saw the same operation handled by the pharmacist Gerber….”

According to Bernadac’s book, Wilhelm Ornstein was a Polish prisoner at Mauthausen who was assigned to work in the crematorium on August 19, 1944 after he had arrived in the camp on August 10, 1944 and had been assigned prison Number 85224. He remained in this job until May 2, 1945 when he managed to hide himself in the infirmary. After the war, Ornstein became an American citizen.

When Zyklon-B is used in pellet form, it must be heated in order to release the gas. Regarding the method of heating the pellets, Bernadac wrote the following, which he obtained from a deposition made by Ornstein before the General Consulate of the German Federal Republic in New York on March 6, 1969:

Ornstein further stated that, for the gassings, he had to bring a very hot brick, heated in the Krematorium, and place it in the box in the “gas cell,” in the presence of the S.S. Kommandoführer Roth. He then gave a detailed description of the “gas cell”: table, piping, gas masks, etc., as well as a description of the gassing procedure. When the chamber was not in use, it always remained closed.

Bernadac met with Ornstein in New York in 1971. At that time Ornstein “personally authenticated the preceding text concerning him.” He also gave Bernadac more information about the gas chamber which I have quoted from Bernadac’s book:

“Among other matters, he mentioned that the men and women were gassed separately. The gas chamber could hold up to sixty-five to seventy persons, tightly crowded. He and his comrades of the kommando (with the exception of Kapo Kanduth who was housed in the camp) slept in one of the small rooms adjoining the Krematorium under the bunker, in order to be available day and night. They were never permitted to go into the camp itself. Kommandoführer M. Roth also slept in a tiny room close by.”

Bernadac says in a footnote in his book that Ornstein acted as a Schreiber (secretary) and was able to take notes on the executions. On January 26, 1945, he noted down that 14 American aviators were executed by a shot to the neck (Genickschuss).

According to the testimony of other prisoners at Mauthausen, the gas used at Mauthausen was not in the form of pellets, but instead flowed through a tube placed low on the wall.

In his book, Bernadac quoted the testimony of Werner Reinsdorf, a prisoner who came to Mauthausen in 1941 and was assigned Prison Number 535 which had previously been assigned to another man who died. Reinsdorf “took part in the construction of the gas chamber,” according to Bernadac. The follow quote is the words of Werner Reinsdorf:

“There was a tube that led into the gas chamber, eighty centimeters above the floor, with its opening turned toward the wall so as to escape notice. The gas flowed through this tube…I, myself, saw Jews being led to the gas chamber….”

The tube which Reinsdorf described is no longer in the gas chamber at Mauthausen. According to Choumoff, it was removed by the SS guards before they escaped from the camp.

There are also claims that the prisoners at Mauthausen were killed with the use of carbon monoxide in the gas chamber. The following quote is from the book Hitler’s Death Camps by Konnilyn G. Feig, published in 1979:

“This chamber in Mauthausen was built in the basement, below the sick quarters. It was completed and used by the spring of 1942. On the other hand, the sick quarters were only half completed at war’s end. The SS would cram 120 persons into this chamber, seal the doors and pump in carbon monoxide. Inefficient as it was, the prisoners often died of suffocation rather than the gas.”

Bernadac included in his book the testimony of a Czech professor V. Busek, who was the Krankenlagerschreiber (sick camp secretary). Busek wrote the following, which was quoted by Bernadac:

“We, the deportees, doctors and employees, agreed that we would all refuse to make any additional selections. Our refusal ended the operation and the last thousand from the infirmary were saved, but the gassings continued. Out of 1,819 deportees transferred to camp 3 during these days (April 1945), 1,441 were gassed. During this time a Red Cross delegation arrived, authorized to take out the French, Belgians and Dutch. We took advantage of the situation to include fifty deportees of other nationalities among the French…After the departure of the Red Cross, exterminations were suspended…The conditions under which the survivors of camp 3 existed were tragic. During the last week they had received practically nothing to eat.”

As further evidence that prisoners at Mauthausen were gassed in the final days of war, Bernadac quotes the testimony of Maurice-Georges Savourey on May 4, 1945 at La Plaine, near Geneva, immediately after he was taken out of the camp by the Red Cross convoy. Savourey’s testimony from Choumoff’s book is quoted below from Bernadac’s book:

“…The day on which the first Red Cross convoy left, Saturday, April 21, 1945, out of two thousand men…one hundred, exhausted by the short route to be covered, were led to the gas chamber and executed…One (sic) Sunday, the 22nd, one hundred fifty men went to the gas chamber; on Monday, the 23rd, eighty men met the same fate…; on Tuesday, the 24th, one hundred eighty, in two groups, all Slavs, were gassed. One of them broke away, ran through the “free camp” in his nightshirt, stumbling, not knowing which way to turn, made his way back to camp 3. There he was retaken by the S.S. and the inner camp police, and returned for execution in the gas chamber. In addition, some forty French were said to have been gassed.”

In his account of the liberation of Mauthausen, the Red Cross representative, Louis Haefliger, confirms that the “annihilation” of the prisoners in the gas chamber continued until Commandant Ziereis fled the camp on the night of May 2-3, 1945. Apparently the Nazis were gassing as many of the prisoners as they could, while at the same time, the Red Cross was allowed to take selected prisoners out of the camp.

Bernadac also quotes Choumoff himself who wrote the following in his book about the Mauthausen gas chamber:

“Finally, a day or two before our transfer to Mauthausen on Saturday, April 28, I took a chance in giving the information (about the gassings) to one of our Yugoslav comrades, G. Milikitch. So I can certify that I was fully aware that gassings were taking place at Mauthausen during this final period. Up until the last minute, a number of efforts were made by the international Resistance organization of Mauthausen prisoners to save the men who had been confined to camp 3. After receiving the news, transmitted by V. Busek, a particularly effective effort was made to deal with Schutzhaftlagerführer Bachmayer. S. Krukowski reports on this in his book Mauthausen (Stefan Krukowski, Mauthausen, published in Warsaw in 1966). The lead in this was taken by a Polish prisoner, Doctor W. Czaplinski (No. 279), who had sometimes taken care of Bachmayer’s family. This initiative is supposed to have contributed to the return of the prisoners in camp 3 to the Krankenlager, instead of going to the gas chamber. Further efforts were organized on behalf of those whose execution appeared imminent, on other grounds. Outstanding among these were the thirty-four Austrian Resistance fighters, whose final tragedy was recounted by Marsalek (Hans Marsalek: “Die letzten Tage im KZ Mauthausen” published in Der neue Mahnruf in April 1970 in Vienna). All of them, with one exception, were among the forty-three gassed on April 28. It appears that after April 29, certain installations of the gas chamber were destroyed. It is certain that gassings were still taking place during the night of April 28-29, because I distinctly remember a dozen “civilians” who arrived after our transfer from Gusen on the afternoon of the 28th. There were both men and women, and among them a white-haired couple that I can’t forget. They stood along the wall to the right of the entry for a long time, and disappeared that night…”

Choumoff included an excerpt taken from the unpublished statement of Manuel Falo, No. 4639, dated September 19, 1969, which Bernadac quoted in his book, as follows:

“He (Falo) happened to see one of the gassings, which usually occurred at night. He was lodged in Block 11, facing the bunker. One night, in mid-1944, at about ten o’clock, he caught sight of a convoy of Russians coming in. The S.S. with Ziereis and Bachmayer present, made them undress on the assembly court, and then go down the dungeon stairs…Later the S.S. called the prisoners out from block 11, and Ziereis threatened them: “You have seen everything. If there is a breach of discipline, you go to the Krematorium.” One of the Kapos of the Krematorium kommando, whom Falo knew slightly, told him afterwards that they wanted to speed up the action, and that there was a real massacre with swinging axes so that they could pile more victims into the gas chamber.”

Choumoff gave the following statistics for the gassings at Mauthausen and Gusen, as quoted in Bernadac’s book:

For the installed gas chamber at Mauthausen: 4000; for the mobile gas chamber (Sauer truck): 1,560; Hartheim: 28,000 to 30,000 of which 4,600 to 8,000 came from Gusen or Mauthausen; finally occasional gassings in Gusen: 800. Total 34,000. At least 11,000 of these 34,000 were registered at Mauthausen or Gusen.

Thirty-four thousand gassed.

Who was it that said that the gas chamber at Mauthausen was a myth?

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