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July 16, 2016

Everything you ever wanted to know about Elie Wiesel and his book entitled “Night”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 5:09 pm

Wiesel.jpg

Chapter Summaries in Elie Wiesel’s book entitled Night

Chapter 1: Wiesel grew up in Sighet, a small town in Translyvania. He is a strict Orthodox Jew who is tutored by Moshe the Beadle. When all foreign Jews are expelled, Moshe is deported. He returns to Sighet with horrific tales. Nobody believes him.

Fascists gain control in Hungary and allow Nazis to come into the country. The Jews of Sighet do not believe that anything bad will happen to them. Days later, the town is ordered to evacuate. Eliezer Wiesel’s family is part of the last group. Their former Gentile servant, Martha, warns them of impending danger and offers them a place of refuge. They refuse.

Chapter 2: Eliezer and his townsmen are packed into cattle cars and suffer terribly. One woman, Madame Schacter, continually screams of a fire. She is silenced by her fellow prisoners. As the train arrives at Auschwitz-Birkenau, they see smoke rising from chimneys and are inundated with the horrific smell of burning flesh.

Chapter 3: The first selection occurs. Eliezer and his father lie about their age and avoid going to the crematorium. As they walk to Auschwitz they pass a pit of burning babies. When they arrive in their barracks, they are disinfected with gasoline, receive a tattoo, and are dressed in prison clothes. Eliezer’s father asks to go to the bathroom and is clobbered by a kapo. The prisoners are then escorted to Monowitz Buna, a work camp four hours away.

Analysis: Wiesel emphasizes the human failure to comprehend just how evil humans can be. He and his family are warned several times to flee, yet they and the town find the truth to be impossible.

Elie Wiesel’s primary goal in publishing “Night” is to prevent another Holocaust from happening. He emphasizes the need to be aware of evil in the world and to believe first hand accounts of it.

His recounting of the miserable conditions on the cattle cars and the horrific events he witnessed at Birkenau are examples of first hand accounts that must be taken seriously in order to prevent something this horrible from happening again.

Chapter 4: At Buna, Eliezer is summoned by the dentist to have his gold crown removed. He feigns illness. The dentist, he discovers, is hanged. Eliezer’s only focus is to eat and stay alive. He is savagely beaten by the kapo, Idek and is consoled by a French worker, whom he meets again, years after the war.

The prison foreman, Franek, notices Eliezer’s gold crown and demands it. He refuses. Franek beats Eliezer’s father and he gives up the crown.

Eliezer catches Idek having sex with a female French worker. Idek whips him mercilessly and warns him that one word of what he saw will result in more severe punishment. During an air raid, two cauldrons of soup are left unattended. A prisoner crawls to them and is shot right before eating some. The Nazis erect a gallows at camp and hang three prisoners, the last one, a boy loved by all, causes even the most jaded of prisoners to weep.

Chapter 5: It is late summer 1944 and another selection occurs. This time Eliezer’s father is on the wrong side. He gives his spoon and knife to his son. Eliezer rejoices as he returns and discovers there was another selection and his father still lives. Eliezer hurts his foot and is sent to the infirmary. He hears rumors of Russians approaching. The Nazis evacuate the camp. Eliezer assumes infirmary patients will be killed so he leaves. He discovers later that the patients were liberated the next day.

Chapter 6: The prisoners are forced to run 42 miles in one night during a blizzard. Those unable to keep up are shot. The refugees stop in a small village where Eliezer and his father keep each other awake to avoid freezing to death. Rabbi Eliahu enters a small shack occupied by Eliezer, looking for his son. Eliezer recalls–after Eliahu’s departure–seeing his son desert his father, something he prays for strength never to do. Another selection occurs. Eliezer’s father is sent to the death side. A diversion is created and his father switches lines.

Chapter 7: The survivors are packed into cattle cars and sent to Germany. The train stops frequently to remove dead bodies. Eliezer recounts how German workers throw bread into the cattle cars to witness the prisoners kill each other. Eliezer is nearly killed.

Analysis: Wiesel attributes his survival to luck and coincidence, two ideas that play a prominent role in the novel. Each selection is a matter of luck and coincidence; being assigned to easier jobs is a matter of luck and coincidence; leaving the infirmary is a matter of luck and coincidence. Wiesel honestly portrays his feelings toward his father. He recognizes that his father gives him strength to continue; he acknowledges also that his father at times becomes a burden.

Chapter 8: Upon their arrival at Buchenwald, Eliezer’s father is unable to move. Eliezer brings him soup and coffee, against the advice of other prisoners who counsel him to keep it for himself. Eliezer’s father, suffering from dysentery, begs for water. An SS guard becomes annoyed and knocks him in the head. Eliezer wakes up the next morning and discovers his father’s empty bed. He is more relieved than sad.

Chapter 9: Eliezer is only concerned with food during his remaining months at Buchenwald. On April 5, the evacuation of Buchenwald is ordered. Nazis murder thousands daily. On April 10, Eliezer’s block is ordered to evacuate, but it is cut short by air raid sirens. The next day the camp is liberated. Wiesel nearly dies from food poisoning. He recovers, looks in a mirror, and is shocked by his appearance.

Analysis: Eliezer’s reflection that he resembled a corpse ends the novel with a sense of hopelessness. Despite this hopelessness Wiesel dedicates his life to human rights.

Characters in Night by Elie Wiesel

When reviewing characters in Night by Elie Wiesel, keep in mind that these Night characters are actual human beings and that Night is a memoir of Wiesel’s actual experience in a concentration camp.

Eliezer – Wiesel gives a first person psychological account of life in a concentration camp. It is important not to confuse the narrator with the author, even though they are the same person. Eliezer’s experiences cause him to question his faith and the existence of a loving, merciful God. Eliezer’s (the narrator’s) account leaves the reader with a sense of hopelessness, that humanity is irredeemable, that God has abandoned his creation.

Chlomo – Eliezer’s father is the only other character who appears consistently. He is a respected member in Sighet before being deported. Eliezer and Chlomo remain together throughout the ordeal. The narrator is honest and frank in his assessment of his father. He needs his father to keep going, but resents having to take care of him at times. He acknowledges a sense of relief when Chlomo finally dies. One of the more powerful scenes occur towards the end of the novel when Rabbi Eliahou searches for his son during the forced evacuation of Buna. Eliezer recalls seeing Eliahou’s son, recalling that he had abandoned his father. Eliezer then utters a prayer, asking for the strength never to do such a thing to his own father.

Moshe the Beadle – Moshe is Eliezer’s teacher who is deported along with other foreign Jews in Hungary. He escapes, returns, and warns the town about atrocities he witnessed. Nobody believes him.

Madame Shachter – She is deported in the same cattle car as Eliezer. She screams of fires the entire time. The passengers mistake her for a mad woman only to discover she is a prophetess as they see the furnaces of Birkenau and the pit of burning babies.

Juliek – Eliezer first meets Juliek, a young musician, at Auschwitz. He hears him play his violin at Gleiwitz toward the end of the narrative.

Idek – Idek is a kapo at the electrical parts plant at Buna where Eliezer works. Eliezer catches him having intercourse with a French woman. Idek whips Eliezer as punishment.

Franek – Eliezer’s foreman at Buna who steels Eliezer’s gold crown with the help of a dentist and a rusty spoon.

Dr. Josef Mengele – Eliezer encounters Mengele after his arrival at Auschwitz. Known as the angel of death, Mengele sentenced thousands of Jews to their death. He also oversaw cruel experiments on prisoners.

Hilda, Bea, Tziporah – Eliezer’s mother and sisters, whom he never sees after entering Auschwitz.

Important Quotes from Night by Elie Wiesel

Quote: Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.

Analysis: As Eliezer arrives at Auschwitz he is greeted by his first selection. He and his father follow the line that passes a pit of burning babies. It is difficult for even the most hardened reader not to wince at this passage; it stands out as the most horrible atrocity in a chronicle of horrible atrocities.

Wiesel writes three times in this passage “Never shall I forget.” He uses anaphora, a poetic device that involves the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of clauses, to highlight the novel’s major theme–to never forget.

Quote: Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.

Analysis: A continuation of the first quote in this section, the phrase “Never shall I forget” is repeated four more times. This section of the passage highlights another major theme of the novel–the struggle to maintain faith in a world full of evil.
More Important Quotes from Night by Elie Wiesel

Use these Night quotes as a reminder to thwart prejudice, racism, hatred, and discrimination, for they are the seeds of human rights violations. These important quotes from Night will help you remember.

Quote: One day I was able to get up, after gathering all my strength. I wanted to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.

Analysis: The narrative’s last lines leaves the reader with a sense of hopelessness. Eliezer views himself as dead; innocence is dead; humanity is dead; God is dead. It is important not to confuse the narrator with the author. Elie Wiesel, the older version of Eliezer, the death camp survivor, has dedicated his life to serving mankind and to prevent human rights atrocities, showing the world that humankind is capable of goodness, notwithstanding its inherent evil. For more on Wiesel’s life after his liberation, check out his website.

Quote: The night was gone. The morning star was shining in the sky. I too had become a completely different person. The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames… A dark flame had entered my soul and devoured it.

Analysis: Wiesel uses parallel structure–the like grammatical structure of adjacent phrases or clauses that signify equality of importance–to draw attention to the two things which died: his faith and his childhood.

Quote: Yet another last night. The last night at home, the last night in the ghetto, the last night in the train, the last night in Buna.

Analysis: The repetition of “the last night” emphasizes death, not just the death of his fellow prisoners, but the death of humanity.

Themes in Night by Elie Wiesel

Night themes include the dangers of silence and the importance of remembering. Putting into practice these themes from Night by Elie Wiesel can help prevent human rights atrocities. Night themes include the inhumanity of humans toward others and the struggle to have faith in a benevolent God during suffering.

Silence – As Eliezer and his family exit the train at Auschwitz, they are shocked at its existence, causing one of the prisoners to insult them, in disbelief that it was 1944 and they had never heard of Auschwitz. They weren’t alone.

How many otherwise good humans were aware of the existence of concentration camps but chose to remain silent? It is silence which allows the Nazi takeover in Europe. Another silence Wiesel emphasizes is the silence of God to allow such atrocities to occur. Wiesel counsels his readers to not be silent witnesses to hate.

The Importance of Remembering – One of Wiesel’s main objectives in writing Night is to remind his audience that the Holocaust occurred, in hopes that it will never repeat itself. Wiesel has maintained his vigilance against hatred and inhumanity through the Elie Wiesel foundation for humanity.

The Existence of Evil – Philosophers and religious scholars have theorized on the existence of evil for centuries, asking the question “How or why does God allow evil to exist if he is, in fact, all powerful and good. Throughout the narrative, Eliezer answers the question by asserting his God is dead. Despite his avowal that his faith is dead, he maintains scraps of it, praying, for example, that he will never betray his father as Rabbi Eliahou’s son does. He also recognizes that those prisoners who completely lose their faith soon die.

Inhumanity – Eliezer is shocked that human beings can be so cruel. The first section of the narrative portrays the entire city of Sighet in denial. When foreign Jews are deported, the town insists all is well. When Moshe the Beadle returns and reports Nazi atrocities, the town insists all is well. When the Fascists take over in Hungary, the town insists all is well. When the SS begin patrolling the streets, the town insists all is well. When Eliezer suggests they move to Palestine, his father refuses. When Martha the former servant offers them refuge, even after most of the town had been expelled, they remain. Those in Sighet cannot comprehend that other human beings can be so evil.

The Animalization of Humans – Eliezer comments on how prisoners themselves become inhuman in concentration camps. In addition to the kapos who treat regular prisoners almost as cruelly as the SS, Eliezer witnesses three instances of sons turning against their fathers: (1) He witnesses a son abusing his father; (2) He witnesses Rabbi Eliahou’s son abandon him during the forced evacuation from Buna; (3) He witnesses a son beat his own father over a piece of bread on the train to Buchenwald. Eliezer feels guilt over the manner in which he treats his father, feeling him a burden at times.

Symbolism in Night by Elie Wiesel

Understanding Night symbolism brings greater appreciation for Wiesel’s memoirs.

1. Night – The title of the novel symbolizes death, the death of innocence, childhood, faith, and millions of people. The narrative contains many last nights, the last night in Sighet, the last night in Buna, the last night with his father, the last night of innocence, etc. Night also symbolizes a world without God. The worst suffering occurs at night. Wiesel contends that God does not live in the concentration camps and God’s people have no recourse.


2. Fire – Fire represents hell. Eliezer’s hellish experience is foreshadowed by Madame Shachter’s insane screaming on the train to Auschwitz. The pit of burning babies scars Wiesel for life. The specter of the furnace haunts Wiesel and his fellow prisoners throughout. The symbol of fire in Night, however, is ironic. No longer is fire a tool of the righteous to punish the wicked. It has become a tool of the wicked to punish the righteous. It emphasizes Wiesel’s belief that God has abandoned his people.

3. Silence – Silence symbolizes fear, apathy, and inability. Wiesel cannot comprehend that the world can remain silent as the Nazis commit atrocities. It also represents the silence of the oppressed. Eliezer, for example, remains silent when his father is beaten, unable to help him. The entire town of Sighet remains silent to the pleas of Moshe the Beadle, who warns the town of what is coming. Silence also represents the absence of God. Note the camp’s reaction to the young boy’s hanging–silence. A common theme in the narrative is God’s silence as his people suffer.


4. Corpses – Corpses symbolize the living dead. Prisoners are often referred to as corpses, corpses whose spirits have been crushed by suffering. Eliezer looks in the mirror as the narrative ends and sees a corpse, symbolizing the death of innocence and childhood.

 

July 14, 2016

Elie’s first Night in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:17 am
This is what Elie Wiesel saw on his first night at Auschwitz-Birkenau

This is what Elie Wiesel allegedly saw on his first night at Auschwitz

Display board shows the road on which Elie and his father walked

Display board shows the road on which Elie and his father allegedly walked into the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

Note the photo on the display board; the photo shows a woman and three children, who are allegedly on their way to the gas chamber. This famous photo is from the Auschwitz Album; it was taken by an SS man on May 26, 1944.

This photo was shown as evidence at the Auschwitz Trial in Frankfurt where 22 SS men, who had formerly worked at Auschwitz-Birkenau, were put on trial by the Germans in 1963.

On his alleged first night in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, Elie Wiesel allegedly saw German soldiers throwing  live babies into a burning pit. That is why Elie used the title “Night” for one of his numerous books.

Born on September 30, 1928 in the Jewish community of Sighet in Transylvania, which is now in Romania, Elie Wiesel was 15 and a half when he allegedly arrived at Birkenau on a train transport of Hungarian Jews in May 1944.

Elie and his father allegedly stayed in the Birkenau camp for only a few days before being transferred to the main Auschwitz camp where he was kept in quarantine for a couple of weeks.

Elie was saved from the gas chamber because he and his father were allegedy selected to work in the Buna Werke camp at Monowitz, also known as Auschwitz III. His two older sisters also survived, but he never saw his mother and younger sister again after he was separated from them upon his arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

According to the display board shown in the photo above, the road through the Birkenau camp was a shortcut to Krema IV and Krema V where there were gas chambers, disguised as shower rooms.

After arriving around midnight at the Birkenau camp, Elie Wiesel and his father were allegedly assigned to a barrack in the Gypsy camp, which was to the left on the interior camp road, shown in the photo above, behind the Men’s camp.

The interior road runs north and south, connecting the Women’s camp to the new section, called “Mexico” by the prisoners. At that time, part of the Gypsy camp had been converted into a transit camp for the Durchgangsjuden who were held there temporarily until they could be transferred to another location.

Elie Wiesel could not have seen the alleged gas chambers at Birkenau because they are at the western end of the Birkenau camp, beyond the intersection of the main camp road and this interior road which bisects the camp from north to south.

Elie wrote in his book, entitled “Night”, that on his first night in the camp, a night that he would never forget, he saw two burning pits, one for children and one for adults, where Jews were being burned alive.

Elie and his father were miraculously spared at the last moment when, only two steps from the burning ditch, they were ordered to turn left and enter the barracks.

The following quote is from “Night” by Elie Wiesel:

Begin quote

Not far from us, flames were leaping up from a ditch, gigantic flames. They were burning something. A lorry drew up at the pit and delivered its load-little children. Babies! Around us, everyone was weeping. Someone began to recite the Kaddish. I do not know if it has ever happened before, in the long history of the Jews, that people have ever recited the prayer for the dead for themselves …. Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp …. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent sky.

End quote

After a few days in the Birkenau camp, Elie and his father were allegedly transferred to the main Auschwitz camp, where they were allegedly housed in Barrack 17 for a short time.

In his book entitled “Night,” Elie Wiesel wrote that he was tattooed with the number A-7713 at the main Auschwitz camp. After a few weeks in the main camp, Elie and his father were then allegedly sent to Auschwitz III, the Monowitz camp also known as Buna.

Monument in honor of the Jews who worked at Monowitz

Monument in honor of the Jews who worked at the Monowitz camp

The figures in the monument, shown above, are supposed to look like the  curved fence posts in the three Auschwitz camps.

 

July 4, 2016

Ely Wiesel was a “global symbol of dignity and righteousness”

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:07 pm
Monument to the prisoners who died at Monowitz

My photo of the monument to the prisoners who died at the Monowitz camp

The figures in the photo above are supposed to look like the fence posts at Monowitz.

The title of my blog post today comes from a quote in a news article which you can read in full here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/elie-wiesel-a-global-symbol-of-dignity-and-righteousness/article30739375/

The following quote is from the news article, cited above:

Begin quote

It began with Night, Mr. Wiesel’s seminal memoir of Jewish life, such as it was, in the Nazi camps. Though he struggled to find an American publisher and the book barely sold at first, Night caught on and changed the world. It gave voice to the voiceless, and turned Mr. Wiesel into a living symbol of the martyrdom of the innocent. It is impossible to finish his book and be unaffected by the experience.

Mr. Wiesel was an unusually gifted communicator. He wrote dozens of memoirs, novels, plays, essays, and more, overwhelmingly focused on the Holocaust and its legacy. He sold millions of copies of Night, alone. But his communication skills extended well beyond the written word. Mr. Wiesel’s quiet, still voice, softly accented with a European inflection, and his sad, puppy dog eyes made him an astonishing and captivating speaker.

And speak he did, for Mr. Wiesel did not see the abject horror of the Holocaust and its relentless machinery of mass death as a one-off aberration. Instead, he saw it as an ever-present threat to humanity. What happened to the Jews yesterday could happen to someone else today, he correctly reasoned, and frequently added his voice on behalf of those who were in the genocidal crosshairs. From Cambodia to Rwanda, from Kosovo to Darfur, Elie Wiesel spoke out eloquently and urgently. In doing so, he transformed himself from a chronicler of the Holocaust into a global symbol of dignity and righteousness.

End quote

You can read about Monowitz on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Monowitz.html

Prisoners working at Monowitz

Prisoners working at Monowitz

The following information about Monowitz is from my scrapbookpages.com website, written before I became a Holocaust denier:

Auschwitz III, aka Monowitz, was established in 1942 at the site of the chemical factories of IG Farbenindustrie near the small village of Monowitz, which was located four kilometers from the town of Auschwitz. The IG Farben company had independently selected this location around the same time that Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler decided, in April 1940, to locate a new concentration camp in the town of Auschwitz. The most important factory at Monowitz was the Buna Werke, which was owned by the IG Farben company.

Of the three Nazi concentration camps located near the town of Auschwitz, the Auschwitz III camp was the most important to the Nazis because of its factories which were essential to the German war effort. The Monowitz industrial complex was built by Auschwitz inmates, beginning in April 1941. Initially, the workers walked from the Auschwitz main camp to the building site, a distance of seven kilometers.

The decision to build chemical factories at Auschwitz transformed both the camp and the town. On February 2, 1941, Herman Göring ordered the Jews in the town to be relocated to a ghetto, and German civilians moved into their former homes.

Auschwitz quickly went from a primitive Jewish town of 12,000 inhabitants to a modern German town of 40,000 people which included an influx of German engineers and their families. Both the main Auschwitz camp and the Birkenau camp were expanded in order to provide workers for the factories. Before Monowitz became a separate camp with barracks buildings, the prisoners had to walk from the other camps to the factories.

When I visited Auschwitz in October 1998, I was told that some of the Monowitz factories were still in operation, but this area was off limits to visitors. On my trip to Auschwitz in October 2005, I hired a taxi driver to take me to the site of the factories, but I was told that they didn’t exist anymore. On my way back to the Krakow airport from Auschwitz, the taxi driver from my hotel pointed out the factory buildings, partially hidden behind the concrete wall.

End quote from my website

 

June 2, 2016

the late Primo Levy is back in the news

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:28 am
Primo Levi as a young man

Primo Levi as a young man

If you don’t know who Primo Levi is, I can’t help you.  Suffice to say, if you don’t know the name Primo Levi, it is almost certain that you have never been to college.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I previously blogged about Primo Levi on this blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/primo-levi-the-story-of-ten-days-jan-18th-to-jan-27th-1945/

Today, I am commenting on a news article, which you can read in full at https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/us-holocaust-museum-gets-a-treasured-auschwitz-manuscript-by-primo-levi/2016/06/01/a1106c5e-280f-11e6-ae4a-3cdd5fe74204_story.html

The news article is about an original manuscript, written years ago, by Primo Levi. The manuscript was recently put into a museum in Washington, DC.

The recent news article begins with this quote:

Begin quote

Manuela Paul had the precious documents in a plastic folder, inside an artist’s satchel, inside a Whole Foods shopping bag, which she kept at her side the entire bus ride from New York to Washington [DC].

The package in her custody was a rare 1946 draft of one of the most revered books to come out of the Holocaust — Italian author Primo Levi’s classic memoir of his 10 months in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz [Monowitz].

End quote

Normally, a news story begins with “Who, What, Where, When and Why,” but not if it is a news story about Jews. The Jews are “God’s Chosen People.” They are not like the lowly goyim who are not even human. The Jews can break the rules and get away with it.

The following quote is the very last paragraph in the news article, which was written backwards, with the most important information given at the end of the article.

Begin quote:

“Survival in Auschwitz” [written by Primo Levy] is considered one of the great Holocaust books, along with “The Diary of Anne Frank” and Elie Wiesel’s concentration camp memoir, “Night,” the museum said.

The manuscript includes 10 of the eventual 17 chapters, dating from the winter and spring of 1946. Levi had been liberated by the Russians [Soviet Union soldiers] in January 1945. He died in 1987.
End quote

Personally, I think that the writing of Primo Levi is highly over rated. If he had not been a Jew, his books would never have been published.

The factories in the Monowitz camp, where Levi was a prisoner, are still being used, and the camp is off limits to tourists. I have written several blog posts about Monowitz: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/monowitz/

 

 

May 18, 2016

It happened, therefore it can happen again….

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 3:06 pm

 

Primo Levi as a young man

Primo Levi as a young man

The words, in the title of my blog post, were written by Primo Levi, a famous Holocaust survivor, who is shown in the photo above. He was a prisoner at the Monowitz camp, which was also known as the Auschwitz III camp.

Prisoners working at Monowitz

Prisoners working in Monowitz factory

You can read about the Monowitz camp on my website at : http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Monowitz.html

Primo Levi as an older man

famous Holocaust survivor Primo Levi

In my previous blog post, I wrote the following about Primo Levi:

Auschwitz was abandoned by the German SS guards on January 18, 1945 and it was ten days before Soviet troops arrived to rescue the prisoners.  Primo Levi was an Italian Jew, who was a prisoner at the Monowitz labor camp in the Auschwitz complex.  In 1947, Levi wrote a poem entitled “If this is a man,” which is included in a book published in America under the title Survival in Auschwitz, the Nazi Assault on Humanity.

Chapter 17 of the book is entitled, “The Story of Ten Days.”  This is the story of what happened during the ten days that the prisoners were on their own, without the Germans to keep order and feed them.  There are some surprising revelations in this chapter.

Primo Levi had come down with scarlet fever on January 11, 1945 and he had been put into the hospital at Monowitz, so he was not able to join the march out of the camp on January 18, 1945.  He wrote that he was being treated in the hospital with sulpha drugs.

There has been a lot of speculation about why some of the prisoners stayed in the three Auschwitz camps (Auschwitz I, Birkenau and Monowitz) instead of following the fleeing Germans on January 18, 1945. The Holocaust experts believe that the prisoners were marched out of the camp for the purpose of killing them so that they could not testify about the gassing of the prisoners.  They believe that the prisoners joined the march for fear that they would be killed if they stayed behind.

Levi wrote that there were “rumours which had been circulating for some days: that the Russians were at Censtochowa sixty miles to the north; […] that at Buna (Monowitz) the Germans were already preparing to sabotage mines.”

Strangely, Levi did not mention anything about the Germans blowing up the gas chambers at Birkenau.  Levi was a prisoner at Monowitz and perhaps he didn’t know what was going on at Birkenau.

In the “Author’s Preface” to the book, the first sentence reads: “It was my good fortune to be deported to Auschwitz only in 1944, that is, after the German Government had decided, owing to the growing scarcity of labour, to lengthen the average life-span of the prisoners destined for elimination…”  Primo Levi was never in the Birkenau camp, so he apparently never knew that 450,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed and burned there in only 10 weeks, starting in May 1944.

Levi had arrived in Auschwitz in January 1944.  He had been captured by the Italian Fascist Militia on 13 December 1943, according to his book. He  wrote that he had fled into the mountains to help set up what “should have become a partisan band affiliated with the Resistance movement Justice and Liberty.”  Levi thought that “the admission of my political activity would have meant torture and certain death.”  Remarkably, he wrote that he “preferred to admit my status of Italian citizen of Jewish race.”

So on the first page of Chapter 1 in his book, Levy reveals that he thought he would be killed if he admitted to being a partisan, but not if he admitted to being a Jew.  Yet on page 20, he wrote, with regard to the selections for the gas chamber, that “later a simpler method was often adopted of merely opening both of the doors of the wagon without warning or instructions to the new arrivals.  Those who by chance climbed down on one side of the convoy entered the camp; the others went to the gas chamber.”

Levi wrote in Chapter 17 that the day before the Monowitz camp was to be evacuated, a Greek doctor who was a prisoner himself came to the hospital and told the prisoners that “all patients able to walk would be given shoes and clothes and would leave the following day with the healthy ones on a twelve mile march.” The others would remain in the hospital with assistants to be chosen from the patients who were the least sick.  When Levi asked the doctor what would happen to the sick prisoners, the doctor said that “probably the Germans would leave us to our fate: no, he did not think that they would kill us.”

Read more at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/primo-levi-the-story-of-ten-days-jan-18th-to-jan-27th-1945/

February 12, 2016

Holocaust survivor was forced to stand in line 17 times for gas chamber selection

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:27 am
Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler inspects Monowitz, July 1942

Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler inspects Monowitz factories, accompanied by German engineers, July 1942

SiemansFactoryBrobrek

According to the news reports, some of the Jewish prisoners at Monowitz worked in the Siemens factory at Brobeck, which is shown in the photo directly above.  Reinhold Henning has been accused of mistreating these prisoners.

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3444258/We-stand-naked-four-hours-decided-killed-Holocaust-survivor-reveals-horrors-Auschwitz-trial-SS-guard.html

A Holocaust survivor today told a court how he was forced to stand naked in line 17 times during his time at Auschwitz [Monowitz camp] while the Nazis decided who should be sent to the gas chambers.

Justin Sonder was one of three former prisoners who testified about the horrors they experienced at the trial of Reinhold Hanning [Henning], who is accused of helping to murder 170,000 Jews.

Justin was put through 17 selections at Monowitz

Justin Sonder was put through 17 selections at Monowitz

Hanning [Henning], 94, sat only a few metres from the witnesses, but showed no emotion as they spoke of crematoria chimneys belching flames and seeing people being shot.

Prosecutors say Hanning [Henning] told them that he was a guard at Auschwitz but denied taking part in any executions.

[…]

Mr Sonder, the youngest of the witnesses at 90, arrived at Auschwitz at age 17 and was selected to be a slave labourer for the IG Farben company [in the Monowitz camp], rather than sent directly to the gas chambers.

He told the court that after three or four months, he was considered one of the ‘older’ prisoners and feared most selection days, when SS men would look at rows of inmates, who were forced to stand in a line naked for up to four hours, and decide who was still fit to work and who should be killed.

‘I don’t have the words to describe how it was, when you know that you could be dead in one or two hours, it made you sick, made you crazy,’ he said, his voice trembling with emotion.

‘I survived 17 selections,’ added Sonder, a retired police officer from Chemnitz, who lost 22 family members in the Holocaust.

End quote

So why is Justin Sonder testifying against 94-year-old Reinhold Hanning? Did Henning make the selections at Monowitz, and decide who would live and who would die?

No, Henning did not make the selections, but he was there, so he is a war criminal, who deserves to spend his final years in prison because HE WAS THERE.

When will this madness stop?

Prisoners at work at Monowitz

Prisoners at work at Monowitz

You can read about the Monowitz camp on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Monowitz.html

 

August 28, 2015

The headline on the newspaper obituary of Dennis Avey contains the word “controversially”

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:30 am

Is controversially even a word?  The story of Dennis Avey’s wartime experience, when he allegedly spent two nights in a concentration camp, is so controversial that it might have needed a new word to describe it.  I would have used the word “allegedly” in describing Avey’s alleged trip into the concentration camp at Monowitz, aka Auschwitz III.

Read the full story at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11828297/Denis-Avey-Auschwitz-witness-obituary.html

Soldier who broke into Auschwitz...Handout photo issued by Hodder and Stoughton of Denis Avey, who along with former BBC Berlin correspondent Rob Broomby, has written 'The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz', a new book which tells the story of how the 92-year-old, a former soldier, smuggled himself into Auschwitz twice, saving the life of a Jewish prisoner in the process. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday April 1, 2011. See PA story HISTORY Auschwitz. Photo credit should read: Dave Poole/Hodder and Stoughton/PA Wire

Handout photo of Dennis Avey issued by Hodder and Stoughton Photo credit: Dave Poole/Hodder and Stoughton/PA Wire

I have written several blog posts under the tag Dennis Avey: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/dennis-avey/

July 31, 2015

Dennis Avey, the man who allegedly broke into Auschwitz, has died

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:00 am
This photo of Dennis Avey accompanies the news article about his death

This photo of Dennis Avey accompanies the news article about his death

A news article, which you can read in full here, tells the story of Dennis Avey sneaking in the Monowitz camp, which was the Auschwitz III camp. At the time that he allegedly sneaked into the Nazi camp, Avey was a prisoner in a nearby POW camp, which you can read about on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/MonowitzPOWs.html

Another news story, which you can read in full here, casts some doubt on Avey’s story.

I have written several blog posts about his claim that he broke into the Monowitz camp, which you can read at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/denis-avey/

October 29, 2013

Holocaust survivor Phil Gans is out selling “Erase the hate” bracelets

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 1:23 pm

PhilGans

I previously blogged here about Philip L. Gans, who allegedly survived the Auschwitz III camp, aka Monowitz. In the photo above, Philip Gans is standing in front of a photo of the Arbeit Macht Frei sign at the Auschwitz main camp, although he claims that he was in the Auschwitz III camp. Did Monowitz have the Arbeit sign?  I blogged about that here.

Philip is now out on the lecture circuit, selling bracelets that say “Erase the hate.”  You can read about it in this news article.  You can read a biography of Phil Gans here.

This quote is from the news article, published today, in The Pilot Tribune:

[Gans and his relatives] were taken to a detention camp in Westerbork [Holland] which, Gans explained, was not bad at all.

A month later 1,001 people from the detention camp were crammed into a train car, used to transport cattle. No one knew where they were going.

Several days later, they arrived at Auschwitz, a slave labor camp. [Does he mean Auschwitz III, aka Monowitz? Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II were “death camps”.]

Off the train, the men and women were separated. From there they were separated into other lines – one for the able-bodied who the Nazis felt could be workers and another line, for those they did not feel could work, were led to the showers where they were gassed to death then cremated.

I never got to say good-bye to my mom…” Gans said, [whose mother] was put in the shower line.

Because of his age, 15, he was put into the working line.
[…]
Gans remained at Auschwitz from Aug. 27, 1943 to Jan. 18, 1945 and was then transferred to Flossenberg where he served from January 1945 until April 16, 1945.
[…]
It was April 23, 1945 that the American army stepped in and helped liberate the [Flossenbürg] prisoners. He will never forget that day or those [American] soldiers who were so kind to him.
[…]
“I’m committed to getting the message out there.” He has coined the phrase, “Erase the Hate,” and put them on silicone bracelets which he sells.

When I wrote my first blog post about Phil Gans, I was skeptical of his story because he claims that he was sent directly to the Auschwitz III camp (Monowitz) which was NOT on a train line.

Before the train tracks were extended inside the Auschwitz II camp, prisoners who were sent to Auschwitz arrived at the Judenrampe and were then taken to the Auschwitz II camp, aka Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they underwent a selection.  Those who were selected to work were then sent to Monowitz, after first being held in the quarantine barracks at Birkenau for a few weeks.

Phil was fortunate that he arrived at Auschwitz at the exact age of 15 because that was the cut off point for prisoners to be chosen to work.  Anne Frank, who was also sent from Westerbork to Auschwitz, was 15 when she arrived, so she was not sent to the gas chamber.

What about his tattoo number, which begins with the number one, and has no letter A or B in front of it?  That part is correct, according to the USHMM website.

This quote about the Flossenbürg camp is from Wikipedia:

On 20 April 1945, they began the forced evacuation of 22,000 inmates, including 1,700 Jews, leaving behind only those too sick to walk. On the death march to the Dachau concentration camp, SS guards shot any inmate too sick to keep up.[4] Before they reached Dachau, more than 7,000 inmates had been shot or had collapsed and died.

By the time the U.S. Army freed the camp on April 23, 1945, more than 30,000 inmates had died at Flossenbürg. Troops from the 2nd Cavalry Group, Mechanized,[5] the 90th Infantry Division and the 97th Infantry Division[6][7] found about 1,600 ill and weak prisoners, mostly in the camp’s hospital barracks.

Phil was again fortunate that he was too sick to join the march out of Flossenbürg, and he was liberated by American troops. Those who could march were taken to the Dachau camp.

The Holocaust story, told by Phil Gans, is just TOO CONVENIENT.  For example, this quote from the news article:

In August of 1942 Gans’ father was informed he was to report to Germany but rather than going, he put the family into hiding. The family moved around and were separated for several months.

It was during the night in July 1943 that Gans was awakened by footsteps in the gravel outside their home. They had been discovered by the Nazis who ordered them up and to get dressed.

It was necessary for the Gans family to go into hiding (just like Anne Frank’s family) so that Phil would be exactly 15 years old, the age of survival at Auschwitz.  Otherwise, he would have had to lie about his age during the selections, which were always done by Dr. Josef Mengele, according to the survivors.

There is a revisionist website with the title “Inconvenient History,” which you can read here. This website could be called “Real History,” except that David Irving already has that title.

There should be a Holocaust website called “Convenient History” where survivors, like Phil Gans, could tell their convenient stories.

April 5, 2013

Bobrek sub-camp of Auschwitz III camp, where prisoners worked as slave laborers

Filed under: Buchenwald, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:31 am

This morning, I read an article about Gilbert Michlin, a French Jewish prisoner, who survived the Holocaust because he was selected to be a slave laborer at the Bobrek sub-camp of Monowitz (Auschwitz III).

Main gate into the Bobrek sub-camp of Monowitz

Main gate into the Bobrek sub-camp of Monowitz

Prisoners working in the Bobrek factory

Prisoners working in the Bobrek factory

The photo above was taken in 1944 at the Bobrek sub-camp of Monowitz. It shows prisoners working in an airplane factory called Siemens Schuckert Werke. In the background, the man wearing a civilian suit is Herr Jungdorf, a German engineer for the Siemens company.

This quote is from the article about Gilbert Michlin, which you can read in full here:

In his memoir, Gilbert [Michlin] recalled French complicity in the deportation of Jews. He lovingly portrayed his father’s yearning to immigrate to America and his rejection at Ellis Island in 1923 [America had a quota on Jewish immigrants starting in 1921]; Gilbert’s own childhood dream to be an actor; and the shock of Nazi occupation and his arrest with his mother by French police at 2 a.m. on Feb. 3, 1944, two days before his 18th birthday.

A week later, Gilbert saw his mother for the last time as she was driven away from the Auschwitz platform in a truck.

It was at the [Auschwitz] death camp that a Siemens representative recruited Gilbert and about 100 others to a work unit. His father’s insistence that Gilbert learn a mechanical trade saved his life. Gilbert was selected for armaments production. Siemens kept its Bobrek factory prisoners together, even after the SS evacuated them in the death march from Auschwitz in January 1945. They were transferred together from Buchenwald to Berlin. A few months later, the war was over.

Note that, at the Auschwitz “death camp,” 18-year-old Gilbert Michlin was recruited by a Siemens representative for a work unit in the Bobrek sub-camp of Monowitz. This is the first time that I have ever heard of a Siemens rep recruiting workers at Auschwitz.  I thought that everyone who was transported to Auschwitz was at the mercy of  Dr. Josef Mengele who was always at the ramp when the trains arrived.  Was there a Siemen’s representative standing there as well, doing some recruiting for the Siemens company?

Prisoners arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau had to undergo selection

Prisoners arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau had to undergo selection, for work or the gas chamber

Monowitz was originally a sub-camp of the Auschwitz II (Birkenau) camp, and it was known as Bunalager (Buna Camp) until November 1943 when it became the Auschwitz III camp with its own administrative headquarters. Auschwitz III consisted of 28 sub-camps which were built between 1942 and 1944. This area of Upper Silesia was known as the “Black Triangle” because of its coal deposits. The Buna plant attracted the attention of the Allies, and there were several bombing raids on the factories.

Auschwitz III was established at the site of the chemical factories of IG Farbenindustrie near the small village of Monowitz, which was located four kilometers from the town of Auschwitz. The IG Farben company had independently selected this location around the same time that Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler decided, in April 1940, to locate a new concentration camp in the town of Auschwitz. The most important factory at Auschwitz III, aka Monowitz, was the Buna Werke, which was owned by the IG Farben company.

Of the three Nazi concentration camps located near the town of Auschwitz, the Auschwitz III camp was the most important to the Nazis because of its factories which were essential to the German war effort. The Monowitz industrial complex was built by Auschwitz inmates, beginning in April 1941. Initially, the workers walked from the Auschwitz main camp to the building site, a distance of seven kilometers.

The decision to build chemical factories at Auschwitz transformed the village of Monowitz. On February 2, 1941, Herman Göring ordered the Jews in the village to be relocated to a ghetto, and German civilians moved into their former homes.

When the factories at Monowitz were opened, the town of Auschwitz quickly went from a primitive town of 12,000 inhabitants to a modern German town of 40,000 people which included an influx of German engineers and their families. Both the main Auschwitz camp and the Birkenau camp were expanded in order to provide workers for the factories. Before Monowitz became a separate camp with barracks buildings, the prisoners had to walk from the other camps to the factories.

According to Wikipedia, the Bobrek sub-camp of Monowitz was built by Siemens predecessor Siemens-Schuckert near the Polish village of Bobrek. The prisoners who worked there were producing electrical parts for German aircraft and U-boats.  On January 18, 1945, the prisoners from the Bobrek sub-camp were evacuated on a “death march” to the concentration camp in Gleiwitz, Poland, where they were put on a train to Buchenwald, from where they were transferred to a factory in a suburb of Berlin.  The Commandant of the Bobrek camp was SS-Scharführer Hermann Buch.

Heinrich Himmler on a visit to the Monowitz camp, with German engineers

Heinrich Himmler and Max Faust inspect the Monowitz camp

The photo above shows Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, a five-star general, (2nd from the left) who was the head of the SS and the man who was responsible for all the Nazi concentration camps. The man on the far left is Max Faust. This photo was taken when Himmler came to inspect the Monowitz factories on July 17th and 18th, 1942. Himmler is the man wearing a uniform. The two men on the right are German engineers.

The German engineers lived in the town of Auschwitz, after it was cleaned up to meet German standards of living. Slave labor was used to make improvements to the town, after Himmler volunteered the services of the concentration camp inmates.

The Jews who were sent to Auschwitz, and then assigned to work at Monowitz, had a much better chance of survival because the factory workers were considered too valuable to send to the gas chambers, at least while they were still able to work.
The figures below are from the Nazi records which were turned over to the Red Cross by the Soviet Union after the fall of Communism. They were published in a book written by Danuta Czech.

Male prisoners in Auschwitz III Monowitz (Buna-Werke) 10,223
Golleschau 1,008
Jawischowitz (Jawiszowice) 1,988
Eintrachthutte (Swietochlowice) 1,297
Neu-Dachs (Jaworzno) 3,664
Blechhammer (Blachownia) 3,958
Furstengrube (Wesola) 1,283
Gute Hoffnung (Janinagrube, Libiaz) 853
Guntergrube (Ledziny) 586
Brunn (Brno) 36
Gleiwitz I 1,336
Gleiwitz II 740
Gleiwitz III 609
Gleiwitz IV 444
Laurahutte (Siemianowice) 937
Sosnowitz 863
Bobrek 213
Trzebinia 641
Althammer (Stara Kuznia) 486
Tschechowitz-Dzieditz 561
Charlottengrube (Rydultowy) 833
Hindenburg (Zabrze) 70
Bismarckhutte (Hajduki) 192
Hubertushutte (Lagiewniki) 202
Subtotal 33,023

Female prisoners in Auschwitz III

Subtotal 2,095

Total for Auschwitz III: 35,118

Note that there were 213 survivors of the Bobrek sub-camp.

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