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July 19, 2015

Found in Strasbourg: bodies of Jews used in experiments at Natzweiler

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:08 am

In a news article, which you can read in full here, it was reported today that the remains of 86 Jews, used in Nazi experiments during World War II, have been found.

This quote is from the news article:

The remains of 86 Jews used for Nazi experiments have been found at a laboratory in eastern France, it emerged today.

They had been killed in German gas chambers in 1943 during the Second World War Holocaust before their corpses and body parts were taken to the legal medical institute in Strasbourg.

It was thought they had been buried in a common grave in 1946, following the liberation of the city by the Allies two years earlier.

But the Strasbourg authorities confirmed many of the remains were, more than 70 years on, still being stored.

The discovery has raised serious concerns, with one organisation, which represents the UK Jewish community, stating that ‘serious questions’ needed to be asked.

A Board of Deputies of British Jews spokesman said: ‘This discovery raises serious questions about who knew about these remains and why they did not reveal this sooner.

This building, near the Natzweiler concentration camp, was the gas chamber building

This building, near the Natzweiler concentration camp, was the  building where Jews were gassed

When I visited the former Natzweiler concentration camp in 2004, I had to hire a driver to take me there, as there were no trains nor buses that went to the former camp.

I tried to hire another driver to take me to the gas chamber building, but I was told that it was strictly off limits and no one is allowed to get anywhere near it. I don’t know if that is still the case.

August Hirt conducting an autopsy on the body of a Jew that was gassed at Natzweiler

Dr. August Hirt conducting an autopsy on the body of a Jew who was allegedly gassed at Natzweiler

A book which I purchased from the Natzweiler Memorial Site, on my visit in 2004, has this to say about the gas chamber:

4. The affair of the Israelite corpses

Hirt, professor of anatomy in Strasbourg, received corpses from the camp of Russian war prisoners at Mutzig, but as he thought they were too lean, he asked for people in a good physical condition for studies on heredity.

87 Israelites (30 of whom were women) were sent from the camp at Auschwitz. They were shut up in block 13 at the Struthof where they were measured, and they had to undergo experiments on sterilization. On August 11, 13, 17, 19, 1943, under the direction of doctors from Strasburg, the S.S. gassed the 87 Israelites in the gas chamber at Struthof with cyanide. Death occurred after 30 to 60 seconds. The corpses were transported to the Institut d’Anatomie in Strasburg. 17 entire corpses (3 of which being women’s) were found at the liberation as well as many dissected pieces.

According to Dr. Lang, there were 16 of the 86 bodies (3 women and 13 men) that were found intact in November 1944, not 17, and an autopsy was performed on the bodies.

“The liberation” referred to in the above quote probably means the liberation of France in August 1944. The Natzweiler-Struthof camp was abandoned in September 1944 so it was not actually “liberated.”

Dr. Hans-Joachim Lang was able to identify the 86 Jews who were gassed at Natzweiler after locating their prisoner numbers in the Auschwitz archives. The 29 women and 57 men who were gassed had been deported to Auschwitz from Norway, Poland, Greece, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The bodies of the 86 victims are buried in the Jewish cemetery of Strasbourg and a grave stone with the 86 names was placed there in December 2005.

The Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp was located on top of a 2,500 foot high mountain in the Vosges range, which was a ski area before the camp was built, and still is today as far as I know.

Natzweiler-Struthof was not a death camp, specifically built for the Holocaust, which was the mass extermination of the Jews. It was a camp for the imprisonment of convicted German criminals and Anti-Fascist resistance fighters.

However, the reason that Natzweiler is so well known today is that a small number of Jews were killed there in a gas chamber, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The gas chamber building, shown in the photo above, has been preserved, although I don’t know if anyone is allowed to see it. However, it is not necessary to examine the gas chamber because we have the confession of Josef Kramer, in which he said that he personally gassed 80 Jews. Kramer made his confession after he was arrested at Bergen-Belsen when that camp was voluntarily turned over to the British on April 15, 1945.

Le Struthof, as the camp is known to the French, was located 31 miles from Strasbourg where Dr. August Hirt, a Professor at the University of Strasbourg, was conducting research on racial characteristics. When he requested Jewish skeletons that were undamaged by bullet holes or body blows, Heinrich Himmler ordered that Jews should be brought from Auschwitz to Natzweiler so that they could be killed in a gas chamber there.

In August 1943, a special gas chamber was constructed by adapting an existing building, formerly owned by the Struthof hotel, which was located about a mile from the concentration camp on a side road. This room had previously been used as a refrigerator room by the hotel.

Killing the Jews in one of the gas chambers at Auschwitz and shipping the skeletons to Strasbourg wouldn’t do – the skeletons had to be prepared with great care by Dr. Hirt himself.

According to a Tübingen Professor, Dr. Hans-Joachim Lang, two anthropologists, who were both members of the SS, Dr. Hans Fleischhacker and Bruno Beger, were sent in June 1943 to Auschwitz to select Jews to be gassed so that their skeletons could be added to the rassistische/rassenideologische collection of Dr. August Hirt. There were 57 men and 29 women in the group that was selected.

In the documents submitted to the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, it is mentioned that the Jewish victims were put into quarantine for a time at Auschwitz because there was a typhus epidemic in the camp; then they were brought to Natzweiler-Struthof.

The Nuremberg IMT documents show that 86 corpses were brought to the Anatomie Institute of the Reichsuniversitat Strassburg and that an assistant of Prof. August Hirt saw the tattoos on the arms and secretly wrote down the 86 numbers on a piece of paper.

Update, 9:30 a.m. today

According to another news article, which you can read in full here:

When the story of Alice Simon was last told in the newspaper in 1994, her family in Wisconsin believed they finally had learned her fate. Records at Auschwitz death camp suggested she was murdered there by the Nazis.

Another shock was yet to come.

Alice, a 56-year-old widow who had sent her two children to safety in England, actually left Auschwitz alive, only to be killed days later in the gas chamber at another camp, Natzweiler-Struthof, in August 1943.

And there was more. The Nazis had a diabolical plan to create a museum display of Jewish people’s skeletons. Alice was one of those 86 people.

Hans-Joachim Lang, a German historian, painstakingly identified all of those victims from the numbers tattooed on their arms. Alice was marked with 45263. Lang learned as much as he could about each one and their families, and in 2004 wrote a book called “Die Namen der Nummern,” which translates to “the names of the numbers.”

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.


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.

November 18, 2012

the infamous Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 3:04 pm

With nothing better to do, I did some searching on the Internet today, and came across two blogs which feature photos of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp.

I visited the Natzweiler-Struthof Memorial Site in the Fall of 2004 and took some photos, including the photo below, which shows a wooden bench, used for whipping prisoners.

Whipping block on display at Natzweiler Memorial Site

This blog shows a photo of the same bench with this caption:

Implements of torture, before waterboarding was in vogue. They just strapped you to this and removed body parts.

Not quite. The photo on the blog shows a bench used for whipping prisoners, not a bench for removing body parts.

Punishment of prisoners at Natzweiler and all the other concentration camps had to be approved by the WVHA economic office in Oranienburg, where Rudolf Hoess was a member of the staff after he was removed as the Commandant of Auschwitz in December 1943.

At the Nuremberg IMT, on April 15, 1946, Hoess testified that punishment on the whipping block was seldom used and that this punishment was discontinued in 1942 because Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler gave a new order that the SS men were forbidden to strike the prisoners.

On my trip to Natzweiler-Struthof in 2004, I took a photo of the exterior wall of a shower room, which is shown below.  The photo clearly shows water pipes entering the shower room.  In the lower right hand corner of the photo, you can see the rear of the cremation oven.

Water pipes on the outside wall of a shower room in Natzweiler

This blog shows a similar photo, which the blogger claims to be a photo of the interior of the gas chamber at Natzweiler.

This quote is from the blog, cited above:

In August 1943 a gas chamber was constructed in Natzweiler, in one of the buildings that had formed part of the hotel compound. The contractors for the project, Waffen –SS Natzweiler left behind a rare document in which, contrary to the coded terminology generally employed by the Nazis, specific mention was made of “the construction of a gas chamber at Struthof.”

This appeared in an invoice that the SS sent to the Strasbourg University Institute of Anatomy, charging it 236.08 Reichsmarks for the job. It was for the skeleton collection of the director of that institute, Professor August Hirt, that at least one hundred and thirty prisoners were transferred from Auschwitz to be killed in the Natzweiler gas chamber. Most of these prisoners were Jews.

Another member of the Strasbourg University faculty, Professor Otto Bickenbach, also availed himself of the Natzweiler gas chamber, to conduct experiments on prisoners with antidotes of phosgene, a poisonous gas.

The victims were Gypsies who had been transferred from Auschwitz, the previous year to serve as human guinea pigs for SS doctors experimenting with anti-typhus injections.

After my trip to Natzweiler-Struthof, I did a lot of research and wrote about the alleged gas chambers there on this page of my website.