Scrapbookpages Blog

June 5, 2016

the Netherlands is finally getting a national Holocaust museum

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:06 am

The title of my blog post today is a line from a news article, which you can read in full at http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2016/jun/05/dutch-get-holocaust-museum-20160605/

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

Begin quote

AMSTERDAM — More than 70 years after tens of thousands of Dutch Jews were deported and killed by the Nazis, the Netherlands is finally getting a national Holocaust museum.

[…]

In all, 104,000 Dutch Jews were among the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The theater is now home to a memorial to those victims.

End quote

The most important part of the news article comes later in this quote:

Begin quote

The nine paintings on show are collectively titled “The Demise of Abraham Reiss.” They trace the life of [Jeroen] Krabbe’s grandfather, who was murdered by the Nazis in 1943 in the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland.

From a man sitting in a forest of birch trees on the edge of Amsterdam, the paintings trace Reiss’ life in pre-war Amsterdam to his detention in the Westerbork camp in the northeastern Netherlands and his arrival at Sobibor, where he was greeted by a snarling dog and shadowy, faceless guards. The final painting shows thick smoke billowing out of the chimney of Sobibor’s gas chamber and a flock of geese, whose honking was intended to drown out the screams of Jews being murdered, according to a text accompanying one of the paintings.

The artist said he couldn’t bring himself to visit Sobibor. So instead he drew on the memories of camp survivor Jules Schelvis, who wrote a book about his experiences and built models of the camp and its gas chambers. The models are exhibited in the same room as Krabbe’s paintings.

Krabbe said he also used his acting skills to imagine how his grandfather would respond to the horrors unfolding in his life.

“I wanted to get under his skin,” Krabbe told The Associated Press. “To imagine how it would be to experience what happened to him and how he would have reacted. It was like I had to play a role.”

End quote

Only 104,000 Dutch Jews were “murdered”? How many other Dutch Jews, including Anne Frank, died of disease, or natural causes, during the Holocaust?

It hardly seems worth it to have a national museum dedicated to only 104,000 citizens who were murdered.  Why not have a memorial to all the Dutch citizens who died during World War II, which would include Anne Frank, who died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen?

But to get back to Sobibor…..

MapSobibor

Map of Sobibor camp

Sobibor is one of the few places, related to the Holocaust, that I have not visited.  From everything that I have read about Sobibor, I believe that it was a transit camp, from which Jews were sent to the east, never to return.

I have written several blog posts about Sobibor: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/sobibor/

I have a section about Sobibor on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Sobibor/Tour01.html

Alert readers of my blog post might have noticed that the news article mentioned “thick smoke billowing out of the chimney of Sobibor’s gas chamber.”

A real gas chamber, like the one in Jefferson City, MO, is supposed to have a tall chimney to vent the gas high into the air. Did the Nazis have a gas chamber consultant, like Fred Leuchter, to advise them on the construction of the gas chamber at Sobibor?

 

May 21, 2016

What’s wrong with this map?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:12 am
Map of Poland

Map shows 3 Nazi death camps on the border of Poland

The map, shown above, identifies the locations of three of the alleged Nazi death camps: Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec. All 3 of these camps were very near the Bug river, which is not shown on the map.

Allegedly, the Nazis transported Jews to Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec for no reason, other than to kill them. But why waste trains and manpower to transport Jews to these Godforsaken places when it would have been more efficient, and cheaper, to gas them in Warsaw or at Auschwitz.

Transporting Jews from Warsaw to Treblinka and Belzec, both of which are right on the border of Poland, was highly inefficient, since the Jews could have been killed in a hidden gas chamber in Warsaw, and no one would have known about it.

Note that the locations of Warsaw and Auschwitz were easier to reach, than the three locations along the river. Auschwitz was the largest central railroad hub in Europe; trains from anywhere in Europe could go to Auschwitz without changing tracks.

If you have ever been to Germany, you know that the German people are very smart and very efficient. So why did the Germans come up with this stupid plan of transporting the Jews to Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec to be killed?  This is a trick question. The answer is that the Jews were not transported to these places to be killed; the Jews were sent, from these locations, into the eastern territories to get rid of them, but not to kill them.

So why am I writing about this now, you ask. It is because I have just read a news article about these camps: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/unearthing-the-atrocities-of-nazi-death-camps/

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

Begin quote

During the Second World War, [Caroline] Sturdy Colls knew, more than 900,000 Jewish deportees had been killed at the Treblinka death camp, an unassuming site about the size of a suburban shopping mall. After closely guarded boxcars of arrivals passed through the gates of Treblinka or its sister camps, Beec [Belzec] and Sobibór, it took less than an hour for camp staff to exterminate them in engine-exhaust gas chambers.

All three of the Operation Reinhard camps were located within a few hundred miles of each other in formerly central (now eastern) Poland, and some 500 miles from the notorious Auschwitz death camp. Of the approximately 1.7 million Jewish people who arrived at the three Reinhard camps, scarcely a hundred survived the war, and they only made it because they staged desperate breakouts that succeeded against all odds.

End quote

Photo credit: Culture Club/Getty Images

Photo credit: Culture Club/Getty Images

My 1998 photo of the memorial stones at Treblinka

My 1998 photo of the memorial stones at the Treblinka camp

According to my tour guide, who accompanied me to Treblinka in 1998, the stones in the photo above cover the area where the ashes were buried after the Jews were gassed and burned at Treblinka. Each stone represents a town or a city from which the victims were taken to Treblinka to be killed. This monument prevents anyone from digging in this area to see if ashes or bodies are buried here.

April 30, 2016

The significance of the Bug river

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:52 am

If you don’t know the significance of the Bug river, you know nothing.

The following quote is from Wikipedia:

Begin quote

A tributary of the Narew River, the Bug forms part of the border between Ukraine and Poland for 185 kilometres (115 mi),[2] and between Belarus and Poland for 178 kilometres (111 mi),[2][3] and is the fourth longest Polish river.

[…]

Traditionally the Bug River was also often considered the ethnographical border between the Orthodox and Catholic Polish peoples. The Bug was the dividing line between German Wehrmacht and Russian Red Army forces following the 1939 invasion of Poland in the Second World War.

End quote

The Bug river forms the border between Poland and three other countries. So what? you say. Does it seem strange to you that the Nazis put their “death camps” right on their border with these other countries?

The Bug river forms the border between Poland and xxx

My 1998 photo of the entrance into the Treblinka camp

My 1998 photo of the road into Treblinka camp

Take a look at my 1998 photos of the bridge over the Bug river.

My 1998 photo of the bridge over the Bug river

My 1998 photo of the wooden bridge over the Bug river

My 1998 photo of the middle of the bridge

My 1998 photo of the middle of the bridge

After the joint conquest of Poland by the Germans and the Russians in September 1939, the river Bug (pronounced Boog) became the border between the German-occupied General Government of Poland and the Russian zone of occupation; then Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 and conquered the strip of eastern Poland that was being occupied by the Russians. Treblinka is located in the former General Government.

On January 20, 1942, a conference was held in Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, where plans were made for the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” Three extermination camps, called the Operation Reinhard Camps were planned at this conference.

Treblinka was the last of the Operation Reinhard camps to be set up; the other two were Sobibor and Belzec. All three of the Operation Reinhard camps were located on the western side of the Bug river. There is a bend in the river near Treblinka, which required a bridge over the river in order to get to the village of Treblinka, although the village is located on the western side of the border between the former General Government and the Russian zone of occupation.

Hardly more than a creek, the Bug is shallow enough in some places so that one can wade across it, and according to historian Martin Gilbert, some refugees, from both sides, did wade across. The movie “Europa, Europa” has a scene in which Jewish refugees are shown walking toward the Russian sector, trying to escape the Nazis in September 1939 by crossing the Bug river on rafts.

I wrote about the significance of Treblinka on this page of my webite: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Treblinka/introduction.html

The following quote is from my web page, cited above:

Treblinka was second only to Auschwitz in the number of Jews who were killed by the Nazis: between 700,000 and 900,000, compared to an estimated 1.1 million to 1.5 million at Auschwitz.

The Treblinka death camp was located 100 km (62 miles) northeast of Warsaw, near the railroad junction at the village of Malkinia Górna, which is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the train station in the tiny village of Treblinka.

Raul Hilberg stated in his three-volume book, “The Destruction of the European Jews,” that there were six Nazi extermination centers, including Treblinka. The other extermination camps were at Belzec, Sobibor, Chelmno, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau, all of which are located in what is now Poland. The last two also functioned as forced labor camps (Zwangsarbeitslager), and were still operational shortly before being liberated by the Soviet Union towards the end of the war in 1944 and early 1945.

The camps at Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor and Chelmno had already been liquidated by the Germans before the Soviet soldiers arrived, and there was no remaining evidence of the extermination of millions of Jews. The combined total of the deaths at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor was 1.5 million, according to Raul Hilberg.

End quote

 

97-year-old Holocaust survivor still enjoys laying a guilt trip on German teenagers

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:11 am
Betty Bausch speaking to students

Betty Bausch speaks to students about her experience in WWII

The following quote is from a recent news article which you can read in full at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4797397,00.html

Begin quote:

Just before Holocaust Memorial Day, 97-year-old survivor Betty Bausch has again packed her suitcase and travelled to tell young Germans of the harm that their nation inflicted decades before they were born. In recent years, this has become her life’s work.

Every time that Bausch finishes describing her family’s travails in the Holocaust and asks for audience questions, the room is filled with a tense silence that eventually becomes an honest, if painful, conversation between a survivor of the inferno and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the those who committed the atrocities.

End quote

The moral of this story is this: never try to kick a Jew out of your country. The Jews have a right to live in any country in the world, even though they now have their own country [Israel].

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

Begin quote

Bausch’s story of survival from the days of the war is extraordinary. Thanks to endless resourcefulness, aid in procuring forged documents, and an Aryan appearance, she managed to hide and live under a fake identity, thus avoiding being sent to a concentration camp.

She was born and raised in Amsterdam, where she had a happy childhood. Like most of the Netherlands’s Jews, she did not experience anti-Semitism.

Her parents passed on their religious and Zionist stances to their children. However, they hesitated and didn’t use the permits to immigrate to the Land of Israel that they had before the war. When the Germans invaded the Netherlands, it was too late, and they [her parents] were sent to the Sobibor extermination camp and killed.

End quote

You can read about Sobibor on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Sobibor/Tour01.html

This quote is also from the news article:

Bausch has been speaking for 20 years in the Netherlands and for the past six in Germany. “I always begin by telling the youths about my time at their age, when I was 16 years old,” she said, “because I think that it interests them, what I did at their age, and not at 97.

At that time, we only had one radio, which I would always turn on when Hitler was making a speech. He would say, ‘The Jews are the rats of the world and must be destroyed.’ When my family heard that, they would say to me, ‘Betty, turn it off, turn it off; we don’t want to hear it.’ I was the only one told them, ‘We have to hear it; we have to know what that man wants to do with the Jews. If he says it, he’ll do it.’ They would answer me, ‘No, no, it’s just words.’

End quote

Did you catch that? These Jews in the Netherlands had ONLY ONE RADIO. When I was a child, my family did not have even one radio. We had to go a neighbor’s house to hear President Roosevelt speak on the radio. I should be out on the lecture circuit, telling about how I suffered during World War II. Oh, the humanity!

April 5, 2016

Jules Schelvis, survivor of the Sobibor death camp and six other camps, has died at the age of 95

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:50 am
Two monuments at the site of the Sobibor camp Photo credit: Alan Collins

Two monuments at the alleged Sobibor extermination camp Photo credit: Alan Collins

You can see some old black and white photos of the Sobibor camp at http://www.deathcamps.org/sobibor/photos.html

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full here:

Begin quote

Jules Schelvis, the last Dutch survivor of the Nazi death camp at Sobibor, died on Monday at his home near Amsterdam at the age of 95, according to the BBC.

Some 250,000 people, mostly Jews, were in 1942 and 1943 murdered at Sobibor, one of three secret camps whose entire purpose was extermination that the Nazis established in occupied Poland.

Most of Schelvis’s relatives died in the Second World War, the BBC reported, and he spent time in six additional camps before he was liberated.

After the war, Schelvis began documenting what had occurred at the camp, which had far fewer surviving witnesses than concentration and labor camps.

Schelvis was also a co-plaintiff in the trial of John Demnanjuk, convicted in 2011 of 27,900 counts of acting as an accessory to murder.

End quote

Excuse me! I don’t understand this!

Sobibor was strictly an extermination camp, the purpose of which was to kill every Jew that entered the camp.  Why did those stupid Nazis save this one prisoner? Did they deliberately save one prisoner so that he could live to the age of 95 and testify many years later at the trials of aged men like John Demnanjuk?

The news story continues with this quote:

Begin quote

After the war, Schelvis began documenting what had occurred at the [Sobibor] camp, which had far fewer surviving witnesses than concentration and labor camps.

[…]

He published his first book, Inside the Gates, which described life in the camps, in 1982. He founded the Sobibor Foundation in 1999, dedicated to remembrance of the camp’s victims and survivors.

Once asked why he devoted years of his life to enshrining the memory of the Holocaust, he said: “I did it for everyone who was murdered there. First of all for my wife and the family and everyone else.”

End quote

Note that he dedicated his book to “the camp’s victims and survivors.” Survivors? Plural? What kind of “death camp” has survivors?  The purpose of the Sobibor camp was the kill the Jews, not to save Jews who would become “survivors” and testify at trials of Holocaust deniers.

Sobibor railroad station is on the right Photo credit: Alan Collins

The Sobibor railroad station is on the right                   Photo credit: Alan Collins

Many people, including me, think that the German people are very intelligent.  Not true! The stupid Nazis built a “death camp” way out in the boondocks, where they could kill Jews in secret, but then they left survivors, who would live to the age of 95, allowing them to write books about this “death camp.”  Sobibor was a “whistle stop” on a one-track railroad. Why take Jews way out in the Polish countryside to kill them when it would have been more efficient to kill them in Warsaw?

Could it be that Sobibor was a transit camp, from which the Jews were sent somewhere else, and that’s why there were survivors who lived to be 95 years old?

May 18, 2015

New documentary about 119 relatives of a RT reporter who died in Nazi concentration camps

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 1:25 pm

You can read a news article about Paula Slier, a RT reporter, who has made a new documentary about 119 of her relatives who died in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Paula Slier claims that one of her relatives was killed in a gas chamber at Sobibór.

Processed by: Helicon Filter;

Sobibor was a whistle stop on a branch railroad line

I wrote a previous blog post about the claim that the names of the Jews who were gassed are unknown: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/30000-records-kept-by-the-nazis-but-not-one-name-of-anyone-who-died-in-a-gas-chamber/

RT is a global news network that broadcasts 24/7 in English, Arabic and Spanish from its studios in Moscow, Washington, DC, and London.  It is available to 700 million viewers worldwide. RT is the most watched TV news network on YouTube with more than 2 billion views. RT is the winner of the Monte Carlo TV Festival Awards for best 24-hr broadcast, and the only Russian TV channel to garner three nominations for the prestigious International Emmy Award for News.

The news article starts out with this quote:

Begin quote

MOSCOW, May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — In “119 Lives Unlived,” RT correspondent Paula Slier looks into her family’s past to discover the exact fate of the 119 members of her family who were exterminated in Nazi concentration camps during World War 2. Seventy years after the end of the war, she conducts a personal investigation into where and how they died.

Paula Slier starts her search in Amsterdam, where a shoebox with postcards and letters that belonged to her second cousin Flip Slier was found during construction work on an old house. In 1943 Flip was murdered in a gas chamber of the Sobibor concentration camp.
[…]

119 Lives Unlived will premiere globally on RTDoc and RT International on May 20. A special pre-premiere screening of the documentary in Russian will take place in Moscow on Monday, May 18 as part of RT’s ClubDoc project. Watch the promo here: http://clubdoc.rt.com/

End quote

Did you catch that, dear readers? Paula Slier has the name of one of her relatives, who was gassed at Sobibór. And you thought that there were no gas chambers at Sobibór.

Two monuments at Sobibor in honor of the Jews who were gassed there

Two monuments at Sobibor in honor of the Jews who were gassed there

I wrote about Sobibór in this previous blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/why-were-dutch-jews-sent-to-sobibor-passing-up-auschwitz-and-majdanek/

The title of my blog post was “Why were Dutch Jews sent to Sobibór, passing up Auschwitz and Majdanek?”

I wrote another blog post, which you can read at

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/jews-were-reduced-to-ashes-within-a-half-hour-of-their-arrival-at-the-sobibor-extermination-camp/

The title of my blog post was “Jews were reduced to ashes within a half-hour of their arrival at the Sobibór extermination camp ”

Does anyone besides me think that the story of this camp is very strange?

Let’s go to Wikipedia for the true story.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sobib%C3%B3r_extermination_camp

This quote is from Wikipedia:

Begin quote

Jews from Poland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, as well as the Soviet prisoners of war, were transported to Sobibór by rail and suffocated in gas chambers fed by the exhaust of large petrol engines. Up to 200,000 people were murdered at Sobibór,[3] and possibly more. During the postwar trial against the former SS personnel of Sobibór, held in Hagen, Professor Wolfgang Scheffler estimated the total figure of murdered Jews at a minimum of 250,000.[4][5]

End quote

All of this will come as a great surprise to Bradley Smith, who has been asking for the name of one person (with proof) who was gassed by the Nazis. I wrote about Bradley Smith and his search for one person who was gassed on this blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/bradley-smith-wants-documented-proof-of-one-person-who-was-gassed-at-auschwitz-or-dachau/

April 2, 2015

The gas chambers at Sobibór, according to Wikipedia

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:32 am

A reader of my blog made a comment in which a link to this page on Wikipedia was included.

This quote is from Wikipedia:

Jews from Poland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, as well as the Soviet prisoners of war, were transported to Sobibór by rail and suffocated in gas chambers fed by the exhaust of large petrol engines. Up to 200,000 people were murdered at Sobibór,[3] and possibly more.

The source [3] for this information is Raul Hilberg, who  spent one whole afternoon at the main Auschwitz camp before writing his famous  book. He couldn’t be bothered with going to see Sobibór, which is way out in the boondocks in Poland.

Few people ever go to Sobibór, and why should they, when they can  just read Wikipedia.

I’ve never been to Sobibór myself, but I did do some research on it a few years ago. I wrote about Sobibór on this page of my scrapbookpages.com website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Sobibor/Tour01.html

Begin quote:

The Sobibór camp was on the eastern edge of German-occupied Poland, five kilometers west of the Bug river. The Bug river was as far as trains from western Europe could go without changing the wheels to fit the train tracks in the Soviet Union, which were a different gauge. On the other side of the Bug river from Sobibór was Ukraine, which had belonged to the Soviet Union until it was taken by the Germans shortly after their invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. The unsuspecting victims who arrived at Sobibór were told that they would be sent to work camps in Ukraine after they had taken a shower, but instead, the Jews were immediately killed in gas chambers disguised as shower rooms.

Sobibór was one of the three Aktion Reinhard camps which were set up following the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 when “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Europe” was planned. The head of Aktion Reinhard (Operation Reinhard) was SS-Brigadeführer Odilio Globocnik, who had previously been the Gauleiter of Vienna, Austria. Globocnik and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler both committed suicide after being captured by the British.

The other two Aktion Reinhard camps were Belzec and Treblinka. The first Commandant at Belzec was Christian Wirth, who was also the Inspector of the Aktion Reinhard camps. Belzec and Treblinka were also very near the Bug river which formed the eastern border between German-occupied Poland and the Soviet Union. Across the Bug river from Treblinka was Belorussia (White Russia) which is now called Belarus.

According to the figures given by the Nazis at the Wannsee Conference, there were approximately 5 million Jews in the Soviet Union in January 1942, including 2,994,684 in Ukraine and 446,484 in Belorussia. There were another 2,284,000 Jews in the area of German-occupied Poland known as the General Government. At the Conference, the Nazis claimed that they were planning to resettle some of the Jews who were living in the General Government into Ukraine, an area of the Soviet Union which Germany controlled at that time.

The Nazis claimed that the Aktion Reinhard camps were transit camps for the “evacuation of the Jews to the East,” a euphemism for the genocide of the Jews. Unlike the death camps at Auschwitz and Majdanek, the three Aktion Reinhard camps did not have ovens to cremate the bodies. The Jews were not registered upon arrival at the Aktion Reinhard camps and no death records were kept.

End quote

Does it seem suspicious to you that the Germans went to all this trouble to transport Jews to Sobibór to be gassed when there were no real gas chambers there?  I’m talking about the type of gas chambers that used Zyklon-B. At the time that I wrote about Sobibór on my website, It was believed that the Jews had been gassed in gas chambers that used Zyklon-B.

Recently, the location of more gas chambers at Sobibór has been found. I blogged about this in this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/new-evidence-of-gas-chambers-found-at-the-sobibor-camp-in-poland/

Why not just send all the Jews to Auschwitz, which was the largest railroad hub in Europe? Trains could go from anywhere in Europe to Auschwitz without changing  trains.

There were at least 5 gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

It’s  all about the Bug river, folks. I wrote about it on this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/malkinia-junction-where-the-trains-to-treblinka-stopped/#more-15471

September 19, 2014

new evidence of gas chambers found at the Sobibór camp in Poland

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

Sobibór was one of the three Aktion Reinhard [Reinhardt] camps, which were set up after the end of the Wannsee Conference, which was held, starting on January 20, 1942, to plan “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Europe.”

Sobibor is a remote village in Poland

Sobibor train station in Poland

One of the followers of my blog visited the site of the Sobibór camp 10 days ago. He made a comment on my blog which included a link to this news story.  The headline of the story is

Archaeologists in Poland Make Horrendous Discovery Underneath the Ground That the Nazis Never Wanted Found

This quote is from the news story:

Another archeologist involved in unearthing the gas chambers, identified as Wojciech Mazurek, offered a bone-chilling description of the concentration camp.

“The extermination of people took place there; murder by smoke from an engine that killed everyone within 15 minutes in these gas chambers, in torment, shouting,” he told Reuters Television. “It is said that … the Nazis even bred geese in order to drown out these shouts so that prisoners could not have heard these shouts, these torments.”

[…]

In the wake of the camp uprising that occurred on 14 October 1943, the Germans decided to dismantle the camp. Apart from certain structures that have been dismantled since the war and the few buildings in connection to the camp that are still standing, the site has remained bare lacking any real trace of the former extermination camp.

Sobibór is way out in the boondocks.  Why did the Nazis go to such trouble and expense to take the Jews to this God-forsaken place, when they could have just set up gas chambers in some more convenient place?

The site of the tiny village of Sobibor in Poland

The site of the tiny village of Sobibor in Poland  Click on the photo for a much larger size

I have written about Sobibór on my blog in the past, but it bears repeating.

The Sobibór “extermination” camp was on the eastern edge of German-occupied Poland, five kilometers west of the Bug river. The Bug river was as far as trains from western Europe could go without changing the wheels to fit the train tracks in the Soviet Union, which were a different gauge.

On the other side of the Bug river from Sobibór was Ukraine, which had belonged to the Soviet Union until it was taken by the Germans shortly after their invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.

The unsuspecting Jews, who arrived at Sobibór, were told that they would be sent to work camps in Ukraine after they had taken a shower, but instead, the Jews were immediately killed in gas chambers that used the “lethal smoke” known as carbon monoxide.

The Jews were not registered upon arrival at the Aktion Reinhard camps and no death records were kept by the Nazis.

The Nazis claimed that the Aktion Reinhard camps were transit camps for the “evacuation of the Jews to the East,” a euphemism for the genocide of the Jews. Unlike the death camps at Auschwitz and Majdanek, the three Aktion Reinhard camps did not have ovens to cremate the bodies.  The German people are noted for being efficient, so this oversight is inconceivable.

Whatever happened to all those bodies? Were they buried, or burned on outdoor pyres?  According to the survivors, the bodies were first buried and then dug up and burned on pyres.

The head of Aktion Reinhard (Operation Reinhard) was SS-Brigadeführer Odilio Globocnik, who had previously been the Gauleiter of Vienna, Austria. Unfortunately, Globocnik and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler both committed suicide after being captured by the British, so we will never know their version of what happened.  Thanks to the British, the  Holocaust  Holohoax story is safe.

At the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal in 1946, documents were introduced which showed an exchange of letters in 1943 between Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, the head of all the concentration camps, and Richard Glücks, the Inspector of the Concentration Camps, in which Glücks suggested that Sobibór be converted into a concentration camp. In a letter dated 5 July 1943, Himmler rejected this idea. This indicates that Sobibór was not a concentration camp, but rather a camp that was not part of the Nazi concentration camp system.

The three Aktion Reinhard camps were all in remote locations, but “each site was on a railroad line linking it with hundreds of towns and villages whose Jewish communities were now trapped and starving” in the spring of 1942, according to Martin Gilbert’s book entitled The Holocaust. Sobibór was linked by rail with many large Jewish communities, including Lublin, Wlodawa and Chelm.

Jews were also brought from the Theresienstadt ghetto, located in what is now the Czech Republic, although Theresienstadt allegedly had a gas chamber.  Jews were also brought from the Netherlands, to be gassed at Sobibór.

The Jews from the Netherlands were brought to Sobibór on passenger trains.  This begs the question:  Why didn’t the Nazis save money by gassing these Jews in the Netherlands? Why didn’t they use these valuable trains for transporting German troops?

Deportations to Sobibór began in mid April 1942 with transports from the town of Zamosc in Poland, according to Holocaust historian Martin Gilbert.

The Jews from the Lublin ghetto were also sent to Sobibór to be gassed, although there were three or four gas chambers at Majdanek just outside the city of Lublin. Now this doesn’t make any sense at all.  The Jews could have walked to the Majdanek gas chambers, but instead they were transported on trains to Sobibór.

During the first phase of the extermination of the Jews at Sobibór, which lasted until July 1942, an estimated 100,000 Jews were gassed to death. Their bodies were buried in mass graves, then dug up later and burned on pyres.

During the next phase, the bodies were burned immediately, according to Toivi Blatt, one of the few survivors of Sobibór. At the age of 15, Blatt had been selected to work in sorting the clothing in the camp. Philip Bialowitz was also selected to work in sorting the possessions of the Jews who arrived at the camp; he also survived.

During World War II, and for years afterward, the Sobibór camp was virtually unknown. William Shirer did not even mention it in his monumental 1147-page book entitled The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

It was not until the release of a 1987 TV movie, Escape from Sobibor, based on a book with the same name, that the public knew of this remote spot where 250,000 Jews lost their lives. The movie tells the story of the revolt during which around 300 prisoners escaped; no more than 50 of them survived to the end of the war. Philip Bialowitz and Toivi Blatt were among the prisoners who escaped and survived.

I have never visited the site of the Sobibór camp because there is not much to see there.  The photo below, taken by Allen Collins, shows two monuments in the alleged location of the gas chambers. It has now been confirmed, in this news article that this was the location of 10 gas chambers.

Monuments in the alleged location of the gas chambers at Sobibor

Monuments in the alleged location of the gas chambers at Sobibor

The photo above shows the spot in Camp III at Sobibór where 10 brick buildings with gas chambers once stood. A large block of stone represents the gas chambers in two of the buildings at Sobibór , which were torn down long ago.

The remains of 8 more gas chamber buildings were found near the monument

The remains of 8 more gas chamber buildings were found near the monument (click on photo for larger size)

In the photo immediately above, notice that the monument made of red stone has been temporarily removed from the block on which it stood.

Survivors of Sobibór do not agree on the number, nor the size of the gas chambers. The victims were allegedly killed with carbon monoxide from the exhaust of engines taken from captured Soviet tanks, which were stored in Camp IV. There is also disagreement on whether these were diesel engines or gasoline engines.

In the wake of the camp uprising that occurred on 14 October 1943, the Germans decided to dismantle the camp. Apart from certain structures that have been dismantled since the war and the few buildings in connection to the camp that are still standing, the site has remained bare lacking any real trace of the former extermination camp.

According to another news story, which you can read here, the exact location of the gas chambers has now been found.  The photo below shows the exact spot where the gas chamber building was located.

Exact location of Sobibor gas chamber has been found

Exact location of Sobibor gas chamber has been found

 

February 17, 2014

Why were Dutch Jews sent to Sobibor, passing up Auschwitz and Majdanek?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:44 am
Map of Nazi extermination camps

Map of Nazi extermination camps

The six extermination camps of the Holocaust are shown on the map above; each death camp is indicated by a small photo of a skull and crossbones. Note that the Sobibor death camp is shown on the far right hand side. Auschwitz and Majdanek, the two major death camps, are west of Sobibor, and closer to the Netherlands.

Sign alongside the railroad tracks for stop at Sobibor

Sign alongside the railroad tracks for stop at Sobibor

Sobibor was a very small camp, which had no gas chambers that used Zyklon-B. At Sobibor, the Jews were killed with carbon monoxide from captured Soviet tanks. There is virtually nothing left of the Sobibor camp, except the Commandant’s house which is across the railroad tracks from the former camp.

The Commandant's house at Sobibor death camp

The Commandant’s house at Sobibor death camp Photo Credit: ARC website

I previously blogged about Sobibor at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/jews-were-reduced-to-ashes-within-a-half-hour-of-their-arrival-at-the-sobibor-extermination-camp/

I am writing about Sobibor again because this death camp is in the news again. A news article on The Moderate Voice tells the story, which you can read in full at  http://themoderatevoice.com/191151/revisiting-the-road-to-heaven-on-holocaust-memorial-day/

This quote is from an article entitled The Dutch Auschwitz, which you can read in full at http://vorige.nrc.nl/international/article2228321.ece/Telling_the_story_of_the_Dutch

34,000 Dutch Jews sent to Sobibor

There is little in Sobibor to remind one of the former extermination camp where 34,000 Dutch Jews died. That is going to change, thanks in part to help from the Netherlands.

Anyone who didn’t know better would think they are in a typical Polish hamlet, where clean washing flutters in the wind, farmers on old tractors rumble by and lumbermen lug tree trunks. But Stara Kolonia Sobibór is not typical, nor will it ever be.

During the Second World War this was the site of the German extermination camp Sobibor, where 170,000 Jews, more than 34,000 of them Dutch, were systematically murdered. It is a difficult place to reach, deep in the forests of Poland’s eastern border area, and easy to forget. But that is going to change.

The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Israel recently agreed on a major ‘renovation’ aimed at opening up the former camp to the outside world and pulling it out of the shadow of the well-known Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in southern Poland.

Does this make any sense to you?  Why Sobibor? There were 4 large gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which used Zyklon-B, and one large gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp, which also used Zyklon-B.

Why take the Dutch Jews, on passenger trains, farther east and kill them with carbon-monoxide, when they could have been transported in cattle cars to Auschwitz or Majdanek?

The Nazis never did anything that made any sense.  Why did Hitler initially want to make the Me-262 plane a “lighting bomber” instead of a jet fighter plane?

Hitler later changed his mind and made the Me-262 a fighter plane. You can read about this at http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/messerschmitt_262.htm

The Nazis also changed their minds about Sobibor and this camp was quickly closed up in 1943. The Jews were then sent to the main extermination camps at Auschwitz and Majdanek to be killed in real gas chambers, using Zyklon-B.

Not all of the Dutch Jews were sent to death camps.  Some were sent to the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp, which was divided into several sections. One of these sections was the Star Camp (Sternlager).

Approximately 4,000 Jewish prisoners, mostly from the Netherlands, were sent to the Star camp at Bergen-Belsen, where conditions were somewhat better than in other parts of the camp. In the Star camp, the prisoners wore a yellow Star of David on their own clothes instead of the usual blue and gray striped prison uniform, but they did have to work, even the old people, according to the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site.

The following quote is from Eberhard Kolb’s book entitled Bergen-Belsen from 1943 to 1945:

From the Dutch “transit camp'” at Westerbork all those inmates were transported to Bergen-Belsen who were on one of the coveted “ban lists”, above all the “Palestine list”, the “South America list”, or the “dual citizenship list”.

Holders of the so-called “Stamp 120000” were also taken to the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp:  Jews with proven connections to enemy states, Jews who had delivered up large properties, diamond workers and diamond dealers who were held back from transportation to an extermination camp but who were not allowed to go abroad, as well as so-called “Jews of merit”. A total of 3670 “exchange Jews” of these categories, always with their families, were deported from Westerbork to Bergen-Belsen in eight transports between January and September 1944.

According to Kolb, there were only 6,000 Dutch Jews who returned home after the war, out of a total of 110,000 who were deported by the Nazis. 20,000 more Dutch Jews survived by going into hiding until the war was over. More than a third of those who survived the camps were inmates of the Bergen-Belsen Star Camp.

March 13, 2013

Jews were reduced to ashes within a half-hour of their arrival at the Sobibór extermination camp

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 2:27 pm

Philip Bialowitz is one of the few survivors of the Sobibór extermination camp, who is still living.  He was one of the prisoners who escaped from the camp, “running through machine gun fire and minefields,” according to this article in a Florida newspaper on March 7, 2013.

This quote is from the news article:

“…We were reduced to ashes within a half-hour of our arrival,” Bialowitz said about his fellow prisoners at Sobibór, a Nazi prison camp. […]

It was not a labor camp — it was an extermination camp. Jews from across Europe were brought in by train and almost immediately gassed and then burned in mass cremations. The Jewish Virtual Library estimates 250,000 Jews were murdered at Sobibór in 18 months.”

The photo below shows the location at Sobibór where a brick building with gas chambers once stood. A large block of stone represents the gas chambers in two buildings at Sobibór, which were torn down long ago. Survivors of Sobibór do not agree on the number or size of the gas chambers. The victims were killed with carbon monoxide from the exhaust of engines taken from captured Soviet tanks, which were stored in in the camp. There is also disagreement among Holocaustians on whether these were diesel engines or gasoline engines.

Monuments at Sobibór where the gas  chambers were located Photo Credit:  Alan Collins

Monuments at Sobibór where the gas chambers were once located Photo Credit: Alan Collins

This quote is from the news article:

Now a small memorial sits in a dense forest at Sobibór. Bialowitz visits every year.

“I stand on the ashes of 250,000 Jews, in the middle of a forest, hidden from the conscience of the world.”

The photo below shows another view of the red stone sculpture, which represents a woman, looking up at the sky, holding a small child in her arms. In the background can be seen the huge mound of ashes that is located in the former camp. These are the ashes of the 250,000 Jews who were gassed and burned at Sobibór.

Sobibor Monument with ashes in the background Photo Credit: Alan Collins

Sobibor Monument with ashes in the background Photo Credit: Alan Collins

Ashes of the Jews who were gassed and burned at Sobibor Photo Credit: Alan Collins

Ashes of the Jews who were gassed and burned at Sobibor Photo Credit: Alan Collins

The photo above shows a huge mound of ashes and bone fragments surrounded by a stone wall. In front of the wall is a glass display case which contains a small amount of ashes and bone. There is also a display of ashes and bone fragments in the Museum at Sobibór.

Hopefully, Philip Bialowitz does not stand on this mound of ashes once a year when he goes back to visit the former camp.

Contrary to Biolowitz’s claim that the Jews were turned into ashes within a half hour of arrival, most Holocaust historians say that the bodies of the Jews who were gassed at Sobibór were first buried and then exhumed and burned.  This same procedure was followed at the Belzec, Treblinka and Chelmno extermination camps where the bodies were first buried and then exhumed and burned.

In an attempt to destroy all the evidence, the ashes of the victims at Chelmno were hauled away secretly during the night by the SS men and taken to another town where they were dumped into a river.

The ashes at Treblinka and Belzec were buried to destroy the evidence. Only at Sobibór were the ashes of the victims left behind as incriminating evidence.

There is a similar mound of ashes at the Memorial Site of the Majdanek camp, where the ashes of 18,000 Jews, who were shot on  November 3, 1943, have been placed under a dome, which is shown in the photo below.

Ashes of 18,000 Jews who were shot at the Majdanek camp in 1943  Photo Credit: Simon Robertson

Ashes of 18,000 Jews who were shot at Majdanek in 1943 Photo Credit: Simon Robertson

The Sobibór camp was quite small; it was only 400 meters wide and 600 meters long. The entire camp was enclosed by a barbed wire fence that was three meters high. On three sides of the camp was a mine field, intended to keep anyone from approaching the camp. The watch towers were manned by Ukrainian SS guards who had been conscripted from captured soldiers in the Soviet Army to assist the 30 German SS men who were the administrators of the camp.

The Jews arrived on trains which stopped at the ramp across from the Sobibór station, or in trucks from nearby Polish villages. Most of the Jews were transported in cattle cars, but the 34,000 Dutch Jews who were sent to Sobibór arrived in passenger trains, according to Toivi Blatt, one of the prisoners who was chosen to be one of the helpers at Sobibór.

At the entrance to the camp, the victims were instructed to deposit their hand baggage and purses before proceeding along the path, called the “Himmelfahrtstrasse” (Street to heaven), which led to the spot where the hair was cut from the heads of the women, and then on to the gas chambers disguised as showers. According to Toivi Blatt, all documents, photos and personal items were removed from the confiscated baggage and anything that could not be recycled to send to Germany was burned in open fires that lit up the night sky.

The Sobibór camp was on the eastern edge of German-occupied Poland, five kilometers west of the Bug river. The Bug river was as far as trains from western Europe could go without changing the wheels to fit the train tracks in the Soviet Union, which were a different gauge. On the other side of the Bug river from Sobibór was Ukraine, which had belonged to the Soviet Union until it was taken by the Germans shortly after their invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.

The unsuspecting Jews who arrived at Sobibór were told that they would be sent to work camps in Ukraine after they had taken a shower, but instead, the Jews were immediately killed in gas chambers disguised as shower rooms.

Sobibór was one of the three Aktion Reinhard camps, which were set up after the end of the Wannsee Conference, which was held, starting on January 20, 1942, to plan “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Europe.”

The Nazis claimed that the Aktion Reinhard camps were transit camps for the “evacuation of the Jews to the East,” a euphemism for the genocide of the Jews. Unlike the death camps at Auschwitz and Majdanek, the three Aktion Reinhard camps did not have ovens to cremate the bodies. The Jews were not registered upon arrival at the Aktion Reinhard camps and no death records were kept.

The head of Aktion Reinhard (Operation Reinhard) was SS-Brigadeführer Odilio Globocnik, who had previously been the Gauleiter of Vienna, Austria. Unfortunately, Globocnik and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler both committed suicide after being captured by the British, so we will never know their version of what happened.

At the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal in 1946, documents were introduced which showed an exchange of letters in 1943 between Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, the head of all the concentration camps, and Richard Glücks, the Inspector of the Concentration Camps, in which Glücks suggested that Sobibór be converted into a concentration camp. In a letter dated 5 July 1943, Himmler rejected this idea. This indicates that Sobibór was not a concentration camp, but rather a camp that was not part of the Nazi concentration camp system.

The three Aktion Reinhard camps were all in remote locations, but “each site was on a railroad line linking it with hundreds of towns and villages whose Jewish communities were now trapped and starving” in the spring of 1942, according to Martin Gilbert’s book entitled The Holocaust. Sobibór was linked by rail with many large Jewish communities, including Lublin, Wlodawa and Chelm. Jews were also brought from the Theresienstadt ghetto, located in what is now the Czech Republic, and from the Netherlands, to be gassed at Sobibór.

Deportations to Sobibór began in mid April 1942 with transports from the town of Zamosc in Poland, according to Holocaust historian Martin Gilbert. The Jews from the Lublin ghetto were also sent to Sobibór to be gassed, although there were several gas chambers at Majdanek just outside the city of Lublin.

During the first phase of the extermination of the Jews at Sobibór, which lasted until July 1942, an estimated 100,000 Jews were gassed to death. Their bodies were buried in mass graves, then dug up later and burned on pyres. During the next phase, the bodies were burned immediately, according to Toivi Blatt, one of the few survivors of Sobibór. At the age of 15, Blatt had been selected to work in sorting the clothing in the camp. Philip Bialowitz was also selected to work in sorting the possessions of the Jews who arrived at the camp.

This quote is from the news article about Philip Bialowitz:

Bialowitz was a teenager when he arrived with what remained of his family at the camp on the outskirts of the village of Sobibór in Poland. Prisoners who had a trade deemed useful by the guards were spared, to be used as slaves in the camp. Bialowitz’s brother was a pharmacist, and he told the guards Bialowitz was his assistant. The brothers were saved; the rest of the family was not.

Bialowitz said goodbye to his sisters and niece.

“My niece was crying as she hugged me,” Bialowitz said. “She knew she was going to die. At 7 years old, she knew.”

Upon arriving at the camp, prisoners were stripped of their clothes and all their belongings. Bialowitz was forced to search through their belongings, giving anything of value to the guards and burning all documents.

He said he tried to commit to memory the faces from thousands of families’ photographs before torching them.

Under constant threat of death, he had to cut the hair of women stripped naked on their last stop before the gas chambers. He was forbidden to utter a word of comfort to them.

During World War II, and for years afterward, the Sobibór camp was virtually unknown. William Shirer did not even mention it in his monumental 1147-page book entitled The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It was not until the release of a 1987 TV movie, Escape from Sobibor, based on a book with the same name, that the public knew of this remote spot where 250,000 Jews lost their lives. The movie tells the story of the revolt during which around 300 prisoners escaped; no more than 50 of them survived to the end of the war. Philip Bialowitz was one of the prisoners who escaped and survived.

This quote is from the news article about Philip Bialowitz:

Bialowitz said it is of the utmost importance the story be retold over and over, so the world might finally learn the lessons it failed to learn from Adolf Hitler’s reign. Referring to the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the genocide in Darfur, Bialowitz said, “The world is profoundly broken.”

The father of five and grandfather of 15 said his faith was tested but is stronger than ever.

“There are good people and evil people,” he said. “God didn’t make the Holocaust happen.”

Bialowitz has testified at several war trials and the subsequent sentencing of some of the Gestapo gives him little satisfaction. He has not forgiven them.

“I do not condemn the Germans, only the perpetrators, and the punishment does not fit their crimes.”

On the day of his escape 70 years ago, a teenage Bialowitz made a promise to the leaders of the successful revolt — to tell the world about Sobibór.

You can read the official history of the Sobibór at this website.

You can read here about how some of the Jews were saved because they were sent to Siberia by Stalin.

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