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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.”

December 18, 2011

Strasbourg mentioned in new Sherlock Holmes film

Filed under: Germany, movies — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:21 am

Yesterday, I went to see the new Sherlock Holmes film, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law.  Very early in the film, the French city of Strasbourg was mentioned and I perked up because I once spent an afternoon in the city.

Strasbourg is in the province of Alsace which was a German state until France took it at the end of the Thirty Years War.  It took Germany 100 years to recover from the Thirty Years War, but the Germans finally took back Alsace after a war with France that started in 1870, only to lose the state again after World War II.

The Sherlock Holmes Film is set in 1891, which was twenty years after France lost Alsace.

Strasbourg is a beautiful city.  It is the closest city to Natzweiler that has an airport, so I went there when I made a trip to the Natzweiler Memorial Site. I took some photos of the city, which you can see below.

The Cathedral in Strasbourg, shown in my photo below, is famous.   (more…)