Scrapbookpages Blog

September 15, 2014

Who collected the luggage at Auschwitz — the SS men or the Kapos?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 4:36 pm
Hungarian Jews who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Hungarian Jews who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Click on the photo above to see it in a much larger size.

According to a recent news article, the Germans have located another old man [aged 93] to put on trial as a war criminal, charged with “aiding in the murder of 300,000 people” at Auschwitz-Birkenau. His crime was that he collected the luggage that the Hungarian Jews had brought with them on the transport trains.

This quote is from a news article about the case:

The man, who wasn’t identified, disposed of the luggage new prisoners left on train tracks at the concentration camp, Sabine Stuenkel, spokeswoman for Hanover prosecutors, said in an e-mailed statement today.

The goal was to “hide traces of the mass murder for subsequent inmates,” Stuenkel said. “Above all, his task was to count banknotes taken from the luggage and transfer them to the SS’s economy and administration agency in Berlin.”

Look closely at the photo at the top of this page.  Can you see any Waffen-SS soldiers collecting the luggage?  The men who are wearing striped uniforms, that look like pajamas, were Kapos, or prisoners who helped the Germans when the transport trains arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  I’m pretty sure that it was the Kapos who collected and disposed of the luggage.  Some of the Kapos, who survived, have written about how they stole things from the luggage.

My 1998 photo of the luggage collected from the Jews who were sent to Auschwitz

My 1998 photo of the luggage collected from the Jews who were sent to Auschwitz

Tadeusz Borowski, a prisoner at Auschwitz, wrote a book in which he said that three thousand Jews would arrive on a train transport and a privileged group of Kapos would be there to take their luggage and reassure them.  He wrote about how the Kapos stole items from the luggage.  I blogged about him at

How could Tadeusz have been so wrong?  We now know that it was those German criminals in the Waffen-SS who took the luggage from the trains.  They will finally be put on trial for their crimes of murdering Jews by disposing of their luggage.

Filip Müller, a Sonderkommando Jew, who wrote a book entitled Eye Witness Auschwitz, Three years in the Gas Chambers, wrote  that the Jews entered the gas chamber in the main camp, with all their clothes on, and even carried their luggage with them into the Krema I gas chamber in the main camp.

This quote is from the news article:

Frankfurt prosecutors first investigated the unidentified man about three decades ago, but closed the case in 1985 due to a lack of evidence, Stuenkel said. Hanover prosecutors closed three similar cases because the suspects died or were found unfit to stand trial, she said.

A court in Lueneburg must rule whether the case can proceed to trial. Sixteen survivors or relatives of the victims have asked to be added as co-plaintiffs.

The Nazis killed an estimated 6 million Jews in death camps throughout Europe during the war. Auschwitz, in a part of Poland annexed by Germany, was the largest of the camps and became a symbol of the tragedy of the holocaust.

The Demjanjuk verdict triggered a new wave of investigations after the judges veered from previous cases that required proof of individual acts. In Demjanjuk’s case, the court said it was enough to show he worked at the camp where everyone was involved in the mass killings.

If this new victim is brought into court on a stretcher, he will surely be convicted because there is no defense against the “Demjanjuk principle,” formerly known at the “common plan” theory of guilt.  This man should not be subjected to this torture.  Just kill him now, with a lethal injection.