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June 16, 2013

Polish political prisoner was driven in a dump truck down a ramp and straight into a gas chamber at Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:17 am

There are many stories, told by Holocaust survivors, about being saved at the last minute when they were pulled out of a gas chamber for one reason or another.  One of the prisoners who was pulled out of a gas chamber at Auschwitz was 28-year-old Regina Bialek, a Polish political prisoner.

Bialek gave a deposition which was entered into the British Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty-Four Others, also known as The Belsen Trial, which took place in 1945 after the end of World War II. According to Bialek’s testimony, she was sent to one of the seven gas chambers at Auschwitz on Christmas day in 1943.  Josef Kramer was a former Commandant of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

Josef Kramer was arrested by the British after the Bergen-Belsen camp was turned over to them

Josef Kramer was arrested by the British after the Bergen-Belsen camp was voluntarily turned over to them

The following quote is an excerpt from the Deposition of Regina Bialek at the Belsen Trial of Josef Kramer and 44 others:

3. On 25th December 1943, I was sick with typhus and was picked out at a selection made by doctors Mengele and Tauber along with about 350 other women. I was made to undress and taken by lorry to a gas chamber. There were seven gas chambers at Auschwitz. This particular one was underground and the lorry was able to run down the slope and straight into the chamber.

A tipper-type lorry, called a dump truck in America

A tipper-type lorry, called a dump truck in America

Here we were tipped unceremoniously on the floor. The room was about 12 yards square and small lights on the wall dimly illuminated it. When the room was full a hissing sound was heard coming from the centre point on the floor and gas came into the room.

After what seemed about ten minutes some of the victims began to bite their hands and foam at the mouth, and blood issued from their ears, eyes and mouth, and their faces went blue.

I suffered from all these symptoms, together with a tight feeling at the throat. I was half conscious when my number was called out by Dr. Mengele and I was led from the chamber. I attribute my escape to the fact that the daughter of a friend of mine who was an Aryan and a doctor at Auschwitz had seen me being transported to the chamber and had told her mother, who immediately appealed to Dr. Mengele.

Apparently he realized that as a political prisoner I was of more value alive than dead, and I was released.

4. I think that the time to kill a person in this particular gas chamber would be from 15 to 20 minutes.

5. I was told that the staffs of the prisoners [Sonderkommandos] who worked in the gas chamber and crematorium next door changed every three months, the old staff being taken to a villa in the camp to do some repair work. Here they were locked in the rooms and gas bombs thrown through the window.

I estimate that in December, 1943, about 7,000 people disappeared from Auschwitz by way of the gas chamber and crematorium.

There were two underground gas chambers at Birkenau (Krema II and Krema III), but neither of them had a ramp where a lorry or truck could drive down into the gas chamber, as Regina Bialek described in her deposition. There were also two above-ground gas chambers (Krema IV and Krema V) where gas pellets were thrown through a window. Bialek said that the gas fumes came through the floor of the gas chamber.

Bialek mentioned in her deposition that the truck drove “straight into the gas chamber” and the victims were “dumped unceremoniously on the floor.”  This must have been a special kind of dump truck that dumped the contents of the truck bed over the front of the truck, instead of dumping the load behind the truck.  Maybe there is a “tipper-type lorry” that was made especially for dumping prisoners onto the floor of a gas chamber. An ordinary dump truck would have had to back over a large pile of bodies to get out of the gas chamber. Leave it to the Nazis to think up a dumb idea like this, as a means of putting the victims into the gas chamber.

Regina Bialek did not testify at the Belsen Trial, so she was not cross-examined by the defense.  She gave a deposition which was entered into the court proceedings. God forbid that she should be asked to explain her lies.