Scrapbookpages Blog

November 23, 2015

Other people’s blogs

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:49 am

I am fresh out of ideas on what to blog about, so today I decided to check out the blogs written by other people.  I found an interesting blog at http://mygrandparentsholocaust.blogspot.com/

The title of this blog is My Grandparent’s Holocaust.

My blog has no title because I write about anything and everything, although mostly about the Holocaust.

The writing on the “My Grandparent’s Holocaust” blog is excellent.

The following quote from the blog, cited above, will illustrate what I mean by “excellent” writing:

Begin quote:

My Grandparents’ Holocaust

For years, my grandparents had kept the stories of their Holocaust a secret. However, I was determined to uncover the memories of their past. Since 2006 I began documenting their lives and writing a book of narrative nonfiction: My Grandparents’ Holocaust. This blog will feature excerpts from the book and related stories.

By nightfall, the train crawled out of the station.

“Chana. Esther. Mama,” Leon shouted in vain.

The sappy smell of pine combs curling off the winds from the river and the intoxicating aromas of acacia were masked in the cattle car by diarrhea. The locomotive was a dark and crowded tomb. Now and again the train stopped and the doors slid open. Gunfire exploded. The doors closed and the train crept forward again. Sometimes the doors would not open; the bullets entered through the openings above.

Leon slinked through the mass of bodies to the bars on the window. He reached down to his waist and carefully removed a long sliver of wire that he had worn like a belt. Leon coiled the wire around his left hand and slipped the wire through the barred window overhead. Wrapping it tightly around his other hand, he dragged the thin cord back and forth against one bar for hours.

The heat, even at night, was unbearable. Thirst poured through the wagon. Bodies slumped against one another. There was no room to fall. Even the dead stood.

Leon noticed that the wire cutting through his palms was also cutting through the cage; but the train was nearing Treblinka. The sobs and prayers intensified. Others buried faith right there in that cattle car.

Then the bar gave out.

He looked around the cattle car once more for his family, but the darkness consumed everything.

As quickly as his tired arms allowed, Leon tied the cord back around his waist, hoisted his frail frame up through the hole, and slithered halfway through the opening. Every vein in his arm pumped violently. His entire body shook. Draped from the window of the cattle car, ten feet from the moving ground, Leon felt unequipped to handle the fall. If the drop did not end his life, the machine gunner atop the roof could. But entering Treblinka was certain death. This moment, hanging from the cattle car like a blanket drying, he at least controlled. Leon inched the rest of his body through and in one motion launched himself from the cattle car, tumbling into the night over shards of ground.

In a Polish field somewhere between Otwock and Treblinka, Leon Lederman watched as the train crept toward the gas chambers with his mother, father, and four sisters inside.

Life had taken a new purpose—some way, there would be vengeance. There was no choice now but to return to Karczew. He was seventeen years of age.

End quote from another person’s blog

Train that took prisoners to Dachau appears to have narrow openings

Train that took prisoners to Dachau appears to have narrow openings on the side of a boxcar

 

Famous photo of a Gypsy girl named Settela Steinbachj on a train to Auschwitz

Famous photo of a Gypsy girl named Settela Steinbach on a train to Auschwitz

The photo above proves that there were small openings in the cattle cars that took the Jews to the death camps. But was Treblinka really a “death camp”?

I believe that Treblinka was a “transit camp.”  I blogged about Treblinka being a transit camp on this blog post:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/was-treblinka-really-a-transit-camp/

 

March 14, 2015

Hungarian Holocaust survivor wants former SS men to live long enough to be put on trial

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 12:48 pm

According to a news article, which you can read in full here, Holocaust survivor Eva Fahidi has a new goal.

This quote is from the news article:

Last year, [Eva Fahidi] was bitterly disappointed when one of the few surviving Auschwitz guards indicted at this late stage by German justice died in Pennsylvania, a day before an extradition order was to be executed. The deceased man, Johann Breyer, was born in her year, 1925, and she had wanted the chance to look him in the eye at trial and ask how he could have stood on the ramp.

Now the German authorities are preparing to try another Auschwitz camp guard, Oskar Gröning, 93, in April. Her fervent wish is that he not die before her.

Hungarian Jews who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on May 26, 1944

Hungarian Jews who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on May 26, 1944

Note the prisoner, wearing a striped uniform, who is standing on the right.  He is a Sonderkommando Jew who helped the Germans at Auschwitz, when the trains arrived.  Typically, the low level SS men did not work at the ramp where the Jews arrived.

This quote is also from the news article:

Begin Quote

When [Eva] was 18, she was, as she put it, “ripped off the school bench to be deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau,” one of an estimated 437,000 Hungarian Jews rounded up outside Budapest and dispatched to death camps in just 57 days in 1944.

Auschwitz-Birkenau, she recalled, “was not ready. It was too fast. The gas chambers were big enough that people could still be suffocated to death. But the crematories could not manage. So corpses were being burned on open fires.”

“Really, at the very first moment you knew something was wrong. It was the huge stench of burning corpses — only we didn’t know.”

End quote

The reason that the crematoria ovens could not keep up with burning the corpses was that there were two typhus epidemics at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In spite of all the effort to prevent typhus at Auschwitz, there were two serious epidemics, one in the Summer of 1942 and another in the Summer of 1943.

On July 23, 1942, Commandant Hoess ordered the whole Birkenau camp to be quarantined for fear that the epidemic would spread. On July 7, 1943, he again decreed that the Birkenau camp was off-limits to the German soldiers who were the camp administrators. Allegedly, the homicidal gassing of the Jews continued even while the camp was quarantined because of typhus.

Eventually, typhus spread to the concentration camps in Germany in December 1944 and this caused many deaths in the last months of the war, particularly in the Bergen-Belsen camp where 35,000 prisoners died in only two months time. Half of all the deaths in the Dachau concentration camp were in the last six months of the war when a typhus epidemic was out of control there.

One method that was allegdly used to end the typhus epidemics at Auschwitz-Birkenau was the gassing of the sick prisoners. On August 29, 1942, there were 746 prisoners from the Birkenau camp hospital who were gassed.

In 1981, the West German Prosecutor’s Office issued a warrant for the arrest of Dr. Josef Mengele for his crime of sending 507 Gypsy men and 528 Gypsy women to the gas chamber on May 25, 1943 because they were suspected of being infected with typhus. Dr. Mengele had died in 1979 in Brazil, but his death had been kept secret by his family.

Hungarian women who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Hungarian women who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Hungarian women who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau and have been give a shower and a change of clothing

Hungarian women who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau and have been give a shower and a change of clothing before going into their barracks

The photo above shows Hungarian women walking into the women’s section on the south side of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp after they have had a shower and a change of clothes. Behind them is a transport train and in the background, on the left, is one of the camp guards.

The woman with dark hair in the center of the photo is Ella Hart Gutmann who is in the outside row facing inward. Next to her is Lida Hausler Leibovics; both women were from Uzhgorod in Hungary. Their heads have been shaved in an attempt to control the lice that spreads typhus.

If the SS guard on the left side of the photo above is still alive, he could be put on trial, so that Eva Fahidi can have at least some revenge, after all her years of suffering because of the horror of her 6-week stay at Auschwitz.

I wrote about Eva Fahidi on my website scrapbookpages.com.

This quote is from my website:

According to a book which she wrote, Holocaust survivor Eva Fahidi was 18 years old when, together with her family in the town of Debrecen, Hungary, she was herded into a cattle car headed to the Birkenau death camp. Her Mother and 11-year-old sister, Gilike, were instantly murdered. Her father bore the hard labour for a few weeks only.

Eva spent six weeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Then she was shipped with one thousand other women to Allendorf, a slave-labour sub-camp of Buchenwald. Here, the women had to work with harmful chemical agents, “without protective gloves or masks; we inhaled all the dangerous vapour and walked in saltpeter up to our knees,” twelve hours a day, incredibly hard work, “but in comparison with a death camp it was a better option.” Here, being able “to maintain a reasonable hygienic standard; in times of great need being able to help each other,” dignified their lives and contributed to survival.

What horror did Eva suffer during her SIX WEEK stay at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which has made her so bitter and so eager to want to see SS men put on trial at the age of 90?

If the SS man in the photo above is still alive, he could be put on trial as a war criminal, so that Eva and other survivors can now have some revenge.

Maybe it would help if Eva and other survivors, who had to spend 6 whole weeks at Birkenau, knew why they were sent to this camp before being sent on to another camp to work.

The town of Auschwitz had the largest railroad hub in Europe.  All the trains in Europe could go into and out of the railroad yard in the town of Auschwitz.  That’s why a transit camp was set up at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was also a death camp for thousands of prisoners who were brought there on trains from all over Europe.

The Jews, who were capable of working, were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau and given a shower and a shave (of their hair) before being sent, on another train, to another camp to work.

The Jews who were too young or too old to work were sent to the hundreds of barracks buildings in the 425 acre Auschwitz-Birkenau camp — where they were never seen again.  Obviously, they were gassed. What else could have happened to them?

Continue reading about the next elderly man who will be put on trial in Germany, so that Eva Fahini can have some revenge for her SIX WEEKS of suffering in Auschwitz Birkeanau: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/update-on-oskar-groening-the-ss-guard-at-auschwitz-who-didt-kill-with-his-hands-but-was-part-of-that-killing-machinery/

August 10, 2011

Max and Rosie tell about their trip to Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:54 am

According to an article on this web site, “Rosie and Max won a school essay writing competition to win places on the government funded Lessons from Auschwitz Project which included a day trip to the Polish mausoleum.”

This quote from Rosie is on the web site cited above:

“We visited both Auschwitz One, which was a former Polish military barracks, brick built and the site’s work camp and Auschwitz Two, which was purpose built by the Nazis and was the death camp.”

Rosie is correct: the brick buildings in the Auschwitz One camp were previously used by the Polish military as army barracks.  This implies that the brick buildings in the main Auschwitz camp were built by the Polish military, but they were actually built by the Germans before World War I and were originally intended to house migrant farm workers.

Barrack Building #16 at Auschwitz One with one wing of the huge  kitchen building in the background

Why is this small detail important enough for me to waste my time blogging about it?  It is important because the fact that Auschwitz One (the main camp) was originally built as a transit camp, for migrant workers who traveled to farms all over Europe to work, tells us that Auschwitz was the best location in all of Europe for a TRANSIT camp.  Before that, Auschwitz was a center for the production of liquor, which was shipped all over the world; liquor from Auschwitz was sneaked into America during Prohibition.

Auschwitz was a railroad hub for all the train lines in Europe.  You can read all about it in the book “Auschwitz 1270 to the Present” on page 59. This book reads like a revisionist book, until you get to the end, and even then, the authors were honest enough to write that the gas chamber in the main camp is a reconstruction.  I read this book before I went to Poland in 1998; when I toured the Auschwitz main camp with a Jewish guide, I was told that the gas chamber was original.

Rosie also said this:

“I was shocked by the sheer size and industrial scale of the purpose-built death camp. The horrors of the extermination were brought home when you saw the black stains on the ceiling above the incinerators, which were left by the remains of the burning bodies.”

Rosie is again correct: “the purpose-built death camp” at Auschwitz-Birkenau is huge — 425 acres to be exact.  Seven Polish villages were torn down to build it.

The photo below shows the “black stains” on the ceiling of the crematorium.

One of the ovens in the reconstructed crematorium in the Auschwitz One main camp

The “incinerators,” that Rosie mentioned, were the cremation ovens in the main camp, shown in the photo above.  The bodies were burned in an attempt to stop the spread of disease.  The ground at Auschwitz-Birkeanau was too wet to bury the bodies.

I was also shocked when I saw the “sheer size” of the Birkenau death camp.  My first thought was: Why was a such a huge camp needed when most of the Jews were immediately gassed upon arrival?

Actually Birkenau was a multi-purpose camp, contrary to what Rosie said. It was originally built as a POW camp for captured Soviet soldiers.  The Soviet POWs built the brick barracks that later became the women’s camp.

Birkenau was used as a transit camp as well as a death camp.  The prisoners who were immediately gassed were not registered in the camp and neither were the prisoners who were transferred to a sub-camp or another concentration camp.

Remember the story of Irene Zisblatt who escaped from Birkenau when she was tossed over a 10 ft barbed wire fence into an open car on a train that was taking prisoners to the Neuengamme camp in Germany to work.  The barracks at Birkenau were used to house the thousands of prisoners who were brought by train to Birkenau and then transferred on a train to another camp to work.

It is impossible to determine the exact number of people who died at Auschwitz because the train records have never been found.  There were 200,000 prisoners who were transferred out of the camp to other camps, but the total number of prisoners who were brought to Auschwitz (1.3 million) is only an estimate.  1.3 million arrivals minus 200,000 transfers equals 1.1 million deaths at the Auschwitz death camp. The original estimate by the Soviet Union was 4 million deaths.