Scrapbookpages Blog

July 24, 2014

Famous photos of SS guards herding Jews to the gas chambers at Auschwitz—NOT!

The photo below accompanies a recent news article in the LA Times. The article is about John Breyer, the Nazi war criminal who died before he could be put on trial, at the age of 89, for the crime of helping to herd 216,000 Jews, from 158 trains, to the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944.

This quote is from the news article:  “Even though [Breyer] was assigned to the Death’s Head guard battalion at Auschwitz, he said he refused to kill anyone, so he served as a perimeter guard, far from the killing.  He says that he never shepherded prisoners from the trains to the gas chambers.”

Breyer was given a choice? When he was assigned to be a guard at Auschwitz, he was asked if he would be willing to kill Jews?  Was he asked if he would be willing to herd 216,000 Jews to the gas chamber, and he said “No.”?

Photos of the Jews arriving on trains at Auschwitz-Birkenau show that Breyer is correct in implying that there were no armed guards forcing the Jews to walk to the gas chambers.

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Notice that the photo above, which shows Jews who have just arrived on a train at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, does not include SS guards herding the Jews along, at gun point.

A train load of Jews that have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau

A train load of Jews that have just arrived at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp (Click to enlarge)

In the photo above, the Krema II gas chamber building is shown in the background.

I have tried to find some photos that show SS soldiers, like John Breyer, herding the Jews from 158 trains toward the four gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, but I have been unable to find any such photos. The photo above shows hundreds of Jews who have just arrived on a train.  Note the Kapos, the Jewish helpers, who are wearing striped uniforms; there are one or two SS men in the photo, but they are not pointing guns at the Jews.

SS men directing Jews toward the gas chamber

SS men directing Jews toward the gas chamber, while Kapos stand by to help on the left

The photo below shows some Jews shuffling along, carrying their bundles.  They are obviously on the way to one of the gas chambers.  Where else could they be going? Auschwitz-Birkenau was a death camp, where all the Jews from 158 trains were immediately herded into gas chambers, according to all the recent news articles about the John Breyer case.

Jews walking to the gas chamber at Auschwitz

Jews walking to the gas chamber at Auschwitz

This photo is the most famous of the "walking to the gas chamber" photos

This photo is the most famous of the “walking to the gas chamber” photos

Jews walking to the entrance into the Krema III gas chamber

Jews walking toward the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Notice in the photo above that all the Jews, from a train that has just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, are walking toward the entrance into the undressing room of Krema III, but there are no SS guards in sight.

Walking to the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Walking to the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau

In these photos, where are the SS men, like John Breyer, who forced the Jews to walk to the gas chambers?

The photo below shows a man, who is wearing a striped uniform and a striped cap.  This man is a Kapo, a Jewish prisoner, whose job it was to assist the Jews arriving at the Auschwitz death camp.  The Holocaust survivors, who are alive today, were told by a Kapo, at the train, to lie about their age, because everyone under the age of 15 was automatically sent to the gas chamber.

A Kapo standing beside a train that has just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau

A Kapo standing beside a train that has just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Visitors today, who take a tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau, are first taken to the “quarantine barracks” near the entrance into the camp. Why did they need to “quarantine” in-coming prisoners?  Who cares if any of the incoming prisoners had any disease that might cause an epidemic in the camp?  All the prisoners were scheduled to be gassed upon arrival, according to the prosecutors of elderly men like John Breyer.

My 2005 photo below shows one of the barracks in the quarantine camp.  Obviously these barracks were never used because the Jews were immediately herded into the gas chamber by men like war criminal John Breyer.

My 2005 photo of barracks in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

My 2005 photo of barracks in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

Tourists at Auschwitz-Birkenau should not be taken first to the “quarantine barracks.”  This is a way of promoting Holocaust denial.  Prisoners did not need to be held in quarantine in a “death camp,” where they were taken immediately from the train to the gas chamber.