Patterico's Pontifications


Returning to Auschwitz: 70 Years After The Liberation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:39 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I could not let the day close without posting about the memorial ceremony at Auschwitz today. I was overwhelmed as I read survivors’ stories as well as reading their reactions to today’s events as they journeyed back to the place where everything precious and good had been torn from them. I pray that these amazing people be blessed in these, their last years. May they be overwhelmed by the loving-kindness of family and may their hearts and minds know a restful peace.

Around 300 survivors of Auschwitz gathered in Poland to mark the 70th year since its liberation. Approximately 1.1 million Jews met their deaths at Auschwitz, while some 200,000 survived. Many of the survivors determined to never let anyone forget what happened – lest it happen again.

And of course, being back at Auschwitz for the memorial was a very emotional experience for the survivors:

Sitting in the front row were four British survivors, including a sprightly 84-year-old Hampstead grandmother who, until yesterday, had been unable to face coming back. Widowed earlier this month, she is profoundly glad she came.

‘I felt such turmoil, such anger seeing this place again,’ Susan Pollack told me last night.

‘But this ceremony was so uplifting that it will be one of the defining memories of my life.’

Pollack’s story:

In the summer of 1944, aged 13, she emerged, gasping for air, from a fetid cattle truck (in which several people had died) just yards from here only to be dragged away from the mother she would never see again. Stripped, shaved and housed ten to a bunk, Susan withdrew inside herself, spoke to no one and barely noticed when a random wave of an SS finger eventually sent her not to the gas chambers but a slave labour camp.

In early 1945, with the Allies approaching, her captors sent her on a ‘death march’, a merciless retreat through the snow, to a place which evokes memories every bit as terrifying as Auschwitz – the human abattoir of Bergen-Belsen.

By the time it was liberated by the British in April 1945, Susan was lying among the dead when a British medic spotted signs of life. He carefully carried the skeletal 14-year-old to his ambulance. ‘The very fact that this soldier was picking me up and holding me was an act of human kindness I have never got over. I still can’t,’ she says brightly.

‘Someone actually caring for me again – it still brings out tears.’

From survivors:

David Wisnia, 89, a cantor from Philadelphia, held up a photograph of his family of four children, five grandchildren and his wife of 64 years, and said: “This is my proof that Hitler didn’t win in the end.” Wisna, originally from Poland, who spent two-and-a-half years in Auschwitz, will sing the Jewish funeral prayer at the former death camp in front of thousands.

“I’m overwhelmed that I could live long enough to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the liberation,” he said. “I’m amazed that I survived my time in the camps. I still find it unbelievable what happened.”


‘We do not want our past to be our children’s future,’ declared Roman Kent. ‘That is the key to my existence.’

‘It has been routine to use the word “lost” when referring to loved ones,’ he said.

‘Six million Jews? They were not “lost”. They were murdered. Those that died did not “perish” but were murdered. By using sanitised words, we are helping the deniers.’

He concluded that he would like to add an eleventh commandment to the Old Testament list: ‘You should never, never be a bystander!’


102 Responses to “Returning to Auschwitz: 70 Years After The Liberation”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  2. So, say no to Rand Paul. Western Civilization deserves to be protected.

    Steve Malynn (b696b3)

  3. I think they have learned to never give up but I wonder if the secular Jews of the US who support Obama and the political left have learned ?

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  4. And keep in mind that there are millions of European and Americans who say the Holocaust never happened and the whole story is just part of the Rothschild Zionist plot.
    something like this

    btw: the book mentioned gets 4.2 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.

    seeRpea (1d44c7)

  5. ah, the hell with it. Here is what the zerohedge was talking about:

    Breaking the Spell—The Holocaust: Myth and Reality.

    Dr. Nicholas Kollerstrom
    In 1941, British Intelligence analysts cracked the German “Enigma” code. This undermined the German war effort—but also threw new light on day-by-day events in the Nazi concentration camp system.
    Between January 1942 and January 1943, encrypted radio communications between those camps and the Berlin headquarters were intercepted and decrypted. Oddly enough, historians have largely ignored the information furnished in these intercepts relating to “arrivals,” “departures,” recorded deaths and other events at these camps.
    The only reasonable explanation for this embarrassing omission is that the intercepted data seriously contradicts, even refutes, the orthodox “Holocaust” narrative. The revealed information does not expose a program of mass murder and racial genocide.
    Quite the opposite: it reveals that the Germans were determined, desperate even, to reduce the death rate in their work camps, which was caused by catastrophic typhus epidemics.
    Were the British here hoodwinked by the Nazis, as some historians to this day try to claim-or is the truth both simpler and more shocking? In 1988 and 1991 forensic studies threw light on the question of whether or not the claimed gas chambers at Auschwitz had served as slaughter houses for hundreds of thousands of people.
    Both studies had concluded that the only facilities where Zyklon B gas had been used were hygienic rather than homicidal, killing bugs rather than Jews. Needless to say that these iconoclastic studies were ignored or in some countries even outlawed, and that their authors were ostracized and even imprisoned.
    Dr. Kollerstrom, a science historian, has taken these studies, which are in obvious, stark contrast to the widely accepted narrative, as a starting point for his own endeavour into the land of taboo.
    After he had published a brief paper summarizing what he thought the data forced him to conclude, he was thrown out of his College where he had been a member of staff for eleven years. In his new book “Breaking the Spell,” Dr. Kollerstrom shows that “witness statements” supporting the human gas chamber narrative clearly clash with the available scientific data.
    He juxtaposes the commonly accepted ideas about a Nazi extermination policy toward the Jews with a wide array of mostly unchallenged, but usually unmentioned evidence pointing in a quite different direction:
    Zyklon B is a buzz word for the claimed Nazi mass murder, but all non-anecdotal evidence proves that this chemical was merely used as a pesticide in order to improve the inmates’ health and reduce, not increase, camp mortality.
    – The Auschwitz camp authorities kept meticulous records of who died in the camp and why. A statistical analysis of the data does not match the kind of data to be expected, if the widespread view of what transpired in that camp were true.
    – The UK’s intelligence decrypts prove that the German camp authorities were desperately trying to save their inmates’ lives.
    – Zyklon B applied in delousing chambers formed chemical compounds detectable to this day. No such compounds can be found, but ought to be expected, in the claimed homicidal gas chambers.
    – “Six Million Jews threatened or killed”: read 167 quotes from newspapers with that “news” spanning from 1900 to 1945, with a peak after World War ONE! Yes, one, not two!
    – A British archaeological team looked for traces of the claimed 800,000 victims of the Treblinka camp-and came back empty-handed.
    Dr. Kollerstrom concludes that the history of the Nazi “Holocaust” has been written by the victors with ulterior motives and that this history is distorted, exaggerated and largely wrong.
    He asserts that this history is, in truth, a great lie that distorts our common perceived reality and misdirects human history to this very day.
    With a foreword by Prof. em. Dr. James H. Fetzer.

    seeRpea (1d44c7)

  6. Steve Malynn, yes, Western civilization does deserve to be defended. And no, Mike K., I don’t think the people who taught me Krav Maga are going to give up.

    I think that’s one of the things that pisses people off about Israel. Isrealis just don’t give up. It’s so small. But there it is, not giving up.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  7. Masada shall not fall again.

    I say that as a proud descendant of of the Roman empire. Somewhere along the way I lost track of the rebellions the good Jewish folk kicked up against Roman rule. And well they should! If things had been the other way around I would have gone all Bar Kokhba on me, too.

    If you go to Masada, you’ll see evidence of the fact my people know a little something about not giving up. So I can respect that.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  8. meanwhile president food stamp is suckling on the toes of the corpse of a dead Saudi royal pervert

    him and Meghan’s coward daddy both


    happyfeet (831175)

  9. God Bless the IDF.

    mg (31009b)

  10. Yes, mg. Speaking of defending Western Civilization. God bless the IDF.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  11. I wouldn’t want anybody to get the impression the only thing I like about the Israeli military is hot chicks on the beach at Tel Aviv in bikinis with M-16s hanging off their shoulders.

    I mean, I like that, too…

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  12. I am totally not into this.

    No. Not at all.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  13. uh oh sghettios teadoodles jump the shark

    The Mississippi Tea Party president says many parents are concerned about mandatory vaccinations for children. The Tea Party has joined a group called Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights in the anti-vaccination wave.

    no longer qualify as serious participants in political process

    happyfeet (831175)

  14. If you don’t want to vaccinate your kid, don’t vaccinate your kid. On the other hand, if you don’t want your kid going to school with a kid who isn’t vaccinated you should be able to know that kind of stuff.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  15. 5. So Ike was perpetrating a Fraud?

    More like denialists doing what they do. Always “the only reasonable interpretation” is some reason to ignore the physical evidence, the testimony of the survivors, the recordings of the camp liberators.

    Your book is statistical fraud.

    Steve Malynn (b696b3)

  16. seeRpea is not promoting the book, Steve M; he is pointing out denialism too.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. Not clearly. Kollerstrom uses the same technique to posit conspiracies behind the Kennedy Assassination, 9/11 and 7/7. There is no prominent or mass murder safe from his revision.

    Steve Malynn (b696b3)

  18. This just in, Katyn was just a messy campsite, and my expert analysis of the photographic evidence proves Jimmy Hoffa is Bigfoot.

    Steve Malynn (b696b3)

  19. I thought seeRpea was pointing out denialism as well, noting that such a book has a good rating at Amazon as well.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  20. Looked at 4 then 5, now I get it. Sorry.

    Steve Malynn (b696b3)

  21. Didn’t realize the comments section at zerohedge were that nasty.

    Steve Malynn (b696b3)

  22. IMHO, no apology necessary. This is a discussion (sometimes, anyway 😉 ) and discussions include a back and forth as necessary for clarification.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  23. I appreciate a man who knows about Katyn Wood. But we aren’t all that far away from that sort of barbarism, are we? I just saw ISIS walk a group of guys into the desert and murder them.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  24. Never Forget. I had an employee, Jim, who brought his mother in to work one day because he was going to take her to an appointment later. She sat quietly reading a book and said little. But I happened to notice as she was turning a page in the book that she had bluish-purplish numbers on her forearm.

    The next morning I privately said to Jim, “I didn’t want to say anything yesterday, but Your mom was in a concentration camp wasn’t she? And he said, “Yes, she made it out but lost both her sisters there. She doesn’t like to talk about it much, but to this day she wears short sleeve dresses and blouses even in the winter because she wants those numbers always to be clearly visible for people to see. I will tell her you noticed.”

    elissa (c56eee)

  25. I’ll tell you right now what all these encrypted radio messages were probably all about.

    There were indeed people trying to lower the death rate (in some camps) Oskar Schindler for instance.

    There was a whole network of people, actually, who tried to limit the killing, most having some connection to the city of Hamburg, Germany..

    I’m sure that Schindler, or others like him, some maybe only interested in making money from slave labor, was responsible for communications like those alluded to in that book by Nicholas Kollerstrom.

    They weren’t listened to very much.

    Of course, in the communications,they had to pretend that murder was not the goal, and that any and all deaths were an unwanted result. And because the order to kill all the Jews was a “secret” the replies couldn’t say, hey, we want the Jews to die, or we don’t mind.

    You can’t “unprove” things that are well known with stuff like this.

    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  26. elissa, I’m a lousy person in many respects. But I did spend 20 years in the Yew Ess Navy.

    Which I hope makes up for some of it.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  27. And no I think you should never forget. Which is why I’m thinking of writing Green Dragons and Black Cats. Nobody writes about tug boat sailors. But they won the war, too.

    OK, the Green Dragons weren’t tug boat sailors. Neither were the black cats. But they did their bit.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  28. there’s a smaller cohort, mostly in Europe, who are 9/11 denialists, but that is just vile and stupid dreck.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  29. Yeah, come on. They called the arrest of Jews Schutzhaft, protective custody. They called execution grounds “relocation centers”. They called the Einsatzgruppen wiping out whole villages anti-partisan activities. The Nazis were masters of euphemism.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. Sammy, did your father talk about his experiences?

    nk (dbc370)

  31. You mean, narciso, they forgot.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  32. it really is obscene, the level of denial, that is allowed in some circles,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  33. The time when the world stood by and did little for Jews was the 1930s. By the time Germany was actually exterminating Jews, the world was already doing all it could to fight him.

    But in the 30s only mentally ill and disabled people had been exterminated, and this was a very closely guarded secret; even under Nazi laws it was illegal to murder sick people.

    While certainly people died in concentration camps, and people were indeed sometimes murdered there, it wasn’t until after well after the conquest of Poland and the invasion of the Soviet Union that they started exterminating Jews as a deliberate, wholesale policy.

    And by then what was the world to do that it wasn’t already doing?

    If we ever actually lived up to our treaty obligations to intervene against genocide, I don’t believe our armed forces would have time to do anything else. Humans being what they are, genocide is what they do, and always have done.

    The lesson I would take away from the Holocaust, and Rwanda, and the Balkans, and the Congo, and Darfur, and East Timor, etc. is that the “world” or the “international community” or “the West” is going to do sweet FA for you until it is too late, but they’ll make sad speeches about it when it’s all over and maybe put up some monuments.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  34. Never forget.

    …It was then that Gaido realized the imminent danger the ship was in and jumped into a Scout Bomber Dauntless dive-bomber parked on the flight deck, and manned the .30 caliber machine gun. Gaido’s relentless fire at the bomber eventually caused the plane to spin at a ninety degree angle, causing it’s wing to slice in half the Scout Bomber Dauntless Dive-Bomber Gaido was firing from. Gaido’s shipmates later said that it was Gaido’s fire that brought the plane down, thus potentially saving the Enterprise from serious damage….

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  35. Halsey gave that man a medal.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  36. Or a promotion. I forget which.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  37. Holocaust deniers are disgusting idiots. But so are 9/11 Truthers, Pearl Harbor Conspiracy nuts, Communists, and all the other morons who build their personal world around demonstrable falsehoods.

    So, when are we going to have a big, international memorial service for all the Jews (and others) murdered by the Soviet Gulag?

    C. S. P. Schofield (848299)

  38. the latter according to this:

    narciso (ee1f88)

  39. What’s old is new again.

    BTW, I’ve noticed through the years that some of the most virulently anti-Jewish or bigoted people in general seem less interested in (or obsessed about) whether the person or group they’re excoriating are ideologically liberal or conservative (or centrist, for that matter). What mainly pings their consciousness is “is he or she Jewish or Christian?!” Is he or she white, black or Latino?! Is the person a guy or woman?! Is the person from the US, Europe, Asia, South America, etc?”

    It’s a peculiar but fascinating phenomenon, which is why I often say the only race (or “race”) or ethnicity (or “ethnicity”—or gender, or sexuality, or religion, or nationality) that people should care about is that of ideology, whether the person or group in question is of the left or right. Everything else should take a back seat., January 2015: An exodus of French Jews is already underway and accelerating rapidly. In 2012, there were just over 1,900 immigrants to Israel from France. The following year nearly 3,400 French Jews emigrated; in 2014 approximately 7,000 left. For the first time ever, France heads the list of countries of origin for immigrants to Israel, and the ministry of immigration absorption expects another 10,000 French Jews to arrive in 2015.

    That would mean more than 22,000 Jews fleeing France for Israel in the space of just four years, nearly 4.5 percent of the country’s Jewish population. The departure of 100,000 French Jews might once have been inconceivable. No longer. In a survey last spring of France’s Jewish community, the largest in Europe, three out of four respondents said they were considering emigrating.

    These are staggering numbers — all the more so in a “Jewish community that has been in place for centuries and feels itself deeply attached to being French,” as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen has written. But what is driving so many Jews to leave “is not Israel’s pull…. It is France’s push.”

    Over the past 15 years, that “push” — violent eruptions of French anti-Semitism — has grown relentless. The murder of four Jews by jihadists at the Hyper Cacher market on Friday was only the most recent on a long list of ominous events, including mob attacks on synagogues in Paris, and the targeting of Jewish teens with Tasers, tear gas, and pepper spray., February 2014: The author of a German study that examined thousands of anti-Semitic hate messages told an Israeli newspaper that she was “very surprised” to discover that only 3 percent came from those described as members of the political “far-right.”

    Monika Schwarz-Friesel, a linguistics professor at the Technical University of Berlin, and her team read 14,000 letters and emails addressed to the Israeli embassy in Berlin and to Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Haaretz reported. [Her] study concluded that a majority of the messages – 60 percent – were sent by educated Germans, including university professors and priests.

    That finding shattered the research team’s initial assumptions.

    “At first, we thought that most of the letters would be sent by right-wing extremists,” Schwarz-Friesel said. “But I was very surprised to discover that they were actually sent by people from the social mainstream – professors, Ph.D.s, lawyers, priests, university and high-school students.”

    “The problem is not the extreme right and neo-Nazis because they are so marginal in German society … the problem is in respectable German society that normally doesn’t accept overt anti-Semitism,” Zuroff said.

    ^ This aligns with some of the most surprisingly racist, bigoted presidents of the US (particularly behind closed doors, if not in terms of public policy too) over the past 100 years being of the left, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Bill “N-word” Clinton and, yep, Barack “race card” Obama.

    Mark (c160ec)

  40. I think Latvia tried to throw a memorial for all the victims of communism. Nobody showed up.

    There is too damned much nostalgia for communism on college campuses.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  41. re #33: the Nazi’s killed Jews in mass numbers before ’42. The problem they had was that the murdering was not being done efficiently. That is what the purpose of Wannsee was, to get everyone on the same page and have the Jews gathered and killed in camps.

    What could the Allies have done to help at that point? lots and lots. which they mostly did not do.
    among other actions not taken: bombing the railroad tracks to the camps, providing identification papers, providing logistics support to those willing to go in and get people out.
    Heck, the brass didn’t even tell soldiers what they were going to encounter.

    All the things that the Allies didn’t do had arguments as to why not , and some arguments may have even been valid. I never read of a reason that sounded even remotely passable for not bombing the transportation infrastructure into the Six Camps.

    ps: i thought it was obvious that i was doing a full massive copy-and-paste in order to avoid the commercial site selling the book (not Amazon, another one) hits. Not so sure how I feel about Amazon listing such books.

    seeRpea (1d44c7)

  42. re Communists and the Jews: in this case i think it would be fairer to say Stalinist and the Jews.
    What Stalin wanted to do would have made Hitler Final Solution look like a dress rehearsal.
    Stalin was actually planning and had started the process of killing over 20 million Jews. What saved the situation was Stalin himself dying.
    In this case it seems the ‘West’ was completely in the dark as even Soviets for the most part did not know of it till the KGB papers got released.

    And I think Steve57 is correct in #40. Stalin is never presented as the monster he was, a bigger monster than Hitler.

    seeRpea (1d44c7)

  43. Gil Garcetti. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  44. @41. seaRpea: The Nazi’s killed Jews in mass numbers before ’42.

    Yes, in 1941, after the invasion of the Soviet Union had begun. The Wannsee conference wasn’t even held until 1942. The policy of exterminating Jews was adopted a lot later than most people think.

    Jews killed previously to that were killed in occupied Poland. Again, the world was already at war with Germany when this started, so what were they going to do to stop it that wouldn’t be done by fighting the war?

    Before the war, the emphasis was on harassment, discrimination, and expropriation, with the Jews’ life in Germany made so unbearable that they would prefer to leave, and the Nazis would see to it they left in desperate poverty.

    I never read of a reason that sounded even remotely passable for not bombing the transportation infrastructure into the Six Camps.

    Maybe because they had a lot of other things that needed bombing, and a limited number of bomber crews, who got killed all the time. The Soviet Union refused permission for American and British bombers to land in Soviet occupied territory which is why nothing was done to support the Warsaw rising, is there any reason to think they’d have been more accommodating for Auschwitz?

    In addition, bombing the camps and rail lines would necessarily have killed large numbers of the prisoners it were intended to help. “They would have died anyway” is, for obvious reasons, a problematic axiom introduce into one’s moral calculus.

    Yeah, in hindsight, they could have done a lot of things, they could have invaded in 1936 before any of it got started–which would have had enormous costs and unforeseen consequences that we would now use as hindsight evidence that we shouldn’t have done it.

    I think the only real moral culpability the Western Allies had was in not doing more to help Jews who left Germany and to help those still in Germany in the 1930s. But the extermination started after the war did; I don’t think there is a plausible case that the West fought Germany apathetically to give them time to exterminate Jews. I think the West were fighting as hard as they could at that point.

    Winning the war was the only way to put a stop to it–the German part anyway. The Soviet part of it went on and on, of course.

    Gabriel Hanna (c4dcf8)

  45. No Gabriel, the Nazis were killing Jews in mass numbers before 1941.
    The point of Wannsee was efficiency not policy.

    seeRpea (1d44c7)

  46. Green Dragons and Black Cats will be about all the guys who’d give you a hand, even under fire. They didn’t need to give a s***. Yet, they gave a s***.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  47. Telephone linemen. Who brags about that?

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  48. I was at a bar in Singapore. And the Tarbender told me he was special forces.


    Of course he was.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  49. i wonder if he can command armies of telepathic dolphins like aquaman

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  50. You mean like me?

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  51. I don’t think of myself as special.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  52. The SEALs would kick my butt.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  53. Steve57 what are you trying to do here? Threadjack the Auschwitz discussion for some reason? Why?

    elissa (80f2e1)

  54. I’ll stop.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  55. My Dad was a pilot in Europe in WWII who flew reconnaissance and fighter planes. He said the Army Air Corp regularly targeted the railroad engines in order to disrupt the transport of supplies and troops, but that never stopped people from being herded into the camps. The Nazis rounded up people and moved them to camps in many ways, including making them walk by the thousands.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  56. I wasn’t trying to threadjack the discussion about talking about telephone linemen.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  57. My Dad shipped out in Navajo. He fought his own personal war, and it wasn’t the big war most people think of.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  58. my dad didn’t fight no wars he was in the army though and he always made pancakes on sunday

    i miss him

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  59. I miss my dad. He made pancakes.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  60. @seaRpea:No Gabriel, the Nazis were killing Jews in mass numbers before 1941.

    Not as part of a policy of extermination, and again, it was in occupied Poland after the war had started. The Einsatzgruppen mission at that time was to destroy the elite of Polish society, and they killed lots of people, including Jews, but there was not a policy of exterminating Jews throughout the Reich at that time. Perhaps for the people being murdered this is a distinction without a difference, but for the people who are being held to task for not having done something to prevent it the distinction is very important.

    The extermination policy only came in 1941 and 1942. And at that time, the Allies were maximally engaged in fighting Germany, and it is hard to see they could have meaningfully redirected their efforts to end it after learning of it.

    Gabriel Hanna (c4dcf8)

  61. it would have been hard, many of the camps, were far from their theatre of operation,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  62. nk (dbc370) — 1/28/2015 @ 6:53 am

    Sammy, did your father talk about his experiences?

    Yes. And he wanted to write a book, but didn’t. I heard a lot of things in bits and pieces. But I still learned some thing from his interview with the Spielberg project, which happened really really late – August 1996. I don’t think he told everything he had wanted to tell. I learned a few things, and a few things got clarified.

    You know, I had thought he was hiding till 1943. But really he was in some kind oof open concentration camp.

    The thing he talked about most often was the fact of starvation – and that there were two human needs that (people wanted most, or you couldn’t make it go away or something) “Hunger and love” Now love I think was an euphemism.

    I also learned a great deal from reading many many books – there was a period I read many personal narratives. You could get a whole picture from that.

    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  63. As I said earlier, my Dad flew reconnaissance planes and he said they knew where the concentration camps were and where the POW camps were, but they weren’t able to do anything about them.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  64. I didn’t know till that 1996 interview that my father had been in Buchenwald. He spent 3 days there in transit. By then, I knew the story of what was going on then, and this fit in. I don’t think this has really been emphasized in any book.

    Hitler had given orders, or approved orders, to kill all the Jews remaining in concentration camps in Poland. This was how a fight between the SS and some others was resolved. The SS was trying to kill people, and others, some connected to the army, were trying to keep them alive for labor. The SS sometimes would try to trick the other people. I think that might even be in the movie Schindler’s List. I actually haven’t seen it.

    So, in November, 1943, orders went out to kill all the remaining Jews in Poland. So what the people who wanted to keep them alive for labor did was…they moved them out of Poland…to Germany!!

    Now you may ask, wait a second. What about Auschwitz, where there were many slave laborers (as a rule they killed 3/4 of the arriving Jews and kept the remaining 1/4 alive temporarily, giving the most minimal food, and always selecting people who looked weak, for death.) There were certainly many living Jews in Auschwitz after November, 1943..

    Well, you see, Hitler had annexed part of Poland into Germany, so that Auschwitz was not in Poland, but in Germany and was not affected by this order!

    The same thing goes for the Lodz Ghetto. Actually there is another question: How did this ghetto continue in existence? Into 1944 in fact? Way past the era of the ghettos! The answer is, it had been reclassified as a concentration camp. And why it was not affected by the order to close all Jewish concentration camps in Poland, and kill the prisoners? It too was now in Germany.

    Now that’s not the complete story. Because there was the Maidenek (or Majdenek) massacre of November 3, 1943 – this is when it happened – where the SS killed many Jewish prisoners, while their protectors, if you can call them that, were away, but they didn’t kill them all and the concentration camp still continued in existence. So somehow someone must have engineered an exemption.

    This site says that at the end of 1943, only 71 of the 6,562 registered prisoners at Majdenak were Jews, but later on some Jews from sub-camps were brought there, so there were 834 in mid-March 1944. So it looks like it wasn’t much of an exception. Some may have been moved. About 18,000 weer killed on or about November 3, 1943.

    All this you can only piece together many many years after the fact, and some of it hasn’t really been pieced together yet. Like how Nazi behavior changed completely after the July plot on Hitler.

    Till then they (the SS) had been extremely afraid of dead bodies. No German ever touched a dead body, even for a second. That’s why they had so many Ukrainians and Estonians in the camps. And why they had Jews searching through the bodies, because this was considerwd the most dangerous activity.

    No dead body was allowed to remain exposed for even the most minimal amount of time. They were either to be buried or burned, and this had to happen almost immediately. That’s why they killed people only at the sites of mass graves or near crematoria.

    That lasted until the Nazis obtained the archives of the “Schwarze Kapelle” conspirators,

    where they had recorded their “good deeds” The archives did not survive the war. But since some of them were involved in throwing sand into the gears of the Nazi extermination machinery, and in fact maybe had been responsible for the labor exemption for the the needs of the war in the first place, that must have been included.

    Then they discovered that all this about the danger of disease from dead bodies had been scientific fraud, and around August, 1944, in the accounts of survivors, you no longer find Nazis caring about dead bodies laying around. That was the situation when the Americans liberated Buchenwald and some other concentration camps.

    There would not have been numerous dead bodies laying around before August, 1944. Hitler extracted his revenge on some of these people and had them hanged with piano wire (I assume believed to be a painful death) and had the executions filmed and watched them. Many people assume that was only for the plot. It was maybe also for their attempts to frustrate his plans to kill all the Jews.

    Even the gas chambers were part of an effort to slow that down. It was probably first suggested because of the thought they couldn’t build them, or it would take some time. California and Nevada were cited as models. Of course California could only kill very few people at a time. It wasn’t a real model. But taking Jews there and then killing them in gas chambers was the most Rube Goldberg method of killing imaginable. Many many Germans had a possibility of finding technical difficulties, and creating delays. That may have been the idea. But there was Adolf Eichmann around always making sure all obstacles were overcome – and there were many of them.

    You know Hitler didn’t even give the SS any money to kill the Jews. (He had been persuaded to keep it extremely secret, and he forgot to give them a budget. They got not one pfennig! Their salaries were taken care of, but no extra expenses involved with killing Jews.)

    The SS had to pay for the trains from money they stole that day. They could not keep the money even overnight. There was strict auditing, and diverting the money was really punished, or they were threatened with it.

    Of course nobody knew this at the time. It might be hard to imagine the Nazis being that crazy.

    About the Lodz ghetto: Tens of thousands of people might have even wound up surviving the war, and Chaim Rumkowski even come out looking half right, had not Adolf Eichmann paid some attention to the fact that the Russian were getting close, and ordered the remaining Jews taken to Auschwitz, and almost all were, except for some who went into hiding I think. Only 877 Jews from the more than 245,000 that were originally there, or the 75,000 or so still left in the summer of 1944, (Rumkowski co-operated in the killing of the rest in order to keep the 75,000 alive) still remained in Lodz when it was liberated on January 19, 1945. Many did survive Auschwitz because they were taken there so late, (August 4, 1944) and were there for a comparatively short period of time.

    I had an uncle in the Lodz ghetto and he lost a child whom he had kept alive, I think at that time. I should have gotten that straight, but it is probably recorded somewhere. I;m even mixed up whether it was his son or his daughter. I think the son.

    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  65. 55. DRJ (a83b8b) — 1/28/2015 @ 9:19 am

    The Nazis rounded up people and moved them to camps in many ways, including making them walk by the thousands.

    That was later, only from Hungary, and only after the July plot against Hitler, when someone was tortured into revealing where the archives of the plotters were hidden.

    Making people walk could only be done if they would shoot people along the way. But this was considered very dangerous because dead bodies supposedly caused disease.

    Till August, 1944, the Nazis were very, very, afraid of dead Jews. A dead Jew could kill them, even if he had just been killed. Then they discovered this was all scientific fraud dating back to the mid to late 1930s.

    I don’t think there were any marches until very late in the war. Some herding of people out of town to mass graves, but that’s all.

    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  66. DRJ, I knew guys who flew Kingfishers and such.

    Good guys, all.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  67. I’m not sure I get your point, Sammy, other than being the ultimate authority on this topic. Part of this discussion has been whether the Allies and Allied planes could have done something to stop the Nazis from shipping people to concentration camps. I don’t think the Allies had any ability to stop the trains from running in Germany until late in the war, and certainly not before 1944.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  68. Cool planes. They look like seaplanes. Where were they flown and how were they used?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  69. By the way, Sammy, there were reconnaissance photos showing forced marches to camps. That’s how my Dad knew it happened.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  70. i loved learning about the paradigm shift about the dead bodies

    nobody tells me anything but if i pay attention I learn stuff anyway

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  71. What do you know about the Nazis telling people they were being resettled, Sammy? Tell me about that and whether that might explain why Jews and others might comply with being relocated.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  72. They were flown from battleships, DRJ.

    SOCs were flown from cruisers.

    Fun fact: Normandy, they traded their biplanes in for Spitfires. Nobody thought they’d live if that was what they flew.

    Steve57 (a04df5)


    Nobody thought they needed to fly faster.

    Except the guys who flew them.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  74. DRJ (a83b8b) — 1/28/2015 @ 12:05 pm

    By the way, Sammy, there were reconnaissance photos showing forced marches to camps. That’s how my Dad knew it happened. > It is interesting that there was full knowledge of that.

    What I am saying is that none of those marches to, or between, concentration camps took place before about August, 1944. When did he have those missions?

    They wouldn’t leave bodies on the road before that. (they did shoot at people escaping from the trains, though, but maybe they came to get the bodies later.)

    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  75. “I never read of a reason that sounded even remotely passable for not bombing the transportation infrastructure into the Six Camps”

    The Myth of Rescue: Why the Democracies Could Not Have Saved More Jews from the Nazis

    by W.D. Rubinstein

    Short version; There was real concern that bombing raids on the camps would provide cover for the Nazis, as in “We didn’t kill them, YOU did.”. That was expressed by Jewish leaders as well as Allied personnel. Bombing rail lines works well just behind enemy lines, to disrupt supplies for a short time before a planned battle. It isn’t all that effective a way to interdict transportation in general, as experience from the Civl War era on demonstrates.

    The most effective way to save Jews from the Camps was to prosecute the war as vigorously as possible.

    C. S. P. Schofield (848299)

  76. Gabriel Hanna (c4dcf8) — 1/28/2015 @ 8:45 am

    Winning the war was the only way to put a stop to it–the German part anyway.

    Not really true, and not only that, but they did things that did actually stop it.

    1. They assassinated Heydrich, chief planner. And this helped. Of course they did this for a completely irrelevant , and in fact mistaken reason. He was going to leave Bohemia anyway. He was going to go to France, which they didn’t know.

    2. They promised to punish them after the war. The very first time this threat was made, in June, 1942, it stopped Rumanian participation in the Holocaust dead in its tracks. And they stayed out of it, and didn’t do anything like that in territory the Rumanian government controlled for the rest of the war.

    The demand of unconditional surrender reinforced this.

    3. They sent Raoul Wallenberg to Hungary. He used fake but real looking papers, and threats of punishment.

    4. They made great efforts to see that prisoners were not killed at the end of the war.

    What they didn’t do was use any military assets and this was probably because of Stalin, because Stalin was always demanding a second front and before and even after that, Roosevelt wanted to be able to say that nothing was being diverted from fightng the war.


    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  77. Adolf Eichmann did a forced march because he thought the reason a rail line was bombed was to stop him from sending Jews to Auschwitz to be killed there. That was actually not the reason it was bombed.

    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  78. I don’t believe your dead bodies idea, Sammy. The Germans disposed of corpses because it was necessary to maintain the fiction that they were relocating people to work camps. Leaving dead bodies around would undermine that fiction. Later in the war, after people learned what was happening, it was no longer necessary.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  79. There were death marches early in the war involving large numbers of Russian Jews. Furthermore, forced marches conducted late in the war occurred because the Allies were pushing into German territory, not because the Germans suddenly decided they weren’t afraid of cadavers.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  80. I like the cut of your jib, DRJ.

    Steve57 (a04df5)


    Westland Lysander in Action

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  82. This says the Kingfisher was a seaplane and a fixed wheel plane. Now that’s interesting. My Dad was in the Army so he flew land-based and not sea-based planes. He flew a several types but primarily he flew versions of the P-51 Mustang that were used in the European theater.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  83. I don’t know if the Kingfisher was a fixed wheel aircraft. I’ll have to look into that.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  84. This is what my Kingfisher link (above, in comment 82) says:

    The OS2U could also operate on fixed, wheeled, tail-dragger landing gear.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  85. The only aircraft I can offer a valid opinion of is the F-14.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  86. I’m being an a@@ when I talk of the OS2U.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  87. 67. The Allies didn’t get air superiority until sometime in 1943. And it took time till they had bases in Italy and could make more bombing missions.

    But the talk about bombing the train tracks is about 1944, when the whole thing was known, but about 400,000 or so, something like that, Jews from the territory of Hungary were sent to Auschwitz.

    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  88. Sammy,

    My Dad was a pilot and commanding officer in Africa, Italy, France, etc., for most of the war. He told me the Allies were flying night-time raids over Germany in 1942 and the American B-17s were flying missions as early as January 1943. One of the duties of the crew on a B-17 was to watch for movement of POWs or civilians, because the latter were often Jews being marched to camps. The information was forwarded to the resistance and covert units who would try to help them. Any supply train and troop sightings were sent to the military for its use in military planning.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  89. DRJ (a83b8b) — 1/28/2015 @ 2:55 pm

    My Dad was a pilot and commanding officer in Africa, Italy, France, etc., for most of the war. He told me the Allies were flying night-time raids over Germany in 1942 and the American B-17s were flying missions as early as January 1943.

    That was from England. I thought it was the British who did nighttime raids, and the Americans bombed by day at specific targets.. at least the target was specific. The bombs often just came close.

    I know there was bombing going on at that time. It became safer later.

    One of the duties of the crew on a B-17 was to watch for movement of POWs or civilians, because the latter were often Jews being marched to camps. The information was forwarded to the resistance and covert units who would try to help them. Any supply train and troop sightings were sent to the military for its use in military planning.

    Do you know some more about what they found out?

    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  90. DRJ (a83b8b) — 1/28/2015 @ 12:09 pm

    What do you know about the Nazis telling people they were being resettled, Sammy? Tell me about that and whether that might explain why Jews and others might comply with being relocated.

    I know that from books and other publications. This applied in the ghettos.

    What the Nazis really wanted to make people believe was that they were taking people to slave labor camps – that is, Hitler pretended that he was doing what Stalin did. That it was like Stalin’s slave labor camps was the false, reassuring lie!

    The truth about Soviet Union was in fact known in Poland and other places in the outside world – just denied by the Communists, but people had heard of it.

    What Stalin actually did to oppress people, was what Hitler pretended to do. That’s the significant difference between them.

    That’s why they had the sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” over the gates to Auschwitz (and I think also some other places that weren’t primarily death camps, so the story may be a little bir more complicated)

    The idea was that people being brought in would think: “they want us to think work is good – so work is what they must want.” And people wouldn’t resist to be directed to the side of death.

    ight comply with being relocated

    In many many cases they knew or suspected what was going to happen wasn’t very good, and carried a high probability of death.

    What also limited resistance was threats to kill more Jews. Deterrence. You can kill one quarter or more of the population and still have deterrence. It has to get to over one half, maybe even three quarters for the detrerrence to wear off. That’s another lesson.

    Sammy Finkelman (e806a6)

  91. Sammy is right about that. It is the central point of Borowski’s “This Way For The Gas, Ladies And Gentlemen”. When the prisoners were unloaded at Auschwitz, their smiling guards cheerfully led them to believe that they were going to the showers. He has a story of an old man running to catch up with his group, while the guards good-naturedly urge him to hurry.

    nk (dbc370)

  92. This is a serious video. Concentration camp photos set to Theodorakis’s “Song of Songs”.

    Sorry, no tugboats or seaplanes.

    nk (dbc370)

  93. Bombing the camps, as has been said, would have been difficult due to range. See Black Thursday in which the Mighty Eighth had twenty percent of their a/c shot down. Those returning to be written off, or with dead and wounded aircrew might have raised the figure to–guessing–30%. Most of the camps were further than Regensburg and Schweinfurt. Losing a third of your air force in a raid means losing the whole thing in three raids, and then what do you do?
    You can imagine the professional complainers after the war talking about the evil Allies and all the killing of Jews they did.
    Bombing the rail lines interrupted all traffic, including the Transport which–this is difficult, had to go over the main lines first. Bombing the spurs, could they have been hit from five miles up, would not have hindered the German war effort and the Jews would simply have been dismounted and made to walk.
    When you put your mind to it, railways are easy to repair. Speaking relatively. Couple of guys with a shovel won’t do it, but a repair train arriving at the break can do it in a relatively short time.
    The definition at the time of Circular Error Probable was the distance from the aiming point within which half the bombs landed. In the ETO, with strategic bombing, that was a quarter mile. So half the bombs landed in circle with a diameter of a half a mile and the other half didn’t. No telling what the latter hit, but many strategic targets were near things like, oh, say, apartments and city centers.
    All a matter of making the Good Guys look like Bad Guys since progressives need to reverse the common perception.

    Richard Aubrey (f6d8de)

  94. nk, tugs and sea planes are serious.

    Of course, we don’t have sea planes any more. But we still have tug boats. They are too useful and serious to get rid of.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  95. Also we’d be into building more tug boats if global warming were a thing. Ice strengthened tug boats to deal with the antropogenic global warming-caused frozen seas.

    I don’t think anyone wants me to get too deeply into this.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  96. the tugboats watch and wait

    their day is coming

    happyfeet (a037ad)


    Ice breakers are like tug boats. No one ever thinks of them until they need them. And then, they need them really, really badly.

    Like that Australian idiot who went to the South Pole to show some gullible fools how we are destroying the planet because… global warming.

    And got stuck in the ice. In a boat that wasn’t built to deal with the ice. Because… global warming.

    I think he didn’t lose his job at the university. Which calls into doubt the very idea of a college degree.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  98. tugboats will someday rule the world, Mr. feets.

    I welcome my new overlords.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  99. they drive by a lot on the river, these tugboats

    lulling us all into complacency

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  100. Tugboats are wily that way, feets.

    Steve57 (a04df5)

  101. Bathospheres I think are needed.

    nk (dbc370)

  102. uh oh sghettios teadoodles jump the shark

    The Mississippi Tea Party president says many parents are concerned about mandatory vaccinations for children. The Tea Party has joined a group called Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights in the anti-vaccination wave.

    no longer qualify as serious participants in political process

    happyfeet (831175) — 1/28/2015 @ 3:56 am

    That is depressing, but not surprising. Jesus.

    My dad made soup, not pancakes. Usually something weird like “pepper pot” and there were often parnips or some other weird thing involved.

    carlitos (c24ed5)

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