Women in Auschwitz

women

On March 26, 1942, close to 1000  women were taken from the Ravensbrück concentration camp to Auschwitz, mots of them were deemed “criminals” and “a-socials”.Only a few hours later,  yet another transport arrived. Again, it was made up of almost 1000 Jewish women from Slovakia. It would be first transport of women to  Auschwitz.

Rather then going into the details of this event I will focus on 4 eye witness accounts of women who survived the Holocaust.

Laura Varon on the experience when she first arrived in Auschwitz

“They opened the doors, the squeaking doors… and a little bit of air came… When we arrived in Auschwitz, we were already numb: the bones, the legs were not moving anymore. Two men in striped uniforms, because they heard us speaking Ladino, they told us in Ladino, ‘We are Greeks from Saloniki. Give the children to the old people,’ they told us. Again, we didn’t [understand] what this meant. How can you understand, ‘Give the children to the old people?’ And then they were afraid to talk to us and that’s all, ‘Give the children to the old people.'”

Feige Serl-Lax  on her arrival in Auschwitz

“…And then we were in Auschwitz and then they opened the door, the Polish Jewish boys come… They were there… a long time. And he sees my sister, [she] was a beauty. He said, ‘You have children?’ She said, ‘Yes. Two children.’ And in that manner he said, ‘Let the children go left and you two go right.’ I take out the child and my sister takes out [the other child] and we don’t let him. We come in the line to Mengele. That Polish man that I didn’t want to release the child to, then he comes and takes the child from me and pushes me to the right… and he wants to take from my sister, also the little boy… Mengele was angry and told my sister to go left. I never saw]her again. That was the last time.”

Yehudit Rubinstein on her experiences

“…They sent us… to the bathhouse. So there the first order we got: Everything off. We just couldn’t believe what we heard: to take off everything, take off clothes, everything, pins from your hair, everything out. We were uncomfortable, the first time in my life I was in public, undressing in front of men, coming in and out, then we understood that nothing will help us, so we had to undress, and they called ‘Who is a hairdresser?’ …So one woman whom I knew as a young girl from my town, she was a hairdresser, so step by step with the scissors and with their machine started to cut the hair, other parts, everywhere, private parts, before we turned around under the shower, opened the water before we had a chance to wet ourselves: ‘Raus’ , they gave us this gray uniform, and just our shoes – the lot of us were holding on to their shoes, put on their shoes, bare naked and nothing on them and out in the garden, out in front of the bathhouse.

shaven

Lea Kahana-Grunwald recalled her memories if a pregnant woman.

“A girl came in. She came in with her mother. She was pregnant and he overlooked it, Mengele. He didn’t notice. It was a young girl, a young person. The first child. She wasn’t so big. She had the child on the bunk, without any help. The mother was with her and I suppose the staff helped her through it… I don’t know what they did with the child, whether they burned it or what. She gave birth and she had to stand next morning at roll call. She survived. The child was killed. How they killed it I don’t know the details, but I knew the girl. She was from my town and she got married a few months earlier. That was her first pregnancy, her first child.”

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Source

Yad Vashem

 

The experiments of Horst Schumann.

Horst

I have to warn you up front, this is not an easy read. I will try to stick to the facts and keep my emotions out of it, regardless on how difficult that will be. And I will keep it only to the experiments and the post war situation for Horst Schumann.

Horst Schumann  was an SS-Sturmbannführer and medical doctor who conducted sterilization and castration experiments at Auschwitz he was especially interested in the mass sterilization of Jews by using  X-ray radiation.

He worked at Block 30 at the women’s hospital, here set up an x-ray unit in 1942.                 (the picture below is from an x ray machine in Auschwitz but I don’t know if this one was used by Schumann)

x ray

Dr. Schumann did not have any particular qualifications for medical research. His duties prior to his research into sterilization involved the direction of killing centers and selection of victims.  By 1942, the doctor and his assistants were at work on X-ray sterilization experiments at Block 30 in Birkenau.  In these experiments, men and women had their reproductive areas exposed to a five to eight minute dose of X-rays. Depending on the intensity of the dose, this resulted in external burns or worse. Following exposure, some of the women and men underwent operations to remove reproductive organs for evaluation. Ovaries and testicles were removed and examined. The men also were subject to other brutalizing medical procedures involving semen extraction.  Many of the victims died from complications following the surgeries. The survivors were not as likely as others to survive assignment to work details in their weakened condition. Roughly one thousand male and female prisoners were subjected to X-ray sterilization with about two hundred of them undergoing follow-up extractive surgery.

(. Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (Basic Books, 2000), pp. 25, 247, 274-282.)

book

Both men and women were forcibly sterilized . They were positioned repeatedly for a number of minutes between two x-ray machines, the rays were aimed  aiming at their sexual organs. Most victims succumbed  to the treatment and died after great suffering, Either that or they were gassed because the injuries they sustained made them unfit to work .Men’s testicles were removed and sent to Breslau for histopathological examination. Schumann chose his test persons himself. They were always young, healthy, good-looking Jewish men, women and girls but who would often look like old people afterwards. Often the intestines were also affected. Another element   of Schumann’s experiments was to check whether the radiation had worked, For this they used the so-called semen check. The method was by inserting  a stick covered with a rubber hose was into the rectum of the victim and the glands stimulated until ejaculation occurred so that the ejaculate could be tested for sperm. These samples were also sent to the University of Breslau  for examination.

Schumann selected several women from Block 10 at the main camp of Auschwitz.  To control the radiation on women, prisoner doctors ,Dr. Maximilian Samuel and Dr. Wladislaw Dering had to remove an ovary from a healthy woman.

Another experiment Schumann conducted was typhus experiment. He did this  by injecting people with blood from typhus patients and would then attempt to cure the newly infected subjects.

After the war he was  a sports doctor for the city of Gladbeck. But when he was identified in 1951 the East German government issued a warrant for his arrest. He managed to evade capture and worked for 3 years as a ships doctor. He had no German passport but in 1954 he applied for a passport in Japan, which was issued to him under his own name. He then fled to Egypt but shortly after he settled in Khartoum in the Sudan as head of a hospital. In 1962 he was forced to flee Sudan after he was recognized by an Auschwitz survivor. He went to Ghana where he received protection from the President

In 1966 he was extradited to West Germany where he stood trial in Frankfurt on September 23,1970. However due to bad health he only served about 18 months in Jail.

He eventually died on 5 May 1983.age 77. A lot older then most of the victims he killed.

Donation

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Sources

http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2017/ph241/payzer2/

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/horst-schumann

http://auschwitz.org/en/history/medical-experiments/horst-schumann

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Mandl-Pure evil

Maria

Maria Mandl was one of the many Austrians who were delighted when Hitler annexed his native Austria into Germany. She saw opportunities and she took them.

Born in Münzkirchen, Upper Austria on January 10,1912 to a shoemaker and his wife.

On 15 October 1938 , shortly after the annexation she got her first job under the Nazi regime as Aufseherin(supervisor) at the Lichtenburg concentration camp. The camp closed in May 1939. Mandl then moved to Ravensbrück concentration camp, which was purposely built exclusively for women.

ravensbruck

Here Mandl, impressed her superiors and was soon promoted to to the rank of a SS-Oberaufseherin. Her brutality set her apart from other female workers. In her new roll she oversaw the roll calls and the punishments for the inmates. Punishment like beatings and floggings by whip.

Survivor Maria Bielicka recalled that one day ,Mandl kicked a fellow inmate to death for doing “something wrong.”

What is probably the most disturbing aspect about her is that unlike other female guards,  she was highly intelligent and cultured. She enjoyed literature and had a taste for fine cuisine. She was also an avid listener of classical music.

Maria Bielicka said about this.Shortly after Bielicka had watched her brutally kill a prisoner during roll call, one of her friends reported hearing “the most beautiful music” while cleaning the guards’ quarters. A senior guard at Ravensbrück had a piano, and Bielicka’s friend found Mandl playing it, “lost in a world of her own – in ecstasy.”

On 7 October 1942 Mandl was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, here she was involved in the selections, The lists that she signed condemned an estimated half a million  women and children to their deaths in the gas chambers at Auschwitz I and II. She took great pleasure in the selections.

One survivor recalled how Mandl had once selected a child whom she dressed up “in fine clothing, parading it around like a puppet.” The child was constantly by her side, holding her hand until she grew tired of the child and threw her in the gas cnamber.

Her passion for music she used to setting  the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, which was made up of prisoner, to accompany roll calls, executions, selections and transports. The orchestra would perform for in all weather conditions and often for hours.

Heinrich Himmler was a great admirer of the orchestra and it is said that Joseph Mengele was often brought to tears by some of their music.

Lucia Adelsberger,another survivor, wrote in her book “Auschwitz: Ein Tatsachenbericht”(Auschwitz, a report of the facts)

“The women who came back from work exhausted had to march in time to the music. Music was ordered for all occasions, for the addresses of the Camp Commanders, for the transports and whenever anybody was hanged.”

In November 1944, Mandl was assigned to the Mühldorf subcamp of Dachau concentration camp, she fled from there just before the camp was liberated.

But she was caught a few months later ,the United States Army arrested Mandl on 10 August 1945. In November 1947 she was tried in a Kraków during the Auschwitz Trial and sentenced to death by hanging. She was was hanged on 24 January 1948, 2 weeks after her 36th birthday.

mm

Donation

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Sources

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/maria-mandel

https://womensorchestra.weebly.com/history-of-orchestra.html

Nazi Camp Guard Maria Mandl Sent 500,000 Women To Their Deaths – And Loved Every Minute Of It

http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/places/camps/death-camps/birkenau/czajkowskazofia/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will never know.

peter

We will never know what you might have become.

We will never know if you would discover a cure for cancer.

We will never know if you would write the most beautiful love songs.

We will never know how many house you might have built.

We will never know how many jokes you could have told.

We will never know what brings you joy.

We will never know the boy behind those piercing eyes.

We do know your bane is Peter Blödy

We do know you were loved by your family

We do know your birthday is  31 October 1936, born in Vienna.

We do know you were killed 23 Oct 1944, 8 days before your 8th birthday.

We do know you were killed in Auschwitz

I do know I will not forget you.

 

 

The evil of Mengele.

mengele

I could fill this blog with pictures of the experiments Joseph Mengele conducted in Auschwitz, but I think most of the readers would not be able to stomach the images. I know I can’t ,therefore I am just going to quote some eye witness reports to illustrate how truly evil this man was. He had a particular interest in twins.

Vera Kriegel

Vera and her twin sister Olga were only five years old when they were taken from their village in Czechoslovakia and deported to  Auschwitz.

. “I was looking at a whole wall of human eyes. A wall of blue eyes, brown eyes, green eyes. These eyes they were staring at me like a collection of butterflies and I fell down on the floor.”

In one experiment Vera and her sister Olga and more than 100 other twins were given injections of bacteria which causes Noma disease also known as cancrum oris which is an infection of the mouth or genitals, which causes boils and often turns gangrenous and has a high mortality rate.

Miklós Nyiszli

Miklós Nyiszli testified  thatt on one occasion , Mengele personally killed fourteen twins in one night by injecting chloroform in to the heart. If one twin died of disease, Mengele would then kill the other twin, in order  that comparative reports could be prepared after their deaths.

Vera Alexander

2020-03-13 (8)

Vera Alexander testifies in the Eichmann trial, she recalled one experiment by Mengele.  He sewed the hands of two gypsy twins together,a sin he sewed one hand of one child to the hand of the other child.

The truly sickening thing is that he died a free man and had lived quite a comfortable life after the war.

mengel family

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1001717

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30933718

Their evil knew no boundaries.

1

Ghandi once said”“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” This is such a true statement.

The Nazis claimed to make a great nation out of Germany , but the same Nazis did not care for the weakest members, In fact they despised them, they were perceived to be a burden on the ordinary citizens.  and often would kill them and/or torture them. After they killed them they would steal their belongings even those belongings they had no use for like artificial limbs or other prosthesis.

2

Often these prosthesis belonged to soldiers who had fought in WWI, for Germany and were injured. But these heroes suddenly became a burden, when they were Jewish they definitely had a death sentence. Regardless how valiantly they had fought before to defend their Nation, and that was just it, the Jewish citizens still saw Germany as their nation.

Then of course there were the children, Jewish children and Gypsy children(and I do apologize for the generic term gypsy, but if I write Roma I offend some people and if i write Sinti I offend other people, that’s why I am using the generic term)

They were not seen as the future for this so called ‘great’ nation but they were seen as less then vermin who had to be destroyed together with their parents.

The ‘heroic’ Nazis were great in killing defenseless, vulnerable people. At the end they were nothing but cowards whose evil knew no boundaries.

I know some people will argue that in every war there is collateral damage and innocent lives get killed, which is absolutely true. But this was different, these vulnerable people were killed either on a face to face, personal basis or in purpose built facilities to kill en mass those who were not desired in society, often their own people.

doll

Sources

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/the-holocaust

http://auschwitz.org/en/gallery/exhibits/evidence-of-crimes,1.html

Donation

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What is the point of killing a 102 year old.

clara

The picture above is taken from a local Dutch newspaper. It is a small article from April 30,1942. Although it is a small notification it gives a wealth of information. The article is about Klara(or Clara) Borstel-Engelsman, born in Amsterdam  the piece announces her 100th birthday and how it is celebrated.

It tells us she was staying in the hostel of the Morpurgo family, I believe this was a Jewish family. It continues to say that she still has all her faculties and still likes to play a game o Domino and that she loves to chat with the the fellow residents hostel. Her chair was decorated and above the chair there was a Jewish wish “ad meea weësriem sjana” meaning up to 120 years.

What it doesn’t say but yet makes it clear is that until that date April 30,1942 the Jewish population still had some normality in their lives. It was only a day before her 100th birthday the Jews had to wear the yellow star.This was nearly 2 years after  the Nazis invaded the Netherlands.

In May 1942 construction started on Vught Concentration camp, and in the summer of 1942 the deportations started.

In March 1944 Klara was deported to Westerbork where she celebrated her 120th birthday. From Westerbork she was sent to Auschwitz, on a cattle train, where she dies on October 12 1944, aged 102.

clara 102

Now some may say that she lived a long life, which is true. However what sense does it make to put a 102 year old woman on a train so she can get killed inn a place hundreds of kilometers away from where she was. Taken away all the emotions and looking at it with a purely clinical view, not only is it a waste of resources and time , it also makes no economical sense, she was likely to die soon anyway. And that’s another bit of information the article doesn’t give us but it blatantly , the Nazis were so full of hate that they forgot all sense of proportionality.

Klara would be the oldest Dutch Jewish citizen to be murdered during the Holocaust.

Below is another notification of her pending 100th birthday.

Clara verjaardag

Many thanks to Norman Stone for pointing out the story of Klara to me on the Facebook  page Holocaust Educators of America.

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/228136/klara-borstel-engelsman

https://www.facebook.com/groups/418106361560509/permalink/2776891269015328/

 

Mundane Evil

belonging

I found it difficult to find a suitable title for this blog but I think Mundane Evil probably describes it best. The picture is a list of belongings of an inmate of Auschwitz.

Unfortunately I can’t make out the first name , but the last name is Ludwig, however it also could be the first name, in Germany and other European countries the last name is often put first on official documents.

What makes this document so chilling is its mundane nature the title is “Directory of belongings of the estate” Above the title it gives the date of birth 23 July 1912 and the date of death February 2 1941.

It is not clear who this person was but it we do know the items he had when he went in to Auschwitz.

1 Suitcase

1 Hat

1 Coat

1 Jacket

I Pair of trousers

1 Vest

2 Shirts

2 Underpants

1 Tie

I pair of Shoes

1 Pair of socks

1 Handkerchief

1 Towel

2 Wallets

1 Briefcase

The 29,5 years of this person captured in a directory of items. He was murdered in Auschwitz on February 2,1941. This was before the mass killings started.

There is another date on the document , it is the date this document was issued March 7,1941. Six days after Heinrich Himmler inspected the camp and ordered its expansion.

The meticulousness of the data is just mind boggling, how can anyone be so evil and yet so mundane to tick of a list of possessions knowing that the person was murdered.Yet this kind of recording inventory  is so valuable as evidence.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Source

http://auschwitz.org/en/museum/archives/collection/

 

 

Harriëtte Zeeman

1

Harriëtte Zeeman just another teenager.

But she was more then that.

She was someones’s daughter.

She was someone’s sister.

She was someone’s friend.

She was someone’s student.

She was someone’s neighbor.

She was someone who annoyed people.

She was someone who made people laugh.

She was someone born in Amsterdam.

She was someone’s enemy.

She was someone who was murdered by an evil regime in Auschwitz, on 26 October 1942.

She was someone who was murdered aged 14, the same age as my daughter is now.

Dora Gerson-Body lost or destroyed.

Dora

Dora Gerstein was a Jewish actress and singer  born  on 23 March 1899  in Berlin. She was murdered on February 14,1943 in Auschwitz. On one of the sites I used to do the research on Dora I noticed the line ‘Body lost or destroyed’.

Not only her body was destroyed but also her talent and beauty. Her short life is a poignant illustration how in a few years time, a poltical movement with a warped ideology impacted her life and ultimately caused her death.

In 1920 she starred in 2 silent films. Die Todeskarawane aka Caravan of Death and Auf den Trümmern des Paradieses aka In the Rubble of Paradise. She played the same character in both movies. The movies were based on novels by Karl May. Many Europeans have seen the Winnetou and Old Shatterhand westerns which were penned by Karl May. He was also admired by Albert Einstein  who said about him , “My whole adolescence stood under his sign. Indeed, even today, he has been dear to me in many a desperate hour.”

Ironically another admirer was Adolf Hitler who mentioned Karl May in Mein Kampf.

Between 1922 and 1924 Dora was married to the Actor/Director Veit Harlan. In less then 16 years after their divorce Harlan would become a pivotal figure in the Nazi propaganda machine. In 1940 he directed the anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda film Jud Süß.

Jud

To escape Nazi persecution she moved to the Netherlands in 1936, where she met her 2nd Husband Max Sluizer. The couple had 2 children  Miriam Sluizer born on 19 November 1937 and Abel Juda Sluizer born on 21 May 1940,only 11 days after Germany invaded the Netherlands.

Dora and her family were all transported to Drancy internment camp and from there they were deported to Auschwitz where they were all murdered on February 14,1943.

pass

Finishing up with one of Dora’s recordings “Vorbei”  an emotional ballad, reminiscing pre-Nazi Germany.

!They’re gone beyond recall
A final glance, a last kiss
And then it’s all over
under the frame of eternity
A final word, a last farewell”

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of €2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then €2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

IMDB

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/110288165/dora-gerson

http://www.musiques-regenerees.fr/GhettosCamps/Camps/GersonDora.html

YouTube