The parallel universe that was Auschwitz.

FUN

If you wouldn’t know the wider context of the picture, you would smile at it and think” a lovely picture of young people in the military enjoying themselves”.

And that is exactly what they did , they did enjoy themselves. However this weren’t just some random service men and women. These men and women all had a part to play in the industrial murder of innocent men,women and children, sometimes even newborn babies.

These men and women were all officers and guards of the Auschwitz concentration camp. This photo and others were taken by Karl Hoecker arrived at Auschwitz on May 25, 1944. He was adjutant to Richard Baer, who was a commandant of Auschwitz I concentration camp from May 1944 to December 1944.

karl

Prior to Auschwitz he worked in Majdanek . Majadenke Camp records showed that between May 1943 and May 1944 Höcker had acquired at least 3,610 kilograms of Zyklon B  for use in Majdanek from the Hamburg firm of Tesch & Stabenow.

People often ask me what pictures do I find I most disturbing from the Holocaust. It is not the pictures of children, although they churn my stomach every time I see them. Nor is it the pictures of the heaps of bodies piled on top of each other . It is the pictures like the ones from the Höcker album, which show such an apparent parallel universe that existed in Auschwitz and the sheer evil of people enjoying themselves after work , when they would have been responsible or at least witnessed at first hand, the destruction of so many innocent  lives, only because of hate fueled by a sick ideology.

Some of these men and women had children themselves, yet they did not hesitate killing children of other parents. As if the lives of Jews and other groups just didn’t matter.

kids

singing

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The teenager Meyer Abramczyk

Meyer A

Usually when I write a blog which contains the word ‘teenager’ it refers to somene who was murdered during the Holocaust.,Meyer Abramczyk wasn’t. In fact he sadly passed away when he was aged 87.

Metaphorically speaking the teenager Meyer was killed during the Holocaust. He was born on July 24, 1926 in Belchatow, Poland. His parents were Herschel and Toba Abramczyk. He had six brothers and sisters: Zelda, Hinda, Moshe, Jankiel, Channah, and Paula. At that time.

Meyer was age 13 when the Nazis invaded Poland.  During the 1st week of the war ,Belchatow, was designated a Jewish town. The Abramczyk family tried to flee but soon discovered this was virtually impossible. They were stopped by the SS on the way and were harassed by them. In 1940 Meyer was send to a work camp in Poznan. He was still only 13 at the time.

Age 13 his first year as a teenager. The teenage years are  some of the most important years of a young man’s life. They are the years that transform you from a child into a man. In any normal circumstance a teenager will have his parents and maybe even older siblings around him for support  . It is this support that is needed to cope with all the physical,mental and hormonal changes that happen in those years and the anxiety that goes with that.

For Meyer this support was  taken away. He was left to cope on his own under the most brutal circumstances one could imagine. It later emerged that this support was killed,As were Meyer’s teenage years, they were killed too. A time where he should be playing, exploring ,discovering and enjoying life as much as he could, but that time was taken away from him. He never got to be that teenager. His aim was now survival, and he may not even have  known it at the time that would become his goal, but he did survive and left a legacy and testimony.

Meyer spent of all his teenage years fearing for his life, not knowing what happened to his family.

Meyer’s story as a teenager is remarkable in more then one way. He survived several concentration camps, the last one being Auschwitz Birkenau. He also survived the Auschwitz death march and the sinking of the The Cap Arcona. The ship bombed by the allies, Of the estimated 5,000(some sources put that number higher)  concentration camps inmates  on board only 250 survived, the then still 18 tear old Meyer was one of them.

cap

For years after the war he searched for his family he eventually found out  they were all murdered.

There is a quote by George Herbert , it says ” Living well is the best revenge.” and Meyer certainly did that. He did move to Canada in 1956 and settled in Toronto . Where he married and had 3 children and 6 grandchildren.He worked as a butcher for 60 years and retired at the age of 80. One of his children is Toba, who I consider a friend, She once wrote a piece about her father called “Meyer Abramczyk-Our Hero” for the KehilaLinks Home Page for Belchatow. I do agree Meyer (aka Majer) was a Hero and an example for many generations to come.

Finishing this blog with a picture of Meyer and 3 Belchatow Survivors
in Föhrenwald Displaced Persons Camp, Germany, 1946.

DP

Thank you Toba Abramczyk for allowing me to write about your dad.

Sources

http://liebowitzes.com/belchatow/fohrenwald.htm

https://www.cambridgescholars.com/the-literary-representation-of-world-war-ii-childhood

 

 

Auschwitz May 20 1940

AUSCHWITZ

When people hear the word Auschwitz ,a shiver goes down their spine, and that is a good thing. However so many people do not really know that much about Auschwitz. They think it was only one camp, where there were really many other camps connected to Auschwitz. about 40.

Some even think that from day 1, thousands of Jewish prisoners were transported to Auschwitz, but the when the first transport tool place on May 20 1940, 80 years ago today, there were only 30 prisoners.

The transport consisted of some 30 German inmates, who were branded  as “professional criminals.”  In Nazi Germany it didn’t take much to be categorized a professional criminal .The SS had selected them from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp outside of Berlin

Less then a month later , on June 14 another 728 inmates were transported to Auschwitz. The transport consisted  of 728 Poles including 20 Polish Jews. They were dubbed ‘political prisoners’ and members of the Polish resistance.They were transported from a prison in Tarnow. Among them was Stanisław Ryniak he was designated number 31 and the first political prisoner.

transpor

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://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/auschwitz

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/auschwitz-key-dates

http://auschwitz.org/en/museum/auschwitz-prisoners/prisoner-numbers

 

Selection

selection

The picture above is  if of a selection in Auschwitz-Birkenau. When you look at it, it looks horrendous enough, But if you analyse it the horrors become so real.

Firstly it is clear that the line on the left will not see the end of that day. They are doomed to go into the gas chambers. At the very front there is a woman holding a baby, behind her is a young boy. They are both looking to the line on the right, I presume there is family in that line belonging to them.

Between the 2 SS men in front of that line you can see an old woman with fear in her eyes, not knowing what will happen to her

Then on the left next to the row there are a number of man in striped outfits, undoubtedly Kapo’s assisting in the selection. You could become angry with them for doing that, but if they didn’t they would be killed,and the outcome for all the women and children in the row would not have changed.

The selections were the most cynical of the crimes committed by the Nazis, because the victims were still given hope .

Never again

 

 

The Dentist of Auschwitz

2020-05-03

I will not say too much about Benjamin Jacobs aka Bronek Jakubowicz or Berek Jakubowicz. As the title suggests he was a dentist, but he also is a survivor. Not only did he survive Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora concentration camps, he also survived Auschwitz, a death march and the sinking of SS Cap Arcona, which was bombed by the RAF killing thousands.

One of the reasons why I won’t saying too much about Benjamin Jacobs is because he wrote a book titled “The Dentist of Auschwitz” a book which I only recently received as a present and haven’t read yet.

One thing I will say is that  one of the jobs he had as the dentist of Auschwitz,  was extracting gold teeth  from the corpses of those who were killed, I really cannot fathom how I didn’t suffered greatly from this. However this does show his incredible mental strength , which would have contributed to his survival. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have.

In later interviews and I presume in his book he did say “I heard the voices of broken hearts and crushed souls” regarding to that gruesome task.

He died on January 30th ,2004 aged 84.

 

Sources

https://archive.org/details/dentistofauschwi00jaco

https://muse.jhu.edu/book/3531

 

I see more than shoes.

shoes

Where some see shoes, I see a father desperately comforting his daughter telling her everything will be fine, where he knows it won’t be fine ever again.

Where some see shoes, I see missed opportunities of getting to know the people who wore them.

Where some see shoes, I see the sad face of a little boy who is just so exhausted after a train journey. Not a luxurious journey on the way to visit his grandparents or on a short vacation. A train journey packed with so many others, strangers, like cattle, Deprived from food and water.

Where some see shoes, I see an old woman who only celebrated her 99th birthday last week, but has now been killed in a gas chamber.

Where some see shoes, I see a teacher, a musician, an artist, a Doctor, a home maker, a cleaning lady, a garbage man, a lover, a poet, a child.

I see more than shoes. I see lives destroyed. futures disrupted, potential unfulfilled all because of hate.

I see more than shoes, I also see an opportunity for prayer and meditation any way of showing love to their souls wherever they may be now.

Hate will never win, Love will never stop.

 

NEVER AGAIN!

irene

Never Again, 2 simple words often spoken. But are they ever thought about. There is a contradiction in the words.

Never as in not ever. Indicating that something will not happen anymore.

Again, as in a re-occurring act. Going for a walk again, or having something to eat again.

I am only mentioning these 2 words and I am breaking then down into  separate words just so we are focused a bit more when we utter them.

They are so often said without given a second thought that they really have become a slogan, and I am just as guilty in this as anyone else.

Never Again’ will mean nothing to Irene Rosita Cohen or indeed to her Brother,Levie Paul Cohen, her Mother Henderika Boena Cohen-de Beer. All 3 of them died on October 12,1942.They were murdered in Auschwitz that day. Irene was only aged 2,Levie Paul was aged 7 and Henderika was aged 31

Never Again’ will mean nothing to Irene’s Father Herbert Cohen either, he was murdered in Auschwitz on January 31,1943. He was aged 33.

Cohen

A family who will never enjoy a holiday again.

A family who will never enjoy a birthday cake again.

A family who will never enjoy going to the cinema as a family again.

The Cohen family were from Enschede in the Netherlands, but this  was the fate for so many families all over Europe. Murdered because they were Jewish, that was it ,no other reason, no justification just because they were Jewish.

Let us all replace the slogan NEVER AGAIN, with actual action lest us all make sure that this will never happen again or at least try to stop it. Rather then saying Never Again lets say. “It is my personal responsibility as a human being to make sure, hate does not win and this will not happen again.”

Lets call it out when we see it and lets not care if this calling out might seem ‘not political correct’ We are all human beings, that is all that matters.

 

A boy and a ball

tibi

A boy and a ball. there is nothing more natural.

A boy and a ball. his parents want him to play outside and urge him not to fall.

A boy and a ball. he kicks it for the first time and he is overwhelmed with joy.

A boy and a ball. nothing expensive or fancy just a simple toy.

A boy and a ball. who would want him to be harmed.

A boy and a ball. he wasn’t a soldier who was armed.

A boy and a ball.no danger to anyone accept perhaps himself.

A boy and a ball.a boy and a ball.a boy and a ball.

Killed in Auschwitz aged 4 in 1944.

A boy and a ball.not a statistic

A boy and a ball. with a name ,Tibi Meier Haberman.

A boy and a ball.

 

source

https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=10102593

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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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