The ease of killing women and children-But orders are orders.

101

The one thing I find the most difficult doing these blogs is to remain as objective as possible and to try to keep emotions like anger out of it. It is nearly impossible, especially when you come across a story like the story of Reserve Police Battalion 101.

As the name implies these men were reserves, not professional soldiers or policemen.In a similar fashion as the National Guard in the United States, these German battalions were organized regionally. The 101 consisted mostly of often ordinary middle aged  men from working- and lower-middle-class neighborhoods in Hamburg, many with families.

101 men

Their commander was Major Wilhelm Trapp, he was a career police man, a WWI veteran who had joined the Nazis in December 1932.

In June 1942 the battalion was sent to Poland to  partake  in the rounding up of Jews.

On July 13,1942, just three weeks after their arrival, the men were sent to the village of Józefów, home to 1,500 Jews.

Prior to departure from Biłgoraj, where they had been stationed,they were given large amounts of extra ammunition and a generous supply of alcohol was procured.

101 drinks

Major Wilhelm Trapp, stood up in front of the  men. As he began to speak they noticed he was emotional.

He told his men to round up all the Jews living in this village as reportedly  they were involved with the local partisans.

Trapp ordered  that they should separate the Jewish men so they could be sent off to a work camp. But, the woman, children and the elderly should be taken aside and shot – and although he did not like what they had been asked to do, it would make it easier if they remembered that, back home in Germany, bombs were falling on women and children.

Trapp then said if any of the older men among them did not feel up to the task that was put before him, he could decline to so. He paused, and after a few moments, one man stepped forward. One of the officers  began to reprimand the man. The major told the officer to be quiet. Then 13 or 14 other men stepped forward also. They turned in their rifles and were told to await a further assignment from the major.

Of the 500 men standing there that day only 14 or 15 chose to opt out of the killing. The rest went on to massacre all the Jewish women, children and elderly people in the village.

The massacre lasted for 17 hours.By afternoon, the men were being offered bottles of vodka to “refresh” themselves.

It is said that some of the uniforms were dripping wet with brain matter and blood.

Trapp did not take part in the shootings himself, he spent the rest of the day in his headquarters, which was a converted school building in town. He also went to the homes of the Polish mayor and the local priest. Witnesses who had seen him  during the day described  him as  complaining about the orders he had been given and “crying like a child.”

Trapp later remarked to his driver: “If this Jewish business is ever avenged on earth, then have mercy on us Germans … But orders are orders”, he said

For nearly all men, Jozefow was the first time where they had to kill. All of the platoons conducted  at least one more mass shooting . Most found that these subsequent murders were easier to perform.

101+

 

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The ‘Captain’-the evil of Willi Herold

Willi

Last week a lady  asked me how was it possible that people committed so may awful atrocities during WWII, did their conscience not bother them. She also thought it must have taken years for people to be indoctrinated in evil thinking.

I told her that it actually takes a very short time for the human psyche to be conditioned to commit evil acts, Experiments like the ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ and the ‘Third Wave’ has shown it only takes a few days.

The case of Willi Herold shows that people believe authoritative leaders put those leaders in an uniform and the critical thinking gets abandoned, no questions are asked not even a quick check to see if this leader is really who he claims to be.

Willi Herold  was born on 11 September 1925 in Lunzenau, Saxony, the son of a roofer. There is not much more known about Willi as a child, but what he did as a teenager is what makes his story intriguing and disturbing.

Herold

He joined the Wehrmacht on September 30,1943, he had just turned 18.

At the final stages  of World War II, in April 1945,with Germany’s war efforts in chaos, Willi,separated from his comrades,hungry  and desperate  for warmth, comes across an abandoned car with a suitcase that contains an  uniform of a Luftwaffe Captain . He put on this uniform and pretended to be the officer, gathering around him a number of equally lost soldiers. Rather then trying to finish the war somewhere sound and safe Herold becomes a personification of the Nazi regime, upending the German army’s bureaucracy and establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with.

On 11 April 1945, Herold’s group arrived at the Aschendorfermoor prison camp, which housed German army deserters as inmates,

aschen

Herold told the German authorities at the camp that he was acting under the direct orders of Adolf Hitler and he was to take over  command of the camp. Herold and his men then began to murder inmates guilty of any transgression,like trying to escape. Within the followin eight days, Herold had more than 100 camp inmates murdered.

After the camp was hit by an air raid  most of the surviving inmates succeede to escape. Herold and his men left the camp and committed several further war crimes; they hanged a farmer in Leer, East Frisia, who had hoisted the white flag, and also murdered five Dutchmen for alleged espionage.

Retreating from approaching Allied troops, Herold’s group arrived in a town in Lower Saxony ,Aurich, where they were arrested by the local German commander, But Herold was soon released by mistake.

On May 23, 1945 He was arrested by the Royal Navy for stealing a loaf of bread. After an investigation and the questioning of witnesses, Herold was identified as a wanted war criminal. On 1 February 1946, Herold and his men were forced by the British occupying forces to dig up the remains of the inmates they had  murdered at Aschendorfermoor camp ,a total of 195 bodies were excavated. On 29 August 1946, Herold and six other co-defendants were sentenced to death, 5 others were acquitted. On 14 November 1946 Willi Herold was executed by guillotine.

trial

Willi Herold was only 19 when he ordered those men to be murdered.

In 2017 a movie was made about the events,directed by Robert Schwentke,  titled ‘The Captain’ or ‘Der Hauptmann’

captain

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Sources

IMDb

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Der Spiegel

 

 

 

 

Cleaning the gas chambers.

Gas

++++++CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES+++++++++++++++++++++

The Nazis used forced labor to clean the Gas chambers it was done by the so called Sonderkommando’s mostly mad up of Jewish inmates who were selected because they were often young and still reasonably fit, fit enough to carry out physical labour.

Being forced to clean the gas chambers was actually one of the cruelest punishments really , because often those tasked with that awful job had remove their own family members.

The hair of the victims was s shaven  from the heads of corpses straight after their removal from the gas chambers .Human hair was often used in delayed action bombs, where its particular qualities made it highly useful for detonating purposes. Women’s hair was preferred over men’s and children’s , the Nazis running the camps even made a profit from this.After treatment  the hair  was put into twenty-kilogram bales. The bales were sold to German companies at twenty pfennig per kilogram.

hair

It is believed some of the products manufactured  from or containing  hair in those companies may still be in use in German homes today.

In camps like Auschwitz or Sobibor It was the job of the Sonderkommanso’s to get the bodies from the gas chambers, remove the gold teeth from the jaws  using large pliers and then throw the bodies in the mass grave and cover them with chlorinated lime. At a later stage  the corpses from the gas chambers were immediately burned in crematoria or pyres. They also had to clean the gas chambers and remove the blood and excrement. This work was physically and mentally draining and would cause physical and mental  exhaustion , so the work could only be done for a short time.When brink of exhaustion was reached the Sonderkomanndo’s would be gassed themselves. They would quicklt be replaced by prisoners from yet another transport.

Below are some testimonies of some who survived.

Henryk Mandelbaum, a member of the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz.

“I thought I was in hell. Fire and smoke were everywhere. I had to clean the gas chambers and put the bodies in the crematoria, or burn them outside when the extermination was in full swing and the crematoria were not enough,”

SONDERKOMMANDO

Daniel Bennahmias was  also selected to be part of the Sonderkommando unit in Auschwitz.

“Once the gas chamber had been cleared, it must be hosed free of all traces of blood and excrement – but mainly blood – and then it must be whitewashed with a quick drying paint. This step is crucial, and it is done each time the gas chamber is emptied, for the dying have scratched and gouged the walls in their death throes. The walls are embedded with blood and bits of flesh, and none on the next transport must suspect that he is walking into anything other than a shower. This takes two or three hours.”

BLUEPRINT

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Sources

USHMM

Sobiborinterviews.nl

 

 

 

 

 

Punishments in Auschwitz

Block 11

Killing the Jews and other so called “subhumans” in Auschwitz just wasn’t enough for the Nazi regime. Examples had to be made too, these examples were made by carrying out punishments.

Most of these punishment were carried out in Block 11 this was also the place where the first attempts to kill people with Zyklon B were implemented.

The punishments were completely random. Prisoners received a variety of punishments for the same ‘offenses’. The most common punishments were flogging and confinement. often solitary.Block 11 had special torture chambers in which various punishments were carried out on prisoners. Punishment like  being locked in a dark chamber for several days or being forced to stand in one of four standing cells,where four people would be  crammed together, able only to stand. There was only a 2″ opening for air, so that prisoners wouldn’t die of suffocation.

The punishments were often carried out as penalties for ‘crimes’ such as picking an apple.  Marie Tajfelbaum, was sentenced to 5 days in a standing cell for picking an apple, as it states on the punishment report below. Just imagine 5 days standing, no seats, no bed, no place to rest your legs, just standing up straight 5 days and 5 nights.

card

Then of course there was the ‘crime’ of trying to go to the toilet in privacy. On the punishment reports below  it states that prisoner “Ludevit Katz despite being forbidden, the prisoner went behind block 7 to relieve himself”. The relieve referred to making a poo. Ludevit would have been severely punished for this. The handwriting is not very clear, but it indicates whatever punishment it was it was multiplied by 3.

card 2

I am not sure if either Marie or Ludevitz survived the war, somehow I doubt it given the fact that they had a;ready been picked our for punishments.

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Pinterest

Auschwitz.org

Old enough

Oudgenoeg

My name is Frouktje Oudgenoeg, I am aged 2. My last name means Old enough.

That is exactly what I am.

I am old enough to sing and dance.

I am old enough to play outside in the garden, come rain or shine.

I am old enough to get my face dirty with jam and chocolate and old enough to get my hands all muddy.

I am old enough to have love given to me in abundance.

I am old enough to wake up at night because of a nightmare.

However I am not old enough to live in a nightmare.

I am not old enough to experience hate

I am not old enough to be deprived from everything that is good in this world.

I am not old enough to die.

And I am certainly not old enough to be brutally murdered.

Yes I was murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenkau on November 2,1942, age 2.

I hope I will be old enough to be remembered by you.

Forbidden for Jews

1

The Holocaust didn’t start with the mass extermination of Jews, it started in ways which could even be considered non violent, with gradually excluding Jews from society.

In this blog there are some examples of signs sating ~Forbidden for Jews” or”No Jews allowed” from several locations in the Netherlands.

On the signs above it says dogs are not allowed to walk freely, in other words they were allowed in the park but on a lead. Underneath it says “Forbidden for Jews” this indicates that dogs had more privileges than Jews.

Sign at the entrance of a shop

2

Sign on the door of a cinema

3

Sign at a butcher shop in Amsterdam

5

Propaganda was also used to isolate and alienate the Jewish population, the poster below shows the blatant disrespect and hate against Jews and others.

It says “Goering has forbidden vivisection on animals, we have enough Jews and Marxists to use instead.”

cartoon

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Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam

NIOD

 

Reached the age of 3

Marianna Aandagt

Reached the age of 3 it says in some places.

Reached the age of 3, that is me

.Reached the age of 3, but that is not only me.

For I am so much more them just the age of 3.

I am a child whose only ambition it was to become 4.

If I wanted to to I could have asked for so much more.

All I expected from life was love given to me freely, in return it would give it unconditionally.

Not too much to ask of someone who reached age 3, one would think.

But there were those who thought I was not worthy of that love. And to prove that point. on July 18, 1942 they killed me together with my Mother and Brother in Auschwitz.

Reached the age of 3, that is me Marianne Aandagt

 

 

The Dutch SS training camp-Built with the blood of slaves.

SS

Although there were many Dutch who with disregard of their own safety and lives were willing to help their Jewish fellow men and women, however there were  also those who ceased the opportunity to fulfill their own evil ambitions and joined the SS.

I know there will be some who say that some of these men were just misguided and did look passed the policies of the Nazi regime, and only joined the SS for the adventure and the chance to fight in an efficient army unit, and to an extend that was true. But it had to have become very clear to them shortly after joining what the SS really stood for.

SS NL

It already started at the building of the SS training camp Avegoor which had been a stately home prior to the start of the war.

One of the key areas the Nazis focused on was sport,Hitler was convinced that a good athlete would make a good soldier.

Hauptscharführer Karl Hautz was responsible to build a state of the art sport facility at the SS training centre Avegoor.

He did this by using 139 Jewish slave laborers to build a sports hall.an athletics ttacl, a sports field and 2 exercise facilities and stands.

2018-10-05 (2)

The sporting complex was also used by the Hitler youth and the Youth Storm for matches and competitions.

The 139 men arrived on 2 and 3 September 1942, they had to carry out the work under appalling circumstances. Not enough food, little sleep and comfort long hours and the constant fear of punishment.

Three of the Jewish slave labourers died  while building the sport camp. They died so that others could be trained to kill.

Camp

Of the 139 men only 33 eventually survived the war.

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Football in time of Horror-The football competition in Westerbork

voetbal

This must be one of the most amazing events I came across but amidst all the killing,torture,deportations and other horrors in Camp Westerbork, they actally found time to set up a football competition.

The competition was made up of several teams of Jewish inmates and started in spring 1943, it was a welcome distraction and gave some sense of hope of survival.

It must also have been a way of taking a bit of revenge on the members of the OD(Ordnungsdeinst) or Capos some of them also played in the tournament.

Some players did survive the Holocaust but the majority of them died in the extermination camps, along with Han Hollander who had been a famous Dutch sports commentator,with the broadcaster AVRO prior to  the war. He died on July 9,1943 in Sobibor.

han

Juda de Vries, who had been a celebrated goal keeper of HFC Haarlem was send Westerbork in 1942. For a short time he entered the competition, he was transported to Sobibor in May 1943 where he was killed.

Juda

Although the competition was short lived for most it had given them that feeling of ‘normal’ life again, however short lived it was it must have felt magical.

spel

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Sources

NIOD

 

Like lambs to the slaughter they were led.

TRAIN 3

Like lambs to the slaughter they were led.But with one significant difference, lambs were treated more humanely. They were not tortured before death.

I recently saw the movie “The Resistance Banker” it has one subtle but yet powerful scene, no words were spoken. A regular passenger train is stopped to facilitate a transport train to pass by. The passenger in the regular train see people crammed in cattle cars on the transport train and they hear babies crying. The scene only lasts for a minute, but that image will last for a lifetime.

2018-10-02

I knew the circumstances in the cattle cars were dire but that bit of movie made it so clear to me, the crying babies it made my heart stop for a second.

The horrors even dawned more clearly on me then. I have traveled with young children on a luxurious  21st century train and it was extremely difficult to keep my kids entertained and quiet, this was in a train where they were able to move around and get refreshments if they wanted to.

It is impossible for me to fathom the anxiety,fear,stress and psychological terror parents on those transport trains must have felt, leave alone the physical discomfort and pain, caused by so many crammed into a small wagon.

tRAIN 2

Even before they reached their final destination they were stripped from their dignity. Yet they had to try to stay positive for the youngsters to ensure hope would not fade away.

So many showed in these inhumane circumstances a humanity which none of us nowadays are able to display. They had everything to lose and indeed lost everything often even their lives. They knew what their end would bring, like the lambs brought to the slaughter.

We have everything to gain by never forgetting the horrors they endured.

Train

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

NIOD

Netflix