The Holocaust Business enterprise

Gate

This week marks the 80th anniversary of the building of the Mauthausen concentration camp complex in Austria.From day 1 the aim of the camp was to make profit. Mauthausen and its many sub-camps were built by prisoners from Dachau concentration camp, which effectively meant free labor.

The Nazis had chosen the site because of the nearby quarry with huge quantities of granite. Granite needed for may projects in the third reich.

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Although it was controlled by the Nazi regime, it was run as a private company as an economic enterprise.

Marbacher-Bruch and Bettelberg quarries which was a DEST Company: an abbreviation for Deutsche Erd– und Steinwerke GmbH(German Earth & Stone Works Company),an SS owned company created to procure and manufacture building materials for projects in Nazi Germany. The company was managed by Oswald Pohl, who was a high-ranking official of the SS.

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Aside from working, and often literally working to death, in the quarry many local and national companies used prisoners from Mauthausen. Prisoners were also rented out as slave labour to work on local farms, road construction.It is estimated that in total 57 companies were involved in the use of inmates from Mauthausen. Some of these companies are today still large corporations, the biggest being Bayer which was then part of IG Farben,but is now one of the biggest life Science, chemical and pharmaceutical companies in the world.

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Mauthausen wasn’t  the only concentration camp where the Nazis implemented their extermination through labour (Vernichtung durch Arbeit) programme, it was however,  one of the most evil,brutal and severe,even compared to other concentration camps.

The quarry had the harshestt working conditions. Six days a week, from sunrise to sunset, prisoners were forced to break the granite and carry the extreme heavy load on their back up the  “Stairs of Death”  which was made of 186 uneven rocks placed on top of each other, some half a meter high.Thousands died on those steps.

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Additionally to the hard labour the inmates were also subjected to gruelling and pointless physical exercises as  methods of  humiliating and wearing the inmates down.

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Mauthusen became one of the most profitable concentration camps of Nazi Germany, with more than 11,000,000 Reichsmark in profits in 1944 alone ($ 166 million in 2018).

The Mauthausen inmates consisted of  Prisoners of war,Political prisoners Jews and nationals of virtually every German-occupied country,and even Spanish rebels who had fought against Franco during the Spanish civil war.

Besides prisoners being worked to death, they were also gassed,hanged and shot. or were send to Hartheim clinic for euthanasia.

It is hard to estimate how many were killed because the Nazis destroyed much of the camp’s files and evidence and often assigned to  newly arrived prisoners the camp numbers of those who had already been killed. The estimate vary between 122,766 and 320,000. But of course that didn’t bother the Nazi regime because they were making a healthy profit. They managed to turn a genocide into a business enterprise.

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“It is not you who are in charge. God will judge you” the bravery of Fr.Józef Cebula.

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The word ‘Hero’ is branded way too easily nowadays, Recently I heard someone on a current affairs program saying he saw the Kardashians as his role models and heroes, that actually scared me. If people whose only contribution to society is self indulgence and self promotion are seen as heroes, then real heroes like Father Józef Cebula will soon be forgotten.

Father Józef Cebula was born into a modest family of Polish origin on March 23, 1902, at Malnia in southern Poland. He suffered tuberculosis as a child,and was in fact declared incurable . After an unexpected recovery, he visited an Oblate shrine where he shared his story with an Oblate priest. The priest advised Józef to study with the Oblates at the newly-established Oblate minor seminary.

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Jozef entered the Oblate Junior Seminary in 1920, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 25, 1927.While still in a seminary. Father Cebula became a superior at the Oblate seminaries in 1931, and became novice master at Markowice in 1937.

When the Germans invaded and occupied Poland in September 1939, they declared loyalty to the Church illegal. In October 1939 the 100 member community at Markowice was placed under house arrest, and set to work as farm laborers.

Later on that month, the Community was evicted and the novitiate was turned into a centre for the Hitler Youth.

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Fr. Jozef was called before the authorities on several occasions for refusing to stop saying Mass and hearing confessions. Eventually he was arrested and sent to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria.

Known for his humility, Fr. Cebula was a man of quiet prayer with a deep spiritual life. He radiated peace in the very middle of the death camp, even when tormented by the Nazis.

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In Mauthausen he was harassed and forced to work hard, to break rocks in the quarry, simply because he was a Roman Catholic priest. Father Cebula was forced to carry 60-pound rocks from the quarry to a camp two miles away. He had to climb a 144-step staircase called the Death Stairs, while being beaten and insulted by his tormentors. The guards humiliated and mocked him by ordering him to sing the texts of the Mass while he worked.

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On May 9th 1941 , Fr. Cebula summoned up his strength and courage  and said, “It is not you who are in charge. God will judge you.” The Nazis ordered him to run, with a rock on his back, towards the camp’s barbed wire fence, where a guard shot him with a sub-machine gun and declared that Fr. Cebula “was shot while trying to escape”. He died  in this volley of bullets. His body was taken to a crematorium and burned.

It takes a Hero to stand up against evil knowing it will cost you your life. Lets never forget the real heroes.

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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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Eduard Krebsbach- Just doing a Job

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Primum non nocere is the Latin phrase for “First do no harm” It is part of the Hippocratic Oath including the promise “to abstain from doing harm” .

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. In its original form, it requires a new physician to swear, by a number of healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards. The Oath is the earliest expression of medical ethics in the Western world, establishing several principles of medical ethics which remain of paramount significance today. These include the principles of medical confidentiality and non-maleficence. Although the ancient text is only of historic and symbolic value, swearing a modified form of the Oath remains a rite of passage for medical graduates in many countries.

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Eduard Krebsbach (b. 8 August 1894, d. 28 May 1947) received his doctorate in medicine from the University of Bonn. He worked for many years as a pediatrician, before applying for membership in the SS in 1937. The following year he was inducted into the SS as Untersturmführer (SS Captain). Between the fall of 1941 and the fall of 1943 Krebsbach served as SS Sturmbannführer (Major) and Standortarzt (Chief Physician) of the SS and the Police at the Linz, Steyr, Wels and Gusen satellite camps of the main Konzentrationslager (concentration camp) commonly referred to as KL Mauthausen-Gusen.

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In this period Krebsbach initiated the practice of mass execution of prisoners that he judged unworthy to live or unable to work. This was performed by lethal injections (Spritzen) of phenol directly into the heart, thus he killed or supervised the murder of at least 900 prisoners, for which he earned the nickname among inmates “Dr. Spritzbach”. Lethal heart injections continued to be administered at the Gusen camp twice a week even until April 1945.

Following the end of World War II he was arrested and given the death penalty during the Dachau trials conducted by the US military on 13 May 1946 and was executed by hanging on 28 May 1947 at Landsberg Prison in Landsberg am Lech.

The following is from the court record of the Dachau trials (quoted in Hans Maršálek, “Die Geschichte des Konzentrationslagers Mauthausen”, p. 174):

“Krebsbach: When I started work I was ordered by the head of Office III D to kill or have killed all those who were unable to work, and the incurably sick.

Prosecutor: And how did you carry out this order?

Krebsbach: Incurably sick inmates who were absolutely incapable of work were generally gassed. Some were also killed by gasoline injection.

Prosecutor: To your knowledge, how many persons were killed in this way in your presence?

Krebsbach: (no answer)

Prosecutor: You were ordered to kill those unfit to live?

Krebsbach: Yes. I was ordered to have persons killed if I was of the opinion that they were a burden on the state.

Prosecutor: Did it never occur to you that these were human beings, people who had the misfortune to be inmates or who had been neglected?

Krebsbach: No. People are like animals. Animals that are born deformed or incapable of living are put down at birth. This should be done for humanitarian reasons with people as well. This would prevent a lot of misery and unhappiness.

Prosecutor: That is your opinion. The world does not agree with you. Did it never occur to you that killing a human being is a terrible crime?

Krebsbach: No. Every state is entitled to protect itself against asocial persons including those unfit to live.

Prosecutor: In other words, it never occurred to you that what you were doing was a crime?

Krebsbach: No. I carried out my work to the best of my knowledge and belief because I had to.”

KZ Mauthausen, Ewald Krebsbach

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The Spanish Republicans in Nazi Concentration camps

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The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was the bloodiest conflict western Europe had experienced since the end of World War I in 1918.

It was the breeding ground for mass atrocities. About 200,000 people died as the result of systematic killings, mob violence, torture, or other brutalities.

The fighting displaced millions of Spaniards. Some 500,000 refugees fled in 1939 to France, where many of them would be interned in camps. 15,000 Spanish Republicans ended up in Nazi concentration camps after 1940.

The Spanish Civil War began on July 17, 1936, when generals Emilio Mola and Francisco Franco launched an uprising aimed at overthrowing the country’s democratically elected republic.The Nationalist rebels’ initial efforts to instigate military revolts throughout Spain only partially succeeded. In rural areas with a strong right-wing political presence, Franco’s confederates generally won out.

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They quickly seized political power and instituted martial law. In other areas, particularly cities with strong leftist political traditions, the revolts met with stiff opposition and were often quelled. Some Spanish officers remained loyal to the Republic and refused to join the uprising.

Faced with potential defeat, Franco called upon Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy for aid. Thanks to their military assistance, he was able to airlift troops from Spanish Morocco across to the mainland to continue his assault on Madrid. Throughout the three years of the conflict, Hitler and Mussolini provided the Spanish Nationalist Army with crucial military support.

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When the Civil War ended in 1939, with Franco’s victory, some 500,000 Spanish Republicans escaped to France, where many were placed in internment camps in the south, such as Gurs, St. Cyprien, and Les Milles.

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Following the German defeat of France in spring 1940, Nazi authorities conscripted Spanish Republicans for forced labor and deported more than 30,000 to Germany, where about half of them ended up in concentration camps.because of their anti-Fascist or Communist political affiliation. They were called the Red Spaniards (Rotspanier) because Red was the color of the Communists.

The Mauthausen concentration camp was the main place where Spanish political prisoners were incarcerated by the Nazis.

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By 1941, three years after the main camp opened, 60% of the prisoners were Spanish Republicans.

Up until August 1940, the German and Austrian common-law criminals were the Kapos at Mauthausen; they were assigned to supervise the other prisoners and would typically beat them for the slightest infraction of the rules while the SS guards looked the other way. The Spanish Republicans began to arrive in the camp on August 6th and 9th, 1940; gradually they took over the key positions in the camp from the German Kapos.

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Up until August 1940, the German and Austrian common-law criminals were the Kapos at Mauthausen; they were assigned to supervise the other prisoners and would typically beat them for the slightest infraction of the rules while the SS guards looked the other way. The Spanish Republicans began to arrive in the camp on August 6th and 9th, 1940; gradually they took over the key positions in the camp from the German Kapos.

The anti-Fascist Spaniards were well organized; they were the only cohesive group in the camp, held together by their political beliefs. Later, when the Communist Czechs and French resistance fighters arrived, they joined forces with the Red Spaniards to dominate the camp. The German criminals had no solidarity and did not act as a group, so they did not remain in control

The majority of the Spanish prisoners at Mauthausen worked in the quarries, but some had administrative jobs. Among the later group were Antonio Garcia Alonso and Francesco Boix Campo,. Boix was sent to Mauthausen on January 27, 1941. Because of his facility with German, Boix initially worked as a translator in the camp,but later also became a photographer.

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Garcia arrived in Mauthausen on April 7, 1941. Because he was a trained photographer, Garcia was assigned to work in the camp’s photo lab, Erkennungsdienst.

 

The SS photographer Kornacz was the only one who took photographs, but he employed inmates to handle the developing, printing and filing of the photo archive. Kornacz was assigned to take mug shots of arriving prisoners and to photograph official visits to the camp as well as the bodies of prisoners who died.

Mauthausen47           (Francesco Boix is on the far left with a camera hanging on his chest)

He instructed his assistants to print five copies of each photograph: one for the camp archive and one each to be sent to Berlin, Oranienburg, Vienna and Linz.

 

Before Garcia’s arrival in the lab, a Polish prisoner named Grabowski, began developing a sixth print of key photographs, which he hid behind a wooden beam in the ceiling. After Garcia became responsible for developing film and enlarging photographs, he and Grabowski began compiling a secret photo archive.

In 1944 Grabowski committed suicide, and in February 1945 Garcia fell seriously ill and was taken to the camp infirmary where he remained for over a month. Upon his return, he discovered that the secret archive was missing. He questioned Boix, who was the only other person having any knowledge of the archive. Boix admitted that he had taken the photographs, but he said that they were now in the hands of the camp’s Spanish Communist underground. Garcia, though sympathetic to Communism, was accused by some of Trotskyism and was not part of the underground’s inner circle. Garcia was furious, but there was little he could do. He continued to work with Boix saving key photographs, even after Camp Commandant Franz Ziereis ordered the destruction of all negatives during the last week of the war.

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The Spanish Communist underground temporarily hid Garcia’s photos in several locales within the administrative complex of the camp while looking for a safer hiding place outside of the camp. They decided to give the photos to the boys of the Poschacher Kommando. This labor brigade, made up of young Spanish teenagers, worked in quarries outside the camp itself. During the last months of the war, the brigade had almost no direct supervision by the SS. Over time, the boys had become friendly with Anna Pointner, an Austrian socialist who lived near their work site. She frequently tossed extra food to the boys and eventually confided her political views to them. Feeling they could trust her, the boys asked whether she would be willing to hide some small parcels for them.

Two boys, named Jacinto Cortes and Jesus Grau, whose job it was to bring food to the Kommando in hampers, gradually transferred the entire archive hidden in these lunch hampers. Anna Pointner then hid the photos in a crevice in her garden wall.

After the war, Boix photographed the liberation with a confiscated German camera. He retrieved the camp photographs, which he later published. Boix testified at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg regarding photographic evidence from Mauthausen.

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Some 7,000 of the Spanish Republicans became prisoners in Mauthausen; more than half of them died in the camp.

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A graphic novel adaptation telling the story of Francisco Boix titled “Le Photographe de Mauthausen” was published by Belgian publisher Le Lombard, written by Salva Rubio and pencilled by Pedro J. Colombo, in 2016.

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The liberation of Mauthausen Concentration camp

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The Mauthausen concentration camp was established shortly after the German annexation of Austria (1938). Prisoners in the camp were forced to perform labor in a nearby stone quarry and, later, to construct subterranean tunnels for rocket-assembly factories. US forces liberated the camp in May 1945.

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On 5 May 1945 the camp at Mauthausen was approached by a squad of US Army Soldiers of the 41st Reconnaissance Squadron of the US 11th Armored Division, 3rd US Army. The reconnaissance squad was led by Staff Sergeant Albert J. Kosiek. His troop disarmed the policemen and left the camp.

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By the time of its liberation, most of the SS-men of Mauthausen had already fled; around 30 who were remained were killed by the prisoners,and a similar number were killed in Gusen II. By 6 May all the remaining subcamps of the Mauthausen-Gusen camp complex, with the exception of the two camps in the Loibl Pass, were also liberated by American forces.

(Italian survivors, after the camp’s liberation)

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Among the inmates liberated from the camp was Lieutenant Jack Taylor, an officer of the Office of Strategic Services. He had managed to survive with the help of several prisoners and was later a key witness at the Mauthausen-Gusen camp trials carried out by the Dachau International Military.

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This footage, filmed by US cameramen, shows scenes in the camp, American care of the liberated prisoners, and Austrian civilians loading bodies of victims onto carts for burial.

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Temporary identity papers produced for Mauthausen detainee after camp liberation

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