I am Annie

I am Annie Nakache.

My Father,Alfre Nakache was a famous Olympic swimmer. In 1936 he competed in the Berlin Olympic games for France.

In July 1941 he set the world record in the 200 metre breaststroke with a time of 2:36.8.

But his biggest achievement happened on August 12,1941. He became a father that day. A father to me Annie Nakache. I was born in Constantine Algeria.

This strange thing happened though in 1944 , my parents and I were sent to a camp called Auschwitz. My mother and I were murdered there.

I am Annie Nakache, a child of 2 Jewish people one died with me the other one survived,

My dad would win more races after the war but he lost his wife and his daughter Annie Nakache.

I am Annie Nakache. I could have become a famous Olympian ,maybe a footballer.

I am Annie Nakache but an evil regime did not deem me to be worthy of life.

Betraying your neighbours for greed.

fee

War brings out the best and the worst out of people, that is just a fact. It is easy to acknowledge the good but there is often a struggle acknowledging the bad, even to the extent of trying to completely erase it from history.

When it comes to the Holocaust there is no question about it that it was caused by Germany and Austria and their Nazi regimes, however they could never have succeeded without the help of others in the occupied countries, and even from people who were not in occupied countries.

Some collaborators were driven by fear and a sense of self survival but there were some who saw an opportunity to gain from the misery and horrors of others.

In the  Netherlands there were people like Dries Riphagen and Wim Henneicke, who were both members of the Column Henneicke. They would hunt Jews for the SD and SS for a reward of 7.5 Dutch guilders per Jew, which is the equivalent of $50 or €42 today.

Rip Drieshagen would sometimes befriend some of his Jewish victims prior to selling them out to  the Nazis, he would tell  them to give him their valuables and he would save it for them and return it to them after the war. He escaped being captured after the war, He fled to Argentina where he became friendly with Juan and Evita Peron, He died in Montreux,Switzerland on 13 May 1973.

Dries

On November 19, 1940 in Warsaw Poland someone who called himself Ewald Reiman, blackmailed a family he believed was Jewish, threatening to reveal their identity if not paid hush money.

Capture

“”Ladies and Gentlemen.

On the basis of accurate investigation, we have determined the truth about your Semitic origins. In view of the above, we request that you deliver to the bearer of this note the sum of 2,000 zlotys (two thousand zlotys) in a sealed envelope. … In return, we will destroy the incriminating evidence that is in our possession. Otherwise, we will immediately hand over the evidence to the German authorities.”

These type of  blackmailers made life extremely difficult  for Jews who had false identification documents enabling them to hide in plain sight and evade German orders to move into ghettos.

The Nazi regime often drew upon some Polish agencies, such as Polish police forces and railroad personnel, in the guarding of ghettos and the deportation of Jews to the killing centers. Individual Poles often helped in the identification, denunciation, and hunting down of Jews in hiding, often profiting from the associated blackmail, and actively participated in the plunder of Jewish property.

But this wasn’t only the case in Poland but in most of occupied Europe.

I know that I will get a lot of comments and emails about me suggesting there was even one Polish collaborator, but I am basing my research on facts and research of historians.

It is such a pity that so many ,mainly former Eastern European communist countries are trying to whitewash their Holocaust history. To suit their own narrative but it is an insult to all the victims Jewish and Non Jewish. It is also not necessary . No one will accuse or judge anyone born after the war or those who were still children during the war for the sins of their parents,grandparents and great grandparents. In fact most people will think it is courageous when you face up to a part of a darker part of history .

However people will judge you for denying or trying to erase that part of history rather then highlighting it and learning from it. You owe to the victims and future generations to face up to all aspects of your history.

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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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Sources

http://somewereneighbors.ushmm.org/#/exhibitions/neighbors/un860/description

https://apnews.com/9eb9502f00724a50aeb33082ff7ce692

https://www.timesofisrael.com/poland-honors-world-war-ii-group-that-collaborated-with-nazis/

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/poland-s-holocaust-law-is-a-licence-to-whitewash-history-1.3383516

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/02/02/yes-some-poles-were-nazi-collaborators-the-polish-parliament-is-trying-to-legislate-that-away/

 

My letter to Henio Zytomirski

Henio

Henio Zytomirski was a 9 year old boy who was gassed at Majdanek concentration camp in Poland , on November 9 1942.

In 2005 a project was started in Lubin ,Poland, called ‘Letters to Henio. Each year on April 19 ,which is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Poland, pupils and citizens of Lublin are asked to send letters addressed to Henio Zytomirski at 11th Kowalska Street, the last known address of Henio in Lublin.

Although it is not the 19th of April today I still will send him a letter via this blog. It is not only a letter to Henio but also an indictment to those who want to silence people like me. People who desperately want to keep the memory of Henio ,and all the other victims alive, But often they are met by threats of those who take pleasure in the Holocaust and/or deny it, Or are threatened by history revisionists who lack the bravery and dignity to admit their nation made many mistakes, they rather sweep it under the carpet.More disturbingly they are being ridiculed by so called Holocaust scholars, not because they are telling untruths , but because they choose a different word then these so called scholars would and they start a war of semantics not realizing how much damage that does because it distracts from the message. The message of maintaining the memories alive , the memories like those of Henio.

My Letter to Henio

Dear Hennio,

I should not have to send you a letter. In fact I should not even know your name. You really should have lived a mundane or even boring life. Or perhaps a very exciting life but you didn’t.

You never got the chance to grow up . You were born 25 March 1933 and murdered in a most brutal way on November 9 1942. You were just 9 years old when you were killed.

Your life was taken from you but your memory isn’t.

Nowadays you would probably have been called an ‘influencer’ because you have several social media accounts with a great number of followers. But if I look at some of the pages dedicated to you I get sad, because they are using you as a way to get some political message across.

You were not a politician, How could you have been? You were only 9. All I want to do is to show your picture and a few details of your life so that people remember your name, and maybe they will even try to find out more about you, and that is good, because that means a piece of you is still alive.

There are some who want to stop me from telling your story and that of other children, but I won’t let them, Because these people have nothing to contribute to society.

If my day comes and I hope that won’t be any day soon, and I pass through I pass through the pearly gates,if I am allowed, I will look you up and we will talk then.

For now my young friend rest in peace in the knowledge you are not forgotten.

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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This is how close the Holocaust still is.

no5

May 10, 2020 is Mother’s Day in most countries, with only a few exceptions like the UK and Ireland who had it on March 22. May 10 1943 is the date when one Jewish Mother and Grandmother was killed at Westerbork, aged 83. Her name was  Jeanette Meyer-Cahn, wife and  widow of Daniel Meyer. Daniel had died on 10 March 1941 in Geleen, the Netherlands.

Although Jeanette was originally from Leutesdorf, near Koblenz in Germany in 1938 Jeanette, Daniel and their youngest child, Max, and his in laws, the Kaufmann family moved to the Netherlands, initially to Sittard and on June 21,1939 to neighbouring Geleen. The address Jeanette and Daniel moved to was Graaf Huynlaan 5. The picture above is of that address. This is where suddenly the Holocaust comes very near to me again.

Not only passed I by that address a lot, because it was actually in the city centre, I even bought sunglasses a few times in the sunglasses shop right next to the house. It is also in the direct vicinity of the bank, ABN AMRO where I had an account, and in fact still have, but also my favourite restaurant, Akropolis, as the name suggest a Greek restaurant.

graaf

It was also near a bistro, named ‘t Wittebroodje, which served a great French onion soup.

Jeanette and Daniel had 5 children Walter, Rosa, Mathilde, Leo en Max Meyer, and 2 grand children Erich Meyer and Bruno Nathan(picture below)

btuno Walter was killed in WWI during the battle of Verdun. Leo and his wife had emigrated to South America in the 1930’s.

On August 25, 1942 Max and his wife Berta reported to the Market in Geleen, from there they are first deported to Maastricht and then to Poland via Westerbork, where in Poland they ended up isn’t clear. All we know is that they did not survive.

Jeanette’s 2 daughters and grandsons were all killed during the Holocaust.

Jeanette died  on 10 May 1943 in Westerbork transit camp, due to illness and exhaustion and she was cremated on 12 May 1943. The urn with her ashes was placed on the Jewish cemetery on field U, row 6, grave nr. 6.

Only Leo survived the war.

The war may have ended 75 year ago and with it also the Holocaust, it is a fact that decades on people like me can still find a connection with it.

REMEMBER ALWAYS

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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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SOURCES

https://www.stolpersteinesittardgeleen.nl/Slachtoffers/Jeanette-Meyer-Cahn

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/514769/about-jeanette-meyer-cahn

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

 

Auschwitz- Some forgotten facts.

AUSCHWITZ

Prisoners in Auschwitz were given a number which was tattooed on their arm. Marking people with a number makes it easier to treat them as objects rather then human beings. However not everyone got a number, there were occasions where they ran out of ink.

More people were killed in Auschwitz then the combined total  WWII military casualties of the US,UK and Canada. An estimated 1.1 million were murdered in Auschwitz. 845.800 UK/US and Canadian troops were killed during all of WWII .

A Star of David was placed above the entrance to the gas chamber and a sign was painted in Hebrew on a purple curtain covering the entrance to the gas chamber that said “This is the Gateway to God. Righteous men will pass through”

Of the estimated 7,500 -8000 guards only 750 were sentenced, and even those sentences were mostly relatively light sentences.

Auschwitz guards had their own athletics team. The camp for the  was like a small town, with its own staff canteen, cinema, theatre and grocery store.

gurads

The Nazis generated a revenue of  60 million Reichmarks, which is today’s equivalent of 163 million USD. from slave labour.

Auschwitz was of course a complex of about 40 camps.

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

BBC

http://auschwitz.org/en/

 

There is no justification

angel

There is no, nor was there ever, nor will there ever be any justification for murdering a 6 year old child, or any child for that matter.

A 6 year old child should be send to school not an extermination camp. What sick twisted ideology thinks it is okay to murder a child?

Nelly Tarszis was born on July 10,1936 in Lodz Poland and was killed on 24 August 1942 in Chelmno. She was just aged 6.

Nowadays a typical school year starts on September 1st or near to that date, I believe it was the same in the 1940s.

Nelly would just have been one week or so away from her 1st school day, A highlight in any child’s life and indeed the lives of their parents, Education is a basic human right, Having that feeling of opening your first school book on your first page is a right that should never be stolen from any child, yet it was for Nelly and millions like her.

If we fail our children again, and at the moment there is a real possibility this may happen, we have utterly failed as a society, because now we have the benefit if hindsight, We know the signs, the rhetoric, they are not unique and not even that original.

DO NOT FAIL THE CHILDREN AGAIN

Stefan Baretzki-Evil ‘simpleton’

CapturebARETZKI

Stefan Baretzki was an Auschwitz guard of Bukovina German origin. He was conscripted into the Waffen-SS and stationed at Auschwitz  from 1942 until 1945.

Baretzki was sentenced to life imprisonment and eight years in August 1965, at the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. Because he only finished primary education, the court described him as a “simpleton” and “less intelligent than all the other defendants”, However I don’t fully subscribe to that point of view. It was not uncommon in those days that people would only have primary education. But his evidence was helpful, his  admission that he knew that the mass murder of Jews was a crime was used as evidence that the other defendants knew that their actions were criminal too.

baretzki

Barertzki and other guards would be shown propaganda movies like Jud Süß and Ohm Krüger after they finished work. This would than encourage them to beat up Jewish prisoners the morning after.

Baretzki claimed during  his trial that when guards asked why prisoners were sent to Auschwitz, they were informed that all of them were dangerous criminals convicted of sabotage.

Baretzki also testified against Kurt Knittel an SS guard who was in charge of the propaganda department at Auschwitz.

Baretzki testified that Knittel had told them that Jewish women and children had to be murdered because they were an inferior race.

Stefan Baretzki tough was not a simpleton, he was an evil man. The crimes he committed were calculated.He was found guilty of five counts of murder: he beat a starving prisoner to death and, on 21 June 1944, drowned four prisoners in a water tank. I a New York Times article from July 28, 1964 , it was also reported that he kicked a newborn baby to death and  knifed a prisoner who had just been hanged. The witness Mr. Gotland, a businessman from Paris, said Baretzki had ordered him to recover the child’s body, which the guard had kicked “like a rock.” He said Baretzkl later clubbed the baby’s mother to death.

On June 21,1988 Baretzki committed suicide while in jail.

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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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Sources

http://www.auschwitz-prozess-frankfurt.de/index.php?id=101

New York Times

 

Holocaust reports ignored.

ignored

Time and time again reports about the Holocaust were either ignored or not believed, even when the reports came from eye witnesses like Kurt Gerstein.

Gerstein was a German SS officer and head of technical disinfection services of the Hygiene-Institut der Waffen-SS (Institute for Hygiene of the Waffen-SS) in this capacity he would travel to Auschwitz,Belzec and Treblinka offering the supply of Zyklon B.

ZYLON B

In this lies the irony the man who supplied Belzec and Treblinka with the gas that killed so many, had joined the SS to get an inside view and try to change the policies from within the organisation. In a letter to his wife Gerstein once wrote: “I joined the SS … acting as an agent of the Confessing Church.” Because of his position he witnessed first hand the horrors of the Holocaust. He had given a detailed report to Swedish diplomat Göran von Otter, as well as to Swiss diplomats, members of the Roman Catholic Church whu had contact with  Pope Pius XII, and to the exiled Dutch government.

exile

In February 1943 Gerstein was visited by Dutch industrialist H.J. Ubbink.Where Gerstein told Ubbink but the crimes he had witnessed. In a letter sent by Ubbink to Erika Arajs, Department of Justice in Nuremberg, dated September 14, 1949, Ubbink stated.

“With great indignation he told me how  gassings took place using the exhaust gas from diesel engines. He gave me all the details and told me that at that time there were 9000 deaths per day in the three camps.”

Ubbink passed Gerstein’s  on to a member of the Dutch Resistance, Cornelius Van der Hooft, who reluctantly because he could not believe what he heard , did write  a report on March 23, 1943 titled”Tötunsanstalten in Polen” This report seems  been sent to the Dutch government-in-exile because  on April 24, 1943, a month after the meeting between Ubbink and  Van der Hooft , another version of the report inspired by Gerstein was written. Typed on paper without an official heading, and with the shortened  title of “Tötungsanstalten”, this version was dispatched  within the Dutch government-in-exile, to the British government and eventually to the attention of the United States Inter-Allied Information Committee.

The clandestine Dutch Newspaper Trouw

, who van der Hooft was associated with also had alluded  to the fate of the Dutch Jews in article written on March ,19.1943.

“We must never forget what this oppressor [as in the German occupier] inflicts upon us, how he in his cowardly way assassinates the most noble and pure of the nation, how he makes mass arrests of our best fellow citizens and imprisons them in these evil places where cruelty and sadism reign, how he sacks our country with a brutality never before equaled in all our history, how he robs us of our valiant laborers in order to force them to work like Pharaoh made the Israelites, how coldly and in the most inhumane manner, he strips our Jewish fellow citizens and then assassinates them”

Trouw

Despite all of this no actions were taken.

Two weeks before Nazi Germany’s surrender,on 22 April 1945, Gerstein voluntarily surrendered himself  to the French commandant of the occupied town of Reutlingen. He received a sympathetic reception and was transferred to a residence in a hotel in Rottweil. Here he was able to write several reports , some of which were used inthe Nuremberg trials.

Below is an excepts of one of his reports, but I have to warns you it is a very graphich description of what he witnessed.

————–


“Then the procession starts moving. In front a very lovely young girl; so all of them go along the alley, all naked, men, women, children, without artificial limbs. I myself stand together with Hauptmann Wirth on top of the ramp between the gas chambers. Mothers with babies at their breast, they come onward, hesitate, enter the death chambers! At the corner a strong SS man stands who, with a voice like a pastor, says to the poor people: “There is not the least chance that something will happen to you! You must only take a deep breath in the chamber, that widens the lungs; this inhalation is necessary because of the illnesses and epidemics.” On the question of what would happen to them he answered: “Yes, of course, the men have to work, building houses and roads but the women don’t need to work. Only if they wish they can help in housekeeping or in the kitchen.”

For some of these poor people this gave a little glimmer of hope, enough to go the few steps to the chambers without resistance. The majority are aware, the smell tells them of their fate! So they climb the small staircase, and then they see everything. Mothers with little children at the breast, little naked children, adults, men, women, all naked – they hesitate but they enter the death chambers, pushed forward by those behind them or driven by the leather whips of the SS.

The majority without saying a word. A Jewess of about 40 years of age, with flaming eyes, calls down vengeance on the head of the murderers for the blood which is shed here. She gets 5 or 6 slashes with the riding crop into her face from Hauptmann Wirth personally, then she also disappears into the chamber. Many people pray. I pray with them, I press myself in a corner and shout loudly to my and their God. How gladly I would have entered the chamber together with them, how gladly I would have died the same death as them. Then they would have found a uniformed SS man in their chambers – the case would have been understood and treated as an accident, one man quietly missing. Still I am not allowed to do this. First I must tell what I am experiencing here!

The chambers fill. “Pack well!” – Hauptmann Wirth has ordered. The people stand on each other’s feet. 700 – 800 on 25 square meters, in 45 cubic meters! The SS physically squeezes them together, as far as is possible.

The doors close. At the same time the others are waiting outside in the open air, naked. Someone tells me: “The same in winter!” “Yes, but they could catch their death of cold,” I say. “Yes, exactly what they are here for!” says an SS man to me in his Low German. Now I finally understand why the whole installation is called the Hackenholt-Foundation. Hackenholt is the driver of the diesel engine, a little technician, also the builder of the facility.

The people are brought to death with the diesel exhaust fumes. But the diesel doesn’t work! Hauptmann Wirth comes. One can see that he feels embarrassed that that happens just today, when I am here. That’s right, I see everything! And I wait. My stop watch has honestly registered everything. 50 minutes, 70 minutes [?] – the diesel doesn’t start! The people are waiting in their gas chambers. In vain! One can hear them crying, sobbing… Hauptmann Wirth hits the Ukrainian who is helping Unterscharführer Hackenholt 12, 13 times in the face.

After two hours and 49 minutes – the stop watch has registered everything well – the diesel starts. Until this moment the people live in these 4 chambers, four times 750 people in 4 times 45 cubic meters! Again 25 minutes pass. Right, many are dead now. One can see that through the small window in which the electric light illuminates the chambers for a moment. After 28 minutes only a few are still alive. Finally, after 32 minutes, everyone is dead!

From the other side men from the work command open the wooden doors. They have been promised – even Jews – freedom, and some one-thousandth of all valuables found, for their terrible service. Like basalt pillars the dead stand inside, pressed together in the chambers. In any event there was no space to fall down or even bend forward. Even in death one can still tell the families. They still hold hands, tensed in death, so that one can barely tear them apart in order to empty the chamber for the next batch. The corpses are thrown out, wet from sweat and urine, soiled by excrement, menstrual blood on their legs.

Children’s’ corpses fly through the air. There is no time. The riding crops of the Ukrainians lash down on the work commands. Two dozen dentists open mouths with hooks and look for gold. Gold to the left, without gold to the right. Other dentists break gold teeth and crowns out of jaws with pliers and hammers.

Among all this Hauptmann Wirth is running around. He is in his element. Some workers search the genitals and anus of the corpses for gold, diamonds, and valuables. Wirth calls me to him: “Lift this can full of gold teeth, that is only from yesterday and the day before yesterday!” In an incredibly vulgar and incorrect diction he said to me: “You won’t believe what we find in gold and diamonds every day” – he pronounced it (in German Brillanten) with two L – “and in dollars. But see for yourself!” And now he led me to a jeweller who managed all these treasures, and let me see all this. Then someone showed me a former head of the Kaufhaus des Westens in Berlin, and a violinist: “That was a Hauptmann of the Austrian Army, knight of the Iron Cross 1st class who is now camp elder of the Jewish work command!”

The naked corpses were carried on wooden stretchers to pits only a few meters away, measuring 100 x 20 x 12 meters. After a few days the corpses welled up and a short time later they collapsed, so that one could throw a new layer of bodies upon them. Then ten centimeters of sand were spread over the pit, so that a few heads and arms still rose from it here and there. At such a place I saw Jews climbing over the corpses and working. One told me that by mistake those who arrived dead had not been stripped. Of course this has to be done later because of the  valuables which otherwise they would take with them into the grave.”

————-

Gerstein was  later movedto the Cherche-Midi military prison, where he was treated as a Nazi war criminal. On 25 July 1945, he was found dead in his cell, after an alleged suicide.

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Sources

https://journals.openedition.org/

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/

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