David Friedmann;painting to survive-My interview with his daughter Miriam.

David Friedmann’s story is not just a story of dealing with the horrors of the Holocaust but also a story of a second chance and hopes despite immense grief and hardships.

The artist David Friedmann was born in Mährisch Ostrau, Austria (now Ostrava, Czech Republic), but moved to Berlin in 1911. In 1944, Friedman was separated from his wife and daughter, never seeing them again, and was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Friedman survived his internment at the extermination camp. After the war he married fellow survivor Hildegard Taussig. After living in Israel for five years, the family immigrated to the United States in 1954, eventually becoming citizens and settling in St. Louis, where he worked as a commercial artist for an advertising company, later retiring in 1962

But rather me telling his story ,it is much better if this story is told by someone who was very close to him. His daughter Miriam Friedman Morris.

I had some email correspondence with Miriam before the interview and had asked her a few questions. I would like to share her answers

I would like to know though how he felt from being a decorated artist during WW1 and a well established and a renowned artist in Berlin, to having to flee his adopted hometown in 1938 because of the rise of Nazism?

David Friedmann’s talent for portraiture played a central role throughout his career and saved his life during the Holocaust. His art weaves a tapestry of the joys and horrors he experienced, witnessed, and chronicled. My father’s works are imbued with an added sense of historical accuracy, one made all the more resonate by his firsthand experience of some of the most important events in the 20th century. Numerous catastrophic interruptions took him away from his art. David Friedman painted for his life—from the trenches of World War I, under threat of Nazi SS officers and through his postwar journey from Czechoslovakia to Israel and finally, the United States. His work exemplifies defiance in the face of persecution, loss and tragedy. His art would not be silent. My father’s artwork shines a light on a dynamic life crushed by the Nazis and his indomitable inner strength to paint again.

What kept him going even after his first wife and child had been murdered?

My father wrote a diary for me when I was born. He begins with the loss of his wife and child. He had to overcome his crippling grief to build a new life. I turned the pages and saw carefully placed photos and newspaper articles in-between text with pointing arrows. He wrote about his first postwar art exhibition in Jan. 1946 and befriending a young woman named Hildegard Taussig. I learned the courageous stories of two heroes, my mother and father.

Undoubtedly he used his art as a way of therapy, but aside of his art did he talk about the horrors he witnessed to you and your mother?

No, for my father, it was too painful. He had locked his feelings in a kind of jail and closed the door. My mother told some info about my father’s first family, but mostly I learned about his life from his art. After my father’s death, my father’s diary was transcribed. I learned a great deal more about his life and even found clues to help in the search for lost artwork. The lost pieces of a renowned painter and graphics artist confirm the brilliant career the Nazis could not destroy.

After his retirement from commercial art in the early 1960’s, he returned to the Holocaust. Disturbed by the fact that people were forgetting the Holocaust, my father believed it was his obligation to make an indelible statement to all humankind. He wanted to impress upon their consciousness the ruthless persecution, torment, and atrocities practiced by the Nazis, so that it would never happen again. His tortured recollections would be transferred to paper and show the dehumanization and suffering of the Jew under Nazi rule. There would be no imagery or symbolism; his art would show the reality that only a victim could produce.

“I wish everyone had to take a good look at the artwork. They have to look at what persecution under the Nazi regime was, and it can happen again, for in America to be a Nazi, to be a Communist is not prohibited. Against an evil world I will work further and try to put my feelings down on canvas or paper against antisemitism, against race hatred of all people.”

Some of the paintings of ” the Because They Were Jews!” exhibition haunt me and are very powerful.

This is the response my father would have wanted to never forget the Holocaust”

On August 29,1944 David Friedmann was put on a transport from Lodz to Auschwitz Birkenau.

Painting by David Friedmann(courtesy of Miriam Friedman Morris)

It is the duty of all of us to never forget the Holocaust, because it can so easily happen again.

Sources

https://chgs.elevator.umn.edu/asset/viewAsset/57fbe5ec7d58ae7d76557594#57fbe5ea7d58ae7d76557593

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/last_portrait/friedmann.asp

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn50039

https://www.visitnorman.com/events/testimony-the-life-and-work-of-david-friedman

Donation

I believe it is very important to keep history alive, but unfortunately that is not free. However I will not ask to pay for subscription , but if you want to donate it is very much appreciated, but only of you can

$2.00

15 Month enemy of the state

Martine

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the state, but I can’t

I wish I cold explain why this 15 month girl was an enemy of the French state ,but I can’t.

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the French state controlled by a Nazi regime, but I can’t

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the French state, controlled by a Nazi regime and accommodated by French politicians, but I can’t

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the state, and although she was an enemy she survived, but I can’t because she didn’t.

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the state and was taken from her birthplace Lyon and transported to Auschwitz, but I can’t

I wish I could explain why this 15 month old girl was an enemy of the state and was murdered in the gas chambers in Auschwitz, but I can’t.

What I can say is that her name is Martine Polack, born 29 October 1942,Lyon France.Murdered on February 3, 1944, Auschwitz,Poland.

 

 

 

 

Then something inside me broke.

Franziska

I have done a few hundred of these blogs now, blogs about children where I tried to bring them back to live a small bit,

But when I saw the picture of Franciska Weisz something inside me broke, I know thst she is just one of 1.5 million children who were brutally murdered. I then realised that I am not able to write all those 1.5 Million + stories, but I want to because they need to be told.

Franciska Weisz was born on August 22,1937 I believe she was born in Secuieni, Romania. She did not get to celebrate a 7th birthday because she was murdered in May 1944 in Auschwitz Birkenau.

August 22, 1937 was a Sunday it was 30,273 days ago. Manfred von Brauchitsch of Germany won the Monaco Grand Prix. There are still people around who were born on August 22,1937. People like Donald Whyte MacLeary for exmple, a retired British ballet dancer, a former principal dancer and a ballet master with the Royal Ballet.

Franciska could have been a Ballet dancer, or a jazz singer. Or she could  have been a dentist, a home maker. a top fashion model. Maybe she could have been a scientist an immunologist perhaps.

But none of that was to be, she was seen as a sub human, vermin that needed to be destroyed. Just sit back and think of that for a moment. Someone looked at that angelic smiley face, those sparkling eyes which radiate a joy of life, there was no hate to be found, yet this person decided Franciska had to die because she did not fit into the ideology of a regime that only knew hate and destruction. She was sent to Auschwitz Birkenau where she was murdered by the Nazi regime. A regime that didn’t even have the originality to create their own symbols, all they had was copied from other regimes from another time, thousands of years ago.

A regime based on lies and deception and false promises, yet people listened and did little to stop it when they finally discovered what the regime was really about. Therefore allowing children like Franciska and 1.5 Million other children to be brutally murdered.

When I thought of that, something inside of me broke. But I will be unbroken and tell as many stories as I can.

How evil must you be to consider a baby an enemy.

baby

I took a break for a few days in writing about the Holocaust, basically it was getting a bit too much for me and I needed a break.

However I do realize that if I stop writing about the Holocaust it means one less person to tell the stories and opportunity to keep that history alive.

But this break gave me a possibility to approach the Holocaust from a different vantage point. a fresh new perspective as such.

The picture above was a picture was donated to Yad Vashem in 1980 by Lili Jacob.  It is a picture of the arrival and processing of an entire transport of Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia,  Hungary, at Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland.

I do not know how often I have seen this picture but it must have been hundreds of time, but only this morning I noticed  for the first time the woman holding the baby in  front of the line on the left. It is clear to me that this line was selected to be marched straight to the gas chambers because it consists of women,children and elderly people.

I did crop the picture to focus more on the mother and baby, she is looking to the line on the right, as is the boy behind her. Maybe they are looking at family members. The woman looks concerned. The baby though seems calm. What is so heartbreaking about this picture is the fact that anyone could consider that baby to be an enemy or a threat to anyone. The evil of that thought pattern is just beyond any logic.

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

$2.00

Source

The Holocaust in a few pictures, 1939-1945

David Koker- Not just a diarist.

David Koker

There are probably quite a few people who will have heard of David Koker,  or at least will know about the diary he wrote during his imprisonment at camp Vught, in the Netherlands.

The diary was published in 1977 with the name Dagboek geschreven in Vught and was published in 2012 it was translated into English and published wit the title  At the Edge of the Abyss: A Concentration Camp Diary, 1943-1944.It was written between 11 February 1943 and  8 February 1944.

On the night of 11 February 1943,David and his family were arrested in Amsterdam and arrested and transported to camp Vught. For this transport they actually received a train ticket, and if you see the ticket it looks like something nice was done to the Koker family. It appears to be an act of charity.

urn-gvn-EVDO01-MMNIOD01-244_1657-medium

It was issued by the ‘Centre of Jewish emigration Amsterdam, and ordered by the Hauptsturmbahnführer Woerlein.

The text of the ticket says ” The keeper of this permit and ticket referring to call up of the same number, has the right to travel free of charge by allocated train to the Station of Hoogthalen. The permit and ticket have to be shown without being asked to the train staff at the station of Hooghalen. The inspector will then tear the ticket from the permit”

At  the bottom it says “If you show this ticket you can avail at cost of transport via tram or bus at the above mentioned date”

Hooghalen

If you wouldn’t know the history you could be forgiven that the ticket was a charitable thing to do, but in fact it was the first step to the transition of systematic murder.

I won’t post anything from his diary. I leave it up to all of you to find the diary and read it yourself. However I will put down below 2 pieces he wrote. The first piece I belive is either from 1939 or early 1940. It illustrates David’s awareness of what was happening around him and in Germany.

“The finest experts of the human heart,can’t make me out.I’m quite a thing apart/ They say that from them I perhaps should quit. “You sir, don’t fit our system one small bit””

On 2 June 1944, while the family was being transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, David managed to throw a letter from the train. Below is an excerpt of that note.

“Dear friends, we are close to the border now. It is very disappointing, but we were prepared for it and remain hopeful. I think a lot about you. (…) I’ve got all your letters and photos with me. My dearest possessions. When will we see each other again? That will take a long time. But we shall survive. (…) Lots of love guys, thanks for everything. Goodbye.”

Auschwitz Birkenau would not be the final destination for David.On February 23 1945 he died in Gross-Rosen concentration camp. He was aged 23. David’s mother and brother Max survived the war.

Ending the blog with a picture taken in 1930 in Amsterdam of the Koker family..

koker

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

$2.00

 

Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/507940/about-david-koker

https://geheugen.delpher.nl/nl/geheugen/view/oorlogsdagboek-koker-david-koker-david?coll=ngvn&maxperpage=36&page=2&query=Auschwitz&identifier=EVDO01%3AMMNIOD01-244_1657

https://books.google.ie/books?id=-cT2yHpiSgUC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

https://www.coenraadrood.org/nl/westerbork/aankomst-in-kamp-westerbork

http://www.stationsweb.nl/station.asp?station=Hooghalen

 

 

 

 

Otto Moll – a special kind of evil.

Moll

There were many evil men in the SS. but some appeared to have more joy in their evil deeds than others..

Otto Moll was arrested on April 29,1945 when the US Army liberated Dachau but prior to his role in Dachau he had several position in Auschwitz and Auschwitz Birkenau. He was in charge of the crematoria at Auschwitz.

I will not say too much about Moll myself, instead I will use the words of 2 survivors and the words of The Auschwirz commandant Rudolf Hoess and the words of Moll himself. It is believed that Moll personally murdered thousands of victims, Before you read the testimonies have a good look at the picture below. In it you can see Moll in the front row. A picture of SS officers having a ‘jolly’ good time, and then read the testimonies and read them more then once. At the front row areKarl Hoecker, Otto Moll, Rudolf Hoess, Richard Baer, Josef Kramer (standing slightly behind Hoessler and partially obscured), Franz Hoessler, Josef Mengele, Anton Thumann, and Walter Schmidetzki. Hermann Buch is in the center. Konrad Wiegand, head of the vehicle pool is in the middle.

ss

Testimony of Alter Feinsilber.a member of the Sonderkommando at Birkenau .

“It happened that some prisoners offered resistance when about to be shot at the pit or that children would cry and then SS Quartermaster Sergeant Moll would throw them alive into the flames of the pit”

Testimony of Henryk Tauber also a member of the Sonderkommando.

“Hauptscharführer Moll was the most degenerate of the lot. Before his arrival at the camp, he was in charge of the work at the Bunkers, where they incinerated the gassed victims in pits. Then he was transferred for a while to another section. In view of the preparation necessary for the “reception” of convoys from Hungary in 1944, he was put in charge of all the crematoria. It is he who organized the large-scale extermination of the people arriving in these convoys. Just before the arrival of the Hungarian transports, he ordered pits to be dug alongside crematoria V and restarted the activity of Bunker 2, which had been lying idle, and its pits. In the yard of the crematory, there were notices on posts, with inscriptions telling the new arrivals from the transports that they were to go to the camp where work was waiting for them, but that first they had to take a bath and undergo disinfestation. For that, it was necessary for them to undress and put all their valuables in baskets specially placed for this purpose in the yard. Moll repeated the same thing in his speeches to the new arrivals. There were so many convoys that sometimes it happened that the gas chambers were incapable of containing all the new arrivals. The excess people were generally shot, one at a time and often by Moll himself. On several occasions, Moll threw people into the flaming pits alive. He also practised shooting people from a distance. He ill-treated and beat Sonderkommando prisoners, treating them like animals. Those who were in his personal service told us that he used a piece of wire to fish out gold objects from the box containing the jewels taken from new arrivals, and took them off in a briefcase. Among the objects left by the people who came to be gassed, he took furs and different types of food, in particular fat. When he took food, he said smilingly to the SS around him that one had to take advantage before the lean years came. Under his direction, the Sonderkommando was strengthened and increased to about 1000 prisoners”

Extract from the interrogation which was conducted by by Lieut.-Colonel Smith W. Brookhart on April 16 in Nuremberg.

Q. You are the same Otto Moll who appeared here this morning and you understand that your statements here are made under oath?
A. Yes. May I make a request please?
Q. Yes.
A. In Landsberg I made a request that I be confronted with Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of the Auschwitz Camp, so that I may testify in front of Hoess and Hoess may testify in front of me. I request you now that this may be granted. I would like to have Hoess testify in my presence, as I would like to see him make the statements in my presence and I can testify as to the truth.
Q. Assuming that you are confronted by Hoess, are you going to tell the truth, or are you going to continue to give us the same kind of a story that you gave us this morning?
A. No. I want Hoess to come here and state just what orders he gave me and I can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as to what is true and what is not true. Hoess should come here and say what orders he gave me, what duties I fulfilled and in what manner I accomplished them and then I can deny or confirm what he says.
Q. We will conduct the interrogation in the manner we wish and on the basis of the subjects in which we are interested. You are to listen carefully, you are not to interrupt or make any sound whatsoever until you are requested. Do you understand that?
A. I will remain silent and I will listen to him.
Q. You will be given the opportunity to speak at the proper time.
A. Please approve this request that Hoess may come in here and repeat his incriminating testimony against me. It hurts me to see that he, the commandant, is running around free, when I have to go around shackled to a guard.
Q. We are not interested whatsoever in your feelings in this matter.

(Rudolf Hoess, commandant of the Auschwitz Camp, enters room)

Q. Are you the same Rudolf Hoess that has appeared here on numerous occasions and given testimony?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you understand that the statements you make here this afternoon are made under oath?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you know this person sitting to your right that is shackled to the guard?
A. Yes.
Q. What is his name?
A. Otto Moll.
Q. Where did you know him?
A. First at Sachsenhausen and later at Auschwitz.
Q. What did this Otto Moll do at Sachsenhausen and later at Auschwitz?
A. In Sachsenhausen he was a gardener and later at Auschwitz he was used as a leader of a work detail and later on he was used as a supervisor during the various actions.
Q. You mean the actions whereby people were executed and later cremated.?
A. Yes.
Q. You told us this morning about his first assignment in 1941 when farm buildings were converted into an extermination plant. Will you restate what you said about that?
A. At first he worked on the farm and then later I moved him into the farm house, which was used as a professional extermination plant.

Questions directed to Otto Moll

Q. Otto Moll, is what the witness has just said true?
A. First, I was used in work in connection with the excavation of the mass graves. Hoess must know that. He is in error if he said that I worked in the buildings where the gassing was carried out. At first I was used for the excavation of the mass graves and he must remember that. Hoess, do you remember Swosten, Blank, Omen, Hatford and Garduck [sic]? Those are the people who worked in the building at the time when you alleged I worked there and I was working on excavations. Surely Hoess remembers that.

Question directed to Rudolf Hoess

Q. Is that right?
A. Moll is correct insofar as he says he was first used in the excavations – that was before he was being used for the executions.

Question directed to Otto Moll

Q. What is being said here, as I told you this morning, is that you are responsible for this operation, namely for killing and destruction of the bodies in the first improvised slaughter house.
A. I was responsible to see that the corpses were burned after the people were killed. I was never responsible for the actual supervision of the killing. It was always the officers or the physicians who were present at the time. As my commandant, at the time, Hoess should be able to confirm this.

Questions directed to Rudolf Hoess

Q. What do you say about this?
A. As I said this morning, Moll is only partly correct. As I explained, the gas was actually thrown into the chamber by the medical personnel and Moll was not responsible for supervising the entire process, beginning with the arrival of the transport and the burning of the corpses, he was only responsible for a part of this process, at least initially.
Q. You did say that he was responsible for seeing that these people were exterminated.
A. I could have been misunderstood. What I said, or meant to say, was that Moll was responsible in the buildings where he worked. At first, to see that people were undressed in orderly fashion, and after they were killed, to see that the bodies were disposed of in an orderly fashion, later on when the extensive extermination plant was completed, he was responsible for the entire plant.
Q. Just what operations in the plant was he responsible for?
A. He was responsible for everything up to and including the actual leading into the gas chambers of the people and after that, to remove the bodies to burn them.
Q. Will you please repeat about Moll shooting people through the neck.
A. As I explained this morning, those that were too weak to be moved to the gas chamber, or who could not be moved for some other reason, were shot through the neck by him or…[ellipses in original PM] some of the other fellows around, with small caliber arms.

Questions directed to Otto Moll

Q. Well, what do you say about that?
A. It may be possible that some of them were shot by me, but it was a comparatively small number and I would like to know if Hoess ever saw me do it.
Q. I told you this morning that Hoess said he saw you do it many times and so did many others.

Questions directed to Rudolf Hoess

Q. Hoess, isn’t that right?
A. Yes, it is true. I mentioned this morning that there were comparatively few killed in that manner.
Q. You could not tell if it was a few dozen or a few hundred. That was your problem.
A. I cannot quote you an exact number—that is impossible for so many years; there were many. Sometimes there were a few out of each incoming transport and sometimes there were none. That is why I cannot tell you the exact number.

Questions addressed to Otto Moll

Q. Well, this is the first thing you have admitted, now you are telling the truth about which you lied this morning. Are you ready to tell us the truth regarding your responsibility about other operations?
A. Yes, I will tell you the truth as long as my Commandant is present. Let my Commandant tell you what I did and what my duties were.
Q. We know what Hoess said. What we want to know is your story. You are asking us for the opportunity to tell your story and that caused us to bring Hoess in here.
A. No, I asked that I be interrogated in the presence of Hoess.

Question addressed to Rudolf Hoess

Q. You told us this morning that Moll was considered the best man for exterminations because he handled the teams of prisoners and guards better than your other subordinates. Is that right?
A. Yes.

Question addressed to Otto Moll

Q. Moll, suppose you tell us what was your method of selection of foremen from the Capos and just what you found to be the best method of handling the guards that had charge of the transports after they came in.
A. When I was ordered to do this work, the work details had already been selected. My Oberfuehrers had already selected the Capos or foremen, whatever you call them. I carried out correctly the work in all kinds of weather. I was never drunk on duty, or when I was with the prisoners, and I never mistreated any of the prisoners. I achieved good success in the work of the prisoners because I, myself, helped them with their work with my own hands. The prisoners had respect for me because I always behaved as an exemplary soldier toward them, there, I was designated for any kind of difficult work that came up. May I ask Hoess to confirm that?

Question addressed to Rudolf Hoess

Q. Is that correct?
A. Yes, that is what I stated this morning.

Questions addressed to Otto Moll

Q. You were decorated for your work, were you not?
A. I received a decoration for my services. Almost all of them who served for a number of years in the whole of Germany received these decorations. I did not receive any decoration for special work that I had done like this work. I would not have wanted to receive a decoration for this kind of work.
Q. Why?
A. Because I did not look upon this work as honorable work.
Q. Did you ever protest?
A. I asked many times why those things had to be done, why they could not be stopped. I even asked Hoess and he answered that he himself did not like this, but he himself had strict orders and nothing could be done about it. He, like the rest of us, suffered by this work and none of us were really sane anymore.

Questions addressed to Rudolf Hoess

Q. Is that right Hoess?
A. Yes, others also said that and already testified to that in the Reich.
Q. When do you think you lost your sanity, Hoess?
A. I think you mean that: just when our nerves started to crack. I can testify that I was not healthy in 1942. I told you about my leave in 1943, however, I had to do those things as there was no one there who would do it for us. There were strict orders and they had to be followed. Many of the others felt as I did and subordinate leaders came to me in the same manner as Moll did and discussed it and they had the same feeling.
Q. Do you think that Moll is crazy?
A. No.

Questions addressed to Otto Moll

Q. How long do you think you have been without your sanity?
A. I did not mean to say that I was insane or I have been insane, what I mean is that my nerves have cracked and have cracked repeatedly. They were very bad after I had an attack of typhus and I was in the hospital and was granted a leave of absence by the doctors for the conditions of my nerves. I was never declared unfit for duty on account of bad nerve, or because of the so-called paragraph 51.
Q. How many people do you estimate went through the operation, which you were responsible for –how many victims?
A. When you use the words—‘you were responsible’—I want to emphasize again that I do not wish to have that word applied in any way to the actual killing of the people, as I was not responsible for the actual physical ending of their lives and I will not admit that as it is not the fact.
Q. You did not pull the trigger, but you caused someone else to do it. Is that your position?
A. I do not understand the question.
Q. How many victims were exterminated in the camp from 1941 on?
A. I don’t know the number and I don’t think I would be able to give you any number at all as far as the total number of victim goes. I believe Hoess might know that.
Q. The only thing we are interested in is what you have knowledge of.
A. When I was in charge of these excavations, as I told you about before, together with another comrade, which was confirmed by Hoess today, we put between 30,000 and 40,000 people in these mass graves. It was the most terrible work that could be carried out by any human being.
Q. Stick to the figures.
A. I don’t know who those people were or how they got there. I only excavated the mass graves. I was responsible for burning the bodies right there.

Question addressed to Rudolf Hoess.

Q. How does that figure strike you, Hoess?
A. It is impossible for him to know the exact figures, but they appear to me to be much too small as far as I can remember today. The people buried in the two big mass graves of the so-called dugouts one and two, amounted to 106,000 or 107,000 people.

Questions addressed to Otto Moll

A. I could not complete the excavation detail, which I mentioned before, I then got the attack of typhus.
Q. What do you estimate was the number of bodies you handled?
A. It was later they went through my crematory plant and I would say between 40,000 and 50,000, that is at the crematory where I was responsible. I was not responsible for the two large crematories, as they were two SS corps [members] Nussfeld and also Foss, who were responsible for the two large cremations and Hoess will remember that.
Q. You tell us about the figures you know.
A. I told you the number, maybe 50,000 and possibly there were more.
Q. Is that for all times from 1941 clear to the end?
A. Yes, that is from 1941 for the entire length of my service when I had anything to do with the matter.
Q. Don’t you think you are much too modest? You had the reputation of being the biggest killer in Auschwitz. The figures there run into the millions. Won’t you change your answer?
A. It is not true that I was the greatest killer in Auschwitz.
Q. You were the greatest cremator.
A. That is not true either. The number is not right and is probably brought up by the men who want me to be punished by death.

Questions addressed to Rudolf Hoess

Q. Hoess, what do you think would be the correct figures?
A. Moll, in my opinion, cannot possibly have any idea of the number of killings in the dugouts where he was working and responsible. At any rate, they were far, far too low—that is, Moll’s figure.
Q. What figure would you attribute to Moll’s responsibility?
A. It is impossible for me to quote the exact, or even a very rough figure, of the number of corpses that were handled by Moll. As the use of the extermination plant varied at all times, I do not know how many corpses. I would have to attribute to Moll and how many to Nussfeld and the others.

Questions addressed to Otto Moll

Q. Moll, how many women and children do you estimate were among the bodies you handled?
A. Men and women were there in about equal numbers and the ratio of children to the other people was about one child in one hundred people brought in. Sometimes transports arrived without children. I would also like to say that I was not constantly working with these transports and of course, I cannot tell you what happened during my absence when I was not there, as I was away on leave of absence, etc.
Q. We have heard that there were more children than that. Do you want to change your statement?
A. As I told you, it may be one child in a hundred, or it may be more. I cannot remember that exactly.

Questions addressed to Rudolf Hoess

Q. What do you say to that Hoess?
A. My estimate is that one-third of all the victims would be men and two-thirds women and children. I am not able to quote the exact ratio between women and children, as that depended or/and [sic] varied greatly with the transports that came in, however, I do remember that in the transports that came in from the Ukraine and Hungary the proportion of children was particularly high.
Q. In what year was that?
A. That was particularly in 1943, or it may have been early in the year 1944.

Questions addressed to Otto Moll

Q. Moll, yesterday, you told us you had two installations and spoke of the furnace in which there were twelve large ovens and two additional with two ovens each, making a total of twenty-eight separate burning units. How many human beings could you cremate at one time?
A. Two to three corpses could be burned in one furnace at one time. The furnaces were built large enough for that.
Q. Did you operate at full capacity often?
A. I would like to emphasize that I had no responsibility at all with the cremation in the stoves. What I was responsible for was the burning of the corpses out in the open. Corporals Nussfeld and Foss were responsible for the cremation in the furnaces.

Questions addressed to Rudolf Hoess

Q. Is that right, Hoess?
A. First of all, Moll is slightly wrong in regard to the figures he quoted on the furnaces. The two large units were made up of five double furnaces each and the others of four double furnaces each. It is true that Nussfeld and Foss were responsible for the furnace details, each had a large and a small one and Moll was responsible for the bodies out in the open. Moll was responsible for the disposition of the ashes, but later on I put Moll in charge of the entire cremation. This was in the year 1944.
Q. Was that in the two months you were back at Auschwitz after you were away?
A. Yes, that is when I was transferred back to Auschwitz.
Q. How often were the crematoria detail of prisoners exterminated?
A. As far as I can remember, it was twice before I left for the first time and they were exterminated again after the action against the Hungarians was completed.
Q. On whose orders were the prisoners exterminated?
A. I received that order from Eichmann and he ordered in particular that the furnace commandoes should be shot every three months, however, I failed to comply with these orders as I did not think it was right.

Questions addressed to Otto Moll

Q. You have said that your detail was never exterminated. What do you say now?
A. No, that is not true. The work detail with which I worked was never exterminated as long as I was there and as long as I worked. As regard to the first work detail I had for the excavation of mass graves, which I had to leave because of my attack of typhus, they may have been exterminated when I returned to duty. The only thing that I know of is when I left, the last work detail I worked with, was still alive and that is, every member of the detail was alive when I left. Sometime later when I left mutiny broke out in the camp. I know that the entire guard company at the camp was used to suppress this mutiny. I was not there, I was at Gleiwitz at the time. I do not know anything about this, but Hoess can tell you that.
Q. Did you ever cremate any of your crematorium detail?
A. No.
Q. You mentioned that in the killing of the people in the gas chambers that it took only one half minute. On what do you base that?
A. The gas was poured in through an opening. About one half minute after the gas was poured in, of course I am merely estimating this time as we never had a stop-watch to clock it and we were not interested, at any rate, after one-half minute there were no more heavy sounds and no sounds at all that could be heard from the gas chamber.
Q. What kind of sounds were heard before that?
A. The people wept and screeched.
Q. You observed all this and heard the sounds?
A. Yes, I had to hear this because I was near there with my work detail. There is nothing that I could do against this as I had no possibility of changing this in any way.
Q. We are not interested in your opinions on that. You helped make the arrangements to put them in the gas chamber and burned them afterwards when they were killed. The only thing you failed to do personally was pour in the gas. Is that it?
A. I was not responsible for the preparations as there were no special preparations. The victims were led to the gas chamber by the duty officer and then there was a work detail from the administrator, they told them to undress, there was a further detail from the proper administration [sic], which were responsible to collect all the valuables from the people. The whole thing happened very correctly and in no instance was there any reason to interfere. I had no right to interfere, always a doctor supervised the entire thing.
Q. You recall yesterday, you said you were told that if any prisoners coming off of new transports detailed for the gas chamber would escape, you would be court-martialled.
A. I was talking about the work detail, not about the transports.
Q. This came at the time you were testifying about your responsibilities at the crematorium.
A. No, I only say as far as the work detail is concerned for which I was responsible.
Q. We will not argue about it, as the notes show otherwise.

Questions addressed to Rudolf Hoess.

Q. What do you say of the detail of Moll.
A. Moll is not looking at this the right way. It actually is true and I have explained this before, that the officer was responsible for the entire transport, that is he was responsible to see that all were unloaded from each transport, the doctors were responsible for the phase of work to see that people were killed and all the bodies disposed of. It was the responsibility of the subordinate, like Moll, to see that the people actually got into the gas chambers under the doctors and then to see that their bodies were burned. As far as the subordinate leader was concerned, it was his responsibility to see that none of his work detail escaped and he would be responsible to see that none got away. In the last analysis I was responsible for the entire matter, that is for the entire situation dealing with these transports.
Q. You have told us about some of the problems of making sure that everyone was exterminated. For instance, that mothers hid their children under their clothing after they undressed. Who was the person that gathered up the children, searched them out and put them into the gas chamber?
A. I think this thing has been slightly misunderstood. The way this thing happened is that mothers had babies with them, who would be wrapped in blankets or cloth. The people had been told that they were going to take a bath, they had no idea that they were going to be killed. It was not the idea, the mothers did not want to take the children in with them to the bath and they left them outside. Later on, the work detail from the administration, which was responsible for them, would pick up the babies and put them in the gas chamber then.
Q. Was it Moll’s responsibility to see that the children were disposed of?
A. Yes, but it would not mean on the other hand that Moll would have the particular task of picking out the babies from under the blankets. I did not tell any one of the officers or non-coms [NCOs] that they would be responsible for any particular thing, but the entire team was responsible for the extermination. It was to be done and all of them carried out the orders smoothly and properly.

Questions addressed to Otto Moll

Q. You, Moll, said that your team respected you because you gave them a hand. Was this job of picking up small children and gassing them a part of the hand you loaned them?
A. Possibly this was not expressed correctly by Hoess. I had nothing to do with the searching of the clothes because that was not my duty. As I said, the officers that had charge of the duty when the transport came in was responsible for them until the moment they entered the gas chamber. I had nothing to do with that, I never touched the babies or had anything to do with it.
Q. Did any of your men have anything to do with that? Anyone under you?
A. Yes, the prisoners were responsible for that. They had to clean up the room after it had been cleared of people, they would then take the babies and throw them into the gas chamber. There was a strict order against any SS men touching any of this property.
Q. We are not talking about property. We are talking of people. Did you have a special operation to kill these babies or were they thrown into the room where people were still alive and all were gassed together?
A. Such a thing happened rarely and I cannot remember a case where a baby was found, but if they were found they were thrown into the gas chamber.
Q. How do you know?
A. Well, that was an order for the officer responsible for the transport and if any children were found they were to be disposed of like all the rest in the gas chamber.
Q. You carried out your orders?
A. I emphasize again that I myself did not find any children, but if I did find any, I would have to do it too.
Q. Did you shoot any babies in the neck, like you did the other victims?
A. Such a thing never happened.
Q. That is what you said about shooting other people this morning then we proved you a liar. Are you sure you are telling the truth this time?.

 

Otto Moll was executed on 28 May 1946, Thankfully justice was served.

 

 

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

$2.00

 

Sources

http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Birkenau/Birkenau03.html

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1163609

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=64198

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1167624

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Moll#Brutality

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

$2.00

 

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

$2.00

 

Sources

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

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

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