The execution of Hans Bonarewitz

The saying goes “Music can soothe the savage beast”, but what if it is the savage beast that is using the music as a cynical form of evil and torture.

In July 1942 Hans Bonarewitz attempted to escape from Mauthausen concentration camp, he tried to hide in a box. He was captured on July 30 1942.The picture above is him forced to pose for a photograph standing next to the box he wanted to escape in.

He was going to be executed, but rather then just killing him he was paraded though the camp, as if he was some circus attraction.

He was led to the gallows on a makeshift cart pulled by fellow inmates.The camp orchestra had to continuously play the song ” J’attendrai ton retour” – I shall wait for your return.

Another song, the traditional German children’s song “Alle Vögel sind schon da” – All the birds are back again,” was played immediately before execution. It was just evil on top of evil just for the sake of being evil and nothing else. How disgusted the musicians must have been, being forced to do this.

The information was discovered by Aitor Fernandádez-Pacheco,film maker of the documentary film “Mauthausen, una mirada Española,” who interviewed the former Spanish prisoner Mario Constante for his documentary.

sources

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1144948

https://ww2db.com/image.php?image_id=10954

https://boyerwrites.com/tag/hans-bonarewitz/

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Escaping a Jewish Work camp.

There were 4 concentration camps in the Netherlands. The best known was Westerbork, the other 3 were Vught,Amersfoort and Ommen.

A relatively unknown fact is that there were also an estimated 42 work/labour camps. Between January 1942 and October 1942 , the Jewish work camps in the Netherlands spread across the countrie from which unemployed Jews had to carry out outdoor work.

The work in the camps was heavy, in almost all cases waste ground had to be cleared. The digging is done by hand. The men work long days, from six in the morning to six in the evening.

On the night of October 2–3, 1942, during Yom Kippur, the Jewish men were removed from most of these camps. They were transported to camp Westerbork on the pretext of family reunions. Most of them were sent later to Auschwitz, Sobibor and other camps, where the majority were murdered.

Maurits Jakobs was one of the men who were interned in Vedder one of the work camps. The camp was run by a Dutch company, Nederlandsche Heidemaatschappij, although it was under supervision by the Nazi regime.

At the end of September 1942, Maurits Jakobs cycled through a pitch-black forest in the middle of the night. He had just escaped from the Jewish labour camp Vledder in Drenthe. At that time, hw was not yet aware that his old camp mates would be deported to extermination camps a few days later, via Westerbork.

He managed to escape from Camp Vledder with the help of supervisor Willems, who was employed by the Nederlandse Heidemaatschappij. Willems has parked his bicycle at the sandy path. But the initiative for the escape came from Jo Oldenburger, a former employee of Maurits.

Oldenburger knew that the situation for Jews was becoming increasingly ominous and arranged a hiding place for Maurits and his wife in the town of Emmen. In the evening Oldenburger is waited for Mauris at the camp with an extra bicycle. Maurits, who initially still had doubts, decided to go along and follows Jo via the sandy path into the dark forest.

Maurits knew. as long as he would see the red bicycle light of Jo Oldenburger, who cycled in front of him, it would be safe. That was the arrangement.. Suddenly the light disappeared from view and Maurits hid with bicycle and all in a ditch. But Jo appeared to have turned a corner. They agreed to stay closer together.

The bike ride of almost seventy kilometers was tough for Maurits, who had not been on a bicycle for at least a year. After a long and painful journey they arrived at the hiding place in Emmen. Thanks to various hiding places, the Jakobs’ couple managed to stay under the radar all this time. They both survived the war.

This was probably the most ‘Dutch’ escape one could imagine. Escape by bicycle.

sources

https://www.ru.nl/rich/our-research/research-groups/cultures-of-war-and-liberation/current-projects/projects/knhm-1929-1954/

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/artikel/maurits-jakobs-ontsnapt-dagen-voor-grootschalige-deportatie-uit-kamp-vledder

https://joodsewerkkampen.nl/geschiedenis

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Remembering Günther Ernst Aronade

Günther Ernst Aronade was born on March 19, 1918 Kattowitz, Germany, now Poland.

I am not sure on the exact date but it looks liked Günther and his wife Alisa (Ilse) Heymann moved to Amsterdam in 1938, I can only imagine because of the Nazi regime in Germany.

In September 1943 the couple ended up in Camp Westerbork, they managed to escape on September 15, 1943. They fled to France in December,

In France they were captured again and were sent to Auschwitz on February 10,1944 via Drancy.

Günther was murdered in Auschwitz on February 1943. he was aged 25.

His wife survived the war, she died on January 8, 1986. in Israel.

Source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/358450/gunther-ernst-aronade

https://www.geni.com/people/G%C3%BCnther-Aronade/6000000002292874170

https://www.geni.com/people/Alisa-Ilse-Heymann-Elsberg/6000000030450294861

The survival of Robert Wagemann

A little known fact is that the Jehovah Witnesses were also persecuted by the Nazi regime.

It is estimated that 1,000 German Jehovah’s Witnesses died or were murdered in concentration camps and prisons between 1933 and 1945, as did 400 Witnesses from other countries, of which were about 90 Austrians and 120 Dutch Jehovah Witnesses . In addition, at least 273 Jehovah’s Witnesses were sentenced to death by military courts for refusing military service and were executed.

The imprisoned Jehovah’s Witnesses were given the document below. By putting a signature on that declaration they would be renouncing their faith and would be released. Of all the Jehovah Witnesses imprisoned, only fa handful of approximately two-thousand signed the declaration and were released.(The translation of the document is below too)

Lotte Wagemann was a practicing Jehovah Witness . In 1937 she was pregnant with Robert Wagemann. Despite being pregnant she was arrested and briefly imprisoned for her activities as a Jehovah’s Witness. She gave birth shortly after her release. Due to the stress of imprisonment and insufficient medical care, Robert’s hip was injured during delivery, resulting in a permanent disability.(His right leg is six inches shorter then the left)

Under the T4 Program, he was classified as “handicapped” , and two times he had been selected for ‘euthanasia’ but really it was for extermination. The first time they escaped to Berlin, and lived with relatives.

In 1943 amidst the growing chaos in Mannheim caused bu allied bombing Robert’s mother was ordered to go with Robert to Schlierbach near Heidelberg to a hospital where he would be examined. The Nazi Doctors confirmed the status of his disability . During the examination, Lotte overheard a conversation where one of the Doctors said that Robert was to be given a lethal injection after lunch..

Lotte waited for the doctors to break for lunch, took Robert and picked up his his clothes, and escaped while the nurses weren’t looking . Because of the increased bombings of the allies I presume the escape by Lotte and Robert didn’t get the same priority as it would have done earlier durig the war or even before the war. Their house was bombed in Mannheim So they spent the remainder of the war hiding with Robert’s grandparents in Iggelheim.

Despite having escaped the clutches of the T4 physicians ,Robert did not stay out of trouble. On his 1st school day he refused to to do the Nazi salute nor did he sing the national anthem.

This drew the attention of the authorities and Robert and his family were forced to move once again. This time to to a town called Haardt by Neustadt and lived with Robert’s maternal grandparents (. There in a little cabin in the woods they spent the remainder of the war.

The family survived the war, Robert emigrated to the United States in 1963 where he married . Robert and his wife have three sons and five grandchildren.

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sources

http://webapps.raritanval.edu/memorial/page1.htm

http://webapps.raritanval.edu/memorial/page2.htm

https://www.alst.org/pages-us/education/classroom-questions/Robert-Wagemann-classroom-questions.html

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/nazi-persecution-of-jehovahs-witnesses

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Mengele’s arrival in Auschwitz

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On May 23rd 1943 Dr Joseph Mengele started his ‘work’ at Auschwitz. I am not going to say too much about this evil personified individual.

He particularly found pleasure in working in Auschwitz

The Doctors in Auschwitz were all scheduled according a work rota for the selections when new victims arrived by train, but Mengele was the only one to volunteer for the selections and would sometimes ask if he could take over a slot in the rota.

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He came from a very privileged background and had a Phd  in Anthropology as well as a Doctorate in Medicines.He made weekly visits to the hospital barracks and sent to the gas chambers any prisoners who had not recovered after two weeks in bed.

Auschwitz gave him the opportunity to conduct experiments in order to continue his anthropology studies. The Nazi regime allowed him to experiment in the vilest of way without impunity.

He was especially interested in twins.They had to undergo weekly examinations and measurements of their physical attributes by Mengele himself or one of his  assistants.  Experiments performed on twins included unnecessary amputation of limbs, intentionally infecting one twin with typhus or other diseases, and transfusing the blood of one twin into the other.

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He was  transferred to Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Lower Silesia  January 17, 1945, bringing along  2 boxes of examples and records of his experiments.

He managed to escape Gross-Rosen on 18 February, a week before the Soviets arrived, disguised as a Wehrmacht soldier .

He  managed capture by  the  Allies until June 1945 , when he was picked up by an American patrol. He was traveling under his own name at the time, but the wanted criminal list hadn’t been efficiently distributed and also he did not have the SS blood group tattoo.so  the Americans let him go. Mengele spent some time working as a farmhand before deciding to skip out of the country in 1949.

On 17 April 1949. withe the aide of  a network of former SS members, Mengele traveled to Genoa, where he managed to get  a passport under the alias “Helmut Gregor” from the International Committee of the Red Cross. He sailed to Argentina in July.

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Despite many attempts to catch him he was able to elude justice. I have always been skeptical about this, I think that the allied never really wanted to catch him because if they did, it would have been easy enough to do so.He was more or less hiding in plain sight in Argentina.

He eventually drowned in 1979 while swimming in the Atlantic ocean, after suffering a stroke.

wanted

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Source

Yad Vashem

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitler’s Dental Records

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History channel has been showing a documentary series called “Hunting Hitler”. The aim of the show is to proof that Hitler did not commit suicide but escaped to Argentina. Although intriguing and compelling, and if you weren’t au fait with the history, you might actually believe it.

However there are several parts of evidence that they have omitted from the show. They are taking the 20h of April 1945 as a starting point since that according to them is the last time Hitler was seen in public, and they are using this as the potential date he made his escape. What they don’t include in their investigations is the eye witness accounts of those who were with Hitler in the bunker until he committed suicide.

Also the picture below is deemed as the last picture of Hitler alive. It was taken on the 28th of April 1945, in the Reich chancellery, 8 days after he allegedly escaped.

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Another vital part they have left out are his dental records.

Elena Rzhevskaya,06RzhevskayaWar1943-300x480 a Jewish Russian writer who worked as a translator with the Soviet team who identified Hitler’s body after his death in 1945. She was entrusted with Hitler’s teeth during the search for a dentist who could identify them, and thus prove that the Fuhrer was really dead.

It was possible to identify Hitler from his teeth because he had had extensive dental work. By the end of his life, Hitler had very few of his own teeth left, and most of them had crowns. The remaining teeth were prosthetic and were held together with bridges..

Heusermann

The Soviet troops captured the Reich Chancellery and the subterranean Führerbunker on 2 May. The corpses of Goebbels and his wife Magda were found and identified, and a subsequent report about it was openly publicized. This apparently outraged Stalin, who immediately ordered to keep secret all records related to the search for Adolf Hitler.The contacts with the press and photographers were banned and the information was sent directly to Stalin.

In the following days, a lot of speculation and contradictory facts appeared about the alleged death of the Führer. According to Rzhevskaya, Hitler’s corpse was found by accident. Shortly before their departure from Berlin, a group of Soviet soldiers led by commander Klimenko visited for the last time the garden of the Chancellery, where the burned corpse of Goebbels was found. Near to the entrance to the bunker, soldier Churakov found a shell hole filled with unusually fresh soil. After a brief examination, a male and female corpse were found. Klimenko and his men were apparently confused, because at that time, an alleged Hitler’s corpse was placed in the hall of the Chancellery. They left the place without further investigation, however, the information leaked to Gorbushin and his team, who came back there the next day. They recovered the previously found human corpses and also dug up the bodies of two dogs.

On the  9th of May 1945 , they managed to track down Käthe Heusermann, an assistant of Hugo Blaschke, Hitler’s personal dentist. 94218bf3b9542fda616cd393429945e5They followed her to the building of the Reich Chancellery, where she found Hitler’s medical records, including X-ray images of his teeth. During the interrogation led by Gorbushin, Major Bystrov, and Rzhevskaya as an interpreter, she confirmed that the box contained teeth of Adolf Hitler. The information was subsequently confirmed also by Fritz Echtmann, a dental technician who worked in the Blaschke’s consulting room since 1938.

Below is the written description of Hitler’s Detal recotds.

‘In the upper jaw there are nine teeth connected by a bridge of yellow metal (gold). The bridge is anchored by pins on the second left and the second right incisor. This bridge consists of 4 upper incisors (A), 2 canine teeth (B), the first left bicuspid (C), and the first and second right bicuspids (D),Palmer-legendas indicated in the sketch. The first left incisor (E) consists of a white platelet, with cracks and a black spot in the porcelain (enamel) at the bottom. This platelet is inset into the visible side of the metal (gold) tooth. The second incisor, the canine tooth, and the left bicuspid, as well as the first and second incisors and the first bicuspid on the right, are the usual porcelain (enamel) dental plates, their posterior parts fastened to the bridge. The right canine tooth is fully capped by yellow metal (gold). The maxillary bridge is vertically sawed off behind the second left bicuspid (F). The lower jawbone lies loose in the singed oral cavity. The alveolar processes are broken in the back and have ragged edges. The front surface and the lower edge of the mandibula are scorched. On the front surface the charred prongs of dental roots are recognizable. The lower jaw consists of fifteen teeth, ten of which are artificial. The incisors (G) and the first right bicuspid (H) are natural, exhibiting considerable wear on the masticating surface and considerably exposed necks. The dental enamel has a bluish shimmer and a dirty yellow coloration around the necks.

The teeth to the left (I) are artificial, of yellow metal (gold), and consists of a bridge of gold crowns. The bridge is fastened to the third, the fifth (in the bridge, the sixth tooth), and the eight tooth (in the bridge, the ninth tooth). The second bicuspid to the right (J) is topped by a crown of yellow metal (gold) which is linked to the right canine tooth by an arching plate. Part of the masticating surface and the posterior surface of the right canine tooth is capped by a yellow metal (gold) plate as part of the bridge. The first right molar is artificial, white, and secured by a gold clip connected with the bridge of the second bicuspid and the right incisor.’

According to the record of the interrogation of Frau Käthe Heusermann it may be presumed that the teeth as well as the bridge described in the document are those of Chancellor Hitler.

Dental-Chart

The picture at the top of the blog is an image of a  fragment of Adolf Hitler’s mandible.

I am not totally ruling out the investigations of “Hunting Hitler” but I noticed that the longer the show goes on, the more excited they become but the less proof they actually come up with.

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Mengele’s volatility

josef-mengele-with-family

I had really wanted to do a blog on Menegele’s experiments on children and especially on twins, but I can’t. I am physically not able to do it. I started some research but I had to stop, the eyes of the children haunt me.

Something that is even more disturbing, and this is a point I made before, Mengele looked like a ‘normal’ human being, a charming man even. The picture above is off him with family and friends taken sometime in the 1970’s in South America, He doesn’t look like an evil man, he looks like a friendly grandfather.

The fact is Evil often doesn’t have an evil face which makes it more disturbing.

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For all of his methodical work habits, Mengele could be impulsive. During one selection — between work and death — on the arrival platform, a middle-aged woman who had been selected for work refused to be separated from her 14-year-old daughter, who had been assigned death.

A guard who tried to pry them apart got a nasty scratch on the face and had to fall back. Mengele stepped in to resolve the matter by shooting both the girl and her mother, and then he cut short the selection and sent everybody to the gas chamber.

josef-mengele-selection-step

On another occasion, the Birkenau doctors argued over whether a boy they had all grown fond of had tuberculosis. Mengele left the room and came back an hour or two later, apologizing for the argument and admitting he had been wrong. During his absence, he had shot the boy and dissected him for signs of the disease, which he hadn’t found.

In 1944, Mengele’s zest and enthusiasm for his work earned him a management position at the camp. In this capacity, he was responsible for public health measures at the camp in addition to his own research at Birkenau. Again, his impulsive streak surfaced when he made decisions for the tens of thousands of inmates.

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.When Typhus broke out among the women’s barracks, for example, Mengele solved the problem in his characteristic way: he ordered one block of 600 women gassed and their barracks fumigated, then he moved the next block of women over and fumigated their barracks. This was repeated for each women’s block until the last one was clean and ready for a new shipment of workers. He did it again a few months later during a scarlet fever outbreak.

Mengele was never caught and didn’t stand trial.

In 1959, Mengele allegedly traveled to Paraguay to treat the former Secretary to the Fuhrer, Martin Bormann, who had been sentenced to death in absentia at Nuremberg and who was now dying of stomach cancer.

One day in 1979, the 68-year-old Dr. Josef Mengele went out for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. He suffered a sudden stroke in the water and drowned. After his death, friends and family gradually admitted that they had known all along where he had been hiding, and that they had sheltered him from justice all his life.

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World War 2 “Drag Queen”

 

 

One out of every five inhabitants of the town of Aalten located in the Achterhoek, the so-called back corner in the east of the Netherlands bordering Germany, was in hiding there during the Second World War. The occupier was on constant look out for people on the run, Jews or young men trying to avoid work in the labour camps. Even the churches in town were not safe.

On 30 January 1944, two Churches were raided simultaneously: the Westerkerk (Western Church) and the Christian Reformed Church. The catch was considerable: forty-eight young men were arrested and transported via the Dutch city of Arnhem to the Amersfoort Concentration Camp or to the prison in Scheveningen: Oranjehotel (Hotel Orange). Gerrit Hoopman (19) was the only person who managed to escape from the Westerkerk, thanks to the help of a Mrs Visser-Taal, who had been evacuated from the Dutch seaside village of Scheveningen when German forces seized the city for strategic purposes. She discreetly passed her cape, this bonnet (picture above)and her traditional overskirt to him. Disguised as a fisherman’s wife, Hoopman left the church arm-in-arm with her and rode off on a men’s bike

(picture below Mrs Visser -Taal ,on the left, and her daughter,-Neeltje)

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Escape from Auschwitz

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Four Poles, Kazimierz Piechowski, Stanislaw Gustaw Jaster, Józef Lempart, and Eugeniusz Bendera, escaped on June 20, 1942 after breaking into an SS storeroom and stealing uniforms and weapons. In disguise, they drove away in a vehicle that they stole from the SS motor pool, and reached the General Government. Jaster carried a report that Witold Pilecki had written for AK headquarters.

On the Saturday morning of 20 June 1942, exactly two years after his arrival, Piechowski escaped from Auschwitz I along with two other Poles, Stanisław Gustaw Jaster ,

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veteran of Invasion of Poland in rank of first lieutenant from Warsaw; Józef Lempart ,a priest from Wadowice; and Eugeniusz Bendera , a car mechanic from Czortków, now Ukraine. Piechowski had the best knowledge of the German language within the group, and held the command of the party.

They left through the main Auschwitz camp through the Arbeit Macht Frei gate. They had taken a cart and passed themselves off as a Rollwagenkommando—”haulage detail”—a work group which consisted of between four and twelve inmates pulling a freight cart instead of horses.

Bendera went to the motorpool; Piechowski, Lempart, and Jaster went to the warehouse in which the uniforms and weapons were stored. They entered via a coal bunker which Piechowski had helped fill. He had removed a bolt from the lid so it wouldn’t self latch when closed.

Once in the building they broke into the room containing the uniforms and weapons, arming themselves with four machine-guns and eight grenades. Bendera arrived in a Steyr 220 sedan (saloon) car belonging to SS-Hauptsturmführer Paul Kreuzmann, As a mechanic he was often allowed to test drive cars around the camp.

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He entered the building and changed into SS uniform like the others. They then all entered the car: Bendera driving; Piechowski in the front passenger seat; Lempart and Jaster in the back. Bendera drove toward the main gate. Jaster carried a report that Witold Pilecki (deliberately imprisoned in Auschwitz to prepare intelligence about the Holocaust and who would not escape until 1943) had written for Armia Krajowa’s headquarters.

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https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/03/30/forgotten-history-witold-pitecki-the-man-who-sneaked-into-and-out-of-auschwitz/

When they approached the gate they became nervous as it had not opened. Lempart hit Piechowski in the back and told him to do something. With the car stopped, he opened the door and leaned out enough for the guard to see his rank insignia and yelled at him to open the gate. The gate opened and the four drove off.

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Keeping away from the main roads to evade capture, they drove on forest roads for two hours, heading for the town of Wadowice. There they abandoned the Steyr and continued on foot, sleeping in the forest and taking turns to keep watch. . Kazimierz Piechowski eventually made his way to Ukraine, but was unable to find refuge there due to anti-Polish sentiment.

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Forging documents and a false name, he returned to Poland to live in Tczew, where he had been captured. He soon found work doing manual labor on a nearby farm, where he made contact with the Home Army and took up arms against the Nazis within the units of 2nd Lt. Adam Kusz nom de guerre Garbaty (one of the so-called “Cursed soldiers”).

His parents were arrested by the Nazis in reprisal for his escape, and died in Auschwitz; the policy of tattooing prisoners was also allegedly introduced in response to his escape. Piechowski learned after the War from his boy-scout friend Alfons Kiprowski, who remained a prisoner at Auschwitz for some three more months after his escape, that a special investigative commission arrived at Auschwitz from Berlin to answer—independently of the camp’s administration—the question as to how an escape as audacious as Piechowski’s and his companions’ was at all possible.

When Poland became a communist state in 1947, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for joining the Home Army, serving seven.

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The Vrba–Wetzler report aka the Auschwitz Protocols

Vrba-Wetzler

On April 10, 1944 (some reports say April 7), two men escaped from Auschwitz: Rudolph Vrba (Vrba was born Walter Rosenberg in Topoľčany, Czechoslovakia. He took the name Rudolf Vrba in April 1944 after his escape, and changed his name legally after the war.) and Alfred Wetzler. They made contact with Slovak resistance forces and produced a substantive report on the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In great detail, they documented the killing process. Their report, replete with maps and other specific details, was forwarded to Western intelligence officials along with an urgent request to bomb the camps. Part of the report, forwarded to the U.S. government’s War Refugee Board by Roswell McClelland, the board’s representative in Switzerland, arrived in Washington on July 8 and July 16, 1944.

RetrieveAsset

While the complete report, together with maps, did not arrive in the United States until October, U.S. officials could have received the complete report earlier if they had taken a more urgent interest in it.

In April, 1944 Vrba and Wetzler hid in a woodpile right under the guards’ noses for three days, traversed rugged and dangerous enemy terrain, and solicited the generosity of strangers. After an extraordinary 15-day trek covering 85 miles across occupied Poland, they finally reached people they thought they could help. At the Jewish Council headquarters in Zilina, Slovakia, they described the horrific activities of the Nazis at Auschwitz. Their tale was recorded in the Vrba-Wetzler Report, which they assumed would be distributed to the proper authorities, who would then force the Germans to stop the deportations and executions.

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The men crossed the Polish-Slovakian border on 21 April 1944. They went to see a local doctor in Čadca, Dr. Pollack, someone Vrba knew from his time in the first transit camp. Pollack had a contact in the Slovak Judenrat (Jewish Council), which was operating an underground group known as the “Working Group,” and arranged for them to send people from their headquarters in Bratislava to meet the men. Pollack was distressed to learn the probable fate of his parents and siblings, who had been deported in 1942.

Vrba and Wetzler spent the night in Čadca in the home of a relative of the rabbi Leo Baeck.

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The next day, 24 April, met the chairman of the Jewish Council, Dr. Oscar Neumann, a German-speaking lawyer.

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Neumann placed the men in different rooms in a former old people’s home and interviewed them separately over three days. Vrba writes that he began by drawing the inner layout of Auschwitz I and II, and the position of the ramp in relation to the two camps. He described the internal organization of the camps, how Jews were being used as slave labour for Krupp, Siemens, IG Farben and D.A.W., and the mass murder in gas chambers of those who had been chosen for Sonderbehandlung, or “special treatment.”

The report was written and re-written several times. Wetzler wrote the first part, Vrba the third, and the two wrote the second part together. They then worked on the whole thing together, re-writing it six times.Neumann’s aide, Oscar Krasniansky, an engineer and stenographer who later took the name Oskar Isaiah Karmiel, translated it from Slovak into German with the help of Gisela Steiner.They produced a 40-page report in German, which was completed by Thursday, 27 April 1944. Vrba wrote that the report was also translated into Hungarian. The original Slovak version was not preserved.

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The report contains a detailed description of the geography and management of the camps; how the prisoners lived and died; and the transports that had arrived at Auschwitz since 1942, their place of origin, and the numbers “selected” for work or the gas chambers.

Rudolf Vrba’s sketch of the Crematorium at Birkenau(translated in English)Vrba-Wetzler_report_sketch_(crematoria)

The report provided details known only to prisoners, including, for example, that discharge forms were filled out for prisoners who were gassed, indicating that death rates in the camp were actively falsified.

It also contains sketches and information about the layout of the gas chambers. In a sworn deposition for the trial of SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann in 1961, and in his book I Cannot Forgive (1964), Vrba said that he and Wetzler obtained the information about the gas chambers and crematoria from Sonderkommando Filip Müller and his colleagues who worked there.

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Müller confirmed this in his Eyewitness Auschwitz (1979).Auschwitz scholar Robert Jan van Pelt wrote in 2002 that the description contains errors, but that given the circumstances, including the men’s lack of architectural training, “one would become suspicious if it did not contain errors.

The report was indeed sent to Allies around the world. But to Vrba’s horror, some copies took months to arrive in the right hands, and the most urgent copy was suppressed by Rudolph Kastner, head of the Hungarian Jewish underground, who worried it would destroy a deal he was trying to make with the Nazis. Kastner’s deal eventually saved about 1600 Jews on his “train to freedom,” but according to Vrba and others, the suppression of the report resulted in hundreds of thousands more being deported to the gas chambers.

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The Jews of Europe needed outside assistance, but by then, Vrba and Wetzler had all but given up hope that their report would ever trigger a coordinated Allied response. Copies had been sent to the British, Americans and even the Pope, but nothing had happened. Then, in June of 1944, a copy of the report made its way to British Intelligence. It confirmed growing Allied suspicions that the Nazis were murdering millions of Jews. The document was immediately forwarded to top British and American officials.

On June 15th, the BBC broadcast the horrific details of the report. Five days later, extracts were published in The New York Times. The Nazi secret was finally out. America’s first official response was to threaten reprisals against anyone involved in the Hungarian deportations. The Vatican added the Pope’s condemnation. But despite the Allied pressure, Admiral Horthy, the Hungarian head of state and puppet to Hitler, allowed the deportations to continue. On July 2nd, the US Air Force attacked Budapest, raining bombs on the Hungarian capital. Horthy believed the raid was punishment for his refusal to stop the deportations. But in fact, the timing was a complete coincidence.