Holocaust art by a survivor.

priest and rabbi

David Olère  was a  Jewish Polish-born French painter and sculptor best known for his explicit drawings and paintings based on his experiences as a Jewish Sonderkommando inmate at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

He began to draw at Auschwitz-Birkenau during the last days of the camp, when the SS became less attentive. His work has an invaluable as evidence  documentary: there are no photos of what happened in the gas chambers and crematoria

Below are just some of his paintings. I believe they speak for themselves.

Arrival of a Convoy

convoy

Their Last Steps

steps

Selection for Gas Chambers

selection

the Remains of Children

children

The last one hit me hard.

 

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Source

http://fcit.usf.edu/Holocaust/gallery2/D38.HTM

We all suffer things here that the human mind can not imagine.

Marcel

The title is taken from a  letter written by Marcel Nadjari ,a Jewish-Greek survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau. Marcel  was a member of the Sonderkommando in Birkenau from May 1944 to November 1944.

The letter is an eye witness account of his experiences as a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz Birkenau. He had the task of of removing dead bodies from the gas chambers.

He put the papers inside a thermos flask, wrapped the thermos in a leather pouch, and buried it. His letters were found a
Below are some excepts from the letter. Please take note that this is eyewitness evidence, feel free to use it whenever you encounter a Holocaust denier.

“If you read about the things we did, you’ll say, ‘How could anyone do that, burn their fellow Jews?’”

Many times I thought of coming in with them to the gas chambers,”

“Our work was to receive the prisoners first, most of them did not know the reason,the people I saw when their destiny was sealed, I told the truth, and after they were all naked, they went further into the death chamber, where the Germans had laid pipes on the ceiling to make them think they were preparing the bath, with whips in their hands, the Germans forced them to move closer and closer together, so that as many as possible could fit in”

 

“After half an hour, we opened the doors of the gas chamber, and our work began. We carried the corpses of these innocent women and children to the elevator, which brought them into the room with the ovens, and they put them in there the furnaces, where they were burnt without the use of fuel, because of the fat they have.”

“I wanted to live to avenge the death of Papa and Mama, and that of my beloved little sister, Nelli.”

His letter was uncovered by a student in 1980 but it was only readable about 10% at the time. A ussian-born historian Pavel Polian has been able to make the document about 85 to 90 percent legible.
letter

I know showing graphic pictures of the Holocaust always have a profound impact, but that is only the impact of what we feel at the time we look at the picture, and after a while that impact fades away.

Marcel’s words leave a lasting impact because it the account of someone who was there and was forced to help in order to safe his own life. I know the question he mentions himself “How could anyone do that, burn their fellow Jews?’” is a valid one , but is also one that none of us can answer because we were not put in that situation.

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Sources

Smithsoinan

All that is interesting.

 

 

 

Cleaning the gas chambers.

Gas

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

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

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

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

hair

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

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

Below are some testimonies of some who survived.

Henryk Mandelbaum, a member of the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz.

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

SONDERKOMMANDO

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

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

BLUEPRINT

 

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

USHMM

Sobiborinterviews.nl

 

 

 

 

 

Desperation and Survival

sonder

I have often wondered how the Sonderkommandos coped with their  work.

Sonderkommandos were  forced labour units made up of  Nazi death camp prisoners. usually Jews.They were forced to help with the disposal of gas chamber victims among other duties. Sometimes even removing family members.

It is not like they had a choice, it was either work and have a chance to survive or get killed themselves. I have heard people call them traitors but I don’t subscribe to that point of view, The basic instinct of any human being is to survive.

How hard it was for these victims, for they to were victims, is illustrated in the testimony of Filip Müller, a Slovak Jewish member of the Sonderkommando.

Muller

Filip had become so desperate that he tried to commit suicide by smuggling himself into the gas chamber.

Below are some excerpts from his testimony taken from his book ‘ Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers’

“In the great confusion near the door I managed to mingle with the pushing and shoving crowd of people who were being driven into the gas chamber. Quickly I ran to the back and stood behind one of the concrete pillars. I thought that here I would remain undiscovered until the gas chamber was full, when it would be locked. Until then I must try to remain unnoticed. I was overcome by a feeling of indifference: everything had become meaningless. Even the thought of a painful death from Zyklon B gas, whose effect I of all people knew only too well, no longer filled me with fear and horror. I faced my fate with composure.Eyewitness

Inside the gas chamber the singing had stopped. Now there was only weeping and sobbing. People, their faces smashed and bleeding, were still streaming through the door, driven by blows and goaded by vicious dogs. Desperate children who had become separated from their parents in the scramble were rushing around calling for them. All at once, a small boy was standing before me. He looked at me curiously; perhaps he had noticed me there at the back standing all by myself. Then, his little face puckered with worry, he asked timidly: “Do you know where my mummy and my daddy are hiding?” I tried to comfort him, explaining that his parents were sure to be among all those people milling round in the front part of the room. “You run along there,” I told him, “and they’ll be waiting for you, you’ll see.”

The only reason he survived is because he was approached by a few girls.

“Suddenly a few girls, naked and in the full bloom of youth, came up to me. They stood in front of me without a word, gazing at me deep in thought and shaking their heads uncomprehendingly. At last one of them plucked up courage and spoke to me: “We understand that you have chosen to die with us of your own free will, and we have come to tell you that we think your decision pointless: for it helps no one.” She went on: “We must die, but you still have a chance to save your life. You have to return to the camp, and tell everybody about our last hours,” she commanded. “You have to explain to them that they must free themselves from any illusions. They ought to fight, that’s better than dying here helplessly. It’ll be easier for them, since they have no children. As for you, perhaps you’ll survive this terrible tragedy and then you must tell everybody what happened to you. One more thing,” she went on, “you can do me one last favour: this gold chain around my neck: when I’m dead, take it off and give it to my boyfriend Sasha. He works in the bakery. Remember me to him. Say ‘love from Yana.’ When it’s all over, you’ll find me here.” She pointed at a place next to the concrete pillar where I was standing. Those were her last words.”

Burning bodies

Müller first testified during his recovery in a post-liberation hospital and subsequently in several trials. His testimonies were included in “The Death Factory” written by two fellow Holocaust survivors, Erich Kulka and Ota Kraus. He was also interviewed for the 1985 French documentary Shoah by Claude Lanzmann, who himself had been a Holocaust survivor and French resistance fighter.

Müller died on November 9, 2013. In my opinion there is only one word to describe him. Hero.

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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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