Klara Borstel-Engelsman—Murdered aged 102

I once wrote a piece about Klara Borstel-Engelsman. Today is the 78th anniversary of her murder, and I felt compelled to do another one, just to show how utterly cruel, insane and absurd the Nazi regime was. Klara was murdered at age 102. She was the oldest Dutch person to be murdered by the Nazis.

Klara Engelsman was born on April 30, 1842 in Amsterdam as daughter of Salomon (also known as Samuel) Abraham Engelsman and Saartje Hartog Cosman. Klara Engelsman married Daniel Brush on 24 May 1865. As far as is known, the couple had no children. Daniel Brush died at the age of 76 on 9 July 1918 in Amsterdam.

At the time of her 100th birthday, Mrs. Klara Brush-Engelsman lived at the home of the Morpurgo family at 18-II Jonas Daniël Meijerplein. Later she stayed in the Jewish care home. In March 1944 she arrived in camp Westerbork, where she was nursed in the camp hospital. There she still experienced her 102th birthday. She was taken on a stretcher to the train on September 4, 1944, which went to Theresienstadt, where she was murdered on October 12, 1944.

Taking away the emotions, what was the actual point of putting a 102 year old on a train to be murdered. I know many will say she wasn’t murdered, that she just died, but if you put someone that age on a cattle train, of course it is murder.

It makes no sense on a human sense, economical sense, military sense none whatsoever, it would have benefited no one, yet she was put on that train.

Rest in peace dear Klara.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/228136/klara-borstel-engelsman

Snow White and the Third Reich.

I am currently reading a book titled “Animation under he Swastika-A history of Trickfilm in Nazi Germany,1933-1945”

It is really about how Hitler and Göbbels attempted to compete with Hollywood and especially Disney.

There is a whole chapter in the book about the Disney movie “Snow White and the Seven dwarfs” Apparently it was Hitler’s favourite movie, despite that , the Nazis never achieved to get the movie released in Germany, only a few people including Hitler Göbbels saw the movie and had copies of it.

In the 1930s, the Nazi regime used dubbing of foreign media to control anything negative coming from abroad. As would be the case for Snow White. The movie had been dubbed by German speaking actors in the the late 1930s, but since the movie was never released during World War 2, the dubbed version was only on nationwide release in February 1950.

The sad thing about this is that most of the voice actors were Jewish and did not survive the Holocaust.

The 1938 News Report only mention some names of the cast. The only voice who is credited for her role is Hortense Raky as the speaking voice of Snow White. Two other female actresses are mentioned : Dora Gerson, and a new “Lady Star”. Seeing her age, Dora Gerson certainly dubbed the Evil Queen (and maybe the Witch), while the new female star was certainly the singing voice of Snow White.

Most of the original 1938 cast were Jews, and were murdered by the Nazis :
Dora Gerson died on February 14, 1943, murdered with her family at Auschwitz. Otto Wallburg also died in Auschwitz on October 30, 1944.
Kurt Lilien died on May 28, 1943, at Sobibor extermination camp.
Finally, Kurt Gerron, the Dubbing director, died on October 28, 1944 at Auschwitz. Kurt was coerced into directing a Nazi propaganda documentary intended to be viewed in “neutral” nations about Theresienstadt. However, once the movie was finished, he, his wife and the crew members of the documentary were deported on the camp’s final train transport to Auschwitz.

sources

https://www.jstor.org/stable/42943087

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029583/releaseinfo

https://disneyinternationaldubbings.weebly.com/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs–german-cast.html

Two sides of the Holocaust-Innocence and Evil.

May 16 is a date which links two events in relation to the Holocaust, even though they are 15 years apart.

Hana Bradyová was born on 16 May 1931 in Prague, the daughter of Markéta (née Dubsky) and Karel Bradyová. Her family lived in Nové Město na Moravě in the Vysočina Region of Czechoslovakia.

Most people will know Hana Bradyová as Hana Brady, her story was brought to light in the book “Hana’s Suitcase” by Karen Levine.

Hana was described as a happy, active and athletic little girl who was very close to her family. Hana was just eight years old when the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia. The family’s life became restricted, and they were forced to hand over their radio and other valuables to the Nazis. Their Christian friends stopped playing with Hana and her brother George(Jiří ) , because their parents feared they would be punished for playing with Jewish children. Hana and George remained close and supported one another during this time.

In March 1941, their mother, Marketa, was assigned to a Nazi transport and taken away. Soon after, they were forced to sew yellow star badges to their clothing along with all the other Czech Jews. When one man in town refused to comply, a Nazi officer was furious and ordered the arrests of all the other Jewish men in town. Hana and George’s father Karel was arrested and taken away a few days later, and the two children were left with the family’s housekeeper.

In 1942 Hana and George were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Hana was assigned to the girls’ home in barrack L410.In 1944, Hana was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. While her brother survived by working as a laborer, Hana was sent to the gas chambers a few hours after her arrival on 23 October 1944, she was murdered aged 13. Her body was cremated with other victims in the ovens at the crematorium.

Bruno Tesch

15 years after Hana’s birth Bruno Tesch and Karl Weinbacher were executed, on May 16,1946.

Karl Weinbacher worked at Degesch (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung, which translates as German Corporation for Pest Control) until 1924, and then at Tesch & Stabenow (Testa, for short), where he received the position of manager in 1927, and by 1943 was director and deputy executive under owner and chief executive officer Bruno Tesch. Testa manufactured and sold Zyklon B, which was used control in the gas chambers of Auschwitz to murder people, including Hana Brady. Weinbacher received royalties on sales of Zyklon B.

Bruno Emil Tesch (14 August 1890 – 16 May 1946) was a German chemist and entrepreneur. Together with Gerhard Peters and Walter Heerdt, he invented Zyklon B, He was the owner of Tesch & Stabenow (called Testa), a pest control company he co-founded in 1924 with Paul Stabenow in Hamburg, Germany, which was a major supplier of Zyklon B to the Nazi concentration camps.

Below is the transcript of a statement at the trial of Bruno Tesch.

By

Dr. Bruno TESCH

Dr. Bruno TESCH, having been duly sworn, states:–

My name is Dr. Bruno TESCH, born on 14th August 1890, in Berlin, and living at HAMBURG-BLANKENESE, Wittspark 14.

In 1924 I founded, together with Mr. STABENOW, the firm of TESCH & STABENOW, which, since 1927, has been under the direction of the Deutsche Gasellschaft für Schaedlingsbekaempfung. Our firm had the sole right to supply Cyan-Gas in the form of Zyklon B to the country east of the ELBE. On the foundation of the firm I held thirty-three and a third percent of the shares; in 1927, some time before the alleged suicide of my colleague, STABENOW, I acquired another eleven and two-thirds percent, so that my share was forty-five percent. In 1942 I acquired the remaining fifty-five percent and was therefore sole proprietor of the firm.

In 1933 I joined the NSDAP and in the same year became a supporting member of the SS.

Since 1927 Mr WEINBACHER was the Prokurist of the firm. All incoming orders went through his hands, and in my absence, approximately two hundred days a year, he took over the managament [sic] of the firm. Dr. Joachimhans DROSIHN was the biological adviser of the firm. He, too, was travelling most of the time. Mr. ZAUN was the head book-keeper. Mr. SEHM was a book-keeper. He had no reason to wish me ill; on the contrary he should be thankful as I once helped him in a situation.

I kept no ‘black book’ in which I recorded the misdeeds of my employees. Neither did I keep a sealed envelope about Dr. DROSIHN.

I wrote very exact travel reports about my journeys, which on my return I divided evenly over my secretaries for typing. My private secretary was Miss RATOKE; but also Mrs. UENZELMANN and Miss BIAGINI and the others wrote my reports.

I was never told in BERLIN at a conference, or by any other source, that Zyklon B gas should be used against human beings. I mentioned this fact in none of my travel reports and I have never spread no[r] heard such a rumour in my office.

Except Zyklon gas, my firm also supplied circulation plant for gas chambers of 10 cbm size. Chambers of the capacity of more than 50 cbm are not known to me, and therefore I did not know that the SS was our best customer. I also know nothing of the huge deliveries which we made to AUSCHWITZ in the years 1942-43. Since 1943 all orders of state customers went through the Haupt-sanitaetspark, BERLIN. Our firm never supplied the Wirtschafts-Verwaltungs Hauptaert (WVHA) either directly or indirectly. My accounts books were checked by Dr. PLINKER and I only know the yearly and monthly general balance.

SUMMARY PRODUCTION No. 10

Of sales of ZYKLON B to Concentration Camps during 1942 and 1943, extracted from Exhibits HG and HH.

KZ Camp 1942 1943
DATE Kg RM DATE Kg RM
AUSCHWITZ 6 Feb 480.0 3,038.0 13 Jan 1,004.4 6026.0
9 Mar 516.0 3,266.0 19 Jan 1,026.0 6156.0
3 Jun 50 317.0 29 Jan 999.0 5,994.0
3 Aug 495.0 3,133.0 24 Mar 999.0 5,994.0
6 Aug 1,756.8 11,120.0 10 Mar 999.0 5,994.0
31 Aug 1,008.0 6,381.0 22 Mar 999.0 5,994.0
8 Sep 504.0 3,190.0 29 Mar 1,018.0 6,108.0
8 Oct 489.6 3,099.0 31 Jul 216.0 1,231.0
8 Oct 489.6 3,099.0 30 Apr 1,018.0 6,108.0
28 Oct 1,497.6 9,480.0 17 Aug 810.0 4,617.0
9 Dec 192.0 1,152.0 30 Aug 972.0 5,540.0
7,478.6 44,575.0 14 Sep 999.0 5,694.0
30 Nov 999.0 5,694.0
31 Dec 116.5 699.0
12,174.9 71,849.0
SACHSEN-HAUSEN 10 Feb 72.0 456.0 22 Jan 192.0 1,152.0
25 Mar 96.0 608.0 5 Feb 192.0 1,152.0
24 Apr 96.0 608.0 26 Feb 288.0 1,728.0
15 Jun 96.0 608.0 8 Mar 288.0 1,728.0
18 Jul 96.0 608.0 17 Feb 192.0 1,152.0
13 Aug 96.0 608.0 18 Mar 288.0 1,728.0
31 Aug 96.0 608.0 6 Apr 288.0 1,728.0
28 Sep 96.0 608.0 6 Jul 288.0 1,641.0
28 Oct 96.0 608.0 31 Aug 288.0 1,641.0
6 Nov 96.0 576.0 28 Sep 288.0 1,641.0
26 Nov 192.0 1,152.0 17 Dec 288.0 1,641.0
15 Dec 192.0 1,152.0 31 Dec 33.6 201.0
23 May 118.0 683.0 2913.6 17,133.0
1,438.0 8,883.0
NEUEN- GAMME 3 Mar 24.0 152.0 21 Jan 60.0 360.0
9 Jun 12.0 76.0 29 Jan 60.0 360.0
14 Aug 12.0 76.0 17 Feb 60.0 360.0
9 Sep 36.0 228.0 10 Mar 60.0 360.0
9 Nov 36.0 216.0 10 Jun 60.0 342.0
18 Dec 60.0 360.0 30 Aug 60.0 342.0
180.0 1,108.0 19 Oct 60.0 342.0
31 Dec 7.0 42.0
427.0 2,508.0
GROSS-ROSEN NIL 8 Jan 60.0 360.0
27 Feb 120.0 720.0
8 Jun 124.5 710.0
17 Sep 125.0 713.0
429.5 2503.0
LUBLIN nil 19 Jul 513.0 2,924.0
14 Sep 999.0 5,694.0
31 Dec 115.5 693.0
1,627.5 9,311.0
Signed A. ZAUN.
PRODUCTION No. 10

KZ Camp 1942 1943
DATE Kg RM DATE Kg RM
RAVENSBRUCK NIL 19 Apr 114.0 684.0
10 Jun 114.0 650.0
15 Sep 90.0 313.0
19 Oct 30.0 171.0
31 Dec 3.5 21.0
351.5 2039.0

(Signed) Alfred ZAUN

Hamburg, the 26th of October 1945

Sworn before me Capt. R.A. Nightingale Int. Corps of No. 2 War Crimes Investigation Team this twenty-eighth day of October 1945.

(Signed) R.A. Nightingale

Capt

sources

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/trial-bruno-tesch/

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/inside-house-zyklon-b-180965184/

Donation

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Only a death certificate to remember her by

All stories of children who were murdered during the Holocaust are extremely sad, but even in that there are different levels.

The story of Helga Renate Sara Zons is particularly heartbreaking . There are no pictures of her just a death certificate to remember her by, The certificate was even issued 10 years after she was murdered.

What make it really sad is the fact that she would be 79 today, she could still have a few decades left to live. But she never really had a life to begin with, she was born on April 26,1941. Her place of birth was Westerbork transit camp, she was born in captivity.

Sara only had 2 journeys in her short life. The first one was to Theresienstadt on September 4,1944.Her second and her last journey was to Auschwitz where she was murdered upon arrival on October 6,1944, she was only 3 years old.

A life never fulfilled.

Rest in peace little angel.

Sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Helga-Renate-Sara-Zons/01/97835

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/217307/helga-renate-sara-zons

The murder of Vrouwtje Gosschalk-van Esso

Each single murder committed during the Holocaust was truly awful, but there are some who even have a sadder element to the death.

Vrouwtje Gosschalk-van Esso was born in Meppel, the Netherlands, on 11 June 1895.Her place and time of death are registered as Bergen-Belsen, 17 April 1945. Her first name Vrouwtje, translates as little woman.

BBergen Belsen was liberated 2 days before her death. Although Bergen Belsen is the registered place of death, Vrouwtje was no longer there.

At the beginning of April 1945, prisoners from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp were transferred in three trains to Theresienstadt concentration camp. Many passengers did not survive this train journey. Vrouwtje Gosschalk-van Esso died on the Wittenberge-Berlin-Lübben section and was buried on the Senftenberg-Schipkau section 300 meters before the railway bridge near the village of Schipkau on the south side of the railway tracks, about 30 meters from a switch.

If she had reached Theresienstadt she may have been liberated only a few days after arriving.

I know some people will say that she died and wasn’t murdered, The fact that she was taken from her home, treated in the most evil and severe ways makes it a murder in my opinion.

source

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/154913/vrouwtje-gosschalk-van-esso

Marie Davidson-Wallach murdered April 9,1945.

Marie Davidson-Wallach was one of the 8 Dutch Jews who were murdered on April 9, 1945. Now some people will dispute this . They will say that she probably just died because of disease our malnourishment. The fact is that she was forcibly taken from her house, transported to more then one camp, against her will where she eventually died in one of them, to me that makes it murder.

What makes it even sadder is that so little is know about Marie, but the thing that drew my attention to her is the notification of the Red Cross.

It says: “We have been advised by our Lisbon Delegate that the parcel(s) addresses as under in your behalf has/have been returned owing to the addressee(s) having gone away without leaving a new address .

As the content of the parcel, on its receipt in Lisbon were found, owing to its length of time in transit, to be not fit anymore for consumption, we regret we are unable to make you any allowance in this instance”

I don’t know the date of the document but it is reasonable to assume it was sent, while the Dutch Royal family were still in exile in the UK , because it was issued by the Netherland Red Cross with then crown princess HRH Juliana as president of the organisation.

One might think that the notification is a fair note, but it is not. The address mentioned ,Zuider Amstellaan 57 huis, Amsterdam, was the address of Marie’s parents. The note says ‘having gone away without leaving a new address’ who have wrote that must have known that they were forced out of their house, they did not leave voluntarily.

Marie married Jaap Davidson on March 31,1942 . The marriage ceremony took place at Marie’s parents’ house. There was no party or reception.

On September 4,1944 Marie was deported to Theresiënstadt. I am not sure if she had been in a transit camp like Westerbork prior to that, but it is safe to presume she had. On the transport there were another 653 people , Walter Suskind, a German Jew who helped about 600 Jewish children escape the Holocaust, was one of them.

I don’t know when Marie was deported to Bergen Belsen, but it is there were she found her untimely death on April 9,1945 by an evil regime that had not deemed her worthy to live.

She was born in Amsterdam, on the 8th of February 1920, she was aged 25 when she died.

I don’t know what happened to her husband, but I know her parents survived the war.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/153799/marie-davidson-wallach

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Marie-Davidson-Wallach/02/32507

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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. Thank you. 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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Report on eyewitness accounts of Theresienstadt

Theresienstadt, also known as Terezín, was a town in northern Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic), it was used from 1941 to 1945 by the Nazis as a walled ghetto and concentration camp, and was also used as a transit camp for western Jews en route to Auschwitz and other extermination camps.

In 1943 the Nazis sent some 500 Danish Jews, who had managed to escape to Sweden. While Europeans elsewhere often quickly lost interest in their deported Jewish fellow citizens, the Danes persisted in demanding that the Germans account for these Danish citizens and allow the Red Cross to visit the ghetto.

To dispel rumours about the extermination camps, the Nazis permitted the visit, but they arranged an elaborate hoax. They deported many camp residents to Auschwitz to minimize the appearance of overcrowding and erected fake stores and cafés to give the appearance of a life of comfort and ease. The Red Cross visited the Danish Jews—no more than two or three in a room—in freshly painted quarters. A children’s opera, Brundibar, was performed for the guests. The hoax succeeded so well that the Nazis made a propaganda film at Theresienstadt showing how well the Jews were living under the benevolent protection of the Third Reich. When the filming was finished, the Nazis deported most of the cast, including nearly all of the children, to Auschwitz.

On September 18,1945 Lt. Colonel J.H.M. Benbow from the Indian army had compiled a report on eyewitness accounts of Theresienstadt.

Below is the transcript of the report.


Senior Search Officer
HQ 1 Corps District
14, Sudstrasse,
Iserlohn
B.A.O.R.

To: – Search Bureau

Bunde, BAOR. 18 Sept 1945

——————–

Subject: – Theresienstadt

Reference your PWDP/55711 dated 9th Sept 1945 and conversation of 15-9-45 between Col. ALLAN and Col. BENBOW.

  1. Samuel Wolff’s home was visited a second time in accordance with your request but he was not available and in view of the fact that he is an old man and not very well, it was deemed more desirable to obtain the information you required from other personnel in the vicinity of Iserlohn whom Lt. Apte knew of as having returned from Theresienstadt. A certain amount of information has been procured and it is hoped that this will give you some idea as to the conditions etc prevailing in that Camp.
  2. The following account is based on facts given by one local Jewish family but most of the points mentioned have been verified by a number of internees within 1 Corps District who were themselves at one time in Theresienstadt. The family concerned returned from Theresienstadt about two months after their liberation by the Allies.

DEPORTATION to Theresienstadt was restricted to Jews from Western and Central Europe and of those, only old people (i.e. over 60) families of disabled ex-serviceman of World War 1 with children under the age of 14, married couples of whom one member was non-Jewish and which, according to Nazi ideology, were privileged marriages. For these people, a warning of the impending deportation to Theresienstadt was given two weeks in advance, but the normal procedure appears to have been short notice of about 24 hours. 25kqm of baggage per head plus bedding consisting of only one blanket and cushion and foodstuffs for the journey was allowed.

Transport assembled at Dortmund railway station but deportees were detained for two days in a former cattle shed, from which it appeared, that cattle had only been moved just before the personnel arrived. During the short period between the removal of the cattle and the entry of the deportees into the shed, Nazis searched people for possessions. When entraining, the 25 kqm of baggage had to be stowed away separately and was not seen again. Deportees were accommodated in old passinger [sic] carriages which were overcrowded – about 1500 persons were involved in that move, in which the family concerned, took part. The deportees arrived at Theresienstadt after approximately about 36 hours journey and were then detrained after some day. At the end of July 1942, there were 15-20000 internees at Theresienstadt but later batches arrived weekly and the number increased to about 60000. The peacetime population of Theresienstadt was about 8000, but these had all been evacuated before the arrival of the deportees.

2

These 60000 persons were placed in the few small houses which were originally there and also into the five existing military billets which were not being used for administrative and industrial work. 25-30 people were accommodated in a normal-sized room, each person being allowed 2’2” x 6’ floor space. No beds were provided until 1944, (when wooden beds were introduced) and blankets were rolled up daily and placed against the wall together with the scanty personal belongings.

Sanitary conditions were practically non-existent, 400-600 people being obliged to use one water-pump in the courtyard for washing, laundry and cleaning of food utensils. Latrines were open trenches and the probable cause of much illness and disease.

Meals were prepared in a number of communal cookhouses, each one feeding upto 10000 persons. The daily ration consisted of 170 grams of bread, black coffee- (substitute) for breakfast, water-soup and half-pound of boiled unskinned potatoes or occasionally a kind of millet-pep for lunch, black coffee for supper. No mess halls were provided and deportees were obliged to eat their meals in their living quarters which made the task of keeping these quarters free of vermin so difficult, and infact [sic], almost impossible.

The death rate was approximately 100-150 per day owing to malnutrition and the consequent lowered resistance against prevalent disease. Corpses were removed from the Camp and buried in either the local cemetary or in mass graves. Later on, a crematorium was constructed and the ashes were stored away in urns or cardboard-boxes.

At the end of 1944 and the beginning of 1945, word came that the Swiss Red Cross Commission was expected to arrive and orders were given for all traces of these casualties to be removed. These orders were carried out and within a few days, 40000 urns or cardboard boxes had been loaded onto trucks and dumped into one of the nearby rivers.

At the same time, a special spectacle was arranged to deceive this Commission. This consisted of the construction of a children’s playground in the centre of the town, children were provided with new clothing and toys, which they had never seen before. They were then invited to a kind of garden party, with cakes etc provided. A special dance-party was arranged for adults and evening dresses and gowns etc were issued.

A few days after the Commission had departed, these same people were sent to Poland to be killed off at one of the ill-famed extermination camps.

Everybody had to work. Elderly people were engaged on administrative work or on the interior economy of the camp. The stronger and younger men were put-to work on the roads and on railway construction. Women were employed in special workshops which were set up in cold and drafty wooden huts. One of these workshops was used for the splitting up of micre into thin layers required for electrical appliances, another was utilised for the making of leather articles such as wallets, belts etc for German troops.

General conditions of work were extremely bad and even worse during the winter months.

One large wooden shed, erected on poles and standing well above the ground was erected. Three hundred people worked in this building in which there were six very small stoves. On several occasions, permission to light these stoves was withdrawn for periods ranging upto a fortnight, either as a punishment of a method of saving fuel.

3

Hours of work were very long – 14-16 hours daily and a 7-day week being normal.

At the end of 1944, it was announced that 1200 people would go to Switzerland under arrangements being made by the Swiss Red Cross Commission. Internees were permitted to apply to go to Switzerland provided they had no relatives who had previously been deported to Poland. Four days after this announcement, the personnel concerned were despatched to Switzerland and on arrival there, a few of the younger ones wrote letters, some of which did reach Theresienstadt, but no news from the older members ever came through.

In April 1945, another announcement was made that a further 600 people could proceed to Switzerland, but participation on this journey was restricted only to those whose relatives in Switzerland had asked for them to be sent and for those who had occupied a leading position inside the Ghetto Community.

Before these people could be despatched however, another Swiss Red Cross Commission suddenly arrived. This Commission was ignorant of the impending move to Switzerland which was allegedly supposed to have been arranged by the S.R.C.C. An investigation was carried out and the Camp Commandant is reported to have admitted that this move was a ‘fake’ and was really intended to supply the first batch of deportees to the newly-constructed extermination camp just-outside Theresienstadt, which had been provided with the notorious gas-chambers. But, due to the timely arrival of the S.R.C.C., these people were never despatched.

On the other hand, since September 1942, transports of personnel were despatched at intervals of 3-4 months to the so-called Death-Camps in Poland and no more was ever heard of the people involved.

In September 1944, the speed of these transports was stepped-up considerably and within five weeks, 11 transports were despatched, carrying a total of 18000 individuals to almost certain death.

When Theresienstadt was eventually liberated by the Russians, they found there, approximately 20-25000 Jews who were in an exceedingly poor state of health.

  1. It is not possible to ascertain the total number of the persons who either died or were killed in Theresienstadt owing to the SS. Guards burning the whole Registry when they desparted [sic] in a hurry just before the arrival of the Russians.
  2. It is regretted that no other information is available regarding the number of graves in the vicinity of the camp, but it is suspected that these may have been obliterated prior to liberation, in order to destroy all trace of evidence and prevent the allies from determining the extent to which this form of Nazi brutality reached in this Camp. However, the fact that 40000 urns etc of ashes were disposed of and approximately 20000 victims were sent to Poland, will give some idea as to the state of affairs that existed.
  3. I feel that this account illustrates fairly clearly the conditions etc under which these deportees were imposed, but if there are any more details required, please let me know and I will see what further information can be obtained, though a very detailed interrogation has already been carried out and I doubt whether much more knowledge of life in Theresienstadt will be forthcoming.

(J.H.M. Benbow) Lt. Colonel.

Indian Army

Senior Search Officer, HQ 1 Corps Dist.

I could not find too much on Lt. Colonel J.H.M. Benbow, but I do know that on August 26,1946 he was promoted to the rank of Captain.

sources

https://www.britannica.com/place/Theresienstadt

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/theresienstadt/

Margot Frank-Cohen-Full life interrupted

I could have picked any name out of millions of victims to write about today. So why did I pick Margot Frank-Cohen? No particular reason other then that she would have been 100 years old today.

A few decades ago it would have been utter nonsense to talk about someone’s 100th birthday. Hardly anyone would reach that age. However nowadays there are more centenarians then there have ever been. So it could have been well possible for Margot to still be alive today, but as you can see on her wedding picture, the people around all have a star on their clothes. We all know the color of that star was yellow. We also know that those stars were given to Jews so that they could be identified as such.

The word on their stars reads “Jood” the Dutch word for Jew. Margot wasn’t Dutch but she was born in Bocholt.

Bocholt is a city in the north-west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, part of the district Borken. It is situated 4 km (2½ miles) south of the border with the Netherlands.

When she moved to the Netherlands I don’t know. I presume it was in 1939 the same time as her parents moved to Amsterdam.

Or it could be the case that her parents moved here because Margot already lived in the Netherlands. Because in 1939 Margot married Hein Lindeman, she was 18 at the time. The marriage didn’t last too long but the couple did have a daughter together, Sophia Juliana Senta Lindeman, born on February 10, 1940.

When you look at the dates 1939 and February 1940, things were still normal for the Jews living in the Netherlands. It was only in May 1940, after the German occupation, things started to change gradually for the Jews.

As stated earlier the marriage between Margot and Hein didn’t last long they divorced in 1941.

This is the astonishing bit, neither of them gave up on love. Despite the fact that so many of their friends and families were already deported, both Margot and Hein re-married. Hein married Alida (Ali) Druyf in May 1942. Just over 4 months later Alida was murdered in Auschwitz on September 28,1942. Hein was murdered in Sobibor on April 23,1943.

Margot married Siegfried Frank in 1942 in Camp Westerbork. The picture at the start of the blog is from their wedding day.Margot was Murdered in Auschwitz together with her 4 year old daughter on October 6,1944. They were put on transport Transport XXIV/7, no. 194 on September 6, 1944,Westerbork the Netherlands to Terezín Then from Terezin via transport En, no. 47 on October. 10. 1944, Terezín to Auschwitz

The irony is that her husband died on the 2nd anniversary of her ex husband. He was murdered in Buchenwald on April 23 1945, just a few days after it was liberated.

Despite Margot’s young age, she had already lived a fuller life then most people. A full life only to be interrupted by an evil ideology

Sources

https://www.holocaust.cz/en/database-of-victims/victim/149922-margot-frank-cohen/

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/195704/margot-frank-cohen

https://www.geni.com/people/Margot-Frank/6000000164906549161

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/195703/sophia-juliana-senta-lindeman

https://www.geni.com/people/Siegfried-Frank/6000000065602842922

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Holocaust Testimonies

There are millions of Holocaust stories I could write, but none will be as powerful as the testimonies of those who survived the darkest era.

Following are some of those testimonies.

Written by Zdeněk and Jiří Steiner, born 20. 5. 1929 in Prague, residents of Prague, former prisoners in the concentration camps of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, residing in Prague XI., Vratislavova 13, Czech nationality.

“We left Prague bound for Theresienstadt on 22. 12. 1942 together with our parents and a great number of relatives. We spent 8½ months Theresienstadt, where things had been so-so for us. We left Theresienstadt on September 6th, 1943, and, after a miserable two-day journey, we finally arrived at the Neu-Berun train station. From there, they took us to the concentration camp in Birkenau. We were told that it was only a quarantine. After the usual procedures, such as a bath and a getting a tattoo (we were given the numbers 147742 and 147743), we were clothed in old rags (children in adult clothing) and housed in camp B II b, where we spent 6 whole months. We experienced so much in this place. Through the efforts of Fredy Hirsch, a children’s home was established. We children were better off than the adults because we didn’t have to work, our food was a little bit better, and, later, our clothes were better as well. Such was our life in the Birkenau children’s camp under extremely harsh conditions. A doctor arrived in December (each camp had a building for the sick and a single German doctor, who generally didn’t know how to do much else besides sending as many people as possible to their graves, served several of these buildings). With a wave of his fingers, Dr. Mengele decided who lived and who died, just like Nero did in ancient times. This renowned doctor was very interested in us twins, which was actually what saved us despite the fact that we came down with so many illnesses. Once, Dr. Mengele took a closer look at us, but then he contracted spotted typhus. In addition to him, we were tortured by the SS man Buntrock, who had a preference for beating children.

Another SS man, probably a Russian spy, who helped one of our people escape, was shot by other SS officers after he returned.

In the meantime, the fateful month of March began. This month took away our parents and all of our closest friends — the only thing that we still had in our lives. At the start of the month, it was rumored that the entire transport that had arrived in September 1943 would be taken to the labor camp in Heidebreck. And that’s exactly what happened. On March 5th, postcards on which we were supposed to write to our relatives that we were healthy and doing fine were handed out. These cards were sent dated March 25th-27th. We weren’t allowed to write about our departure. On the morning of March 6th, as usual: Blockälteste antreten — an order for the entire transport to go to the lower section of the camp immediately. From there they took us to camp B II a. There were so many rumors going about, for example that it wasn’t a labor transport, but a chimney. We didn’t believe it because we thought it was impossible. We waited all day, and in the evening we were told that the transport couldn’t depart because 100 persons were to be reclaimed. This news greatly disturbed us. A terrible sleepless night wreaked havoc with our nerves. The people, who were now extremely distraught, didn’t pay attention to anything; everyone just wished for this uncertainty to end. Midday, on March 7th, a call: Ordnung am Block, Raportführer Buntrok geht. And he really came, read the names of several doctors, and then we heard our names. We became very frightened, because father’s name wasn’t read, and mother wasn’t present on the block. Buntrok assured father that we would see one another in the evening, and we were taken to the Krankenbau of camp B II b. There, we found out what it was really all about. There were 32 of us in total, twins and doctors combined. Mengele reclaimed us twins because he was interested in us, as we’ve already mentioned. He came to see us the next day. When we told him that our parents had left on the transport, he said: Schade. In the meantime, we found out that the cars had driven off during the night ¨

“In the direction of the crematorium. The camp was empty; flames shot up from the crematorium. We will never forget this scene. But we didn’t believe that our parents were dead. However, we soon found out the truth from a doctor who was a member of the Sonderkommando, who was forced to do this work. Mengele arrived the following day, and took us by car to the Roma camp, which was where his station was. There, he precisely measured and weighed us, measured the length and width of our fingers and nails, the length and width of our noses, and anything else that could be measured and weighed. He also took down the color of our hair and skin. He carefully inspected us. He took fingerprints of our hands and feet. He worked alone; he never entrusted anyone else with the tasks he was performing. Then they brought us to the Krankenbau and life went on. We received 2 liters of soup per day, otherwise the food was the same as before. We were also photographed and x-rayed. Jewish doctors, who guaranteed the correctness of the examinations with their lives, had to examine our nerves, eyes, teeth, and ears.
The first labor transport from camp B II b left on 1. 7. In the meantime, another transport from Theresienstadt with 7½ thousand people arrived in May. This brought the number of people in the camp to 12,500, 3,000 of whom left to work. The rest were incinerated within 2 nights. We were taken to B II f. In this new camp, they drew our blood, which made our weakened bodies feel even worse. There is one horrible experience that we will never forget: one of our torturers, the camp doctor Thilo, was making a selection, i.e. choosing the people who would be sent to the crematorium, and he took our names down. What we felt when he did this cannot be described. Fortunately, Mengele heard this and saved us because he still needed us.

The front was approaching and the mood in the camp lifted. During this time, I became a Pipel in the Krankenbau, i.e. a runner, and so I was slightly better off. But then came winter and a new year, which was happier because we could hear the thunder of cannons. A rumor went around that the camp was going to be liquidated, but nothing happened. Finally, on January 16th, they led the first transport on foot out of Birkenau. The following days were extremely vexing, because one transport after another departed. Everyone left voluntarily and we children were the last to leave, partly because we didn’t want to go. People had to walk 60 km in the cold and frost, poorly clothed and hungry. We expected to be told that trains would come pick us up. We finally got what we wanted on January 20th, the day the last SSman left the camp. This was a wonderful time for us. We went wherever we wanted, ate whatever we wanted, did whatever we felt like doing. We roamed around the SS camp. In short, we were having a great time. We went without supervision for 5 days. Then, a group of SDmen arrived. They wanted to do us in, but didn’t get the chance. They, too, fled, and so we stayed until January 27th, when the victorious Red Army took over.

On March 27th, the Czech Svoboda’s Army took charge of us and brought us to Prague. Out of our family of 18, only 3 of us survived.”

Letter from Gerta Sachsová addressed to family friends. Gerta was deported with her husband from Prague to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in July 1943, from where she was sent to Auschwitz in autumn 1944. Her parents and husband were murdered . Gerta describes their fate and her difficult postwar adaptation..

“My Dears,

We are overjoyed that we are finally in written touch with you and that we can write to you in our mother tongue. We have so much to tell you that there isn’t enough paper in the world that could contain it all. Unfortunately, it’s mostly all bad news. So little of it is good. As you have perhaps already learned from Maruška, out of our whole family only Hanka and I returned, but we are happy that at least the two of us were reunited. I must tell you all about our departure from Prague. As you know, Kurt and I were transported to Theresienstadt in July 1943 to be with our parents and Hanka. We were together there for 1 ¼ years. We were doing rather well, all told. Kurt and my parents worked in the office, Hanka in the bakery, and I mostly did nothing because I was sick. Then, in the fall of 1944, we were gradually transported — father left separately, mother with Hanka, and I with Kurt. All of the transports went to Auschwitz. You cannot imagine what we suffered through. I don’t want to describe our experiences and so it’s perhaps a little cruel of me to write and tell you so directly that our dear mother died there. Father, who successfully made it past the selection process, was shot on the Czech border on May 3rd, 1945, just 5 days before the end of the war, during the evacuation of the labor camp where he was sent. Kurt was separated from me in Theresienstadt near the train and it was only when I returned to Prague that I learned that he was held for about 3 weeks in the Small Fortress and was supposedly shot there. We are positive regarding father since he was with Hanka’s young man, who returned. Jirka also returned and we’re living together with him now. I ran into Hanka by happy chance in Prague. She had come back one month earlier than I and she no longer believed that I would return. I’m sure you can imagine what our life is like now. Our financial situation is miserable; we don’t have enough clothes to wear.

I’ll likely find an office job. Hanka is graduating in September and then she’ll probably make her living as an illustrator. In short, this is all that we wanted to tell you about what we went through. We don’t know what the future holds. We are in touch with Maruška. Her little Jana is so adorable. We have visited them several times. Please write us soon and let us know if you are coming. We would love to see you, we have so much to tell. You can’t imagine how we are faring. But at least we are happy that you will come and see us.

sources

https://candlesholocaustmuseum.org/learn/mengele-twin-stories.html?page=3

https://early-testimony.ehri-project.eu/

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Stella Goldschlag- Jewish collaborator.

stella

It is easy for me to be judgmental about Stella Goldschlag, but the fact is I don’t know what I would have done. However Stella did go beyond anything I would have done. Stella was boen in Berlin on July 10,1922 as the only child to a middle class Jewish family.

Although the family did observe all the Jewish holidays, they were German citizens. Her father was a World War I veteran.

But like any other Jewish family they were treated as lesser citizens with the arrival of the Nuremberg laws, and gradually their lives would become more and more perilous. After the 1938 November pogrom the family tried to leave Germany, but could not get the required visas.

In 1941, Stella married a Jewish Jazz musician, Manfred Kübler. They had met whilst  working as Jewish forced-labourers in a war plant in Berlin. In  1942, when the Berlin Jews started to be rounded up and deported to the concentration and death camps, Stella went underground, using forged papers to pass as a non-Jew , her blue eyes and blonde hair gave her an ‘Aryan’ appearance.

However in 1943 Stella, her husband and her parents were found out and arrested. Manfred was deported to Auschwitz.

In order to safe herself and her parents Stella agreed to start working for the Gestapo as Greiferin(catcher) to get the Jews who had gone in hiding, sometimes referred to as U-Boats.

Stella was very successful tracing her former schoolmates and handing their information over to the Gestapo, while posing as an ‘U-Boat’ herself. Some of Stella’s tricks to apprehend Jews in hiding included promising them food and accommodation, meanwhile turning them over to the Nazi authorities.

Although she was promised that her Parents would be safe they were also deported to Auschwitz, but initially were sent to Theresienstadt. They were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau in October 1944. This did not stop Stella to continue working fort the Gestapo

On October 29,1944 she married a fellow Jewish collaborator,Rolf Isaaksohn.

They were granted a bounty of 200-300 Reichsmark for every Jew in hiding who was arrested with their help. Carrying a gun and papers identifying them as Gestapo agents, they were free to move about the city and did not have to wear the Yellow star .Initially, the Greifer HQ was located in the transit camp at Grosse Hamburgerstrasse but was lare on moved to  the pathology wing of the Jewish hospital.

On one weekend alone, Goldschlag helped the Gestapo catch 62 Jews.

After the war she went into hiding . however she was found and arrested by the Soviets in October 1945. She was sentenced to 10 years in detention.

arrest

After her detention she moved to Weset Berlin, where she was arrested and tried again, She was sentenced to 10 years , but due to the fact she already served time in Soviet detention the sentence was suspended.

Rolf died in 1945, I don’t know under what circumstances.

Stella committed suicide in  1994 by throwing herself out of the window of her apartment in Freiburg.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know 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. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Sources

https://www.tracesofwar.com/articles/5158/Goldschlag-Stella.htm

https://www.aviva-berlin.de/aviva/Found.php?id=141669

http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/staticpages/421.html

https://historycollection.co/treason-12-historys-notorious-traitors/10/