Sgt.Roddie Edmonds- We are all Jews here.

Roddie Edmonds and many of his fellow US Army mates were captured by Nazi forces on 19 December 1944, during the battle of the Bulge . Some of them were sent to Stalag IX B Edmonds was the senior noncommissioned officer (Master Sergeant), and was therefore responsible for the camp’s 1,275 American POWs.

The men of the 422nd Regiment were forced to march about 50 kilometers to Gerolstein, Germany , there they were loaded into cattle/box cars, 60 to 70 men per car, with almost no food or water. The following 7 days and nights they traveling to Stalag IXB in Bad Orb. Where they arrived on Christmas day 1945,25December. After about a month in Bad Orb, the American POWs were divided into three groups – officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and enlisted men. The NCOs were taken to Stalag IXA in Ziegenhain. There were 1,000 men in this group.

Om January 25,1945-2 days before Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops- they arrived in Stalag IX A, Ziegenheim

The camp commandant ordered Edmonds to tell only the Jewish-American soldiers to present themselves at the next morning’s assembly so they could be separated from the other prisoners. Instead, Edmonds ordered all 1,275 to assemble outside their barracks. The German commandant rushed up to Edmonds in a fury, placed his pistol against Edmonds’ head and demanded that he identify the Jewish soldiers under his command. Instead, Edmonds responded “We are all Jews here,” and threatened to have the commandant investigated and prosecuted for war crimes after the conflict ended, should any of Edmonds’ men be harmed.

Luckily the camp commandant had still a bit of common sense left and took the the threat serious. Many other would not have done that and would have executed all men.

Because of this brave stand against the Nazi tyranny, Sgt Edmonds saved 200 Jewish men. But it was more then 200 he saved. These men had children and grandchildren and even great grandchildren. So this number can be multiplied several times.

Roddie Edmonds a hero who rightly awarded the recognition as a Righteous among the people by Yad Vashem.

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Only 11

Helene

Helene Wegbrejt it is just a random name

She lived in Paris. She was French and Jewish.  Her birthday was September 16,1930. She would have been 89 today,but she didn’t even get to age 12. She was murdered in August 1942 in Auschwitz.

She was one of many on Transport 20 from Pithiviers to Auschwitz which left on August 17, 1942.

Helene Wegbrejt just a random name but not a random girl. She was a young lady who had a bright future ahead of her as an actress or teacher or just a mother and home maker but she was not allowed to become any of this.

Her murder may have seen random but it was not, It was a deliberate plan to erase a group of people who did not fit in the warped Nazi ideology.

Helene Wegbrejt was only 11 when she died.

Seeing this beautiful child all dresses up which such a pride in her expression and a lovely smile just breaks my heart, to think that she could have been considered a threat. It just sickens me to the core.

Paying to be transported to death.

 

tickets

Killing the Jews wasn’t enough for the Nazi regime. They also needed to be humiliated. and their deaths had to be profitable. Laws were introduced to remove them from any social interaction and then they were forcibly removed from their homes, with only one suitcase of possessions, all other valuables were sold or just taken by Nazi officials.

Then when they were put on transport to the concentration camps or death camps(in my opinion they were all death camps, some camps just killed more on an industrial scale) They even had to pay for the train tickets.

The majority of Jews were made to pay for their own deportations, especially wherever passenger carriages were used. The payments were done in a way  of direct money deposit to the SS in relation to  the “resettlement to work in the East” myth. Charged in the ghettos for accommodation, adult Jews paid full price one-way tickets, the Nazis knew there would not be any return tickets.  Children under 12 years of age paid half price, and those under four did not have to pay. The Jews who no money left were typically  the first to be deported.

passengers

The SS would forward the monies to the German transport authority , to be paid to the Reichsbahn to finance and accommodate further transports.

In 2009 an expert report established on behalf of the German “Train of Commemoration” project, estimates that the Reichsbahn pocketed a €445,000,000 or $462,000,000. between 1938 and 1945.

The Reichsbahn weren’t the only ones to profit. The Dutch and French railways and other European rail companies also made money from the transports.

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Sources

Click to access Gutachten.pdf

https://books.google.ie/books?id=IfoBx6skMCkC&redir_esc=y

 

107,000 people on 97 transports

Train

I am not a great fan of statistics because without the full story behind them, they can be manipulated and often they are.

However sometimes they can be useful to indicate a scale, In this the scale of death and destruction during the Holocaust.

Between July 15,1942 and 13 September 1944 107,000 Jews were deported  from Westerbork in the Netherlands to other camps in Europe, mainly eastern Europe and for the majority to the death camps.

107,000 people over 97 transports, which is an average of about 1,103 people per transport. Just think of that for a minute.

If you have come to terms with that number  , then leave this sink in 107,000 is only about 1.6% of the total numbers of Jews murdered.

train 1

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Sources

NIOD

 

Children

Children

The one thing I find hardest to come to terms with in relation to the Holocaust is the murder of the Children, in fact it is something I will never be able to comprehend.

I know that some people will say The Nazis did not select children  because they were children, but because they were , or rather their parents,part  of dangerous racial, biological, or political groups as per Nazi ideology. But I really do not give a f*ck about that. Excuse my language but I really get angry when people start to look for a reason behind the murder of innocent lives. There is only one reason, pure evil.

There will be people who will say that those involved in the killing were following orders and were afraid of their won lives, because if they did not carry out those orders they wold be killed themselves. But there is no evidence whatsoever that there were any punitive actions taken to those who refused to kill children or even adults.

Even if that had been the case. If I had been in their place, I would have let them kill me before I would even think of killing a child, in fact I probably would have fought back first and killed those who ordered the killing, for the simple reason that I am human being and every fiber of my humanity tells me murdering a child is wrong and takes away my humanity.

The picture at the top and the picture below are both pictures if children who were put on transport to death camps, for the sole reason to be murdered. What strike me about both pictures, it they were put in a non Holocaust context they could have been pictures of children going on a school trip. There is no chaos, they are walking in an orderly line , completely trusting the adults that accompany them.

Trnsport

I know tonight I will have nightmares and the pictures will haunt me, but that is a small price to pay.

 

 

Source

USHMM

 

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My Wonder Child.

Moshe

There is a beautiful Irish song written and composed by Jimmy Mccarthy, it is called “My Wonder Child”. This is just part of the song text.

“This child he means the world to me
There is no more enchanted
A child can take this place of ruin
And magically enhance it”

This really applies to every child ever born. They are a wonder , a miracle. That’s why it is just so unfathomable there were those who felt compelled to destroy at least 1.5 million of these miracles. I can’t comprehend the evil behind it nor do I want to. It would and does sicken me to the core and touches my soul like nothing else does.

One of these 1.5 million + children was Moshe Tov Ihie Goldberger . He was born in Bratislava , the current capital of Slovakia. in 1940. The exact date is unknown.

He died in 1942 on transport #49 to either Sobibor or Auschwitz from Zilina,Trencin,Slovakia,Czechoslov.

Dear Moshe I want to cry and never stop crying but that doesn’t help me nor does it help you. I would love to hold you, embrace you and tell you everything will be fine, but I can’t.

I am convinced though that you are out there somewhere , as an angel, a real wonder child. Please know you are not forgotten.

 

Source

Yad Vashem

 

Lodz Ghetto . Children rounded up for deportation to Chelmno extermination camp.

Children

I wanted to change the title of the blog to evoke an emotion, but I figured if this doesn’t hit you in the gut nothing will.

It is the actual  title of the picture it is from a public domain. I only changed the names from German into the Polish names.

When you don’t know the background to the picture, you would think that it is an old picture of young primary school children going for a walk or a field trip.

I regularly see a group of children of a similar size, about 30 or so, walking from the local primary school to the leisure centre about half a mile down he road, it is the same centre I attend, they go there for swimming lessons.My children were pupils in that school and would have walked that same route.

However the children in the picture don’t go for a fun activity. They were rounded up to be transported to a place where they would be murdered. There are only 2 adults in the picture A man who is near the end of the group, he is bend over and appears to be giving some instructions.He is wearing an armband so I assuming he is a Kapo or Sonderkommando,but I can’t tell for certain.

On the right edge of the picture stands a woman, she may just be a bystander but my feeling tells me she is a female guard.

What disturbs me about this is that those 2 adults know what will happen to the children and are willingly or forcibly participating. I could not do that, I’d rather kill myself.

Time and time again I ask myself, Why the children? I know the answer but I cannot and will not accept it, the children were seen as enemies and subhuman, and they would grow up to be adult enemies. But the twisted and evil logic behind it escapes me.

This is a line from a Whitney Houston song but it is so fitting here “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.Show them all the beauty they possess inside.”

They are our future by killing them you kill the future.

Every time I see a group of Schoolchildren now going for a walk or fieldtrip, I will think of this picture and will pray that no other child will ever be deported to be killed.But I will also look at the kids and will enjoy their innocent smiles and laughter, just a bit more then I did before

Source

USHMM

 

 

93 Trains

transport

93 trains left concentration camp Westerbork in the Netherlands between July 1942 and September 1944. All the trains were heading eastbound. Not one single  journey would be  a pleasant one , The final destination would more then likely result in death.

I deliberately call Westerbork a concentration camp, because that’s what it was, It is often referred to as a Transit camp, although technically correct, I am not comfortable with theat description, because I believe it lessens the horrific nature the camp really had. The irony,for lack of a better word,  is that in the summer of 1939 the camp was designated for Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany.

93 Trains

Auschwitz  58,380    854 survived.
Sobibor  34,313           18 survived.
Theresiënstadt 4,894   approximately  1,980 survived.
Bergen-Belsen 3,751     approximately 2,050 survived.
Buchenwald and Ravensbrück 150      10 survived.

Each number is a human being with a story of life lived, and a life that could have been.

On September 3,1944 the last train to Auschwitz departed from Westerbork. On that transport was an author who go one to sell millions of books. She and her family all arrived in Auschwitz 3 days later.

list

The author was Anne Frank.She never got to enjoy the success of her book. The fact is that if she would have survived, her diary would probably not have been published, and if I am honest, I would have preferred it that way. I would have preferred that she would have survived the war, together with all the other millions who were brutally murdered because they were either Jewish, Gypsy, Disabled,Communist,Jehovah Witness or just someone who spoke out to the regime.

Donation

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Sources

Traces of War

Joods Mounument

NIOD

jodenvervolginginfotos.nl

 

Reichsbahn-‘Weapon’ of mass destruction.

Reichsbahn

If it hadn’t been for the Reichsbahn-the Nazi contolled railways ,the Holocaust would not have been possible to the extend it was.The irony, for lack of a better word, the hate for the Jews by  Hitler ,Himmler and the other Nazi leaders quite possibly caused them to lose the war. So many trains had been allocated to transport Jews and others to the death camps and concentration camps, that there was a lack of trains for transport of troops,supplies and equipment especially to the Eastern front.

Julius Heinrichtrein Dorpmueller was  general manager of Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft and the Reich Minister for Transport from 1937 to 1945.After the Nazi seizure of power Dorpmüller replaced nearly all “non-Aryan” workers with National Socialists. Dorpmüller became Reich Transport Minister on 2 February 1937

Dorpmüller had doubts about the capacity of the Reichsbahn and had confessed to Albert Speer  at one stage that the  Reichsbahn had not enough  cars and locomotives available for the German area that it was no longer possible  to meet the most urgent transportation needs.

Speer then convinced Hitler to appoint Albert Ganzenmüller state secretary under Dorpmüller. Ganzenmüller immediately goy  involved in the organisation of trains for deportation.Albert He collaborated in the transportation scheme for elderly German Jews to Theresienstadt and made sure  the  transport to the extermination camps as set up under Operation Reinhardt  ran as smoothly as possible. However there were some complaints about the management of the transports by Ganzemüller. On July 16 Himmler’s personal adjutant Karl Wolff, , complained to the newly appointed under-secretary about irregularities on  transport and track repairs on the line to the extermination camp at Sobibor. Ganzenmüller replied in writing on 28 July 1942 as follows:

“A train carrying 5,000 Jews has run daily since 22 July from Warsaw to Treblinka via Malkinia; furthermore, another train has run twice a week with 5,000 Jews from Przemysl to Belzec. The senior management of the eastern division of the railways, ‘Gedob’ (Generaldirektion der Ostbahnen), is in constant touch with the security service  in Krakau. The latter is in agreement that transport from Warsaw to Sobibor via Lublin should continue while the reconstruction work on this stretch renders such movements impossible ([until] approximately October 1942).”

Karl Wolff thanked him on 13 August 1942 in a personal letter:

“I note with particular pleasure from your communication that a train with 5,000 members of the chosen race has been running daily for 14 days and that we are accordingly in a position to continue with this population movement at an accelerated pace.”

Not only was the Reichsbahn used as a sort of weapon of mass destruction , it was also used as a money making tool.Most of the Jews were forced to pay for their own deportations, particularly wherever passenger carriages were used.According to an expert report established on behalf of the German “Train of Commemoration” project, the receipts taken in by the state-owned Deutsche Reichsbahn for mass deportations in the period between 1938 and 1945 reached a sum of  an equivalent of close to 450 Million Euro or 505 Million USD.

It must be said that it wasn’t only the German railways who were involved, most of the other European railways also transported Jews and other so called’undesirables’ to the camps. Although they were controlled by the Reichsbahn, they still had some level of autonomy.

slovak train

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Archive.org

Bundesarchiv

 

Westerbork the Jewish refugee camp that became a concentration camp.

Westerbork

What a lot of people don’t realize is that Camp Westerbork was actually established as a refugee camp for Jews escaping the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria.and who had illegally entered the Netherlands. It was established by the Dutch government in the summer of 1939.

In July 1942, the Nazis took over the camp and turned it into a transition camp. Jews arrested in the Netherlands were taken to the camp and put on transport. Transport trains arrived at Westerbork every Tuesday from July 1942 to September 1944, and left with close to 100,000 jews.But also Roma and Sinti were transported from Westerbork.

The Deportations were part of  the responsibilities of Gestapo sub-Department IV-B4, which was headed by Adolf Eichmann.

train

Although the camp was relatively “humane” by  Nazi standards , it was cruel in other ways. Jewish inmates with families were housed in 200 interconnected cottages The cottages  contained two rooms, a toilet, a hot plate for cooking, and a small yard. Single inmates were put  in oblong  shaped barracks which contained a separate bathroom for each sex.

The camp also had a school, hairdresser, orchestra and even restaurants arranged by SS officials to give inmates a false sense of hope for survival but also to aid avoiding problems during transportation.

school

Nearly t all of the  estimated 95,00 persons deported to Auschwitz and Sobibor in German-occupied Poland were killed upon arrival.

The camp was  liberated by Canadian forces on April 12, 1945. A total of 876 inmates were found.

liberation

The fact that the Nazis maintained that false sense of hope is probably one of the most sickening aspects of the camp. They knew what the fate was of the inmates and giving them that hope that they would survive, that they were only going to be resettled to Eastern Europe.

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

Liberation Route Europe