Sunday, 27 July 2014

Nazis take foreign journalists to Kiev 2 weeks after Babi Yar

On Sunday, October 12, 1941, twenty-eight foreign journalists set out from Berlin on a 2,500-mile, German-conducted tour of German-occupied Polish and Ukrainian territory; one of the journalists who went on the tour was Texan Ernest G. Fischer shown in the above photograph with his family after his return home following the U.S.'s entry into World War II.

On October 14, 1941, Fischer posted a report from Kiev, where, between September 29 and 30, 1941, the Germans are supposed to have killed all the remaining Jewish inhabitants—precisely 33,771—after the bulk of them fled the city with the retreating Soviet authorities.

Fischer made no mention of Kiev's Jews in his report; he states that he was informed by a German officer that 300,000 of the city's population had left the city before the Germans began to close in, and devotes most of the article to detailing the immense damage caused by the booby-trap bombs hidden in the city by the Soviets:

Below is Fischer's article about Kiev, and then some others he wrote whilst in the Ukraine, or that feature photographs he took there.

1958, Treblinka flooded

Google Earth image of the Małkinia-Treblinka bridge over the river Bug. 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

379 members of my family were gassed at Auschwitz

Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), Wednesday, January 2, 1957, p.4B.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Alfred Rosenberg didn't believe in gas vans

Alfred Rosenberg, and genuine Nazi gas van (according to the Simon Wiesenthal Centre at least)

On November 5, 1945, just over a fortnight before the International Military Tribunal commenced, Alfred Rosenberg was interrogated at Nuremberg by the Soviet Major General Alexandrov. They had the following exchange:

ALEXANDROV: How about the mass extermination of thousands of innocent people, for instance, Jews in the Ghettoes of Warsaw and other cities. Did you hear about such things; did you hear about the gas vans? 
ROSENBERG: I have heard about them but I don't believe it. 
ALEXANDROV: But it is a fact. We have documents which prove that all this was done. We also have people that are still alive who witnessed these atrocities. There is no question but that these things are true. How do you feel about them? 
ROSENBERG: I would assume that in such a gigantic struggle there would be many victims but I still don't believe this part where you allege to prove that deliberate mass extermination was practiced in this manner. I did, of course, know that in connection with our struggle there were many executions. I did not know anything about mass extermination to the extent and in the manner as you say. 
ALEXANDROV: We could prove all this to you. 
ROSENBERG: When we marched into Riga I was told that there had been a torture chamber of your MKVD. 
ALEXANDROV: That is not true, but we have at our disposal documents of the German Police which show that the most bestial measures were applied against the people in the East. 
ROSENBERG: Did you, General, ever see a report on Winnitza? It deals with a great number of executions. This matter was investigated by experts from neutral countries; thousands of dead Ukranians [sic] were found and many of those were identified by their relatives. 
ALEXANDROV: Who killed them? 
ROSENBERG: The Soviet Police. 
ALEXANDROV:  The German authorities always tried to make the German crimes appear as though they were Soviet crimes. I have here another order in which the Fuehrer gave the following instructions. In this directive the Fuehrer approves of the most cruel methods, including the killing of children if used to cover the partisans. In such cases German officers and non—commissioned officers should be permitted to open fire against such women and children and should not have to be afraid of subsequent punishment. Such instructions were issued by the Fuehrer. I am going to tell you now what Jodl's reply was in that conference. "There is no question that our troops may do whatever they wish; if necessary, they may hang people by their feet or cut them in four." What do you think of these things? 
ROSENBERG: I must say that setting afire houses with women and children in them--that was what partisans did many times in their fight against us--it is nothing extraordinary. 
ALEXANDROV: We are not talking about partisans; the partisans were active in the German rear--but here you were in control--the German Government was controlling these territorities? 
ROSENBERG: Where we were in control no such incidents happened, but such things did happen where the partisans were active.

In an earlier interrogation, on September 22, 1945, future Nuremberg prosecutor Colonel John Amen had asked Rosenberg whether Germans who had worked in the concentration camps were justified in claiming they were merely following orders when carrying-out Hitler's inhumane orders, when they had known his orders were unlawful. Rosenberg replied:  

I think that such orders for inhuman conduct in concentration camps could not ever have been given, [...] My personal opinion is that such inhuman things ought not and could not have been ordered.

Later the same day, Rosenberg claimed that he'd heard that "some Jews" had been shot by the German police in the occupied territories; that he knew nothing nor had put no effort into discovering what went on in Himmler's concentration camps, and had the following exchange with American Colonel Thomas S. Hinkel: 

HINKEL: You knew it was Himmler's policy to exterminate the Jews, didn't you? 
ROSENBERG: In this shape or manner, I did not believe it until the end.
HINKEL: You had been informed of that, had you not? 
ROSENBERG: No; I was not. 
HINKEL: Everybody else seems to have known it. Why didn't you know about it? 
ROSENBERG: I learned about it the first time by the radio which mentioned and cited speeches of Jews abroad. 
HINKEL: Didn't you receive the Hitler order, wherein Himmler was appointed the person in charge of Jewish affairs? 
ROSENBERG: No; I haven't seen it, but I have been told of it. 
HINKEL: And when were you told about it?
ROSENBERG: In the '30s. 
HINKEL: You knew what Himmler's policy was towards the Jews? 
ROSENBERG: Well, those things must hove become rather acute during the war because before the war such things didn't happen. Himmler only mentioned once that he had to drive away the Jews from Dusseldorf, and that they were in a camp where in about a fortnight they set up a cabaret. 

Rosenberg denied he'd had knowledge of the alleged plan to kill all of Europe's Jews throughout the Nuremberg trial:

DR. HAENSEL: Do you know that the SS, as far as the Jews were concerned, followed secret aims and objectives, others than those that were published officially?
ROSENBERG: That I learned here.
DR. HAENSEL: You do not know that from your own knowledge?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The one-man Natzweiler gas chamber

This photograph was taken at Natzweiler concentration camp, very probably in 1945, and shows four members of the French Resistance next to a steam disinfestation chamber similar to those in Auschwitz II (Birkenau) and Mauthausen. A stretcher is being balanced on the entrance to the chamber purely to create the impression that the Germans stretchered people into this hygiene facility and killed them with poison gas.

Below is the reverse of the photograph, which shows that it was approved for propaganda purposes by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces, although, interestingly, not in the U.S. or Britain.

This is Dutch political historian Dr. Hinke Piersma of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam, and her 2006 book Doodstraf op termijn. Nederlandse Nacht und Nebel-gevangenen in kamp Natzweiler (Death in Instalments: Dutch Night & Fog Prisoners in Camp Natzweiler). I haven't looked at the book, so I don't know whether it features details of the one-man Natzweiler gas chamber, but I do know that on the website of her institution, on a page which promotes her book, the photograph does appear along with the caption: "French soldiers in front of an experimental gass [sic] chamber in Camp Natzweiler."

Monday, 14 July 2014

"the gas chambers operated constantly at Buchenwald"

Art Zander was a United States Air Force navigator whose Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber was shot down over France in June 1944. Zander parachuted to safety and after a few weeks on the run he was arrested and soon sent to Buchenwald (Furtherglory of scrapbookpages.com writes about the USAF members who were sent to Buchenwald for collaborating with the French Resistance). 
In 1999 Zander received $46,874.00 from the German taxpayer for the four months he spent in Buchenwald, following which, he spoke to a journalist in his home town of Rockford, Illinois, about the Buchenwald gas chamber: 

"We figured we'd had it if we were going to Buchenwald," Zander said. "We knew they gassed prisoners in the showers. We figured when they put us in there, we were gone. But they just cleaned us up and gave us clothes from people they had just executed."
Zander said the gas chambers operated constantly at Buchenwald. He remembers the stench from the ovens, where victims' bodies were burned.
- Rockford Register Star, Monday, September 13, 1999.

That wasn't the first occasion Zander has spoken of the Buchenwald gas chambers to a journalist from the Register Star, in another interview two years earlier he'd claimed:

"The gas chambers were working all the time," he said. "You could tell when the ovens were burning. I haven't smelled anything like it since."
- Rockford Register Star, Tuesday, April 22, 1997.

Rockford Register Star (Rockford, IL), Tuesday, April 22, 1997, pp. 1A & 4A (enlarged)

Rockford Register Star (Rockford, IL), Monday, September 13, 1999, pp. 7A & 8A (enlarged).