Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Escape via the Auschwitz gas chamber window

Curator of the Auschwitz museum Tadeusz Szymaski's August 1964 sketch of the gas chamber
at Birkenau commonly known as Bunker 2, based on information from survivor Dov Paisikovic.
source: Carlo Mattogno, The Bunkers of Auschwitz: Black Propaganda versus History, p.210.

Below is an excerpt of a sworn statement prepared in Paris during 1954 on behalf of Polish-born Jew Malvina Knabel née Margulies and her French Jewish husband Serge Knabel; the statement was based on information they had provided in earlier declarations and was issued as part of the procedure of claiming compensation from the West German government.
The quoted excerpt relates the story of how Malvina escaped from Auschwitz when aged ten years old:
"An Arbeitskommando was formed; we had to gather up stones. Once when I couldn't work any longer because of exhaustion and weakness, the SS-people beat me in the most brutal fashion and then brought me, together with other children, out of my barrack into the gas chamber. This happened in Winter 1943. It was night, and we waited a long time, perhaps two hours, before we were bought into the gas chamber. It is difficult for me, and I am reluctant, to report details about the gas chamber. There were a lot of us ["we were numerous"], all undressed, children of both sexes. At the top of the room there was a window-hole that served for ventilation after the gassing of prisoners. Two men that I didn't know, and that spoke a language unknown to me, helped me climb out of the hole, and likewise a boy, who still lives [is still alive today] in Russia. The boy was then 14 years old. He told me the following: after I came out through the hole out of the gas chamber, I lost consciousness. He carried me and was able to get to the adjoining fields, since the burning and gas installations were located outside the barbed wire. As I regained consciousness, we were in a small grove; it was still dark." 
Her positioning of the gas chamber as outside of the barbed wire would suggest to some that it was Bunker 2, although that particular gas chamber is usually claimed to have been completely unused between the spring of 1943 and summer of 1944.
Following their escape, Malvina and the boy hid in the woods for several days, and begged for food and clothing. Eventually they made it the 250 miles to Berezhany (now in the Ukraine), where Malvina worked on a farm under an assumed named until the arrival of the Soviets in the spring of 1944; in 1946 she left for Israel on a children's transport. The statement does not detail how she came to be in France, nor how she had been reunited a 14-year-old French Jewish boy she'd originally met in Auschwitz during 1943, Serge Knabel, who became her husband. 

Testaments to the Holocaust: Series 1: Archives of the Wiener Library, London
Knabel, Serge; Knabel, Malvina (née Margulies), 20 October 1954, 
Eyewitness Accounts: Doc. No. P.III.h. No.953. (Auschwitz): 5 pages. Reel: 54

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