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SS Tiger
06-24-2006, 08:47 PM
Interesting post, I often wonder if she ever knew about the "Death Camps" ect

George Eller
06-24-2006, 09:25 PM
Interesting post, I often wonder if she ever knew about the "Death Camps" ect
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In 1944 Braun invited her cousin Gertraud Weisker to visit her at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden. Decades later, Weisker recalled that although women in the Third Reich were expected not to wear make-up, drink, or smoke, Eva did all of these things. "She was the unhappiest woman I have ever met," said Weisker, who informed Braun about how poorly the war was going for Germany, having illegally listened to BBC news broadcasts in German. Weisker also claimed neither of them knew anything about the concentration camps, although both were keenly aware that Jews in Germany were severely persecuted.

Above quoted from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Braun

But then again many Germans made that claim.

I'm not sure that it would have made a difference for her as she (like the rest of Germany) was well aware of his views concerning the Jews and that didn't seem to deter her devotion to him.

JMHO

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FW-190 Pilot
06-25-2006, 02:46 AM
i remember there is a young lady who work in the Auschwitz concentration camp. she was eventually executed at the young age of 21-22

Lancer44
06-25-2006, 03:18 AM
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In 1944 Braun invited her cousin Gertraud Weisker to visit her at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden. Decades later, Weisker recalled that although women in the Third Reich were expected not to wear make-up, drink, or smoke, Eva did all of these things. "She was the unhappiest woman I have ever met," said Weisker, who informed Braun about how poorly the war was going for Germany, having illegally listened to BBC news broadcasts in German. Weisker also claimed neither of them knew anything about the concentration camps, although both were keenly aware that Jews in Germany were severely persecuted.

Above quoted from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Braun

But then again many Germans made that claim.

I'm not sure that it would have made a difference for her as she (like the rest of Germany) was well aware of his views concerning the Jews and that didn't seem to deter her devotion to him.

JMHO

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Question raised by SS Tiger deserves separate thread.
I would't like to offend our German friends on this Forum or touch something too sensitive, but I clearly remember what I heard from people in Poland which lived there during WWII.
They all said that Auschwitz or Oswiencim name was commonly known.
Obviously not all truth was known, but most common urban legend of this time was that "Germans gass Jews in Auschwitz and produce soap from their bodies".
Soap proved to be rumour and legend - the rest is part of recognised history.

I wonder that Germans living in the same areas claim that "they never heard anything about killing Jews".
Hard to understand.

Lancer44

bas
06-29-2006, 01:35 AM
i remember there is a young lady who work in the Auschwitz concentration camp. she was eventually executed at the young age of 21-22

http://max.mmvi.de/ssfrauen/biskupia.htm

Text is in German.

Edit: Warning, images are of the actual hanging.

George Eller
06-29-2006, 01:48 AM
http://max.mmvi.de/ssfrauen/biskupia.htm

Text is in German.

Edit: Warning, images are of the actual hanging.
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I see...camp guards and the like executed after the war. Interesting. Thanks Bas.

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pdf27
06-29-2006, 01:34 PM
Obviously not all truth was known, but most common urban legend of this time was that "Germans gass Jews in Auschwitz and produce soap from their bodies".
Soap proved to be rumour and legend - the rest is part of recognised history.
Rumour and legend at Auschwitz anyway - at the Nuremburg trials it was found to have taken place in Danzig, although there is some doubt if this was the case or not.

[This document is also known as USSR-197, and is referred to in the Nuremberg court transcript of 19 February 46, IMT VII, starting on page 597]

In Danzig on 28th May 1945, the Judge-Advocate of the rear services of the Second Byelorussion Front, Lieutenant-Colonel Geitman of the legal service, and the investigating Officer of the Judge-Advocate's Office of the Second Byelorussion Front, Major Kadensky of the legal service, examined the undernamed person as a witness, and he gave evidence: Zigmund Yuzefovich Mazur, born in 1920, native of Danzig, a Pole who received German citizenship in January 1944; completed 6 classes of the Polish "gymnasium" (grammar school) in Danzig in 1939; voluntarily served as a soldier in the Polish army in 1939; a clerical worker; unmarried, according to his declaration, not previously convicted; he lived at no. 2, Betschergasse, Danzig, and was employed until April 1945 as a laboratory assistant at the Anatomical Institute of Danzig; his mocther lives in Danzig at no. 10, Neuschottland Street; he has a command of the Polish and German languages.

The testimony is translated from Polish into Russion by the interpreter of the Danzig Commandant's Office, Boguslava Kostinova. The word "German" has been altered to "Polish," which should be taken as the correct version.

The interpreter was warned of her liability for refusing to translate and for giving a false translation under Articles 92 and 95 of the Criminal Law Code of the Soviet Federal Socialist Republic.

-----

In October 1940, while in Danzig, I was looking for work.

The German official Gustav Lange from the Danzig employment office, to whom I had given one of the rooms of my flat, promised to find me a better, more suitable job in one of the educational establishments of Danzig, and after this Iwas sent to the Anatomical Institute of Danzig, where I began work in January 1941. At first I was working as a courier for three months. While working as a courier, I began to take an interest in medicine, and with the help of Lange and Professor Spanner, I was appointed to the post of laboratory assistant at the Anatomical Institute, from January 1941. My duties as laboratory assistant included drawing charts and assisting in the dissection of corpses.

The Director of the Anatomical Institute was a German from the town of Kiel, Professor Rudolf Spanner, who left for the area of the town of Halle in January 1945.

Professor Spanner's deputy was a doctor, Senior Lecturer Wollman -- he was an SS officer, but wore civilian clothes, and sometimes black SS uniform. Wallmon was from Czechoslovakia, and his Czechoslovakian surname was Kozlik.

In January 1945 he voluntarily entered the SS forces.

From October 1944, a woman, Fosbeck from Doppot, was working as an assistant. She left for Halle with Professor Spanner. She was doing post-graduate work with Professor Spanner.

The senior laboratory assistant was von Bargen, who came to Danzig from Kiel with Professor Spanner.

The attendant for laying out corpses was a German, Reichert from Danzig, who left in November 1944 to join the German army. Borckman, a German from Danzig, was likewise an attendant, but I do not know where he is now.

Q: Tell us how the soap was made out of human fat at the Danzig Anatomic Institute.

A: In the courtyard of the Anatomic Institute a one-story stone building of three rooms was built during the summer of 1943. This building was erected for the utilization of human bodies and for the boiling of bones. This was officially announced by Professor Spanner. This laboratory was called a laboratory for the fabrication of skeletons, the burning of meat and unnecessary bones. But already during the winter of 1943-44 Professor Spanner ordered us to collect human fat and not to throw it away. This order was given to Reichert and Borkmann.

In February 1944 Professor Spanner gave me the recipe for the preparation of soap from human fat. According to this recipe 5 kilos of human fat are mixed with 10 liters of water and 500 or 1000 grams of caustic soda. All this is boiled 2 or 3 hours and then cooled. The soap floats to the surface while the water and other sediment remain at the bottom. A bit of salt and soda is added to this mixture. Then fresh water is added, and the mixture again boiled 2 or 3 hours. After having cooled the soap is poured into molds.
Technical discussion of the soap recipe at link: http://www.historiography-project.org/misc/frenzsoap.html

Edited to note that any soap production at Danzig was on a pilot plant/experimental scale rather than any form of mass production.

George Eller
06-29-2006, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for the very informative post pdf27 :)

Excellent info.

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Dani
06-29-2006, 05:45 PM
Question raised by SS Tiger deserves separate thread.


Long after your suggestion a new thread was formed.
Cheers!

SS Tiger
06-29-2006, 06:47 PM
I think its so wrong that certain people were hanged, many were just following orders. Many of these people were for the most part normal people and didn't deserve death.

Lancer44
06-29-2006, 09:31 PM
Hi Dani,

Thanks a lot!

Now we have to somewhat re-define this thread. Original topic was based on question if "ordinary German people had any knowledge what was happening in various concentration camps".

Since than thread somewhat drifted into "hanging" and "soap".

I will try to connect these parts of the thread.

Soap made from human fat is an urban legend.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/soap02.html
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/soap01.html
As a matter of fact, very damaging legend which provided a lot of ammunition for various revisionists. Story about experimental production of soap in Danzig was originally made by Polish writer Zofia Nalkowska. She wrote her "Medallions" after visit in Danzig Anatomical Institute.
http://nupress.northwestern.edu/title.cfm?ISBN=0-8101-1742-8
http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=16rnm9r5u1s0u?tname=medallions&curtab=2222_1&sbid=lc05b
How story invented for literary purposes filtered into Nuremberg proceedings is hard to describe, however I would like to show you another interesting story which may at least partly explain how such pseudo-historical stories emerged just days after liberation.
Boris Polevoy - once a celebrated literary figure in the USSR, author of one of the first news reports on Auschwitz after its capture on January 27, 1945. Story, which appeared in Pravda, the leading newspaper of the Soviet Communist party, on February 2, 1945, is now widely known to differ drastically from the later orthodox account of the camp. Polevoy described how Auschwitz inmates were exterminated, not in gas chambers, but on an electric conveyor belt that electrocuted hundreds of them simultaneously, then dropped their bodies into a flaming blast furnace. He reported enormous mass graves, filled with at least four layers of bodies. Polevoy also described zinc-covered benches fitted with straps for restraining inmates, on which inmates were beaten to death with truncheons manufactured by the Krupp factory in Dresden.
Below exact translation of part of Polevoy's article:
"Last year, when the Red Army revealed to the world the terrible and abominable secrets of Majdanek, the Germans in Auschwitz began to wipe out the traces of their crimes. They leveled the mounds of the so-called "old" graves in the Eastern part of the camp, tore up and destroyed the traces of the electric conveyor belt, on which hundreds of people were simultaneously electrocuted, their bodies falling onto the slow moving conveyor belt which carried them to the top of the blast furnace where they fell in, were completely burned, their bones converted to meal in the rolling mills, and then sent to the surrounding fields. In retreat were taken the special transportable apparatuses for killing children. The stationary gas chambers in the eastern part of the camp were restructured, even little turrets and other architectural embellishments were added so that they would look like innocent garages."
Polevoy's books, articles, and political commentaries gained him an international readership well before the end of the war. He remained influential until his death in 1981, at which time he was secretary of the all-powerful Union of Soviet Writers. During his lifetime, Polevoy was named a Hero of Socialist Labor and awarded the Stalin Prize for literature, three Orders of Lenin, two Red Banners, the Red Star, and the Gold Medal of the World Peace Council.
It is difficult to understand why Polevoi completely invented his relation from Auschwitz. Difficult but not impossible looking at other pieces of his works.
Boris Polevoi, To the Last Breath (New York: Hutchinson and Co., 1945).
"A Copy of Pravda" recapitulates that simple story of Red loyalty and heroism in defense of Soviet ideals, as objectified in the regimental banner, against Nazi savagery. But Polevoy tells his Pravda tale with a twist that reminds of his aim, as Gorky's disciple, to transform the religious fervor of the people into a burning dedication to the Communist regime. Writing of how fervently the leading party newspaper was esteemed by Soviet readers under German occupation, Polevoy writes, quoting one of them:
There are all kinds of legends current in our village about this paper. It is said that the Germans threw it in the fire but it didn't burn; then they tried to drown it in the river but it wouldn't drown. So they became furious, crumpled it, pushed it into a shell and fired the shell, but the paper wasn't lost and now there are thousands of them.
Thus, in Polevoy's telling, a solitary copy of Pravda proves indestructible, and even (metaphorically) capable of multiplying independently and indefinitely. The irony of the single most influential newspaper of the world's leading force for dialectical materialism behaving like a prop in a fairy tale was probably lost on a good many of Polevoy's readers."
Now we can understand influence of literary figures extending even to justice or what all civilised nations used to call justice.

I think its so wrong that certain people were hanged, many were just following orders. Many of these people were for the most part normal people and didn't deserve death.
Tiger is right that many Germans or their allies were hanged or shot without real justification just because of false, completely fabricated, hysterical accounts in mady cases produced for war propaganda machine.

Question of "ordinary Germans knowing of atrocities" is still open for discussion.

Lancer44

pdf27
06-30-2006, 02:47 AM
I think its so wrong that certain people were hanged, many were just following orders. Many of these people were for the most part normal people and didn't deserve death.
In the front of the paybook of every German soldier was the admonition that they should not follow an illegal order. An order to for instance participate in a mass execution (murder) at a concentration camp would for instance be an illegal order. This is why the Nuremburg tribunal correctly found that following orders was not a defence.
On an even simpler level than that, you don't leave your conscience at home when you become a soldier. These people did - and were punished accordingly.

Ingsoc
06-30-2006, 04:41 AM
Concentration camps existed before the war and was housed with political enemies, Jews and other enemies of the Nazis, so it's obivously the German knew on their existing, what is in conteversy is if the German knew about the extermination camps, I tend to think their have some vague idea about them, they knew enought to know they shouldn't know more.

Chevan
06-30-2006, 05:40 AM
In the front of the paybook of every German soldier was the admonition that they should not follow an illegal order. An order to for instance participate in a mass execution (murder) at a concentration camp would for instance be an illegal order. This is why the Nuremburg tribunal correctly found that following orders was not a defence.
On an even simpler level than that, you don't leave your conscience at home when you become a soldier. These people did - and were punished accordingly.
I is completely agreeable with you. The order is not justification for the war crimes.
But the problem Of Nuremburg tribunal there was in the fact that it noted only the war crimes of the fascists.This not was the court above war criminals WW2, this it was violence above the leaders of Reich.
Nuremburg tribunal was pitiful parody to the justice. Some peoples understood the amorality of tribunal (for example Winston Cherchill counted that it was necessary simply to execute Nazi leaders).

it seems to me ,gentlemens, that our discussion about the concentration camps unavoidably approached the consideration of the Holocaust. Isn't it ?
So i have a question. How much were the victims of the Holocaust in reality ? 6 millions , 3 or 2.

SS Tiger
06-30-2006, 05:43 PM
In the front of the paybook of every German soldier was the admonition that they should not follow an illegal order. An order to for instance participate in a mass execution (murder) at a concentration camp would for instance be an illegal order. This is why the Nuremburg tribunal correctly found that following orders was not a defence.
On an even simpler level than that, you don't leave your conscience at home when you become a soldier. These people did - and were punished accordingly. There were quite a few cases where troops had to carry out illegal orders or face death and have thier famillys told they were deserters.

pdf27
06-30-2006, 06:17 PM
There were quite a few cases where troops had to carry out illegal orders or face death and have thier famillys told they were deserters.
Far rarer than you might think. It actually got to the stage in Russia that the German High Command had to forbid Wehrmacht troops from taking part in the murder of Jews without permission as it was taking up too much of their time and distracting them from other duties.

Stahler
07-01-2006, 05:36 PM
Hi Folks,

some additions to this theme. I remember the story my teacher told to us: A friend of him made a joke about Hitler. Some days later he did not came to work.
After some weeks he appeared again but he never said a word was happend to him. So something was known. A least the guys who build the camps or the oven where knowing what was happening.
The wehrmacht was in involved in war crimes and the concentration camps. I was a guide in the exhibition "Warcrimes of the Wehrmacht".
There was a note about a scene that had happend in cologne: In a tram the women where complaining about the war. After a while a paratrooper raised and said" We must win the war. If we lose and we will receive only one percent of the crimes we have done than it will be terrible." All fell silent after that.
If you look at the orders the Wehrmacht receive for Barbarossa "commisars order"it would be clear what would be happend. "Einsatzgruppen"!
The doubts arised only when the tide was turning.
And as a former social minister Heinz Blüm said:" As long as the wehrmacht was holding the ground the concentration camps kept working"

Stahler

bas
07-02-2006, 07:21 PM
There were quite a few cases where troops had to carry out illegal orders or face death and have thier famillys told they were deserters.

My impression was that it has been proven that German soldiers were not punished for refusing to work in the concentration camps. In fact most camp staff were volunteers.

I have read one account of a group from SS Viking refusing a direct order to shoot Jewish civilians. They received no punishment for that.

SS Tiger
07-02-2006, 07:37 PM
I guess that maybe that is another made up excuss by vets, like "I never did any killing I just watched"

Chevan
07-03-2006, 08:26 AM
The wehrmacht was in involved in war crimes and the concentration camps. I was a guide in the exhibition "Warcrimes of the Wehrmacht".
There was a note about a scene that had happend in cologne: In a tram the women where complaining about the war. After a while a paratrooper raised and said" We must win the war. If we lose and we will receive only one percent of the crimes we have done than it will be terrible." All fell silent after that.

I also read this history in the book of the British historian Alan Clark "Barbarossa".
Certainly horror which tested Germans into 1945 was enormous. I think that they actually little knew about the mass murders, which occurred in the east (in Poland, USSR). Possibly they thought that Jews simply are gathered in concentration camps where they worked (as asserted Goebbels).
But some Germans certainly surmised about the real fates of Jews, because Fascist propaganda with the open hatred spoke about them. Moreover in the German army there were the witnesses of mass murders in the East . This information in the form of gossips reached the simple Germans for sure.

pdf27
07-03-2006, 03:31 PM
Moreover in the German army there were the witnesses of mass murders in the East.
Not just relating to Jews either. The Wehrmacht rather than the SS was responsible for the Russian PoWs, and hence for the deliberate plan to starve millions of them to death for logistical reasons.
The German logistics system was not strong enough to support their army in combat and feed Soviet prisoners at the same time. They took the decision to starve the Soviet prisoners to death on a massive scale in cold blood before the war. In terms of numbers murdered, only the Jews of Europe suffered more than Soviet PoWs.

Edit: formatting