Voices of the Holocaust
Published: 2018-01-30

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We will continue our search through the testimonies by having a look at the book Remembering: Voices of the Holocaust (Carroll & Graf, New York 2006) edited by Lyn Smith. The foreword is by Laurence Rees who, explaining the reasons for publishing this book, writes:

“There’s one final reason, of course, why the world is a better place for this book being in it; which is that there are still those who want to pretend none of this ever happened. Recently, at a talk I gave about my Auschwitz book, I was confronted by a Holocaust denier who started screaming at me. He would not listen to argument and was high on insane conspiracy theories. Such people really do exist. And there is always the chance that once everyone personally involved in this terrible history has died, more attempts will be made to diminish or deny what really happened. Each of the people who agreed to give their testimony to this project fights back personally against such a calumny. Each of them bears witness to the truth that there existed in Europe in the middle of the twentieth century a criminal regime like no other in history. Each of them preserves the memory of their suffering forever.” (p. 3)

Of course, we have every reason to suspect that Rees, being the trickster that he is, does not tell us everything about this denier who would not listen to his “argument.” Nevertheless, let’s move on.

The book has more than 100 testimonies, mostly Jews and some non-Jews, but not in the form of individual interviews. They are divided by topic as follows:

1933-36: Persecution
1937-39: The Search for Refuge
1939: War
1940-41: The Third Reich Expands
1939-42: The Ghetto (i)
1943-44: The Ghetto (ii)
1940-44: The Camps (i)
Resistance
1944-45: The Camps (ii)
1945: Death March
1945: Liberation
Aftermath

In every chapter there is a statement by some witnesses, usually a paragraph long. So, what do they have to offer in the fight against the calumny of Holocaust denial?

Rumors, Rumors, and More Rumors

Reading through the testimonies, we once again notice that the survivors did not have any first-hand knowledge about the supposed extermination at the camps. First, Michael Etkind, a Polish Jew, writes about the Lodz Ghetto:

“By the end of 1941, more and more people who were not working were being sent out of the ghetto. They got notices and their food was cut off, and they were ordered to the railway station to be moved out in cattle trucks. Nobody knew exactly what was happening, but nobody wanted to be sent out of the ghetto. As a postman, I was the one who was bringing those notices to those people. We were nicknamed the ‘Malchamoves’ – the biblical ‘angel of death.’ It wasn’t pleasant because when you gave the notices, the people would burst into tears. These were the people who couldn’t work: too old or too young or just incapable because they were so weak from starvation. Sometimes you’d see a piece of soap with a letter RIF on it, and the joke which spread through the ghetto was that this RIF was Yiddish for ‘Real Jewish Fat’: Jews were being evacuated and turned into soap. Those jokes started at the end 1941, beginning 1942, so rumours that Jews were being exterminated were about even then.” (p. 120)

Next, Anna Bergman, a Czech and inmate at Auschwitz:

“I was with a friend whose parents were in the same transport but had been sent to the other side during the selection by Mengele. When we got into our barrack, she asked the women already there, ‘Where are my parents? When will I see them again?’ And they all started screaming with laughter, ‘You stupid idiot, they are in the chimney by now!’ We thought they were mad, and they thought we were mad.” (p. 162)

Jan Hartman, a Czech Jew:

“What struck me about the camp was the smell. By then we knew it was an extermination camp: we saw chimneys and the fire was very high. ‘You go through the chimney’ – that was the standard saying. I never heard about the gas chambers, so I didn’t know how people were killed. But we saw the chimneys and we associated the flames with the transports coming in...” (ibid.)

Never mind that by design no flames could emanate from the crematorium chimneys at Auschwitz.[1] Clive Teddern, a German Jewish soldier, after arriving with his unit at Hamburg on May 8, 1945, started looking for his parents:

“Of course, I was there asking people if they knew my parents and if they knew what had happened to them. And those from Theresienstadt told me, ‘Your parents were sent from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, to the gas chambers. They’re not coming back.’ And that’s how I found out.” (p. 290)

Fritz Moses, a German civilian from Munich:

“We hadn’t known about the full extent of the murders; we only knew that something had happened. But this selection, this perfection, I don’t think that was known by the mass of the people; only a few knew. But the fact that people knew about it could be concluded from a few things. Like, there was a certain kind of soap, the size of this packet of cigarettes, a terrible grey-green colour and stamped with the initials ‘R I F’ and the meaning most people applied to this was ‘Ruhe in Frieden’ – ‘Rest In Peace,’ because it was made out of the fat of Jews. I mean, when something like that was spoken, there has to be something to it. So now people are supposed to be saying that they didn’t know about it – right? That is the proof ... very macabre.” (p. 303)

Others, like Leon Greenman, a British Jew, are more assertive:

“Then one of the prisoners in a striped uniform commanded us to follow him. Well, we turned to the left and walked a little way for two or three minutes. A truck arrived, stopped near us and on the truck were all the women, children, babies and in the centre my wife and child standing up. They stood up to the light as if it was meant to be like that – so that I could recognise them. A picture I’ll never forget. All these were supposed to have gone to the bathroom to have a bath, to eat and to live. Instead they had to undress and go into the gas chambers, and two hours later those people were ashes, including my wife and child.” (p. 159)

This is similar to the statement by Dennis Avey, a British POW:

“Now dreadful things were happening in Auschwitz-Birkenau during 1944. They were gassing and burning thousands of people who couldn’t work anymore because of their failing strength; I knew practically everything that was going on there. I knew that from all over the continent people would be brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau: men, women, children, old people; then they were sorted out and some were gassed right away. There were heaps and heaps of clothing, glasses, footwear – huge warehouses full of possessions taken from these people. They just put them into the gas chambers using this Zyklon B gas and then they were burned. And this happened day in and day out.” (p. 210)

How does he know this, he does not explain. He just knew.

We move on to Michael Honey, a Czech Jew, who has some better “information,” as he got in touch with a member of the Sonderkommando. And once again, the “information” is all wrong: tipper trolleys on rails, “rows” of furnaces, each taking three bodies at once, and using their fat as fuel:

“The Sonderkommando (special Jewish crews forced to work in the gas chambers and crematoria) foreman told me, ‘We have to empty the gas chamber by loading the bodies onto trolleys, rail trolleys like you use on building sites. You have to heave them onto these trolleys because they are not flat trolleys, they are tipper trucks. So we have to heave them high into these tipper trucks then by rail take them to the crematorium where they are burnt. There are rows of ovens, each oven is big enough to take three. So we take a fat man or a fat woman, a smaller person and a child. This is how we save fuel. The fat of the fat person helps to burn the others.’ He said the hardest thing is to dispose of those who come from the camp and die of natural causes because they are so emaciated, there is no fat on them. They take so much fuel that the Germans stop the burning and leave the bones on the plate so that the next lot will burn the bones until there are only ashes left.” (p. 164)

Those Selections Again

The orthodox narrative has it that, after a selection, those unfit to work were sent to the gas chambers, some of which were disguised as shower rooms. But again, some witnesses have quite a different story to tell.

First, here’s the account of Anita Lasker, a German Jewish cellist:

“What I remember about arriving in Auschwitz, June 1943, was a lot of noise, a lot of dogs barking, screaming, shouting and waiting all night for something – we didn’t know what. Then when morning came we were shoved in another barrack and all the ceremony was started: you know, the hair was shaved, the number tattooed and your clothes were taken off you. All this was done by prisoners not SS people. Auschwitz was run by the inmates, the SS were on the fringe, but the actual work was done by the inmates. The person who processed me asked a lot of questions: What is going on outside? How is the war going?Where do you come from? What do you do? I told her where I came from and for some reason I said that I played the cello. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘that’s fantastic! Stand here to the side.’ Everybody else was going through and I was still standing there... I waited and waited and I didn’t know what I was waiting for. I knew the gas chamber looked like a shower room and I was in a shower room – I thought: that’s probably it. But it wasn’t, because into this room marched a lady who introduced herself as Alma Rosé who was the conductor of the camp orchestra. […] Now I hadn’t touched the cello for two years and I asked for five minutes’ practice time and then played her something. And I became a member of the famous orchestra.” (p. 180)

And here’s what happened later:

“Eventually in 1944, the day came when someone came to our block – the music block was the only block where Jews and non-Jews were mixed. Then came the dreaded moment, ‘Aryans to one side, Jews to the other.’ We thought, ‘Now we’ll be sent to the gas chamber.’ But that was when they sent us to Bergen-Belsen.” (p. 221)

Second, Barbara Stimler, a Polish Jewess:

“One day Mengele comes to the block and we all stand on one side, a thousand of us. He stands with two SS men near the door. It is September 1944 and the sun is shining. We have to undress, we hold our clothes on our arms. He takes us by the hand, turns us front and back. One woman is sent to the other side of the block, and one is sent outside. Now, which is which? We are sent outside, looking behind to see where the fat ones are going and where the thin. We can’t do anything: if we have to go, we have to go. They take us to the shower. Now, what is going to come out: will it be water or will it be gas? We are holding our hands, praying to God. Water comes out. We all sigh with relief. They give us clothes: a dress, stockings, clogs and a coat and they take us to Pirschcow, a farm in Germany, to dig antitank ditches.” (p. 223)

And third, Roman Halter, a Polish Jew:

“Mengele and his officers came to the block and a rope was put down longitudinally. We were all put on one side of it. The order was that everyone had to go up to the rope, stretch out our arms and then on a certain order turn them over palm up. Everybody thought the strongest and best would be selected for work, so they came to the forefront. Mengele would then walk along the rope, looking at the palms saying, ‘You are a metal worker with such soft hands? What did you really do in Lodz Ghetto, you are lying.’ And they would be marked and dealt with. So we behind quickly spat on our hands and rubbed them in the floor in order to get dirt into our palms and we sighed with relief when we were marked OK. Those who were marked thought they were for certain death, but nothing happened – it was simply a sadistic thing which was Mengele’s way of dealing with people.” (ibid.)

Leaving aside the fact that fooling the Germans by putting dirt on the hands sounds silly, what exactly was sadistic if nothing happened?

The Eyewitnesses

There are two witnesses who claim to have actually seen gassings at Auschwitz. But their credibility is far from established. First, there is Kitty Hart, a Polish Jewess:

“What I observed was that the women and children had been separated from the men and were sitting in the small wood just across from our barrack; the children would pick flowers, the women would sit and picnic and give the children the food and drink they still had. Then a group would be led into the low building which was Crematorium 4, and you heard a sort of muffled sound. Then from one of the windows from my barrack I could see a person walking up a ladder wearing a gas mask and he would empty a tin into an opening, a sort of skylight, at the top, and he would run down the ladder very quickly. You couldn’t hear a lot, other than the muffled sound; sometimes you could actually hear screams. After a pause you could see smoke coming out of the chimney of Crematorium 4, and a while later activity could be seen at the rear of the crematorium; ash was being dumped at the back into a pond.” (p. 214)

Overlooking the fact that the tiny openings in Crematorium IV were barred, thus preventing any introduction of Zyklon B,[2] Hart’s account cannot be true because, according to her story, all the work – gassing, ventilating, corpse removal, cremation, clearing, dumping – was completed in only a few minutes.

The second witness is Antonin Daniel, a Czech gypsy:

“Then they went into the gas chamber, a place like a shower, until there were lots of them and then it was locked. They didn’t know anything about it. The gas was switched on and that was the end. There was a sort of peep-hole there. We were able to watch. I saw, I saw; but if that Kapo had caught us, he would have beaten us to death. They fell like flies. It took fifteen minutes and some, well many of them were still alive, they were still breathing. We opened it up to make the gas go away and then we dragged them out. Those who were still breathing, they beat to death. […] There were about two to three hundred in the chamber, it was not always the same. They were Jews: women, children and men too – whole families, yes, yes. They did not put Roma (gypsies) there. When Roma died, yeah, they would throw them into the furnace. After the gassing we dragged the corpses from there. They gave us kinds of belts, we had to tie them to a leg and pull it to that crematorium. Only Jews were selected (for work in the crematorium), they were very strong kids, see, young. They got more to eat; at the most they were there three or four months; then finished, sent to the gas chambers and others took their place. I had already learned my lesson. I had grown accustomed to it. It did not do anything to me.” (p. 218)

Again, an obviously problematic and contradictory account. The gas is described as being “switched on” – rather than Zyklon B being thrown in – causing the victims to fall “like flies,” and yet many of them were still breathing after 15 minutes (which would have been impossible to discern by looking through a tiny peep-hole). Then the chamber was opened “to make the gas go away,” and those still alive were beaten to death. Why not wait for the gas to take effect? Furthermore, just opening a room doesn’t make any gas contained in it “go away.” Such a “natural ventilation” would have taken many hours, yet the description implies nothing of the sort.

Furthermore, why were only Jews and not also gypsies sent into the gas chamber? In fact, the orthodox, heavily flawed narrative has it that all gypsies admitted to Auschwitz were eventually gassed.[3] And if only Jews were selected to work in the crematorium, how come he worked there? And finally, how did he survive, if these workers were “finished” off after “three or four months”?

Where Are They, Then?

In an effort to counter revisionism, one much repeated question is of course, if the Jews were not murdered at the camps, where are they? As Hilberg once put it, they are certainly not hiding in China!

Well, perhaps the following statement by Jan Imich, a Polish Jew living in the UK, can shed some light on this:

“I never spoke to anybody about my experiences. Jean, my wife, didn’t know that I was Jewish for something like four or five years after we got married. It was only through psychoanalysis that I slowly started to come out of the shell as it were. I can see us at that particular moment: we were actually on holiday in the country by the sea, sitting on the grass, and I finally blurted it out. And Jean was wonderful about it. But it wasn’t for many, many years after, that anybody else knew. It was only in the last ten years that I’ve been fairly free and easy, telling my best friends. I suppose I was scared in case people turned against me; maybe I was ashamed of being a Jew. God knows why when I think of it now! It could also have been an outcome of the Nazi anti-Semitism. I know for a fact that, for instance, at this point in time, there are just under two hundred Jews living in Krakow, but there are five or six more times [sic] that number of Jews that don’t admit it, people who might even have changed their names; but they are there, I know that for a fact because a lot of friends and acquaintances of my friends in Krakow are Jewish but nobody knows.” (p. 320)

Summary

In the Acknowledgments, the editor writes:

“My greatest debt is to the survivors and witnesses who have given their testimony and allowed the use of tapes and photographs. To survivors in particular, I’d like to say what a privilege it has been to record and present your voices. I realise that each voice deserves its own book, and for every voice presented here, there are hundreds of others of equal worth and interest. The good thing is that they are all preserved for posterity in the Sound Archive, potent evidence against Holocaust denial.” (p. xvi)

Potent evidence against Holocaust denial? Actually, in the above testimonies we find statements clearly at odds with the orthodox narrative while we fail to find reliable information regarding these elusive gas chambers. If these testimonies are representative of the whole, then they are certainly potent evidence in favor of Holocaust denial.


Notes

[1] In Crematoria II & III, the length of the smoke ducts and the chimney height together was some 30 meters. It was only marginally shorter for Crematoria IV & V. There was no way any flame could have been long enough to reach from the muffle all the way out the chimney. See Carlo Mattogno, “Flames and Smoke from the Chimneys of Crematoria, Optical Phenomena of Actual Cremations in the Concentration Camps of the Third Reich,” The Revisionist, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2004), pp. 73-78; https://codoh.com/library/document/1662/.
[2] See G. Rudolf, The Chemistry of Auschwitz: The Technology and Toxicology of Zyklon B and the Gas Chambers – A Crime-Scene Investigation, Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield 2017, pp. 164, 406f.
[3] See C. Mattogno, “The ‘Gassing’ of Gypsies in Auschwitz on August 2, 1944,” The Revisionist, Vol. 1, No. 3 (2003), pp. 330-332; https://codoh.com/library/document/1488.

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Author(s): Panagiotis Heliotis
Title: Voices of the Holocaust
Sources: Inconvenient History, Vol. 10, No. 1 (winter 2018)
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Published: 2018-01-30
First posted on CODOH: Jan. 30, 2018, 4:15 p.m.
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