Addendum to “Evidence for the Presence of 'Gassed' Jews in the Occupied Eastern Territories, Part 1”

Published: 2010-09-06

By Thomas Kues

After the publication of “Evidence for the Presence of 'Gassed' Jews in the Occupied Eastern Territories, Part 1”1 in the summer issue of Inconvenient History I have came across numerous pieces of information prompting additions to the same text, which were incorporated in a recently published online Swedish version of the article.2 Since many of these additions need to be considered in the upcoming parts of this study, I have decided to publish all of them separately online in the form of an addendum. The additions are presented in order of the sections to which they belong.

Section 2.3.3. “The Jews of France”

Of the 878 Jews deported from Drancy to Kovno and Reval (Tallinn) on 15 May 1944 (convoy “73m”), at least 26 were later transferred from Estonia to the concentration camp Stutthof near Danzig. A transport list from the autumn of 1944 contains the following names identifiable as persons from this convoy:3

Aserman, Gean b. 25.10.98. (spelt “Jean Aserman” in the 73m transport list)
Biter, Child b. 05.06.99. (“Szydeour Bitter”)
Blaufuchs, Alfred b. 03.06.08
David, Ozias b. 23.12.99. (“Oryas David”)
Frydmann, Abraam b. 25.02.99. (“Abram Frydmann”)
Futeral, Simon b. 02.02.22. (“Sandel Futeral” b. 02.04.22 - likely a mistake; there is one other Futeral in the transport list, but the year of birth does not match)
Gusevicz, Paul b. 07.04.04. (“Paul Guzewicz”)
Grosswald, Moise b. 10.05.93
Gustin, David b. 10.10.02. (David Gustein)
Herclich, Zysia b. 22.06.09. (“Zygia Herclich”)
Jolles, Ferdinand b. 27.02.07.
Kuperman, Jacob b. 27.06.93.
Leviach, Paul b. 12.09.04.
Levy, René b. 07.05.97.
Levy, Roger b. 30.12.97.
Mager, Armand b. 13.10.95.
Mlynarsky, Achille b. 15.03.02.
Mizrahi, Albert b. 19.02.00.
Perachia, Albert b. 15.05.21. (“Albert Perahia”)
Schnek, Leon b. 06.12.02. (“Leon Schneck”)
Skosovsky, Jean b. 03.01.12. (“Jean Skosowsky”)
Tattelbaum, Maurice b. 22.08.97.
Toledano, Henry b. 18.02.26. ( no doubt identical with “Leon Toledano”, who has the same birthday; there is no other Toledano in the transport list)
Valigora, Narchman b. 01.01.97. (“Nachmann Walligora”)
Mayer, Guy b. 07.02.96.

2.4.1. Italy

In the bimonthly Contemporary Jewish Record, vol. 7, no. 2 (April 1944), we find the following news item (p. 185):

"A report from Polish underground sources reaching official Polish circles in London on Feb. 13 revealed that 3,000 Italian Jews arrived at the Trawniki labor camp last Nov. 15. Their present whereabouts is unknown, stated the report, since the Trawniki camp has been liquidated."

This implies that the deported Italian Jews did not reach the Occupied eastern territories, but were transited via Auschwitz to the Lublin District.

Section 2.4.9. “Luxembourg”

Some of the 334 Luxembourg Jews deported to the Łódź Ghetto in October 1941 were reportedly later sent to Chełmno. Also, many of the Luxembourg Jews who had fled to France in autumn 1941 were later deported from there.4

Section 3.1.2. “Israelitisches Wochenblatt für die Schweiz

In the quote from the issue of 27 November 1942 we read:

The London-based newspaper ‘France’ carries a notice that 20,000 Jews deported from France have arrived in Bessarabia in a pitiful state. The trains went straight to Kischinev [Chisinau] and Calarisi to deliver the prisoners to the local ghettos there.

There is a Calarasi in southern Romania, but since the text is speaking of Bessarabia (where Chisinau is located) it is clear that the town meant is Calarasi in Bessarabia, also known as Kalarash.5

The report summarized by Shechtman according to which “Jews from Germany and Bulgaria, as well as 700 Polish Jews, were reported among the deportees in Mogilev” derives, according the historian's notes, from a report published in the 23 July 1943 issue of the JTA Bulletin. Since Schechtman's article is dealing with Transnistria it is almost certain that the Mogilev mentioned is the city of Mogilev-Podolski (Mohyliv-Podilsky) in the Vinnitsa District of Ukraine, rather than the city of Mogilev in eastern Belarus. Mogilev-Podolski was occupied by German forces on 19 July 1941 but was later annexed by Romania as part of Transnistria. In December 1941 there lived 3700 local Jews in the city's ghetto together with 15 000 Jews who had been deported there from Bessarabia and Bukovina. In June 1942 there was an outbreak of typhoid in the ghetto which prompted the transferral of Jews to ghettos in other cities.6

As explained in Section 2.4.3. no Jewish transports departed from Bulgaria proper. However, from the Bulgarian-annexed regions of Macedonia and Thrace a total of 11 343 Jews were deported during the period March-April 1943. It is likely that the reported “Bulgarian” Jews reached Mogilev-Podolski via either Sobibór or Treblinka at the end of March 1943. It is not impossible that the German (as well as the Polish) Jews reached the city during the same period and the same route. According to an exterminationist website two transports with German Jews were sent to Sobibór during the first half of 1943: one containing “hundreds” departing on 31 March and another with 938 deportees departing from Berlin on 21 April.7 However, the leading exterminationist expert on Sobibór, Jules Schelvis, knows nothing of these transports.8 Witnesses state that one or two transports with German Jews reached Treblinka during Franz Stangl's time as commandant of that camp, most likely in late autumn 1942 or the first half of 1943.9

To this section could be added a diary entry penned by the Warsaw Jew Abraham Lewin on 10 May 1942:

Today this same refugee [unnamed Jew from Aleksandrów Kujawski] told me that the Nieszawa Jews and all other Jews left there were believed to have been deported to Romania. This rumour is most probably close to the truth, as another Jew happened to remark to me that reports had arrived from Bessarabia from Lublin Jews who had been transported there by the Germans.10

The Jews of Nieszawa had been deported to the Lublin District in 1939-1940.11 It is likely that they were among the Jews evacuated from Lublin and surrounding towns to Bełżec between 17 March and 14 April 1942.12

Section 3.1.4. “New York Times

Thomas Dalton has kindly provided the author of this article with five further relevant quotes from the New York Times:

Already on 28 October 1941 the daily noted that Jews were “sent to the General Government, chiefly to Litzmannstadt, although some also are being banished to Riga, occupied capital of Latvia, and Minsk, in occupied Russia”. This is of course in perfect accordance with mainstream historiography. During the following months and years, however, the reports came to diverge from it.

In the issue from 26 July 1942 (under the headline “Vichy and Berlin at odds on aliens”) we read: “the Netherlands Indies news agency reported that 60,000 Jews had been moved from Amsterdam since last Thursday in a mass deportation of Netherland ‘non-Aryans’ to Poland and German-occupied Russia.” The 60,000 figure most likely derives from the number of Jews sent to the collection camps within the Netherlands, since only some thousand Dutch Jews had actually been deported east by this point in time.

On 29 August 1942 (“$25,000 sent abroad to care for children”) Joseph Hyman, the executive vice chairman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, was quoted as stating that “The recent deportation to Eastern Poland and occupied Russia of 12,000 Jews from Paris and other parts of occupied France has aroused terror in the hearts of the entire Jewish population.”

5 September 1942 (“Deportation of Jews near goal in Reich”): “Until recently only Jews under 60 years of age were deported. But now even older people are being sent to Poland or Eastern [sic] Russia. (...) It is practically impossible to get in touch with German Jews sent to different ghettos in Poland or occupied Russia.”

Finally, on 8 November 1943 (“Germans wipe out Jews of Austria”), it was reported that the remaining Austrian Jews were “taken in cattle cars or ancient unheated passenger coaches to the ghettos of eastern Poland, Latvia, or occupied Russia. Reports suggest that many die on the way or after arrival.” By this point in time, there had been no direct transports of German, Austrian and Czech Jews to Latvia for over a year.

Section 3.1.5. “Notre Voix

The Radio Moscow report from April 1944 concerning the liberation of 8,000 Paris Jews in the Ukraine by the Red Army finds support in two other sources:

On 15 August 1942 the Romanian-Jewish Bucarest physician Emil Dorian entered into his diary:

There are persistent rumors about trains passing through the northern part of Moldavia, carrying Jews from occupied France sent by the Germans to the east. It is known that 20,000 Jews in occupied France have been recently deported from there, but no one could guess where they were sent. There are details: Sealed cars, dreadful thirst, no food.13

The 20,000 Jews from France which Dorian is speaking about are alleged by the exterminationists to have been murdered in Auschwitz. Trains from the west passing through “the northern part of Moldavia” would most likely have had some city in the Ukraine as their destination.

One and a half months prior to Dorian's diary entry, on 29 June 1942, the papal ambassador in France, Valerio Valeri,wrote from Vichy to Cardinal Luigi Malone:

Towards the 20th of this month the occupational administrations, using the French police, have arrested some 12,000 Jews. [...] The majority of them are non-Aryans of foreign origin, primarily Poles, Czechs etc., who are destined to be deported to the Ukraine.14

To summarize:

1) On 29 June 1942 a top member of the Catholic church informed a fellow church leader that the Jews recently arrested in Paris were “destined to be deported to the Ukraine.”

2) On 15 August 1942 Emil Dorian wrote of “persistent rumors” according to which 20,000 Jews from occupied France were passing through northern Moldavia.

3) On 29 August 1942 a leader of the Joint Distribution Committee stated that 12,000 French Jews had been deported to “Eastern Poland and occupied Russia” (see addenda to Section 3.1.4. above).

4) In April 1944 Radio Moscow reported that 8,000 Paris Jews (Paris was located in the occupied part of France) had been liberated by advancing Soviet troups in the Ukraine.

Could this really be just coincidence?

By the end April 1944 the Red Army had already crossed the Dnepr River,15 which means that the liberated Paris Jews had likely been held prisoners somewhere in the western part of the Ukraine. A possible train route from Auschwitz to the Ukraine via “the nothern part of Moldavia” could have been Auschwitz-Cracow-Przemysl-Lvóv-Czernowitz-Shmerinka-Vinnitsa-Kasatin-Fastow-Kiev.16 Czernowitz, in Romanian Cernăuti, is the capital of the Bukovina region which was part of the historical principality of Moldavia.17

Edit [25 September 2010]:  While it's correct that close to 20,000 Jews had been deported from France up to 15 August 1942, as Dorian wrote in his diary, most of the deportees during this period were registered in Auschwitz. Up until the same date, a total of 4,940 Jews deported from France had been "gassed" i.e. transited.

During 1942-1943 a total of 32,631 Jews deported from France were "gassed" at Auschwitz and Sobibór.

(Cf. Serge Klarsfeld, Memorial to the Jews Deported From France 1942-1944, Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, New York 1987, p. xxvi; smaller corrections after J. Schelvis, Sobibor. A History of a Nazi Death Camp, Berg, Oxford/New York 2007, pp. 217-218).

Section 3.3.3. “Hersh Smolar”

In another book on his involvement in the Minsk ghetto underground, originally published in 1946, Hersh Smolar writes with regards to the first half of 1943:

News leaked out that large parties of Jews from Warsaw, Paris and Prague were brought to the vicinity of Minsk and Trostenitz where they were annihilated.18

Between 18 and 22 January 1943 some 6,000 Warsaw Jews were sent to be “gassed” at Treblinka.19 Also, between 4 and 25 March 1943, some 3,500 French Jews were sent from the collection camp Drancy outside Paris to the “gas chambers” of Sobibór.20 A further thirteen transports with 13,569 French Jews were sent to Auschwitz during 1943.21

Section 3.3.4. “Heinz Rosenberg”

Where did the 23 000 arrivals in February-March 1942 come from, and how did they reach Minsk? Where they German Jews, or of another nationality? As we have seen Rosenberg knew from the labels on the trunks where the deportees came from, but apparently forgets to tell his readers about it.

The preserved documents does not seem to allow for “unknown” transports of German Jews to Belarus during the period in question; at least not of the magnitude spoken of here. Could the unknown deportees mentioned by Rosenberg have reached Minsk via a transit camp? During February-March 1942 three of the “extermination camps” were in operation: Chełmno, Bełżec and Auschwitz. Bełżec was opened on 17 March, so it seems unlikely that more than a smaller portion of the 23 000 Jews could have been transited via this camp to Minsk. In Auschwitz the first regular (as opposed to experimental) mass gassing is supposed to have taken place in January or February, but this is portrayed as a chronologically rather isolated event, and judging by the diary entry of Herman Kruk from 30 January 1942, the Jews from this first “gassing” were transported via Vilna to the Eastern Front (cf. Section 3.3.1.). There remains thus Chełmno as the likely alternative. As we have seen in Section 3.3.1., many of the Jews evacuated from the Łódź Ghetto to the “extermination camp” Chełmno during the first months of 1942 continued on to Lithuania. Considering that a total of (7025 + 24 687 =) 31,712 Jews were sent from Łódź to Chełmno during February and March, it is not at all impossible, however, that 23,000 of these were instead transported to Belarus via the railway line Poznań-Warsaw-Minsk. That Jews from Łódź were deportered to Minsk is also confirmed by an “Address of the citizens of Minsk to Stalin” published in Pravda in August 1944, which is found quoted in a 1951 study by the Jewish scholar Solomon M. Schwarz:

The German fascist invaders had driven 50,000 people from Minsk and the surrounding districts into the so-called ghetto, in addition, over 40,000 Jews had been brought to the Minsk ghetto from Hamburg, Warsaw and Lodz.22

The mention here of Warsaw indicates that Minsk later also served as the destination for transports of Polish Jews via Treblinka, something which in turn is confirmed by the statements of H. Smolar (cf. Section 3.3.3.).

3 Facsimile in Raul Kruus (ed.), People, be watchful!, Estonian State Publishing House, Tallinn 1962, p. 182.

6 Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd edition, Vol. 14, Thomson Gale, New York 2007, p. 418.

8 Cf. Jules Schelvis, Sobibór. A History of a Nazi Death Camp, Berg, Oxford/New York 2007, pp. 220-224.

9 Cf. Gitta Sereny, Into that darkness, Vintage Books, New York 1983, p. 169.

10Abraham Lewin, A Cup of Tears. A Diary of the Warsaw Ghetto, Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1988, p. 67.

12 Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Indiana University Press, Bloomington/Indianapolis 1987, p. 72, 383.

13 Emil Dorian, The Quality of Witness. A Romanian Diary 1937-1944, The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1982, p. 221.

14 Actes et Documents du Saint-Siège relatifs à la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Le Saint Siège et les victimes de la guerre. Janvier 1941 – Décembre 1942, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City, vol. 8, p. 610.

16 Cf. map attached to Andreas Knipping, Reinhard Schulz, Reichsbahn hinter der Ostfront 1941-1944, Transpress Verlag, Stuttgart 1999.

18 Hersh Smoliar, Resistance in Minsk, Judah L. Magnes Memorial Museum, Oakland, California 1966, p. 70.

19 Y. Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka., op.cit., p. 392.

20 J. Schelvis, Sobibor, op.cit., p. 198, 216-218.

21 Ibid., p. 216.

22 Solomon M. Schwarz, The Jews in the Soviet Union, Syracuse University Press, New York 1951, p. 340.

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Thomas Kues
Title: Addendum to “Evidence for the Presence of 'Gassed' Jews in the Occupied Eastern Territories, Part 1”
Published: 2010-09-06
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 6, 2010, 5:28 a.m.
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