Sunday, July 11, 2010

Voices of the Holocaust


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'The Gas Chambers existed'
Photographs and citations from the WW2 Holocaust
(Part of the display in the Holocaust and Deportation Museum, Tarbes, France)


For additional information click on 'Comments' below

7 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information (1):

If there are still those who claim that the WW2 Holocaust did not take place then there is plenty of photographic and documentary evidence to prove what and why it happened. There are also the voices of the Holocaust - the personal testimonies of those who saw and experienced what happened.

The above photograph is from the display at the Holocaust and Deportation Museum at Tarbes, France and taken with permission. The photograph in the top left of the shows the door to one of the gas chambers at Dachau Concentration camp. The photograph in the bottom right shows the pile of dead bodies outside the door of one of the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

The citations quoted can be translated as follows:

(Top right): "In Mathausen concentration camp a gas chamber concealed as a shower room was constructed by the order of Dr Kresbach, former military doctor of the garrison."

- Ziérès, SS Commandant at Mathausen, confession. Nuremberg War Crimes trials, No 3870 P.S.

(Bottom right): "I assisted at a gassing - a hundred and fifty women at a time were pushed into a gas chamber .... A male prisoner climbed up on to the roof and threw a gas canister into the room by an opening, closing it immediately afterwards."

- J. Schwarhuber, SS Captain, Head of Ravensbrück camp from the beginning of January 1945.

These statements were made by two people who were involved in the mass killings of the Holocaust. Why did they do what they did? Is there any logical answer to this question?

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Monday, 12 July, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information (2)

There are also witness statements of Holocaust survivors, which are relevant to the modern world in addition to the historical context of the war years. On 2 June 2010 the normally peaceful West Cumbria 12 people were killed by a lone gunman and a further 25 injured, 11 of them seriously. While not on anything like the scale of the Holocaust, many people asked the question, "Why?" Again, this is another question difficult to answer.

In the aftermath of the West Cumbria shootings, many hundreds of letters of condolence and sympathy cards for the people of Cumbria were sent to the Mayor of Copeland, Mr Mike McVeigh.
Reading through the letters of condolence sent to the people of Cumbria in June 2010 following the tragic deaths of 12 ordinary people were letters from a teacher and students. The letter from the teacher quoted a letter from a Holocaust survivor. I found these letters very moving
The following extracts are from a letter sent on 15 June 2010 to the Mayor of Copeland and addressed to the people of Cumbria. It was written by Elaine Mulhern, a student drama teacher at Twyford Church of England High School with a Year 7 Tutor Group.

"In an article from 'Drama Magazine' I read the following letter, quoted by Daniel Shindler:

'Dear Teacher,

I am the survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness:

Gas chambers built by learned engineers.
Children poisoned by educated physicians.
Infants killed by trained nurses.
Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates.
So, I am suspicious of education.

My request is: help your students become human.'

..... I will attempt to be that teacher that helps students to become human."

Monday, 12 July, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information (3)

At the end of WW2 many of the child survivors of the Nazi concentration camps – virtually all of them orphans - were brought over from mainland Europe and taken to the Windermere area of what is now Cumbria. These young victims of the Holocaust were made welcome and rehabilitated back to something like a normal way of life. From time to time, some of these children have revisited the area and have recounted their personal stories of the Holocaust to the young people of Cumbria. These are events that should never be forgotten.

Some people believe that time is great healer. Others will say that time cannot heal a great loss – all that happens is that one might learn how to live with it. As this short article perhaps illustrates, the voice of the Holocaust survivor has a relevance that speaks across the generations and across the years, and will continue to do so in the future. If the young learn to differentiate what is and is not humanity then the world will hopefully learn to live in peace.

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Monday, 12 July, 2010  
Blogger Catherine L said...

I visited the camp of Mathausen, in Austria some years ago.
It was extremely difficult to find, as it was very poorly sign-posted. When we enquired, people pretended they did not know what we were talking about. It was quite empty of visitors then, though it was summer. But the place showed obvious remnants of the crematorium, of the hooks where some were hanged and left to die, of the torture chamber and death chamber, indeed made to look like a shower room.

I visited Dachau three years ago, and the difference was striking. It was easy to find, and extremely crowded, by visitors (?) from all over the world, including a number of Germans. Though not conceived as an extermination camp (neither was Mathausen, meant for Spanish Republicans and communists from everywhere), it had a gas chamber and crematoriums.

The displays and informative boards there all tried to show minutely what went on in this camp, but none could answer your question - WHY?

I did not know about the welcome given by Cumbria to survivors. Thanks for this info. However, we know why some good souls helped them try to heal the wounds, don't we?

Monday, 12 July, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The following is a link to a BBC News report with two of the 300 orphaned children who survived the Nazi camps and death marches and sent to Windermere in the English Lake District:

Holocaust survivors speak

Tuesday, 13 July, 2010  
Blogger Catherine L said...

Most interesting indeed. Thank you Joseph.

Tuesday, 13 July, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The group of 300 orphaned Jewish children from the Nazi death camps arrived at Crosby-on-Eden airfield near Carlisle on 14 August 1945 on board 10 Lancaster bombers that took off from Prague (now in the Czech Republic). The children had been in the care of the International Red Cross since being liberated from various death camps.

Many of these children had no homes and no known living relatives to look after them. The British Government offered a home to 1000 of the orphans under the age of 16. – of which 300 (270 boys and 30 girls) were directed to Windermere. The camp where they stayed had been used during the war to house workers at ‘White Cross Bay’ where Sunderland flying boats had been made.

‘White Cross Bay’ was so-called because of the tail pieces of the Sunderland aeroplanes on the lake that looked like white crosses. This was where the orphaned children learned to live like again. The site of the camp where the children stayed was later used for the building of the Lakes School, Windermere.

After 6 months at Windermere the children went away, some of them to be adopted in the UK and some went to other countries. From time to time some of the survivors return to the area and speak to school children of a later generation.

Tuesday, 13 July, 2010  

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