More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:19 pm

I should also mention that in their recent book, Matters of Testimony, Chare and Williams discuss the 4 SK photographs, with particular attention to the photograph of the women, with concern for retouching/"improvement" and iconic symbolism for the genocide as a whole, given on pp 186-189. They discuss the fourth photograph, taken near in time to that of the women, on pp 204-207.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Kleon_I XYZ Contagion » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:22 pm

nickterry wrote:


I'm pretty sure Hans posted the link just because this is a thread about the Auschwitz Sonderkommando, and not to comment on anything you've previously posted. StatMech and others do the exact same thing on other threads.


Thank you so much, Hans and Nick. This is priceless.

Maybe I've mentioned it before, the manuscript was read in a special ceremony in my hometown and Nadjari's hometown Thessaloniki, I think it was in April, with his daughter present:
http://x2t.com/insidestory

Also on the same subject:
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=27844&p=567351&hilit=Thessaloniki#p567351
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=27844&hilit=Thessaloniki&start=120#p573281
Last edited by Kleon_I XYZ Contagion on Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
According to experts and scholars, the 10 stages of every genocide are
Classification Symbolization Discrimination Dehumanization Organization Polarization Preparation Persecution Extermination
... and finally the 10th stage:
Denial
http://www.genocidewatch.org/genocide/t ... ocide.html

XYZ Contagion (‘Because the truth is contagious‘), an investigative/research political and historical website, deals also with the Srebrenica Genocide
https://xyzcontagion.wordpress.com/about/#English

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:27 pm

Statmec:

As to your notion that there are "no testimonies" about this photograph, please at the same YV link see the testimony excerpt from "former Sonderkommando member Alter Fajnzylberg" who said, in part,


What i meant was that there are no testimonies i can remember (which is relative) that describes what is seen on the photo, and not on the taking of the photos.

If you wish to negate or criticize such sources, you first need to show familiarity with them - not pretend they don't exist.


Where did you read that i negated or even criticized the sources ???
When i just wrote:
I don't dismiss them, but they are not related with the issue.


There i two things in those few words. Being mistaken when saying that the picture was more probably of the Bunker (where the standard procedure was to undress people outside the Gas chamber), and dismissing the photo as a whole, and second, i outline its irrelevance in the issue being under discussion, for the reasons already explained.

I admitted my mistake to scrmbgg above, here:
But then you are right, the location of Bunker II would have been too far i guess.
I might then be the wood near Krema V, but then it was not normal procedure.
As i focused on Krema II and III, i will look into it.


i just pointed out that no testimonies i am aware off openly declare that SK were involved in any action outside the facilities, hence no real testimonies explaining this picture.
2/3 of my interview, and Welbel still talks about victims being introduced to Krema IV, in the undressing room then pushed into the gas chambers. I only insisted that this seems to be the standard procedure there also. Why such an Aktion - people getting undressed outside the Krema V - took place in August 44 is unknown to me.

Now i admitted from the start that i was not a specialist of the gas chambers before getting involved in the SK.
A discussion on those photos would have some merits (i do not negate that, but i fail to see their relevance with the killing process that took place at Krema II and III, and the duration of this process.

So maybe we could leave this picture for later, and get to the points i have raised... or not, your choice...
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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:29 pm

Kleon_I XYZ Contagion wrote:
nickterry wrote:


I'm pretty sure Hans posted the link just because this is a thread about the Auschwitz Sonderkommando, and not to comment on anything you've previously posted. StatMech and others do the exact same thing on other threads.


Thank you so much, Hans and Nick. This is priceless.

Maybe I've mentioned it before, the manuscript was read in a special ceremony in my hometown and Nadjari's hometown Thessaloniki, I think it was in April, with his daughter present:
http://x2t.com/insidestory


I remembered you posted the link of the translation, i hope i did not forget to thank you for that. If i did, thanks. ;)

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:40 pm

Balsamo wrote:Where did you read that i negated or even criticized the sources ???

When you wrote a) that the photograph in question must have been taken at one of the bunkers, contrary to the sources, and b) that no testimonies about the photograph exist.

Balsamo wrote:When i just wrote:

I was referring to what you originally wrote, and clear to say so, not this latest position.

Balsamo wrote:Being mistaken when saying that the picture was more probably of the Bunker (where the standard procedure was to undress people outside the Gas chamber), and dismissing the photo as a whole, and second, i outline its irrelevance in the issue being under discussion, for the reasons already explained.

Study of the photos themselves, and reading of the few primary sources and the secondary material on the photos, would have avoided all this. That was my original point - and I reiterate what scrmbldggs wrote, that the discussion has gotten terribly mixed up because of skipping over, IMO, simple things.

Balsamo wrote:no testimonies i am aware off openly declare that SK were involved in any action outside the facilities, hence no real testimonies explaining this picture.

You dismissed the photograph as relevant to Krema V then because of your lack of knowledge of the sources, not because, as you wrote, they don't exist. Which is fine. But it casts doubt on the success of the discussion, frankly.

Balsamo wrote:So maybe we could leave this picture for later, and get to the points i have raised... or not, your choice...

I've already said what I have to say about the other issues, I only jumped in to point out that sources exist to explain what you're struggling with.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby scrmbldggs » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:45 pm

Balsamo wrote:[...]
A discussion on those photos would have some merits (i do not negate that, but i fail to see their relevance with the killing process that took place at Krema II and III, and the duration of this process...

My including evidence of SKs receiving victims (outside) is based on my (uncertain) understanding that newcomers at Krema II and/or III also were made to collect/wait outside in a wooded area and where their (the SK's) help in keeping them calm would seem useful and in line with some testimony. Again, that doesn't mean to exclude the possibility that the reported reception was undertaken within the building(s) between undressing and entering the chamber(s).


As always, corrections welcome!
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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:31 pm

scrmbldggs wrote:
Balsamo wrote:[...]
A discussion on those photos would have some merits (i do not negate that, but i fail to see their relevance with the killing process that took place at Krema II and III, and the duration of this process...

My including evidence of SKs receiving victims (outside) is based on my (uncertain) understanding that newcomers at Krema II and/or III also were made to collect/wait outside in a wooded area and where their (the SK's) help in keeping them calm would seem useful and in line with some testimony. Again, that doesn't mean to exclude the possibility that the reported reception was undertaken within the building(s) between undressing and entering the chamber(s).


As always, corrections welcome!

Unless we assume that members of the Krema V SK managed to pass the camera to some of those SK working at the reopened bunker, and then the men who testified about the photographs forgot to say that they had managed to pull this off, all 4 photos were taken at Krema V . . . and thus need to be evaluated with Krema V in mind . . . and Krema V with the SK images in mind . . .

Świebock, in the 5 vol Auschwitz Museum camp history, quotes the contemporaneous note mentioned above which said, "The other picture [the photo of the women] shows one of the places in the little woods, where people undress supposedly for a shower, and then go to the gas." (vol IV, p 278) This note seems to imply that the area photographed was not the only place in the woods used for undressing.

My understanding is probably the same as yours, that the typical procedure in Kremas IV and V made use of the ground-level undressing rooms, from where the victims were led through the corridor in the buildings to the gas chambers (vol III, pp 167, 172) The Dragons described this procedure in their interview with Gideon Greif (pp 150-154). They also describe the rather overwhelming nature of the Hungarian transports - the long shifts - and the use of pits dug behind Krema V for cremation and reopening of the bunker at that time (pp 163-164) without mentioning any other specific changes in procedure in the Kremas (Shlomo Dragon also testified about the dressing room for the Höss trial, quoted in Voices of Memory 6, p 64). Eliezer Eisenschmidt told Greif (p 227) about the undressing room: "Entire families came to the inner yard of the crematorium [V] and they also went into the room together to undress." The layout and process are also described by Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz, pp 199-202. And so on. In all these primary and secondary sources the standard procedure, utilizing the dressing room, is described.

Hans will know better than I do whether the large number of victims brought to the Kremas during the Hungarian transports or something else is known to have caused variations in the procedures from time to time. Remember that 4 years ago Hans already wrote, based on his extensive knowledge of Birkenau, that "It is also possible that there was a second site for undressing [near Krema V] more close to the security fence and that the naked people were first sent to a collecting point in between before marching to the gas chambers."

In that we have a contemporary note mentioning "one of the places in the little woods, where people undress supposedly for a shower, and then go to the gas," and a photograph of the naked women outside Krema V that accompanied it, we need IMO to think, as Hans has done, about this evidence in terms of what went on at Krema V, not move the location of the scene in the photograph to the bunkers.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:43 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Balsamo wrote:Where did you read that i negated or even criticized the sources ???

When you wrote a) that the photograph in question must have been taken at one of the bunkers, contrary to the sources, and b) that no testimonies about the photograph exist.

Balsamo wrote:When i just wrote:

I was referring to what you originally wrote, and clear to say so, not this latest position.

Balsamo wrote:Being mistaken when saying that the picture was more probably of the Bunker (where the standard procedure was to undress people outside the Gas chamber), and dismissing the photo as a whole, and second, i outline its irrelevance in the issue being under discussion, for the reasons already explained.

Study of the photos themselves, and reading of the few primary sources and the secondary material on the photos, would have avoided all this. That was my original point - and I reiterate what scrmbldggs wrote, that the discussion has gotten terribly mixed up because of skipping over, IMO, simple things.

Balsamo wrote:no testimonies i am aware off openly declare that SK were involved in any action outside the facilities, hence no real testimonies explaining this picture.

You dismissed the photograph as relevant to Krema V then because of your lack of knowledge of the sources, not because, as you wrote, they don't exist. Which is fine. But it casts doubt on the success of the discussion, frankly.

Balsamo wrote:So maybe we could leave this picture for later, and get to the points i have raised... or not, your choice...

I've already said what I have to say about the other issues, I only jumped in to point out that sources exist to explain what you're struggling with.



Look,
There was a time when you tried the best you could to go through my broken english and did you best trying to figure out what the hell i was talking about.
Well this is clearly not what you doing now.
It is quite a pity as the discussion was NOT about this picture. This picture is irrelevant to the discussion. I still don't get why scrmbgg posted it after a post when i was trying to figure out if Venezia time table has some merit or not. Then suddenly, there is an unusual activity on this thread, but not related to the topic.

But then, what should this picture tells us in relation to the discussion? Does it give a clue on how long the killing process was taking?

So you welcome to insist that "Bad and ignorant Balsamo" made a mistake on a source, without pointing that the mistake has no influence on what he was writing about for the last three post or so, no problem. But then, why do you avoid the questions i am asking?

I am not struggling with this picture, i am just too deep into the testimonies, searching for data, testimonies that does not mention, as far as i know, but i can be wrong as i did not read or listen to all of them, nothing about people being forced to undress before entering Krema V. The picture clearly shows that it has been the case, at least on one occasion. Well no testimonies speak about SK working outside...
But when it comes to execution through Bunker I and II, then, yes, testimonies of victims having to undress outside and run to the gas chamber is the rule...hence my mistake...which i recognize immediately...so i do not see any big deal, and even less any justification of accusation of me denying or negating a source.

So maybe it is time to get over it.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:57 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
scrmbldggs wrote:
Balsamo wrote:[...]
A discussion on those photos would have some merits (i do not negate that, but i fail to see their relevance with the killing process that took place at Krema II and III, and the duration of this process...

My including evidence of SKs receiving victims (outside) is based on my (uncertain) understanding that newcomers at Krema II and/or III also were made to collect/wait outside in a wooded area and where their (the SK's) help in keeping them calm would seem useful and in line with some testimony. Again, that doesn't mean to exclude the possibility that the reported reception was undertaken within the building(s) between undressing and entering the chamber(s).


As always, corrections welcome!


Unless we assume that members of the Krema V SK managed to pass the camera to some of those SK working at the reopened bunker,


Well, this is why i reacted the way i did, until i realized that the Bunker which would have been at a walking distance from krema V was actually Bunker I, while Bunker II, which apparently was the one who was reactivated, was out of reach for SK from Krema V.

Unless we assume that members of the Krema V SK managed to pass the camera to some of those SK working at the reopened bunker, and then the men who testified about the photographs forgot to say that they had managed to pull this off, all 4 photos were taken at Krema V . . . and thus need to be evaluated with Krema V in mind . . . and Krema V with the SK images in mind . . .

Świebock, in the 5 vol Auschwitz Museum camp history, quotes the contemporaneous note mentioned above which said, "The other picture [the photo of the women] shows one of the places in the little woods, where people undress supposedly for a shower, and then go to the gas." (vol IV, p 278) This note seems to imply that the area photographed was not the only place in the woods used for undressing.

My understanding is probably the same as yours, that the typical procedure in Kremas IV and V made use of the ground-level undressing rooms, from where the victims were led through the corridor in the buildings to the gas chambers (vol III, pp 167, 172) The Dragons described this procedure in their interview with Gideon Greif (pp 150-154). They also describe the rather overwhelming nature of the Hungarian transports - the long shifts - and the use of pits dug behind Krema V for cremation and reopening of the bunker at that time (pp 163-164) without mentioning any other specific changes in procedure in the Kremas (Shlomo Dragon also testified about the dressing room for the Höss trial, quoted in Voices of Memory 6, p 64). Eliezer Eisenschmidt told Greif (p 227) about the undressing room: "Entire families came to the inner yard of the crematorium [V] and they also went into the room together to undress." The layout and process are also described by Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz, pp 199-202. And so on. In all these primary and secondary sources the standard procedure, utilizing the dressing room, is described.

Hans will know better than I do whether the large number of victims brought to the Kremas during the Hungarian transports or something else is known to have caused variations in the procedures from time to time. Remember that 4 years ago Hans already wrote, based on his extensive knowledge of Birkenau, that "It is also possible that there was a second site for undressing [near Krema V] more close to the security fence and that the naked people were first sent to a collecting point in between before marching to the gas chambers."

In that we have a contemporary note mentioning "one of the places in the little woods, where people undress supposedly for a shower, and then go to the gas," and a photograph of the naked women outside Krema V that accompanied it, we need IMO to think, as Hans has done, about this evidence in terms of what went on at Krema V, not move the location of the scene in the photograph to the bunkers.


Unless we assume that members of the Krema V SK managed to pass the camera to some of those SK working at the reopened bunker,


Well, this is why i reacted the way i did, until i realized that the Bunker which would have been at a walking distance from krema V was actually Bunker I, while Bunker II, which apparently was the one who was reactivated, was out of reach for SK from Krema V.

I think at that point, it is a summary that we all agree with.
As i wrote before, what really took place at those two Krema (IV and V) is less clear than how things went at Krema II and III, unfortunately. The simplicity of the facility also allowed more liberty in how to treat the victims. Broken ovens could be compensated by burning pits, a solution that could not have been used at Krema II and III.
Hans maybe right that in order to gain time, a first group might have been introduced in the undressing room while another group, especially if less numerous, was told to undress now to gain some time.
Or, IIRC (as i said i focused of Krema II and III), this might be the illustration of some testimonies mentioning that some victims were led right away to the pit, being shot and thrown in the pit. (But then the comment of the pics says otherwise)

I would add this question to the list of the missed occasion to clarify things when those survivors were still available.

But then again, However things were going on on this part of the camp, i would like to concentrate on what was going on at Krema II and III, where Venezia (the last subject of the discussion) was working along with most of the witnesses.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:43 am

Balsamo wrote:Well this is clearly not what you doing now.

Actually, you were perfectly clear. Given all you say, why didn't you just tell scrmblggs that the photo was not relevant instead of "correcting" the location. You introduced the bunkers, why I don't know. As I think I said, that photo is something I know a bit about, so I felt like jumping in on that.

Balsamo wrote:But then, why do you avoid the questions i am asking?

As I told you, I already wrote, months ago it seems, what I had to say on the issue - I haven't researched this in depth and I don't have the sources that would enable me to say more about. I can't sketch out all the variables and variations - including time - and already the discussion became IMO unhelpful, with people talking past each other and the discussion going in circles.

Which - not wanting that kind of back and forth - means I shouldn't have posted about that photo, either, for sure. The discussion that's continued, about the time line, insofar as I follow it, seems a lot like the tangential discussion of that photo . . . a lot is missing.

Balsamo wrote:accusation of me denying or negating a source.

What I wrote was that "If you wish to negate or criticize such sources, you first need to show familiarity with them - not pretend they don't exist." I just couldn't figure out why you "corrected" scrmbldggs' point about this the way you did, given the ready-to-hand material about this photograph showing that it was taken at Krema V; then I couldn't understand why you replied to me that there are no testimonies about the photo of the women. So I said that if you wanted to take a contrary view, you should deal with the sources. Given that you actually don't challenge the sources, just random posts, that's water under the bridge . . .

And, yes, I am happy to leave this . . .
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:37 am

Statmec:
Actually, you were perfectly clear. Given all you say, why didn't you just tell scrmblggs that the photo was not relevant instead of "correcting" the location. You introduced the bunkers, why I don't know. As I think I said, that photo is something I know a bit about, so I felt like jumping in on that.


Yes, i introduced the Bunker because that scene is exactly what the witnesses who worked at the Bunkers described, while none of the witnesses who worked at krema IV and V. My mistake. And at my very next post, i told it was not relevant. It was quite obvious it was not relevant in the first place.
So what the hell?

What I wrote was that "If you wish to negate or criticize such sources, you first need to show familiarity with them

Well, just that "i did not want to negate or criticize a source", i just wrongly interpreted as a picture of what took place at Bunker II, that is all...so there was no "IF" in the first place...But really, that is not important in the discussion.


As I told you, I already wrote, months ago it seems, what I had to say on the issue - I haven't researched this in depth and I don't have the sources that would enable me to say more about. I can't sketch out all the variables and variations - including time - and already the discussion became IMO unhelpful, with people talking past each other.


I understood that, which is why i was so shocked.
the duration of the process, its basic but clear description should not be the result of a in depth research, but should be in any books on the Final Solution at Auschwitz.
I did not asked anyone to sketch out all the variables and variation, but asked if anyone had heard of ONE before. I did not know of any before reading Venezia, whose schedule i shared, and he was just dismissed as being only a single witness, and therefore could be quite ignored. Ignored or dismissed ok, but for what in exchange? for what model?

And ignored is exactly the term, and i find it quite appalling, actually.
Venezia is, as far as i remember, the only witness who mentioned the difficulty of carrying the corpses after a certain time due to rirgor mortis, and that a fork instead of just a cane was needed (No, Olere did not draw SK sticking huge fork into the corpses)...the need to cool off the slider so that the bodies would not stick on it, that an SS alone would not have been able to remove the concrete block obstructing the conduct for the Zyclon B etc.
But then i guess that it is not important and that few if any felt the need to actually read his book.

So when i asked if anyone had at least read about a timetable of the process, i think that Denying History was the only one who came up with a 32 hours duration, but without details...

Why anyone would be happy to leave a topic that could finally put an end to the last chapter in which Deniers feel good to saying whatever BS they want, because there are just no concrete alternative to oppose them.

Three days ago, Hanover came with this {!#%@}:
Fact: as seen in the plans, this elevator is hand drawn, and is only 4 ft X 9 ft. How in the world could 2000 Jews have been loaded onto a 4 ft x 9 ft. hand drawn elevator in just a few minutes? Remember, the storyline says that the gassings and resultant cremations were non-stop for much of the period in question.

We supposedly have another batch of 2000 Jews waiting outside, supposedly being tricked into thinking they were about to receive showers. It would have been impossible to disentangle all the supposedly dead Jews and load 2000 of them onto to this postage stamp of an elevator, hoist them by hand up to the crematory 'ovens' in just minutes.
And this repeated process meant that the crematory ovens above would not have been capable of cremating them in the time alleged, which meant a build-up, a backlog occurred.
The storyline even states that the backlog of the to-be-cremated-gassed-Jews required stacking them outside. Once again, the alleged 2000 Jews were outside in full view of this laughable backlog claim, but supposedly they still thought they were getting 'showers'. Of course, timely aerial reconnaissance photos show nothing of the kind.

Furthermore, while the Jews were waiting outside, the storyline says that a SS man with a gas mask climbed upon the roof of the Kremas (only maybe 18 inches, or close to it, above the ground, Kremas II & III were largely underground) and dropped Zyklon-B granules into a container and lowered it down into the 'holes' in the roof, into the morgues which were supposedly converted into a gas chamber. The waiting 2000 Jews would have a clear view of the man on the roof's activity, yet these 2000 Jews were supposedly not concerned and still thought they were going to get innocent showers. The storyline is utterly ridiculous.


So, as you know quite a lot on all this, what you suggest we should oppose to the kind of crap?
What scholar's description of how the process?
Who ever said that there were 2000 Jews waiting for their turns while the facility was busy?
It is insane!

The other day, i had a chat with a gringo, and well he was a Jew, and we spoke - of course - about Auschwitz, and suddenly he said that the gas chambers were working days and night. I tried to explain that it was the crematoria who were working nights and day, not the gas chamber, but he just could not see the difference. I guess he took Olere's drawings to literally, the one showing the victims queuing...well they were queuing, but only to enter the killing facility...
And in fact i could not think of a scholar reference that would have established a model... and used it in a "read this" way.

So after all those years debating and defending the holocaust, don't you have at least an opinion? Or anyone else?
You were never asked to produce an expertise on Venezia, just to express an opinion more substantiate that "based on a single witness", it is not my fault if he was the only one who did express the timetable of what he had been doing for 5 months.

But i guess, it is better to leave it that way, and to ignore whatever new comes up, is it?

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:54 am

IIRC my very first reply when you brought Venezia up was that I don't know - and at this point I honestly don't know . . . what to say when you won't believe me when I tell you that I don't have more to say!

And when you try having it that the only argument I did make was about your questions being "based on a single witness" - ignoring, as I recall off the top of my head, my posting that your premise may be faulty, that there were differences in transport size and frequency, that differences existed among the Kremas, that Venezia is not exactly clear, that other tasks of the SK should be considered, that shutdowns need to be taken into account, that Pressac's high level estimate seems unsurprising and fits with what I have read, etc.
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby scrmbldggs » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:16 am

Balsamo wrote:[...]This picture is irrelevant to the discussion. I still don't get why scrmbgg posted it...

That was in response to some things mentioned by you, such as:
"The issue is not about the duration but about how the whole extermination was organized, and to what point?" and "Anyway, in a SK perspective, the process can only starts when the victims are brought in front of the killing center, the first step therefore being the introduction of the victim in the undressing room..." and something else I couldn't find to the extend that SKs didn't meet the victims outside and which might be because of the mixing up of the Kremas/locations.


EAT As mentioned before, to arrive at a rational and satisfactory result one has to be precise. The SKs were precise, according to Konrad Morgen they were trained and obeyed like, well, well-trained canines. The general process (reception, murder, disposal) would have been pretty much the same at all times, however, the actual performance of those duties sometimes changed with a number of encountered difficulties and obstacles -or improvements- and were done as the situation permitted.
.

Lard, save me from your followers.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:00 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:IIRC my very first reply when you brought Venezia up was that I don't know - and at this point I honestly don't know . . . what to say when you won't believe me when I tell you that I don't have more to say!

And when you try having it that the only argument I did make was about your questions being "based on a single witness" - ignoring, as I recall off the top of my head, my posting that your premise may be faulty, that there were differences in transport size and frequency, that differences existed among the Kremas, that Venezia is not exactly clear, that other tasks of the SK should be considered, that shutdowns need to be taken into account, that Pressac's high level estimate seems unsurprising and fits with what I have read, etc.


Well, i admit i am surprise that someone like you, a veteran, would be happy with a "i don't know".
Given the extent of your knowledge about many crucial aspects of the Holocaust, i am indeed surprised that you would leave these matters aside.
For whatever the reasons, you never wanted to be involved in this thread, unless it was to point out my weaknesses, like "how many sources have you read" kind of stuff, fair enough. But when i asked if, in order to compensate my lack of knowledge, anyone had another substantial timetable to propose, all i can say is that i was not overwhelmed by the responses. You mentioned Pressac and this enigmatic:
"The destruction of 1,000 to 1,500 people took a whole day or more."

If even Pressac does not give the details of how this destruction actually took place, well then i am right to point out that there is a serious lack in this issue, right?

and then you did write:
Correction: the only estimate you've read
.

Of course, as i said that it had been the first time i had read such an estimate, hence my begging for other ones.
All i got was basically Hoess!
And Pressac, also by Denying History, but of course without any convincing details that would show that Krema II or III (the one in which Venezia and many others worked) could actually dispose 1500 bodies a day (except through this crazy cremation capacity, of course)

You as well as Denying History then concluded:
You:
The other thing is that Balsamo is making way too much of a single testimony given IIRC fifty years after the fact.


When it was obvious that i wanted to discuss the testimony and not making WAY too much of it.

Denying History:
1) You are relying on a single testimony and based on the work of Pressac he placed the figure the operation of 1000-1500 corpses at between a day or two. (Worded a day or more by Pressac.) You are treating this 70 hour figure with to much authority.


Except that i was hoping that Pressac would give a form of timetable to substantiate his estimation, but does he?
Did he interviewed the surviving SK when he was "dedicating his life on that matter"? Or did he only relied on the testimonies produced in Courts?

You both gently added post like
Balsamo is still confused....
(D-H)
You can't outsmart crazy, though.
YOU

I might be confused and crazy, but you did not substantiate anything, but only quoted unsubstantiated estimation, based on unverified affirmation from a couple of former of SK in a court of Justice who were never asked the full details.

I came up with the only affirmation by a SK witness who declared that there were given 72 hours to complete the process. I did not made up anything out of it, but asking question.
But then, as i am crazy, i went to read all what the SK actually said about it in order to see if such affirmation has some validity...the more testimonies the best, and tried to formulate a timetable of the process, starting when the victims where gathered at the door of the killing facility, and just listening to the witnesses, knowing that precisely you cannot rely on one in particular. But their voices put together and scrutinized actually bring some answers.

If you do this unpleasant exercise, then you would no that Venezia allegation is actually possible. I AM NOT SAYING THAT IT IS THE SOLE TRUTH, only that it is possible.
But after having digested the description of the process from all SK, what is evident is that it would have been impossible to process 1000-1500 in "one day or more" for whatever this kind of estimate means...more than one days, for sure...one day not even in the third dimension. That Tauber 2500 a day is unpractical at the Krema he worked.
That does not mean his testimony should not be taken into consideration, but that it should at least be put into the context.

This was a topic meant to be discussed, i have never meant to impose a truth.
But it is obvious that this topic is a kind of forgotten spot in the historiography.

And that Hanover chose to attack Roberto on this subject endlessly in the recent months, illustrates it better than i could do.
Of course, i tried to response to those attacks, but somehow my posts "did not fit into any category, or something like that, and were refused.

What is really crazy, actually, is that all the data needed to provide some form of timetable are available.
That given the now accepted fact that 430.000 Hungarian Jews were not gassed within 9 weeks, we no longer to need "magic" in the process, hence no more need for 2500 bodies a day, or 10.000 for the whole camp.
On the contrary, this new reality allows historians and specialists to conceive a realistic process, probably closer to what Venezia proposed.
But then if no one is interested in such small detail of the Holocaust, i won't impose anything.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:20 pm

So pinch me. I just got an invitation to attend the following: "Confronting Murder | Meet Author Gideon Greif," who will discuss "The Jewish 'Sonderkommando' of Auschwitz Birkenau." In early December. Will write a report.

Please let me know of questions I might consider trying to ask . . .
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Kleon_I XYZ Contagion » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:31 pm

Here's a documents from ITS Archives in Bad Arolsen with a list of 157 Greek Jews survivors. I guess among them there must be some SKs.
Anyway, if someone wants to take a look at the names, also here
https://www.facebook.com/pg/protocolswi ... 6645139849

25 June, 1945: World Jewish Congress, List of Greek Jews deported to Poland at April 2,1944, now repatriated to Greece from Brussels Paris and European cities

Image

Image

Image

Image
According to experts and scholars, the 10 stages of every genocide are
Classification Symbolization Discrimination Dehumanization Organization Polarization Preparation Persecution Extermination
... and finally the 10th stage:
Denial
http://www.genocidewatch.org/genocide/t ... ocide.html

XYZ Contagion (‘Because the truth is contagious‘), an investigative/research political and historical website, deals also with the Srebrenica Genocide
https://xyzcontagion.wordpress.com/about/#English

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:53 am

I will type up notes on important points from tonight's talk by Gideon Greif. For now, I will tell you how he replied to my question about the labor process and time involved. First, the talk was attended by 250 people in an auditorium seating maybe 235. Greif didn't lecture exactly or, rather, he asked for audience questions as he lectured. This had the advantage that I was able, along with several others, to ask questions as he discussed the process - and the disadvantage that with an overflow crowd, drilling down was simply not possible.

Greif outlined the steps of the extermination process in Kremas II/III in some detail. He used a variety of visuals to help with this. Starting with the undressing room, he highlighted six different SK teams. As he finished up the process, he commented, "within four hours, nothing remained of the people who had been brought there." I asked about this, whether I had heard correctly that from entry into the undressing room, say 2,500 people brought in in maybe three or four groups, to grinding of their cremains, took just four hours. Greif said that I'd misunderstood: that four hours was "from arrival on the ramp to total destruction." Greif said that Saul Chazan, a Greek Jew whose interview is one in his book, had told him that directly.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:14 am

One more point for tonight: I can see why, in his book, which focuses on the existential situation and psychological responses of the SK prisoners, Greif didn't ask about, or report on, the overall time. Recall that he describes a decomposed process and that he focuses on individual stories and experiences. But it turns out - if I knew this I forgot it - that Greif interviewed all 31 SK members who were still alive in 1986, not only the 9 featured in his book We Wept Without Tears. He interviewed these men, he said, over decades. He volunteered that Chazan had mentioned the time frame to him during one of these interviews. The book represents a minority part of Greif's research.

I was not expecting Grief to focus his talk on the details of the labor process - "technical" matters Greif said. I told my wife before the lecture that I wanted to ask about some of the details of the labor process, but, assuming from Greif's book and the occasion that he would focus on more psychological or personal responses of the SK, I said that I would not ask about that. Flipping back through the book tonight, I see of course a good deal of this material, despite the strength of the book in other areas. Nevertheless, it became clear that Greif's research, as one would suspect, is far more comprehensive than even his book.
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:47 am

IIRC the undressing room also had the gas openings and could be used as a gas chamber if the circumstances called for it (as would be the case in the summer of 1944).

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:53 am

As I was surprised that Greif addressed the processing time estimate, and that it was so short, I looked up Chazan later last night - Chazan worked in Krema II. Given the cremation capacity of the ovens in Krema II, and the distance from there to Moll’s cremation pits, I can’t explain the surprisingly short time estimate Chazan gave Greif. The follow-up question I would have liked to have asked, in a more conducive setting, was about cremation time and also whether he’d gotten time estimates from others whom he had interviewed. Is it possible that Chazan was being hyperbolic to make a point about the frailty of the lives of those brought to Auschwitz and the power they faced? What would additional data points, which I assume Greif (and others) have, tell us?
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:17 am

some random points from Greif's talk last night, without trying to be comprehensive - much of this should be familiar to readers here:

* Greif used a number of visuals, including two air photos (I believe US air force, one from 26 June 1944 showing the Stammlager and Birkenau and one from 25 August showing Kremas II/III at Birkenau); some photographs taken by Germans of the II/III cremation ovens and naked women who may have been awaiting gassing (or not); a couple of photos post liberation (gas mask, shower head); 12 David Olere drawings illustrating different parts of the labor process; the SK photographs taken at Krema V; and a model of Krema II/III - Greif discussed the Olere drawings and Krema V photos at some length

* Greif estimates that 80-100 SK members survived, that by 1986 when his research began 31 remained alive - Greif attributed the survival of the 80-100 to laxness and negligence by Camp SS as the Germans faced the advance of the Red Army - I believe that he said it was on the night of 16-17 January in block 16 that the survivors decided to slip away from their barrack and "mingle" (I didn't get to ask about SS pursuit of survivors within Birkenau or to other camps); because they were well fed and in good physical condition, virtually all those SK members who departed Birkenau on the death marches survived the marches

* SK members were all male, aged 15-1/2 to 42 years old; aside from some Poles, mostly early on - and the 20 or so Russians from Majdanek - they were Jews; non-Jews were overrepresented among the functionaries - Grief called out the roles of Vorarbeiter, Kapo, Oberkapo (for a long time, before being shot, Jakob Kaminsky was Oberkapo)

* SK members survived at Birkenau from 1 hour to 2-1/2 years; from time to time groups of 300-400 were removed from the squad and shot (on a single occasion gassed) and replaced with new members selected from incoming transports

* the selection process for SK members was arbitrary, conducted by the SS, and based on SS gut feel (Greif quoted Primo Levi's "The Gray Zone" on "SS 'psychologists'" here): "not an intelligent process . . . you, you, you"; women/children separated from men on the ramp and brought back together to some extent in the undressing rooms at the Kremas

* discussing various parts of the labor process, Grief said that "you can't talk about the Holocaust without discussing humiliation" of the victims as an intended action

* Greif's estimate was that 99% of the time the members of the SK did not share with arriving prisoners their knowledge of what fate awaited them

* Grief estimated that only 10% of the buried "Scrolls" have been unearthed

* Greif elaborated on "six stations" with SK crews at each: undressing room, gas chamber, "dentists" (those searching the corpses for valuables), cremation ovens, bone crushers, team hauling ashes to Vistula and Sola rivers; Greif said that although SK members worked in teams, basically all SKs ended up working on all teams and doing all parts of the work at some point

* the rate of suicide within the SK was negligible and in fact less than in the other parts of the camp: "I would have committed suicide at once," Greif said - SK members rarely killed themselves: "There must be some explanation, but it is hard for me to explain" - perhaps there was a determination to live as long as possible to alert "the world" to what was happening at Birkenau

* although their condition in the Kremas was "brilliant" compared to the rest of the camp, in terms of food/ability to survive, the SK members "knew for sure that they were to die . . . We cannot talk about the history of the SK without mentioning their bravery" - with the Birkeanau SK revolt being the third case of armed resistance to the Nazis in the 6 extermination camps, "talking about Jewish passivity is not accurate"

* Greif's recent research has focused on the SK revolt - his conclusion is that less is known about the revolt at Birkenau than about the Treblinka revolt - he said that the revolt lasted 5-7 hours, 451 SK members perished, 3 SS were killed and 20 to 30 injured, and Krema IV was either blown up or burned - Greif showed photographs of Roza Robota and Ali Gertner and spent quite a bit of time on the revolt (note: one audience member commented that her mother was present for the hanging of Roza Robota and the other women, after their torture, in early January and spoke of her mother's impressions of Robota)

* Greif was asked about negative judgments of the SK members: he said that in the '80s they were prevalent (collaborators, murderers) but "I don't hear such accusations" now - "they were slaves, slaves have to do what their masters tell them to do . . . The men tried to do good within the small space available to them" - in individual ways, e.g., Josef Sakar averted his eyes in the undressing room so as not to shame the women forced to take their clothes off (I'm trying not to editorialize here but I know from the writing in the Scrolls that other SKs could not help looking) - the corpse crew, according to what Greif's interviews revealed, tried dragging bodies of those gassed where it was not so dirty in order to respect the dead - and other small gestures

* side note on this: Grief comes across as an elegant, dispassionate yet sensitive man; he is soft spoken and approaches difficult issues (e.g., the photos of naked prisoners) almost politely and hesitantly - but he was passionate about the negative "judgment" of SK members; he referred to such judgements as "absolutely false," whereas he had far more gently corrected audience members on their misconceptions about Wannsee, meticulous German documentation, etc - he was not not gentle on the issue of SK "guilt" but almost emotional

* Greif closed paraphrasing Primo Levi's passage that the invention of the SK was the "most demonic crime" of the Nazis - a group of Jewish men forced to work in the place where Jews were being murdered

* a final comment: the lecture was entitled, in advertisements and on the program, "Confronting Murder: The Jewish 'Sonderkommando' in Auschwitz-Birkenau," which had led me to believe that Greif would follow themes from his book closely; however, Greif's slide presentation had a different title, which was more in keeping with his actual lecture, "The Jewish 'Sonderkommando' in Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Sonderkommando Revolt of 7 October 1944"

My notes are far from perfect, and my memory is for crap. Fire away Birkenau experts!

edits: egregious typos (ugh)
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:43 pm

I'd like to see a discussion of a possible reason for this passage from the VWR:

The men belonging to the "special squad" lived separately. On account of the dreadful smell spread by them, people had but little contact with. them. Besides they were always filthy, destitute, half wild and extraordinarily brutal and ruthless. It was not uncommon to see one of them. kill another. This was considered by the others a sensation, a change. One simply recorded that number so-and-so had died.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:31 pm

I should add a note about the Oberkapo Kaminski. Langbein - this was bugging me so I checked - gives his name as Stanislaw, not Jakob, and says that Kaminski was known both for his decency and as one of the planners of the revolt. According to Langbein, after Kaminski was shot SS men told some of the SK members that their Kapo had been executed for trying to kill one of the Camp SS; Langbein says that, OTOH, prisoners concluded that Kaminski had been betrayed by a Polish squad member, who was Kapo for Kremas II/III and about whom judgments differed; Jewish SK men believed that Kaminski had told this individual of the uprising plans and that he in turn had informed the SS. (BTW, Henryk Tauber in his deposition refers to Kaminski as "our kapo Kaminsky" - no first name - and says he was "shot first" among the uprising planners, when the uprising failed to materialize on one of the earlier planned dates.)

Sergey, I just saw your post after checking Langbein for this detail on Kaminski. It is interesting, as Langbein details some of the negative rumors in the camp about the Sonderkommando (‘‘these were no longer human countenances but distorted, demented faces’’; prone to drinking and feasting; ‘‘drunken Jews who treat their Jewish brethren who are destined to die just as the SS men do’’). It is easy to understand that an aura of horror could have surrounded the SK and how, given the conditions in which the SK lived, their proximity to darkness/death, and the appalling nature of their work, such rumors might have circulated. Langbein also quotes the same passage from the Vrba-Wetzler Report that you have highlighted, without making direct commentary. He does comment indirectly by following the few negative views he cites with many contrary observations of the SK men.

Perhaps Vrba and Wetzler chose to emphasize the negative rumors - I could imagine that they'd heard both pov's and I recall that they knew and relied on Filip Müller (?) - to heighten for the public the brutalization inflicted by the Camp SS. That Vrba believed the more negative view is possible but IMO somewhat problematic on account of his relationship with Müller.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:05 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:IIRC the undressing room also had the gas openings and could be used as a gas chamber if the circumstances called for it (as would be the case in the summer of 1944).


Do you mean that the two rooms (undressing and gas chambers) would have been used at the same time, to double the capacity?

I am not convinced about that, as there was a need for an undressing room in any cases...which was full of goods, food, gold and of course cloths...Besides it would have make the work impossible...

But maybe it is not what you meant?
Seems i have difficulties to understand what members write, lately... :|

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:11 pm

After this description the author follows with this 1st person account:

Once I was an eyewitness when a young Polish Jew named Jossel demonstrated "scientific" murder on a Jew in the presence of an SS guard. He used no weapon, merely his bare hands, to kill his victim.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:17 pm

I should mention one more point raised by Greif, in relation to the Krema V SK photos: his view is straightforward, that the women in the photograph had to dress among the trees there because of overcrowded undressing rooms and that the women's corpses are those shown in the "spaghetti" photo.

This sequence and timing conforms to that described by Hans Metzner, in his critique of Szmulewski's chronology:
The burning pit photographs were taken between 4 - 5 pm as can be safely estimated from the direction and length of the shadows of the people shown (the sun is shining from south-west to west).

On the other hand, the undressing scene seems to take place around noon (as correctly noted by Mattogno). The photographer was facing west judging from the position and orientation of the crematorium 5 chimney. The fairly well illumination of the persons indicates a high, southern position of the sun.

Thus, if all photographs of the clandestine operation were taken on the very same day (a reasonable assumption in any case), the undressing photograph was taken few hours before the burning pit photographs - in contrary to Szmulewski’s account, who reported the reverse sequence with only 15 min difference between the photographs of each scene (accepted by Pressac, Technique, p. 324 and Georges Didi-Huberman, Images in Spite of All: Four Photographs from Auschwitz, p. 116; in contrast, Clement Cheroux also concluded the undressing took place before the cremation scene based on the sequence of the contact prints [ibid.]).

Greif's understanding of what the women were doing also aligns with Hans':
It is also possible that there was a second site for undressing more close to the security fence and that the naked people were first sent to a collecting point in between before marching to the gas chambers.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:17 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:After this description the author follows with this 1st person account:

Once I was an eyewitness when a young Polish Jew named Jossel demonstrated "scientific" murder on a Jew in the presence of an SS guard. He used no weapon, merely his bare hands, to kill his victim.

I saw that, too; was Jossel in the SK? It seemed so to me. If so, perhaps witnessing that colored Vrba's view of the SK as a whole. Still, I feel for sure Vrba relied on Müller for information. I'm out of my depth here so will shut up on this . . .
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:35 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:As I was surprised that Greif addressed the processing time estimate, and that it was so short, I looked up Chazan later last night - Chazan worked in Krema II. Given the cremation capacity of the ovens in Krema II, and the distance from there to Moll’s cremation pits, I can’t explain the surprisingly short time estimate Chazan gave Greif. The follow-up question I would have liked to have asked, in a more conducive setting, was about cremation time and also whether he’d gotten time estimates from others whom he had interviewed. Is it possible that Chazan was being hyperbolic to make a point about the frailty of the lives of those brought to Auschwitz and the power they faced? What would additional data points, which I assume Greif (and others) have, tell us?


I understood Chazan estimate addressing the time between the ramp and their destruction, that is their death. 4 hours fits with my own calculation. Krema II (III) had no use of the pit. Chazan is also one who described the elevator to the ovens as loaded with 6 to 8 bodies, a number confirmed by some other SK, but contradicted by other testimonies. therefore i do not think that Chazan (or even Grieff) meant destruction = cremated.
Chazan is one of the few who told that they found a half full gas chambers at the start of his shift.

Chazan was a "dragger" and did not work in the undressing room, actually the only hyperbolic part of his testimony to Grieff concerns the undressing stage which he described as "record speed", the SS hitting the victims hard, but this contradicted by too many others testimonies:
Sackar said 1 to 2 hours (he worked in the undressing room)
Gabbai said 2 hours for the victims to undress
Venezia also said 2 hours for 1800 victims.
Just to quote a few (they all worked in the same Krema.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:45 pm

Balsamo wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:IIRC the undressing room also had the gas openings and could be used as a gas chamber if the circumstances called for it (as would be the case in the summer of 1944).


Do you mean that the two rooms (undressing and gas chambers) would have been used at the same time, to double the capacity?

I am not convinced about that, as there was a need for an undressing room in any cases...which was full of goods, food, gold and of course cloths...Besides it would have make the work impossible...

But maybe it is not what you meant?
Seems i have difficulties to understand what members write, lately... :|


As I said, "IIRC", and my memory was faulty in this regard - those additional openings were in the corridor, not the undressing room.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Denying-History » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:59 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:
Balsamo wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:IIRC the undressing room also had the gas openings and could be used as a gas chamber if the circumstances called for it (as would be the case in the summer of 1944).


Do you mean that the two rooms (undressing and gas chambers) would have been used at the same time, to double the capacity?

I am not convinced about that, as there was a need for an undressing room in any cases...which was full of goods, food, gold and of course cloths...Besides it would have make the work impossible...

But maybe it is not what you meant?
Seems i have difficulties to understand what members write, lately... :|


As I said, "IIRC", and my memory was faulty in this regard - those additional openings were in the corridor, not the undressing room.


I'm still a bit confused by what you mean, are you saying this about Krema IV and V or Krema II and III?

This makes sense to me for Krema IV and V but not II and III.
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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby scrmbldggs » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:29 pm

https://phdn.org/archives/holocaust-his ... 0389.shtml wrote:Homicidal gassings at Krematorium V, its furnace extinguished, now proceeded as follows (fourth phase): the “unfit for work” entered via the vestibule and undressed in the central room; they were then pushed into the block of (three, later four) gas chambers and killed there; their bodies were dragged by the Sonderkommando to the cremation ditches and burnt in the open air. In good weather, in the summer of 1944, the central undressing room was not used and the victims were made to undress in the open air before being introduced directly into the gas chambers.

Sometimes there was only a small number of victims and Zyklon-B was less plentiful than usual. To deal with this kind of situation, the corridor serving the two westernmost rooms was divided in two, in the proportion 1:2, thus forming a fourth small gas chamber of 13 m2 (26 m³), in which small groups could be “treated” with a minimum of Zyklon-B (one 200 gram can).
(my bold)


And IIRC, the lights in the corridor also had those iron grilles Hans mentions in this thread.
Last edited by scrmbldggs on Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:30 pm

Balsamo wrote:I understood Chazan estimate addressing the time between the ramp and their destruction, that is their death. 4 hours fits with my own calculation.

No, this is not correct. Whatever your calculation is, that is not what Greif was addressing. I asked specifically, because I was surprised by his mentioning 4 hours, and Greif answered specifically that he meant from arrival on the ramp, correcting me, until "nothing remained" (in my notes). He referred directly to the final disposal of the cremains and mentioned the Vistula and Sola. Further, Greif first brought up this estimate during his discussion of the final stage of disposal, when the ashes were taken to the rivers.

Balsamo wrote:Krema II (III) had no use of the pit.

That is my point and why the pit could not be an explanation for the short time estimate, since Chazan was not in Krema IV/V. As I wrote above.

Balsamo wrote:therefore i do not think that Chazan (or even Grieff) meant destruction = cremated.

According to Greif, last night, he did. He meant until nothing remained at the Krema, not even ground ashes. I don't find what he said plausible, as I posted, but that is what he said. I don't understand how you know what Greif said last night.

Balsamo wrote:Chazan was a "dragger" and did not work in the undressing room

"I worked in the undressing room and also removed bodies from the gas chamber." - Chazan testimony, WWWT, p 267

He also says dragging bodies was his "main job" (p 274) but that he sometimes ground bones, when enough had accumulated.

I will check later but I recall that Chazan gave the impression of a far longer time span in what Greif published of his interview. (edit: checked, it's an overall sense I get and also some of the time frames he gives indicate this) That's one reason I felt he might have been hyperbolic in giving the shorter estimate to Greif on a different occasion (assuming I have my testimonies straight!).

As I posted above, Greif told the audience not to think of the teams as permanent but to understand that the men moved from team to team.

Balsamo wrote:actually the only hyperbolic part of his testimony to Grieff concerns the undressing stage which he described as "record speed", the SS hitting the victims hard, but this contradicted by too many others testimonies:
Sackar said 1 to 2 hours (he worked in the undressing room)
Gabbai said 2 hours for the victims to undress
Venezia also said 2 hours for 1800 victims.
Just to quote a few (they all worked in the same Krema.

Just to take Sackar, that is not what he said. He said (p 98) "About half an hour, sometimes a whole hour" for up to 2000; Greif said about 30 minutes or so for groups of several 100s - and as one group began to go into the gas chamber, the next group would come into the undressing room. My recollection from WWWT and other sources is that generally, in contrast to what Greif said last night, women undressed first, then men. But the undressing was done in smaller groups that were then brought together in the gas chamber, as he described last night.

Danny Bennahmias (Krema III I believe) worked in the undressing room and said (from my notes, I will check the book later) that his work there took 2 hours - but this was to clear and clean the room after the victims had been taken to the gas chambers (Odyssey, p 43), not for the undressing. He gave an estimate of 8 hours to move the 2000+ corpses to the crematory ovens and 2-3 hours to clean the gas chambers after their use (pp 44, 46); I cannot find a reference to what Bennahmias said about cremation time. Many of these tasks were done simultaneously to others - and some, like grinding of the bones, were done when there was time, not in sequence, so you can't simply add the times - the long pole in the tent still seems to me to be cremation time.
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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Denying-History » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:35 pm

scrmbldggs wrote:
https://phdn.org/archives/holocaust-his ... 0389.shtml wrote:Homicidal gassings at Krematorium V, its furnace extinguished, now proceeded as follows (fourth phase): the “unfit for work” entered via the vestibule and undressed in the central room; they were then pushed into the block of (three, later four) gas chambers and killed there; their bodies were dragged by the Sonderkommando to the cremation ditches and burnt in the open air. In good weather, in the summer of 1944, the central undressing room was not used and the victims were made to undress in the open air before being introduced directly into the gas chambers.

Sometimes there was only a small number of victims and Zyklon-B was less plentiful than usual. To deal with this kind of situation, the corridor serving the two westernmost rooms was divided in two, in the proportion 1:2, thus forming a fourth small gas chamber of 13 m2 (26 m³), in which small groups could be “treated” with a minimum of Zyklon-B (one 200 gram can).
(my bold)


And IIRC, the lights in the corridor also had those iron grilles Hans mentions in this thread.


The corridor to my understanding always had the ability to operate as a gas chamber.

Image

Though I am just wondering if it is the building Sergey was talking about.
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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:36 pm

Thanks, guys, I'd forgotten this.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:41 pm

1. I did mean crematoria IV and V.

2. Depending on who you ask there were initially 2 or 3 gas chambers.

Pressac names one of the rooms with the ZB introduction openings a corridor.

Piper names it a gas chamber outright, which is plausible given the openings, but I would suggest that its use was provisional - when really necessary. It even seems to have lacked a floor drain (unlike the two big GCs).

3. My memory turns out not to be as bad as I thought.

Piper in Anatomy p. 169 says that acc. to the photos the wall of the undressing room contained openings similar to the ones in the GCs and suggests a possibility of its provisional use as a GC.

---

Summing up, there are following possibilities for why the people might have had to undress outside:

1. If the undressing room was indeed used as a GC.

2. If the undressing room was at the moment used as a morgue.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:43 pm

given the numbers of prisoners being brought to the Kremas at that time, very plausible & strengthens Hans' interpretation nicely IMO
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:46 pm

Now to VWR.

The part I quoted was written by Wetzler. But translations differ. Here's a significantly different take:

http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/pdf ... lish45.pdf

The Sonderkommandos were segregated. We did not associate with them because of the horrid
smell they spread. They were always filthy, in rags, totally brutalized, and became violent
savages. It was no rarity for one to club another to death. Such an occurrence was nothing
sensational among other prisoners as well, since the murder of a prisoner is not considered a
crime. It is simply recorded that prisoner number so and so died; the cause of death is
immaterial. I was present when a young Polish Jew named Jossel explained the fine art of
"expert murder" to an SS man and, to demonstrate his point, killed another Jew with his bare
hands, without using any weapon.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:49 pm

I think I must have zipped to Vrba on account of reading comments of his about Müller.

That version strengthens the impression that Jossel was one of the SK - in fact, makes it virtually certain - and indicates that the passage isn't only rumor-based. Why Wetzler highlighted this aspect of SK behavior is beyond me. Do you have a theory?
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:53 pm

German text:

http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/pdf ... rman45.pdf

Die Leute des Sonderkommandos wohnten abgesondert. Man hatte mit ihnen auch schon
wegen des fürchterlichen Geruchs, der von ihnen ausging, wenig Verkehr. Sie waren immer
dreckig, ganz verwahrlost, waren ganz verwildert und ungemein brutal und rücksichtslos. Es
war nicht selten - es galt übrigens auch bei den anderen Häftlingen als Sensation - dass der
Eine den Anderen einfach erschlug. Das Erschlagen eines Häftlings ist kein Delikt. Es wird
einfach registriert, dass Nr. so-und-soviel gestorben ist. Auf welche Art jemand in das Jenseits
befördert wird, ist ganz nebensächlich. Einmal habe ich zugesehen, wie ein junger polnischer
Jude namens Jossel einem SS-Mann gegenüber das "fachmännische Morden" an einem Juden
vordemonstrierte, indem er den Juden mit der Hand, ohne irgendeine Waffe zu benützen,
ermordete.

I'm not sure both translation get the "sensation" part correct.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:57 pm

But I don't understand the meaning.

Es war nicht selten - es galt übrigens auch bei den anderen Häftlingen als Sensation - dass der
Eine den Anderen einfach erschlug.

As literal as possible:

It was not seldom - it was by the way considered a sensation also among the other inmates - that one simply beat another to death.

Why "also"?


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