More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

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Jeffk 1970
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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Mon May 15, 2017 9:52 pm

Balsamo wrote:At least it clarifies that he was indeed talking about his crema, that is II (III) to which a convoy arrived every 3 days, and it can be understand that it was indeed a time period valid for all the four crema.
I have checked in all the SK testimonies i have, and i can confirm it is the first time that such an organization is proposed.

So those interested in at least addressing this testimony:

- What is it that you don't like and why?


I'm not sure this is really a "like" or "dislike" proposition. It simply "is."

- Are there elements (sources, similar testimonies, documents) that completely reject Venezia proposition?


Well, there's what I posted. That could only include actual cremation as opposed to including disembarking passengers, gassing, cleanup and sorting the possessions of those murdered. All of those things could get us to 72 hours as a total.

- Or could it be that there was such an organization in the mass killing?


To a degree I reject this "industrialized" notion of killing and cremation but by 1944 there was considerable experience in the killing, cleanup and cremation process. The main holdup is the cremation process and the inevitable breakdowns in the crematoriums.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Tue May 16, 2017 12:02 am

DH:
If your point is behind how the 72 hour figure should be treated then you shouldn't have continued this petty argument.

Well, in my perspective i tried. But let's move on.

DH:
We explain a long time ago that the figure doesn't appear to be correct.


Well, in my perspective i tried. But let's move on.
SO why would the concept - again i insist on this aspect more important than the 72 hours per se - of a planification based on "time periods" allowed to each crema for completing the job incorrect? What would be the problem it poses?
One important aspect here is that Venezia states it clearly. 1 transport each 3 days for crema II. It is not something you can "misremember" as it is a clear pattern, part of the organization. Quite impersonal by the way, more like remembering that dinner was served at 6 pm.

So i will gladly know why you consider it as "incorrect", because if it is the case, then the witness made it up.

So are they elements that can be used to completely reject, infirm or correct the "proposition" that is this new "source"?
If yes, what would that be?

Jeffk:
I'm not sure this is really a "like" or "dislike" proposition. It simply "is."


Well, please remember that English is my third language. By like or dislike, i of course meant what would you make reject or accept it.

Well, there's what I posted. That could only include actual cremation as opposed to including disembarking passengers, gassing, cleanup and sorting the possessions of those murdered. All of those things could get us to 72 hours as a total.


The topic was never the cremation capacity of the ovens at krema II (III).
Indeed, the first extract from Venezia book lacked clarity. In the interview, he clearly explained that his crema had to process a convoy every three day. So in this context, even if the ovens were able to finish the process earlier, well the next convoy would anyway arrive later.
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 the last is when the last body has been cremated, but in this specific case, that would the arrival of the next convoy.

Concretely: a hypothetical convoy is sent to Krema II (III) on monday morning 6.00 am. Let's assume that whole convoy has been killed at around 7h30-8h, and that the SK work really start then. Whatever the time the work is finished, the next convoy is not expected before Wednesday 6 pm or in the night from Wednesday to Thursday, then the same until Saturday/sunday.

This is the kind of pattern Venezia is talking about.
Which is why my main focus is not only the 72 hours, that is as needed to generally complete the job, but to know if whether or not there was such a schedule followed in the killing process.

To a degree I reject this "industrialized" notion of killing and cremation but by 1944 there was considerable experience in the killing, cleanup and cremation process. The main holdup is the cremation process and the inevitable breakdowns in the crematoriums.


Not sure to understand, a system capable of exterminating and making disappear like 20.000+ people every week seems quite industrialized to me.
Actually, if Venezia is right, it would definitely make the whole process even more industrialized, with assigned in advance "production (destruction) tools".

Which is why i am curious to know if there is any merit in Venezia allegation.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue May 16, 2017 1:32 am

Balsamo wrote:

I'm not sure this is really a "like" or "dislike" proposition. It simply "is."



Well, please remember that English is my third language. By like or dislike, i of course meant what would you make reject or accept it.


My apologies. I understand what you are saying now.

I find a 24-hour period much more likely, just based on what I posted above. However, there may have existed circumstances where it took longer, let's say damage to the crematorium.
I don't know why your witness said 72 hours. It's conjecture on my part, mere guessing. I'm only aware of what you post.

The topic was never the cremation capacity of the ovens at krema II (III).
Indeed, the first extract from Venezia book lacked clarity. In the interview, he clearly explained that his crema had to process a convoy every three day. So in this context, even if the ovens were able to finish the process earlier, well the next convoy would anyway arrive later.
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 the last is when the last body has been cremated, but in this specific case, that would the arrival of the next convoy.

Concretely: a hypothetical convoy is sent to Krema II (III) on monday morning 6.00 am. Let's assume that whole convoy has been killed at around 7h30-8h, and that the SK work really start then. Whatever the time the work is finished, the next convoy is not expected before Wednesday 6 pm or in the night from Wednesday to Thursday, then the same until Saturday/sunday.

This is the kind of pattern Venezia is talking about.
Which is why my main focus is not only the 72 hours, that is as needed to generally complete the job, but to know if whether or not there was such a schedule followed in the killing process.


Again, simply a guess but really what your witness is saying is that the SK's had three days to complete the destruction of a given transport. So, if a transport pulled in on Monday morning the SK's knew (in essence) that they had until Wednesday to complete the process from beginning until the end. This took into account any possible delays or breakdowns.
I think the reality was different but I'd have to read up on it. I think the mass destruction of Hungary's Jews in the Summer of 1944 overwhelmed Birkenau and this is why Bunker I & II were reopened, along with the resorting to burning bodies in pits.

To a degree I reject this "industrialized" notion of killing and cremation but by 1944 there was considerable experience in the killing, cleanup and cremation process. The main holdup is the cremation process and the inevitable breakdowns in the crematoriums.


Not sure to understand, a system capable of exterminating and making disappear like 20.000+ people every week seems quite industrialized to me.
Actually, if Venezia is right, it would definitely make the whole process even more industrialized, with assigned in advance "production (destruction) tools".

Which is why i am curious to know if there is any merit in Venezia allegation.


I look at it differently, the more I study the more the whole thing looks thrown together and improvised. Bunker I & II were converted farmhouses, II & III converted morgues and IV & V were riddled with technical problems. The Germans built IV and V later so you would think they would be the most efficient, they were not. The Kremas in IV & V had less capacity than II & III.
By 1944 the process became more efficient but the tools were shoddy. It's why I laugh at deniers that yammer on and on about "efficient Germans."

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Denying-History » Tue May 16, 2017 2:54 am

I explained my reasoning... multiple times... and I mainly base my rejection on my calculations and other witnesses not describing the time of the process, but actually giving testimony which I feel do not reflect well on the figures of a 3 day rotation. Even Pressac stated that the process of 1000 to 1500 took around a day or more. I don't feel I need to iterate this any more.
« Oral history is a complex field. After all, memory can be a distorting mirror, as anyone who has ever worked with memoir literature knows very well...They may be imperfect, and, at times, inaccurate as the narrator tries to cast himself in the most favorable light, but all sources are imperfect. Even an archival document reflects how the person who drafted it understood something and remains something less than the unvarnished truth. »
- James Mace

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Tue May 16, 2017 4:24 am

Denying-History wrote:I explained my reasoning... multiple times... and I mainly base my rejection on my calculations and other witnesses not describing the time of the process, but actually giving testimony which I feel do not reflect well on the figures of a 3 day rotation. Even Pressac stated that the process of 1000 to 1500 took around a day or more. I don't feel I need to iterate this any more.


You did, and as i said, i have nothing against your evaluation of 33 hours pèr se.
But as i tried to explain, and which i hope has become clearer now, my point was not to do a time estimation competition.

The issue here is whether Venezia statement should merit consideration or should be rejected, and in both case, why?
Again, the details he provided in the interview i quote, makes clear that he spoke about a "policy", an organized "timing" that would send a convoy to a crema every three day.
So it is not a matter of evaluation of the time theoretically needed to process a convoy - which as it has been pointed out - depended of many variables : origin of the victims, numbers, proportion of elderly, women, children, etc.

But as you pointed out, i am not aware of any other witness (in my case restricted to the SK members) that would bluntly and objectively confirm Venezia's "revelation", but as far as the SK are concerned, it is hard to find anything that would completely infirm it neither. Some elements can be found that seems to confirm, while some elements seems to infirm, but there is basically no way one can use any of them definitely.

So, as far as i am concerned, Venezia statement that there was a kind of schedule regarding convoy sent to the crema, is something completely new, and if accepted as it is, of nature to force a reconsideration of previous versions which to my very limited knowledge have never been clearly expressed.

Hence my fundamental question, is there anything in those previous versions of how the crema worked that can completely infirm Venezia's statement. Again, it is not a matter of previous calculations.
As i tried to explain in the former post, in the "Venezia" version, if a convoy was processed in 33 hours in crema III, then the SK of crema III would have been available to help other crema or serve at the bunkers, until the next convoy was assigned to crema II.

To get back to my former example, if a convoy was assigned to crema II on monday morning, and if the work was finished like on tuesday evening, the the crema II team could have been available in other crema on wednesday, until the next convoy was sent to crema II.

The issue is not about the duration but about how the whole extermination was organized, and to what point?

On a purely methodological perspective, it is not really professional to reject a source because it does not fit with previous thesis. That does not mean that a new source should be accepted without thinking. But there must be objective reasons, elements in other sources, that can obviously dismiss the new source.

For example, another witness who would clearly have expressed a statement that would make the new source impossible, or a document that would show that two convoys were indeed processed in the same crema while Venezia was there, or whatever can be opposed basically.

But keeping in ming that Venezia is not "my" witness, that i am not representing a party in a trial, that what he says is proposed to everybody, then everybody should take a stance toward it. Given its apparent novelty, kind of "ground-breaking" as far as i am concerned, but that can be explained by my little knowledge., it would be interesting if who ever want to participate, to confirm or infirm with concrete elements (sources, testimonies, documents, calendars, etc), so that one can in the end decide if this new revelation has some merits or not.

Maybe what Venezia said is only new to me, so if there are precedent, i would gladly know about them.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:45 pm

Vrba/Wetzler Report (spring 1944):
We knew very well what the "SB" marking meant, but we could not find an explanation for the exceptional treatment and the extraordinarily long quarantine. According to our experience up to that time, the quarantine never lasted longer than three weeks. We became suspicious as the end of the six months' quarantine period approached, and were convinced that these Jews would also end up in the gas chamber. Looking for an opportunity to make contact with the leaders of the group, we explained their situation and did not leave them in any doubt as to their fate. A few of them, especially Fredy Hirsch, who obviously enjoyed the full confidence of his companions, told us that they would resist if our suspicions should materialize. Men of the Sonderkommandos promised that they would join immediately if the Czech Jews put up active resistance. Many hoped that a general uprising could be instigated in the camp. . . . The resistance [of the Czech Jews] did not come off [Hirsch committed suicide]. Determined men of the Sonderkommando had waited in vain.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927


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