More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:31 pm

Balsamo wrote:Statmec:
You stated that these men murdered their loved ones, and you described their compelled participation as "collaboration," using the words participation and collaboration interchangeably.


Actually it is levental that said that among the victims they had to handle, there were family members.

You wrote that they murdered the people, specifically their family members, not that they handled their corpses.

Balsamo wrote:I did and do use participation and collaboration interchangeably.

I know. And I don't.

Balsamo wrote:If after being forced to participate, you made up you mind and accept to do it for a long period of time, every day, then there is no other word than "collaboration" - not to be understood purely as those who collaborate to the occupier policy, just the normal definition of collaboration.

You're ignoring the processes of shock/habituation to which the Nazis subjected the men in the SK and also the fact that many of them resisted, consistently and to the point of revolt. Their resistance - attempted escape, writing out evidence against the SS, their revolt - may not be your chosen form, but it was what they did and is IMO important to understanding the men in the squads. "Accept" is not IMO a useful word to use here.

Balsamo wrote:But the conclusion would be that there is a monster inside each of every single human being, that basically, everyone would have just done the same thing under similar conditions...compelled or coerced...And i consider that as NOT TRUE, and i do not want to see human nature like this in the first place.

The people brought to the gas chamber did not die because of the SK - with or without the SK, they were to die. You write as though they died on account of the SK.

As to human nature, most of those, by far, forced into the squads did not choose immediate death.

Anyway, I don't see this in the black/white terms - death/collaboration - that you do.

Balsamo wrote:But i do not like my reading, that is for sure.

You should not like Greif, at all. But the interviews are the core of his book, not just his introduction.

Balsamo wrote:No, i do not think i i have mischaracterize anything. I just do not extend the concept of "attenuating circrumstances" as you do. But that does not mean i reject them as a whole.

Attenuating circumstances - one more time - don't figure into my view of this.

Balsamo wrote:That is the point. for me the "context and power relations" - although important, just does not absolve everything, whatever the degree, there is a bit of responsibility that always remains.

I will finish this reply but we're going round and round, so I'm losing interest. Responsibility for what? Staying alive, resisting, trying to succor the people being put to death?

Balsamo wrote:help to understand, to explain, maybe...but not to absolve.

Of course, I don't think that absolution or attenuation are needed. So we're at completely cross purposes.

Balsamo wrote:of course they did not decide to kill those child!
As Grief irritatingly puts it, " the job had to be done". ( No it HAD NOT to be done, the SS wanted it to be done, and they did it).

But the job would have been done had these men not done it, and the victims would have been killed. As with the Kanada Kommando. These are not people who tried working the system, found escape routes for themselves, saved their own lives by sacrificing others - AND they did resist, which you keep ignoring.

Balsamo wrote:If those SK would have agreed to make the greatest sacrifice, and say "{!#%@} off, kill us fist, then them, and clean the mess yourself", well there would have been a crisis meeting in Hoss office. But they did not.

Romantic gesture - without changing the material situation.

Balsamo wrote:
You're joking? This is how you expect people to read "collaboration" in the context of WWII and criminal acts you say were undertaken with the Nazis?

I am not joking at all. The term "collaboration" - being the coorperation with the occupier's policy is so out of context, that, on this forum at least, given the context, I thought the the term collaboration would have been understood in its primary meaning...just the word as it means, from the latin...CO ...labor...
This topic is not about Marechal Petain, or any form of politcal regime,or is it?.
So sorry for not using paraphrases.

Sophistry. Collaboration is a loaded term in this context.

Balsamo wrote:Answered above

And still false. Because they didn't kill the people whom they recognized after their murders in the gas chambers.
.
Balsamo wrote:Being a criminal has never meant being a "Hitler" or a "Nazi SS of Birkenau",
Being a criminal simply means to commit an action that can be considered as a crime.

Are you seriously trying to say that calling someone a criminal is not a term of condemnation?

Balsamo wrote:Now you can consider that undressing people and putting them in a room, close the doors, and let the Nazi throw in pellet of lethal poison, not being a criminal action...

But until prompted, you scarcely mention who organized and compelled the chain of events you describe as the responsibility of the SK . . . you go so far as to say that the members of the SK "let" the Nazis introduce gas into the chambers. That is one of the most ass-backwards things I've ever read, frankly.

Balsamo wrote:Please, there is nothing wrong to attenuate a crime.

But to think that that's what I am doing is to misinterpret my point of view. That's pretty simple.

Balsamo wrote:It is me that must be insane thinking that what they did was no good, and that such a reaction to whatever "context and power relations" is NOT a fatality, thinking that not every human would do what they did...

No, it is odd to ignore, over and over, the full picture - to pretend they didn't resist, to simply ignore how they understood their actions and choices, to write as though they had the power to "not let" the SS carry out the murders, to think that there's just one "good" path.
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:13 am

You wrote that they murdered the people, specifically their family members, not that they handled their corpses.


Please, quote me when accusing me of saying that kind of things.

We are talking about a process...by the time that we are speaking about, the SK were not only there to clean the mess, but were part of the process. The SK were also present at the undressing room, or am i wrong?
It is in Levental testimony that we learn that many SK members recognized family, children, wives, fathers, relatives among the death. But the modus operandi was already in place, and some of the SK were receiving the victims in the undressing room, right?
I know. And I don't.


I have noticed...you use the term...which one? there were there but were doing nothing criminal? they did not participate nor collaborate they were barely involved?
What would be your term?

You're ignoring the processes of shock/habituation


Coming after "context and relations of powers"?
Again all that is a matter of "attenuation", and "explain" is not the same thing as "absolve".

he fact that many of them resisted, consistently and to the point of revolt.

What do you think my view is? That i am takling about some global collective guitl that the whole group should be sentenced to death? Again, quote me when accusing me as it is becoming annoying.
Of course i know, that many tried to escape, that some committed suicide...These are not one i am blaming!



The people brought to the gas chamber did not die because of the SK - with or without the SK, they were to die. You write as though they died on account of the SK.
+

This is the logic...
Great!
But then how would have they done it?
We know the EG were helped by local militia in the East...
Those shootings were damagings the troops' moral.
They found out other ways,
And they found a way that did not need tremendous effectives, and did not expose them to "moral damage", as i guess they chose the most sadistic ones to supervise.

Now, tell me, - not that i deny the policy of course - but how would the results have been achieved without the "*************" , please chose the word that would not offend you, of the SK.

I am not saying they would not have found something, but i doubt it would have been that effective.
Because first had they had to rely on solely German personel, motivated SS, there would not have even dream of any secrecy, as they would not have the option to shoot them every now and then. I doubt they would have had enough personel to have reached the result they did.

The Nazis HAD to find a way to reach they goal, and the goal would not have been acheived without the thousands of SK. No question about it.

I will finish this reply but we're going round and round, so I'm losing interest. Responsibility for what? Staying alive, resisting, trying to succor the people being put to death?


Actually, i am the one attacked for his point of view...but never mind

Of course, if all you see in the thousands of people that "**********" in the process, only the people motivated by resisting and trying to succor the people being put to death...and basically ignore all the actions that were done on a daily basis, you know this detail that is to lead those people in the chambers... focusing only on the testimony of the few who survived and the few who left a message for the posterity are really going round and round...

I have a great admiration for the SK who blew up Krema IV, and wished more had done the same since the beginning, for those who have tried to escape after their first experience, for those who took their lives because they could not see themselves into this annihilation program anymore, and also those who did write it down for the posterity...
Those had the courage and dignity i - arrogantly - expect from a human being.
But how many of them are we talking about? out of how many SK over the period?

You just do not realize that by trying to "absolve" the whole bunch you are diminishing those who once said, "that {!#%@}, without me". This is the approach that i do disprove.

Romantic gesture - without changing the material situation.


Of course it would have, if this romantic gesture had been duplicated.
General Strikes are effective, you know.

Sophistry. Collaboration is a loaded term in this context.


No, we are all grown up. And as i said the context of what we are talking about has nothing to to with "political collaboration". It does not matter if the term is loaded in a certain context or not. But if you are more confortable with my "*****************", i 'll keep it that way. It does not matter, really.

And still false. Because they didn't kill the people whom they recognized after their murders in the gas chambers.


Then reexplain me the whole process described by Gief...Were they or not in the undressing room, before the introduction in the gas chamber.
And who ever said they have killed them, as with their sole hands...still confusing with my primary analogy?
They "*****************" to the process.

Are you seriously trying to say that calling someone a criminal is not a term of condemnation?

.
This question might be over my knowledge of English...
But in my understanding, "condemnation" is a reaction to a "criminal act".
Now, if the question is that "do i condemn the conduct, the choices" made by some members of SK, then yes, i proudly do. Yes they took part to a criminal action, whatever you may turn this into.

Do i have a sentence in mind? No
Do i want to face some kind of justice today? No
But Do i excuse how they behave? No

Not that hard to understand, isn't it?

But until prompted, you scarcely mention who organized and compelled the chain of events you describe as the responsibility of the SK . . . you go so far as to say that the members of the SK "let" the Nazis introduce gas into the chambers. That is one of the most ass-backwards things I've ever read, frankly.


You really want me to express my thoughts through "Google translate"?
So next time you feel hurt by the word i have chosen, you would be able to blame IT.

Now getting a crowed into a sealed room, and closing the doors, KNOWING that the SS would throw the Zyclon B...If there is a better word that "let", `please help me enhance my English.
They knew what was coming, did nothing... sorry, my poor English translated into "TO LET".
In French, "laissant le temps aux SS de jetter le Zyclon B".
TO LET was maybe the bad choice...but hey, i am not English for christ sake...and you know it very well after these yeas. You are really starting to try to hit under the belt...

But to think that that's what I am doing is to misinterpret my point of view. That's pretty simple.


So maybe it would be time for you to expain your point of view in a full text, without attacking mine with undeserved accusation.
So things would be clear.
Now i expect a kind of Grief thing, so i would probably not agree with.
Then, and so what?
There should not be a problem in the first place.

You may see in Grief - almost at the half of it - the full picture, while i see it as a partial picture, based on the written sources and interviews of survivors...When i see a structured Kommando with a Kapò, and the whole staff that come with it, "traumatized" and " robotic" prominenten who probably did not know that they would be shot on a regular basis. They had their privileges, as you know.

And again, you have "over interpreted" what i wrote in a kind of "anti-denier" reflex, while i have put nuances between those who participated without committing "criminal acts" - it is not criminal to put a body in a oven vs it is a criminal act to lead the victims into the gas chamber, whatever the means used.
I insist many times that the crucial act was the participation into leading the victims into the chambers, contrary to have to be compel to dispose of the bodies.

I see clearly the big "f***cking" picture, and that is those on the Auschwitz album, sitting in the little wood, that will be led to their fate with the "*************" of some those SK, with a special focus on those who led them into the Krema.

I'll probably come back when i finish Grief, in maybe a last "suicidal" post.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Xcalibur » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:37 am

Balsamo,

Methinks your analysis using the word "collaboration" is a bit flawed: better choices might be "coerced" or "compelled', mais non?

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:28 am

Wow.

I honestly don't know what to say. I've never seen anything like this. I thought only goofy deniers like Jim Rizoli actively accused the SK's of responsibility.

Balsamo, let me summarize. You feel free to correct me if I get this wrong. I'm going to do the short version.

So, you believe these men were guilty of collaborating with the Germans in the murder of their families and members of their communities.

That is in a very "active" sense, that these Jewish men actively participated in the mass murder of other Jewish people, that this murder could not have occurred or been as "efficient" without these men assisting.

You believe that every single one of them should have resisted or died.

Am I correct? Or did I leave anything out? Is there something that you would like to add to my assessment?

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:41 am

Balsamo, we're going in circles and what you say that I haven't read before, I don't know where it is coming from. I don't see a reason to keep repeating the same points. I'd rather discuss the sources and how things went in the Kremas, and what the SK members made of their situation, in any event. On the question of evaluating the SK members, Xcalibur's post makes the point as simply as it can be made.
"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."

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:47 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I thought only goofy deniers like Jim Rizoli actively accused the SK's of responsibility.

Two comments on this:
1) In the postwar period - actually for decades after the war - many people viewed SK members as being responsible for murder and as collaborators or at least carrying a stigma on account of what they were forced to do and their proximity to horrific crimes, handling of corpses, etc. Greif writes about this - how survivors of the SK who lived in Israel long remained silent about their experiences in part because of Israeli public opinion which so widely judged anyone forced by the Germans into roles like theirs negatively - as having sold out their people for privileges. Arendt's writing IIRC made Rumkowski the exemplar for all those in such roles and spoke for this negative opinion.
2) The Rizoli position - let's call it that, though I've seen it in many places under the rubric of "Jewish passivity" - is a contradiction in terms: the mass murders didn't occur, but Jews by character are weak and treacherous - and the SKs abetted the murders which didn't happen. It seems that this sort of thinking is really just a full-on impulse to vilify and bait Jews on any ground that pops into the anti-Semite's head, no matter how dissonant, and stupid.
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:37 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Two comments on this:
1) In the postwar period - actually for decades after the war - many people viewed SK members as being responsible for murder and as collaborators or at least carrying a stigma on account of what they were forced to do and their proximity to horrific crimes, handling of corpses, etc. Greif writes about this - how survivors of the SK who lived in Israel long remained silent about their experiences in part because of Israeli public opinion which so widely judged anyone forced by the Germans into roles like theirs negatively - as having sold out their people for privileges. Arendt's writing IIRC made Rumkowski the exemplar for all those in such roles and spoke for this negative opinion.


Yes, I used a poor choice of words, you are right.
As you say, the SK's preferred to stay silent about what they did. Really, this extended to many European Jews that survived, especially in Israel. I've mentioned before that many of the Israelis treated the European Jews that emigrated with disdain, that the Europeans didn't resist enough.

2) The Rizoli position - let's call it that, though I've seen it in many places under the rubric of "Jewish passivity" - is a contradiction in terms: the mass murders didn't occur, but Jews by character are weak and treacherous - and the SKs abetted the murders which didn't happen. It seems that this sort of thinking is really just a full-on impulse to vilify and bait Jews on any ground that pops into the anti-Semite's head, no matter how dissonant, and stupid.


I never understood Rizoli's position on this, he knocked the SK's for "assisting" in murders he didn't even believe in. I think he mistook SK's for Kapos and I tried explaining this to him. Shockingly, he maintained his original position.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:37 pm

We could talk about resistance in a completely different thread, it's an interesting subject.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:39 pm

Good idea.
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:42 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Good idea.


There's a really good chapter on it in "Why? Explaining the Holocaust" by Peter Hayes. I borrowered it as a library book so I don't have it anymore but I'm looking to buy it in the next couple of days so I'll start the thread then.

BTW, in spite of the silly title it's actually quite good.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:49 pm

This book - Resistance Against the Nazis - is also an excellent resource. It is a collection of papers edited by, I kid you not, Patrick Henry. A lot of very good country studies, examination of forms of resistance and what constitutes resistance, and discussion of themes - e.g., a discussion of the etymology of the phrase "like sheep to slaughter." Authors include Berel Lang, Nechama Tec, Deborah Dwork, Dalia Ofer, Robert Jan van Pelt, Avinoam Patt, and Joanna Beata Michlic.
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:31 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I never understood Rizoli's position on this . . .

Leaving Rizoli aside - can we? - in what ways do deniers account for the eyewitness accounts of the SK and the testimonies of the SK members? Scratching my head to recall, other than the stupidities that the Jews were passive and went along or that there was no crime/the SK committed it . . .
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:02 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I never understood Rizoli's position on this . . .

Leaving Rizoli aside - can we? - in what ways do deniers account for the eyewitness accounts of the SK and the testimonies of the SK members? Scratching my head to recall, other than the stupidities that the Jews were passive and went along or that there was no crime/the SK committed it . . .


Just off the top of my head they believe the SK's lied or exaggerated what happened. I've seen this in connection with FG's blog. For some reason Rizoli thinks that the SK's ran the camps and that the Germans were passive observers. Rizoli thinks any crimes committed in the camps were by the SK's.
I've tried to explain to him that he is confusing Kapos with SK's but he can't get that concept through his head.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:27 pm

Do they say what would motivate, given the stigma and negative reception coming with such testimony, the SK to put themselves in such light, for the rest of their lives - basically outside acceptable society if they so testify? Why would people, Jewish inmates, make up as part of a Jewish conspiracy such behavior by their fellows - sullying the group reputation? Wouldn't they, if they were faking this, attribute such "grey area" / repellent activity to others, say Poles or Russian POWs dragooned into it or better yet volunteering? I guess if they are confused between Kapos and SK and Block Elders such questions are not really ones they've considered. The SK seem to me a huge problem for denier renditions of liewitnessing - who would tell such a lie about themselves, with all the consequences?
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:48 pm

It's the whole, "Jews are so treacherous they would sell out their own kind" deal (Rizoli).

To be honest other than claiming that the SK's lied or exaggerated I don't think this is thought through very well. It only fits the "everybody lied, was tortured or coerced" without the consequences you describe.

It also doesn't match reality. Kapos were charged and executed for committing crimes in the camps, as far as I know no SK's were but it would be a cautionary tale for anyone who wanted to speak out too loudly about their experiences. Especially in the case of Auschwitz-Birkenau where the SK's did participate in soothing the doomed, helping children undress, keeping everyone calm and orderly and later removing the bodies from the gas chambers.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:51 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:It's the whole, "Jews are so treacherous they would sell out their own kind" deal (Rizoli).

And apparently themselves.

Jeffk 1970 wrote:To be honest other than claiming that the SK's lied or exaggerated I don't think this is thought through very well. It only fits the "everybody lied, was tortured or coerced" without the consequences you describe.

It also doesn't match reality. Kapos were charged and executed for committing crimes in the camps, as far as I know no SK's were but it would be a cautionary tale for anyone who wanted to speak out too loudly about their experiences.

Grief made exactly this point, that not only negative public opinion but the trials of some Kapos/etc worked to keep Sonderkommando members silent after the war.
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby scrmbldggs » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:51 pm

Re Greif, I came across this while searching for an article:



...

In this maw of death the Sonderkommandos continued living. There were relatively few suicides; as Gabai puts it: "Our ability to adapt is almost infinite. We functioned like soulless robots, it was the only way to remain sane under such conditions."

Shaul Chazan, another Sonderkommando from Greece, said that the only way to survive was "to cease being human. We reached the stage where we could eat and drink among the corpses, totally indifferent, utterly detached from our emotions. When I think about it today, I don't know how we survived."

Dr. Natan Dorset, chief clinical psychologist of Amcha (an organization counseling Holocaust survivors and their families) says that "in extreme situations, humans are capable of shutting down their emotions in order to survive." Moshe Sternberg-Harel, a psychotherapist with Amcha, says there are no studies regarding how Sonderkommandos survived emotionally. "However it can be assumed that a process of emotional anesthesia took place, as happened with survivors in general. All energies and thoughts were concentrated solely on getting through another day, to the elimination of any other thoughts. The human mind is capable of minimizing and neutralizing its emotional elements in order to facilitate physical survival in extremely stressful situations."

After the war surviving Sonderkommando attempted to return to normal lives, but it was even more difficult for them than for other survivors...

Many Sonderkommandos never revealed their secrets, both out of shame and the feeling that they would never be believed. To this day many people believe that no Sonderkommandos survived.

Abraham Dragon told Greif that he was ashamed. "Israeli society held Sonderkommandos in suspicion, regarding them as the cousins of collaborators, who chose that work to escape death. "They did not, perhaps chose not, to understand that it was blind fate that placed us in the Sonderkommando, we had no control of our destiny in that hell hole whatsoever." Chazan described the incredulity he encountered when he tried to tell his family what he went through. "They thought I was mad, they wouldn't believe. To this day not even my closest relatives know of my past as a Sonderkommando."
...
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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:52 pm

Xcalibur wrote:Balsamo,

Methinks your analysis using the word "collaboration" is a bit flawed: better choices might be "coerced" or "compelled', mais non?



You are right that the word "collaboration" is in the context open to misinterpretation. But i wrote many lines, and of course said that there were coercion.

Now i have just read in Grief how the SK were chosen. The Nazis made a pre-selection, and then it was the Kapo of the SK that picked among them. In this limited example, it is not excessive to say that the Kapo is collaborating in the choosing of new members.

Of course, within the KZ all inmates were under coercion so to speak, nevertheless, the system put in place by the Nazis gave a great role to inmates in the functioning of the camp. Speaking of "collaboration" - as understood as "Nazis Collaborators in the occupied countries" is of course wrong - but it is less wrong in its primary definition, which is basically "working together".

Now, i was also essentially defending myself from the accusation of "defamation" and "calumnies". ;)

While of course they were coerced, in fine, the coercion does not annihilate the "choice", as i said, you can say now and face the consequences of your refusal.

Now sorry if the choice of the word has hurt some feelings, sincerely sorry.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:09 pm

>> collaborating Kapos:

My understanding - The SK Kapos were drawn in part from among Poles and Germans - some of the latter brought to the camp to serve the role; there were also Jewish SK supervisors. Grief says that most of the supervisory roles were filled by Jews; other sources don't. The role of Germans as Kapos is mentioned above and also in the testimonies in Greif's book IIRC; the Auschwitz official camp history names a Pole, Mieczyslaw Morawa (Krema I), and two Germans, August Brück (transferred from Ravensbrück) and Karl (from Majdanek with the Russian POWs, their arrival also mentioned above). The camp history says that Poles and Jews staffed most of the supervisory roles, without providing %s. The Vorarbeiter under whom Filip Müller worked is an example of a Jewish supervisor in the squads.

Greif (p 10) says that selections of SK members were often made from arriving prisoners, by SS from the Political Department, or even more so in the quarantine camp BIIa - the selected men were marched to the quarters of the SK by SS with dogs. Whether selecting newly arrived prisoners or combing the camp, according to Greif, “SS men from the Politische Abteilung performed a special selection in which the manager of the crematorium picked out people who, in his opinion, were suited to this particular unit. . . . Those chosen were told nothing about the duties they would have to perform. They were marched to the Sonderkommando barracks under guard of SS men with dogs and only afterwards did prisoners who had preceded them tell them the bitter truth.” IIRC Shlomo Dragon recollected being chosen directly by Otto Möll. The Greek Ya'akov Gabai told Greif that he was selected by two doctors and two SS officers.

Not all SK members acted the same way, of course, which has also been noted above, but by far most on the men in two of the Kremas did participate in the revolt.
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"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."

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:27 am

Jeffk:

I honestly don't know what to say. I've never seen anything like this. I thought only goofy deniers like Jim Rizoli actively accused the SK's of responsibility.


Well i am kind of unique, :lol:

When i speak of "responsibility" - sorry if that was not clear, i was talking of "personal responsibility" we all have for our action, at every time of our life. This personal responsibility is yours even when faced with a horrible choice, as understood as "it is you and your conscience". If you choose "to survive" even if that means to have to kill people as a price, you are responsible for that decision, it is a choice you made.

It is not like i put the responsibility of the genocide on their shoulders.

So, you believe these men were guilty of collaborating with the Germans in the murder of their families and members of their communities.


That is maybe too harsh as a summary.
The difference is that in the "global picture", i do include that some of those people - under coercion - accepted to take/be part of process of mass killing. Not only as spectators, but concretely, including undressing young children and pushing them in a gas chamber - this constituting the "criminal act" i was talking about.

As for killing the families, i think i have explained the confusion.
I did try to make a modern analogy : "Would you kill your loves ones, under death threat?" While concerning the SK i used the term "their own people".
That being said, in Greif, one witness, i think it was Lewental - but i have to check - that wrote that the SK members recognized members of their families among the dead bodies.

That is in a very "active" sense, that these Jewish men actively participated in the mass murder of other Jewish people, that this murder could not have occurred or been as "efficient" without these men assisting.


I am getting paranoid about English etymology.

I don't know, undressing thousands of victims, leading them to death, then cleaning up and disposing of the bodies is not what i understand as "passive"...
That does not mean that they have responsibility in the conception of the method, of course, but this method conceived by the Nazi did imply the SK "active" participation, and that the method was highly effective.

Of course, the murders would have taken place without them. The genocide by bullet can also be described as highly effective. But it would not have been implemented within a KZ in such a scale.

You believe that every single one of them should have resisted or died.


It is not way i approach things.
They all faced a choice, and my opinion is that they made the bad one.
They must have thought at some point by doing what they did would save their lives, that is being part of a mass killing process, well most were killed anyway, i guess the first to show remorse was terminated first.
But in the end, most were.

My personal value does not put my existence above all things. Life can be short or long, you do not control that - no matter how much quinoa you eat, you life can be ended tomorrow for whatever the reason. I have been raised, like the members of my family before, with a great importance given to ethic.
Two of those i mentioned in my first post, who died after having volunteered to fight the Nazis, had lost their fathers in World war 1. They did not thought "{!#%@}, my father did it last time and did not come back, so i am out of this one".

I am personally a very indulgent nature, i hate rancor above all, i do not judge them - except when i say that a trial would have been a better way to understand their behavior - i have no sentence in mind.

What i oppose, and will always, is their "absolution", i leave that to God.
One witness in Grief, said :" I do not feel guilty, the Germans were"...well, good for him. But i think he should and have made his personal redemption instead of just washing himself from all the blame.

I do think that they did pay the price of their choice by having made it. It was a bad choice, and yes one of the kind i consider disgraceful. Contrary to one of the principle that comes often: "life is stronger than anything", well when i think that "Life is not worth that much than tens of thousands of lives"

I oppose theories and explanation that would tend to say that "everyone" would have done the same under the same circumstances...
I even consider those theories as "defamatory" to all those who did not made this choice, that is those who accepted to die, like those who escaped after the first "mission" knowing they would be shot, those who did commit suicide, or more generally those resistant fighterswho shot themselves to avoid being caught and tortured and betray, maybe...
It also existed, you know.


So i think you are wrong in the way you interpreted what i wrote.

Now if you remember how had been treated the captain of the Italian ship who sank in Italy a couple of years ago?...just because he saved his ass, leaving his crew and passengers... 32 people died.

He got a 16 years sentence...for manslaughter... (and a huge fine)

To conclude, many KZ prominents were slaughtered by the inmates. I am pretty sure that if one had surrendered the SK survivors to the inmates after the liberation, they would have been a slaughter to.
Not that i approve those actions, by the way.

Sorry for the following post, i will address them next time.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:33 am

Statmec:
Greif (p 10) says that selections of SK members were often done on the ramp, by SS from the Political Department, or even more so in the quarantine camp BIIa - the selected men were marched to the quarters of the SK by SS with dogs.


he continues by writing:

" They were marched to the SK barracks under guard of SS men with dogs, and only afterward did prisoners who had preceded them tell them the bitter truth"

Which is about where the choice is to be taken.

Now a few pages later, it is written:

" When the workload was heavy, the prisoner-functionaries of the SonderKommando - Kapo, Unterkapo, Borarbeiter, Blockshreiber, and Stubendienst - were sometimes ordered to join them (the ordinrary SK). Almost all of these prisoner functions in the SK including the higher position ( Oberkapo) were occupied by Jews.
THEY planned out the division of labor on the basis on the basis of information about the size of incoming transports..."


I am not insisting on this to point out - as a Rizoli would - that it was the nature of the Jews which make it possible - before you start reacting like this.
It is one of the few strange things i have noticed in the narrative... But never mind.
Does " `planning out the division of labor" depending on the information transmitted by the SS, seem so incompatible to the notion of "collaboration" (primary sense) to you?

Sorry can give the page number, Kindle version (empl 192 out of 5951)

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby scrmbldggs » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:46 am

I think every part they were forced to commit is almost equal in its gravity. Each contributed to a common goal. And I also think that the survival instinct of those who realized, 'if I resist, and regardless what the outcome of that might be, they will find someone else out of the thousands and thousands they have at hand', simply became strongest. And maybe some even thought they might be able to ease others' inevitable suffering at least a little...

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:04 am

scrmbldggs wrote:I think every part they were forced to commit is almost equal in its gravity. Each contributed to a common goal. And I also think that the survival instinct of those who realized, 'if I resist, and regardless what the outcome of that might be, they will find someone else out of the thousands and thousands they have at hand', simply became strongest. And maybe some even thought they might be able to ease others' inevitable suffering at least a little...

I agree with this. Related to this point are two facts: First, the members of the SK did not know the outcome, including what options they might have, when they were first forced into the squads or indeed as they worked. Second is the fact that the squad was divided into work-teams, with specialized tasks in the Krema: for example, the Auschwitz history notes a period when 15 men worked at washing and drying shorn hair, another group crushed bones with mallets, another carried ashes to the rivers. A team was present in the undressing room. And so on. Lewental explained that initially members of SK did not assist with arriving transports but were given other duties - in my phrase, to habituate them - the SK would be brought in after gassings and made to clean up - which according to Lewental meant that “One never met living people. This had a strong psychologic [word illegible] on the lessening of the impression of tragedy.”
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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby scrmbldggs » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:24 am

"One never met living people." - that must have had such a dark and fatalistic effect that almost all hope would have been abandoned.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:29 am

Balsamo wrote:Statmec:
Greif (p 10) says that selections of SK members were often done on the ramp, by SS from the Political Department, or even more so in the quarantine camp BIIa - the selected men were marched to the quarters of the SK by SS with dogs.


he continues by writing:

" They were marched to the SK barracks under guard of SS men with dogs, and only afterward did prisoners who had preceded them tell them the bitter truth"

Which is about where the choice is to be taken.

Now a few pages later, it is written:

" When the workload was heavy, the prisoner-functionaries of the SonderKommando - Kapo, Unterkapo, Borarbeiter, Blockshreiber, and Stubendienst - were sometimes ordered to join them (the ordinrary SK). Almost all of these prisoner functions in the SK including the higher position ( Oberkapo) were occupied by Jews.
THEY planned out the division of labor on the basis on the basis of information about the size of incoming transports..."

Sorry, you wrote above about "how the SK were chosen" and said that "then it was the Kapo of the SK that picked among them" after a "pre-selection" by the SS - but what Greif wrote is that the SK were chosen by the SS (that is, the members of the squad) and then work for those chosen by the SS was divided by functionaries, some of whom were Jews, some not (as I said, other sources don't concur with Greif). You made it sound as though after a pre-selection, the final selection of SK members was done by the functionaries, which is what I wanted to clarify was not the case. As scrmbldggs wrote, this point isn't decisive to my view, but I wanted the way this was done to be clear.

Balsamo wrote:Does " `planning out the division of labor" depending on the information transmitted by the SS, seem so incompatible to the notion of "collaboration" (primary sense) to you?

Of course. Do you think that this is new information to me?

Balsamo wrote:Sorry can give the page number, Kindle version (empl 192 out of 5951)

I know exactly which page your reference is to - I read it after reading your post, looking for where Greif talked about a pre-selection and then a final selection, and, honestly, I didn't connect his point about work division to what you said, because you had written that you were talking about how SK members were chosen after some sort of a pre-selection.
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:38 am

scrmbldggs wrote:"One never met living people." - that must have had such a dark and fatalistic effect that almost all hope would have been abandoned.

This is really painful stuff.
"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."

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:56 am

StatMec:

2) The Rizoli position - let's call it that, though I've seen it in many places under the rubric of "Jewish passivity" - is a contradiction in terms: the mass murders didn't occur, but Jews by character are weak and treacherous - and the SKs abetted the murders which didn't happen. It seems that this sort of thinking is really just a full-on impulse to vilify and bait Jews on any ground that pops into the anti-Semite's head, no matter how dissonant, and stupid.


I did not and will not read Rizoli, but you seem to have summarized very well. Any addition to this would be a waste of words.

The famous "Jewish passivity" is easier to understand than the "SK phenomenon". None of them has anything to do with any form of "Jewish nature" whatever that means.
One element that is often neglected is that the genocide was the result of a long progressive process in some way. The Jews had been forced into a kind of collective submission step by step - and at each step they was actually little they could do except to emigrate, leaving almost everything behind. Well actually a substantial number actually did that (they did not submit).
Those who chose to stay (or just could not leave) had to accept to submit to every measures falling upon them, surrounded by a loud and arrogant public antisemitism which would have turn resistance into an aggravating factor.
They were submitted into losing their jobs, their homes, then submitted into Ghettos, into trains and into camps.

There is also let's say an "external factor": They were led to their fate in big crowd. Individuals do not control a crowd. Crowd forces the individuals composing it into an almost irresistible conformism - i don't know if you understand what i mean - being in a crowd tends to inhibit reaction one would normally have if you were without it.

I remember a scene in an airport - typical example of how we all can behave like cattle, accepting everything imposed on you until you finally reach the plane - well we were in one of those crowed lining up through immigration or security check, while next to the line a family was in crisis - probably an expulsion - there were tears, screams, and the crowd was just watching without any reaction. Most probably many individuals within the crowd were feeling sympathy for this family, but the crowd inhibited them from any form of protest or intervention, including myself.

One of the common reproach is to say" they were thousands inmates and few guards, why did they not attack them and grab the guns.", forgetting that individuals do not control crowd, and that a crowd behave on its own. Had one individuals tried to do just that - attacking a guard - he would most probably not be followed and be shot within seconds, the crowd passing by his body.

The same way, had the crowed protest the expulsion of this family, with thousands voices united to defend it, it could have had an effect, who knows? We just did not. And contrary to them, at the airport, we were free men on business trip or on our way to vacation.

The inmates were as i described above.

Nothing Jewish in that behavior.
If one look at the picture of those famous American camps for German Pow's, one also see few guards for a huge crowd of pow's, had they all acted as one, they could have teared the camp down.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby scrmbldggs » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:05 pm

And there's also the factor of "And then... what?". It's not as if each of these circumstances was an island in an otherwise free sea.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:47 pm

scrmbldggs wrote:And there's also the factor of "And then... what?". It's not as if each of these circumstances was an island in an otherwise free sea.

These men had next to zero power to influence the pace of the murders, change German policy for the better, rescue themselves or anyone else. That many of them managed to find ways to resist and finally stage a revolt and some to leave behind such searing, honest writing boggles the mind.
"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."

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:37 pm

Balsamo wrote:
When i speak of "responsibility" - sorry if that was not clear, i was talking of "personal responsibility" we all have for our action, at every time of our life. This personal responsibility is yours even when faced with a horrible choice, as understood as "it is you and your conscience". If you choose "to survive" even if that means to have to kill people as a price, you are responsible for that decision, it is a choice you made.


The difference is that in the "global picture", i do include that some of those people - under coercion - accepted to take/be part of process of mass killing. Not only as spectators, but concretely, including undressing young children and pushing them in a gas chamber - this constituting the "criminal act" i was talking about.

I don't know, undressing thousands of victims, leading them to death, then cleaning up and disposing of the bodies is not what i understand as "passive"...
That does not mean that they have responsibility in the conception of the method, of course, but this method conceived by the Nazi did imply the SK "active" participation, and that the method was highly effective.

Of course, the murders would have taken place without them. The genocide by bullet can also be described as highly effective. But it would not have been implemented within a KZ in such a scale.

They all faced a choice, and my opinion is that they made the bad one.
They must have thought at some point by doing what they did would save their lives, that is being part of a mass killing process, well most were killed anyway, i guess the first to show remorse was terminated first.
But in the end, most were.

My personal value does not put my existence above all things. Life can be short or long, you do not control that - no matter how much quinoa you eat, you life can be ended tomorrow for whatever the reason. I have been raised, like the members of my family before, with a great importance given to ethic.
Two of those i mentioned in my first post, who died after having volunteered to fight the Nazis, had lost their fathers in World war 1. They did not thought "{!#%@}, my father did it last time and did not come back, so i am out of this one".

I am personally a very indulgent nature, i hate rancor above all, i do not judge them - except when i say that a trial would have been a better way to understand their behavior - i have no sentence in mind.

What i oppose, and will always, is their "absolution", i leave that to God.
One witness in Grief, said :" I do not feel guilty, the Germans were"...well, good for him. But i think he should and have made his personal redemption instead of just washing himself from all the blame.

I do think that they did pay the price of their choice by having made it. It was a bad choice, and yes one of the kind i consider disgraceful. Contrary to one of the principle that comes often: "life is stronger than anything", well when i think that "Life is not worth that much than tens of thousands of lives"

I oppose theories and explanation that would tend to say that "everyone" would have done the same under the same circumstances...
I even consider those theories as "defamatory" to all those who did not made this choice, that is those who accepted to die, like those who escaped after the first "mission" knowing they would be shot, those who did commit suicide, or more generally those resistant fighterswho shot themselves to avoid being caught and tortured and betray, maybe...
It also existed, you know.




Ok, thought this through a bit.

Balsamo, based upon what you are saying, that in the end all of them had a choice, can be extended out to any aspect of the events we talk about.

We can say this about all the inmates in the concentration camps, death camps, labor camps, what have you. Even the inmates who eventually revolted at Sobibor and Treblinka did so with the knowledge that their time was coming to an end and their deaths were imminent. Does this make them guilty? The camps ran smoothly with their assistance.

We can look at concentration camp inmates. The camps ran smoothly because there was very little resistance. Does this make the inmates complicit? In a way their passivity made the terror even more effective. There were many more inmates than SS, if the majority decided to revolt they could have torn the camps down and killed the guards. So, because they didn't do this were they also guilty of assisting the SS?

What about the Red Army POW's that committed cannibalism against their dead comrades in order to survive the POW Camps? That's also a choice. Most normal people find cannibalism a deviant behavior, were these men vile cannibals because of their choice? Or because circumstances forced them to be cannibals? Were they criminals because of this? What about the citizens in Leningrad who committed cannibalism? What about the Ukrainians who did this during the Holdomor? Also guilty?

Balsamo, you cannot blame people forced into extreme conditions because of circumstances beyond their control for the behaviors they engage in to survive. The SS, Wehrmacht and the Communist Party were the responsible parties in all of this, not their victims.

I'll go further. Were all Kapos guilty? Depends. Someone had to do it. There were Kapos who abused their positions so I could call those men (and women) guilty of crimes. But there are degrees. There were Kapos that did everything they could to alleviate the conditions of the inmates. Sometimes that involved being a part of the terror apparatus....but that actually helped, because they could go easier and save lives. To me that is humane and alleviates guilt.

Look, you have your position on this. Fine. I believe you are wrong. You believe you are right. I'm not sure what else to really say about this.

BTW, I edited out some of your comment for space. If you feel I left out something important let me know.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:13 am

Statmec:
I know exactly which page your reference is to - I read it after reading your post, looking for where Greif talked about a pre-selection and then a final selection, and, honestly, I didn't connect his point about work division to what you said, because you had written that you were talking about how SK members were chosen after some sort of a pre-selection.


Here
"When new members of the SonderKommando were needed, they were selected from newly arrived transports and from the population of veteran prisoners in the camp. In both cases, SS men from the Politische Ableitung perform a special selection in which the manager of the Crematorium picked out people who, in his opinion, were suited to this particular unit"


Of course. Do you think that this is new information to me?


Of course not, as i said our disagreement is not based on facts, but how we interpret them.
A team that plan how to deal with the next transport is doing a job, not acting under constant death threats...That was in the context of our previous discussion.

I am very aware that you know the subject much better than i do.

My personal point of view is mostly based on moral/human consideration - and i am not even sure it translate it correctly. What i do not approve is the "rehabilitation" process that seems to be the focus more than a understanding, and a neutral approach.

Normally, you present the thesis, the facts, and propose a conclusion where a kind of judgement/understanding will emerge.
In Grief, you are told over and over again at the VERY start of the book:
"Nobody can even imagine what it was"
"Anyone who wasn't there will never understand it"
There were no "counterpart or precedent in history"
"We cannot perform comparisons and do not know how other people would behave under similar circumstances"
etc


All that in the first pages !!, while i would not have mind to read them in his conclusions.
It is not that what he says is wrong except the last one, but it is not a the right place.

I am also reading Miklos Nyiszli and well...what can i say except that it is quite difficult to link his rendition to Grief's approach.

At one point, Miklos sees - as it was too early for dinner - a SK coming out with a football (soccer) and start a match SS vs SK... I am not saying he is not lying i don't know...but then he described the dinner - a table full of food (good ones), cigarettes and booze...taken from the victims!

These men had next to zero power to influence the pace of the murders, change German policy for the better, rescue themselves or anyone else. That many of them managed to find ways to resist and finally stage a revolt and some to leave behind such searing, honest writing boggles the mind.


Sorry, but i sense a kind of contradiction here.
Of course, they could influence the pace of murders...but not doing the job, or doing it more slowly...
Granted they could not change the policy nor rescue themselves or the victims.
But because - Miklos writes that they all new that they only gained 4 months - there was many reasons
to just do that : stage a revolt...

And i am pretty sure, not only did this revolt slowed the pace of murdersw (one Krema out, another damaged), but then one should wonder why only ONE SK did the sacrifice?
They did the good thing, and they fully deserve their redemption - as it seems that these are the one described by Miklos - and i have always said that those who left their testimonies for the prosperity also did...
But by proving they did have an influence, they did show that the other - those who did not revolt, tried to escape, or leave testimonies, that those also could have an influence.
Your conclusion seem to me quite nihilistic.

One brave soldier does not win a war, neither, one division has also no influence on the pace of war...but the brave soldier fought, just like the division, the army, the groups of armies...and put an end to this barbaric experience that Nazism was.

I have just read that this SK - the one which did revolt - killed 70 SS... This is what i am calling to have an influence on things, and they deserve to be recognized for that.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:23 am

>> team that plan how to deal with the next transport is doing a job, not acting under constant death threats...That was in the context of our previous discussion.

This is not the case.
"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."

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:35 am

As far as killing 70 SS I don't recall the number being that high, much lower. My memory may be faulty. But the number of SS killed is not really the point.

Your first statement was that you would not have worked in the squad but would have died kicking an SS man. First, I credit a range of different responses. Including that one, btw.

Second, if the men individually had kicked and died, they could not have revolted. But since they stayed alive and then revolted, the only way they could revolt, you set out saying they should have died straightaway. Then seem to change your view, saying that they should be recognized for the revolt, which could not have taken place had they all acted as you said they all should have. My head spins ...

Third, the reason I wrote that the men had next to no ability to change things materially is that they had almost no chance - but managed to find a way, to have some relatively small impact, by waiting and acting together. If they'd all died when they arrived, they couldn't have done what they did collectively.

I am not trying to restrict this to "if they hadn't revolted, they were collaborators" but rather speak to this issue, which seems a Catch-22 and pretty much a jumble as you present it.
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby scrmbldggs » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:21 am

Balsamo wrote:Of course, they could influence the pace of murders...but not doing the job, or doing it more slowly...

From what I've read, that would have hardly been possible without attracting the attention of their captors.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:41 am

scrmbldggs wrote:
Balsamo wrote:Of course, they could influence the pace of murders...but not doing the job, or doing it more slowly...

From what I've read, that would have hardly been possible without attracting the attention of their captors.

Agree. The men reported that they were under a general threat of death - this was in the fabric of their daily lives, a threat of which they ere highly aware. Gradowski e.g. has a passage describing the omnipresent, omniscient guard detail. Lewental describing a specific incident: “no one held the illusion that we were going to save ourselves. On the contrary, we had clearly made the assessment that it was a certain death, but everyone was happy with this . . .” Also, in the scrolls the writers sometimes explain their slave-condition as a walking death, perceiving themselves as virtually dead already. Certainly doomed, but more than that - trapped in a unique state, mostly dead, hovering there for a long moment before their final disappearance.
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:55 am

scrmbldggs wrote:
Balsamo wrote:Of course, they could influence the pace of murders...but not doing the job, or doing it more slowly...

From what I've read, that would have hardly been possible without attracting the attention of their captors.


And ?
And then what?
What would have been the consequences of the attraction by their captors?
How did the Sk managed to put the Krema IV out of service, again?
Last edited by Balsamo on Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:56 am

What in god's name is your point?
"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."

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Balsamo » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:17 am

My point has been expressed many times,

It is yours that is becoming less and less clear.

The last one being you could not do anything without getting attraction by your captors. Where does that goes?
How did a SK team able to organize a "suicidal" revolt despite of every actions they took potentially posing the risk of getting attraction by the captors?

What the hell is wrong here?
Do you really think that the Resistance were left doing nothing because of the risk or the probability that "their actions" would be potentially get attraction by the enemy?
What would be the lesson here ?
Do not do anything that might get attraction because you would get in trouble? That they might even kill you?
So please DON'T DO ANYTHING THAT MIGHT ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF THE ENEMY? OR THE CAPTOR?

You are scaring me.
Now it is really time to worry if such principles is promoted.
Who is going to fight next time?

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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:18 am

I cannot even follow your answers any more. I'd rather discuss the SK than your theories about right & wrong and resistance. Over and out on this one.
"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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Re: More Auschwitz: The Sonderkommando Thread

Postby scrmbldggs » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:27 am

Balsamo wrote:My point has been expressed many times,

It is yours that is becoming less and less clear.

The last one being you could not do anything without getting attraction by your captors. Where does that goes?
How did a SK team able to organize a "suicidal" revolt despite of every actions they took potentially posing the risk of getting attraction by the captors?

What the hell is wrong here?
Do you really think that the Resistance were left doing nothing because of the risk or the probability that "their actions" would be potentially get attraction by the enemy?
What would be the lesson here ?
Do not do anything that might get attraction because you would get in trouble? That they might even kill you?
So please DON'T DO ANYTHING THAT MIGHT ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF THE ENEMY? OR THE CAPTOR?

You are scaring me.
Now it is really time to worry if such principles is promoted.
Who is going to fight next time?


I clearly was speaking about the work they performed, not their every second of their every day:

scrmbldggs wrote:
Balsamo wrote:Of course, they could influence the pace of murders...but not doing the job, or doing it more slowly...

From what I've read, that would have hardly been possible without attracting the attention of their captors.

That^ was the one thing they were taken for, the one thing they wanted them to do.

To which StatMech rightfully added:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:...
Agree. The men reported that they were under a general threat of death - this was in the fabric of their daily lives, a threat of which they ere highly aware. Gradowski e.g. has a passage describing the omnipresent, omniscient guard detail. Lewental describing a specific incident: “no one held the illusion that we were going to save ourselves. On the contrary, we had clearly made the assessment that it was a certain death, but everyone was happy with this . . .” Also, in the scrolls the writers sometimes explain their slave-condition as a walking death, perceiving themselves as virtually dead already. Certainly doomed, but more than that - trapped in a unique state, mostly dead, hovering there for a long moment before their final disappearance.




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Furthermore and as an aside, I do not in the least begrudge those tortured souls the little comfort of some decent food etc. Food that was no longer helpful to the arrivals and that also might not necessarily have gone to any of their fellow inmates.


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