The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:31 pm

“Well, I think we ought to let him hang there. Let him twist slowly, twist slowly in the wind.” - Erlichman to Dean, on getting FBI nominee Gray to play ball with Nixon, 1973
"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: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:03 pm

BRoI wrote:
Hans wrote:Does anyone know more information on this item? Like whether it was found in Chelmno at all?

Image


That was found at Belzec in the 1960s and is currently on display in the museum, I've seen it.

Kues has a picture and discusses it and relevant testimony on page 984f.
http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/28-tecoar-long.pdf

It fits with the early claim about how the pipes bringing the exhaust fumes into the gas chambers were under the floor. I'm referring to a 1940s Polish publication I was looking at the other day; can't recall the name of it this minute but will post the pages when I remember.

This is a model of the second set of GCs at the museum, featuring depictions of this pipe:

Image

[edit: typos]


Thanks, that's interesting stuff.

The device with its two perforated side arms does not really resemble a typical strainer. It would have been vital for Kues' argument that he finds a similar constructed "strainer with a dual intake".

By the way, I see that MGK have missed another doc from Eberl ordering material for a narrow gauge railway and parts to run a gasoline engine. Since this seems little known, might be worth a blog posting.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:08 pm

This is the testimony of Mordechai Podchlebnik
http://data.ushmm.org/intermedia/film_video/spielberg_archive/transcript/RG60_5026/D32BB262-72D2-424D-8682-B9117D9BD7D0.pdf

He was a prisoner at Chelmno, he actually buried his family.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby BRoI » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:15 pm

BRoI wrote:That was found at Belzec in the 1960s and is currently on display in the museum, I've seen it.

Kues has a picture and discusses it and relevant testimony on page 984f.
http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/28-tecoar-long.pdf

It fits with the early claim about how the pipes bringing the exhaust fumes into the gas chambers were under the floor. I'm referring to a 1940s Polish publication I was looking at the other day; can't recall the name of it this minute but will post the pages when I remember.


From German Crimes in Poland , Vol. 2, 1947

Image
"... these witnesses would swear to anything if it gets the Germans killed."
- Solomon Surowitz, Assistant Prosecutor at the 1947 Buchenwald trial.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeff_36 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:44 am

BRoI wrote:
BRoI wrote:That was found at Belzec in the 1960s and is currently on display in the museum, I've seen it.

Kues has a picture and discusses it and relevant testimony on page 984f.
http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/28-tecoar-long.pdf

It fits with the early claim about how the pipes bringing the exhaust fumes into the gas chambers were under the floor. I'm referring to a 1940s Polish publication I was looking at the other day; can't recall the name of it this minute but will post the pages when I remember.


From German Crimes in Poland , Vol. 2, 1947

Image


Willhelm Pfanninstiel also attested to the pipes of the second Belzec gas chamber coming out from under the floor. This was corroborated, IIRC by Polish workers who assisted in construction. I can find the testimonies if you want.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby BRoI » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:42 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:Willhelm Pfanninstiel also attested to the pipes of the second Belzec gas chamber coming out from under the floor. This was corroborated, IIRC by Polish workers who assisted in construction. I can find the testimonies if you want.


Appreciate the offer, but it'll be wasted on me. Perhaps you can compile such testimony to prove how the AR GCs operated.
"... these witnesses would swear to anything if it gets the Germans killed."
- Solomon Surowitz, Assistant Prosecutor at the 1947 Buchenwald trial.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Balmoral95 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:43 am

BRoI wrote:
Jeff_36 wrote:Willhelm Pfanninstiel also attested to the pipes of the second Belzec gas chamber coming out from under the floor. This was corroborated, IIRC by Polish workers who assisted in construction. I can find the testimonies if you want.


Appreciate the offer, but it'll be wasted on me. Perhaps you can compile such testimony to prove how the AR GCs operated.


"Wasted on you" is a fair self-assessment. But thanks for having the grace to admit your OP is stillborn.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeff_36 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:25 pm

BRoI wrote:
Jeff_36 wrote:Willhelm Pfanninstiel also attested to the pipes of the second Belzec gas chamber coming out from under the floor. This was corroborated, IIRC by Polish workers who assisted in construction. I can find the testimonies if you want.


Appreciate the offer, but it'll be wasted on me. Perhaps you can compile such testimony to prove how the AR GCs operated.


IIRC the good folks at HC have done exactly that.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeff_36 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:25 pm

BRoI wrote:
Jeff_36 wrote:Willhelm Pfanninstiel also attested to the pipes of the second Belzec gas chamber coming out from under the floor. This was corroborated, IIRC by Polish workers who assisted in construction. I can find the testimonies if you want.


Appreciate the offer, but it'll be wasted on me. Perhaps you can compile such testimony to prove how the AR GCs operated.


IIRC the good folks at HC have done exactly that.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:31 pm

Patrick Montague wrote about an exciting but still unresolved issue regarding Chelmno, the evidence from the Bednarz interrogations that the camp had been infiltrated by some intelligence (British or otherwise) in Summer 1942:

Arguably the most enigmatic incident in the camp’s history involves another group of visitors to Chelmno. During the summer of 1942, a “commission” of four or five Gestapo agents arrived to inspect the facility. The commission from Berlin had been expected, and although it had arrived early, the members were received with some fanfare. However, Bothmann was not present in Chelmno at the time. (One account states he was getting drunk with a Dr. König, a friend of his.) Instead, Bothmann’s deputy showed them around the camp. Helena Krol, a local woman employed by the Sonderkommando in the kitchen, saw the members of the commission when they came into the building. It is possible that this commission took photographs and received documents concerning the camp. Before they left, Kajetan Skrzypczynski, one of the Polish workers employed in the camp, put gas in their car. Later he stated that while doing so one of the men from this commission gave him a knowing smile.

Approximately two hours after this commission left the camp, a second group of Nazi officials, the actual commission, arrived. Naturally, this caused quite a stir among the Sonderkommando. A search was launched to find the first “commission” but this was unsuccessful. One account relates that they fled to Kolo where they abandoned their car. The car was later taken away by the police. Bothmann was in despair when he learned what happened. Allegedly he got drunk again and went to Lodz. In Chelmno the guard was doubled and the following day policemen stopped everyone on the streets of Kolo and checked their identity papers.

According to Andrzej Miszczak, a local farmer whose information is generally reliable, the “commission” eventually sent a card to Chelmno representing themselves as English intelligence. Miszczak later heard members of the Sonderkommando boasting that the members of the “commission” were caught “on the Turkish border.” In 1944, while being given his guard assignment in the camp, Bruno Israel was told that “English agents” were once in Chelmno and that this was not to happen again.

It seems extremely unlikely that the British would have had agents infiltrating Chelmno in 1942. If in fact camp security was breached, it is much more likely to have been accomplished by agents of the Polish underground and would have required advance knowledge that a commission was expected to visit the camp. The Poles did send an agent (Jan Karski) into the Belzec extermination camp to find out what was taking place there. The Polish government, based in London during the war, had an intelligence outpost in Istanbul, Turkey, where couriers brought reports smuggled out of Poland. General information concerning Chelmno did reach London via Istanbul but no detailed report, which such a mission would have provided, has been found. The event in Chelmno has never been acknowledged by any government and requires further investigation.[29]


[29]: Sources concerning the “Commission” originate primarily from testimonies in the Bednarz investigation; see Ob 271, tom 1: 15, 50, 52, 57, 67, 80; tom 3:268, 279; tom 5: 431, and others. See also The Polish Underground Movement (1939–1945), Study Trust. Aneks Nr. 26, and Jan Karski, The Story of a Secret State (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1944): 339–54.


(Montague, Chelmno and the Holocaust, p. 89f., note that Montague's page numbers of the Bednarz files does not correspond to the present numbering anymore)

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:41 pm

I remember that now. Based on the above it looks like this fake commission was caught before it got it's information out.
It fits with what we know about the Polish Underground and their attempts to infiltrate these camps to see what was going on. It also fits that they would have the only means and opportunity to do this.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:56 pm

Well, I'm trying to figure out if the evidence can be explained differently, as so far it seems there is no corroboration for this incident outside the Bednarz files, like from West-German interrogations or Polish underground material.

My working hypothesis would be that a Gestapo commission visited the camp after the revelations in the British media on the gas vans in Poland/Chelmno to see what's going on there and how the Chelmno leakage was possible. This would explains some parts of the testimonies, like the repeated reference to English intelligence and the doubling of the guards afterwards, but there are still explicit statements (Jozef Grabowski, Marta Wedemann, Andrzej Miszczak) on a fake commission that may be based on Sonderkommando man talks and cannot be that easily discounted then.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:16 pm

I can see both sides of that, it's hard to determine without any documents.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:46 pm

The Polish historian Łucja Pawlicka-Nowak suggests from the high level of insider knowledge and preparation that the action was actually carried out "by some other German service, such as Abwehr, to see how secure the mass murder of the Jews in Chełmno was". (Swiadectwa Zaglady)
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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:59 pm

My question would be why a German wink at a Pole.

Also, would the Abwehr necessarily be concerned with an extermination camp? Unless the Abwehr members were a part of the resistance against Hitler?

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:28 pm

Andrzej Miszczak:
In mid-1942 (at least it seems to me) a commission from Berlin consisting of three or four Gestapo officers, arrived. The commission was received with all due honors. It was shown around the whole grounds. A Pole, Skrzypczyhski, told me that when he was refueling the Gestapo officers’ car, one of them smiled at him. The following day it was learned that they were not Gestapo officers but “enemy secret service”. The police men said: "... we thought they were ours but they were not ours”.

(AIPN GK 165/271, volume 1, p. 51-53, english translation in Pawlicka-Nowak, Chelmno witnesses Speak, p. 139 - 144)

Wiktoria Adamczyk:
In the summer of 1942, a commission from Berlin arrived - the Commission was shown everything. I did not see this Commission. I do not know whether the Commission took any documents and whether it took photographs. On the same day it was discovered that these were spies - there was a lot of noise - the Germans were talking among themselves that "these were English spies". I heard "Englisch" in the conversations between Germans.

(AIPN GK 165/271, volume 1, p. 84)

Henryk Kruszcyski:
I heard that there was an incident where several Gestapo uniformed men came to Chełmno who presented themselves as a special commission from Berlin. They were shown the camp. I do not know if they took pictures. Then it turned out that they were English or Americans dressed in "Gestapo" uniforms. I know only about hearing about this matter....The following day, on all the intersections of the streets in Kolo, there were strong police patrols who checked the documents of the passing people and controlled the passing cars.

(AIPN GK 165/271, volume 1, p. 19)

Helena Krol:
In summer 1942, there was a "commission" in Chelmno. They were senior Gestapo men supposedly from Berlin. They were not guided by Bottman but his deputy Platte. They were in the kitchen. There were three or four. After their departure, it was explained that they were spies and not Gestapo. The police men did not want to talk more closely about "this Commission". The guards were doubled afterwards.

(AIPN GK 165/271, volume 1, p. 56)

Marta Wedemann:
There was an incident - I do not remember exactly when - it seems in the summer of 1942 that I was driving a car with a Bormaister. In the evening the police stopped us on the street. I heard Bormaister talking to a police man something "about English intelligence" - "it is not good". He said that the Chełmno forest was illuminated by planes. They did not want to talk to me anymore. I heard from someone from the Sonderkommando SS Kuhlmhof - I do not recall who - that some alleged commission from Berlin who was allegedly English intelligence "stole some books from them." They probably feared for some action by English planes.

(AIPN GK 165/271, volume 1, p. 60)

Ignacy Kantorowski:
I heard about the "English Commission", but I did not see it myself. The next day after its stay the guards were doubled and in the camp of Sonderkommando SS Cuhłmhof the excitement and anxiety was visible.

(AIPN GK 165/271, volume 1, p. 70)
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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:39 pm

Jozef Grabowski:
I heard Bottman telling Dr. König that during the day a commission was expected, while after the departure of the commission two hours later came the actual commission, because the previous one was foreign intelligence dressed in German uniforms. While the "commission " was there, Bottman drank vodka with Dr. König. After this incident, significant restrictions were introduced and no one was allowed to enter the palace. Even Dr. König had to go personally to Bottman. They searched in the vicinity, but nothing was found. Bottman came desperately to König and that day "they drunk at König". Whether documents or photographs were taken, I don't know. It was specifically told to be English intelligence. I know that Bottman went to Lodz by car immediately after the incident.

(AIPN GK 165/271, volume 3, p. 82-83)

Marja Puzdrakiewiczowna:
In 1942, an incident occurred, it was said that a commission had come to Chelmno, which did not have anything in common with the Gestapo. It was foreign intelligence. Apparently, these agents fled to Kolo and had to abandon their car in Dabska where I live. I saw a green passenger car on the highway, which was later took away by the German police.

(AIPN GK 165/271, volume 3, p. 71)

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Balmoral95 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:21 am

Hans wrote:The Polish historian Łucja Pawlicka-Nowak suggests from the high level of insider knowledge and preparation that the action was actually carried out "by some other German service, such as Abwehr, to see how secure the mass murder of the Jews in Chełmno was". (Swiadectwa Zaglady)


Or perhaps more likely a group from SD-Ausland under Schellenberg?

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:34 am

The extermination of the Jews was an open secret around Chelmno and the AK reported on the gassings in Chelmno as early 28 January 1942, so it's hard to see why it should go through all this trouble to gather information. Even less why the material was not disseminated after the successful coup. That the whole group and material was caught at the Turkish border does not sound plausible. Foreign intelligence could have had a decent motive at least, but it required insider knowledge and good infrastructre to carry out such operation. The incident, if took place as recalled by the witnesses, was extremly well planned, prepared and carried out, but did not seem to produce any shared result. So I tend to agree with a German inside job rather than foreign intelligence or Polish underground army. What could be the motives?

- testing Chelmno security
- testing specifically if the camp security could have been breached by some intelligence or could be in future
- confirming the British revelations on Chelmno
- gathering incriminating material

Probably we need another piece of evidence to solve the issue and that somebody comes across something that explains this incident in either way.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:19 am

Hans wrote:The extermination of the Jews was an open secret around Chelmno and the AK reported on the gassings in Chelmno as early 28 January 1942, so it's hard to see why it should go through all this trouble to gather information. Even less why the material was not disseminated after the successful coup. That the whole group and material was caught at the Turkish border does not sound plausible. Foreign intelligence could have had a decent motive at least, but it required insider knowledge and good infrastructre to carry out such operation. The incident, if took place as recalled by the witnesses, was extremly well planned, prepared and carried out, but did not seem to produce any shared result. So I tend to agree with a German inside job rather than foreign intelligence or Polish underground army. What could be the motives?

- testing Chelmno security
- testing specifically if the camp security could have been breached by some intelligence or could be in future
- confirming the British revelations on Chelmno
- gathering incriminating material

Probably we need another piece of evidence to solve the issue and that somebody comes across something that explains this incident in either way.


I'm inclined to think it was the Poles but you are right, we need more information.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:38 pm

One more, Maria Lewandowska:

I heard that some foreign commission was in Chełmno and visited the camp by claiming to be the Gestapo. I did not see that commission.

(AIPN GK 165/271, tom 1, p. 98)

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:12 pm

Jewish craftsmen working in Chelmno attempted to let the outside world know what was going on by attempting to smuggle out notes. Montague states that at least two of the notes survived the war.
Here is a reproduction of the first, Montague pages 83-84:

These are the Jews who worked in the death camp Kulmhof (Chełmno) between Koło and D ą bie:
1. Josef Herszkowicz from Kutno
2. Moj ż esz Plocker from Kutno
3. Fajwel Plocker from Kutno
4. Szyja Szlamowicz from Grabów near Łód ź
5. Noech Wolf Judkiewicz from Łód ź
6. Chaskiel Zarak from Ł ę czyca
7. Motel Symkie from Ł ę czyca
8. Chaskiel (son) Wachtel from Ł ę czyca
9. Beniek Jastrz ę bski from Ł ę czyca
10. Aron Nusbaum from Sanok
11. Iser Strasburg from Lutomiersk
12. Gecel Stajer from Turek.
These are the last Jews who worked for the Gestapo in Chełmno, which is located between Dąbie and Koło. These are the last days of our lives, so we are sending word about ourselves. Perhaps [this note will] find [its way to] relatives or friends of these people, so that they will know that all the Jews who were taken from Łód ź were killed in a horrible manner: They were tortured and burned. Be healthy and, if you survive, avenge us.


Edited for clarity.
Edited to add footnote:

The original note is located at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel. The first publication of the note is believed to be in: Adam Rutkowski, M ę cze ń stwo, Walka, Zagłada Ż ydów w Polsce 1939–1945 (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej, 1960), photo numbers 309 and 310. For photographs of the original pages with accompanying English translation, see also Reuven Dafni and Yehudit Kleiman, Final Letters: From Victims of the Holocaust (New York: Paragon House, 1991): 119–20. Hereafter cited as Final Letters.
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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:23 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:Jewish craftsmen working in Chelmno attempted to let the outside world know what was going on by attempting to smuggle out notes. Montague states that at least two of the notes survived the war.
Here is a reproduction of the first, Montague pages 83-84 (probably dating from July 1942):


While the handwriting is undated, the wording suggests it is from the last days of the camp's first period, so March/April 1943. Montague only says "the note can be dated no earlier than July 1942".

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:26 pm

Second letter, days before the Germans destroyed the camp (pages 84-86):

April 2, 1943 This card is written by people who have only several hours to live. Whoever reads this will find it difficult to believe whether it is the truth or not. But this is the tragic truth, for in this town are your brothers and sisters who also died the same way. It is a place called Koło . This “human slaughterhouse” [underlined in the original] is located 12 kilometers from this town. We worked as craftsmen. Among others, there were tailors, leather workers, and shoemakers. There were 17 craftsmen, and so I give you the names of these people.
1. Pinkus Grun from Włocławek
2. Jonas Lew from Brzeziny
3. Ika Szama from Brzeziny
4. Zemad Szumiraj from Włocławek
5. Geszyp Majer from Kalisz
6. Symcha Wachtel from Ł ę czyca
7. Smlek Wachtel from Ł ę czyca
8. Beniek Jastrz ę bski from Ł ę czyca
9. Aron Nusbaum from Skepe
10. Iser Strasburg from Lutomiersk
11. Moniek Plocker from Kutno
12. Felek Plocker from Kutno
13. Josef Herszkowicz from Kutno
14. Chaskiel Zarak from Ł ę czyca
15. Wolf Judkiewicz from Łód ź
16. Szyja Szlamowicz from Kalisz
17. Gecel from Turek
So these are the names, these are the people whom I list here. They are individuals from among the hundreds of thousands who died here!


Edited to add footnote:
The original note is located at Muzeum Miasta Pabianic (Pabianice City Museum, Pabianice, Poland). See also Final Letters: 121–22.
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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:27 pm

Hans wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Jewish craftsmen working in Chelmno attempted to let the outside world know what was going on by attempting to smuggle out notes. Montague states that at least two of the notes survived the war.
Here is a reproduction of the first, Montague pages 83-84 (probably dating from July 1942):


While the handwriting is undated, the wording suggests it is from the last days of the camp's first period, so March/April 1943. Montague only says "the note can be dated no earlier than July 1942".


Thanks, I corrected.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Hans » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:34 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:Second letter, days before the Germans destroyed the camp (pages 84-86):

April 2, 1943 This card is written by people who have only several hours to live. Whoever reads this will find it difficult to believe whether it is the truth or not. But this is the tragic truth, for in this town are your brothers and sisters who also died the same way. It is a place called Koło . This “human slaughterhouse” [underlined in the original] is located 12 kilometers from this town. We worked as craftsmen. Among others, there were tailors, leather workers, and shoemakers. There were 17 craftsmen, and so I give you the names of these people.
1. Pinkus Grun from Włocławek
2. Jonas Lew from Brzeziny
3. Ika Szama from Brzeziny
4. Zemad Szumiraj from Włocławek
5. Geszyp Majer from Kalisz
6. Symcha Wachtel from Ł ę czyca
7. Smlek Wachtel from Ł ę czyca
8. Beniek Jastrz ę bski from Ł ę czyca
9. Aron Nusbaum from Skepe
10. Iser Strasburg from Lutomiersk
11. Moniek Plocker from Kutno
12. Felek Plocker from Kutno
13. Josef Herszkowicz from Kutno
14. Chaskiel Zarak from Ł ę czyca
15. Wolf Judkiewicz from Łód ź
16. Szyja Szlamowicz from Kalisz
17. Gecel from Turek
So these are the names, these are the people whom I list here. They are individuals from among the hundreds of thousands who died here!


Image

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:41 pm

Hans wrote:One more, Maria Lewandowska:

I heard that some foreign commission was in Chełmno and visited the camp by claiming to be the Gestapo. I did not see that commission.

(AIPN GK 165/271, tom 1, p. 98)



For those who own Montague's book, the incident you are describing starts around page 89. My page numbers may not quite match those who own an actual copy or an ebook, I own the Kindle version so it may be off a little.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:58 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:
BRoI wrote:
BRoI wrote:That was found at Belzec in the 1960s and is currently on display in the museum, I've seen it.

Kues has a picture and discusses it and relevant testimony on page 984f.
http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/28-tecoar-long.pdf

It fits with the early claim about how the pipes bringing the exhaust fumes into the gas chambers were under the floor. I'm referring to a 1940s Polish publication I was looking at the other day; can't recall the name of it this minute but will post the pages when I remember.


From German Crimes in Poland , Vol. 2, 1947

Image


Willhelm Pfanninstiel also attested to the pipes of the second Belzec gas chamber coming out from under the floor. This was corroborated, IIRC by Polish workers who assisted in construction. I can find the testimonies if you want.


Jeff, I'm interested in this. If you have time could you give some examples?

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:13 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Hans wrote:One more, Maria Lewandowska:

I heard that some foreign commission was in Chełmno and visited the camp by claiming to be the Gestapo. I did not see that commission.

(AIPN GK 165/271, tom 1, p. 98)



For those who own Montague's book, the incident you are describing starts around page 89. My page numbers may not quite match those who own an actual copy or an ebook, I own the Kindle version so it may be off a little.


Just as a follow-up, Montague also believes that it was the Poles that infiltrated the camp but also agrees more information needs to be found on it.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeff_36 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:29 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Jeff_36 wrote:
BRoI wrote:
BRoI wrote:That was found at Belzec in the 1960s and is currently on display in the museum, I've seen it.

Kues has a picture and discusses it and relevant testimony on page 984f.
http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/28-tecoar-long.pdf

It fits with the early claim about how the pipes bringing the exhaust fumes into the gas chambers were under the floor. I'm referring to a 1940s Polish publication I was looking at the other day; can't recall the name of it this minute but will post the pages when I remember.


From German Crimes in Poland , Vol. 2, 1947

Image


Willhelm Pfanninstiel also attested to the pipes of the second Belzec gas chamber coming out from under the floor. This was corroborated, IIRC by Polish workers who assisted in construction. I can find the testimonies if you want.


Jeff, I'm interested in this. If you have time could you give some examples?


here is Kasimierz Czerniak, a local welder, describing the setup of the pipes.

The motor of the small power station had 15 H.V., in contrast to the large power station which had the power of 200 H.V. From this motor, pipes led underground to take away the engine exhaust. Where these pipes went, I don’t know.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:08 pm

Some of the earliest descriptions of mass graves (Montague):

Kurt Möbius (mid-December, 1941):

There was a large clearing in the forest surrounded by one or two cordons of guard posts. There was a large grave in the clearing that had been dug by four or five Polish workers. The grave had the following dimensions: five to six meters deep, eight meters wide and 20 meters long. About one-eighth of it was filled with bodies.


Footnote:
2. Ibid., Bd. 5: 875, Kurt Mobius.

Rottwachtmeister Jakob Wildermuth (about this same time)

In the first clearing, there were two mass graves about 30 meters long, ten meters wide, and three meters deep. In the second clearing, there was a mass grave about 30 meters long, ten meters wide, and three meters deep. In the third clearing there was a mass grave about 12 meters long, ten meters wide, and three meters deep. When I started my duty in Chełmno, the mass grave in the third clearing had already been filled with corpses. The mass grave in the second clearing was half filled with corpses. The other mass graves had only been prepared and were filled with corpses later.


Footnote:
Ibid., Bd. 5: 856, Jacob Wildermuth.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:17 pm

Josef Islinger, in the Spring of 1942:

At first, I mounted guard on the outer perimeter of the forest camp. Depending on where I mounted guard, I could sometimes see the gas vans drive into the forest camp. During my service there, I could see that everything I had heard from hearsay was true. I saw two large mass graves in the forest, about 20 to 30 meters long, six to eight meters wide, and four meters deep. One of the mass graves was already filled with dead bodies and covered with earth. The other one was half filled at that time. The gas vans came many times a day and stopped at the grave. The members of the Jewish labor detachment, whose legs were shackled, opened the back doors of the gas vans and took out the bodies that were inside. Next, the bodies were stacked in layers inside the mass grave. The gas vans, full of bodies, came five to ten times a day. I estimate that there were always about 50 bodies in the smaller vans and 70 in the larger one. [...]


Footnote:
Ibid., Bd. 7a: 1222–25, Josef Islinger.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:19 pm

The above is from Montague, pages 91-93.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:34 am

New post from HC regarding Chelmno, of particular interest are the docs dealing with Poles sick with TB:

https://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2017/07/sonderkommando-kulmhof-in-german.html?showComment=1501385557158&m=1#c6200503296624014370

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Re: The Chelmno Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:29 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I realize I'm sort of doing this in a somewhat haphazard manner but I'm pulling sources as I remember them.

From the forester Heinz May (Hitler's Empire, Chapter the Final Solution: The Jewish Question, pg. 381, by Mark Mazowar):
May describes where he and his son came across a disabled gas van:
My son got out of our truck and walked over to a group of men in police uniforms who were bustling about the vehicle.
.....the truck in the ditch was about four meters in length and about two meters high. It's rear doors was closed with an iron bolt from which a padlock hung. A definitely unpleasant smell came from the truck and from the men standing around it.


May contacted the Forest Constable Stagemeir, who told him that the area around precinct 77 was surrounded by military police. When Stagemeir attempted to approach the area he was warned not to enter and the sentries threatened to shoot him.



Going back to Heinz May, he eventually accessed Precinct 77.

This is what he saw:

I saw first a grave of about 200 meters in length and five meters wide. The grave was covered with a mound of earth two meters high. Somewhat further, there was a similar grave of about 50 meters in length. In another clearing about 50 meters away, there was a grave about 150 meters in length. This grave was covered for about three-quarters of its length. The end furthest away from me was still open.


He witnessed a gas van pull up and dump its load of victims:

The truck was opened and I saw a pile of naked human bodies tumble down. I stood about 80 meters from the truck. Under the leadership of an official a number of workers who were employed there came running, with the upper part of their bodies naked, in order to throw the corpses into the grave.


May was also told that the "trucks" had to be padlocked from the outside:

The police captain related that he had given strict orders to close the trucks with a padlock before they drove out of the castle. En route, the back doors had flown open and the “warm loaves of bread” had fallen on the road. The streets were immediately blocked off, but nevertheless the civilian population had seen various things and thereby much had become publicly known.


Why was May there? Because in order to shield the graves from prying eyes his superior ordered him to plant trees to block the area.

Montague, Pages 93-94

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:45 am

Eichmann's visit to Chelmno, recorded during his interrogation:

I saw the following: a room, perhaps, if I remember right, about five times as big as this one here. There were Jews in it. They had to undress, and then a sealed truck drove up. The doors were opened; it drove up to a kind of ramp. The naked Jews had to get in. Then the doors were closed and the truck drove off.

[Israeli interrogator Avner] Less: How many people did this truck hold?

Eichmann: I don’t know exactly. The whole time it was there, I didn’t look inside. I couldn’t. Couldn’t! What I saw and heard was enough. The screaming and ... I was much too shaken and so on. I told Müller that in my report. He didn’t get much out of it. I drove after the truck ... and there I saw the most horrible sight I had seen in all my life. It drove up to a fairly long trench. The doors were opened and the corpses were thrown out. The limbs were as supple as if they’d been alive. Just thrown in. I can still see a civilian with pliers pulling out teeth. And then I beat it.


Montague, Pages 94-95

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:01 pm

One of the issues Chelmno had was the multitude of decomposing corpses in mass graves. In the Summer of 1942 the stench became so bad that transports temporarily stopped while the Germans sought an answer to the problem.

May describes what he endured that Summer:

When during the summer of 1942, during the erection of the post fence, I again, together with Bothman, saw the graves, there was a nauseating sweet-strong odor above the whole place. I had to hold my nose and left the place as quickly as possible. Bothmann showed me great round bulges which had developed on the long graves, if one looked closely one could see a light mist rise in the sunshine. Bothmann told me that 250,000 [corpses] were buried there. However, there was still room for at least 100,000 [more].


Footnote:
Ob 19: 243, Heinz May. Bothmann was evidently “boasting” about the number of victims.


This is plainly an exaggeration, this number of corpses.

Paul Blobel (see these posts in HC about Action 1005 http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/search?q=Action+1005&m=1) was called in to solve the problem and initially used explosives to destroy the bodies.
This just set the forest on fire. Eventually it was decided to burn the bodies in special crematoria.

May again:

One day Bothmann appeared in the forestry office and told me that he had orders from higher authority to burn all the corpses. He had already had the graves opened and attempted to burn the bodies with thermite bombs. Now he wished to try to carry out the order with firewood and he requested great amounts of it. During the burning with thermite bombs, a forest fire had been caused whereby a portion of the woods surrounding the field of graves burned down. The charred woods could not be cut down since otherwise a view of the field of graves would have become possible [to see] from the road.


May used so much wood he started combing through older forests to supply the crematoria.

May describes the crematoria:

After several experiments, the cremation of the bodies took place in a circular hole in the earth, about three meters deep and with a diameter of four meters; it was lined all around with stones. A strong fire was built in the hole and the bodies were simply thrown in. 26


Footnote:
Ibid.: 244–45, Heinz May.

Montague, Pages 114-115

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:31 pm

Fascinating video from the site, showing bone fragments and open air cremation areas, part of the video shows the pipes used to supply oxygen to the crematoria:

https://youtu.be/nxM9z7KaY3Y

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:36 pm

The initial crematoria didn't work very well so more efficient crematoria were built.

Montague, Pages 116, from Rozalia Peham, wife of a guard:

Two crematoria were built. I don’t know how they were installed because, of course, I was never there. I know only that the ovens had tall chimneys and were so constructed that they had a very strong draught. The bodies were arranged in layers in these ovens. Between each layer of bodies was a layer of wood. Gasoline was poured over the pile of bodies and wood when the corpses were to be burned in the fire.


Footnote:
Ob 271, tom 2: 161, Rozalia Peham.

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Re: The Chelmno/Gas Van Thread

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:48 pm

Connected to this is a letter to Chaim Rumkowski, Head of the Jewish Council of Elders, from Friedrich Ribbe, Hans Biebow's assistant requesting a bone crushing machine:

July 16, 1942

To the Eldest of the Jews, Litzmannstadt Ghetto

Regarding: Machines in the Ghetto

I request an immediate assessment of whether inside the ghetto there is a Bone Mill either manually operated or motor driven.
By Order of: Fr. W. Ribbe Sonderkommando Kulmhof is interested in such a mill.


Montague, Page 117

Apparently there was no bone mill in the ghetto at the time, as one was eventually bought from the Hannover firm of Schriever and Company.


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