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October 4, 2015 / 21 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Auschwitz’

Ashes of Holocaust Victims Buried after Secretly Kept in French School

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

The atrocities of the Holocaust still are being discovered.

Rabbis in Strasbourg, France on Sunday carried a single coffin containing several Jews’ ashes and remains that were used for experiments during the Holocaust by August Hirt, a notorious Nazi anatomy researcher.

Their remains in test tubes and jars had been locked up in a French medical school until this past July, when a researcher found a letter dated 1952 and which referred to the atrocity. After the discovery of the letter, the jars and test tubes were found behind a glass cupboard in a locked room.

The only victim whose remains were identified was Menachem Taffem, a Polish Jew who was gassed to death in the Auschwitz gas chambers.

The corpses of 86 Holocaust victims were sent to the institute at the University of Strasbourg for Hirt to carry out research. Some of the remains were buried after the war, others were locked up secretly and yet others were known and kept for legal and scientific intentions.

Auschwitz Showers Only A ‘Public Safety Measure,’ Says Museum

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Social media is still all a-Twitter with comments about the latest attempt by the Auschwitz Holocaust memorial museum to cool off visitors to its site. The museum, which issued a statement explaining its position, appears to be digging itself further into an already difficult situation.

In an attempt to reduce the risk to tourists from one of the worst heat waves ever to hit Poland, the site installed a long length of misting shower heads right in front of the death camp.

It is the first sight to greet visitors to Auschwitz, and has shocked many to their very core.

But the Auschwitz Holocaust memorial museum explained in a statement this week that the showers were simply a “public safety measure.”

“We must do everything possible to minimize the risks connected with the heat and high temperatures and take care of the safety of health of our visitors,” museum officials said in a statement posted to Facebook. “The health of visitors is for us the priority during the time of these extreme heats and the sprinklers have been really helpful. The sprinklers are installed on the days of highest temperatures and removed with the temperature drops.”


Tourists making a pilgrimage to the Auschwitz death camp found the reasoning to be bizarre.

One visitor told the Hebrew-language Ynet news site, “It was a punch to the gut.”

More than a million Jews were exterminated at the site by the Nazi regime during World War II, the vast majority murdered in facilities where they were told they were entering ‘shower rooms.’ The “showers” were lethal gas chambers from which the bodies of Jews were then dragged to crematoria for efficient disposal.

Countless visitors come to the camp, among them many Israelis and other Jews, including those who lost relatives in the Holocaust.

Israeli high schools have adopted the custom of bringing eleventh grade students to the Nazi death camps on a special field trip each year called “March of the Living,” to teach them about this part of their history. Special preparations for the trip begin months before the students’ flight to Poland.

Numerous visitors who have been to the site have also posted about the experience on the Google-plus social networking site as well.


Auschwitz Provides Tourists with Outdoor Showers to ‘Cool Down’

Monday, August 31st, 2015

How sensitive does the world have to be Jews when it comes to anything that can be associated with Holocaust?

The question has come up twice in four days, once with Hillary Clinton’s “boxcar” comment’ and now with the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp site offering tourists, including Israelis, outdoor showers to cool down from a heat wave.

Clinton’s reference to alleged Republican candidates’ promoting the idea of shipping out Mexican immigrants in “buses and boxcars” touched a raw nerve among sensitive American Jews, especially those who vote Republican.

She maintained, as reported here, that she never had the Holocaust in mind, although her defense that Jeb Bush used the term was totally out of line since he used the word to emphasize that shipping out illegal immigrants in boxcars is exactly what the United States should not do.

The showers at Auschwitz is harder to defend but illustrates the difference in mindset between the slogan among Jews “Never Forget” and the concept among others “to get over it and move on.”

It is difficult to imagine that the management at the former death camp purposely set up outdoor showers, in the midst of a heat wave, to mock Jews.

However, no one apparently realized that tourists, and not only Jews, would associate the effort to offer people a relief from the heat with the gas chambers that killed more than a million Jews, many of whom thought they were going to have their first real shower in what seemed like eternity.

On a Facebook page that posted a picture of the sprinklers, several people expressed anger while many other simply shrugged off as a “funny” coincidence.

One of the most tasteless postings was that people should “not fall for the same trick again.”

One Israel tourist told Yediot Acharonot website, “When we got off the bus I saw the sprinklers. I was in shock. I felt my stomach turn over.”

He said that when he mentioned to one of the workers at the site that the sprinkler “reminds me of the gas chambers,” she replied she was sorry.

It is not clear what she was sorry about – that the shower system was insensitive or that the tourist couldn’t get over the past.

Most estimates are that fewer than 500,000 Holocaust survivors remain alive worldwide. Their numbers are dwindling quickly, and the question of sensitivity in this age of political correctness is one that will not go away.

It all depends who is being offended. There is an egregious concern not to offend Muslim and homosexuals.

Jews are another story. And when it comes to Israel, there is not much to talk about, except, of course, for the “occupation.”

What do you think?

‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’: ‘I can only ask my God for forgiveness’

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Former Nazi guard Oskar Groening, 94, asked for forgiveness on Wednesday upon testifying in his trial on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder. Groening, dubbed the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” collected and tallied money from new prisoners arriving at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

He testified:

There was self-denial in me that today I find impossible to explain. Perhaps it was also the convenience of obedience with which we were brought up, which allowed no contradiction. This indoctrinated obedience prevented registering the daily atrocities as such and rebelling against them.

I can only ask my God for forgiveness.

During the trial on Wednesday, Auschwitz survivor Irene Weiss, 84, recounted how she arrived to the death camp at age 13 and was immediately separated from most of her family. “A woman pointed to a chimney and said: ‘Do you see the smoke? There is your family,'” she said.

Weiss said she considers Groening more than just a “small cog in the machine.”

“To that 13-year-old, any person who wore that uniform in that place, represented terror and the depths to which humanity can sink, regardless of what function they performed,” she said.

Survivors to Testify in Trial of ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Oskar Groening, now 91 and the former “bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” is on trial in Germany today in what may be the last judicial proceedings of Nazi criminals.

He is one of the last SS members, and may be the last, to be on trial. Most of the others have escaped justice, and the years it took before bringing Groening to the courtroom have been described by German writer Christoph Heubner as a “disaster” of justice

He faces 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as an SS guard at Auschwitz death camp, where hundreds of thousands of Jews died in the gas chambers.

He also tallied money and possession taken from victims. Prosecutors told the court, “He helped the Nazi regime benefit economically, and supported the systematic killings.”

Groening has taken the attitude of “I was only taking orders” and once started singing a song from his youth during a Der Spiegel interview:

 ‘And when Jewish blood begins to drip from our knives, things will be good again.’

Back then we didn’t even think about what we were singing.

He also described how an SS killed a baby:

I saw [a] SS soldier grab the baby by the legs… He smashed the baby’s head against the iron side of a truck until it was silent.

Groening said he was “horrified” by the scene.

It “horrified” him, but so what? He declared, “I would describe my role as a small cog in the gears. If you can describe this as guilt, then I am guilty. Legally speaking I am innocent.”

Innocent of what? Perhaps innocent of having been Hitler, or Eichmann. But is he innocent of being Oskar Groening?

Understanding that he thinks he is not guilty explains volumes about the Nazi mentality, which in the end can only be understood by anyone who is the personification of evil.

German writer Christoph Heubner told the London Telegraph, “This could be the last Nazi war crimes trial in Germany

“The legal treatment (of the Holocaust) has been an absolute disaster, a dirty stain on the name of our country. In Germany a total of 43 SS men have faced court, nine received life sentences, 25 were sent to prison, and the rest were acquitted. This is out of about 6,500 people from the SS concentration camps who were alive at the end of the war.

Seventy years after Auschwitz we still have to have trials because the German judiciary has failed miserably on the issue….

“Many survivors have talked to German youths, with political parties in Germany, in school classes. But a court is a place where justice is handed down, where human rights are defended, where eyewitness accounts gain legal weight.

“The trial is also important because it sends a signal to people who are involved in genocides today. Time may pass, but the day of judgment will come.”

Even if they say they are “innocent.”

Two NY High School Students Wear ‘Swastika’ T-Shirts

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Officials at Commack, N.Y. High School are investigating a confirmed report that two students showed up in school with red t-shirts bearing  black swastikas and the word “Auschwitz” printed in large letter.

New York City radio station 1010 WINS said the shirts also carried  a slogan ins smaller letters stating “hit the showers.”

Italian Jewish Leader Arrested For Trying To Escape From Auschwitz

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

First published at Jewish Business News by Vered Weiss

On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Riccardo Pacifici, a leader of Rome’s Jewish community, was trapped inside Auschwitz and arrested for trying to escape through a window, as reported by Haaretz. Pacifici was recording a television show about the ceremony to commemorate the liberation of the death camp and, in the course of the interview, he didn’t realized that the gates had been closed and locked by guards.

Pacifici, whose grandparents perished in Auschwitz, was faced with freezing conditions along with Italian journalist David Parenzo, Fabio Perugia, Jewish community spokesman and other members of the television crew. Their cries for assistance were not heard, so they escaped through an open window, setting off an alarm.

Polish police officers arrested them immediately, and they were interrogated until 2:30 am. “They arrested us and treated us roughly as though we were criminals,” Mr. Perugia told Haaretz. More police officers were called up until there were a dozen confining the small group. After hours of more questioning, which was relieved only by an interpreter summoned by the Italian foreign ministry, the group was released.

While interrogated, Mr. Pacifici Tweeted in Italian, “We are being held by the Polish police inside Auschwitz … a disgrace.”

Upon his release, he called the incident “madness” and a “folly” and said, “They interrogated us until 6 in the morning, to Jews who had been locked inside the Auschwitz camp where I lost some of my family,” he told La Stampa, an Italian newspaper. “My grandparents died here. It’s a shock. Our only crime was that we tried to get out through the window.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/italian-jewish-leader-arrested-for-trying-to-escape-from-auschwitz/2015/01/29/

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