On June 22, 1941, Germany and its allied states declared war on the Soviet Union. The battles on the Eastern Front, where Operation Barbarossa was carried out, were one of the most brutal and destructive battles of World War II. The launch of activities in the east was also a turning point in the Nazi plan to "solve the Jewish question."
On June 14, we celebrate the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camps. The date 14.06 is not accidental, because that day the first transport of Polish prisoners from Tarnów arrived to Auschwitz.
On June 4, 1942, eight days after the assassination, Reinhard Heydrich, a German Nazi in the rank of Obergruppenführer, and a police officer in the rank of general died; he was the head of the Security Service in 1932–1939, Gestapo in 1934–1939, Reich Main Security Office in 1939–1942, president of Interpol in 1940–1942, deputy protector of Bohemia and Moravia in 1941–1942. The organizer of the Wannsee conference and a Nazi criminal who was one of the most significant people co-responsible for the Holocaust.
TREBLINKA I - German Nazi labor camp operating in the years 1941-1944, in the forests near the town of Treblinka (about 100 km from Warsaw). Treblinka is mainly associated with the place of mass extermination, where in the years 1942-1943, according to estimates, from 800,000 to 1 million people, mainly Jews, were murdered. Few people know, however, that from summer 1941 there was also a penal labor camp.
Operation Anthropoid - 78 years ago, the attack on Reinhard Heydrich took place. In my opinion, he was one of the most important people responsible for the Holocaust.
"Arbeitslager Blechhammer" was one of the oldest forced labor camps for Jews. It was situated in Sławęcice in Upper Silesia. In the period from April 1, 1944 to January 26, 1945, it was part of the Auschwitz sub-camps.
Fort VII in Poznań was built in the second half of the 19th century and was part of the Poznań Fortress. During the period of the Second Polish Republic, it served the Polish Army, and when Hitler's army seized Poznań, it was renamed Konzentrationslager Posen. It is worth remembering that for the first time in Poland, here in Poznań, the Germans used the name Konzentrationslager.
Lorenz Hackenholt (born on June 25, 1914 in Gelsenkirchen, date of death unknown) - German Nazi in the rank of SS-Hauptscharführer. He was a member of the crew of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and the Bełżec extermination camp, in which he was responsible for the operation of the gas chambers. He also designed gas chambers in the camps in Sobibór and Treblinka.
After the war, most SS-Wachmannschaften members were not punished for their crimes. Some emigrated to Anglo-Saxon countries (USA, Canada, Great Britain), where they blended in with the Ukrainian diaspora. Many others, especially those with German roots, lived in West Germany. A lot returned to the USSR after the war. They usually claimed to be forced laborers taken to Germany.
On May 9, 1945, the Stutthof concentration and extermination camp was "liberated". The camp was founded on September 2, 1939, the day after the outbreak of war. Nazi leaders from Pomerania imprisoned and killed many people of Polish nationality in Stutthof, according to plans created years before the war, in which the Germans assumed to Germanize the Pomeranian region.
Amon Göth (born on December 11, 1908 in Vienna, executed on September 13, 1946 in Krakow) - Austrian war criminal, Hauptsturmführer SS, during World War II the commandant of the Płaszow concentration camp and liquidator of the Jewish ghettos in Kraków and Tarnów.
"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" is one of the most famous films about the the Holocaust. However, the film contains a lot of errors and inaccuracies, as well as events that could not have taken place.
An article about the camps written by a special guest will be published from time to time. Today my special guest is my dear friend Joanna Czopowicz, (ssaufseherin.blogspot.com) who will tell us the story of Soviet soldiers in Ravensbrück between 1945-1993 on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Ravensbrück camp.
The SS-Wachmannschaften, informally called Trawnikimänner, in addition to their service as part of Operation Reinhard, also took part in the liquidation of ghettos and mass executions, and also served in concentration and labor camps.
Rudolf Maria Spanner (born April 17, 1895 in Metternich, died August 31, 1960 in Cologne) - member of the NSDAP, pathologist and professor of medicine in Gdańsk, at the Institute of Anatomy of the Medical Academy, associated with the very controversial issue of "human soap".
The “Wachmannschaften des SS- und Polizeiführers in Distrikt Lublin”, informally called Trawnikimänner (as well as Askarysi, Hiwis), was a collaborative formation from World War II. It included Soviet prisoners of war and civilians who had been transferred to the German army and underwent training in the SS camp in Trawniki.
KL Gross-Rosen is located in Rogoźnica in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. It operated in the years 1940-1945. 125,000 prisoners passed through the camp over the period of 5 years. 40,000 are estimated to have died. The camp had about 120 sub-camps. A large quarry operated in the vicinity of the camp, in which prisoners worked in inhuman conditions.
On April 16, 1947, Rudolf Höss, the first commandant and founder of the Auschwitz camp, was executed.
Stanisława Leszczyńska (born on May 8, 1896 in Łódź, died on March 11, 1974 in Łódź) – a Polish midwife imprisoned in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, a volunteer called "Mother" and the Handmaid of the Catholic Church.
55 years ago, on April 11, 1961, the trial of Adolf Eichmann began in Jerusalem. He was the head of the Jewish department at the Reich Main Security Office, "the murderer from behind the desk," responsible for the death of millions of Jews.
Josef Mengele (born on March 16, 1911 in Günzburg, deceased on February 7, 1979 in Bertioga, Brazil), a German scientist and doctor, an SS officer. He is best known for his service in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp as the "Angel of Death".
Yesterday we were in the vicinity of the highest wooden broadcasting tower in the world, located in Gliwice and being a witness to an important historical event, the Gleiwitz incident.
Rudolf Höß (Höss, Hoess) - the first commandant and founder of the Auschwitz camp, was sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out on April 16, 1947 by hanging in the Auschwitz camp, next to the building of the former headquarters and crematorium.
With great sadness, I hereby publish the information that on Wednesday a former prisoner of Auschwitz, Dario Gabbai, passed away at the age of 97. He was probably the last of the living members of the Sonderkommando.
Today (23.03), along with Joanna from Sassy Silesian project, we visited a less known place near Auschwitz-Birkenau, Judenrampe.
Odilo Lotario Globocnik (born 21.04.1904, died 31.05.1945) – an Austrian Nazi, high rank SS and NSDAP officer. A war criminal, one of the main organizers and executors of the extermination of Jews as part of the Reinhardt action.
Szymon Srebrnik, Mordechaj Żurawski, and Mordechaj Podchlebnik were three prisoners of the German extermination camp in Chełmno nad Nerem who survived the camp. It is estimated that 150,000 to 250,000 people died in the camp and only 7 survived!
There is lot of movies about World War II, the Third Reich and the Holocaust. Unfortunately, they often have factual and historical errors which are not always caused by ignorance or neglect. Below, I will cite two films on various subjects, produced in different countries.
“Lazaret”, a fake infirmary, was a place of execution in the Treblinka II extermination camp, which at first glance looked like a field hospital on the outside. People who could not reach the gas chambers on their own, as well as prisoners unable to work or sentenced to death for various offenses, were directed to the so-called "Lazaret", which literally means “infirmary”.
I. G. Farbenindustrie - a German chemical company founded in 1925, dissolved in 2012. During World War II, it was notorious because of its close cooperation with the SS, as well as the production of cyclone B and other chemicals.
The Thule Society was a secret racist and occult organization that was founded in Munich at the turn of 1917 and 1918. Its members, Karl Harrer and Anton Drexler, founded the German Workers' Party, later renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP).
Adolf Eichmann (born March 19, 1906 in Solingen, died May 31, 1962 in Ramla) - SS officer in the rank of lieutenant colonel of Austrian origin, one of the key figures of the "Final Solution" and one of the main coordinators of Operation Reinhardt.
The Dachau camp was the first concentration camp. It was founded by order of H. Himmler in the spring of 1933, in Dachau near Munich. The main purpose of the camp was to isolate political opponents of the Nazi regime, clergy and Jews. It became a "model" for all other camps. From 1938, the camp was a kind of "training ground" for managers and watchmen of other facilities of this kind founded later.
Nikolaus “Klaus” Barbie (born on 25.10.1913, deceased on 25.09.1991) – also known as the “Butcher of Lyon”, head of the Gestapo in Lyon and officer in the SS-Hauptsturmführer rank, responsible for deportation of 7,500 Jews to extermination camps and directly responsible for about 4,300 deaths.
Rebellion in Sobibor - October 14, 1943, an armed uprising of Sonderkommando prisoners took place, whose goal was to escape from the camp and save themselves from death. In the extermination camps, apart from SS supervisors and Ukrainian watchmen, a small number of prisoners were selected from transports to serve the "extermination machine".
Irma Grese (born on October 7, 1923 in Wrechen, Mecklenburg, died on December 13, 1945 in Hamelin), best known as a supervisor (SS-Aufseherin) in German concentration camps and a member of the SS support staff. One of the most cruel, ruthless and bestial overseers in the camps.
Block 11 is one of the buildings located at the Auschwitz I camp. It is referred to as the "death block". First, it was marked as block number 13, later renamed to 11. The building housed the camp Gestapo headquarters and the arrest for prisoners suspected of, among others, activity in the resistance movement, contacts with civilians or an attempt to escape.
Action 1005 – the codename of the action carried out by the Nazis during World War II, aimed at destroying evidence of crimes committed by SS/WH/SD troops in Central and Eastern Europe. Before crematoria, grates for burning corpses and pits appeared in the camps, the Nazis buried the bodies in the ground.
A question may arise: why were extermination camps created? What forced Nazi authorities to take action in order to create mass extermination centers? One of the reasons was, among others, the activity of Einsatzgruppen (units separated from SIPO and SD), i.e. special operational groups moving behind the front line.
Franz Stangl (born on March 26, 1908 in Altmünster, died on June 28, 1971 in Düsseldorf) – SS man with the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer of Austrian origin. Commander of the death camps in Sobibór and Treblinka. "White Death", as prisoners called him, was also a veteran of Action T4 mentioned in previous posts.
I recommend the movie "The Grey Zone". It tells the story of the armed uprising of the twelfth Sonderkomando in the Fourth Crematorium which took place on October 7, 1944 (exactly on H. Himmler's birthday). I will not summarize it, paying more attention to two important people who appear in this film, namely: Erich Muhsfeldt and Miklós Nyiszli.
Below I would like to show you a unique photo from the so-called "Höcker's album", in which we see Richard Baer (the first on the left), the last commandant of Auschwitz.The photo was taken shortly after he took up this position.
Before the Germans began the extermination with the agent known as Zyklon B, they used gas chambers powered by carbon monoxide from the exhaust of a diesel engine. The procedure took place as part of the "Einsatz Reinhardt" campaign and the resolutions that were made at the Wansee conference.
Reinhard Heydrich (born March 7, 1904 in Halle, died June 4, 1942 in Prague) - Obergruppenführer SS, one of Adolf Hitler’s most trusted and ruthless people. Founder of SD (SS intelligence) and Einsatzgruppen.