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Auschwitz Chronicle: 1939-1945

Jan Peczkis|Thursday, July 8, 2010

Auschwitz was originally opened, in 1940, for Poles. In 1942, it became a tool for the mass gassing of Jews, who were not even registered upon arrival. Among those actually incarcerated in Auschwitz I, in July 1944, there were 8,200 Jews and 3,800 Poles. (p. 664). According to the camp resistance, there were incarcerated, in several of the main camps in August 1944, a total of 18,600 Poles and 23,000 Jews. (p. 693)

 
         
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Holocaust deniers have argued that it would've been impossible to mass-gas people without the perpetrators also getting killed once they vented the large gas chambers. Ironic to this, some SS men did get mildly poisoned when they failed to fully observe the stated precautions of wearing gas masks, and getting no closer to the chambers than 16 yards [15 meters], depending upon the direction of the wind. (p. 215).

Holocaust-uniqueness proponents have made much of the fact that, unlike the vast majority of arriving Jews, most arriving Poles were not gassed. But so what? Most murdered Poles perished in locations different from that of Jews, and non-Jews in Auschwitz got to die other ways. French Jew Walter Laqueur writes: "While the Jews were systematically murdered, the survival chances of the other prisoners were somewhat better--but not much. Thus, for example, of a total of 13,000 Russian prisoners of war brought to Auschwitz, only 92 were alive when the camp was shut down." (p. xvii). Multitudes of Polish children, arriving as part of the genocidal "Operation Zamosc", were not sent to the gas chambers. They were killed by cardiac injections. (p. 336).

Why wasn't gassing used more on Poles? The Germans' motivates were tactical in nature. For instance, they were about to announce the impending gassing of some ill Jewish inmates when an argument arose between SS Garrison Doctor Wirths and Hermann Langbein. The relevant issues were: "1). There could be a panic in the camp, since the Polish prisoners could assume that their turn would come after the Jews. 2). Sick prisoners would avoid the prisoners' infirmary in the future. 3). As a result, infectious diseases could spread and this would result in a decline in labor productivity." (p. 574).

In fact, the Germans were working on mass sterilization methods for long-term genocide of groups such as Poles. (p. 65, 297). This heinous endeavor has over 30 mentions in this diary. The seriousness of this project can be gauged by the fact that 700 women were subject to chemical and surgical sterilization experiments (p. 810), and about 1,000 men and women were subject to X-ray sterilization experiments (p. 549, 616).

Some of those about to be put to death at Auschwitz were defiant, as in the case of this Polish woman (March 1944): "In the crematorium a young woman steps forward from among the condemned and says, facing the SS men, that all those present are clear about the fact that they are about to die in the famous Auschwitz gas chambers and burned in the crematorium...Today the entire world knows what is going on in Auschwitz, and for every person murdered here the Germans will have to pay dearly." (p. 591).

Various historical tidbits are included in this diary. For instance, a secret Polish radio station reported that, just in Krakow during the period between October 1943 and February 1944, 1,004 Poles had been executed by the Germans for aiding Jews. (p. 620).

With the advance of the Red Army in winter 1944/1945, the Auschwitz complex was evacuated. Thousands of inmates, too sick to be moved, avoided a planned death because of the following: "The order to liquidate the sick prisoners in the Birkenau and Auschwitz camps is not carried out by SS Major Franz Xaver (sic) Kraus, the representative of SS Lieutenant Schmauser, for the liquidation division of the SD is threatened by encirclement by the approaching Red Army." (p. 801).
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