Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimneys

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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:03 pm)

One morning there was a distribution of bed sheets and blankets, of proper dresses. What was going on? We were very astonished and did not under stand the changes. At the end of the morning's work, we were put in ranks and given soup containing morsels of meat. But what was the mystery here? Finally, we understood. The gentlemen of the International Red Cross were visiting the camp. The SS officers accompanied them and explained to them that Birkenau was simply a labor camp, properly kept; the detainees were well-fed, dressed properly, were sleeping in clean beds with sheets and blankets. How could they not see our thinness, our pale coloring, our shaved heads, the chimneys spitting flames? How could they let themselves be deluded like that? Or, perhaps they did not want to see anything or know anything?

- Testimony of Maud Bloch (French Jew), Auschwitz-Birkenau, Number A 5446

Days of Remembrance, April 3-10, 1994: Fifty Years Ago, Darkness Before Dawn : Planning Guide for Commemorative Programs, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1994, p.86.
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:28 pm)

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Austrian-born Jew Ruth Klüger wrote her memoirs in her seventies, first in German and then re-wrote them in English, the latter version completed in 2001.

I was anguished and frightened, but this was not the profound fear that overwhelmed me when I looked at the chimneys, the crematoria, spitting flames at night and smoke by day. When that fear gripped me, it was like the psychological equivalent of epileptic fits. The fear I felt now was more like the bearable fear of malicious grown-ups, a fear with which I could cope. For what would become of me if I had to stay in Birkenau without my mother? Well, that was out of the question, she assured me. If I wouldn’t try the selection a second time, she would stay, too. She’d like to see who could separate her from her child. Only it wasn’t a good idea, and would I please listen to what she was telling me, she said, without paying attention to my conclusive counterarguments. `You are a coward,’ she said half desperately, half contemptuously, and added, `I wasn’t ever a coward.’ So what could I do but go in a second time, but with the proviso that I would try thirteen, never fifteen. Fifteen was preposterous. And if I get into trouble, it’s your fault.

Ruth Klüger, Landscapes of Memory: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004, p.123.
Nazis tried to create super-soldiers, using steroids ... they sought to reanimate the dead—coffins of famous Germanic warriors were found hidden in a mine, with plans to bring them back to life at the war’s end.
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby friedrichjansson » 5 years 8 months ago (Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:51 pm)

Here are some from the David Boder interviews (which have quite a bit of interesting stuff). I also have some comments on the technical aspects of chimney fires, but that will have to wait until I have time to write it up.


http://voices.iit.edu/interview?doc=ros ... wasserI_en
David Boder: You have seen the crematories at the station. Did the chimneys smoke?
Irena Rosenwasser: They burned. There was a big fire [visible] from afar, and there was an uproar and screaming. We did not know what was going on. Such a smoke, it was horrible. This we are unable to describe.
David Boder: Did the smoke come from the chimneys?
Irena Rosenwasser: Yes. And outside there were also big fires, always.
David Boder: Yes . . .
Irena Rosenwasser: That was always seen from the lager, the crematories. They were not far.
David Boder: Yes . . .
Irena Rosenwasser: We saw them day and night.
David Boder: What? The . . . the . . .
Irena Rosenwasser: It was always burning.

David Boder: Aha. Where were the crematories, in Birkenau or in Auschwitz?
Irena Rosenwasser: In Birkenau, four, and Auschwitz also . . .
David Boder: Aha.
Irena Rosenwasser: They were everywhere, everywhere.
David Boder: Yes.
Irena Rosenwasser: And the chimneys one always saw . . . with fire . . .
David Boder: Smoking?
Irena Rosenwasser: Yes, smoking, and fire . . .
David Boder: And the fire from . . . from
Irena Rosenwasser: . . . tall fires . . .
David Boder: Yes . . .
Irena Rosenwasser: They were tall flames.





http://voices.iit.edu/interview?doc=mar ... marcusH_en
Hadassah Marcus: Perhaps thirty meters separated the crematory from me [my place].
David Boder: Yes?
Hadassah Marcus: I had the occassion to witness everything. We are all living witnesses to what they have done.
David Boder: How did you . . . you could see it through the windows, or what?
Hadassah Marcus: It was entirely open.
David Boder: Hm.
Hadassah Marcus: They didn't even have the understanding that they should cover it up. Quite late they covered [it] with small trees so that we shouldn't be able to see everything and hear everything.
David Boder: Hm.
Hadassah Marcus: The transports arrived there, huge transports. In ten minutes on the clock we already saw the fire coming from the chimneys. We recognized the transports, whether they were fat or lean [people].
David Boder: By what?
Hadassah Marcus: Because the smoke . . . if a black smoke was coming from the chimney it was a lean transport.
David Boder: Hm.
Hadassah Marcus: When [they were] fat, there was a huge fire going that could be seen from distances of tens of kilometers.



http://voices.iit.edu/interview?doc=fry ... rydmanH_en

Henja Frydman: My parents weren't there, but the parents of the others. And they said, 'The trucks? Do you see, girls, buildings there yonder which look so normal. Girls, they are the crematories!' 'Crematories? What does it mean--crematories?' 'Don't you know? There is where all the people went, on the trucks!' We remained standing. We thought she was out of her mind. But from one after another we heard the same story. All who climbed into the trucks are in the crematories. An hour later they showed us a fire which rose from the chimneys. Those are the bodies which burned, they gave us to understand. These old prisoners. And that we could see. We saw it burning, burning intensely. We felt the smell of skin, living skin. We are in the "zaune," in the shearing room. They shear off our hair. As they do it to me, completely. A clipper went over our heads. All the hair from the head. We look at each other. The fright. People are beaten. Hair is being shorn. People scream. The language we don't understand.


Henja Frydman: [...] It was pouring. The chimneys were on fire at the same time.




http://voices.iit.edu/interview?doc=kal ... letskaA_en
Anna Kaletska: [...] They were burning people every day. The whole night the ovens would flame, and the skies red, dark red, just like . . . . [the next word is not clear.] One night I was standing in front of the block. A Christian block trusty stood near by. That night they were burning from the Gypsy Lager. I don't know how many thousands were there.


This one isn't chimney specific, but still interesting: gypsies weren't so worked up about seeing fire.
http://voices.iit.edu/interview?doc=kal ... kaldore_en

George Kaldore: [...] there were two people, diabetics, who became so ill that they said, 'We need injections.' And they were led away. They were led away, and we haven't seen them any more. By eleven--we already dared to make a few steps outside--we saw something burning. It burns, it burns, it burns. In the morning at eleven we saw flames, and a stenchy smell. We asked the Gypsies, 'What are they burning?' So they say, 'They are burning the clothes that you brought with you, rags, since it cannot be used. It is none of your worry what is burning.'



http://voices.iit.edu/interview?doc=hei ... eislerA_en

Adolph Heisler: We arrived there in Auschwitz. An SS Storm leader was standing there, and he separated the older people and the children to one side, and those capable of working, those who looked very capable of working, they put to the other side. About the others, where they were led, no on knew only the next day we saw the huge flames and the smoke from the crematory where they were being burned. And we went into barracks.


Remarkable what music can do:
http://voices.iit.edu/interview?doc=ser ... serrasE_en

Edith Serras: And when the people would arrive at the lager, to go into the gas chamber, so they did not know that they were going to the gas chamber, and the music played Chopin—the music played classical . . .
David Boder: Where was the music standing?
Edith Serras: The music was standing in the lager.
David Boder: Yes . . .
Edith Serras: And they played.
David Boder: Yes . . .
Edith Serras: And the people who were coming to the lager to go into the gas chamber . . .
David Boder: Yes . . .
Edith Serras: . . . heard music playing—classical music. And from the distance one could even see the flames within the smoke . . .
David Boder: Hm . . .
Edith Serras: . . . Red flames, which were going up as far as the sky. One recognized, one sensed the burning flesh of people—human flesh was burning. But it was done so quickly, and the music played so [well] and its tunes were so cheerful [?], that the people could not understand that they were going into the chamber of death.


At least one guy had a little common sense:
http://voices.iit.edu/interview?doc=ger ... ertnerA_en

Alexander Gertner: An incident [?]. And then, when we had been bathed, we had...it was already late at night. It was already approxiamtely twelve at night. We...we were put in a row, and we were led, and...
David Boder: Yes.
Alexander Gertner: Dark--we did not see anything. We were led. What do we see? We saw only the flames...flames, huge flames, maybe up to fifty meters in height. We saw flames and smoke.
David Boder: From where? From the pits or...
Alexander Gertner: From...from the pits. From the crematories such flames didn't come out, because they had a chimney.

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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:35 pm)

One on Mauthausen's flaming chimney well worth a mention.

Image
Mauthausen "historian" and state official [Hofrat] Hans Marsalek writes (in the book Das war Mauthausen, p. 14, point 18, "Bunker"):

... Below the bunker was the first crematorium. Its fire burned day and night, and the glare of the flame shooting out of the chimney could be seen far away in the Danube valley ...

- The Lüftl Report: An Austrian Engineer's Report on the 'Gas Chambers' of Auschwitz and Mauthausen by Walter Lüftl
http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v12/v12p391_Luftl.html


The Wachau [Valley] begins at the Benedictine monastery of Melk, famous for its Baroque church and its bastion overlooking the Danube valley. It ends at Krems, an old medieval city.

- Richard F. Sterba, Reminiscences of a Viennese Psychoanalyst, Detriot, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1982, p.143.


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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:41 pm)

As I was leaving Block 12, the sky was darkening rapidly. Above the vast area of the Auschwitz camps, heavy clouds loomed ominously. The perimeter fence, charged with electricity and glistening under the glare of thousands of red lights, offered a speedy death. Wooden watchtowers built at regular intervals commanded the life of the camps. Here and there I spotted the barrels of automatic rifles. And close to a nearby birch wood could be seen the outlines of a low brick building with a tall chimney. A broad streak of crimson fire lashed out from it, lustily licking the skies above and staining them savagely. Its stinging stench spread mercilessly, menacing and nauseating. And the skies, the very skies, seemed to be burning ..."

- Czechoslovakian Jew Jiří Fränkl in his memoirs which were published in Czech and English in the same book.

Jiří Fränkl, Horici Nebesa: The Burning Skies, Prague: Terezin Initiative Institute, 1995, p.119.
Nazis tried to create super-soldiers, using steroids ... they sought to reanimate the dead—coffins of famous Germanic warriors were found hidden in a mine, with plans to bring them back to life at the war’s end.
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby Hektor » 5 years 8 months ago (Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:06 pm)

TheBlackRabbitofInlé wrote:A picture of the crematorium in Hamelin at which the 440 pound corpse caused flames to shoot out of the chimney:

Image
http://www.dewezet.de/portal/lokales/ha ... 94871.html

That actually shut down the crematoria for several days. So not a feasible scenario for the Holocaust narrative.

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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:22 pm)

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Hungarian Jew Mel Mermelstein (top bunk, furthest right), survivor of six camps.

"We soon discovered we were in Poland, but none of us ever heard of Birkenau or Auschwitz-Birkenau.
All of us froze into one.
Staring at each other, not speaking a word, we looked and wondered at those tall chimneys, spewing a peculiar reddish flame.

[...]

Then a tall, husky, well-built creature stepped forth. "Sons of bitches, hear me out," he said angrily. "You've just arrived in a Death Camp...Birkenau...do you hear me?...A few kilometers from here is Auschwitz. Birkenau has more ovens, that's why you came here first. Look at those tall chimneys...you dumb bastards. Do you see those flames? That's what'll become of you kurvas—whores." (p.112)

"A Slovakian Jew named Rosenberg and his buddy broke out. They made it, we were told. Otherwise, he and his friend Alfred would have been brought back to Auschwitz for public hanging. I was sure they would tell our friends on the outside about Auschwitz. But they had escaped on April the 7th, and here we were, toward the end of May, when the gas chambers were hard at work. The chimneys were belching a fierce reddish flame." (p.125)

"I kept asking myself over and over, "How can I survive?" Then a hidden part of me began to react. I must not believe what I heard. I'd have to blot out what I saw. Those flaming chimneys were something else; I wouldn't care what others tell me about them . (p.131)

Mel Mermelstein, By Bread Alone: A Survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, LA, California: Crescent Publications, 1979.

"When we saw the flaming chimneys and that awful smell, that's when we suspected something.

- Mel Mermelstein, March 13, 1981
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=t2 ... %2C1536147

"We heard the victims as they were led, driven and lured into gas chambers. We saw those chimneys spewing that hellish flame daily. Those were not hidden from us,"

- Mel Mermelstein, July 25, 1985
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=aS ... %2C7798748
Nazis tried to create super-soldiers, using steroids ... they sought to reanimate the dead—coffins of famous Germanic warriors were found hidden in a mine, with plans to bring them back to life at the war’s end.
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:05 am)

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Polish Jew Sigmund Strochlitz

"I saw the fires coming out of the chimneys and I still did not believe it."

- Sigmund Strochlitz, August 1, 1979, whilst visiting Auschwitz with Elie Wiesel amongst others

- "A Walk back into hell," by Greg Stone, The Day (New London, CT), Saturday, August 25, 1979, p.2.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=DS ... %2C4431625


In the article I read that: "an estimated 2 million Jews" lost their lives in Auschwitz, and "[a]nother 2 million Jews were killed in Birkenau."
Nazis tried to create super-soldiers, using steroids ... they sought to reanimate the dead—coffins of famous Germanic warriors were found hidden in a mine, with plans to bring them back to life at the war’s end.
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:39 am)

Lodz Jew (and later South Carolina real estate magnet) Ben Stern was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 1944 and given prisoner no. B-3348.

"the thing that was so horrible was that we smelled the stench of bodies because we saw in front of us, we saw the chimneys, the crematorium, and burning, and the fire, gushing out."

"We Remember So the World Will Not Forget," by Ellen Liburt, The Item (Sumter, SC), March 27, 1994, p.2C
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=UJ ... %2C6093958


SC Man Will Never Forget The Horrors Of Auschwitz
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=97 ... %2C3111664
Nazis tried to create super-soldiers, using steroids ... they sought to reanimate the dead—coffins of famous Germanic warriors were found hidden in a mine, with plans to bring them back to life at the war’s end.
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:08 pm)

Image

Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List perhaps?

"... Schindler's female workers arrive in Auschwitz. After emerging from real showers, they see less fortunate Jews walking down a stairway into the room where they will disrobe before entering the gas chambers. The camera pans to the smoke and flames rising out of the crematoria chimney."

Lawrence Baron, Projecting the Holocaust into the Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema, Lanham, ML: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005, p.259.


Awful version:



I'm not sure that's there flames there. Neither evidently is Joshua Hirsch in Afterimage: Film, Trauma And The Holocaust , or Marcia Landy in Cinematic Uses of the Past .
Nazis tried to create super-soldiers, using steroids ... they sought to reanimate the dead—coffins of famous Germanic warriors were found hidden in a mine, with plans to bring them back to life at the war’s end.
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby Kingfisher » 5 years 8 months ago (Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:50 pm)

I once worked in the oil industry and on the site where I worked there was a flare which burned 24/7. Excess flammable gas or liquid that could not be handled by the system was sent to the flare. I'm not an engineer so I can't give details, but flares were a feature of all oil and petro-chemical installations before environmental regulation forced alternative solutions to be found. Flaring is still commonplace in countries such as Nigeria.

The Monowitz plant was a couple of miles from Birkenau, but flares can be seen from miles around, especially at night, when bright distant objects appear closer. Flares in particular and petro-chemical plants in general also create one hell of a stink. The area around the refinery where I worked reeked of sulphur dioxide, and to a lesser extent hydrogen sulphide, more or less permanently. Again, today this is controlled by environmental legislation, but 70 years ago in occupied territory in wartime?

Add to the mix a measure of flights of imagination, Chinese Whispers, repeating as personal experience rumours that were heard, false memory and even sheer fabrication and Monowitz could well be at the origin of these tall tales.

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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:01 am)

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Hungarian Jew Irving Roth

I explained to him how I know in detail what happened. Because I arrived in Auschwitz with my grandparents, my aunt and uncle and my cousins on a May evening, they were separated from me and they disappeared. I saw these chimneys and I saw out of the chimneys coming flames. They were herded into these buildings. They went in and no one came out. What happened? The earth didn’t swallow them.

-" Signposts’ of hate: As his generation fades, Holocaust survivor Irving Roth travels the country to teach, warn" by Broke Carbo, Anniston Star (Anniston, AL), July 9, 2011
http://www.annistonstar.com/view/full_s ... _lifestyle
Nazis tried to create super-soldiers, using steroids ... they sought to reanimate the dead—coffins of famous Germanic warriors were found hidden in a mine, with plans to bring them back to life at the war’s end.
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:36 am)

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Otto Dov Kula, Emeritus professor of history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

I posted Kula's father quoting him on flames previously but his own words (translated from Hebrew) are well worth including:

Among the veteran inmates who visited that camp shortly after our arrival in September 1943 was one who had been in concentration camps since 1939 and in Auschwitz since 1942. I mean my father. He found us, identified us among the arrivals from Theresienstadt — he knew we would come from Theresienstadt — looked for us, for my mother and me, and explained to my mother, and in fact to all the inmates, the meaning of the scenes that had occurred on the platform, with the daily arrival of trainloads of prisoners, who were sorted into groups and then advanced slowly in long processions toward brick buildings with large smokestacks which spew flames and smoke day and night; explained to us about selections, about crematoria, about gas chambers — explained about Auschwitz-Birkenau, the very heart of the event whose roots and development I traced, perhaps not willingly, many years later. (p.17)

As I said, that sharp confrontation did not take the same form in me, at least not in that block, in which I encountered history for the first time, music almost for the first time, and also death; and also the skeletons, and also the selections, which we saw from afar, and we knew; and also those images which preoccupied me, disturbed me, but were part of the day-to-day reality: the images, particularly toward evening, as dark descended slowly across the skies of Poland, when we watched the crematoria burning with a quiet constant fire, and the flames a few metres high rising above the red-brick chimneys of the crematoria, and the smoke billowing and rising above the flames, and the riddle that engaged us, me especially: how does it happen that the living, who enter in their masses in long columns and are swallowed into these structures made of sloping roofs and red bricks, are transformed into flames, into light and smoke, then disappear and fade into those darkening skies? (pp.23-24)


Otto Dov Kula, Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death: Reflections on Memory and Imagination, London: Penguin, 2013.
Nazis tried to create super-soldiers, using steroids ... they sought to reanimate the dead—coffins of famous Germanic warriors were found hidden in a mine, with plans to bring them back to life at the war’s end.
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby TheBlackRabbitofInlé » 5 years 8 months ago (Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:23 pm)

Included in the 1994 book Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp is a lengthy contribution written by "Jean-Claude Pressac with Robert Jan van Pelt", in which I learnt that the Soviet built chimney besides Krema I in Auschwitz I is effectively the fourth chimney that's stood in that position.

Following is a timeline of events relating to the chimneys of Krema I as gleaned from the text in my 1998 paperback edition (page numbers indicated)

    15.08.1940 - First chimney 10 metres tall completed (Chimney 1) and first cremation performed in the sole double-muffle oven (p.190)

    20.02.1941 - Second double muffle oven is completed (p.193)

    ??.04.1941 - Chimney height is increased to 20 metres (Chimney 2) to raise the performance of second oven by increasing the draft (p.197)

    23.06.1941 - Constant use results in the chimney cracking; cremations cease for 5 days whilst iron bands are put on the chimney (p.197)

    30.05.1942 - Installation of third double muffle oven finally completed; 8 months after it had been ordered! (p.209)

    30.05.1942 - Once all three ovens are fired up, the iron hoops on the chimney snap and deep cracks appear in the masonry. "The men of the Political Department began to fear that the smokestack would collapse on to their offices." (p.212)

    12.06.1942 - Construction of a new chimney 15 metres tall begins (p.212)

    08.08.1942 - New chimney is complete (Chimney 3), cremations resume after 3 month gap during which a typhus epidemic raged (p.216)

    13.08.1942 - New chimney is damaged by the three triple muffle ovens constantly working at full capacity (p.216)

    ??.07.1943 - Cremations cease at Krema I (p.236)

The authors make no mention of how cremations proceeded in Krema I following the damage caused to chimney no. 3 after just five days of operation.

I should just mention that the air extraction systems of the both the crematorium and adjoining morgue (alleged to have been transformed in a homicidal gas chamber) dispelled the extracted air into the chimneys, or at least at times. Pressac & Van Pelt's text is horribly jumbled and I don't see the point in laying out their version of that issue out here. It's besides the point.

The image below is from Van Pelt and Deborah Dwork's Auschwitz 1270 to the Present, and shows the plan for the new chimney (no. 3) following the installation of the third double-muffle oven (30.05.42) which wrecked the old one.

Image
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Re: Testimonies on flames from Auschwitz crematorium chimney

Postby Charles Traynor » 5 years 8 months ago (Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:25 am)

TheBlackRabbitofInlé wrote:Image
Image
Image
Image

Found these video stills on a Japanese site. Not sure what they're taken from.

http://iroiro.alualu.jp/sekaisi/sofia/sofia_s09-3.html

Those images were taken from the film The Grey Zone. A ninety percent scale model of the Birkenau Krema areas was built from architectural drawings for production of the film. They did a good job and I was actually quite impressed with how good it looked. Although the night time scene shown above of the 4 flaming chimneys in a row is inaccurate.

The Grey Zone tells the story of the revolt of Sonderkommando XII at Birkenau. The film follows the latest version of the gassing myth to the letter (did they have Roberto Muehlenkamp as an advisor?) with the white washing and hosing down of the gas chamber walls between gassings, and the Sonderkommando now wearing gas masks, etc. There is also some hand wringing and moralizing about the role of the Jewish Sonderkommando thrown in for good measure.

The film has a happy ending and justice is seen to be done as all those left alive after the Germans put down the revolt are shot one by one on the grass in front of the damaged Krema building.

Rabbi Shlomo Risikin: "The [non-Jewish] world is divided into parts: those who actively participated with the Nazis and those who passively collaborated with them."


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