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Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/theresienstadt/theresien.011

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Terezin: "All were gassed there in the morning."
Summary: Background information about Terezin
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Archive/File: holocaust/czechoslovakia/theresienstadt theresien.011
              holocaust/germany/euthanasia program.010
Last-Modified: 1995/02/13

   "On November 24 ...  a ghetto was set up in the eighteenth-century
   fortress of the Bohemian town of Theresienstadt, to which Jews were
   to be sent from throughout the Old Reich, and in particular from
   Vienna, Prague and Berlin.  Uprooted from their homes, penniless,
   deprived of their belongings, ill-fed, overcrowded, thirty-two
   thousand were to die there of hunger and disease.<66> Many of the
   deportees to Theresienstadt were to be old people.  But that
   November morning it was 342 young men who were brought, from
   Prague, to work at a construction camp, preparing Theresienstadt
   for its new occupants.<67>

   The first deportees reached Theresienstadt on November 30, from
   Prague.  They consisted mostly of women, children and old people.
   A second train arrived on December 2, from Brno.<68>

   Neither deportation to the eastern ghettos nor deportation to
   Theresienstadt was the 'final solution'.  That was still being
   prepared, brought one step nearer that October, at Buchenwald, when
   twelve hundred Jews had been medically examined by Dr Fritz
   Mennecke, a euthanasia expert, and then subjected to 'Action 14 f
   13' in a clinic at Bernburg, one hundred miles away.<69> 'Action 14
   f 13' was death by gassing: a method in use since 1939 in the mass
   murder of tens of thousands of mentally defective Germans in more
   than a dozen special institutions.

   The origin of the euthanasia killings of 1939, as of these
   subsequent killings, was an order issued by Hitler, backdated to I
   September 1939, the day of the German invasion of Poland.  In this
   order, Hitler empowered the chief of his Chancellery, as well as
   his own personal physician, 'to widen the authority of individual
   doctors with a view to enabling them, after the most critical
   examination, in the realm of human knowledge, to administer
   incurably sick persons to a mercy death'.<70> The qualifying
   phrases had quickly been abandoned.  In Germany, the chief of the
   Criminal Police Office in Stuttgart, Christian Wirth, an expert in
   tracking down criminals - took charge of the technical side of a
   more 'humane' method of killing, constructing gas-chambers in which
   the victim was exposed to carbon monoxide gas, 'a device', one SS
   officer later explained, 'which overwhelmed its victims without
   their apprehension and which caused them no pain'.<71>

   Between January 1940 and August 194I, more than several thousand
   Germans had been killed by gas in five separate euthanasia
   institutions, by what was called sonderbehandlung, 'special
   treatment - The principal victims were the chronically sick,
   gypsies, people judged 'unworthy of life' because of mental
   disorders, and, after June 1941, Soviet prisoners-of-war.

   On 3 September 1941, at Auschwitz Main Camp, hitherto used
   principally for the imprisonment and torture of Polish opponents
   Nazism, an experiment had been carried out against six hundred
   Soviet prisoners-of-war, and three hundred Jews, brought specially
   to the camp.  There, in the cellar of Block II, a gas called Cyclon
   B prussic acid initially in crystal form, was used to murder the
   chosen victims.  The experiment was judged a success.<72>

   At Buchenwald, Dr Mennecke had continued with his own experiments.
   'Our second batch', he wrote to his wife Mathilde on November 25
   from the Zum Elefant hotel in nearby Weimar 'consisted of 1,200
   Jews who do not have to be "examined"; for them it was enough to
   pull from their files the reasons for their arrest and write them
   down on the questionnaires.'<73>

   Five days after Dr Mennecke's second experimental selection
   Buchenwald, Reinhard Heydrich decided that, considering 'the
   enormous importance which had to be given to these questions', and
   in the interest 'of achieving the same point of view by the central
   agencies concerned with the remaining work connected with the final
   solution', that a 'joint conversation' should be held by all
   concerned.  Such a discussion was especially needed, he wrote on
   November 29, 'since Jews have been undergoing evacuation in
   continuous transports from the Reich territory, including Bohemia
   and Moravia, to the East, since 15 October 1941'.<74>

   Heydrich's conference was called for 2 January 1942.  Before met,
   one further experiment was to be tried, near the remote Polish
   Vlllage of Chelmno.  There, on the evening of 7 December 1941,
   seven hundred Jews arrived in lorries.  They had come from the
   nearby town of Kolo, having been told that they were being taken to
   a railway station at Barlogi, ten kilometres from Kolo, and thence
   to work in 'the East.'

   Michael Podklebnik, one of the Jews assembled by the SS at the
   Jewish Council building in Kolo, but himself registered as a
   resident nearby Bugaj, later recalled how 'I brought to the lorry
   my own father, my mother, sister with five children, my brother and
   his wife and three children.  I volunteered to go with them, but
   was not allowed.' Podklebnik also saw how a Jew by the name of
   Goldberg, the owner of a saw-mill, 'approached the Germans with a
   request to be appointed manager of a Jewish camp in the East.  His
   application was accepted and he was promised the requested

   It was not to Barlogi railway station, however, but to a small
   villa known as the 'Palace' or the 'Mansion', on the road to
   Chelmno, that the seven hundred Kolo deportees were brought; and
   kept there overnight.

   On the following morning, December 8, eighty of the Kolo Jews were
   transferred to a special van.  The van set off towards a clearing
   in the Chelmno woods, a few miles away, on the River Ner.  By the
   time the journey was over, the eighty Jews were dead, gassed by
   exhaust fumes channelled back into the van.  Their bodies were
   thrown out the back of the van, and it returned to the Mansion.
   After eight or nine journeys, all seven hundred Jews from this
   first day's deportation from Kolo had been gassed.<76>

   For four more days, until December 11, the lorries came to Kolo.
   Each day up to a thousand Jews were deported, as they believed, to
   the 'East' to agricultural work, or to work in factories.  Michael
   Podklebnik later recalled how, on the last day, when it was the
   turn of the sick Jews of Kolo to be deported, the drivers were
   advised 'to drive carefully and slowly.'<77> All went to Chelmno,
   the sick and the able-bodied alike, men and women; and all were
   gassed there on the morning after their arrival.  The new scheme
   was now in being: the deportation of whole communities 'to work' in
   the so-called 'East', a deception which was followed by the
   immediate murder of the community by gas." (Gilbert, 238-240)

   Gilbert's Notes:

   <67> Zdenek Lederer, Ghetto Theresienstadt, London, 1953, page 14.
   <68> Ibid., page 15
   <69> International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, documents
	NO-426 and NO-429.
   <70> International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, document PS-630.
   <71> International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, affidavit by
	Dr. Konrad Morgen, 19 July 1946 (Morgen was an SS officer who
	had investigated SS corruption). See Raul Hilberg, The 
	Destruction of the European Jews, New York 1961 (Harper-Colophon
	edition, 1979, page 561.
   <72> Information provided by Dr. Kazimierz Smolen, Auschwitz
	Museum and Archive.
   <73> Letter of 25 November 1941: International Military Tribunal,
	Nuremberg, document NO-3060.
   <74> Heydrich letter of 29 November 1941: International Military
	Tribunal, Nuremberg, document PS-709.
   <75> Testimony of Michael Podklebnik (Michael Podchlebnik):
	Wladyslaw Bednarz, Das Vernichtungslager zu Chelmno am Ner,
	Warsaw 1946, pages 46-53.
   <76> Testimony of Andrzej Miszczak, Kolo, 26 June 1946: Ibid.,
	pages 46-53.

                          Work Cited

   Gilbert, Martin.  The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe
   during the Second World War.  New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston,

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