Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history,talk.politics.misc Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Maidanek's "Harvest Festival" Followup-To: alt.revisionism Organization: The Nizkor Project http://www.nizkor.org Keywords: Chopin,Erntefest,Himmler,Lublin,Maidanek Archive/File: camps/maidanek maidanek.02 Last-Modified: 1994/02/15 "Maidanek was constructed in 1941 primarily as a detention center for prisoners captured by the Nazis in their inital sweep into Russia. Five thousand Soviet prisoners were shipped there within days after Hitler repudiated the non-aggression pact with Stalin. The Russians all died quickly of hunger, typhus, and brutal treatment, their fate a clear signal that the camp would honor no civilized code nor be administered with any humane concern. The message was accentuated when Maidanek was turned into a major extermination camp for the Jews of conquered Poland and other centers of Jewish life in Europe. Between February 1942 and July 1944 about half a million Jews were destroyed there by gassing and by shooting. When the Soviet troops liberated the camp on July 24, 1944, they found fewer than six hundred inmates still alive, and these had been temporarily spared to obliterate the evidence of more than two million men, women, and children who had been murdered. Much of what had happened there, the Russians already knew; in 1942 a few escapees had described the hell that Maidanek had become. But its full savagery could not even be imagined until the records and the actual physical evidence had been reviewed. The most vivid memory was of the horror of November 3, 1943, that carried the code name Erntefest, Harvest Festival. Seventeen thousand Jews, rounded up after the final collapse of the Warsaw Ghetto, were machine-gunned. The victims were lined up in front of open ditches which they had dug for their own mass grave. A BBC correspondent, Alexander Werth, accompanied the Russian troops and filed the story. The BBC refused to use it, the editor labeling it a `Russian propaganda stunt.' The sworn testimony of the camp staff, at their later trial, fully corroborated the details of the despatch, adding other incidents that made the Werth story appear an understatement. [It should be noted that until long after WWII the Encyclopaedia Britannica carried no reference to Hitler's maniacal determination to destroy the whole Jewish people.] The collected belongings of the murdered Jews were sent in truckloads to the storage rooms of one of Europe's largest department stores in Lublin, on Chopin Street. Piled up on its shelves and in its storerooms were thousands of consumer goods -- women's dresses, knitting wool and cotton yarn, men's clothing, safety razors, penknives. There was a special room for toys, dolls, games, puzzles, children's notebooks, and erasers. Tucked into the neatly arranged assortments were an American-style Mickey Mouse and the manuscript of Ernest Weil's Sonata for Violin, Opus 15.<20> By the fall of 1943, as the war began to go badly for the Nazis, some of them became squeamish about the ruthlessness which had been employed. On October 4, the increasingly apprehensive guards listened to a grim exhortation from Himmler. He had been agnered because occasionally victims, using influence, had managed to squirm out of their prescribed fate. `There must be no exceptions,' Himmler stormed. `The extermination of the Jewish race must be total. ... Of 80,000,000 worthy Germans, each one has his decent Jews. Of course the others are vermin, but this one is an A-1 Jew. Not one of those who talks this way has witnessed it, not one of them has been through it. Most of you must know what it means when one hundred corpses are lying side by side or five hundred or one thousand. To have stuck it out and at the same time ... to have remained decent men, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written.'<21>" <20> The Black Book. American Jewish Black Book Committee, New York, 1946. pp. 379-380 <21> Gerald Reitinger, The Final Solution. pp. 296-297. The Himmler speech is preserved in transcript and in a gramophone recording. Extracted from--------------------------------------------------- "THE REDEMPTION OF THE UNWANTED", Abram L. Sachar (New York: St. Martin's/Marek, 1983. pp. 40-41 ----------------------------------------------------------------- A recent copy of our Almanac Holocaust files may be obtained via anonymous ftp from menora.weizmann.ac.il, as /pub/texts/lest.we.forget/oneb-txt.tar.Z - If you do not have ftp access, I'd be happy to send the collection to you as uuencoded email. Please specify *.ZIP or compressed tar format. Individual files are now available via listserv. Send your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and include the single word 'index' for a list of available articles. For individual files, use the 'get' command, and the archive flag 'holocaust' to have them mailed to you.. Example: get holocaust
get holocaust b-cpu.faq get holocaust irving.canada For a file list, try "index holocaust"
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