The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/m/mueller.filip/muller.014


Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac - Eyewitness Auschwitz: Salonika victims
Summary: Greek Jews gassed at Birkenau. Killing process described
Reply-To: kmcvay@oneb.almanac.bc.ca
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Auschwitz,Birkenau,Greece,Ho"ssler,Salonika

Archive/File: holocaust/poland/auschwitz muller.014
Last-modified: 1993/09/20 
XRef: index auschwitz

   "..  there were also Jews who lived so far away from Auschwitz that
   they had not the least premonition of the fate that awaited them
   here.  About 500 kilometres north-west of Athens lies the town of
   Salonika.  Before World War 2 it had been one of Greece's important
   agricultural and commercial centres.  Since the spring of 1943 a
   large number of transports of Jews from there arrived in Auschwitz.
   Almost all of them died in the gas chambers.  Their journey took more
   than seven days and seven nights crammed in cattle trucks, without
   sufficient food and, worse still, water.  Many died during the
   journey.  By the time they arrived in Birkenau they had undergone
   incredible hardships.  Although their supplies of milk had almost
   dried up, the mothers tried hard to breast-feed their babies.  As for
   the aged and the sick, anyone could see that they were at the end of
   their tether.

   Obersturmfu"hrer Ho"ssler decided to have a field-day that summer
   morning some thousand innocent, unsuspecting people arrived from
   Salonika.  Once again this arch liar, had thought up a plan of how to
   torment and hoodwink a starving and parched crowd.  His carefully
   prepared address went something like this: ' On behalf of the camp
   administration I bid you welcome.  This is not a holiday resort but a
   labour camp.  Just as our soldiers risk their lives at the front to
   gain victory for the Third Reich, you will have to work here for the
   welfare of a new Europe.  How you tackle this task is entirely up to
   you.  The chance is there for every one of you.  We shall look after
   your health, and we shall also offer you well-paid work.  After the
   war we shall assess everyone according to his merits and treat him
   accordingly.  Now, would you please all get undressed.  Hang your
   clothes on the hooks we have provided and please remember your
   number.  When you've had your bath there will be a bowl of soup and
   coffee or tea for all.  Oh yes, before I forget, after your bath,
   please have ready your indentures, diplomas school reports and any
   other documents so that we can employ everybody according to his or
   her training and ability.  would diabetics who are not allowed sugar
   report to staff on duty after their baths.'

   Ho"ssler's respectable appearance and the genuineness of his words -
   which an SS-Unterfu"hrer translated into Greek - had a reassuring and
   stimulating effect on the weary crowd.  Many felt a flicker of hope,
   but many others grew thoughtful.  To them there seemed to be a
   discrepancy between the SS leader's promises and their experiences
   during the transport.  Why, if they were urgently needed here, were
   they given no drinking water during their journey, and why were so
   many allowed to die?  On the other hand, not one of them could have
   envisaged that a few hours later they would all have been transformed
   into a handful of ashes.  What rational grounds were there for
   transporting more than l,000 people from Salonika to Birkenau only to
   murder them ?  Surely it would have been simpler to do away with them
   in Greece ?  And besides, it was, after all, wartime and the Germans
   had urgent need of each and every railway engine and truck in order
   to transport their war materials to the wastes of Russia.  

   When Ho"ssler had finished his address, the people began to undress,
   the men on one side, women and children on the other.  Still plagued
   by hunger and thirst and remembering that food and drink had been
   promised them after their baths they now pushed and shoved to be
   first in the 'showers'.  Thus, a towel slung over their arm and
   clutching a cake of soap, they entered, all unsuspecting, the three
   gas chambers of crematorium 5.  

   From the Red Cross ambulance which had accompanied the transport up
   to the crematorium, two SS men took the so-called disinfectants,
   several canisters of Zyclon B and poured their contents into the
   openings above the gas chamber.  All they required to carry out this
   task, in addition to the conviction that they were serving their
   fatherland, was a hammer, a tin opener and a gas-mask.  (Mu"ller,
   80-81) 


                              Work Cited

Mu"ller, Filip. Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers.
New York: Stein and Day, 1979

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