Monday, January 27, 2020

75 Years Since the Liberation of Auschwitz.

Auschwitz.  No explanation is needed for one of the most vivid example's of man's capacity for evil.  Posted below is footage of the actual liberation as well as a 2017 Reddit AMA session with an Auschwitz survivor.








Reddit recently had an AMA with a 92-year old Holocaust survivor.  There is another group that is fading away as we lose our World War II veterans- Holocaust survivors.  The grandson of Henry Flescher helped him answer questions on Reddit as he confessed he understandably did not know how to use Reddit or a computer.  Link to AMA session.  It is a riveting story.  Here are some highlights:

 Bio: My name is Henry Flescher. I was born in Vienna, Austria on March 14, 1924. I am a Survivor and I'm now living in Aventura, Florida. I spend time volunteering at the Miami Holocaust Memorial and also speak at schools in the Miami area. I have two wonderful daughters, three grandchildren (one of whom is helping me with this AMA today), and one great grandchild. I'm happy to be alive today, and more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

* I have watched most of them. I don't find it difficult to watch because I went through it. I've seen it all. I still remember a friend of mine who was hanged because he was using a telephone wire as a belt to hold up his pants. They hung him and he fell back down. They put him back up and hung him again.

*Hey Mr. Flescher. What did your moment of liberation feel like? The day you got to leave the camps and start a normal life again. Did you ever feel like that day would come? My great grandfather was one of the soldiers who liberated the camps after the war was lost and I've always been curious what emotions the prisoners felt.EDIT: I meant to write when the war was won, not lost. I had a brain fart and I'm sorry

I didn't know it. I didn't understand. I was on another death march at the time from Altenburg to Waldenburg. I managed to slip away and hide in a chicken coop along the way and at that time the American convoy was advancing. I saw an American tank and an American soldier and thought he was going to kill me because I didn't know the uniform. I still left the coop and went up to them, because at that time I could barely stand up and weighed about 70 pounds. I was liberated on April 11.

I didn't know that day would come. I was very sick when I was liberated and could barely eat, talk, or walk

*I was first sent to Drancy, a transit camp. I was then transported in a cattle car packed with people with no food or water and one bucket in the middle to use as a toilet. I was
1618 at the time. The smell was unfathomable.


After six days in the train the train came to stop. The guards started to count men. They selected 300 men. I was number 298. We were taken off the train. The train then continued on its way to Auschwitz and everyone was killed. I will never forget the number 298.

 I cannot recall anyone dying during that journey. But everyone was killed soon thereafter.

*They took 300 men off the train to work in a shoe factory in Ohrdruf. After about four weeks I was transferred to Peiskretscham where I helped build bridges. After a few months there I was then transferred to Blechhammer. It was there that my name became 177153. Blechhammer was hell. Punishments were a daily routine and my front teeth were knocked out here. I was there during the winter. One time we had to stand for several hours and one person couldn't contain their urine and peed on himself. The man was hanged. After about two years at Blechhammer we went on a death march to Gross Rosen. Buchenwald was the next camp. Then altenberg and waldenburg. This is a brief timeline!

*My grandfather was in Ohrdruf, he didn't speak much about it. Around Ohrdruf he was liberated after escaping the camp and running in to an American tank and soldiers, similar to yourself. He said he didn't believe the Americans were there until some Polish workers showed him a pack of American cigarettes prior to the encounter. They were Chesterfields, and he forever remembered that.
Thank you for your stories, they are very much appreciated.

*What was the transition back to civilian life like, after spending three years in concentration camps?

I wanted to travel and see the world. I went forwards, not backwards. It was a very difficult transition back into real life. I had 3/4 of my stomach taken out from an infection I got while at the camps. This was painful.
*I used to go out at night risking my life to steal some raw potatoes from the kitchen at Peiskretscham and at Blechhammer. I took chances. At Blechhammer some inmates caught a dog, a German Shepard, and cooked it. It was a feast. Tasted like rabbit. That was the only time I've eaten dog, and it was the best meal I had in a long time. These days I prefer steak.
* Were you consumed by hate towards those who did it to you? Have you ever managed to forgive them?
 I cannot forgive. But I was never consumed by hate. Hate doesn't improve anything. 
* Everyday you think of living. We are born to die, but I appreciate life. We live day by day, and I always say: yesterday is history, today's reality, and tomorrow's a dream. 
*Did average people anywhere realize at any point exactly what Hitler was doing when he had Jews and other outlying members of society taken from the populace? Was there a clear idea to people
Most people had no idea. Anyone who knew what was going on was already at the gas chamber or in the camps
*I lived for tomorrow. I was always positive. They told us if Germany won the war you'd work until you die, and if they lost the war they'd kill everyone. We are born to die, but I always kept my mind positive. I'm lucky I made it out, but I lost many family members and friends during this time.
It's important to remember the past. If I removed the tattoo it's removing a part of history. The Germans wanted to remove tattoo's from survivors afterwards, and I'm sure many people did. But it's a testament to the past. It shows I survived. And I'm here, and loving life!

* My brother moved to the US right before things got ugly in Europe, so I wanted to move where he was. He was in Providence, RI. Itzik's. It's definitely my favorite.

*There was many times I almost lost hope. It was difficult to get the stamina to keep going. I just hoped I would survive and lived day by day. I returned to Drancy where I was deported from. My name is on a wall in Paris with 76,000 names of people who got deported from there. I don't think many survived.

* I cannot take back anything, and I cannot regret anything. We were treated worse than animals. My name was 177153.

* I was captured in France. While trying to buy grapes at a market. They asked for my papers and that was it

*My brother was very relieved to know that I made it out alive. My parents and sister and her child were all sent to Auschwitz. It would have been tough on him to know that his entire family was killed. But that was the reality many people faced.

*Usually at night we got a piece of bread and some watery soup. In the morning sometimes we got a cup of coffee. I used to scrape and eat the coffee grinds from barrels and in the morning to get a little sustenance. We would also break the piece of bread we got at night in two, and save the other half for the morning. That is what i remember.

 *If you have a desire to live, you will do what it takes to exist for the next day.

*We worked 12 hours from 6 to 6 everyday. We were not treated well, as you can imagine. I helped build bridges in Peiskretscham, I also worked in a shoe factory in the beginning in Ottmuth. Nothing is exaggerated. When the war broke out, I moved to Brussels with my parents. My brother got a visa in 1939 and moved to the United States. I was too young to obtain a visa, being only 14 at the time, and stayed in Brussels until I was about 16. In 1942 I received a letter to go to labor camp, and at that time my parents tried to smuggle me out of Brussels to go to Spain. While I was being smuggled out, I was caught in Lyon while buying grapes at a market along the way. Somebody asked to see my passport and right away they saw a big "J" in my passport and I was arrested. This was in 1942. I was liberated April 11, 1945. I also had a sister who was older than me, and she had a young child. She was caught around the same time as me, and was immediately sent to Auschwitz.

When people compare things today to the Holocaust they cannot understand. People live normal lives. Most people do not understand the meaning of being hungry or being cold. I was on a death march from Blechhammer to Gross Rosen and we didn't know where we were going, didn't have anything to eat, and marched in the freezing cold for two weeks. Anyone who fell was immediately shot and killed. Being hungry and cold was an afterthought when all you're trying to do was survive.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you haven't been to one of these camps, it's definitely worth the trip; or if you aren't traveling to Europe, spend a day learning about this atrocity at one of the museums here in the US. I was stricken by the silence, the smell and a presence I felt at each of the camps I visited. It is beyond comprehension that humans could mastermind, engineer and execute this kind of evil against other humans.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish said No explanation is needed for one of the most vivid example's of man's capacity for evil

Correction, White man's capacity for evil wasnt no blacks or hispanics involved in the worst atrocities in history. It's white males.

Anonymous said...

@9:31..you mean Uganda, Zimbabwe, Somalia, the mexican cartels, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, the Aztecs, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc were all white folks disguised as hapless minorities? Today i learned.

Kingfish said...

I allowed your comment, you little racist scumbag, so I can knock it down because I know you're not the only ignorant idiot who thinks this way.

Whites are only ones who do genocide? Oh really?

Ever heard of The Killing Fields in Cambodia? Those folks sure didn't look white to me but I bet you are one of those numidian warriors who thinks anyone who is not black is white. Nearly 2 million killed, 20% of the population.

Rawanda? That was done by your peeps (and abetted by Susan Rice and her boss at the time). 800,000 in that 100 day genocide, five million in that war alone.

Cultural Revolution. That was a good one. Ten Years. What? 20 million?

Then there are the Japs of WW2. We can start with the Rape of Nanking. Medical experiments. They butchered everywhere they went. Why do you think the Koreans and Chinese hate them so much?

Want me to keep going?

Anonymous said...

If those were the worst atrocities in history then why dont they teach them at school like they teach the Holocaust and the Trail of Tears?

Anonymous said...

Human cruelty is only limited by its imagination.

Anonymous said...

@Kingfish,
I saw Hotel Rwanda. It was made very clear that the Hutus learned to hate the Tutsis from the white Belgian colonizers.

Communist Cambodian Khmer Rouge learned genocide from the Soviet Joseph Stalin who genocided Ukrainians.

Imperial Japan learned to dehumanize the Chinese from Imperial Western Colonial Powers that occupied Peking during the Opium Wars and Boxer Rebellion.

You've been out of school far too long and you have missed out on recent developments in history not written by white male patriarchy. I suggest you read some Howard Zinn.

Anonymous said...

Strange Kingfish, how you start listing all of these genocides with huge body counts but somehow you still referred to the Holocaust as "the worst" with only 6 million? Why dont we have a Cultural Revolution remembrance day or a Rwandan Genocide remembrance day? You dont make special posts about the Killing Fields of Cambodia or the Rape of Nanking? Why is that?

Kingfish said...

So you are saying the other races are trained seals or parrots who can't think for themselves and engage in genocide because they don't know any better but are following the evil white man? Just making sure. See, now you are shifting the goal posts. First it was only whites do genocide. Then you got your ass kicked. Then you say well, they learned it from whites. Um, yeah, ok. So even the Khmer Rouge can blame it on whitey even though the French didn't engage in it in SE Asia. What a great excuse to have available for any murderous behavior.

So all that genocide and blood sacrifice practiced by the Aztecs? Where did it come from?

Anonymous said...

@Kingfish said So all that genocide and blood sacrifice practiced by the Aztecs? Where did it come from?

That one came from the other great evil cause of genocide known as Religion
It's not moving goalposts. Realist and history are black and white one and zero.

Anonymous said...

I will try to make it super simplistic to understand. Emerging communist states saw the success that the Soviet Union had in defeating the US ideologically in fields such as Space and diplomatic detente on numerous fronts. This lead to those emerging states emulating the extreme measures that Stalin and others used to obtain those goals.

Same for Imperial Japan. They wanted to be a great Imperial power after the Meiji Restoration and centuries of isolationism. Imperial Japan merely emulated the Imperial British, German, Belgian, and even French policies regarding their conquered colonies. Which was unquestioned brutality in China, Africa, and Indochina.

Yes, white males were aghast when they were poorly treated after imprisoned by Imperial Japanese forces who didn't see them as superior or even equals since they were captured.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, some folks are so consumed and blinded by race and want nothing more than to blame all of humankind's evils on the white man. Yes, the white man is responsible for a lot of awful stuff in the history of the world, but I think the good will always outweigh the bad. Not a single one of us can change what race we were born into, and we certainly cannot rewrite history. But what we can do is learn from history and vow never to repeat it.

Louis LeFleur said...

Glad to see we at least don't have an holocaust deniers on this blog (yet).

Anonymous said...

Blaming the system (wm's) is a typical response for lazy folks who don't take personal responsibility or ownership over anything. The plantation mentality strong with them. Last I checked, the Soviet Union didn't defeat the US in anything influential enough to cause other ambitious states to commit genocide. The Japanese and Chinese fought long before Westerners meddled. To say wm's are responsible for the raping of nanking is hilarious. Nice try. If you stretch that far, you need to change your major to something worth a damn and spend less time cooking up revenge fantasies with your fake ass studies degree. Aztecs sacrificed folks during famines to control the masses. Go read Howard Zinn if you want to know history from the losers perspective.

Anonymous said...

Zinn!?!?!??! LMAO. The "epic" "debunker" now debunked as Leftist tripe and simplistic bad history. Good grief. Move to Wakanda. But, you def have the loser's perspective.



"Earlier this month, George Mason University's History News Network asked readers to vote for the least credible history book in print. The top pick was David Barton's right-wing reimagining of our third president, Jefferson's Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson. But just nine votes behind was the late Howard Zinn's left-wing epic, A People's History of the United States. Bad history, it turns out, transcends political divides.

If these books seem an unlikely pair, they also have a good deal in common. Both flatter their readers by promising to let them in on hidden truths of which most people, and most experts, are unaware. Both offer stark, simplistic accounts (buttressed, in Barton's case, by a litany of historical errors). And both undermine the notion that the past can be rationally interrogated, debated, and revised by people from opposite sides of the ideological spectrum."

That's you-utterly simplistic and partisan.

"What exactly is it about Barton's and Zinn's versions of history that inspire such uncompromising, take-no-prisoners fervor? And how do they manage to wield so much influence, given the widespread skepticism about their accuracy?

Partisanship is the first answer that comes to mind. Barton and Zinn have served as eloquent and vocal supporters of right- and left-wing causes respectively, and both have reworked the past for transparently political purposes. Each has offered conclusions that resonate with his audiences' beliefs. Whatever the validity of their claims, in other words, many readers apparently think they should be true."

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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