20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH

20-LITHOGRAPHS-Jewish-ART-BOOK-Auschwitz-HOLOCAUST-ATROCITIES-Judaica-YIDDISH-01-kp
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH

20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH
This thrilling HOLOCAUST related ART PIECE was created around 45 years ago and was dedicated to the memory of the Jewish children victims. The Jewish – Israeli HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR artist GERSHON KNISPEL prepared over TWENTY very impressive DRAMATIC stone LITHOGRAPHS to accompany the Yehiel De-Nur. Holocaust related piece ” STAR OF ASHES ” which told the story of the destruction of the POLISH JEWRY and NAZI HORRORS and ATROCITIES in AUSCHWITZ (Oswiecim) death camp. KA-TZETNIK , A HOLOCAUST survivor , A most tragic figure , Has dedicated all his literaly skills to commemorize the HOLOCAUST and the DEATH CAMPS which he named ” The OTHER PLANET”. This edition was published in 1967 in Israel. Written in 3 languages : YIDDISH , HEBREW and ENGLISH. Both LITHOGRAPHS as well as the text page are printed on EXTREMELY THICK stock. The flyleaves and the HC are also original STONE LITHOGRAPHS. A THRILLING Holocaust related ART PIECE. (Pls look at scan for accurate AS IS images) Book will be sent inside a protective packaging. Book will be sent inside a protective packaging. Studies: 1954 Bezalel, Jerusalem, with Ardon. Prizes: 1954 Herman Struck Prize; 1957 Moscow, gold medal; 1963 Sao Paolo, Prize for Graphic Illustration; 1976 First Prize for Mural at Sports Hall; 1978 at International Exhibition; 1980 Prize at Berlin Biennale; 1988 first Prize at Histadrut 70 Festival. 1957 Was assistant to Prof. Averberg, Munich Academy of Fine Arts. 1965 Worked in style of Richard Niemeyer. Sculpture: 1974 Memorial, in aluminium, Haifa. Yehiel De-Nur or Dinur, (‘De-Nur’ means’of the fire’ in Aramaic), born Yehiel Feiner (16 May 1909 – 17 July 2001) was a Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor, whose books were inspired by his time as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Early life Yehiel De-Nur was born in Sosnowiec (Poland). Writings at Auschwitz During World War II De-Nur spent two years as a prisoner in Auschwitz. In 1945, he moved to British-mandate Palestine (later Israel) and became a writer-historian survivor who wrote several works in Hebrew, which stemmed from his experience in the camp, under the identity he had been given by the guards at Auschwitz: Ka-Tzetnik 135633 sometimes listed as K. Ka-Tzetnik means “Concentration Camper” in Yiddish (deriving from “ka tzet”, the pronunciation of KZ, the abbreviation for Konzentrationslager); 135633 was De-Nur’s concentration camp number. He also used the name Karl Zetinski Karol Cetinsky, again. The derivation from “KZ” as a refugee, hence the confusion over his’real’ name when his works were first published. [1] De-Nur presented his writings as an attempt to chronicle his time at Auschwitz. He wrote using the name Ka-Tzetnik 135633 (which he denied was a pseudonym or pen name but was what his time in Auschwitz had made him) for some time before his civic identity was revealed at the Eichmann Trial at court session 68 of the trial on 7 June 1961. [2] After an opening statement in which De-Nur described Auschwitz as the “planet of the ashes”, but before he was able to answer the general questions about Auschwitz that the prosecuting Attorney-General had prepared for him, De-Nur fainted and was subsequently unable to resume his testimony. The House of Dolls Among his most famous works was 1955’s The House of Dolls, [3] which described the “Joy Division”, an alleged Nazi system keeping Jewish women as sex slaves in concentration camps. He suggests that the subject of the book was his younger sister, who did not survive the Holocaust. However, he did not have a sister. [4] In his book Piepel, about Nazi sexual abuse of young boys, he suggests the subject of this book was his younger brother, who also died in a concentration camp. [5] While De-Nur’s books are still a part of the high-school curriculum, young PhD candidate Na’ama Shik more recently has been advancing her hypothesis that The House of Dolls is pornographic fiction, [6] not least because sexual relations with Jews were strictly forbidden to all Aryan citizens of Nazi Germany. This is a controversial issue since forced sexual exploitation of Jewish females and males was a common occurrence despite the Reich’s edicts against “interracial” sexual relations. Its publication is at times pointed to as the inspiration behind the Nazi exploitation genre of serialized cheap paperbacks, known in Israel as Stalag fiction. Their publisher acknowledged the Eichmann trial as the motive behind the series. The British rock band Joy Division derived its name from this book. Personal life Mr Dinur was married to Nina Dinur née Asherman, the daughter of a prominent Tel Aviv doctor. She served in the British Army as a young woman. Nina sought him out after reading his book “Salamandra” and eventually they were married. She was instrumental in the translation and publication of many of his books. They had two children, a son and a daughter, both still living in Israel. She trained with Virginia Satir in the 1970s. Later in life, Nina changed her name to Eliyah Dinur (sometimes spelled De-Nur). In 1976, because of recurring nightmares and depression, he subjected himself to a form of psychedelic psychotherapy from Dr. Jan Bastiaans that included the use of LSD; the visions experienced during this therapy became the basis for his book, Shivitti. [7] The book’s title is derived from David’s Psalm 16, ” : “‘ , more accurately translated in Acts 2:25: “I saw the Lord always before me” etc. Or “I was always beholding the Lord in my presence;” etc. He died of cancer in Tel Aviv on July 17, 2001. Bibliography Atrocity (translated by Nina De-Nur) The Clock Above the Head The House of Dolls translated from Hebrew by Moshe M. Kohn Salamandra Shivitti: A Vision, ISBN 0-06-250870-9 From Psalm 16, Star Eternal (translated by Nina De-Nur) They called Him Piepel Kaddish Novel by Ka-Tzetnik 135633, 1953 Gershon Shofman, one of Israel’s preeminent authors, once wrote that House of Dolls (1955) by Ka-Tzetnik 135633 is a holy book. Certainly the most famous and widely read of his novels, House of Dolls, originally published in Hebrew as Beit ha-bubot in 1953, centers on a young Jewish girl, Daniella Preleshnik, in reality the writer’s own sister. Three days before the outbreak of the war, the 14-year-old is captured in Poland while on a trip at the end of the school year and transferred to a Nazi women’s camp, the ironically named Camp Labor Via Joy, where she is forced to become a prostitute for German soldiers. Formally, the plot is based on the notebook kept by Daniella. The story is told in flashback, and the narrator is Daniella’s brother Harry, who is assigned to the sick bay, although he had never graduated from medical school and although there are no medicines, no beds, no instruments, and, most importantly, no patients. Instead, he is charged with overseeing the burial of the piles of Jewish bodies, all the while struggling not to surrender to the impending debasement of life that turns those interned into Mussulmen, or living skeletons. These are the deformed, crippled, near dead men who are the embodiment of human misery and lost hope. Over the course of the novel Harry loses all of those who are close to him, including his friend Tedek, once a member of the ghetto resistance who is now enamored with Daniella. As the girls enter the camp and are directed to their division, they are first sterilized and then inducted into the abhorrent master-slave relationship of the so-called House of Dolls, for which they are simply not prepared. The extreme sexual abuse and their treatment as mere objects in this brothel clearly illustrate the familiar trope of Ka-Tzetnik’s series of novels: the Holocaust as a unique event and as the most horrifying and obscene of modern situations. We learn, for instance, that the “dolls” must be in perfect physical condition for the visiting soldiers, those en route to the Russian front or those coming from the transit terminus, who stop by to prey upon the weak and vulnerable Jewesses. In addition, the discovery of a venereal infection means immediate doom, for any damage results in transportation to the ovens. Worse, if the concentration camp guards or other “German warriors” leave unsatisfied with their entertainment, they need only convey their displeasure and report the number tattooed on the girl’s breast. In the event that three such complaints are recorded, death is instant. In a similar vein, we read that every girl must smile to show her appreciation of the pervasive cruelty meted out day and night, knowing that her life depends on seeming happy and content for the guests. One could venture the observation that, in portraying such events and situations, there exists the risk of trivialization and objectionable eroticism, of seducing the reader to participate voyeuristically in the sexual victimization presented rather than to focus on the horror perpetrated. Still, it is equally clear that on a different reading the text gravitates to the other central theme hovering over the novel, the facility of the women-victims to survive spiritually the gory dehumanization of the Nazis in spite of the beatings and rape. In fact, among the pages of the book can be found various instances of the will to live and to preserve one’s sanity and dignity. One is the tale of Tzevia, an orthodox girl from the seminary of Beit Ya’acov who purposefully and stubbornly refuses to acquiesce to her tormentors’ advances, although she knows the result of such repudiation. Inevitably, Tzevia is bludgeoned to her death, standing naked in the execution arena, defiant and strong, admirably victorious in keeping her chasteness and virtue whole, as a tough shell. Another striking case is Daniella, who keeps her head up and who against the odds upholds her moral integrity. As the novel draws to a close, the heroine seeks to escape her dreaded existence by sauntering toward the barbed wire fence. Following the murder, he bursts out singing, intoxicated with euphoria, for Tomorrow he’s going to his family. Maybeto mother, waiting at home. Maybeto sister, orto little onlydaughter who he so pines for as he stands here on the bridge. Doubtless, the dark, violent barbarism of the German officers knows no bounds, and there is a panoply of monstrosities. Elsewhere, the same sentry clobbers Tzevia’s sister Hanna to death in a methodical, gut-wrenching display. To the pious woman’s shouts of “God all mighty, save me, ” he responds with well-directed and vicious blows to her head, legs, arms, and ankles, watching calmly as she writhes in pain, plunging her teeth into the ground, and tearing out her hair. Afterward he coolly rests to devour his sandwich. And there are the medical experiments conducted by the German professor on the girls, including artificial inseminations, tests on twins, and coerced abortions and castrations, or the raw cruelty of Elsa, the brothel overseer. While the narrative limns in graphic detail Daniella’s, Harry’s, and the other inmates’ ordeals and sexual exploitation, Ka-Tzetnik ensures that the teenager’s memories of family love and tradition engraved deeply in her psyche are not erased. To wit, as a counterpoint the author undercuts his sequences of sheer Dantean hell with the quotidian innocence and loyalty that guyed Daniella and her brother Moni’s life before the war in the town of Kongressia. Among other things, this serves to further underscore the nauseating degradation they are subjected to and to emphasize the two realities, each stridently polar from the other. Through the succession of vignettes padded with interior monologues, Ka-Tzetnik pulls the reader into Daniella’s world, dramatizing and compounding the sadism to which the protagonist must adapt but ultimately cannot. It is interesting that the scenes of battery and psychical defilements are inscribed in a nonjudgmental, neutral manner, perhaps as a tacit acknowledgment that what is being chronicled is at the peak of the objective mode since the satanic acts speak volumes and do not require a braiding of the subjective. Dvir Abramovich House of Dolls (Beit Ha-Bubot) The subject of this paper concerns itself with Ka-tzetnik’s use of paradox. Before paradox can be discussed in terms of Ka-tzetnik’s literature, it is appropriate that paradox be defined for the purpose of understanding its use and expression in the literature that will be discussed. One of the difficulties in defining paradox is that it is quite often so mixed with irony, that it becomes difficult to separate the two, since they intertwine upon each other. A common definition of paradox is that In paradox, as in all metaphor, something is declared to be what it manifestly is not. 1 But is this not also true of irony? The distinction is not clear. Rosalie Colie, who has written extensively concerning paradox, states that Paradoxes are puzzles or riddles in logic that can be profoundly ironic. 2 According to the Random House College Dictionary, paradox is defined as 1 a statement or proposition seemingly self-contradictory or absurd, but in reality expressing a possible truth; 2 any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature. On the other hand, Random House defines irony as 1 a figure of speech that is often the direct opposite of the intended meaning; 2 in literature, a technique of indicating as through character or plot development, an intention of attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated. One can see from these definitions that both paradox and irony can involve statements, situations, and characters that are contradictory. Another element common to both irony and paradox is that they both appeal to the intellect. They both cause the audience to be incited and to wonder, but it is paradox that dazzles by it’s mental gymnastics. 3 It is filled with double meanings, deceptions, and ironies. Rosalie Colie states that the one element common to all paradox is their exploitation of the fact of relative or competing value systems. The paradox is always somehow involved in challenging some orthodoxy. The paradox is oblique criticism of absolute judgment or absolute convention. From these definitions it would seem that paradox and irony are more than just related, but are many times co-dependent. It would seem they both can involve statements, figures of speech, and situations that are contradictory. The subtle difference between the two is that paradox involves possible hidden truths in it’s contradiction. The outcome is not what one would expect, and in the outcome is revealed an otherwise hidden truth. The outcome of irony, on the other hand, although it is unexpected, does not necessarily involve hidden truths. I have chosen to concentrate on paradox over irony because of these subtle differences involving truth. This becomes important when dealing with literature that is portraying events that are known to be true. This paper will examine Ka-tzetnik’s use of paradox as an effective literary device in portraying the reality of the holocaust. Three of his most noted writings will be examined: House of Dolls, Star Eternal, and Atrocity. Most of his use of paradoxes involve the paradoxical nature of life and death; that death becomes life and life becomes death. These along with others will be discussed. House of Dolls Ka-tzetnik based this book on a diary kept by a young Jewish girl who was captured in Poland when she was fourteen years old and subjected to enforced prostitution in a Nazi labor camp. Daniella Preleshnik, the protagonist, was in reality, Ka-tzetnik’s sister. The events portrayed involve her life in the little polish town of Kongressia, in the ghetto, and finally in a women’s labor camp…. Camp Labor Via Joy. Paradox abounds in House of Dolls. In the opening pages, Daniella is in the rag room taking clothes apart to be recycled. There is a strange feeling in the air — a feeling that all is not well; strange feelings that both life and death are apparent in the clothes. Page 17: A strange fear now hovers over the rag room. Suddenly the jacket linings begin to exude human body heat; hands fill out the sleeves; necks sprout from all collars; stomachs and legs materialize in all the trousers. Live humans fill the clothes. 4 The people in the rag room don’t yet know the truth, but there is a strange and paradoxical feeling about these clothes; a feeling that life and death are living together in the clothes. Ka-tzetnik very skillfully creates the feeling and the mood of the room: Eyes are lowered to the seam and the strange garment reflects back at them their own doom. On pages 44 & 45, a boy and girl push a baby carriage. In it is an old man holding a soup pot. A baby carriage which normally supports new life…. Beginning life, is now supporting old life. Here the children are caring for the old. Adults normally care for children. On pages 51 & 52, the deportation trains are leaving the ghetto as a woman hides with her children in the ground. As the trains start pulling out, she clapped her hands and murmured fervently,’Praise the Lord, they’re finally being taken! In the hole the children lay curled up like worms. The paradox here is heart wrenching. The sight of the others condemned and leaving means life for herself and her children. The reader feels the paradox. It is awful that this woman should be glad the train is leaving; that those on board will die. But at the same time, the woman’s children are “curled up like worms” in a hole. Does not each life have it’s own value? If faced with the same situation, do we know what each one of us would do? Page 58: In the shoe shop attic there is a canteen that carries roast goose, cheese cake, beer, and potassium cyanide. The dearest item is the cyanide. Here one sees the paradox: foods that are longed for, that can bring strength and life when people are starving, are not the dearest items. Deep down they know that death by cyanide is preferable to any death the Germans can inflict. Page 58 & 59 depict yet another paradox. As people are being deported from the ghetto, they leave behind their belongings to their impoverished relatives. Page 59: At the last moment of their lives, destitute cobblers have suddenly become tycoons. On page 88, Harry, who is Daniella’s brother, is in a labor camp. He studied medicine before the war, but did not graduate. The irony is that there are plenty of physicians interned with him, but he was the one chosen to be camp physician. From Shivitti, we know that Harry is really Ka-tzetnik himself. The clinic is a facade. The room is described on page 89 as two times nothing. It has a bed, but it is useless because its a crib. But it is white and beautiful. There are bottles of medicines, but the labels are all in Latin and the bottles are empty. There are surgical instruments arranged for show. The whole clinic is a facade. It is the Camp Commander’s pet play thing. The paradox is that it’s prohibited to be sick in the camp. That is why the Commander set up the sick bay; so everybody should be healthy. The sick bay is useless. It is good for nothing. Patients can’t lie down; no one can read the medicines; most are empty containers. Harry is “an item of the sick bay” (page 202). Ka-tzetnik describes the paradox of the non-Jews of Poland. Pages 110: The Poles never let up chanting… But no sooner did the Germans come in than these same rabid patriots turned overnight into patriots professing allegiance to Germany. There is yet another example of paradox involving non-Jews. Daniella begs for mercy from a Polish girl from a farm after she escaped the massacre of her school mates in the market place. The Polish girl refuses to help her. Page 116: Outside the cottage window, over a burning lamp, hung an icon of the Holy Mother. The family are Christian. They pray for mercy, but give no mercy. On page 177, Ka-tzetnik writes of the image of the tormented Jew of Nazareth. His image was placed in Polish windows to indicate that here lives a non-Jew. It is both paradoxical and ironical that it is a Jew that non-Jews use as a symbol to the Nazi’s that they are non-Jews, and thus worthy of life. “Camp Labor Via Joy” — the very name of the camp is a paradox. It certainly is not joy for the women. For them it is immeasurable suffering, pain, torture, and death. When a new transport of girls is brought in (page 136-137), the other prisoners regard the newcomers with open hostility. For always with the arrival of a new transport, a selektion takes place. The veterans look upon the newcomers as their death warrant. The newcomers arrive in relatively better condition. The veterans see the newcomers as their executioners and the cycle of life and death begins all over again. There is a paradox in the health condition of the women. The priority being the tools for work and not human beings. Page 136: Their bodies swarm with lice and grime, but Hentschel the Moon, the German overseer, takes great pains before work starts, to see that in the handle joint of the shovel, there isn’t — Oh dear no! — a speck of dust. ” Page 137: The old woman Rena Zeidner “holds the shovel in a fast embrace, as a lover. That shovel means her life, but it can also mean her death. Throughout Ka-tzetnik’s literature, he writes of how tools of work were used as instruments of beatings and death. Ka-tzetnik writes about Tedek, who was a friend and who had been in love with Daniella. There is a special bond between them because they both love Daniella. Tedek was a Zionist youth, who had been involved in the ghetto resistance and was captured. Now Tedek is in camp with Harry and he is dying. Harry, as his friend and camp physician, is with him as death surrounds him. He looks into his friend’s eyes and writes, He had never seen Tedek with such live eyes here in the camp. The borderline between life and death was at once completely obliterated (page 148). On page 149 he writes, An indomitable will now looked out of Tedek’s eyes — mettle manliness, determination. ” Page 150: “Die so others may live. Who knows what kind of way you are now paving for us? Here is an allusion to the birth of the State of Israel. The paradox is that out of his death and the death of millions, would come life. The name “Camp Labor Via Joy” must be dealt with as to the truth of the real joy and labor of the camp. Before being admitted to this division, all the women were sterilized (page 157). Here when a girl was flogged, she was not permitted to return. She was transported to the crematorium. Bodies had to be in perfect condition — undamaged. If a venereal disease was contracted, it meant death. Page 160: Every day at 2:00, German soldiers on their way to the Russian front come from the nearby transit depots to entertain themselves with the girls of the Doll House. The girls had to put their all into the satisfaction of their esteemed guests. If such a guest was not satisfied with the enjoyment, he had only to report it on leaving, and give the girls breast number. After three such reports, the girl was automatically doomed. She hadn’t fully appreciated the great honor bestowed upon her. She had made light of a German warrior. ” Ka-tzetnik further develops the “Camp Labor Via Joy paradox. On page 167 her life becomes her bed. Her life now folds itself into the dark narrow bed chest. They become one — the girl and the bed. One number identifies them both. Her life is her smile. Page 168: Soon they will be called upon to smile. The smile is not optional. The smile attests to the girl’s attitude of Enjoyment. Her life depends upon the smile. Soon they will be called upon to be happy. The noble German guests haven’t come here to look at sad eyes. He has come to enjoy; to get his bucket full of joy. ” The paradox of “Camp Labor Via Joy” is further enhanced on page 178 with images of the girls sitting trembling on their beds waiting for “enjoyment to start. Clearly for the women this was not joy, but terror and immense suffering. Perhaps the ultimate paradox used by Ka-tzetnik in House of Dolls is Tzivia of Chebin, an orthodox girl who is beaten to death because of her refusal to “enjoy” enjoyment. Tzivia is being led out to the execution square to be beaten to death. Page 187: It was obvious she had not learned anything; hadn’t become wiser here in the Doll House, and her innocence hadn’t been diminished one bit. As though she were not being led now, naked from Elsa’s (the overseer) chamber, but was stepping thus directly from the Daughter’s of Jacob Night School in Chebin. Her petite cameo body radiated chasteness and purity not touched. Her stubborn infantile innocence shielded her as a tough shell around the kernel of a nut. Here is a girl who had been in enforced prostitution, yet her virtue, her dignity, her chasteness, her innocence were totally intact despite every effort to morally destroy her. The paradox is further developed with the analogy of the shield that covers the kernel of a nut. Her innocence and her purity are an outer shield that protects her incredible strength and courage. Even in death, the purity, dignity, and strength of this girl cannot be diminished or taken from her. The story ends with Daniella committing suicide after Harry sees her at a German orgy. The sentry who shot her, will get three days furlough. He is rewarded for his good deed. Page 223: The day strode toward the camp, passing over the road, it stubbed it’s foot against a riddled body. It glimpsed down and went on. The reader feels the incongruity. How can this be that life goes on when there is so much death. The supreme element in the sky goes on just as it has every day before and since, and nothing has changed. Star Eternal Most paradoxes in literature appear in sophisticated forms. They are usually used as intellectual ploys written for learned and experienced audiences of men and women in the know, who could be expected to understand the parodoxist’s learned skill and to admire the skill demonstrated in the paradoxes themselves. 6 Ka-tzetnik’s language and style differ from this norm. Star Eternal can be described best as simple and direct with an appeal to all audiences, not just men and women in the know. In simple language and in scenes that are loosely connected, he composes the story. The style of Star Eternal is different also from the other two pieces of literature discussed in this paper. It is full of jerks and twists. One senses in this particular piece of literature, his struggle to commit to words, his experiences. On page 41 he outright states his difficulty: Words are no more. 7 The world of Auschwitz lies as much outside of speech as it does reason. There is a sense of incongruity between life and death and Ka-tzetnik is a master at portraying these contradictory concepts — that death becomes life and life becomes death. Page 22: “Dig and stay alive”; page 23: As long as your hands keep digging, you live…. They are digging their own graves with their own hands. They are going to die, but as long as they dig, they live. Page 29 describes Operation Old People: They know: their going spells life for those left behind in the ghetto, the younger ones, their children. Concepts of life and death intermingle — the death of the old people means life for the young. And life for the young means death for the old. There is the paradox of a people rich in tradition and devotion to God; a cultured peace-loving people not known for war — that this should happen to them. Page 37: We are the last transportees of the last ghetto. How did it come to pass that down this road went the flower and splendor of a whole nation? ” Death is becoming so much a part of life that Ka-tzetnik writes on page 38: “To die is not heroic. The most heroic deed now is to live. Auschwitz itself is a paradox. Of those who remain alive in Auschwitz, Ka-tzetnik describes a life (if it can be called such) of the living dead. Page 38: Auschwitz: the way of escaping from death that leads to a death undreamed of by death itself. When death is escaped by those not selected for crematorium, the paradox is that this is actually an existence so horrifying it can not be called life. Life and death coexist. Page 47: They do not understand that truly happy were those who got, not water out of the sprinklers, but Zyklon cans jetting blue gas into their lungs instead. On page 49 Ka-tzetnik writes of men half alive, half dead. He calls them the shadow men. ” On page 72 he further describes then as “Bones butting against bones. ” On page 100, Ka-tzetnik ponders the paradox of these men: “How can a living man whom you know, stand there on the highway, look at you with open eyes and at the same time be dead? In Auschwitz, death is actually preferable to life. On page 83, life chooses death: all eyes follow him. He staggers the entire length of the row of dead. No place for him here. He stretches out on his back, setting his body into line with the row of dead, face up to the Auschwitz sky and is extinguished. ” The scene is incredible — death is called “restful, ” something longed for by the “weary wanderer. Yet when facing the crematorium, Auschwitz becomes life. Page 91: The assembly ground suddenly becomes dear to you; genial and warm as home. This monstrous assembly ground, where you suffered such agonies of torture, you no longer recognize it. Everything is now dear to you. This is home now, your world. Here you are alive. ” To further illustrate the incongruity and paradox of Auschwitz, Ka-tzetnik describes the mood in the hutches (page 101) as “soft as a mother’s lap. ” The air in the places vacated by those now missing “wraps around you like a warm blanket. The conversation between Ferber and the Rabbi of Shilev on page 108 epitomizes Star Eternal and the paradox and irony of the Holocaust. Ferber asks the Rabbi of Shilev for whose sake does Jacob wrestle with the angel, if his children did not cross the river, but stayed here in the blackness of night. What is the point of Jacob wrestling with the angel? What is the point of having a Jewish people at all if they are going to be annihilated? The Rabbi answers From the very blackness of this night, Jacob will bring forth the name Israel. Before that the morning star will not rise. Light of full understanding flashed within Ferber; his brothers there, in the land of Israel! Revelation bared itself to him. For a split second only. Round about him all was distillate, pure. No longer did he feel himself in his own skeleton. At that moment he was utterly oblivious to his body’s existence. The Rabbi’s eyes were like two open gates. The irony and the paradox here are powerful. It is ironic that Hitler, with his murderous machine in motion, set out to annihilate the Jewish people because he believed they were a major cause of Europe’s problem, but in his attempt to destroy the Jewish race, he succeeded indirectly in fostering the founding of the Jewish State. The paradox is who would have thought that in less than a decade after Hitler’s ovens were blazing and total death to the Jews seemed entirely possible, that an independent “Jewish” State would be born; that out of the ashes of Auschwitz would be born life for the Jewish people; a home; a sovereign nation for the first time in two thousand years. The Jewish Star does indeed seem to be eternal. Atrocity Atrocity is the story of Moni, a small boy eleven years old when he came to Auschwitz. Shivitti authenticates that Moni was actually Ka-tzetnik’s brother. Because of his eyes, Moni becomes a “piepel” — a child chosen by the Block Chiefs for their sexual orgies. Atrocity is the story of a child who clings to memories of his mother and father to maintain his sanity. He is witness to unspeakable horror. Although Atrocity is written as a novel, the events portrayed are true. In Auschwitz, the men in authority were previously in prison serving life sentences. They were chosen for their talents in perversion and crime. Ludwig Tiene, the child murderer, was one such person. Atrocity is a story that is not easily forgotten. Long after it is read it haunts the reader with images of horror and cruelty so unspeakable they defy description. As in Ka-tzetnik’s other writings, Atrocity abounds with paradoxes that involve concepts of life and death. On page 59, an ex-piepel is in Franzyl’s (the Block Chief) cubicle: As soon as they stop that laughing in the cubicle, they will probably start handing out the soup from the barrels. 8 The piepel’s death means soup, and soup means life. The image is sadistic and cruel. There is incongruity — death and life dwell together in the cubicle. As a piepel Moni can have all the bread, soup, and sausage he wants. But the paradox is that he can’t eat. He can’t stand the site of food. Page 69: He knows it is suicide. In the end he loses his position as piepel because the Block Chiefs like the children fat. ” Page 86: “The piepels can’t imagine that the same boots they polish for all their worth will suddenly one night break their necks. It was common practice of the Block Chiefs to murder an old piepel. They would lay him on the floor, put their cane across his neck, then stand on either end of the cane and see-saw. Page 92 reveals one of Ka-tzetnik’s most graphic images of life and death fusing. There are images of the “shadow men” from Star Eternal. Moni crawls into a hutch among the musslemen to hide from the wrath of the Block Chief. They receive him the way the pile behind the block receives a skeleton just dumped by the block orderlies. These are the living dead — the paradox of human life in Auschwitz that Ka-tzetnik portrays so well. This paradox of life and death is further enhanced by heartbreaking images of Moni longing for his parents. Page 93: Moni knows that if some Block Chief were to tell him’Moni, I’ll fix it so you can come with me to the sauna (crematorium) and when we pass the women’s camp, you can take a look at your Ma through the barbed wire, he would jump right into bed with that Block Chief without a second thought about the piepel whose death this would bring about. Moni knows that the Block Chief has promised this to his rival, Lolek, as well. And although he knows that Lolek has replaced him as Piepel, he can’t hate him for wanting what he himself wants. Page 93: Lolek wants to see his mother at least one more time in his life. The paradox is extremely sad. Although Lolek can cause his death, he can’t hate him, because he also wants his mother and he also wants to live. Page 94: Lolek wants to live like Moni and it’s this going from block chief to block chief that keeps him alive. So how can he hold that against him? He wants to live and so does Lolek. Ka-tzetnik writes truthfully about events and life in Auschwitz. He writes of fellow Jews who were collaborators, who actually helped the Nazi’s. One such person was the chief orderly of Block 10 — the son of the Zionist leader, Fruchtenbaum. Ka-tzetnik develops Fruchtenbaum’s character at length. He is portrayed as cruel and sadistic and without mercy. Page 75 tells of him beating a fellow Jew who had just arrived on a transport. The new arrival was in awe of him and very excited to see him because he knew his father, the great Zionist leader. What drives Fruchtenbaum to seek to drown his name in a sea of blood? ” “He is to be called Herr Chief Orderly — that and only that. Almost every new transport to Auschwitz brings several who are dazzled by the name Fruchtenbaum and they are drawn to him like flies to sweet poison. From each transport Fruchtenbaum selects a victim as an example to the rest. The paradox is incredible. Fruchtenbaum is himself eligible for the crematorium by virtue of the simple fact that he is Jewish, yet he is vicious, cruel, and sadistic toward his fellow Jews. Chapters later, Ferber, who also appears as a character in Star Eternal, muses about Fruchtenbaum’s father. Page 172: Surely he will wear sack-cloth and ashes the rest of his life — the crematorium ashes of the Jews his son had murdered before their turn. Especially since they were murdered because they mentioned his father’s name. How many Jews might still be alive if Chief Orderly Fruchtenbaum’s father had been a shop keeper, a shoe maker, a synagogue sexton? Who knows how many Jews would still be alive if Fruchtenbaum the Zionist leader had been childless? It is incredibly ironic and paradoxical that Fruchtenbaum’s father who stood for the very right of existence of the Jewish people, should have a son who so hated his own people that he would help with their annihilation. Ka-tzetnik further develops Fruchtenbaum’s character by describing the events of Yom Kippur on page 206: Fruchtenbaum sits with the Poles. They are unpacking cartons of food sent them from home. Out of the cartons they pull large red apples, home baked goods. Fruchtenbaum is having the time of his life. He lavishes fawning smiles on them and they all treat him to a bit of something. This is going on in a block where they are surrounded by hundreds of starving musslemen. It is unbelievable that Fruchtenbaum should behave in such a way considering who he is and his background. The paradox for Fruchtenbaum is that (page 167) when there is a shortage of fresh crematorium fodder, the Germans do not mind taking even high-ranking Jewish Functioners. Just so the bones are Jewish. No matter if the bones are covered with flesh, even rolls of flesh, no matter how loyally and assiduously they served the Germans, more loyally and assiduously even than the non-Jews — the crematorium is always at their service. It is only a matter of time and turn. Paradox is used to portray images of stripped identity and stripped humanity. On page 205 it’s Yom Kippur: No holidays anymore — here there isn’t even Yom Kippur anymore. Here a man forgets altogether that he is a Jew. That’s something: in Auschwitz among nothing but Jews, you forget you are a Jew. There are images of those waiting in line for the crematorium. Page 259: In the end, they give up their clothes realizing if they had eaten their bread, they would now not be standing in line. Hayim-Idl, a friend of Moni’s and also a friend of Daniella’s in House of Dolls, is pulled out of line on his way to the crematorium. Page 265: He does not know whether he is dying or being born. He is pulled out because he lied and said he was an engraver. Here again one sees life and death mixing. Some of the atrocities that very clearly involve paradox, especially those associated with Moni and the other piepels, are so unspeakable that I have chosen not to include them in this paper. On pages 285-286, Moni’s life comes to an end because he steals a turnip. He is severely beaten and hovering near death. While he still has strength in him, he throws himself on the barbed wire. Even in the death of Moni, paradox abounds. Page 286: Robert, the most brutal Block Chief of them all, could not contain his admiration. Bravo, old whore’ he cried out as though to cheer him on,’Bravo. Moni is probably, at the most, 13 at his death. Vatzek, kapo of the potato peelery, swallowed the incredible scene. For the first time in the Katzet, he felt tears warm in his eyes. The paradox is that it was Vatzek who was responsible for his death. It was Vatzek who had beaten him. The concluding paragraph reads: The Auschwitz sky leaned over his eyelashes. The earth gathered him in like a mother cradling her little one to sleep. The reader feels the paradox of not knowing which is better. That a young life that fought so valiantly is gone, but at the same time in death his torment is finally over and he is at peace? The reader is left pondering was his existence life or wasn’t it? As a survivor of two years in Auschwitz, Ka-tzetnik writes as only a survivor can… From inside the experience. His writings are filled with images drown from his own realms of experience which are shared temporarily by author and reader. The reader becomes temporarily part of his experience. Why would a very gifted writer such as Ka-tzetnik choose to write of such horrific events, and thus cause himself each time to relive the nightmare of the Holocaust? Perhaps Ka-tzetnik says it best in Shivitti: I vowed to them in Auschwitz as I stood near their ashes behind the crematorium, that I wouldn’t stop telling their story till my last breath. But thirty years after leaving Auschwitz, Ka-tzetnik found the nightmare continued. Nightly, he continued to have terrifying dreams. The eyes of those now gone continued to haunt him. In 1976 he went for help from a Dutch psychiatrist, Professor Bastiaans, who specialized in the treatment of Concentration Camp Syndrome. The treatment involved reliving the death camp experiences through the use of LSD under medical supervision. While under the effects of the hallucagen, tapes were made of his conversations with his doctor. The essence of his book Shivitti are these taped conversations. From reading Shivitti one realizes that the characters of Ka-tzetnik’s “novels” were real people. They are his brother, his sister, his friends, his community, and himself. Shivitti also authenticates that most of the situations portrayed in his writings were in fact real. It is because of this authentic documentation that Shivitti served as an invaluable resource for supplying background information to the events and characters portrayed in the literature discussed in this paper. When one considers the event of the Holocaust itself, perhaps the most catastrophic event in human history, and the subsequent birth of the State of Israel less than ten years later, it is paradox that life was born from the death of millions. And it seems appropriate that because life and death did indeed fuse and intermingle, that paradox would be a most effective literary tool to be used in the writing of Holocaust literature. Ka-tzetnik very effectively uses paradox to harmonize impossibilities and radical contradictions. He very skillfully uses this literary device to illustrate the plurality of human perception, while deepening our awareness of how life and death, though radically different, can coexist. His paradoxes mediate ideas which at first glance, do not seem to fit. They generate thought and understanding while stimulating further questions. Because of its conscious blurring of distinction, paradox is indeed an ideal literary device for presenting literature dealing with the Holocaust. Williams Student/Judaic Studies Program University of Central Florida Concentration camp Auschwitz German: Konzentrationslager Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It was the largest of the German concentration camps, consisting of Auschwitz I (the Stammlager or base camp); Auschwitz IIBirkenau (the Vernichtungslager or extermination camp); Auschwitz IIIMonowitz, also known as BunaMonowitz (a labor camp); and 45 satellite camps. [1] Auschwitz had for a long time been a German name for Owicim, the town by and around which the camps were located; the name “Auschwitz” was made the official name again by the Germans after they invaded Poland in September 1939. Birkenau, the German translation of Brzezinka (= “birch tree”), referred originally to a small Polish village that was destroyed by the Germans to make way for the camp. Auschwitz IIBirkenau was designated by the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, Germany’s Minister of the Interior, as the place of the “final solution of the Jewish question in Europe”. From early 1942 until late 1944, transport trains delivered Jews to the camp’s gas chambers from all over Nazi-occupied Europe. [2] The camp’s first commandant, Rudolf Höss, testified after the war at the Nuremberg Trials that up to three million people had died there (2.5 million gassed, and 500,000 from disease and starvation), [3] a figure since revised to 1.1 million, around 90 percent of them Jews. [4][5] Others deported to Auschwitz included 150,000 Poles, 23,000 Roma and Sinti, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, some 400 Jehovah’s Witnesses and tens of thousands of people of diverse nationalities. [6][7] Those not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labor, infectious disease, individual executions, and medical experiments. [8] On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops, a day commemorated around the world as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 1947, Poland founded a museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, which by 2010 had seen 29 million visitors1,300,000 annuallypass through the iron gates crowned with the infamous motto, Arbeit macht frei (“work makes free”). Camps Main camps Located approximately 50 km west of Kraków, the Auschwitz complex of camps encompassed a large industrial area rich in natural resources. There were 48 camps in all. The three main camps were Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and a work camp called Auschwitz III-Monowitz, or the Buna. Auschwitz I served as the administrative center, and was the site of the deaths of roughly 70,000 people, mostly ethnic Poles and Soviet prisoners of war. Auschwitz II was an extermination camp or Vernichtungslager, the site of the deaths of at least 960,000 Jews, 75,000 Poles, and some 19,000 Roma. Auschwitz III-Monowitz served as a labor camp for the Buna-Werke factory of the IG Farben concern. The SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV) was the SS organization responsible for administering the Nazi concentration camps for the Third Reich. The SS-TV was an independent unit within the SS with its own ranks and command structure. Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Höss was overall commandant of the Auschwitz complex from May 1940 November 1943; Obersturmbannführer Arthur Liebehenschel from November 1943 May 1944; and Sturmbannführer Richard Baer from May 1944 January 1945. Yisrael Gutman writes that it was in the concentration camps that Hitler’s concept of absolute power came to fruition. Primo Levi, who described his year in Auschwitz in If This Is a Man, wrote Auschwitz I Auschwitz I was the original camp, serving as the administrative center for the whole complex. The site for the camp (16 one-story buildings) had earlier served as Polish army artillery barracks. It was first suggested as a site for a concentration camp for Polish prisoners by SS-Oberfuhrer Arpad Wigand, an aide to Higher SS and Police Leader for Silesia, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski. Bach-Zelewski had been searching for a site to house prisoners in the Silesia region as the local prisons were filled to capacity. Richard Glucks, head of the Concentration Camps Inspectorate, sent former Sachsenhausen concentration camp commandant, Walter Eisfeld, to inspect the site. Glucks informed SS- Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler that a camp would be built on the site on February 21, 1940. [10] Rudolf Höss would oversee the development of the camp and serve as the first commandant, SS-Obersturmführer Josef Kramer was appointed Höss’s deputy. [11] Local residents were evicted, including 1,200 people who lived in shacks around the barracks, creating an empty area of 40 km2, which the Germans called the “interest area of the camp”. 300 Jewish residents of Owicim were brought in to lay foundations. From 1940 to 1941 17,000 Polish and Jewish residents of the western districts of Owicim town, from places adjacent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, were expelled. Germans ordered also expulsions from the villages of Broszkowice, Babice, Brzezinka, Rajsko, Pawy, Harme, Bór, and Budy. [12] The expulsion of Polish civilians was a step towards establishing the Camp Interest Zone, which was set up to isolate the camp from the outside world and to carry out business activity to meet the needs of the SS. German and Volksdeutsche settlers moved into some buildings whose Jewish population had been deported to the ghetto. Main article: First mass transport to Auschwitz concentration camp The first prisoners (30 German criminal prisoners from the Sachsenhausen camp) arrived in May 1940, intended to act as functionaries within the prison system. The first transport of 728 Polish prisoners which included 20 Jews arrived on June 14, 1940 from the prison in Tarnów, Poland. They were interned in the former building of the Polish Tobacco Monopoly adjacent to the site, until the camp was ready. The inmate population grew quickly, as the camp absorbed Poland’s intelligentsia and dissidents, including the Polish underground resistance. By March 1941, 10,900 were imprisoned there, most of them Poles. [11] The SS selected some prisoners, often German criminals, as specially privileged supervisors of the other inmates (so-called kapos). Although involved in numerous atrocities, only two Kapos were ever prosecuted for their individual behavior; many were deemed to have had little choice but to act as they did. [13] The various classes of prisoners were distinguishable by special marks on their clothes; Jews and Soviet prisoners of war were generally treated the worst. The harsh work requirements, combined with poor nutrition and hygiene, led to high death rates among the prisoners. Block 11 of Auschwitz was the “prison within the prison”, where violators of the numerous rules were punished. Some prisoners were made to spend the nights in “standing cells”. These cells were about 1.5 m2 (16 sq ft), and four men would be placed in them; they could do nothing but stand, and were forced during the day to work with the other prisoners. In the basement were located the “starvation cells”; prisoners incarcerated here were given neither food nor water until they were dead. [14] In the basement were the “dark cells”; these cells had only a very tiny window, and a solid door. Prisoners placed in these cells would gradually suffocate as they used up all of the oxygen in the cell; sometimes the SS would light a candle in the cell to use up the oxygen more quickly. Many were subjected to hanging with their hands behind their backs for hours, even days, thus dislocating their shoulder joints. [15] On September 3, 1941, deputy camp commandant SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritzsch experimented on 600 Russian POWs and 250 Polish inmates by gathering them in the basement of Block 11 and gassing them with Zyklon B, a highly lethal cyanide-based pesticide. [16] This paved the way for the use of Zyklon B as an instrument for extermination at Auschwitz, and a gas chamber and crematorium were constructed by converting a bunker. This gas chamber operated from 1941 to 1942, during which time some 60,000 people were killed therein; it was then converted into an air-raid shelter for the use of the SS. This gas chamber still exists, together with the associated crematorium, which was reconstructed after the war using the original components, which remained on-site. [17][18] Auschwitz II-Birkenau Construction on Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the extermination camp, began in October 1941 to ease congestion at the main camp. It was larger than Auschwitz I, and more people passed through its gates than through Auschwitz I. It was designed to hold several categories of prisoners, and to function as an extermination camp in the context of Heinrich Himmler’s preparations for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, the extermination of the Jews. [19] The first gas chamber at Birkenau was “The Little Red House, ” a brick cottage converted into a gassing facility by tearing out the inside and bricking up the walls. It was operational by March 1942. A second brick cottage, “The Little White House, ” was similarly converted some weeks later. [20] The Nazis had committed themselves to the final solution no later than January 1942, the date of the Wannsee Conference. In his Nuremberg testimony on April 15, 1946, Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz, testified that Heinrich Himmler personally ordered him to prepare Auschwitz for that purpose: British historian Laurence Rees writes, that Höss may have misremembered the year Himmler said this. Himmler did indeed visit Höss in the summer of 1941, but there is no evidence that the final solution had been planned at this stage. Rees writes that the meeting predates the killings of Jewish men by the Einsatzgruppen in the East and the expansion of the killings in July 1941. It also predates the Wannsee Conference. Rees speculates that the conversation with Himmler was most likely in the summer of 1942. [22] The first gassings, using an industrial gas derived from prussic acid and known by the brand name Zyklon-B, were carried out at Auschwitz in September 1941. [23] In early 1943, the Nazis decided to increase greatly the gassing capacity of Birkenau. Crematorium II, originally designed as a mortuary, with morgues in the basement and ground-level furnaces, was converted into a killing factory by placing a gas-tight door on the morgues and adding vents for Zyklon B and ventilation equipment to remove the gas. [24] It went into operation in March. Crematorium III was built using the same design. Crematoria IV and V, designed from the start as gassing centers, were also constructed that spring. By June 1943 all four crematoria were operational. Most of the victims were killed during the period afterwards. [25] The camp was staffed partly by prisoners, some of whom were selected to be kapos (orderlies, most of whom were convicts) and sonderkommandos (workers at the crematoria). The kapos were responsible for keeping order in the barrack huts; the sonderkommandos prepared new arrivals for gassing (ordering them to remove their clothing and surrender their personal possessions) and transferred corpses from the gas chambers to the furnaces, having first pulled out any gold that the victims might have had in their teeth. Members of these groups were killed periodically. The kapos and sonderkommandos were supervised by members of the SS; altogether 6,000 SS members worked at Auschwitz. Command of the women’s camp, which was separated from the men’s area by the incoming railway line, was held in turn by Johanna Langefeld, Maria Mandel, and Elisabeth Volkenrath. The Gypsy camp On December 1942, Heinrich Himmler issued an order to send all Sinti and Roma (gypsies) to concentration camps with Auschwitz being one of the main camps; they had been previously sent to internment camps and ghettos such as the Lodz ghetto, to which 5,000 Ungrika (Hungarian) Roma from Burgenland, Austria were sent. [26] A separate camp for the Roma was set up at Auschwitz II-Birkenau known as the Zigeunerfamilienlager (“Gypsy Family Camp”). The first transport of German Gypsies arrived on February 26, 1943, and housed in Section B-IIe of Asuchwitz II. The “Gypsy Family Camp”, which was still under construction at the time was to become a separate subcamp within Auschwitz II. The camp would eventually contain 32 residential and 6 sanitation barracks and house a total of 20,967 Romani men, women, and children. This does not include a transport of approximately 1,700 Polish Sinti and Roma men, women, and children mentioned which arrived from Biaystok on March 23, 1943. Some of the people on the transport had typhus; to avoid an outbreak in the camp they were all murdered in the gas chamber. Steinbach was believed to be Jewish until research uncovered her Sinti heritage in 1994. [27] German psychologist Eva Justin did a pseudo-scientific study for her doctoral dissertation, titled “Lebensschicksale artfremd erzogener Zigeunerkinder und ihrer Nachkommen” (English: the life history of alien-raised Gypsy children and their descendants). The basis of the study was to ascertain the prevalence of “Gypsy traits” in “Zigeunermischlinge”, (Gypsy half-breed) half-Romani children, many half-German, were taken from their parents and raised in orphanages and foster homes without any contact with Romani culture. [28] Of the 41 children in the study at St. Of the 39 children, two survived Auschwitz; all the others were killed, most during the final liquidation of the camp on the night of August 23, 1944. [29] During the final liquidation of the Gypsy camp, the remaining 2,897 Romani in the camp were sent to the gas chambers. [30] The murder of the Romani people by the Nazis during World War II is known in the Romani language as the “The Porajmos” (“The Devouring”). [31] Auschwitz III Main article: Monowitz concentration camp Monowitz (also called Monowitz-Buna or Auschwitz III), initially established as a subcamp of Auschwitz concentration camp, Monowitz became one of the three main camps in the Auschwitz concentration camp system, with an additional 45 subcamps in the surrounding area. It was named after the town of Monowice (German, Monowitz) upon which it was built which was located in the annexed portion of Poland. The camp was established in October 1942 by the SS at the behest of I. Farben executives to provide slave labor for their Buna-Werke (Buna Works) industrial complex. The name Buna was derived from the butadiene-based synthetic rubber and the chemical symbol for sodium Na utilized in the process of synthetic rubber production developed in Germany. Various other German industrial enterprises built factories with their own subcamps, such as Siemens-Schuckert’s Bobrek subcamp, close to Monowitz in order to profit from the use of slave labor. [32] Monowitz was built as an arbeitslager (workcamp), it also contained a “ArbeitsausbildungLager” (Labor Education Camp) for non-Jewish prisoners perceived not up to par with German work standards. It held approximately 12,000 prisoners, the great majority of whom were Jewish, but also carried non-Jewish criminals and political prisoners. Monowitz prisoners were leased out by the SS to IG Farben to labor at the Buna-Werke, a collection of chemical factories including those used to manufacture Buna (synthetic rubber) and synthetic oil. The SS charged IG Farben three Reichsmarks (RM) per hour for unskilled workers, RM4 per hour for skilled workers and RM1½ for children. Elie Weisel author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book Night was a teenage inmate at Monowitz along with his father. The life expectancy of Jewish workers at Buna Werke was three to four months, for those working in the outlying mines, only one month. Those deemed unfit for work were gassed at Birkenau or sent “to Birkenau” (nach Birkenau), according to a euphemism used in I. [33][34][35] Fritz Löhner-Beda (prisoner number 68561) was a popular song lyricist who was murdered in Monowitz-Buna at the behest of an I. Farben executive, as his friend Raymond van den Straaten testified at the Nuremberg trial of 24 I. Farben executives: Subcamps Further information: List of subcamps of Auschwitz There were 45 smaller satellite camps, some of them tens of kilometers from the main camps, with prisoner populations ranging from several dozen to several thousand. [37] The largest were built at Trzebinia, Blechhammer and Althammer. Women’s subcamps were constructed at Budy, Pawy, Zabrze, Gleiwitz I, II, III, Rajsko, and Lichtenwerden (now Svtlá). The satellite camps were named Aussenlager (external camp), Nebenlager (extension or subcamp), and Arbeitslager (labor camp). [37] Danuta Czech of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum writes that most of the satellite camps were pressed into service on behalf of German industry. Inmates of 28 of them worked for the German armaments industry. Nine camps were set up near foundries and other metal works, six near coal mines, six supplied prisoners to work in chemical plants, and three to light industry. One was built next to a plant making construction materials and another near a food processing plant. Apart from the weapons and construction industries, prisoners were also made to work in forestry and farming. [38] Command and control Main article: SS command of Auschwitz concentration camp Due to its large size and key role in the Nazi genocide program, the Auschwitz Concentration Camp encompassed personnel from several different branches of the SS, some of which held overlapping and shared areas of responsibility. In all, there were over 7000 members of the SS assigned to Auschwitz during the entirety of the camp’s existence. The overall command authority for the entire camp was the SS-Economics Main Office, known as the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt or SS-WVHA. Within the WVHA, it was Department D (the Concentration Camps Inspectorate) which commanded directly the activities at Auschwitz. The command personnel of Auschwitz, who lived on site and ran the camp complex, were all members of the SS-Totenkopfverbande, or the SS-TV. Due to a 1941 personnel directive from the SS Personalhauptamt, members of the SS-TV were also considered full members of the Waffen-SS. Such personnel were further authorized to display the Death’s Head Collar Patch, indicating full membership in both the SS-TV and Waffen-SS. The Gestapo also maintained a large office at Auschwitz, staffed by uniformed Gestapo officers and personnel. Auschwitz also maintained a medical corps, led by Eduard Wirths, whose doctors and medical personnel were from various backgrounds in the SS. The infamous Joseph Mengele, for example, was a combat field doctor in the Waffen-SS before transferring to Auschwitz after being wounded in combat. Internal camp order was under the authority of another SS group, answering directly to the Camp Commander through officers known by the title Lagerführer. Each of the three main camps at Auschwitz was assigned a Lagerführer to which answered several SS-non-commissioned officers known as Rapportführers. The Rapportführer commanded several Blockführer who oversaw order within individual prisoner barracks. Assisting the SS with this task was a large collection of Kapos, who were trustee prisoners. SS personnel assigned to the gas chambers were technically under the same chain of command as other internal camp SS personnel, but in practice were segregated and worked and lived locally on site at the crematorium. In all, there were usually four SS personnel per gas chamber, led by a non-commissioned officer, who oversaw around one hundred Jewish prisoners (known as the Sonderkommando) forced to assist in the extermination process. The Hygiene Division was under the control of the Auschwitz Medical Corps, with the Zyklon B ordered and delivered through the camp supply system. [39] External camp security was under the authority of an SS unit known as the “Guard Battalion”, or Wachbattalion. These guards manned watchtowers and patrolled the perimeter fences of the camp. During an emergency, such as a prisoner uprising, the Guard Battalion could be deployed within the camp as the need arose; a scene in the film The Grey Zone depicts the Guard Battalion entering and machine gunning a crematorium after the Jewish Sonderkommando rose up against the normal contingent of SS guards. Various administrative and supply SS personnel were also assigned to Auschwitz, usually “out of the way” of the more horrific activities of the camp, based out of command administrative offices in the main camp of Auschwitz I. Oskar Gröning is one such well known Auschwitz clerk, who has appeared on several documentaries speaking about life in Auschwitz for the SS, and how living in the camp was in fact an enjoyable experience. In addition to the command and control proper of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the camp further frequently received orders and directives from other organs of the SS and the Nazi state. The camp itself was located in the Nazi Region of Upper Silesia and therefore under the geographical control of the corresponding Gauleiter (prior to 1942, the camp had been under geographical jurisdiction of the General Government). Furthermore, the camp fell under the subordinate command of the SS and Police Leader of the region and was often issued orders from the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA, which was a key SS organization involved in the genocide program. Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler was known to issue orders to the camp commander, bypassing all other chains of command, in response to his own directives. Himmler would also occasionally receive broad instructions from Adolf Hitler or Hermann Göring, which he would interprete as he saw fit and transmit to the Auschwitz Camp Commander. Selection process and genocide By July 1942, the SS were conducting the infamous “selections, ” in which incoming Jews were divided into those deemed able to work, who were sent to the right and admitted into the camp, and those who were sent to the left and immediately gassed. [42] Prisoners were transported from all over German-occupied Europe by rail, arriving in daily convoys. The SS forced an orchestra to play as new inmates walked towards their “selection” and possible extermination; the musicians had the highest suicide rate of anyone in the camps, besides Sonderkommandos. [43] The group selected to die, about three-quarters of the total, included almost all children, women with children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit. Auschwitz II-Birkenau claimed more victims than any other German extermination camp, despite coming into use after all the others. SS officers told the victims they were to take a shower and undergo delousing. The victims would undress in an outer chamber and walk into the gas chamber, which was disguised as a shower facility, complete with dummy shower heads. After the doors were shut, SS men would dump in the cyanide pellets via holes in the roof or windows on the side. In Auschwitz II-Birkenau, more than 20,000 people could be gassed and cremated each day. The Nazis used a cyanide gas produced from Zyklon B pellets, manufactured by two companies who had acquired licensing rights to the patent held by IG Farben. Despite the thick concrete walls of the gas chambers, screaming and moaning from within could be heard outside for 15 to 20 minutes. In one failed attempt to muffle the noise, two motorcycle engines were revved up to full throttle nearby, but the sound of yelling could be heard over the engines. [44] Sonderkommandos removed gold teeth from the corpses of gas chamber victims; the gold was melted down and collected by the SS. The belongings of the arrivals were seized by the SS and sorted in an area of the camp called “Canada, ” so-called because Canada was seen as a land of plenty. Many of the SS at the camp enriched themselves by pilfering the confiscated property. [45] The gas chambers worked to their fullest capacity from AprilJuly 1944, during the massacre of Hungary’s Jews. Hungary was an ally of Germany during the war, but it had resisted turning over its Jews to the Germans until Germany invaded in March 1944. From April until July 9, 1944, 475,000 Hungarian Jews, half of the pre-war population, were deported to Auschwitz, at a rate of 12,000 a day for a considerable part of that period. After roll call, the Kommando, or work details, would walk to their place of work, five abreast, wearing striped camp fatigues, no underwear, and wooden shoes without socks, most of the time ill-fitting, which caused great pain. A prisoner’s orchestra (such as the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz) was forced to play grotesquely cheerful music as the workers marched through the gates in step. [49] Kaposprisoners who had been promoted to foremenwere responsible for the prisoners’ behavior while they worked, as was an SS escort. No rest periods were allowed. One prisoner would be assigned to the latrines to measure the time the workers took to empty their bladders and bowels. [50] After work, there was a mandatory evening roll call. If a prisoner was missing, the others had to remain standing in place until he was either found or the reason for his absence discovered, even if it took hours, regardless of the weather conditions. After roll call, there were individual and collective punishments, depending on what had happened during the day, and after these, the prisoners were allowed to retire to their blocks for the night to receive their bread rations and water. Curfew was two or three hours later, the prisoners sleeping in long rows of wooden bunks, lying in and on their clothes and shoes to prevent them from being stolen. [51] Medical experiments Main article: Nazi human experimentation German doctors performed a wide variety of experiments on prisoners at Auschwitz. SS doctors tested the efficacy of X-rays as a sterilization device by administering large doses to female prisoners. Carl Clauberg injected chemicals into women’s uteruses in an effort to glue them shut. Bayer, then a subsidiary of IG Farben, bought prisoners to use as guinea pigs for testing new drugs. [52] The most infamous doctor at Auschwitz was Josef Mengele, known as the “Angel of Death”. Particularly interested in research on identical twins, Mengele performed cruel experiments on them, such as inducing diseases in one twin and killing the other when the first died to perform comparative autopsies. He also took a special interest in dwarfs, and he deliberately induced gangrene in twins, dwarfs and other prisoners to study the effects. [53] Mengele, at the behest of fellow Nazi physician Kurt Heissmeyer, was responsible for picking the twenty Jewish children to be used in Heissmeyers’ pseudoscientific[54] medical experiments at the Neuengamme concentration camp. These children, at the conclusion of the experiments, were infamously hanged from wall hooks in the basement of the Bullenhuser Damm school in Hamburg. Jewish skeleton collection Main article: Jewish skeleton collection The Jewish skeleton collection was obtained from among a pool of 115 Jewish inmates at Auschwitz, chosen for their perceived stereotypical racial characteristics. Rudolf Brandt and Wolfram Sievers, general manager of the Ahnenerbe, were responsible for collecting the skeletons for the collection of the Anatomy Institute at the Reich University of Strasbourg in the Alsace region of Occupied France. Due to a typhus epidemic, the candidates chosen for the skeleton collection were quarantined in order to prevent them from becoming ill and ruining their value as anatomical specimens; from a letter written by Sievers in June 1943: Altogether 115 persons were worked on, 79 were Jews, 30 were Jewesses, 2 were Poles, and 4 were Asiatics. At the present time these prisoners are segregated by sex and are under quarantine in the two hospital buildings of Auschwitz. The collection was sanctioned by Heinrich Himmler and under the direction of August Hirt. The deaths of 86 of these inmates was, in the words of Hirt, “induced” at a jury rigged gassing facility over the course of a few days in August 1943. One of the victims was shot by the SS when he fought entering the gas chamber. The corpses; 57 men and 29 women were sent to Strasbourg. Josef Kramer who would become the last commandant of Bergen Belsen personally carried out the gassing of 80 of the victims. In 1944 with the approach of the allies, there was concern over the possibility of the corpses being discovered, at this point they had still not been defleshed. The first part of the process for this “collection” was to make anatomical casts of the bodies prior to reducing them to skeletons. In September, 1944 Sievers telegrammed Brandt: The collection can be defleshed and rendered unrecognizable. This, however, would mean that the whole work had been done for nothing at least in part and that this singular collection would be lost to science, since it would be impossible to make plaster casts afterwards. Brandt and Sievers would be indicted, tried and convicted in the Doctor’s Trial in Nuremberg. Hirt committed suicide in Schonenbach, Austria, on June 2, 1945 with a gunshot to the head. [55][56] The names and biographical information of the murder victims were published in the book Die Namen der Nummern (The Names of the Numbers) by German historian Dr. [57] Escapes, resistance, and the Allies’ knowledge of the camps Further information: Auschwitz bombing debate, Witold Pilecki, and Rudolf Vrba Information regarding Auschwitz was available to the Allies during the years 194043 by the accurate and frequent reports of Polish Army Captain Witold Pilecki. Pilecki was the only known person to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp, spending 945 days there, not only actively gathering evidence of genocide and supplying it to the British in London by Polish resistance movement organization Home Army but also organizing resistance structures at the camp known as ZOW, Zwizek Organizacji Wojskowej. [58] His first report was smuggled to the outside world in November 1940, through an inmate who was released from the camp. [59] He eventually escaped on April 27, 1943, but his personal report of mass killings was dismissed as exaggeration by the Allies, as were his previous ones. [60] The attitude of the Allies changed with receipt of the very detailed Vrba-Wetzler report, compiled by two Jewish prisoners, Rudolf Vrba and Alfréd Wetzler, who escaped on April 7, 1944, and which finally convinced Allied leaders of the truth about Auschwitz. Details from the Vrba-Wetzler report were broadcast on June 15, 1944 by the BBC, and on June 20 by The New York Times, causing the Allies to put pressure on the Hungarian government to stop the mass deportation of Jews to the camp. [61] Starting with a plea from the Slovakian rabbi Weissmandl in May 1944, there was a growing campaign to persuade the Allies to bomb Auschwitz or the railway lines leading to it. At one point Winston Churchill ordered that such a plan be prepared, but he was told that bombing the camp would most likely kill prisoners without disrupting the killing operation, and that bombing the railway lines was not technically feasible. The debate over what could have been done, or what should have been attempted even if success was unlikely, has continued ever since. Underground media Inmates were able to distribute information from the camp without escaping themselves. The Auschwitzer Echo was an underground newspaper published by inmates and distributed as well to the resistance movement in Kraków. [62] Writers included the Communist Party member Bruno Baum. A shortwave transmitter hidden in Block 11 sent information directly to the Polish government-in-exile in London. [63] These reports were the first revelation about the Holocaust and were the principal source of intelligence on Auschwitz for the Western Allies. Nonetheless, those reports were for a long time discarded as “too extreme” by the Allies. [64] Birkenau revolt By 1943, resistance organizations had developed in the camp. These organizations helped a few prisoners escape; these escapees took with them news of exterminations, such as the killing of hundreds of thousands of Jews transported from Hungary between May and July 1944. On October 7, 1944, the Jewish Sonderkommandos (those inmates kept separate from the main camp and put to work in the gas chambers and crematoria) of Birkenau Kommando III staged an uprising. They attacked the SS with makeshift weapons: stones, axes, hammers, other work tools and homemade grenades. They caught the SS guards by surprise, overpowered them and blew up the Crematorium IV, using explosives smuggled in from a weapons factory by female inmates. At this stage they were joined by the Birkenau Kommando I of the Crematorium II, which also overpowered their guards and broke out of the compound. Hundreds of prisoners escaped, but were all soon captured and, along with an additional group who participated in the revolt, executed. [65] There were also plans for a general uprising in Auschwitz, coordinated with an Allied air raid and a Polish resistance (Armia Krajowa, Home Army) attack from the outside. [60] That plan was authored by Polish resistance fighter, Witold Pilecki, who organized in Auschwitz an underground Union of Military Organization (Zwizek Organizacji Wojskowej, ZOW). Pilecki and ZOW hoped that the Allies would drop arms or troops into the camp (most likely the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, based in Britain), and that the Home Army would organize an assault on the camp from outside. By 1943, however, he realized that the Allies had no such plans. Meanwhile, the Gestapo redoubled its efforts to ferret out ZOW members, succeeding in killing many of them. Pilecki decided to break out of the camp, with the hope of personally convincing Home Army leaders that a rescue attempt was a valid option. He escaped on the night of April 26 27, 1943, but his plan was not accepted by the Home Army as the Allies considered his reports about the Holocaust exaggerated. [60] Individual escape attempts At least 802 prisoners attempted to escape from the Auschwitz camps during the years of their operation, of which 144 were successful. The fates of 331 of the escapees are still unknown. [66] A common punishment for escape attempts was death by starvation; the families of successful escapees were sometimes arrested and interned in Auschwitz and prominently displayed to deter others. If someone did manage to escape, the SS would pick 10 people at random from the prisoner’s block and starve them to death. [67] The most spectacular escape from Auschwitz took place on June 20, 1942, when Ukrainian Eugeniusz Bendera and three Poles, Kazimierz Piechowski, Stanisaw Gustaw Jaster and Józef Lempart made a daring escape. [68] The escapees were dressed as members of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, fully armed and in an SS staff car. They drove out the main gate in a stolen automobile, a Steyr 220 belonging to Rudolf Höss. Jaster carried with him a report about conditions in the camp, written by Witold Pilecki. The Germans never recaptured any of them. [69] In 1943, the “Kampfgruppe Auschwitz” was organised with the aim to send out as much information about what was happening in Auschwitz as possible. They buried notes in the ground in the hope a liberator would find them and smuggled out photos of the crematoria and gas chambers. [70] June 24, 1944, Mala Zimetbaum escaped with her Polish boyfriend, Edek Galinski. They also wanted to smuggle out deportation lists Zimetbaum had been able to copy due to her translator job in the office of the “Lagerleitung”. They both were arrested on July 6 near the Slovakian frontier and sentenced to be executed on September 15, 1944 in Birkenau; Galinski managed to kill himself before being executed, while Zimetbaum, having failed to commit suicide, died finally after being tortured by the SS. [71] Evacuation, death marches, and liberation Further information: Death marches (Holocaust) The last selection took place on October 30, 1944. The next month, Heinrich Himmler ordered the crematoria destroyed before the Red Army reached the camp. The gas chambers of Birkenau were blown up by the SS in January 1945 in an attempt to hide the German crimes from the advancing Soviet troops. [72] The SS command sent orders on January 17, 1945 calling for the execution of all prisoners remaining in the camp, but in the chaos of the Nazi retreat the order was never carried out. On January 17, 1945, Nazi personnel started to evacuate the facility. Nearly 60,000 prisoners were forced on a death march toward a camp in Wodzisaw lski (German: Loslau). Those too weak or sick to walk were left behind. These remaining 7,500 prisoners were liberated by the 322nd Rifle Division of the Red Army on January 27, 1945. Approximately 20,000 Auschwitz prisoners made it to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, where they were liberated by the British in April 1945. [73] Among the artifacts of automated murder found by the Russians were 348,820 men’s suits and 836,255 women’s garments. Death toll The exact number of victims at Auschwitz is impossible to fix with certainty. Since the Nazis destroyed a number of records, immediate efforts to count the dead depended on the testimony of witnesses and the defendants on trial at Nuremberg. While under interrogation Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp from 1940 to 1943, said that Adolf Eichmann told him that two and a half million Jews had been killed in gas chambers and about half a million had died “naturally”. Later he wrote I regard two and a half million far too high. Even Auschwitz had limits to its destructive possibilities. [76] Communist Polish and Soviet authorities maintained a figure “between 2.5 and 4 million”, [77] and the Auschwitz State Museum itself displayed a figure of 4 million killed, but “[f]ew (if any) historians ever believed the Museum’s four million figure”. [78] Raul Hilberg’s 1961 work The Destruction of the European Jews estimated the number killed at 1,000,000, and Gerald Reitlinger’s 1968 book The Final Solution described the Soviet figures as “ridiculous”, and estimated the number killed at “800,000 to 900,000″. [78] In 1983, French scholar George Wellers was one of the first to use German data on deportations to estimate the number killed at Auschwitz, arriving at 1.613 million dead, including 1.44 million Jews and 146,000 Catholic Poles. [79] A larger study started later by Franciszek Piper used timetables of train arrivals combined with deportation records to calculate 960,000 Jewish deaths and 140,000150,000 ethnic Polish victims, along with 23,000 Roma and Sinti, [80] a figure that has met with significant agreement from other scholars. [81] After the collapse of the Communist government in 1989, the plaque at Auschwitz State Museum was removed and the official death toll given as 1.1 million. Holocaust deniers have attempted to use this change as propaganda, in the words of the Nizkor Project: Deniers often use the’Four Million Variant’ as a stepping stone to leap from an apparent contradiction to the idea that the Holocaust was a hoax, again perpetrated by a conspiracy. They hope to discredit historians by making them seem inconsistent. If they can’t keep their numbers straight, their reasoning goes, how can we say that their evidence for the Holocaust is credible? One must wonder which historians they speak of, as most have been remarkably consistent in their estimates of a million or so dead… Few (if any) historians ever believed the Museum’s four million figure, having arrived at their own estimates independently. The museum’s inflated figures were never part of the estimated five to six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, so there is no need to revise this figure. [78] Timeline of Auschwitz The timeline of events at the Auschwitz concentration camp began in January 1940 when the location was first visited by Arpad Wigand an aid to the Higher SS and Police Leader for Silesia Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski. The original intent of the camp was to intern Polish political prisoners. The original uses of the camp were added to and the capacity expanded over the course of the next four years, which reflected the political and economic decisions of the Third Reich, including the implementation of the Final Solution. After the war Main article: Auschwitz Trial After the war, parts of Auschwitz 1 and/or its guards’ quarters served first as a hospital for sick liberated prisoners. [102] Until 1947 some of the facilities were used as an NKVD and MBP prison camp. The BunaWerke were taken over by the Polish government and became the foundation for the region’s chemical industry. At Auschwitz 1 the Gestapo building was demolished and on its site was built a gallows on which Standartenführer SS Rudolf Höss was hanged on April 17, 1947 for numerous war crimes. [103] On November 24, 1947, the Auschwitz trial began in Kraków, when the Poland’s Supreme National Tribunal tried 41 former staff of the Auschwitz concentration camps complex. The trials ended on December 22, 1947, with 23 death sentences issued, as well as 16 imprisonments ranging from life sentence to 3 years. After liberation, local Polish farming population returning to the area searched the ruins of Birkenau thoroughly for re-usable fallen bricks, so they could rebuild farm buildings for shelter needed for the next winter. That explains the “missing rubble” argument brought up by Holocaust deniers. Today, at Birkenau the entrance building and some of the southern brick-built barracks survive; but of the almost 300 wooden barracks, only 19 have been reconstructed from authentic materials: 18 near the entrance building and one, on its own, farther away. All that survives of the others are chimneys, remnants of a largely ineffective means of heating. Many of these wooden buildings were constructed from prefabricated sections made by a company that intended them to be used as stables; inside, numerous metal rings for the tethering of horses can still be seen. Creation of the museum Main article: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum The Polish government decided to restore Auschwitz I and turn it into a museum honouring the victims of Nazism; Auschwitz II, where buildings (many of which were prefabricated wood structures) were prone to decay, was preserved but not restored. Today, the Auschwitz I museum site combines elements from several periods into a single complex: for example the gas chamber at Auschwitz I (which had been converted into an air-raid shelter for the SS) was restored and the fence was moved (because of building work being done after the war but before the museum was established). However, in most cases the departure from the historical truth is minor, and is clearly labelled. The museum contains many men’s, women’s and children’s shoes taken from their victims; also suitcases, which the deportees were encouraged to bring with them, and many household utensils. One display case, some 30 metres (98 ft) long, is wholly filled with human hair which the Nazis gathered from people before they were sent to labor or before and after they were killed. Auschwitz II and the remains of the gas chambers there are open to the public. The camp is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The ashes of the victims were scattered between the huts, and the entire area is regarded as a grave site. Most of the buildings of Auschwitz I are still standing. The public entrance area is outside the perimeter fence in what was the camp admission building, where new prisoners were registered and given their uniforms. At the far end of Birkenau are memorial plaques in many languages, including Romani. The museum has allowed scenes for three films to be filmed on the site: Pasaerka (1963) by Polish director Andrzej Munk, Landscape After the Battle (1970) by Polish director Andrzej Wajda, and a television miniseries War and Remembrance (1978). Permission was denied to Steven Spielberg to film scenes for Schindler’s List (1993). A “mirror” camp was constructed outside the infamous archway for the scene where the train arrives carrying the women who were saved by Oskar Schindler. He wrote his first book, shut up in his room, isolated from the world, totally dedicated to writing his reports. In novel form he tried to describe the Holocaust which took place there for those who were here. This was a desperate and painful attempt by a man whose life moved between the two planets: to remain alive on the death-planet by the force of the vow he swore to return to the planet of the living, and to tell the world of the horror and of those who were burned in the crematoria there and reduced to ashes. Among those murdered there were his family and his beloved wife. A prisoner in a concentration camp Dinur began his writing immediately after he was saved and liberated, in a British Army camp near Naples, Italy, out of panic that he would not manage, because of his ill health, to keep his oath and serve as a witness-chronicler of the murdered at Auschwitz. Years later he reminisces: I sat down to write and for two and a half weeks I hardly moved from my seat. I gave the manuscript to a soldier in order to pass it on to Eretz Yisrael. The soldier read the title on the first page Salamandra. He leaned towards me and whispered: You forgot to write the name of the author. I shouted: The authors name? Those who died in the crematoria wrote this book! Write their name: Ka-Tzetnik That became his literary name. Feiner, his family name, before the Holocaust, he changed to the Hebrew name Dinur when he made aliya to Eretz Yisrael, as was the accepted thing to do at that time in Israeli society. The manuscript was shown to Zalman Shazar, one of the literati, later to become the third president of the State of Israel. He gave it to be translated from Yiddish and edited by Y. Berkowitz, who had it published by Dvir. The origin of the name Ka-Tzetnik is the German term Konzentration Zenter, concentration camp. (pronounced in German as Ka Tzet), hence, Ka-Tzetnik. This was the appellation of a concentration camp prisoner, together with the number tattooed on his left arm. The Nazi bureaucracy related to the prisoners only by their tattooed numbers, and in this way, not only did they wipe out their human names, but reduced them to numbered sub-humans, a herd of nameless creatures, without identity. In the early editions of Ka-Tzetniks books, the number 135633 appeared beside the authors name. It is possible that this was the Auschwitz prisoner number of Yehiel Dinur. It is surprising that this is the number which is tattooed on the arm of the hero of Salamandra, Harry Preleshnik when he reaches Auschwitz and is sent to a forced labor camp. From here on the identity of Dinur/Feiner is Ka-Tzetnik and he is Harry Preleshnik this identity which leads us to the conclusion that Salamandra, in its six volumes, is a novel-documentary chronicle in the authors words, with strong autobiographical elements. As already mentioned, Dinur was there and he managed to survive and to reach here in order to testify from his personal experience, how it happened and what happened on that Star of Dust called Auschwitz. While choosing to tell a mainly imaginary action-story. Writing in prisoners garb As already noted, Dinur shut himself away and wrote and published his books for several decades, and guarded complete anonymity. His life after his stay in the hell of the other planet was not a life; he survived solely for one purpose. He wore his prisoners garb while he wrote, closed himself in his room and did not emerge for days, neither washing, eating nor sleeping. Dinur never appeared in public, and did not belong to any social or literary group. To this day we know very little biographical details of his life, and he does not appear as an entry in any encyclopedia or literary dictionary. Even his birth date is uncertain: 1909 or 1917? Every personal detail still needs investigation and proof! One of his rare public appearances occurred at the beginning of June 1961. It was on the witness stand in Jerusalem, at the trial of the State of Israel vs. Adolf Eichmann, who was responsible for the Nazi plan to destroy European Jewry: the plan known as The Final Solution for the Jewish Problem. Haim Guri, in his newspaper reports from the court room, for the Lamerhav newspaper, described the drama which took place with Ka-Tzetnik/Dinurs testimony. His description later appeared in his book Facing the Glass Booth (1962) The witness collapsed into a deep faint, as in an unconscious attempt to touch upon the matters which he wished to expressthe inevitable happened. His desperate attempt to distance himself from the judicial process and to return to the Star of Dust, in order to evoke it before us, was too terrible an experience for him. He broke downor more simply: he did not have the strength to stand before the court and relate the saga of tortures and death, which he had taken upon himself to represent. Or perhaps, he suddenly saw Eichmann and a short circuit took place in his soul, extinguishing all the lights. So the inevitable occurred. Indeed, this said it all. Everything which was to be said subsequently was superfluous. In the same testimony at the trial, when the presiding judge Moshe Landau asked the author of Salamandra, why he, Yehiel Dinur took the literary name Ka-Tzetnik, the witness replied: It was not a pseudonym. I do not regard myself as a writer of literary material. This is a chronicle of the planet of Auschwitz, where the inhabitants had no names. They were not born there and did not give birth there; they did not live nor did they die. They breathed according to different laws of nature. Every fraction of a minute there passed on a different scale of time. Their name was Ka-Tzetnik, a numbered skeletonHis evidence is brief, his peace comes in loss of consciousness, it is engraved in the collective memory as a symbol of the trauma of the Holocaust Anatomy of the Holocaust There are six parts to the novel: Salamandra (Sunrise Over Hell), House of Dolls, They Called Him Piepel, The Clock Overhead, The Confrontation, Code:EDMA and they were published with the general title Salamandra, with the sub-title: The Chronicle of a Jewish Family in the 20th Century. Each volume stands on its own, and together they are told from different points of view (for example: Dinurs brother is Piepel, and his sister Daniella is the whore in House of Dolls). It tells the story of one family, of Jewish-Polish origin, in three time frames which touch one another: before, during and after the Holocaust. At the beginning of the first volume Ka-Tzetnik tries to hint at the ancient source of the title which he chose: When a fire burns incessantly for seven years in one place, a creature emerges from it called a salamander. The salamander is not just one lizard in the family of lizards, but she has the mythical symbolism that fire cannot overcome her. As a literary metaphor she symbolizes man who has endured all the torments of hell and survived. Harry Preleshnik is Ka-Tzetnik the author, the hero of Salamandra, who, for seven years of WWII, endured all the torments of the hell of the Holocaust, and was not consumed. Harry, a refugee and survivor of the Star of Dust Auschwitz, in whose shower-rooms millions of his people were murdered by gas and their bodies burned in the crematoria in order to destroy any distinguishing features he is the salamander, with his added personal story: to survive, to testify and to inform humanity of the terror and horrors which took place in the crematoria on the Star of Dust. Brave spiritual heroism does not compromise. Salamandra , the first volume of this sextet, focuses on two parallel axes, overlapping alternately, which together, tell the story of the destruction of Polish Jewry: a. The personal-individual progression in which the narrator tells of the love of the central characters: Harry Preleshnik the 26 year-old talented musician, and 20 year-old Sonia Schmidt, the sharp-witted and practical daughter of a well-known industrialist in Metropoli in Upper Silesia in Poland; b. The general-historical course, which tells of the history of the Jews of Metropoli from the German occupation in September 1939, through the establishment of the Judenrat, the ghetto, the Jewish police, the hunger and the Yellow Patch, the Aktions and the frightful and murderous terror inflicted by the Germans and the Gestapo, until the deaths in the labor camps and the death camps. Ka-Tzetnik describes the anatomy of the Holocaust, around the significant historical elements and he intertwines the events in the lives of Harry and Sonia, their relatives, friends and acquaintances. The historical saga is directed towards its two diametrically opposed climaxes of the Holocaust of Polish Jewry: on the one hand, Auschwitz and the terror of annihilation in the crematoria, and on the other hand the Warsaw Ghetto and the heroic revolt of the Jewish youth against the German occupier. The individual one-time lives of Harry and Sonia are not only a prism of historical, dramatic events, but receive increased validity against the background of the period, its social climate and its central occurrences. In other words, the literary meeting between the single, individual and the general historical, reduce the gaps between fiction and fact, and creates the illusion in the reader that he is faced with literary fiction which presents historical and authentic reality. Ka-Tzetnik describes and relates in an original and convincing way, as a reliable first-hand witness, the horrors and terror of the other planet: the wolfish survival of Jews who collaborated with the Nazi annihilation machine; the Gestapo manhunts after Jews hiding during the Aktions in the ghetto; the selection on the ramp at Auschwitz; forced labor carrying boulders; the hunger; the settling of accounts between Jews; the Musslemen; the crematoria and the chimneys belching forth the smoke of the murdered. The climax: the dramatic, painful and final reunion of Harry and Sonia takes place beside the crematoria of Auschwitz. Sonia becomes like the Musselmen and is sent to the gas showers. Harry, who marks the bodies which have gold teeth in their mouths with an X, so that the gold can be extracted before cremation, discovers a small mole on the cheek of one of the corpses and thus recognizes his beloved wife Sonia. Besides this mark there was no scrap of humanity left on the skeleton of his beloved wife. Harry goes mad and is sent to the hospital. On the death march he summons all his strength, escapes and crawls into the pile of those who had been shot. The red sunrise lit up his exposed skull. From a distance a Russian tank drew near. Harry Preleshnik got up on his knees from inside the pile of corpses. It seemed that he grew out of their midst. That is how the first volume of the sextet Salamandra ends: Sonia becomes ashes on the other planet called Auschwitz, and Harry, with his last ounce of human-spiritual strength manages to survive and to overcome the torments of hell, to defeat the evil and the monstrous terror in order to give personal testimony before the world, about his experiences and those of the Jewish people on that other planet Auschwitz. This is his mission, and that is how he acted, without compromise, all his life. Written after the essay The Star of Dust, a study of Salamandra by Ka-Tzetnik, by Israel Beniminov, in his book Beshvilei Hasiporet, pp. 15-30, ORT publishing, 1994. The item “20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH” is in sale since Sunday, November 8, 2020. This item is in the category “Collectibles\Religion & Spirituality\Judaism\Books”. The seller is “judaica-bookstore” and is located in TEL AVIV. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Country of Manufacture: Israel
  • Handmade: Yes
  • Country/Region of Manufacture: Israel
  • Religion: Judaism

20 LITHOGRAPHS Jewish ART BOOK Auschwitz HOLOCAUST ATROCITIES Judaica YIDDISH