General-Lieutenant (two stars) Vasily Petrenko was in charge of 107th infantry division at the time. He remembers what he saw when Auschwitz was liberated, «There were seven and a half thousand people remaining alive on the day I came to Auschwitz. I saw no normal people. Nazis evacuated everyone who could walk on January 18, so only disabled inmates were left. I saw children… what a terrible view! Swollen abdomen, wandering eyes, hands waving uselessly in the air, thin legs, huge heads – other parts of the body did not look real – they appeared to be sown to bodies. Children never produced a sound as they were showing individual inmate identification numbers tattooed on their hands».
People of different nationalities perished in great numbers. The death rate was estimated in dozens of millions. But the triumph of German Nazism happened to be short-lived. Those days are remembered as the most terrible events in European history.
The death camps covered Central and Eastern Europe like bubonic plague sores. Even according to official data of German Ministry of Interior, the fascist regime built 1634 concentration camps. Besides, there were many other structures created to find the final solution to the problem of «second rate» people or «lower races». Located 70 km from Krakow, Auschwitz was the largest (around 40 square km) network of concentration and extermination camps built and operated by Nazi Germany during WWII. It consisted of Auschwitz I (the original camp), Auschwitz II – Birkenau (a combination concentration/extermination camp), Auschwitz III – Monowitz (the largest sub-camp of Auschwitz) and satellite camps. The first prisoners came there in June 1940, and there were over 100,000 inmates by 1944. The camp was the place of people’s mass extermination, especially of the Jews. There were inmates from Poland, USSR, Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Norway, Romania, Italy and Hungary. For a long time the number of victims was believed to be at least 1, 1 million. In 2010 the Russia’s Federal Security Service declassified the data which showed that more than four million inmates were killed by Nazi.
There were four crematoriums and two provisional gas chambers. Soviet prisoners and weak inmates were the first to undergo the Zyklon B gas trials in the spring of 1942. At first bodies were buried, then eliminated in crematories and ditches specially dug for the purpose. Inmates underwent medical experiments. The factory of death killed 150 thousand inmates a month. Crematories and fires burning all night eliminated 270 thousand bodies monthly.
The Soviet Supreme Command knew about the existence of the death camps. It ordered the 1st and 4th Ukrainian fronts to liberate Auschwitz during the Vistula–Oder offensive operation. The 100th infantry division led by General Fyodor Krasavin took Auschwitz on January 27, 1945 to save the lives of remaining 7 thousand inmates. The reality was shocking. The machine of extermination was perfect and smooth-running. Here is some evidence provided to Smersh counterintelligence by imprisoned fascist punishers. Elizabeth Gazelow (superintendent in Ravensbrück, Majdanek and Auschwitz) says, «There were 40-45 thousand inmates of different nationalities: Russian, Ukrainians, Poles, Czech, French. It was a camp of extermination. It had crematorium, gas chambers…Children were put into the chambers in front of their parents».
Willie Steinborn (SS-Rottenführer, a guard) remembers, «A large group of Poles, Russians and other nationalities was to be exterminated. The inmates offered resistance. SS guards let dogs attack them. They enjoyed the picture as live people separated from each other were torn and mangled by dogs».
Alfred Skchipek (in charge of barack N8), «There was a punishment called «steinbunker». 20-30 people were put into a small cell. With such little space they could only stand there. No windows, there was only a few millimeters wide crack in the wall. With no air coming inmates were suffocating. Transported in winter to be exterminated prisoners were made work outside without shoes and clothes on till they died of cold. There were 200-300 victims at a time».
There were thousands of such testimonies weird enough to give one the creeps. I’m afraid all these evidence is not enough to make a single tear drop from the eyes of those who today are mourning the
dead in Washington, London, Brussels and Warsaw. They say that this is the time to commemorate the victims of gas chambers, but in reality they take the side of punishers, not the victims. In Europe and overseas they speak the right words to remember those who suffered from Holocaust while turning a blind eye on the SS marches that regularly take place in the Baltic States for already 20 years. They nod their heads upon hearing the delirium about the Soviet occupation of East Europe and even Germany and say that the fascist coup in Kiev is nothing else but the expression of people’s will. They say that the Moscow’s support for the compatriots shelled in the Donbass is an aggression. The egregious political intrigue and maneuvering mixed with stone age Russophobia makes Western elite unable to discern the revival of the global evil which would have ruled the world today, if it had not been the Soviet Union and its Red Army which demonstrated unparalleled prowess 70 years ago. Being connived at the evil enjoys the proper environment to make it thrive today.
Vladimir Putin can put up with the fact that he is not invited to the major event at Auschwitz marking 70 years since inmates of the Nazi death camp were liberated by the Red Army. No great pleasure to meet the sycophants who gather millions to take part in the Paris march to protest the death of journalists-provocateurs and watch indifferently as the Khatyn massacre is repeated in Odessa. They have chutzpah to say they don’t want to see in Auschwitz the head of state who ordered the attack against Ukraine. The sponsors of Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi regime believe it’s not expedient to invite the head of state claiming to be the successor of the Soviet Union – the country that liberated Auschwitz and a half of Europe. But they find it expedient to invite the Chancellor of Germany who supports the Nazi regime in Ukraine to prove that it’s too early to affirm that Germans have successfully gone through denazification. They find Nazism unacceptable on their soil but put up with its presence in other countries…
The organizers want to commemorate the victims of Auschwitz standing side by side with the leaders of Ukraine’s fascist regime. Could it be any other way? All those kapos (a kapo – a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp assigned by the SS guards to supervise other inmates) and «block-eltesters» (a block-eltester – the eldest man of the block in a concentration camp) – the Banderites and their successors – are spiritual mentors of such gentlemen as Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, Turchinov and Yarosh. Just ask them and they will willingly tell you a story how they defended the civilized Europe from the hordes coming from the East. They will also tell you how to operate the furnaces of Auschwitz, use people as guinea pigs for experiments with Zyklon B and torture unarmed inmates. Especially in the view of the experience that is remembered as Ukraine conducts the so-called «anti-terror operation» in the east.
The participation in the events of Western leaders who head the states that were the USSR’s allies during WWII is a special case for consideration. The words they say about democratic standards on the territory of Auschwitz sound like mentioning rope in the house of a man who has been hunged. Especially if one remembers how their predecessors – Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill – reacted to the information about what happened in Nazi concentrations camps.
British doctoral student Barbara Rogers has discovered a 20-page document in the Foreign Office archive proving conclusively that Britain and the United States knew about the gas chambers at Auschwitz as early as December 1942. The information was contained in a memorandum passed to the British government and handed to U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Jewish leaders at a White House meeting on Dec. 8, 1942.
While it has been known that the Allies knew then about the «Final Solution» – and even about gas chambers – this is the first time it was demonstrated that the Allies knew in 1942 about the crematoria at Auschwitz. It informed Roosevelt that «centers have been established in various parts of Eastern
Europe for the scientific and cold-blooded mass murder of Jews. Polish Christian workers, eyewitnesses, have confirmed reports that concrete buildings, on the former Russian frontiers, are used by the Germans as gas chambers in which thousands of Jews have been put to death».
The memorandum also specifically informed Roosevelt: «The slaughter of trainloads of Jewish adults and children in great crematoriums at Ozwiencim [Auschwitz] near Krakow is confirmed by eyewitnesses in reports which recently reached Jerusalem». There is no information the allies ever reacted. The find reignites debates about why the Allies took no action, such as bombing, to disrupt the operation of Auschwitz. The researcher made precise the reasons why London did not contact Berlin on the matter. The British feared a flood of Jewish emigration from Europe to Palestine (Palestine was then part of the British Empire). The other reason is that they were anxious to avoid a popular backlash if they were perceived to be fighting a «Jewish war».
In other words the whole nations were sacrificed in the interests of the British Empire. Even after the Second Front was open and Anglo-America forces moved to the east and their aviation could easily reach Auschwitz nothing was done to at least interrupt transport routes to the camp and thus complicate the continuation of heinous crimes committed by Germans. No wonder the contemporary successors of Roosevelt and Churchill are prone to hypocrisy. Meeting in Washington on January 16 Barack Obama and David Cameron agreed to keep sanctions on Russia until it stops its «aggression» in Ukraine, «We agree on the need to maintain strong sanctions against Russia until it ends its aggression in Ukraine, and on the need to support Ukraine as it implements important economic and democratic reforms,» Obama said after talks in Washington with the UK Prime Minister. What a striking similarity: some believe that crematoria and gas chambers serve as instruments of purification while others use napalm and multiple launch rocket systems against civilians in the Donbass as the means of implementing «democratic reforms». Don’t get surprised, ladies and gentlemen, if the smell of new crematorium will be felt again in Europe.
Prof. Yuri Rubtsov is the Ph.D. (History) who lectures at the Military University (Moscow).
Source Strategic Culture Foundation