German atrocities and brutalities ( II )

20 May

It is important to remember that the brutality was the norm in all German performances.

The following is one of many thousands of brutalities, psychiatric patients boarding for their extermination from Holland. (Saul Friedländer. The Years of extermination, pp. 412-413)

 

At the. beginning of 1943 the Germans started rounding up the approx­Imately eight thousand Jewish patients in various hospitals, and among them the psychiatric inmates of Het Apeldoornse Bos. The raid on this largest Jewish mental institution was conducted on the night of January 21 by a Schutzpolizei unit under the personal command of Aus der Funten. The patients were ferociously beaten and pushed into trucks. “I saw them place a row of patients,” an eyewitness declared, “many of them older women, on mattresses at the bottom of one lorry, and then load another load of human bodies on top of them. So crammed were these trucks that the Germans had a hard job to put up the tail-boards.” The trucks carried the patients to the cordoned-off Apeldoorn railway station.

According to the station master’s report, when he tried to activate the ventilation system in the wagons, the Germans closed them. The report then contInued: ¨”I remember the case of a girl of twenty to twenty-five whose arms were pinioned [in a straightjacket] but who was otherwis: stark naked …. Blinded by the light that was flashed in her face, the girl ran, fell on her face and could not, of course, use her arms to break the fall She crashe.d down with a thud …. In general, the loading was done wIthout great violence. The ghastly thing was that when the wagons had to be closed: the patients refused to take their fingers away. They simply would not lIsten to us and in the end the Germans lost patience. The result was a brutal and inhuman spectacle.” Some fifty (Jewish) nurses accompanied the transport.

A Dutch Jew described the arrival of the transport in Auschwitz: “It was one one the most horrible transports from Holland that I saw. Many of the patIents tned to break through the barrier and were shot dead. The remainder were gassed immediately.” There are diverging accounts of the fate of the nurses, none of whom survived Some declare that they were sent to the camp; others that they were gassed; according to another witness “some of them were thrown into a pit, doused with gasoline, and hurned alive.” Aus der Funten had promised them that they could return immediately after the trip or work in the East in a thoroughly modern mental institution.

In early 1943 the Germans established the Vught labor camp, which supposedly would allow Jews to remain as forced laborers in Holland. It was a sophisticated “legal” option to avoid deportation; the council strongly encouraged it, and the obedient Dutch Jews went along. Of course it was one further German scam, and the Vught inmates were sys­tematically transferred to Westerbork or, on several occasions, deported directly to the East.

Between July 1942 and February 1943, fifty-two transports carrying 46,455 Jews left Westerbork for Auschwitz. Some 3,500 able-bodied men were redirected to the hydrogenation plant in Blechhammer (later Auschwitz III-Monowitz and Gross Rosen). Of the workers’ group, 181 men survived the war; of the remaining 42,915 from the 1942 and early 1943 transports, 85 remained alive. 54 The deportations went on.

 
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