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The Saboteur of Auschwitz.

Discussion in 'Concentration, Death Camps and Crimes Against Huma' started by SCP1959, Aug 18, 2020.

  1. SCP1959

    SCP1959 New Member

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    I have just finished reading this book by Colin Rushton. It has had two previous publications by the same author but with different titles; Spectator in Hell (2001) and Auschwitz: A British POW's Eyewitness Account (2013).
    I visited Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz Birkenau over two days back in February 2012, during a stay in the beautiful Polish city of Kraków. I knew the two camps were part of a huge industrial complex. However, I didn't know until reading this book, which is based mainly on the account of a British soldier called Arthur Dodd, that allied POW's from all over the European theatre of war were imprisioned in that Hell on Earth. There, they were forced to do skilled war work, (a direct contravention of The Geneva Convention) for the Nazi's, while witnessing first hand and close up, the bestial treatment of the Jewish inmates. It is an incredible story of survival and a strong desire to thwart the Nazi war effort by sabotage and lack of cooperation. Well worth a read.
     
  2. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    Although Auschwitz was the name of the town.
    He was imprisoned in a POW camp in the town and was guarded by the Wehrmacht.
    He had nothing do to with the concentration camp and never was its prisoner.
     
  3. SCP1959

    SCP1959 New Member

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    I'm sorry but I have to disagree. He was indeed imprisoned in the POW camp E715 in the Auschwitz complex but was forced to work in the nearby IG Farben Buna Werke factory in Monowitz concentration camp.
     
  4. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    But the Buna Werke factory was just a large factory under construction. It wasn't a concentration camp, subcamps for the concentration camp's prisoners were located at its peripheries.

    But the point is not only Jews worked in the Buna Werke (about half of the prisoners weren't Jews anyway) but German civilian workers, French workers (sent by their own government), guest workers (i.e., volunteers) from Western countries (Belgium, Denmark), guest workers from Eastern Europe, slave workers from Eastern Europe, POWs, Soviet POWs.

    Every group "enjoyed" different rights. The French and the volunteers were at the top (they were almost free and could visit their families), below were western POWs, and the Jews (with some exceptions) were at the bottom.

    That he worked there means nothing, protected by international conventions, he spent the time in almost luxurious conditions in comparison with others.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
  5. SCP1959

    SCP1959 New Member

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    WM, can I just ask, with all due respect, have you read the book?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
  6. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    No, I haven't. But I've read many testimonies of prisoners and people living in the town. Right now I have no use for a book written by a foreigner barred by the language barrier from communicating with the prisoners and the "natives."
    I'm sure It would be interesting to learn what an outsider thought about what's was going but lack of time, maybe later.
     
  7. SCP1959

    SCP1959 New Member

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    You are entitled to your opinion just as I am but you should find the time to read the book before commenting on it. I am also very well read.
    This particular book was written by a British inmate of the camp and includes coroborative accounts from other eyewitnesses. It presents the largely unknown story of military POW's held there who were forced to carry out war work for the Third Reich.
    There would have been a language barrier, there were myriad languages spoken in the camps because their inmates came from all over Europe. Therefore, they were all foreigners or outsiders.
    These people saw with there own eyes the horrific brutality of the Nazis towards the Jews and other "untermenschen" while carrying out their "Final Solution".
    The POW's themselves suffered merciless beatings by the SS and factory foremen who themselves, were armed with pistols. Some POW's were shot for disobedience or on the whim of an SS guard. Some were beaten or shot for trying to pass food to a starving Jewish inmate. Thirty eight POW's were killed during an American air raid the Buna-Werke factory on August 20th 1944.
    The POW's were fed starvation rations although they did receive occasional Red Cross parcels. They did not live in luxurious conditions as you suggest.
    One last point, Monowitz was a concentration camp by definition. However, it was not one of the six extermination camps namely; Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Majdanek.
    Arthur Dodd also managed to link up with a local partisan group whose aim was to facilitate a mass break out from Birkenau.

    This book is an historical account of little known circumstances and events and we are going to have to agree to disagree with each other over its accuracy or indeed its authenticity.
     
  8. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    I only described the situation on the ground, I didn't criticize the book.

    The majority of prisoners were Poles (35 percent) and Polish Jews (I don't know maybe an additional 20 percent) so the languages used were German and Polish, the others had to accept that.

    I'm surprised that they were mercilessly beaten - maybe, but I would like to see independent confirmation of that (I generally only believe in independently confirmed facts).
    I suppose they should have complained to the administration of their camp because that was basically a war crime.

    The Auschwitz Museum writes on its page that British POWs were sent to that region (Auschwitz was part of one of the largest industrial regions in Europe) because of acute labor shortages. They worked among others in mines (that was worse than working in the factory.)

    And that they worked so slow and inefficiently (they produced 55 percent less than others) that many (maybe most) of them had to be replaced and they were sent back to their POW camps.
    An ordinary prisoner wouldn't be sent away - he would be sent to his maker for that.
    This shows how different the treatment of British POWs was and that the Germans generally obey international law in this case.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  9. SCP1959

    SCP1959 New Member

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    The Poles suffered terribly under the Nazi's. Furthermore, the allied decision to abandon Poland to Soviet rule to pacify Stalin at the end of the war, was an inexcusable betrayal of the Polish people. The very people who had experienced life under the jackboot and who fought ferociously with the allies so that we, here in Britain didn't suffer the same fate.
    If you wish and there is a way, I will happily send you my copy of the book free of charge, if nothing else, it is well written.
    I'm not trying to ram it down your throat, I learnt new things from reading it, about a subject I thought I knew a lot about.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  10. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    I've read it (it was a Kindle from Amazon) already :)
    There is no doubt he was there, it feels.

    But it's a dramatized story. Some things there were simply impossible.

    He writes a British (?) long-range reconnaissance plane flew (repeatedly) so low over the camp that its pilot waved to them. That's impossible.
    Then he describes sabotage missions carried out with Polish Underground. That didn't happen either.

    The nearest Polish (weak) partisan unit was based over 100 kilometers from Auschwitz (and was wiped out by the Germans in 1944 anyway.)
    Auschwitz was in Germany and the territory around it was heavily militarized, no sabotage there ever happened and wasn't even possible.
     

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