Comparing Auschwitz to the Gulags

By Ingrid Rimland

 

Friday, May 26, 2000 10:16 AM

Since Revisionists are a bunch of strongly opinionated people of sometimes opposing beliefs, there is one oddling among us who went on record with this baby statement:

"Slaves in Auschwitz were not better off than slaves in Soviet camps."

Ingrid:

"Now here you are just plain wrong on your facts. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. Think of Kolyma.

Oddling:

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"RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT, tovaritschka Rimlandova.

"Don't forget Auschwitz was a wartime camp for labor purposes, not really like Dachau where they sent the communists to in the pre-war years etc. What went on there -- and I don't mean any gas chambers or the pasting together of twins by their backsides -- was not unlike what went on at the Kolyma (and elsewhere): barbaric slave work in exchange for a miserable soup ration, all for a clearly visible purpose.

"Of course, war is an atrocious thing and nobody denies it. Same with typhus and the arctic climate. Neither Auschwitz nor the Kolyma were gratuitous. Neither were the A-bomb or Dresden exactly, by the way and contrary to mythology, but that's another story. But all of those camps were *clearly* criminal because people guilty of no crime couldn't leave even if they wanted to and they were being killed like insects. They didn't have the right to be uninterested in German war production or the colonization of the big North and the Far East to save the revolution, or whatever. As simple as that. 2 + 2 = 4. An innocent slave is an innocent slave, not a criminal.

"An excuse is always there; why, even Count Dracula has to stay alive, hasn't he? Doesn't mean eating people's necks and drinking their blood is more acceptable when we don't like the people being savaged in those odd ways. Even if it serves someone's purposes.

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Of course I couldn't let that rest. Therefore, I went for reinforcement. Here is what Mr. Zundel sent me, culled from an upcoming study:

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General:

The most important difference: The German camps were open to inspection by delegates from the Committee of the International Red Cross. The Soviet camps were not.

(For details, contact the CIRC at 9 Ave. de la paix, Geneva, Switzerland. For relatively little money - less than $50 - one can obtain reports prepared in war time about the conditions in German camps.)

Specific to Auschwitz:

Supposedly the most dreaded of German camps, Auschwitz was repeatedly visited by Red Cross inspection teams who were allowed to speak to prisoner representatives alone in order to hear first-hand of any mistreatment, chicanery, interruption of mail and parcel delivery, health concerns, food and ration matters etc.

No such visits took place - ever! - to Soviet Gulag camps.

Auschwitz, the supposed "death camp", had among other facilities:

* A camp hospital to which expert surgeons even from the famous Berlin "Charité" Surgical Clinic were dispatched to deal with difficult cases -

* Camp sick barracks, attended by camp inmate doctors and nurses to deal with the inmates' health problems - much like the now common walk-in clinics in modern US communities -

* A Camp diet kitchen, one of the largest service buildings in Auschwitz, with state-of-the-art cooking facilities. (This building had 12 chimneys and can be visited today...)

* The caloric content of the diet was carefully monitored by camp and Red Cross delegates. It only deteriorated in Auschwitz and other camps towards the end of the war when German railroads and the entire transport system collapsed under constant aerial attacks -

* Camp orchestras, with every conceivable instrument available -

* A Camp theater, where live plays could be performed by camp inmate actors -

* Camp sculpture classes conducted for interested, talented inmates by professional sculptors

* Camp art classes for inmates

* Camp lectures on every topic under the sun, from health, the arts, philosophy, science, economic issues etc.

* A Camp cinema - where every week different, mainly cultural and non-political films were shown -

* Camp religious facilities made available on a rotating basis to every denomination for religious services -

* A Camp library, where inmates could borrow books from thousands of volumes available -

* A Camp swimming pool for use by the inmates on Birkenallee, where there were walkways with comfortable benches for inmates to relax in the shade of the trees -

* Camp sports facilities, like soccer fields, handball areas and other exercise facilities -

* A Camp coupon incentive system, where through extra work inmates could obtain coupons redeemable for cake or ice cream in the Camp Cantina, which also had extra toiletries etc.

* A Camp Complaint Office, where inmates could register complaints or make suggestions. Camp Commander Hoess had a standing order that any inmate could approach him personally to register a complaint about other inmates such as "Kapos" and even guards.

* A system of strict discipline for guards and also for inmates, with severe punishment being handed out against those found guilty (for instance, a camp slapping an inmate)

* An Auschwitz "In-Camp Jail". (!) Since the camp was a large, open facility, transgressors could be arrested, tried and jailed right in Auschwitz. (This jail was opposite the gynecological facility.)

* An Auschwitz Maternity Ward - Over 3,000 live births were registered there, with not a single still-born baby while Auschwitz was in operation under German rule -

* Auschwitz crematoria - These structures were hastily built by inmate labor after the first typhus epidemic caused thousands of deaths. (Burial of epidemic victims had caused the ground water to be contaminated causing infections among the German staff. One victim was an early camp commandant's wife, along with Polish peasants on the outside.)

* Auschwitz pregnancies took place because of the open nature of the facility. Auschwitz marriages took place because worker inmates fell in love and married their inmate partners.

Does all this sound remotely like anything that Steven Spielberg would like us to believe?

Tomorrow, I will tell you more.

 

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