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April 15, 1983 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-04-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

10 Friday, April 15, 1983

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

New Vintage Volume Delves Into the Darkness of Treblinka

girls weaving drunk, danc-
ing, singing, playing music

By ALLEN A. WARSEN
"I drove there, with- an SS

driver," he said. "We could
smell it kilometers away.
The road ran alongside the
railway. When we were
about 15-20 minutes' drive
from Treblinka, we began to
see corpses by the line, first
just two or three, then more,
and as we drove into Treb-
linka station, there were
what looked like hundreds
of them — just lying there
— they'd obviously been
there for days, in the heat.
"In the station was a train
full of Jews, some dead,
some still alive . . . that, too,
looked as if it had been there
for days."
The above passage is in
Gitta Sereny's book "Into
that Darkness," subtitled
"An Examination of Con-
science," published by Vin-
tage Books.
This book is based on
documents, corre-
spondence and mainly
interviews. The principal
interviewee was Franz
Stangl, the kommandant
of the largest extermina-
tion camp., Treblinka. He
also served for a short
time as kommandant of
Sobibor; (The Jewish
News of Dec. 31, 1982, had
an extensive article on
Sobibor) and before that
he administered the Hit-
ler euthanasia program.
The author, Gitta Sereny,
a distinguished English
journalist, spent 70 hours in
1971 -interviewing Franz
Stangl in the Dusseldorf
prison where he served a life
sentence for the crimes he
had committed, mostly in
Treblinka.
This review will focus on
Franz Stangl's inhumanity
and on the Treblinka ex-
termination camp.
"But all this (the author
refers to the introductory
statement) was nothing
new to you? Yoh, have seen'
these transports constantly
in Sobibor?"
"Nothing like this," he
replied. "In Sobibor — I
told you — unless one
was actually working in
the forest, one could live
without actually seeing;
most of us never saw
anybody dying or dead."
He continued: "Treblinka
that day was the most awful
thing I saw during all of the
Third Reich." He added:
"When I entered the canap
and got out of the car on the
square, I stepped knee-deep
into money; I didn't know
which way to turn, where to
go . . . the smell was inde-
scribable; the hundreds, no,
the thousands of bodies,
everywhere decomposing,
putrefying. Across the
square . . . there were tents
and open fires with groups
of Ukrainian guards and

73

. .



Throughout the inter-
views, -Stang' continually
tried to justify his misdeeds
at Treblinka. He
rationalized: "I remember it
was Rittmeister Leitner
(Stangl's superior in the
Austrian police where he
served as an ordinary
policeman before the
Anschluss), who always
said that the definition of a
crime must meet four re-
quirements.. there has to be
a subject, an object, an ac-
tion and intent . . . I could
apply this to my situation; if
the 'subject' was the gov-
ernment, the 'object' the
Jews, and the 'action' the
gassing, then I _could tell
myself that for me the
fourth element, 'intent' (he
called it free will) was mis-
sing."
According to Ms. Sereny's
research, Treblinka con-
sisted of an upper and lower
camp. The former contained
the gas chambers and the
installations, the so-called
"roasts" for the burning of
the corpses. The latter in-
cluded the 'square where the
selections were made, the
fake hospital where the
old and sick were shot, the
undressing barracks and
"the Road to Heaven." In
addition there were numer-
ous other facilities and
buildings in the death
camp,
Profound is Richard
Glazar's (an interviewee)
characterization of the
camp's SS men: "One
must always measure
whatever they (the SS)
aid against the deep fun-
damental indifference
theyfelt towards all of us.
It was, of course, more
'than indifference, but I
call it that for want of a
better word.
"Really, when one wants
to evaluate how they be-
haved and what they were,
one must not forget the in-
credible power their au-
tonomy within their narrow
and yet, as far as we were
concerned, unlimited field;
but also the isolation
created by the unique situa-
tion and by what they —

Bonds Names
Trades Chairman

NEW YORK — Arthur H.
Joseph of Teaneck, N.J. who,
has been serving as the Is-
rael Bond Organization's
national chairman for rein-
vestment, has been ap-
pointed to the new position
of national chairman for
trades.
The appointment of
Joseph is part of the Bond
Organization's expansion of
its campaign in some 20
trades.

and hardly anyone else
within the 'German or Nazi
community — had in corn-
mon."
Perceptive is this obser-
vation: "Perhaps if this iso-
lation had been the result of
good rather than evil deeds,
their own relationship
towards each other would
have been different. As it
was, most of them seemed to
hate and despise each other
and do anything — almost
anything — to get at each
other."
Unusual is this story
Stangl told Ms. Sereny . :
"When I was on a trip once,
years later in Brazil, my
train stopped next to a
slaughterhouse. The cattle
in the pens, hearing the
noise of the train, trotted up
to the fence and stared at
the train. They were very
close to my window, one
crowding the other, looking
at me through that fence.
"I thought then, 'Look
at this; this reminds me of
Poland, that's just how-
the people looked, trust-

ingly, just before they
went into the tins ...' I
couldn't eat tinned meat
after that. Those big eyes
which looked at me .. .
not knowing that in no
time at all they'd all be
dead."
The author then asked
him a number of penetrat-
ing questions. This was one
of them: "There were so
many children. Did they
ever make you think of your
children, of how you would
feel in the position of their
parents?"

"No, I can't say I ever
thought that way. I rarely
saw them as individuals. I
was always a huge man .. .
they were naked, packed to-
gether, running, being dri-
ven with whips like . . ." (He
didn't finish the sentence.)
"Could you have not
changed that? In your posi-
tion could you not have
stopped the nakedness, the
whips, the horror of the cat-
tle pens?"
"No, no, no. This was the

system . . . It worked. And
because it worked, it was ir-
reversible."
Unusually, for weeks
and weeks in 1943, some
of the more daring and
intelligent prisoners
were planning a camp
uprising. At first, only a
few inmates knew about
the clandestine prepara-
tions. Eventually, with
the exception of the in-
formers, all prisoners
were drawn into the con-
spiracy.
The revolt was planned
for Aug. 2, 1943, and was to
start at 3 p.m. But because
of a misunderstanding, the
shooting began an hour ear-
lier. Still, "the first mo-
ments," according to a sur-
vivor, "were madly excit-
ing." -With the exception of
the gas chambers that were
built of brick, all installa-
tions and buildings were
burned.
However, before long an
- "indescribable confusion
broke out" and "all of the
plans came to nothing" as

all the people suddenly
started to run in the direc-
tion of the forest, followed
by the SS, their dogs and the
Ukrainians who shot at
them indiscriminately, kil-
ling most of them.
The
author
thus
evaluates the rebellion:
"The details of the uprising
vary greatly in' the
memories of different sur-
vivors, which may explain
why there is hardly any re-
liable record of what must
be one of the most heroic ef-
forts of the war-time years
in East or West: a revolt
undertaken by people who
had virtually no contact
with any underground
movement 'outside,' no hope
of help from the Poles or the
Western allies, virtually no -
arms except what they
might hope to capture at the
moment of the uprising, and '
who bore the responsibility
for a large group of men and
women only a very small
minority of whom were con-
sidered capable of being
`active insurgents.' "

Monument Unveilings

The family of the late
Sam Liberson announces
the unveiling of a monu-
ment in his memory 10 a.m.
Sunday, April 24, at Work-
men's Circle Cemetery.
Rabbi Arm will officiate.
Relatives and friends are
asked to attend.
_* **
The family of the late
Sarah Silver announces
the unveiling of a monu-,
ment in her memory 11 a.m.
Sunday, April 24, at He-
brew Memorial Park. Rabbi
Gruskin will officiate. Rela-
tives and friends are asked
to attend.

Unveiling announcements may be inserted by mail or by calling The Jewish News, 17515 W. Nine Mile,
Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48075. 424-8833. Written announcements must be accompanied by the name
and address of the person making the insertions. There is a standing charge of $10.00 for an unveiling
notice measuring an inch in depth, and $15.00 for a notice two inches deep with a black border.

The Family
of the Late

The "Family
of the Late

DR. MORRIS
LOREN

FRANCES •
GELLER

Announces the un-
veiling of a monument
in his memory 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, April 24, at He-
brew Memorial Park.
Rabbi Gruskin will of-
ficiate. Relatives and
friends are asked to
attend.

Announces the un-
veiling of a monument
in her memory 11 a.m.
Sunday, April 17, at
Clover Hill Park
Cemetery. Rabbi Arm
will officiate. Relatives.
and friends are asked to
attend.

The Family
of the Late

SAMUEL
PERNIKOFF

Announces the un-
veiling of a monument
in his memory 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, April 24, at
Adat Shalom Memorial
Park. Relatives and
friends are asked to
attend.

N

The Family
of the Late

The Family
of the Late

MAX
BELLO

ANNA
KATZMAN

Announces the un-
veiling of a monument
in his memory 9:30 a.m.
Sunday, April 24, at He-
brew Memorial Park.
Rabbi Nelson will of-
ficiate. Relatives and
friends are asked to
attend.

Announces the un-
veiling of a monument
in her memory 11:45
a.m. Sunday, April 24, at
Airon Moshe Cemetery.
Rabbi Schnipper will
officiate. Relatives and
friends are asked to
attend.



:

The Family
of the Late

ESTHER
LICHTENSTEIN's

- Announces the un-
veiling of a monument
in her memory 12 noon
Sunday, April 24, at
Clover Hill Park
Cemetery. Rabbi
Wagner will officiate.
Relatives and friends
are asked to attend.

Family will unveil a
stone in her memory 10
a.m. Sunday, April 17,
1983, at Clover Hill Park
Cemetery. Officiating,
Rabbi Milton Atm.
Please join us.

ROSE
DISKIN

The Family
of the Late

SIMONE S.
LOWENSTEIN

The Family
of the Late

ABRAHAM
SINAI

Announces the un-
veiling of a monument
in her memory 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 17, at He-
brew Memorial Park.
Relatives and friends
are asked to attend.

Announce _ s the un-
veiling of a monument
in his memory 11 a.m.
Sunday, April 24, at He-
brew Memorial Park.
Rabbi Schnipper will
officiate. Relatives and
friends are asked to
attend.

The Family
of the Late

The Family
of the Late

MINNIE
MARGULIES

Announces the uniel
-
veiling of a monument
in her memory 11 a.m.
Sunday, April 17, at
Adat Shalom Memorial
Park. Rabbi Gorrelick
will officiate. Relatives
and friends are asked to
attend.

"Over 65 years of traditional service in the Jewish community with dignity and understanding."

HEBREW MEMORIAL CHAPEL

RABBI
- JOSHUA S.
SPERKA

Announces the un-
veiling of a monument
in his memory 11 a.m.
Sunday, April 17,. 'at
Beth Yehudah Cemet-
ery. Relatives and
friends are asked to
attend.

543.1622

SERVING ALL CEMETERIES

26640 GREENFIELD ROAD
OAK PARK, MICHIGAN 48237

Alan H. Dorfman
Funeral Director & Mgr.

ielsx..a.&

1

If &Si

ea

,:,116K11;•AA ,IrwieiStAIA:4iiogle

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