Scholar

Rescuing Israel: The Holocaust – The Scholar

“[…] there was a Holocaust, which is, by the way, more easily said than demonstrated.” — Is There a New Anti-Semitism? A Conversation with Raul Hilberg, considered to be the world’s preeminent scholar of the Holocaust

Due to the numerous outlandish claims laid by Irene Zisblatt, several researches have had a field day dissecting her story, including Joachim Neander, PhD, a Polish scholar who has written publications regarding the holocaust in Poland, Germany, Israel and the United States and who once held a Fellowship for Archival Research at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C..

In 2010, Neander wrote an analysis of Zisblatt’s story titled Irene Zisblatt, the “Diamond Girl” – Fact or Fiction? in which he concluded that Zisblatt’s story is “not in accordance with the historically established facts” and “implausible”. He begins finding holes in her story early in her life, but here i will quote only a few of the more glaring inconsistencies he points out, beginning with her alleged induction into Auschwitz. If you will recall, Irene Zisblatt was born as Chana Seigelstein and that is how he refers to her here:

Chana’s head is completely shaved, and she receives the prisoner number 61397, which is tattooed on her arm (35).[25] Near by, she witnesses “women workers removing fillings and crowns, pulling gold teeth” from the registered prisoners (36). Before leaving, she receives “a pajama top” as her “only article of clothing,” and she is “forced to look into [a] large mirror” at the door, where she does not recognize herself – an additional act of humiliation. She is then marched, together with one thousand other women, “into a place called Birkenau,” to a wooden barrack (36) in “Lager C” (51), better known as “Camp sector BIIc.”

Apart from the fact that the prisoner reception building nowhere had “a huge mirror” into which the prisoners were forced to look, and that the Zugänge (intakes) received a little bit more of clothing than a pajama top that barely would have covered their nakedness,[26] the narration contains three major implausibilities. First, the Auschwitz prisoner number “61397” was given on September 9, 1943, to Agnieszka Pastuszek, a non-Jewish, Polish political prisoner,[27] who had arrived with a prisoner transport from Katowice prison.[28]. Hungarian Jewish women prisoners who were taken in between May 16 and 26, 1944, received numbers from A-3622 to A-6027.[29] Chana could also not have received the number of a dead prisoner because after February 2, 1942, Auschwitz prisoner numbers were no more issued twice.[30]

Second, the plundering of dental gold was carried out on the corpses of the dead, but never on living prisoners on intake. Third, if Chana had been registered on arrival, she would have been sent to one of the “regular” women camps, such as BIa or BIb. BIIc was used during the “Hungarian action” as a transit camp for non-registered Jewish women – who, therefore, had not been tattooed – and who on arrival had been spared from gassing. SS doctors regularly combed the transit camp for deportees who would be shipped into the Reich’s interior for slave labor (without registration at Auschwitz) or taken in at Auschwitz (and then registered there), and those who were sent to the gas chamber.[31]

Ilse Koch in prison
Ilse Koch prison photograph (click to enlarge)

Regarding Zisblatt’s claim of nearly having her skin harvested by Ilse Kock to make a lampshade out of her, Neander provides more detail as to why Ilse failed to show up that fateful day:

Chana soon realizes that she and the other fourteen Jewish girls were selected for a horrible fate: to become a lampshade (45). Ilse Koch, “an SS woman . . . a maniac . . . [who] likes human gloves made out of human skin and lampshades,” is “coming to Majdanek to select her material for the lampshades, and we have the skin for it.” Mrs. Koch, however, does not show up. [35] Small wonder, since she, as of August 25, 1943, has been sitting behind bars in the Weimar, Germany, Gestapo prison.[36] So, “after forty-eight immeasurable hours,” the group returns to Auschwitz, without having achieved anything (45).

Though long since debunked as a contemporary legend, lampshades allegedly made from victims of the Holocaust are a stock phrase in Holocaust remembrance.[37] It is, therefore, not surprising to find the legend in a book that serves its readers with nearly all Holocaust clichés.

Further along Neander comments on Zisblat’s claim of having her tattoo removed:

The tale of the removal of the prisoner numbers, however, is so full of implausibilities that it must be regarded as pure fantasy, and regretfully not as a good one. First, Mengele, a simple camp physician, by no means one of the camp brass, could never have dared to publicly remove the camp number, the one and only identification characteristic of a prisoner at Auschwitz,[60] from a prisoner’s body. (Six other SS members were allegedly present!) Second, he need not have made an “experiment” to this effect, as methods of removal of tattoos were well-known, and these were far less painful as the procedure described by Mrs. Zisblatt. Third, it would not have made sense to kill the test subject immediately after an experiment that allegedly should serve to find out how to remove “membership and […] blood type” tattoos from the bodies of SS men (64). It was an “experiment,” and Mengele would have had to wait for its outcome, how the wound was healing, if scars would remain, etc. Let us not forget that he saw himself as a “scientist.”

As mentioned previously, Zisblatt claims that she narrowly avoided the gas chamber at one point because it was “too full”, after which she was rescued by a familiar Hungarian Jew who threw her over the Auschwitz perimeter fence onto a rail car destined for another camp. Following is what Neander has to say regarding this epic feat:

This is the most implausible episode in Mrs. Zisblatt’s story. Let us omit the not quite unimportant change that the beginning of her story underwent between her video interview and the writing of her book, and let us rather concentrate on the events in the gas chamber. First, if indeed a frail little girl would have clung to the door of the gas chamber and so prevented its closing, the SS man at the door would have made short work of her: either cramming her into the gas chamber by force, or simply killing her on the spot. Second, a glance at the pictures of crematorium III (or its mirror image, crematorium II) shows that there was no place “under the roof” where a person could hide.[70]

Third, when 1,500 people were gassed, quite a few SS men were in and around the crematorium building. Chana would under no circumstances have remained undetected. Neither when she was running from the gas chamber through the “ramp” (?) to the eave, nor when she went from there together with the young man from the Sonderkommando to the electrified fence, nor when she was thrown over it. Fourth, the young man must have been an athletics champion, as the distance between the railroad tracks and the fence around crematorium III was over 100 ft., the fence had a height of about 10 ft., and Chana weighed about sixty pounds.[71] Fifth, if there had been a train with open cars[72] waiting with prisoners near the crematoria, it would have been guarded by SS personnel who doubtlessly would have noticed the unconventional arrival of Chana by “air lift.” And last not least, she would have been noticed at the latest at roll call on arrival, because her name would not have appeared in the transport list.

Although i think Joachim Neander has done a reasonably fair job of pointing out some of the many glaring flaws in Zisblatt’s story, he is obviously a supporter of the mainstream version of history regarding homicidal gas chambers, apparently choosing to ignore the volumes of evidence to the contrary. What strikes me a bit odd in Neanders’ analysis of Zisblatt’s story is that he does not seem to realize that if gassings actually did take place in Auschwitz or elsewhere, Zisblatt and the other handful of alleged camp survivors who claim to have first-hand knowledge of homicidal gas chambers, would not have had to fabricate such stories since the exterminations themselves would have provided plenty of authentic horror.

Carolyn Yeager has written her own analysis of Neanders’ analysis titled ‘Scholar: Holocaust survivor memoir is “exaggerated” & “implausible”‘ because she feels that Neander, who writes for some major publications regarding the holocaust, was actually too soft on Zisblatt, reasoning that he “wishes to maintain his reputation as a scholar”. In her article she points out a few additional inconsistencies in Zisblatt’s story which Neander overlooks.

Regarding Zisblatt’s claim of being put in a standing cell dungeon after Dr. Mengele put solution in her eyes to change their color, Yeager writes the following:

The version of the eye-experiment story in which the fifteen women were put into a small cubicle that was divided into little sections, designed so that they could walk into or touch the person in the section on either side only, was in Zisblatt’s Shoah testimony. In her book, the five girls are standing very close together in one small cell located below the Birkenau infirmary. If this is her idea of what “standing cells” were (after reading the literature about them), she has botched it up as she does everything else. The four Stehzellen alleged to be in the basement of Block 11 at Auschwitz (for which there is no definitive evidence beside witness testimony that they ever existed [1]; what is shown to visitors today are all reconstructions) were in the main camp, not in Birkenau. These reconstructions have a tiny door that would make it extremely difficult for each person to enter and be brought out again. According to official historiography, the alleged standing cells were torn down by order of Arthur Liebehenschel, the new camp commandant on December 1, 1943. [2] Assuming that this is so, they could not have existed when “Chana” and “Sabka” were being “experimented” on.

Zisblatt also claims to have had the fortune of meeting General George S. Patton in a hospital in Pilzen, Czechoslovakia, where he gave her his scarf and his four star “buttons”. Regarding this incredible encounter, Yeager writes:

The fantastic account of American “Liberator” General George S. Patton meeting with Chana is one of the incidents that Neander decides to “set aside” on the grounds that “it is difficult to prove or disprove.” Difficult, perhaps, but not impossible to discover that Patton was never in the Volary or Pilsen area when Zisblatt claims she was there.

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