The Holocaust Historiography Project

Winning Contest Entries, October 31, 2005

Here are the full texts of the winning entries to this year's contest.

First Place — $200.00

Below are five versions of the same Romanian holocaust atrocity story by five different authors. The second version, from the Charleston Gazette (meat cutting machines), is probably based on another account that appears in a fairly recent book about a Romanian Jewish refugee ship headed for Palestine sunk off Istanbul entitled STRUMA.

Given a little more time, I can provide more publication details as well as more versions of the same story which, of course, isn't true. I have caught Radu Ioanid, the Romanian scholar at USHMM in Washington, DC, in a footnote fraud relevant to the abattoir. Also, there are major ID discrepencies in citations that appear in books about Romania during WWII by Lya Benjamin and Prof. Dinu Giurescu.

More recently Robert Kaplan has repeated the legend of the Bucharest abattoir in his book Balkan Ghosts.

In the version of the story posted on Nizkor.org (50 Years of Silence Shattered!) I believe the vivisected corpse of a young girl factors into the account. I have run across this girl in other versions. Her age ranges from 6-14.

In a version by Matatias Carp (Cartea Neagre: The Black Book) who is inevitably cited as the final authority on the authenticity of the story, the intestines of the butchered Jews in the slaughterhouse are found wrapped around their necks like neckties. And the signs left on them read "Kosher Meat," rather than "Fit for Human Consumption."

I possess a copy of a crude drawing of these corpses hanging upside down with a sign that says "Koser" above them by the Romanian artist/architect Marcel Ianco. In a portion of his war diary, published in a catalogue accompanying an exhibition of his work in Israel, he states corpses were raped by the Iron Guard.

As far as I have been able to determine the actual death toll for the Legionary "revolt" of l941 throughout Bucharest was 212. Of these 120 were Jews. The rest were gentiles whom have been lost entirely to history. Eleven bodies were found in or near the municipal slaughterhouse. They were most likely brought there from other parts of the city. One was a German.

I have been unable to get my hands on any non-Jewish corroboration of the slaughterhouse story, ie. Roman government documents.

Pictures of "Jewish" corpses collected after the "revolt" that appear in Holocaust museums and in books are questionable. All 212 corpses (Jewish and gentile) were brought to the Medico-Legal Institute Mina Minovici for identification after the turbulence. Whose to say the corpses in the photos are Jewish?

The story was first filed by Leigh White, who wasn't even in Bucharest during the turbulence. He was in Bulgaria. Swashbuckling AP war correspondent Robert St. John popularized Leigh White's false news about the Bucharest abattoir.

Most non-academic accounts cite St. John's preposterous version. The footnote trail in academic studies ends with Matatias Carp, a Jewish lawyer who prepared a reparations claim on behalf of the Jewish community of Bucharest that submitted to Marshal Antonescu after the "revolt," which was actually a putsch initiated by Antonescu at the behest of Hitler.

Here's the first version of the story.

"That night the Greenshirts loaded two hundred Jewish prisoners into trucks and drove them to the municipal slaughter house There, in a fiendish parody of kosher methods of butchering, they hung many of the Jews on meat hooks and slit their throats others they forced to kneel at chopping blocks while they beheaded them with cleavers."

The Long Balkan Night, by Leigh White

The Long Balkan Night, was published in 1944 and sat out of print and undiscovered for decades. When war broke out in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the book became something of a cult favorite among journalists covering the same territory. Some claimed that it was the best book ever written by an American war reporter.

Leigh White was the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's correspondent in Eastern Europe because, "I was young, blond, and obviously an Aryan, I could speak three languages, and I was sufficiently unknown to be willing to work for a very modest salary." Actually, there was no JTA in Europe at that time, since the Nazis would never allow it to operate. JTA in Eastern Europe was renamed the Overseas News Agency, and White was its only employee.

Here's version two:

"The Bucharest slaughterhouse was the site of the most atrocious tortures. On the last day of the rebellion, fifteen Jews were driven from the Prefectura to the slaughterhouse where all of them were tortured and/or shot to death. Antonescu appointed a military prosecutor to investigate the events. He reported that he recognized three of his acquaintances among the "professionally tortured" bodies (lawyer Millo Beiler and the Rauch brothers). He added, "The bodies of the dead were hanged on the hooks used by slaughterers."29 Mihai Antonescu's secretary confirmed the military prosecutor's description and added that some of the victims were hooked up while still alive, to allow the torturers to "chop up" their bodies."

Radu Ioanid, The Holocaust In Romania

Here's version three:

"A depressing aspect of the historic horror was the eagerness with which societies outside Germany joined the killing. In Romania, members of the Legion of the Archangel Michael forced Jewish families into the Bucharest slaughterhouse in 1941, stripped them naked, and butchered them in meatcutting machines."

"The Horror of the Holocaust,", by James A. Haught, Charleston Gazette, April 22, 1994.

Here's version four:

"The Iron Guard had gone around Bucharest [in 1941] with trucks, rounding up the Jews on their list. They took their victims to the local abattoir on the outskirts of the city. The victims were stripped naked. Then they were forced to get down on all fours like animals. Then they were driven up the wooden ramp of the slaughterhouse, like animals. At the top of the ramp an Iron Guardist with a wooden mallet hit each man or woman over the head, the way a slaughterhouse employee would do with a cow or a pig. Then a colleague standing beside him slit the jugular vein with a sharp knife, in accordance with good slaughterhouse procedure. Others with diseased minds took the dying victims and hung them on iron hooks on the wall, the way slaughterhouse people do with four-legged animals. Privileged members of the Iron Guard finally went from corpse to corpse with rubber stamps. The words they impressed on the Jewish bodies were the Rumanian equivalent of "Fit For Human Consumption."

Shalom Means Peace, by Robert St. John. Doubleday & Company, New York: 1949. 335 pages.

Version five is from Nizkor.org, with details about that little girl who does not appear on the victim's list of the ten alleged Jews killed there, published by Lya Benjamin in Romanian. It trumps the version with the meat slicing machines.

At dawn, on January 23, 1941, a truck from the Podsudeck sausage factory was loaded with fifteen of the Jews that had been held under arrest at the Police Prefecture. They were driven to the city slaughterhouse. At the inquiry following the Legionary Rebellion, Reserve Lieutenant I. N. Vladescu, the military prosecutor, revealed his report about these events:

"TO THE ABATTOIR: Under the pretext of acting against a movement of a political nature, the Legionnaires committed mass murder at the city slaughterhouse, at Baneasa. More than a hundred people were butchered. Some were found with their bellies deeply cut open by the despicable assassins, who used butcher knives for this purpose. As masters in the art of torture, they had taken the intestines they had torn out of their victims' bodies and tied them like neckties around their necks. While this carnage took place inside the slaughterhouse, outside a large number of Legionnaires were singing and making a mockery of Jewish psalms and prayers. The German military attache in Bucharest was collecting casualty reports.

In one of his memoranda he wrote 'In the Bucharest morgue one can see hundreds of corpses, but they are mostly Jews.' Reports from Jewish sources state that the victims had not merely been killed, but they had been butchered. They could no longer be identified as human bodies. In the municipal slaughterhouse, parts of bodies were hanging on hooks like carcasses of cattle. One witness saw a girl of about five hanging by her feet like a calf, her entire body was drenched in blood."

Shattered! 50 Years of Silence, Special Internet Edition. © Copyright Dr. Felicia (Steigman) Carmelly, 2001. All rights reserved.

Submitted by Charles Krafft

Webmaster note: Here are some links to websites with further information about these claims:

  • http://www.centropa.org/reports.asp?rep=HR&ID=5416&TypeID=36658
  • http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/106.3/br_179.html
  • http://www.gamla.org.il/english/article/1998/july/b2.htm

Second Place — $50.00

Holocaust survivor recounts Nazi-perpetrated horrors

  • Polish-born Jew lost family and endured agonies as a youth

By Jennifer Toomer-Cook
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Deseret Morning News

SOUTH JORDAN — A baby survived its mother's murder in the Nazi showers. David Faber, a teenager imprisoned at the concentration camp, found it, still suckling, as he pried open its gassed mother's cold embrace.

The Jewish boy was carrying out Nazi orders to collect gold teeth and any other valuables from the dead. As he unlaced the woman's fingers, her baby cried out.

Faber and another man wanted to save the infant. They tried to secret it to the women in the camp.

They got caught.

The Nazis led Faber and the infant to the ovens.

They threw the baby into the flames.

They bound and beat Faber until he lost his voice counting the lashes.

The man with him was murdered.

"There were many tortures, every day," the impassioned Faber recalled Tuesday for South Jordan Middle School students, who sat silent and teary-eyed at the detail.

"But I survived," he told them. "I survived."

[…]

Deseret News (http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,605154420,00.html)

Submitted by William Comer

Honorable mention

[27 Feb. 1946]

[MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And tell us, please, how did the Germans behave while killing their victims in Treblinka?]

[[SAMUEL] RAJZMAN: If you mean the actual executions, every German guard had his special job. I shall cite only one example. We had a Scharführer Menz, whose special job was to guard the so-called "Lazarett." In this "Lazarett" all weak women and little children were exterminated who had not the strength to go themselves to the gas chambers.]

[MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Perhaps, Witness, you can describe this "Lazarett" to the Tribunal?]

[RAJZMAN: This was part of a square which was closed in with a wooden fence. All women, aged persons, and sick children were driven there. At the gates of this "Lazarett," there was a large Red Cross flag. Menz, who specialized in the murder of all persons brought to this "Lazarett," would not let anybody else do this job. There might have been hundreds of persons who wanted to see and know what was in store for them, but he insisted on carrying out this work by himself.]

[Here is just one example of what was the fate of the children there. A 10-year-old girl was brought to this building from the train with her 2-year-old sister. When the elder girl saw that Menz had taken out a revolver to shoot her 2-year-old sister, she threw herself upon him, crying out, and asking why he wanted to kill her. He did not kill the little sister; he threw her alive into the oven and then killed the elder sister.]

Another example: They brought an aged woman with her daughter to this building. The latter was in the last stage of pregnancy She was brought to the "Lazarett," was put on a grass plot, and several Germans came to watch the delivery. This spectacle lasted 2 hours. When the child was born, Menz asked the grandmotherthat is the mother of this womanwhom she preferred to see killed first. The grandmother begged to be killed. But, Of course, they did the opposite; the newborn baby was killed first, then the child's mother, and finally the grandmother.

[327]

[Webmaster addition: They had similar testimony earlier that same day.]

[27 Feb. 1946]

[MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Tell me, Witness, did you yourself see the children being taken to gas chambers?]

[[SEVERINA] SHMAGLEVSKAYA: I worked very close to the railway which led to the crematory. Sometimes in the morning I passed near the building the Germans used as a latrine, and from there I could secretly watch the transport. I saw many children among the Jews brought to the concentration camp. Sometimes a family had several children. The Tribunal is probably aware of the fact that in front of the crematory they were all sorted out.]

[MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Selection was made by the doctors?]

[SHMAGLEVSKAYA: Not always by doctors; sometimes by SS men.]

[MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And doctors with them?]

[SHMAGLEVSKAYA: Yes, sometimes, by doctors, too. During such a sorting, the youngest and the healthiest Jewish women in very small numbers entered the camp. Women carrying children in their arms or in carriages, or those who had larger children, were sent into the crematory together with their children. The children were separated from their parents in front of the crematory and were led separately into gas chambers.]

[At that time, when the greatest number of Jews were exterminated in the gas chambers, an order was issued that the children were to be thrown into the crematory ovens or the crematory ditches without previous asphyxiation with gas.]

[MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: How should we understand that? Were they thrown into the ovens alive or were they killed by other means before they were burned?]

[SHMAGLEVSKAYA: The children were thrown in alive. Their cries could be heard all over the camp. It is hard to say how many there were.]

[319]

Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal. Volume VIII. Proceedings: 20 February 1946-7 March 1946. [Official text in the English language.] Nuremberg: IMT, 1947.

Submitted by Simon Gilford