It did indeed happen


Anyone new to Auschwitz history may be unaware, as I was, that one of its objectives was to set up a local camp at Monowitz that would harbour a workforce to speed up the building (for the flagging war effort) of a nearby chemical factory. Monowitz, when Fritz and Gustav arrived, was a fenced and mud-sodden field of sheds – no kitchen, no sanitation, no heat – to which they were marched for three hours each day before working on the uncompleted factory. Here, swiftly identifying their skills in bricklaying and stitching, the Kleinmanns stayed alive while up to 150 of their less useful comrades went off each day to be gassed at Birkenau (Primo Levi was another survivor).

You’ve only got to change a few words to have a description of the Gulag. Starvation instead of gassing, bourgeois instead of Jew. Oh, and that we didn’t chase one set of guards and perpetrators to the ends of the Earth because reasons.

20 thoughts on “It did indeed happen”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    I occasionally listen to a podcast by a former Navy SEAL, in one episode his guest is Jordan Peterson and Jocko starts by reading a long section from Cannibal Island, its brutal.

    They then go on to talk about the nature of evil and discuss Gulag Archipelago because JP has written a forward to a new abridged addition.

    Its not just the guards and perpetrators who should have been chased to the ends of the earth, but the useful idiots as well.

  2. I thought often the Soviets shot people before they went to the Gulags as opposed to at them.
    Saying that yes the two are very similar.

  3. It – the Gulag – was designed to be a “destructive labour “ system. They knew, and intended, that millions would die.
    I have a vague memory that the “destructive labour” system was designed by a Jew. One of history’s ironies.

  4. Part of the problem is the Gulag camps varied enormously depending on year, location, and purpose. They also contained a mixture of innocent, not so innocent, career criminals, and absolute psychopaths. People also rotated in and out of them, and many survived. By contrast, the German camps didn’t last long, did not house “ordinary” Germans, and were universally appalling without exception. And bad though the Soviet camps were, most killing in the camps was done through callous neglect and utter indifference to human life rather than industrialised mass-murder. As Anon says, thos who the Soviets wanted exterminated got shot or starved to death in situ.

  5. I’m reminded of the irony of Albert Speer. He did 20 years at Spandau prison for using slave labor. Which kept them alive.

  6. IIRC, about 2/3 of the holocaust death toll was not in murder camps. It was a by-product of conditions in the concentration camps, much like the gulag.

  7. No doubt Richie’s taking notes. Another area to deploy his genius. Gulag by gulag reporting, anyone?

  8. ” ….and that we didn’t chase one set of guards and perpetrators to the ends of the Earth because reasons.”

    Hmmm. Makes you think.

    “…bourgeois instead of Jew. ”

    There we go.

  9. The other oddity about the Gulags was they were effectively run by the inmates. Even the guards were former prisoners in most cases, and could easily go from inmate to guard then back to inmate again. It’s why the foreman in A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is generally concerned with their welfare; he wasn’t much better off than they were. This was definitely not the case in the Nazi camps.

  10. The shite of socialism have 150 million murders around their necks. The fact that conditions varied slightly under NATIONAL socialism is of little importance.

  11. There was a memorable spark of black humour from a survivor of Nazi Buchenwald on his experience after being reincarcerated in Soviet Buchenwald: “I didn’t really blame the guards; after all they had been told we were the people who had run the concentration camps”.

  12. The Gulag wasn’t very large by the time the USSR fell. True political prisoners were rare by that stage, and many were in psychiatric institutions anyway.

    Of course it was because the population had been cowed by decades of repression, but you would be struggling to find many guards like at the Nazi death camps.

    Solzhenitsyn was writing of the Stalin era. At that time they were packed with entirely innocent people.

  13. “IIRC, about 2/3 of the holocaust death toll was not in murder camps. It was a by-product of conditions in the concentration camps, much like the gulag.”

    That might be right. I think I heard that 2 million were killed in the industrial death camps, out of 6 million total Jews killed.

    The concentration camps were not originally killing places at all. In the late 30s, they were just a way to hold large numbers of “undesirables.” Jews, gypsies, opposition politicians, communists.

    The U.S. and UK currently need such places to inter illegal aliens.

    It was Reinhard Heydrich’s Wansee Conference in January 1942 that got the ‘Final Solution’ rolling, the intentional mass murder of people. I consider him more responsible than Hitler. In some delightful karma, Heydrich was assassinated a few months later.

    I don’t know, but I assume that as the war started going badly for the Germans, conditions in non death camps deteriorated quickly. Like not feeding the people any more.

  14. Gamecock, there’s a wonderfully sinister comment on Heydrich’s Wikipedia page:
    “With the SA out of the way, Heydrich … improved his index-card system”

    I should think we’ve all worked with people like that.

  15. @Gamecock

    The film ‘Conspiracy’ is very good.

    Colin Firth as the lawyer who wrote the ‘blood and honour’ laws delivers a memorable “the reality of the Jews” rant.

  16. Tim Newman – so which camps were the Germans with the pink triangles sent to?
    Which camps were the communists sent to? Which camps were the politicals sent to?
    We already know ordinary Germans got sent to camps too – because of Jewish ancestry!

    11 million people killed, though never mention that figure to Jews. Holocaust denier will be the least of the terms used.

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