Monday, 21 December 2009
Work Sets You Free (at Auschwitz)
And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
Then Adolf, the Fuhrer with a dangerously short moustache, came along and decided that not truth but actually work set one free. He even set up camps where, according to some, he sprayed the fresh arrivals with Zyklon-B in order to rid them of lice and other religious infections.
Zyklon-B was invented by Dr. Fritz Haber; it was meant to be used as an insecticide. Haber also invented synthetic Ammonia, a chemical used in fertilizer and explosives. By 1914, Haber was an internationally respected scientist, having perfected a process for extracting nitrates from the atmosphere. Used initially to produce fertilizer, Zyklon-B was used in the mass production of explosives vital to Germany's war effort. He dedicated himself to Germany in its hour of need and used his scientific knowledge to put an end to the deadlock on the western front. Originally of Jewish origin, Haber had renounced Judaism to become a Christian to prove his patriotism for the fatherland.
Throughout research, Haber had faced strong opposition from his wife and PhD chemist Clara Immerwahr, who felt that this work into chemical warfare was an awful perversion of the humanitarian values that science stood for. Like a good husband, Haber ignored her objections and continued his research in secret, until a laboratory accident claimed the life of one Clara’s friends. Her objections turned into total hatred but Haber pressed on, believing that poison gas was more humane than bullets.
At the end of 1914, Haber approached the military with his new weapon and promised them victory. He faced strong scepticism since chemical warfare was both a new concept, violated the sense of honour and military tradition. Germany was a signatory of the Hague Convention which banned the use of gas in war. The German government initially rejected his ideas but in late 1915, as the casualties began to mount, they reconsidered and assigned Haber a military rank entitling him to work at developing a gas Corps.
At Ypres on 22nd April 1915, the gas cylinders released a deadly cloud that enveloped a battlefield full of unsuspecting French and Algerian troops. Ten thousand men died where they fell, bayonets, watches, human skin, everything in the cloud’s path was stained green; the face of war stood irrevocably changed.
The death toll was enormous but the Germans failed to gain an advantage. The other governments quickly labelled the attack a violation of international law, but Germany argued that the Hague treaty had only banned chemical shells, and not the use of gas projectors. Haber was a failure but he was hailed a hero and promoted to the rank of Captain, something very rare for a civilian.
Horrified by her husband’s participation in the deaths of so many, his wife Clara committed suicide with his service pistol, by shooting herself in the heart. Unmoved, the next morning Haber headed to the Eastern Front to personally oversee the next gas attack against the Russians.
After the war, Haber, fearful of facing a war crimes trial, was rewarded with a Nobel Prize for his pre-war work on nitrates; this honour left him free to conduct research into more gas weapons. While the good folks thought he was developing pesticides, in the 1920s he developed another toxic gas from hydro-cyanic acid that, in enclosed space, was also highly effective at killing humans.
Twenty years later Zyklon-B would be used in Nazi camps. Not all victims of the genocide were Haber's own Jewish people; such a cruel twist of fate he could not have foreseen. Members of his extended family also died in concentration camps possibly by Zyklon-B. Rejected by the country he had strived so hard to serve above all other considerations, he was chased out of Germany. A broken man, Haber died of heart failure a year later in exile in Switzerland.
Enough of this horrible history lesson; I remember seeing a documentary in which the researcher, disguised as a restless Jew, went around such areas of Auschwitz camp that were marked ‘Out Of Bounds’ for the unsuspecting tourists. He found that the numbers of Jews who were allegedly gassed and then buried around the compound were greatly exaggerated. In fact, he noted that the gas used in those alleged ‘death camps’ was a disinfectant.
He also pointed out that the Auschwitz camp had a gymnasium—one wonders why Adolf, himself almost Jewish, wanted the ‘inferior race’ to die in perfect health. The camp also had its own currency—once again one wonders why Adolf wanted the poor inmates to have money to buy things from the local cafeteria.
The same researcher also noted the structural improvements of the alleged ‘concentration camp’ were not what they seemed—although the remnants of ‘God’s chosen people’ presented them to the world as ‘killer gas chambers’. It was his contention that the metallic ovens were used to rid the place of filthy clothes that the new arrivals wore when they came, and not for incinerating human beings. In short, the documentary was as convincing as the attempts of Hollywood and the Holocaust industry’s hype of showing the Germans as evil incarnate.
Adolf was so in love with the idea of hanging an appropriate sign over the entrance gate to the Auschwitz camp, he chose ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ (Work Sets You Free) to be displayed.
Fast forward. Only a few days ago, a theft took place in the same ‘death camp’ which is now a major tourist attraction; some folks stole Adolf’s infamous sign. It is ironic that on the same day that the German government announced it would contribute sixty million Euro to help preserve the Auschwitz-Birkenau ‘death camp’, the iconic entry sign reading, ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’, was stolen.
“The sign was nothing less than a desecration”, writes Rabbi Andrew Baker.
May I request Dr. Mahatir Muhammad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to clarify if it was or was not a desecration? Will it be a correct assumption that what Adolf meant was: Work to get paid, or get laid off.
What is happening right now under our noses is far more important than what happened in WW-II. In any case, the ‘chosen race’ has been more than adequately compensated by the German government. With an increasing number of people interested in earning the daily bread rather than paying the Auschwitz museum a visit, the theft may have been the coolest publicity stunt of this winter.
On 21 December 2009, the Police said they arrested five suspects–aged between 20 and 39–and taken them to Krakow (the nearest city to Auschwitz) for questioning.