Austrian Times RSS FeedsLike the Austrian Times Facebook page!Follow us on Twitter!


Events for April
M T W T F S S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
Add your event FREE

Today



BurgKino

Pub Quiz everyTuesday at Johnny's Pub

Popular in Austria

Smell Stop

Cosmo&Nanu

Private Lives - Life and Death at Auschwitz

A book chronicling the private lives of men who were anything but ordinary has gone on sale at the site of the Auschwitz extermination camp to give a chilling insight into the off-duty hours of people whose day jobs was industrial mass murder.

'The Private Life of the SS in Auschwitz' by museum historian Piotr Setkiewicz is a watershed in postwar Third Reich history as it attempts to give a human face to inhumane people in those hours when they were off duty at the most terrible place on earth.

The testimonies about the killers is unique because it comes from the Polish maids assigned to keep their houses. They saw close up the interaction of the mass killers with their families on a day to day basis.

Included among the stories are those of camp commandant Rudolf Hoess, his deputy Karl Fritsch and Gerhard Palitzsch who personally killed hundreds of prisoners at the Wall of Death - the execution site where inmates were murdered.

Palitzsch illustrates perfectly the duality of the lives of the S.S. at Auschwitz. At the wall of death he beat prisoners and tormented them before they were killed; off duty, he was obsessed with being a "good father" to his children and making them tea and bread.

A portrait of him was supplied by Helena Klysowa, his 19-year-old Polish maid, who testifed to authorities after the war; "The Palitzch family lived quietly and they loved each other. They didn't receive guests, they didn't organise drinking parties.

"I arrived each day at 8.00 am. I looked after the children. I would go on walks with the girl. When Palitzsch was at home, I could not speak to the prisoners who worked in the house or garden. The prisoners themselves warned me against this. They were afraid that he would write down their number and they would die in the camp.

"I spoke to them anyway and found that the terror of the camp was Palitzsch. I could not believe it. At home, he was a wonderful man, so kind and loving to his children who he gave tea and bread to. He loved his children madly." He died in 1944 after being transferred to the Russian front.

S.S. man Wolfgang Guessgen, who took turns at 'the ramp' selecting those Jews who were to be gassed upon arrival and those who were to be allowed to live as slave labourers, was a cuckolded man whose wife cheated on him at every turn. He rewarded her with beatings.

Danuta Rzempiel, who was 16 when she worked at his home on the camp periphery, said; "Mrs. Guessgen was not a faithful wife. When he went away somewhere,various SS men would appear at the house, or a trusty prisoner from the locksmith shop who won her favour. She was not embarrassed by my presence at all and would lead her guests straight to her bedroom.

"It would happen that Guessgen, upon returning home, would find one of these guests. Then he would order me to go do the laundry or to the basement, and when I returned, the guest would not be in the house. Mrs Guessgen was often covered in bruises, so I guessed that it was Mr Guessgen.

"This didn't seen to dissuade her, and she exploited every opportunity."

It got to the point that Guessgen shot a certain SS man, and as punishment, he was transferred to Oranienburg, and shortly after from there to the front."

Hoess, who was hanged after the war at Auschwitz by the Polish authorities for overseeing the extermination of at least 1.2 million people and the enslavement of at least that number, was obsessively kind to animals and his five children.

He would have no moral qualms about ordering the gassing of child inmates of his camp, but in his garden he would play hide-and-seek with his five children and recited poetry to them.

Maid Janina Szczurek, 32, said; "He tucked his children into bed every night and he kissed his wife each morning. He wrote poems about the 'beauty of Auschwitz.'

"On one occasion, the children came to me and asked me to sew bands with signs for them, just like the ones worn by the prisoners. I was not aware of what the consequences would be from this. Klaus put a "capo [trusty]" band on his sleeve, and the other children had the coloured triangle sewn to their clothing.

"The happy children, running around the garden, met their father, who noticed the signs and took them into the house. I don't know what happened but he was not pleased."

Other stories feature the domestic lives of doctors who carried out selection processes of Jews and who performed horrific experiments, as well as the day-to-day lives of camp guards and lower SS ranks.

"The purpose of the book is to try and show the lives of SS men objectively," Setkiewicz told local media.

"Their image has forever been written in dark colours and in the pursuit of objective truth I wanted to view the subject unemotionally,"
he said.

Austrian Times


Are you on Facebook? Like the Austrian Times on Facebook and win great prizes!




Tag cloud:
Palitzsch  least  duty  transferred  Auschwitz  wife  killed  selecting  killers  bands  inmates  Hoess  prisoners  Guessgen  bread  Jews  didn  children  loved  authorities


Latest News

 

Nuns invite young women to get a taste of Abbey life
In a bid to revive their Austrian abbey that doubles up as a health resort, a group of nuns are inviting young women to come and stay with them to get a taste of nun life.

Austrian women earning over fifth less than men
Austrian women are earning on average 23.4 percent less than men in the country, according to Statistik Austria.

Exploring photography and art through 1960s cult film Blow-Up
Vienna's Albertina is putting on an photography exhibition featuring stills from the cult sixties photography film Blow-Up by Michelangelo Antonioni.

Turtle flies from Vienna to India to try his luck with the ladies
An endangered turtle from Schoenbrunn Zoo is taking a trip across the world to try his luck out with two female turtles in India.

What is on at Haydn Kino this week? (17 April - 23 April)
The following films are on at the English language cinema Haydn Kino on Mariahilfestrasse between 10 April and 16 April:

Two teenage girls go missing as they fly from Austria to fight in Syria
Two teenager girls who say they have left Austria to fight in Syria have trigged an international search operation from the Austrian police. The two - a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old - left identical letters behind telling their families goodbye and that "we will meet in in Paradise". The letters told of their plans to go to Syria to "fight for Islam". The parents of the girls reported that their children had gone missing last week and since then the police tracked them to Turkish city of Adana, where they had flown to from Austria - after that the police lost track of the girls. Adana is 75 miles northwest of Aleppo, a city that became a major battleground during the civil war taking place in Syria. Police spokesman Thomas Keiblinger say that the police are taking the farewell letters "very seriously" and are now conducting an international search for two teenage girls who left farewell letters announcing plans to "fight for Islam" in Syria. Both girls come from families who immigrated from Bosnia but have not been fully identified by Austrian police.

Ricky Martin to perform at Life Ball 2014
In a celebrating of joys of life, sensuousness and a tribute to handsomeness, the Life Ball 2014 has announced that the Latino star Ricky Martin, chosen many times over as Sexiest Man Alive, will perform at the event.

Pony And Trapped After Too Much Fresh Grass
A roly-poly pony lost its balance on an Alpine slope due to its calorie-overloaded body.

Vienna prosecutors target Ukrainian former government
Austrian officials have announced they are coordinating with Ukraine's public prosecutors over the investigation of former Ukrainian government officials accused of money-laundering and sanctions violations.

Former footballers charged over match-fixing
Austrian prosecutors have charged former footballer Dominique Taboga over allegations of match-fixing, nearly five months after his connection to the scandal was exposed.

 


Mala Vrata

The most popular stories –
last 7 days



Don't moan alone, the Ombudsman Investigates.

Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.

Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.


Austrian Zimmers