Auschwitz - Birkenau
Auschwitz was the concentration camp; Birkenau was the death camp

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    Millions of Ukrainians perished in Auschwitz; but history only records that a few Ukrainians sided with the Nazis.

    "...his greatest tormentor in Birkenau was a Jewish kapo in Block 4 who beat him mercilessly whenever he caught him praying. That man hated Father Kovalskyi because he was Ukrainian and a priest. He did not care that Kovalskyi was there beause he had tried to help Jews."

    I stayed in Barracks 7 at Birkenau for about another week. It was a mixed barracks, housing Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians, all of them trying to survive. After the first week we were marched over to Block 11 in old Auschwitz. There were 29 of these blocks in all. They had been used as housing for Polish border troops before the war. Each one had two accommodation levels and a small attic above. We were on the top floor, which was almost entirely populated by Ukrainians. I notice that there were quite a few more SS men here guarding us. There were also quite a few Jewish kapos, dressed in black outfits, better fed than the rest of us, who did a lot of killing. Many of them belonged to a special formation known as the "Canada Commando" which sorted out the belongings of incoming prisoners, taking everything that was of value to the Third Reich's war economy, leaving only the naked men, women and children, many of whom were then gassed. That task gave those kapos many opportunies to steal, which they did, not that it helped most of them in the long run.

    I remember that there were this time a lot of Soviet POWs in the camp, including a large group of Ukrainian women. They were housed in Block 11, two floors below us. We could sometimes hear them singing Ukrainian songs at night. That went on for about three weeks, and then one night their singing abruptly stopped. We heard the next day that they had all been taken away and shot. Only the empty cellar floor and an echo of their songs were left in our minds."

    19 January 1945. I had fallen quite ill by that time and was so weak that I couldn't really walk. My friends half -carried and half-dragged me with them. We left a night. The rumours were that the Red Army was alreay in Cracow. So, between ten and eleven o'colock that evening we were told to get ready to go and at about one we were paraded and counted up. I walked through the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work shall set you free) gate one last time. I was free in Auschwitz, but gave it no thought. I was almost a musulman (lost soul walking but with vacant look - one who has given up on life). Into Auschwitz, for Ukraine By Stefan Petelycky


    "An examination of the contents of the warehouses revealed all the objects had belonged to the peoples of various nationalities who were tortured to death or murdered. Clothing, footwear, and other articles bore the labels of French, Belgian, Hungarian, Dutch, Yugoslavian, Czechoslovakian and other manufacturers. Stickers from various European hotels could still be seen on the suitcases. On the camp railway platform, the commission discovered seven railway wagons loaded with clothing and bedding ready for shipment to Germany... "In Auschwitz camp, the Hitler criminals murdered hundreds of thousands of children, from infants to sixteen-year olds. As a rule, children were sent to the gas chambers to be killed as soon as they stepped off the train, and only a small number of powerful youths were retained for work in the camp. The investigations have shown that the Germans demanded the same hard labour from children 8 to 16 years old as from adults...German hangmen killed not less than 4,000,000 citizens of the USSR, Poland, France, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Roumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Holland, Belgium, and other countries during the period of the existence of Auschwitz camp...The persons examined suffered from broken ribs, fractured limbs, fractures of the vertebral column and bones of the face, as well as various wounds, ulcers, and frozen hands and feet, the results of the tortures permitted by the Germans. Very many of the liberated prisoners suffered from severe nervous and psychological disturbances. The forensic medical commission held an examination of the corpses of 536 prisoners found on the grounds of the camp. It was established that in 474 cases (88.3 percent) the cause of death was exhaustion."Soviet War Crimes Report on Auschwitz