Why Nazis ‘Spared’ Jewish Criminals at Auschwitz

Why Nazis 'Spared' Jewish Criminals at Auschwitz

12/10/2007By Simon Rocker thejc.comA new book has uncovered a bizarre feature of the perverse world of Nazism: Jews identified as “criminals” in Auschwitz were spared the gas chambers because the Nazis wanted to maintain a show of legality.A small number were brought to the camp by the Gestapo not as deportees, but as criminals.In his newly published book, The Crime of My Very Existence — Nazism and the Myth of Jewish Criminality, Professor Michael Berkowitz of University College London’s Hebrew and Jewish Studies department writes: “If an inmate — regardless of being a Jew — was classified as a ‘criminal’ upon entering Auschwitz, the Nazis took pains to ensure that he or she was not sent to the gas chambers.“Jews died en masse for the crime of having been born a Jew. But in the bizarre universe the Nazis constructed, if one was considered ‘a criminal’ in a more conventional sense, the camp authorities made some effort to document that the accused had had recourse to ‘justice’.”Most Jewish “criminals” perished by other methods.He added: “The Nazis were supremely image-conscious. They wanted the concentration camps to appear as penal institutions to the general public but also to the wider police and legal services.”The charade that the camp was a prison helped to make the Holocaust “acceptable” to its perpetrators.http://www.thejc.com/home.aspx?ParentId=m11&SecId=11&AId=55949&ATypeId=1

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