Sergey Romanov wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:44 pm
I have gone through David Green's PDF.
Some of his parallels don't "work" for me/are a bit too far-fetched or talk about some well-known things and thus don't have to be dependent.
Some of the parallels are close but could have been based on a shared experience, if they stood alone.
With these parallel elements what counts are not the descriptions themselves as much as a) the common use of *many* of these elements in both books; b) the apparent chronology of the elements.
But here it would be nice to have a more thorough literary analysis. Namely, presenting the parallel elements is good and nice, but the elements should be analyzed as parts of a whole (otherwise unintentional cherrypicking may be a factor). Both texts should be examined, if possible, with these parallels in mind and what I eventually would like an answer to is the following: do these elements constitute the "backbone" of the stories? The key "knots"? What is the interplay between the shared elements and the elements that are *not* shared between the books? Some "statistical" analysis would be nice, so to say.
Finally, some of the parallels are stunning and are extremely unlikely to be independent, esp. considering their number. Aside from the two I posted earlier, I will post these parallel elements that impress *me* most of all.
These are at the end of this posting.
Now, it is clear from both stories that if there is any chance of them being "shared experiences", Zywulska and Hart had to have been in one close "group" for quite a long period of time, and would almost certainly know each other. I take it that they don't mention each other and that there is no indication at least online that they knew each other. If it is true, this, for me, would rather point in the direct of plagiarism, rather than one survivor innocently/naively borrowing elements from the book of her close acquaintance. Is there more information about a possible connection between Z and H?
For a fuller analysis Hart's other testimonies have to be compared to her book, including her earliest ones.
I found out later the block-seniors were
mostly Slovene Jewesses. They also held
other positions. They had arrived in one of
the first transports and had built the camp.
When they had first arrived, there were only
ditches, mud and a few huts. They had built
the road, the washrooms and the latrines. Out
of fifty thousand, less than a hundred
remained. And these, naturally were holding
had its own block-senior, as well as her
assistants, Stubenältesten, or Stubowa. These
were mostly Slovakian girls, who were
brought here when the camp was first
opened, and they had literally built it up with
their own hands. There were many thousands
of them to start with and only a few had
survived. These survivors held the best posts
in the camp.
A few mile further we were stationed along
a marked area. Shovels and spades were
handed out. We were already very hungry
and tired after the unexpected tramp, and the
day was just beginning. Each group of five
was assigned to a square of ground which
had to be dug before noon.
I dug my spade into the hard ground.
Observing the others I began to imitate them.
I learned to burrow in the ground and rest
with one foot on the spade when the
supervisor had passed. It was most difficult
for me to throw out the sand. I was too weak
to lift the spade. Shura perspired copiously as
she tossed the earth with unusual
speed―with passion. She mumbled under
'Imagine that you are digging a grave for
them, it will immediately become much
easier. Just try...'
We were off. Again our march took about
two hours. In this group girls were digging.
At first it seemed as though nothing was
really made here. Each girl had a patch
allocated to her which had to be dug in a day.
It soon became apparent to me that we were
in fact digging graves. I dug, and my spade
would go in, but how was I to find the
strength to pull it out with the heavy mud on
it? At least, I comforted myself, digging is
easier than carrying stones.
"Just imagine you are digging these graves
for them and not for our people," the girl next
to me tried to cheer me. "You will see that
will make it easier."
I tried to get out of bed but my knees buckled
under―they were like cotton. I fell over a
I tried hard to get up in the morning , but my
legs felt as if they were made of cotton wool,
my knees bent under me and I collapsed.
They placed me on a pallet. Someone was
already on it. I straightened my legs with
difficulty. The other one's feet were touching
The woman in my bed was very ill. She was
kicking and twisting in bed. I begged her to
stop, but she did not hear me.
The typhus girl was
unconscious, kicking out and throwing her
body against the others. they begged her to
lie still, but she was unable to hear.
Continuously somebody's feet were in my
Outside the gates a road led to the crematory
right by a white villa. On both sides of the
road stretched fields of buckwheat and
lupins. Potatoes and vegetables grew
between our barracks. Closer to the barracks
were lawns or flower gardens. The most
romantic spot was in the vicinity of the
crematory behind the Sauna. The white villa
inspired one with carefree joy and
confidence. When the sun shone on that part
of Brzezinki, one was under the impression
that the white villa was a rural retreat where
gentle folk could find peace and rest.
But―this white villa was where they carried
out sentences of death. The prisoners were
shot and the walls inside the villa were
spattered with blood.
As we walked through the gate I could
recognize the sauna on the left. At the back
of it was a well cultivated plot where
vegetables were planted. Some distance
behind was a white house, surrounded by
beautiful lawns and flower beds, giving the
impression of a holiday resort. In actual fact,
the white house was empty. Its inside walls
were splashed with blood, the blood of
innocent people, for in there death sentences
by shooting were carried out
One of the girls
was smoking a cigarette. She tried to hide it,
but the smoke betrayed her. The chief struck
her in the face and took down her number.
She would go back to the camp. The chief
passed through the room. I envied those on
the upper beds. They could hide from her.
She lifted a blanket with the end of the cane
which she carried so gracefully. There was
no linen on that bed because the owner did
not have the bread to spare for the purchase
of a sheet in Canada.
'Block-senior!' the chief called. The blocksenior,
thoroughly frightened, stood before
her at attention.
'You all seem very well off here. They were
laughing when I walked in, smoking
cigarettes. Do you think you have other
rights than the rest of the camp? Remember
that even though you are "the ladies of the
property store", you are still under orders.'
'Yes, Chief-Overseer,' the block-senior
'And you, if you permit this conduct, straight
to the bunker you'll go, understand?'
Someone in our block had been caught
"It seems you have it good here, Damen von
der Kanada," said SS man Wunsch,
nicknamed "Wiener Schnitzel". "If I catch
you again the whole block will go to the SK
and your Blockälteste to the Bunker."
The men who had been dismissed
after the roll-call were now bending,
jumping, stooping. Wagner was running
around the field and snapping his whip like
an animal trainer, and the men, young and
old, fell, bent, jumped in rhythm to the short
'Los! Auf! Schnell! Laufen! Los! Auf!'
If someone was a second late Wagner was
beside him in a thrice and struck him in the
face. He would at the same time call another
other and run to another victim. Everyone
was rushing breathlessly. A few of the older
'Why are they exercising?'
'They found a message to a woman on one of
them, and a bottle of vodka on someone else
when they searched the barracks.
Someone in the men's camp
had been caught a gryps, a letter to a woman,
and this was strictly prohibited, one was not
allowed to own a pencil, let alone write. We
watched as the men behind the fence were
made to perform to the lashing whip and the
orders of SS man Wagner.
"Los! Auf! Schneller! Laufen! Los! Auf!"
Men, old and young were sitting down,
getting up, running fast, laying down on their
bellies, all at tremendous speed. If anyone
was a second late Wagner was on him
beating and kicking as he shouted his orders.
It was a barbarous "sport".
The girl was speaking about Mala. I drew
closer. 'They brought her to the camp at nine
in the morning and took her to the blockleaders'
office. They were to show her to
everyone so that no one would doubt them
any longer. They wanted to keep her until the
roll-call and then hang her. But Mala had a
razor blade and cut her wrists. One of the
block-leaders rushed up to her and called,
"What are you doing, Mala?" Mala hit him in
the face and said, "Don't touch me you cur!"
Then the chief began to make fun of her,
laughing at her because she had been caught.
'Blood spurted out of Mala's wrists while the
chief stood over her and abused her.
Suddenly Mala leapt up, I don't know where
she got her strength―her faced brightened
with a happy smile and she shouted so loudly
that the girls outside the block-leaders' office
could hear her, "I know I'm dying, but that's
-not important! The important thing is that
you are dying with me. Yours hours are
numbered. You're dying, you hateful viper
and a thousand vipers like you. Nothing can
help you, nothing can save you".
'Those were her last words. The chief had a
fit. The block-leaders were shaken. One of
them was supposed to have tears in his eyes.
It was the one she had struck in the face. He
had liked her very much when she was a
messenger. He took out his revolver and
finished her off. Then we carried her out of
the block-leaders office.
Some weeks later, Mala was brought into the
camp, so that we could see that she had really
been caught. She was to be hanged after the
sacred Zählappell. Everything was ready, and
most of the SS leaders were there to watch
the ceremony. They all knew her well, and
they liked her. Then, the very moment she
was to have been hanged Mala suddenly
pulled out a razor blade and cut her wrists.
An SS man ran up to her. "Was machst du
Mala? What are you doing?"
Don't touch me you filthy dog, you
murderer," she shouted and then collapsed in
a pool of blood.
As she lay unconscious, the Oberführerin
Dreschler made fun of her, "Ha, so you
thought you could get away? The arm of the
Gestapo is far- reaching, we get everyone,
see? Did you really think you could cheat the
German Reich? Well, there is no such person
in the world."
Mala, her face wreathed in smiles, and with
her last breath shouted out, "It does not
matter if I perish, your own days are
numbered. You, and you, and this snake and
thousands of others will perish very soon,
nothing will help you any more."
She might have said more, but an SS man ran
forward and finished her off with the butt of
his gun. Her bloody body was placed on a
little cart and some of her friends were
"Now take here for a ride through the camp,
for all to see, the damned swine.
About an hour later the chimney of the fourth
crematory, which was just behind our
dormitory barrack, began to gush flames.
Simultaneously, smoke began to rise from
the hole which had be dug near the
crematory. At first a thin grey ribbon
appeared and then thick black billows,
growing heavier until they spread like a
cloud veiling the sky over that part of the
camp. The wind moved the cloud in our
direction. The smoke covered the sun and the
bright light of day turned to darkness. The
smoke carried the smell of burning flesh. It
was like the smell of a burning goose, only
much stronger. It choked and stupefied―my
head grew heavy with it.
'shut that window!' Nella broke the tense
silence. 'The smoke will kill us.'
Swaying on my legs, I closed the window. A
few minutes of silence followed.
'Open that window,' Tanya said. 'I can't bear
it. The smoke's getting through anyway.'
I opened the window. Just then the roar of a
thousand voices tore through the clouded air.
It lasted for two to three minutes
We listened―it came from the direction of
the white villa.
'The end of the world has come,' Zhuta
moaned. She began to pray. 'That came from
the ditches,' Irene explained. 'They're burning
About an hour after the arrival of the first
party, smoke began to pour out of the
chimneys of Crematorium IV. At the same
time, smoke arose from the ground, from the
large pits and trenches that had been dug.
The black dense smoke was coming towards
us, bringing with it that awful smell of
burning flesh. Everything looked as dark as
night. It seemed the end of the world had
Inside our block was stuffy. We coughed and
choked and someone opened a window. At
this minute came a terrifying such as we had
not heard before, thousands of people
screaming in agony. I think we ourselves
only half-conscious just then, standing still,
too dumbfounded to move. My brain
refusedvto function. I thought we were tough
and could take anything, but this was
certainly the limit! This was far beyond
anyone's imagination. Many girls could not
bear it and ran out to finish it once and for
all, "on the fence".
Someone beside me had gone out of control,
now shouting at the top of her voice, "Can't
You see why they scream like this? Can't you
see they are burning, roasting alive"?
Yes, it was true. She was not mad. She did
not imagine. They were burning them alive
In the meantime, the 'plan' was being
executed. Twenty thousand a day. Mohl
telephoned, rushed about on his motorcycle
and disbursed the raw material. The trucks
passed with charred corpses. Long lines of
people waited their turn at the crematories.
New improvements were made as the gassing
progressed. At the beginning people were
told to undress in the large dressing room
adjoining the bath (gas chamber). Thousands
of pairs of shoes were thrown hurriedly on
the truck and it was then difficult to match
pairs. They later ordered people to tie their
shoes together 'so that they would not get
All this time twenty thousand people were
going to their funerals daily. Was there no
end to it? Inside the gas chambers they were
forever improving on their already efficient
methods. They were certainly gaining
experience. Previously people's belongings
had all been mixed up and the sorting took a
long time. Now notices were displayed for all
shoes, stockings and other clothing to be tied
together, so that they should not get lost or
mixed up in the "dressing and disinfecting"
Three hundred men from the special squad
were notified that they were to leave with a
transport. So this was the end. They had
expected this moment. They had waited for it
in unrelenting fear. But they could not be
fooled so easily―not they! They would start
a riot as soon as they got to the next camp, or
even here on the ramp. They decided to strike
as soon as the right people got in their way.
They sent out messages to the camp saying
that they were to leave at night, but that they
would not be killed and burned. We were to
get ready. The news was whispered from hut
to hut. They were ordered to go to the
clothing-room in Oswiecim to change their
clothes. We saw them as they passed our
windows. They were singing with heads
raised high. The uncertainty and waiting had
come to an end. They knew that they must
die, but they were ready to act. They entered
Oswiecim, and still joking went in for their
clothes. The door was then bolted and the
hut, constructed just like the others, was
filled with gas. This time too, they had got
the better of the experienced special squad.
One morning the Sonderkommando had been
informed that they were to go "on transport"
- to be sent away to another camp. But the
men were doubtful. Was it just another trap
setup by these cowards, who, at all costs,
wanted to avoid trouble - or was this really
true? Was there a ray of hope? Everyone so
much liked to cling to every scrap of hope.
The men vowed that they would not allow
themselves to be taken alive and that there
would be an uprising. Secret messages were
distributed and smuggled into other camps.
Everyone waited for something to happen for
the men had arranged to attack the SS as
soon as they were on the way. They came
past our block smiling and determined to
fight. One could sense the joy the felt at
leaving this hell of the smoking chimneys.
They were marched out to Auschwitz I in
order to be deloused and re-clothed, ready for
their journey to another camp. The
Bekleidungskammer, the clothing stores,
were an ordinary block, just like all the
others. The men of the Sonderkommando
were in the middle of changing into fresh
clothes when suddenly the doors were bolted
and the gas was let in.