Today is the 65th Anniversary of the opening of Auschwitz-Berkenau by advancing Soviet troops. One recent discovery is the story of 91 year old Denis Avey (pictured right with his sister on the outbreak of war), a British PoW being held at the satellite camp of Monowice.
He befriended Jewish inmate, Ernst Lobethall (pictured top) who passed on the address of his sister, Susanna who had escaped to London before outbreak of war. A coded message to her resulted in a delivery of chocolates and cigarettes possible under rules of PoWs, which Avey supplied to Lobethall in order to barter for warmer clothes which undoubtedly saved him during the death marches as the camp was evacuated in the face of advancing Soviets.
Yet, the most amazing part of his story is when he willingly traded places *twice* with Lobethall in order to gain access to the hell-camps and bear witness to the tales of horror emerging from them:
He fully intended to get as far as Birkenau, where the gas chambers and crematoria were constantly in operation, belching acrid fumes.
He only made it as far as Auschwitz III, where he spent the night on two occasions. Detection, he said, would have meant death.
Denis Avey: “They knew they’d only last five months”
“They’d have shot me out of hand”, he said. “I took a hell of a chance.”
He was determined to bear witness with the intention of telling the world after the war. He recalled the camp as being “evil” like “Hell on earth”.
Avey briefly met up with Susanna Lobethall after the war, when it was believed Ernst had perished. They lost contact, and she later was unable to reveal to him that her brother had survived and moved to the USA.
Now known as Ernie Lobet, he recorded a video testimony for the Shoah Foundation in 1995 in which he referred to a British soldier whom he remembered only as “Ginger” who had undoubtedly saved his life with gifts of cigarettes.
Avey was unable to speak for over 60 years of the vision of Gehenna he saw. Now living in Derbyshire, he recently did and this enabled Susanna to be traced and for him to find out that he had made a difference.
Sadly, this came too late to be reunited with Lobethall/Lobet who died in 2002, but Avey is currently in line to be made one of the Righteous Amongst Nations by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, taking full advantage of the free rope offer at Harry’s Place, Councillor Terry Kelly – who is some sort of socialist – says:
What, fighting long and hard – including the Zionists amongst them – and kicking serious Nazi arse before taking the role called of them elsewhere by Kelly, and dying valiantly?
Not only are they quivering behind anonymity;
Your name vill alzo go on ze lizt. Vot ist it? Don’t tell him, Pike!
some of them are still clinging to the obvious fiction that it was me who wrote these comments;
No, Terry, there’s plenty on your blog to provide endless amusement.
Zichrona l’ivracha to Denis Avey. Something else to Terry Kelly. Same for that mackeral-slapper, Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek.