Continuing on with my series of articles documenting the stories of so-called ‘Holocaust Survivors’, we have the case of Benjamin Wichtel, whose daughter, Diana, has recently written a travelogue-cum-family history about her father’s ‘Holocaust’ experiences.
The review by the ‘Jewish Daily Forward’ summarizes these as follows:
‘Diana Wichtel’s father was an improbable Holocaust survivor. He managed to squeeze through the window of a rail car on its way from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka death camp, leaving his mother and other relatives to their fate. He spent the rest of World War II hiding in the forests of Poland and fighting with partisans, before finally making his way to Canada and a new life.’ (1)
Now, the minute we hear the word ‘improbable’ in reference to a ‘Holocaust’ story – or even just generally within witness testimony – we know that what we are about to hear is more than likely nonsense. In this case, the information we are given is sparse, but in essence Wichtel abandoned his entire family, squeezed through a window of a train car and then successfully escaped to go hang out with partisans in the primeval forests of Poland.
The problem with this – other than the fact that Wichtel comes off as a complete arsehole – is that the jews were transported to Treblinka in cattle trucks that had very small windows at the top of the carriage, not in passenger carriages with ready access to windows. Even then, in most ‘survivor’ accounts, photos and footage from the time, said windows were covered in barbed wire to prevent just such escape attempts.
So, that begs the question of how on earth Wichtel escaped? Did the jews in said cattle truck have wire cutters or something? If so, then why did more not escape?
The other question is: why did Wichtel escape?
He couldn’t know about where he was going or about the so-called homicidal carbon monoxide gas chambers of Treblinka because this was a German state secret (as Holocaust historians readily admit) and information was not readily available beyond possibly the usual atrocity propaganda rumours.
Maybe he took them seriously, or he possibly just hated the Germans and wanted to ‘fight back’.
We will never know.
What we do know is in his alleged escape he also managed to evade the SS guards who would have been present on the train, which is possible, but – as one would say – rather too lucky in the context of the whole ‘improbable’ pastiche of Wichtel’s alleged ‘experiences’.