Are There Ghosts in Auschwitz?

Are There Ghosts in Auschwitz?

Are there ghosts at Auschwitz? Many have tried to answer this question without coming to a definitive conclusion.

Perhaps because of the truly wicked and depraved acts that were perpetrated in the death camps as part of the Nazi’s final solution, a thorough investigation into the paranormal has never been performed.

If ghosts linger where there has been emotional turmoil, tragedy and misery then surely they exist at Auschwitz.

The only evidence that we have to base our opinion on is the evidence of the thousands of visitors who make the pilgrimage to Auschwitz every day, visitors who leave deeply affected by what they have seen, heard and felt.

Auschwitz: A Brief History

Auschwitz was a series of concentration camps set up in Poland in 1940, to house political prisoners. Named after a nearby town, its title now resonates with a different meaning and fills most who hear it with horror.

By 1941 the camps had become part of Hitler’s final solution to the Jewish question. Jews, Russians, political prisoners, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Romani were sent to the camps for extermination.

Stripped of clothes, belongings, even the fillings in their teeth, the weak were sent to the gas chambers and thrown into mass graves.

Those that were stronger did not survive long. Forced to work in freezing conditions, starved, suffering from infectious diseases, their life expectancy was only three months.

Auschwitz was a series of concentration camps set up in Poland in 1940

Atrocity after atrocity was committed until it was difficult to imagine what else could be done to these poor people.

The Nazis unfortunately were more imaginative and began to perform the most horrific experiments on those that entered the camps. With a massive pool of siblings and twins to operate upon, the evil Dr Mengele began performing surgery on children and adults without any concern for their welfare.

Few escaped the camps, but those who did informed the Allied forces of their conditions. Sadly, they were not believed. The Allies refused to bomb the camps.

It was not until the end of the war when they were liberated by British and American troops that the truth was revealed and the world hung its head in sorrow and shame.

Auschwitz Today

At the end of the war most of the concentration camps were destroyed. Auschwitz I and II remained intact, however.

Many felt that to obliterate the camps completely was to obliterate the memory of something which should never be forgotten.

Today the camps are a tribute to those who died and are visited by thousands every year. Many of these people are profoundly moved, whether it is the enormity of history that moves them or the throngs of souls lost, it is hard to say.

The sadness of Auschwitz is often described as overwhelming. Both men, women and often teenage children who may know little of the camp’s history describe a palpable sorrow as you walk through its gates.

Ironically, the legend inscribed over the gates Arbeit Macht Frei means work sets you free, surely a final insult.

The camp itself is now characterized by an eerie silence, few people speak but listen intently to the information guides as they move around the camp.

The gas chambers are now sealed with concrete and the displays kept simple, but there is much to see and shock.

Often in tears, many have reported feeling tiny ghostly hands slip into theirs as they stop to look at the heaps of shoes taken from prisoners, a young girl’s fancy sandal and a baby’s tiny first shoes peeping from the pile.

Others have reported that their cameras jammed as they tried to photograph the mountain of human hair shaved from people entering the camp.

Orbs and strange shapes have been recorded dancing about the mangled mounds of broken spectacles and redundant, battered suitcases.

Voices have been heard pleading for help and assistance as visitors have walked through the simple numbered bunk beds where so many sought refuge from their misery in sleep.

Others have felt themselves touched gently by imploring fingers as they moved through the camp.

Irma Grese: The Beautiful Beast

Irma Grese is perhaps the most infamous and notorious guard that came out of Auschwitz. If ever there was proof that evil could exist within beauty, she was surely it.

Born in Germany in 1923 she had quite an unhappy life. Bullied by her schoolmates and left with a feeling of abandonment when her mother committed suicide, she became fascinated by the Nazi Female Youth.

In 1940 she was stationed at her first concentration camp. When her father could not dissuade her from taking up this role, he disowned her.

It was clear then that she had a moral compass in her life but chose to ignore it. In 1943 she was sent to Auschwitz where her career flourished.

Placed in charge of the 30,000 female Jewish prisoners, it was she who decided who was sent to the gas chambers and who survived, starving and degraded in the misery of the camp.

In 1945 she was sent to Bergen- Belsen .Soon after the war ended and she was arrested. As the world’s eyes were opened to the atrocities within the extermination camps a voice was finally given to the victims.

Grese was described as ‘the beautiful beast’ by those who testified against her at her trial. Her story was one of cruelty, murder and torture.

Rumored to be the lover of the camp commander at Auschwitz and the evil Dr. Mengele, she indulged in sexual excess.

Holding the Jewish people in utter contempt she is said to have owned a light shade made of the human skin of her victims.

Auschwitz, History, Concentration Camp

At her trial Grese was found guilty of her crimes, despite protesting that she was only carrying out orders. Controversy surrounds her execution, some reports suggest that she was hanged by the British hangman Pierrepoint, others give a different story.

Perhaps blinded by her beauty a number of people refused to hang Grese. In the end a Jewish hangman Lutzheim volunteered.

Contemptuous of the Jewish people until the bitter end, Grese swore that if he touched her she would return to haunt those who sentenced her to death.

In 1948 she was first spotted wandering near the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Ironically her ghost did not return to haunt those who hung her, but to wander around the camp where she once flouted her power and caused so much suffering.

Conclusion

Are there ghosts in Auschwitz? Certainly many people who visit the death camps today have reported unexplained phenomenon.

Considered to be a war grave, many feel that a thorough paranormal investigation of Auschwitz would be inappropriate until the wounds of the past are fully healed.

If you accept that ghosts exist where there has been great emotional turmoil, suffering and tragedy, then surely they must exist in Auschwitz.

How awful it is though, to imagine that these poor tortured souls remain tied to a place where they endured so much. How ironic also, that the only full apparition witnessed at Auschwitz is that of the beautiful beast, Irma Grese.

Divine retribution?

One can only hope.

Do we really need proof of ghostly presences at Auschwitz though to know that the souls of so many live on?

Perhaps the legacy of this awful place where man’s inhumanity to man was laid bare for the world to see, is that so many people who visit Auschwitz today, leave truly haunted by what they have experienced.

The Hinterkaifeck Mystery

The Hinterkaifeck Mystery

Bavaria 1921 and the end of a long cold winter. Who could possibly know then, that a small farm seventy kilometres from Munich and close to the small hamlet of Kaifeck, was about to provide Germany with one of its most enduring mysteries?

Almost a century later and the events of Friday 31st March still baffle amateur sleuths and paranormal investigators.

The Hintercaifeck mystery remains unsolved, posing far more questions than answers. Intriguing and puzzling, it provides the German police with a most frustrating cold case.

Hintercaifeck Farm

Hintercaifeck Farm was a small farm a short distance from the hamlet of Kaifeck. Backing onto a forest, the farm was relatively isolated.

Although it was small, the farm was successful and the occupants, although not rich, were certainly comfortably off.

The owner of the farm Andreas Gruber, lived there with his wife Cazilla, his widowed daughter Viktoria Gabriel and her children Cazilla who was 7 and Josef 2.

On the 31st March, Maria Baumgarten, a very unlucky lady, arrived to replace the Grubers’ maid who had left six months before. The cast of this mystery was complete and the scene was set for a very gruesome murder to take place.

Murder in The Barn

Sometime during the evening of Friday 31st March, the first two victims of this shocking crime, Viktoria Gabriel and her daughter Cazilla, were lured into the barn of the farm and attacked.

Possibly returning a cow to its stall and still wearing their day clothes, they entered the barn and met their deaths. Both mother and child had been partially strangled before being attacked with a pick axe.

The poor child did not die immediately and was found clutching clumps of her own hair which she had pulled out herself.

Sometime later that evening Andreas Gruber and his wife Cazilla entered the barn in their night clothes and were also killed. Their attacker then entered the house and murdered the small child Josef and the maid Maria, as they slept in their beds.

Strange Events

One of the most fascinating aspects to this case is the strange series of events which preceded the murders. The Grubers had been without a maid for six months before the unfortunate Maria arrived to meet her fate.

The previous maid had fled, convinced that Hintercaifeck Farm was haunted by a malevolent spirit who moved around the attic. Clearly nobody had warned the unfortunate Maria before she took up the post.

A few days before the murders Andreas Gruber had been disturbed by footsteps in the snow outside his home. The footsteps emerged from the nearby forest and led to his door, they then ended abruptly.

There were no visitors to the farm and the footprints did not belong to any of the occupants. A search of the farm revealed nothing. That evening Gruber heard noises from the attic above, again a search revealed nothing.

Over the next few days attempts were made to break into a shed on the property, a strange newspaper was found in the doorway of the house and a set of keys to the farm disappeared. Gruber was concerned enough to discuss it with his neighbors.

The Investigation

By the 4th April 1921, the absence of the family was raising concern and a group of neighbors arrived at the farm to investigate. What they discovered adds another bizarre twist to this story.

The animals on the farm had been tended to and were well fed, despite almost five days passing since the murders. There was food on the table in the house and a fire had been lit.

The murderer clearly felt confident enough to stay around for a few days, without being discovered. The bodies in the barn had been neatly stacked and covered with hay, Maria the maid was covered with a sheet and the toddler Josef, with one of his mother’s skirts.

Over 100 people were interviewed by Munich police determined to crack the case and solve the murder. Robbery was clearly not a motive as jewelry and coins were found in the house and would have been easily discovered.

Eventually, frustrated by the lack of progress, the police took the decision to decapitate the bodies of the poor victims, sending their heads to Munich to be examined by clairvoyants for clues.

They could offer no answers. The cold case was reopened in 1996 by police and again in 2007.

The final conclusion was that the original investigative techniques were too primitive and that too much time had passed to solve the case. They did state though that there was a prime suspect for the murders, but refused to release the name out of defence to the suspect’s family.

The Suspects

Viktoria Gabriel was widowed almost seven years before the murders took place, yet she had a two year old son, Josef. Viktoria was insistent that the father of her son was a local man Lorenz Schlittenbauer.

He denied that he was the father of the child and in turn accused Andreas Gruber of incest with his daughter. Viktoria was in the process of suing Schlittenbauer for alimony when she was murdered.

Was this Schlittenbauer’s way of avoiding alimony?

One of the first neighbors to discover the bodies, others remarked at his coldness when seeing them for the first time. Indeed, he busied himself feeding the animals and preparing himself food while they waited for the police to arrive.

Another theory suggests that Viktoria’s husband was not killed during the First World War as previously thought and incensed to discover she had a child by another man, resorted to murder.

Although there is no grave for Karl Gabriel, other soldiers testified that they had seen him die on the battle field.

Viktoria had drawn her life savings out of the bank a few weeks earlier and borrowed a sum of money from a friend in order to buy a farm. She later left this sum of money in the confessional of the local church, clearly her plans had changed.

Falling asleep in school one day, the child Cazilla told her teacher that she was tired because her mother had run sobbing into the forest the night before and the family had been up late searching for her.

Had Viktoria begun a secret relationship that had gone wrong?

Was it coincidence that Maria Baumgarten arrived on the very day of the murders?

The Grubers had found it difficult to fill the post. Did Maria take the post because she was in trouble desperately trying to escape from someone or something who discovered her destination?

Or is there indeed a supernatural explanation for the murders of this poor family. Was the Gruber’s first maid correct when she said the farm was haunted by a malevolent spirit?

Conclusion

The Hintercaifeck mystery is unlikely to be solved today. Lovers, husbands or the supernatural , you decide. One thing is for sure though, almost a century has passed and the answers lie hidden in the dim and distant past .