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Preface to the 2015 Edition • 3,600 Words

My investigations of the Jewish “Holocaust” commenced in 1972, and thirty nine years have passed since the first publication of this book in 1976 in England as The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. Thirty eight years have passed since the release of the slightly revised second British and first American edition of 1977. This text consists of the last, preceded by a short article I wrote for the student newspaper at Northwestern University in 1991[1]Daily Northwestern, May 13, 1991, correction May 14. and followed by five supplements representing writings from 1979-2014. There is also an addendum to Appendix E (“The Role of the Vatican”), consisting of the obituary/tribute I wrote on Rev. Robert A. Graham. All except a late addendum to Supplement 5 were published in the Journal of Historical Review, which ceased publication in 2002. Also Appendix A on Kurt Gerstein, has been revised somewhat.

I am proud that this book remains of interest to anybody almost 40 years after its first publication. Nevertheless, the age of this text, and the great advances that have subsequently occurred in Holocaust revisionism, require some comments on the value of the book to today’s reader. How can such an old text not be obsolete today? What does today’s reader gain from it? Would it not be better to revise this text to take into account more recent developments?

From the perspective of today, the book has defects, and several people, of whom I am one, could now do better. In admitting such defects, I can plead that I was one man working with little help. Except for Wilhelm Stäglich, the correspondents I had before publication in 1976 were not then, and have not subsequently become, significant in revisionist work. The literature of revisionist orientation was scanty. Some of it was rubbish that constituted a minor nuisance. On the positive side were Paul Rassinier, Thies Christophersen, and Wilhelm Stäglich. At that time the writings of Rassinier, a former political prisoner at Buchenwald, were of interest both as a primary source, relating personal experiences, and as historical exposition (today Rassinier is of interest only as a primary source). Christophersen and Stäglich, Germans who had been stationed near Auschwitz during the war, were of value only as primary sources, although Stäglich later wrote a book of historical exposition. Even taking these three into account, the historical complex was not there, as I shall explain below.

A common complaint about this work has been that I am not a trained historian or history professor. It is, however, not unusual for people who are not academic historians to make contributions to historiography. The great American historian Francis Parkman was no history professor; he had only a brief academic appointment as Professor of Horticulture at Harvard. The late Arnaldo Momigliano urged wariness of academic historians and pointed out that none of the three leading nineteenth century historians of the ancient world was a history professor, e.g.Mommsen was a Professor of Law.[2]Momigliano.

However, such examples do not satisfactorily illustrate the fact that history has a closer relationship to popular culture than most other academic disciplines. This is easily clarified and proved. In the major book reviews (New York Times, New York Review, etc.) one can find reviews of, and advertisements for, many works on the leading edge of historical research, i.e. works not specifically written for popular readership. No such attention is given to leading edge works in electrical engineering and most other academic disciplines. Many intelligent laymen can read such historical works with comprehension. If many can read them, then some can write them. I could give reasons for this relatively popular status of serious history study, but it would carry us too far afield. In any case, there is no venality on the part of academic historians in approving of such popular promotion of their books.

Such observations show, however, that there is hypocrisy in the orthodox historians’ common implication, when denouncing Holocaust revisionism, that only people with their kinds of Ph.D. degrees are competent to deal with historical issues.

The style of my book is certainly not elegant. I believe my style has improved much since then but, like most men with a technical education, my style remains at best dry and not elegant. It was, however, good enough to do the job. I have even sometimes wondered if elegance of style might be incompatible with a subject as dreary as the present one.

It is not immodest for me to say that mine is the best book of its type, because it is the only book of its type. To compare my book to others, the approach of mine is horizontal, the others vertical. Subsequent investigators have taken specific subjects and gone more deeply into them than I did. Such vertical approaches should be contrasted with my horizontal. I attempted to cover every reasonably relevant aspect of the problem. The question of the existence of homicidal gas chambers was only one of many. I tried to show what did happen as well as what did not. I showed the relevance of the Zionist and related movements. I discussed the Allied policies and the Jewish influences in them. My use of sources (e.g. the Nuremberg trials, Red Cross reports, Vatican documents, contemporary newspaper accounts) today seems obvious but it was not then. To aid in comprehending the early war crimes trials, I gave witchcraft trials as a useful precedent.

I claim an additional contribution of this book that may seem ridiculous on its face. I treated the German concentration camps as specific institutions that existed in specific locations, with the alleged events that took place in them taking place, if at all, in real space and real time, together with other events that happened simultaneously in those same camps or in real space. By “real space” I mean a space that we all exist in so that, whatever happened at Auschwitz, it happened at the same time President Roosevelt held meetings in Washington, and I as a child went to school, etc., and in the same space.

That is so obvious that it may seem preposterous for me to present it as an original perspective, but please hear me out. My impression of the extant literature was that the events claimed there may as well be imagined as having taken place on Mars, if at all, so absent was a concern for the broader context. As I reminded readers on page 227:

“There was a war going on during World War II.”

Consider my presentation of Auschwitz, the principal alleged “extermination camp.” I started by describing Auschwitz as a camp that performed functions similar to those performed by typical German camps that are not claimed to have been extermination camps; I outlined those functions and I presented a map showing where the German camps were. Then I described Auschwitz in its unique respects and showed, why the Allies would have been interested in events transpiring at Auschwitz. I presented pictures of crematorium ovens at Auschwitz and other camps. I presented a map of the Auschwitz region and a plan of the “Birkenau” section of the Auschwitz camp. That plan and the various maps showed the reader exactly where, in Europe, Poland, and at Auschwitz, the great gas chambers were supposed to have been located. Then I considered one of the specific groups of Jews, the Hungarian Jews, not only from the point of view of allegations of events in German camps but from the point of view of events in Hungary. That is, for me the problem of the Hungarian Jews was as much a problem of what happened in Hungary as what happened at Auschwitz. Even in considering events at Auschwitz, I chose to place my perspective elsewhere, among the Allies who, at the time in question, were very interested in Auschwitz as an industrial bombing target and would have photographed the camp for that purpose.

The photographs were produced almost three years after publication of my book and confirmed my conclusions, but that is not the point that I am now trying to emphasize. My point is that, as unlikely as it may seem, my method of placing Auschwitz in its general historical context was essentially unique in this historical area. True, some of what I said in that respect is to be found in earlier books that purported to relate how the “exterminations” transpired, but in scattered bits and pieces that were usually incidental to those accounts. Even so, much had to be culled from diverse sources. For example, though it seems obvious that any useful discussion of the Auschwitz problem required a map of the Auschwitz region and of the Birkenau camp, the former had to be constructed by me from several sources and the latter had to be lifted, not from one of the standard “Holocaust” books such as those by Hilberg or Reitlinger, but from a book about a German trial of Auschwitz personnel that took place in 1963-5. Hilberg, Reitlinger, and similar authors were very stingy with maps and pictures, except in books specifically devoted to presenting pictures. We can say, with only minor oversimplification, that they would sell you a book of pictures or a book of text, but not one book integrating the two in any useful way.

I believe my analysis provoked investigations of specific problems, even when such influence was not acknowledged. My implied skepticism about the reality of the mysterious “German industrialist” who in 1942, according to the World Jewish Congress, passed along information that a plan to exterminate the Jews had been discussed in Hitler’s headquarters, may have provoked the later investigations attempting to determine his identity. Walter Laqueur and Richard Breitman, in Breaking the Silence, 1986, unconvincingly proposed Eduard Schulte. I also stressed the inaction of the Allies with respect to Auschwitz, which Laqueur (The Terrible Secret, 1980) and Martin Gilbert (Auschwitz and the Allies, 1981) tried without success to explain.

The existence and relevance of the 1944 aerial reconnaissance photos of Auschwitz were, to the best of my knowledge, first argued in my book.[3]There is an unconfirmed and disputed claim that U.S. Army Capt. Jacob Javits (later U.S. Senator) used the photos, in 1944, to argue for bombing Auschwitz. See letters in the New York Jewish weekly Forward, 23 Feb. 2001, 10, and 6 April 2001, 16. If the claim is true, the photos were forgotten until I argued, in my 1976 book, that they had to exist. I am inclined to think the claim is not true. I also believe that my book provoked, perhaps through some intermediary, the 1979 release of these photos by the CIA (Brugioni & Poirier), but again such influence is not admitted.

I analyzed the specifics of the alleged extermination process at Auschwitz. I showed that all of the specific material facts required a dual interpretation of relatively mundane facts, e.g. transports, selections, showers, shaving hair, Zyklon B, crematoria, etc., all real and all relatively mundane, had been given a second interpretation. That insight scarcely merits the label today, but it did then. It has been the main paradigm for all subsequent revisionist writing on Auschwitz and other alleged “extermination camps.” It may seem very simple and obvious after one reads this book; it certainly was not when I wrote it. The reader is shown what sorts of questions he should ask if he wants to go further. Those who have studied the development of ideas understand that the right answers are not attainable until the right questions are formulated (yes, questions can be right or wrong). This book, even today, shows how to do that.

I consider my book generally “right” even today in the sense of how the historical parts fit together, and they fit perfectly without major or fundamental mysteries. Contrast the gyrations of the typical orthodox historians who have nothing but mysteries. How and when was an order to exterminate given? Was such an order given at all? Why didn’t the Allies recognize what was (allegedly) happening at Auschwitz? Why didn’t the Pope forthrightly condemn physical extermination, even after the German had been driven out of Rome? Why didn’t the Allied press give greater prominence to reports of extermination of Jews, rather than bury them in the back pages of the larger newspapers?

This horizontal analysis remains unique in the revisionist literature. The book presented a historical complex that remains valid today. The book made specialized studies easier because investigators did not have to worry about coherence of the larger picture; they could direct a curious person to my book. I did a good enough job for that, even if not a perfect job. The proof is that, among revisionists, defects of the book are certainly seen, but, unfortunately, there seems to be no great demand for an improved integrated work of comparable scope and no aspiring author in view.

An example. You want to discuss the question of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz. My old book won’t help if you want to be current, and there would not necessarily be any reason to cite it.[4]The discussion of some issues of the alleged Auschwitz homicidal gas chambers as printed here in Supplement 5 is up to date, though. There are much more recent and conclusive writings, but I could not imagine a person securely venturing into such a controversy without having a grasp of the general historical complex, as provided in my book. Thus, I cannot imagine contemporary Holocaust revisionism existing without a book such as mine, even if it is never necessary to cite it today.

It is still the only book of this sort. A better one would be nice but there are two problems that occur to me. First such a book, if written from the point of view of our knowledge today, would not fit into a single volume. This explains why I reject the idea of trying to bring this book up to date. Such a project would quickly run away from “updating,” resulting in an entirely new work. Any attempt to respect the original content and organization of the book would be a handicap in the updating project. The best single volume for bringing the reader up to date on revisionist scholarship is a compilation of papers by many people, not an integrated work.[5]Rudolf 2003a. Expanded version of the text originally published in German as Gauss 1994. There is also the multi-author, multi-volume effort crystallizing in the revisionist series Holocaust Handbooks, now counting some 30 volumes: See ads at the end of this book.

Second, a paradox: a weakness of the book explains some of its strength. From the present point of view, there seems much in the book that is awkwardly presented. This is because I did not write this book as an expert. The book was written as works of research normally are: I was myself struggling to understand, as would an intelligent and serious reader. Thus, the book expresses a relationship of common perspective, and therefore implicit mutual empathy, between author and reader that could not exist in a new book, written today from a position of expertise and directed at a neophyte reader, which is the only relationship possible today. I believe this explains the occasional overwhelming effect the book has. From this point of view the book is still contemporary, as well as “right,” and ought not undergo major revision.

For these reasons, I have rejected any idea of “updating” this book. Rather, several later writings from 1979 on have been provided here, as specified above.

That this book is still valuable today is due to the distortions and misrepresentations that have continued to issue from the media and academe, resulting in millions of people so uninformed that a viewpoint of 1976 is a great revelation for them in 2015.

I consider this book as successful as could have been judiciously hoped under the circumstances, but it is important to view it as one of the successes in the phenomenon of Holocaust revisionism, for which no single person, or set of specific persons, can take credit. It seems to me to be just something that was timely and had to develop, and that I was just a part of this development. I discussed this in my paper reproduced as Supplement 1, but to try to make my point clearer, let me emphasize that the Jews have played a very important role in this development; they must take some of the credit. It was they who chose, in 1977, to spread the news of this obscure book to the most remote corners of the universe. Who could have imagined such massive publicity for a book from an unknown publisher, written by an unknown author, and only barely available in the USA? They have used their powerful positions in the media to keep the subject of “Holocaust” uppermost in the minds of the populace; we get it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The present “Holocaustomania,” which younger readers may believe has been a permanent feature of our public affairs since World War II, can be fairly said to have started with the 1978 NBC-TV “docudrama” Holocaust. Only Jewish groups (either formally Jewish or having a largely Jewish membership), on the campus of Northwestern University, have maintained students’ interest in my work on the “Holocaust.” Such mutual dependency only holds for things that had to happen.

When I wrote this book, there were perhaps a half dozen serious Holocaust revisionist researchers (most not known by me). Today there are too many for me to even try to list, and readers of contemporary Holocaust revisionist literature in all languages certainly number in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions.

There are many back-handed compliments to our success. Perhaps the most conspicuous is the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. A February 1992 funds appeal for it, signed by “National Campaign Chairman” Miles Lerman, named “revisionists” as those whom the museum would “counter.” The Museum formally opened in April 1993 with the “Intent on refuting revisionist attempts to diminish the scope of the Holocaust.”[6]Chicago Tribune, 23 April 1993, sec. 1, 18. As if that weren’t enough, the 104th Congress passed, without dissent, a resolution making only two points: it “deplores” revisionism and “commends the vital, ongoing work of the […] Museum.”[7]Senate resolution 193 passed 9 Nov. 1995, and House resolution 316 passed 16 April 1996. That silly Museum is an ironic monument to Holocaust revisionism.[8]Perhaps the most telling point is that the Museum, after so much promotion and millions spent, has failed to depict a homicidal gas chamber. Robert Faurisson has commented on this (1994, 23) and related his humorous encounter with the Museum’s director Dr. Michael Berenbaum (Weber (1994), 4).

The Museum will not be the last such monument. In 1996, Jewish Senators Barbara Boxer and Arlen Specter handed Jewish movie director Steven Spielberg a check representing a \$1 million federal grant for his “Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation” (a project of videotaping accounts of “survivors” – “Shoah” is the Hebrew word used in place of “Holocaust”). Specter motivated the grant in terms of opposing the considerable success of revisionists.[9] Boston Globe, 24 July 1996, A6. Spielberg got into “Shoah business” (from an American expression – “there’s no business like show business”) via his Schindler’s List movie, which also failed to depict a gassing or homicidal gas chamber. On the basis of his other movies and other scenes in this one, I could not attribute the failure to squeamishness on Spielberg’s part. He is a good enough showman to have realized that a complete depiction of a gassing via Zyklon B, faithful to the legend and to physical possibility, would have been far too preposterous even for him. The Jewish worker who was shot for exceeding her assigned tasks was routine rubbish, but the gassing would have been too much.

A more recent example is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. A July 2001 advertisement, appealing for funds, raised the danger of revisionism.[10]NY Times, 18 July 2001, A6.

Revisionist apostasy has been rare. It has been most visible in cases where some public figure who was not actually a revisionist made public remarks supportive of revisionism. A 1996 example was Abbé Pierre, a sort of French Mother Teresa (although more active in public affairs) who, despite his quick recantation of his revisionist remarks, will never be forgiven by his former friends.[11] NY Times, 1 May 1996, A6. Boston Globe, 23 July 1996, A5. This episode is one of many that illustrate the handicaps that Holocaust revisionism has labored under.

A final proof, if needed, of our success is the fact of laws passed in recent years, in several European countries, criminalizing the publication of revisionist views on the Holocaust. Such literature circulated freely in Europe until the present revisionist movement started making its impact in the late 70s. In the United States we are still free of state suppression, although there is considerable whining in some quarters about “First Amendment absolutism.” Here the repression works largely by extra-legal means of intimidation and reprisal. For example, Fred Leuchter was the leading execution technologist in the USA[12]Lehman. Also see the letters in the May 1990 issue of Atlantic Monthly. when he published his famous 1988 report on the alleged homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz and Majdanek.[13]Leuchter (1988); more recent and critically commented: Leuchter, Faurisson, Rudolf (2012). Since then, his business has been ruined and his marriage destroyed. All such developments are of course back-handed and evil tributes to the success of Holocaust revisionism. Even the most naive reader will see the point: they don’t want you to know these things! They are trying to hold back the wind.

We are successful, but we have a long way to go, as the brute strength of the dying monster is considerable.

Evanston, Illinois
June 2003
updated November 2014


[1] Daily Northwestern, May 13, 1991, correction May 14.

[2] Momigliano.

[3] There is an unconfirmed and disputed claim that U.S. Army Capt. Jacob Javits (later U.S. Senator) used the photos, in 1944, to argue for bombing Auschwitz. See letters in the New York Jewish weekly Forward, 23 Feb. 2001, 10, and 6 April 2001, 16. If the claim is true, the photos were forgotten until I argued, in my 1976 book, that they had to exist. I am inclined to think the claim is not true.

[4] The discussion of some issues of the alleged Auschwitz homicidal gas chambers as printed here in Supplement 5 is up to date, though.

[5] Rudolf 2003a. Expanded version of the text originally published in German as Gauss 1994. There is also the multi-author, multi-volume effort crystallizing in the revisionist series Holocaust Handbooks, now counting some 30 volumes: See ads at the end of this book.

[6] Chicago Tribune, 23 April 1993, sec. 1, 18.

[7] Senate resolution 193 passed 9 Nov. 1995, and House resolution 316 passed 16 April 1996.

[8] Perhaps the most telling point is that the Museum, after so much promotion and millions spent, has failed to depict a homicidal gas chamber. Robert Faurisson has commented on this (1994, 23) and related his humorous encounter with the Museum’s director Dr. Michael Berenbaum (Weber (1994), 4).

[9] Boston Globe, 24 July 1996, A6. Spielberg got into “Shoah business” (from an American expression – “there’s no business like show business”) via his Schindler’s List movie, which also failed to depict a gassing or homicidal gas chamber. On the basis of his other movies and other scenes in this one, I could not attribute the failure to squeamishness on Spielberg’s part. He is a good enough showman to have realized that a complete depiction of a gassing via Zyklon B, faithful to the legend and to physical possibility, would have been far too preposterous even for him. The Jewish worker who was shot for exceeding her assigned tasks was routine rubbish, but the gassing would have been too much.

[10] NY Times, 18 July 2001, A6.

[11] NY Times, 1 May 1996, A6. Boston Globe, 23 July 1996, A5.

[12] Lehman. Also see the letters in the May 1990 issue of Atlantic Monthly.

[13] Leuchter (1988); more recent and critically commented: Leuchter, Faurisson, Rudolf (2012).

Acknowledgments • 200 Words

A number of individuals contributed valuable suggestions and critiques which are reflected in the text of this book, but of course the responsibility for any errors of fact or interpretation, if such be found, is entirely my own. I also wish to reserve for myself any problems that may arise on account of the reaction to this book, and for this reason I refrain from making the applicable personal acknowledgments here.

Institutional acknowledgments are made to the U.S. National Archives, the U.S. Army Audio-visual Agency, and the Foreign Affairs Document and Reference Center of the U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, to the Panst­wowe Museum, Oświęcim, and to the Library of the University of Chicago, and the Center for Research Libraries, Chicago.

Special acknowledgment is made to the staffs of the Imperial War Museum, London, the national office of the Netherlands Red Cross, The Hague, and the Library of Northwestern University (especially the inter-library loan department), Evanston, all of whom contributed more than routine services without, of course, being aware of the exact nature of the research involved.

For the 2003 (English) and 2015 editions (English and German), I also wish to acknowledge the editorial work of Germar Rudolf. I could not have had a better editor.

Arthur R. Butz

Preface to the 1976 Edition • 1,500 Words

In common with virtually all Americans, who have had their opinions formed since the end of World War II, I had, until not very long ago, assumed that Germany had given the world a particularly murderous outburst during World War II. This view has ruled Western opinion since 1945 and earlier, and I was no exception in accepting the essentials of it.

An important qualification in the preceding is the term “essentials,” for the collection of crimes of which the Germans were supposedly guilty in World War II grows rapidly smaller as one examines the evidence and arguments assembled in readily available “revisionist” books. An elementary critical examination reveals that most of the crimes that are real even in the minds of “intellectuals” (e.g. lampshades manufactured by some Germans from the skins of human beings killed in concentration camps for the purpose) obviously had no basis in fact. Likewise with legends about mistreatment of American and British prisoners of war. Moreover, the general problem is elaborated considerably when one weighs, as the revisionists do, the appalling wartime and postwar brutalities of the Western Allies.

Such an investigation does not overturn the “Holocaust” legend, however, and the “six million” Jews murdered, mainly in “gas chambers,” can seem immovable fact. The revisionist books which overturn some of the most popular misconceptions seem to accept the gas chambers as factual. All educated opinion that the investigator consults accepts the “extermination” story. Professors of history who have specialized in Germany, if asked, seem to consider the charge as established as the Great Pyramid. Liberal and conservative publicists, though they have very different attitudes toward World War II and America’s entry into it, and though they squabble with each other on almost everything else, close ranks on the reality of the “Holocaust.”

Noting the obvious ways in which this legend is exploited in contemporary politics, notably in connection with the completely illogical support that the U.S. extends to Israel, I had long had lingering doubts about it, and there was also the fact that there existed a small number of respected observers whose views had not been formed entirely after World War II and who, in the very limited channels open to them and with various degrees of explicitness, denied even the approximate truth of the legend. A good example is the distinguished American scholar John Beaty, who was called to active duty in the military Intelligence Service of the War Department General Staff just before the entry of the U.S. into the war and attained the rank of Colonel by the end of the war. Among other things, Beaty was one of the two editors of the daily secret “G-2 Report,” which was issued each noon to give persons in high places, including the White House, the world picture as it existed four hours earlier. In his book Iron Curtain Over America, published in 1951, he ridiculed the six million legend with a few remarks that were unfortunately brief and inconclusive, but, coming from a man who was one of the best informed in the world during the war, carried some amount of authority.

Elementary investigation into the question, of the sort the non-historian customarily does, led me nowhere. The meager amount of literature in the English language which denied the truth of the legend was not only unconvincing; it was so unreliable and unscrupulous in the employment of sources, when sources were employed, that it had a negative effect, so that the case for the truth of the essentials of the legend (disregarding quantitative problems, e.g., whether it was six million or four million or only three million) seemed strengthened. At the time I became aware that there existed additional literature in French and German but, being quite unaccustomed to reading texts in those languages except on rare occasions when I consulted a paper in a French or German mathematics journal, I did not undertake to acquire copies of the foreign language literature.

Moreover, I assumed that if such literature was worth more than what was being published in English, somebody would have published English translations.

Still possessing my lingering doubts I sat down, early in 1972, and started to read some of the “Holocaust” literature itself rather more systematically than I had previously, in order to see just what claims were made in this connection and on what evidence. Fortunately, one of my first choices was Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews. The experience was a shock and a rude awakening, for Hilberg’s book did what the opposition literature could never have done. I not only became convinced that the legend of the several million gassed Jews must be a hoax, but I derived what turned out to be a fairly reliable “feel” for the remarkable cabalistic mentality that had given the lie its specific form (those who want to experience the “rude awakening” somewhat as I did may stop here and consult pp. 567-571 of Hilberg[1]Vol. 3, 885-890, in the “revised and definitive edition” of 1985. Editor’s note: Cf. Graf.).

Although my long-lingering skepticism in regard to the legend was no longer on the defensive, my information could not, early in 1972, be considered conclusive, and my knowledge of the subject was not comprehensive, so I set out, at first in my “spare time,” to investigate the subject with the thoroughness that was required.

The reader will have surmised that my “spare time” eventually expanded considerably.

Several – for me startling – discoveries made the subject irresistible in a purely intellectual sense. I acquired the foreign language literature. Ultimately, I spent the entire summer of 1972 working on an exposé of the hoax, since by then I had penetrated and demolished the whole sorry mess. While the book you are holding differs considerably in quantity of factual content and general quality from the picture I had formed by the summer of 1972, that picture, whose essentials are transmitted here, was in such overwhelming contradiction to the lies that Western society had equipped me with, that my attention could not be drawn from the subject by any appeal to prudence or any such practical calculation. Because even early in the summer of 1972, it was evident that my research had carried the subject beyond the existing literature, I felt an inescapable obligation and an intellectual imperative to put forward for society’s evaluation what I knew about this most pernicious hoax. It quickly became clear that only a book would do; the subject could not, given the years of propaganda, be treated in a research paper or pamphlet and, a fortiori, it could not be treated in the form of a lecture.

The body of a text was written in the summer of 1972, and then the manuscript was gradually improved in the course of the next two years. A trip to Europe in the summer of 1973 was very rewarding, as was a trip to Washington later in the year. The book was essentially finished in late 1974.

There will be those who will say that I am not qualified to undertake such a work, and there will even be those who will say that I have no right to publish such things. So be it.

If a scholar, regardless of his specialty, perceives that scholarship in acquiescing, from whatever motivation, in a monstrous lie, then it is his duty to expose the lie, whatever his qualifications. It does not matter that he collides with all “established” scholarship in the field, although that is not the case here, for a critical examination of the “holocaust” has been avoided by academic historians in all respects and not merely in the respect it is treated in this book. That is, while virtually all historians pay some sort of lip service to the lie, when it comes up in books and papers on other subjects, none has produced an academic study arguing, and presenting the evidence for, either the thesis that the exterminations did take place or that they did not take place. If they did take place then it should be possible to produce a book showing how it started and why, by whom it was organized and the line of authority in the killing operations, what the technical means were and that those technical means did not have some sort of more mundane interpretation (e.g. crematories), who the technicians involved were, the numbers of victims from the various lands and the timetables of their executions, presenting the evidence on which these claims are based together with reasons why one should be willing to accept the authenticity of all documents produced at illegal trials. No historian has undertaken anything resembling such a project; only non-historians have undertaken portions.

With these preliminary remarks, therefore, I invite your study of the hoax of your century.

Evanston, Illinois
August 1975


[1] Vol. 3, 885-890, in the “revised and definitive edition” of 1985. Editor’s note: Cf. Graf.

A Short Introduction to the Study of Holocaust Revisionism • 1,000 Words

First published in the Daily Northwestern , May 13, 1991, correction May 14.

I see three principal reasons for the widespread but erroneous belief in the legend of millions of Jews killed by the Germans during World War II: U.S. and British troops found horrible piles of corpses in the west German camps they captured in 1945 (e.g. Dachau and Belsen), there are no longer large communities of Jews in Poland, and historians generally support the legend.

During both world wars Germany was forced to fight typhus, carried by lice in the constant traffic with the east. That is why all accounts of entry into the German concentration camps speak of shaving of hair, showering, and other delousing procedures, such as treatment of quarters with the pesticide Zyklon. That was also the main reason for a high death rate in the camps and the crematories that existed in all.

When Germany collapsed in chaos, then of course all such defenses ceased, and typhus and other diseases became rampant in the camps, which quartered mainly political prisoners, ordinary criminals, homosexuals, conscientious objectors, and Jews conscripted for labor. Hence the horrible scenes, which however had nothing to do with “extermination” or any deliberate policy. Moreover, the west German camps involved were not the alleged “extermination camps,” which were all in Poland (e.g. Auschwitz and Treblinka) and which were all evacuated or shut down before capture by the Soviets, who found no such scenes.

The “Final Solution“ spoken of in the German documents was a program of evacuation, resettlement, and deportation of Jews with the ultimate objective of expulsion from Europe. During the war, Jews of various nationalities were being moved east, as one stage in this Final Solution. The legend claims that the movements were mainly for extermination purposes.

The great majority of the millions allegedly exterminated were east European, not German or west European, Jews. For that reason study of the problem via population statistics has been difficult to impossible, but it is a fact that there are no longer large communities of Jews in Poland. However, the Germans were only one of several parties involved in moving Jews around. The Soviets deported virtually all of the Jews of eastern Poland to their interior in 1940. After the war, with Polish and other Jews pouring out of the east into occupied west Germany, the Zionists moved large numbers to Palestine, and the U.S. and other countries absorbed many Jews, in most cases under conditions making impossible a numerical accounting. Moreover, the Polish borders were changed drastically at the end of the war; the country was literally moved west.

Historians generally support the legend, but there are precedents for nearly incomprehensible blindness on the part of scholars. For example, throughout the Middle Ages even the Pope’s political enemies conceded his false claim that the 4th century Emperor Constantine had ceded rule of the west to the Pope, although all knew very well that Constantine had been succeeded by more emperors. Near unanimity among the academics is especially suspect when there exist great political pressures; in some countries Holocaust revisionists have been prosecuted.

It is easy to show that the extermination legend merits skepticism. Even the casual reader of the Holocaust literature knows that during the war virtually nobody acted as though it was happening. Thus, it is common to berate the Vatican, the Red Cross, and the Allies (especially the intelligence agencies) for their ignorance and inaction, and to explain that the Jews generally did not resist deportation because they did not know what was in store for them. If you add all this up you have the strange claim that for almost three years German trains, operating on a continental scale in densely civilized regions of Europe, were regularly and systematically moving millions of Jews to their deaths, and nobody noticed except for a few of our Jewish leaders who were making public “extermination” claims.

On closer examination, even those few Jewish leaders were not acting as though it was happening. Ordinary communications between the occupied and neutral countries were open, and they were in contact with the Jews whom the Germans were deporting, who thus could not have been in ignorance of “extermination” if those claims had any validity.

This incredible ignorance must also be attributed to Hans Oster’s department in German military intelligence, correctly labeled “the veritable general staff of the opposition to Hitler” in a recent review.

What we are offered in evidence was gathered after the war, in trials. The evidence is almost all oral testimony and “confessions.” Without the evidence of these trials there would be no significant evidence of “extermination.” One must pause and ponder this carefully. Were trials needed to determine that the Battle of Waterloo happened? The bombings of Hamburg, Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki? The slaughter in Cambodia?

Yet this three year program, of continental scope, claiming millions of victims, required trials to argue its reality. I am not arguing that the trials were illegal or unfair; I am arguing that such historical logic as the legend rests on must not be countenanced. Such events cannot happen without generating commensurate evidence for their reality, just as a great forest fire cannot take place without producing smoke. One may as well believe that New York City was burned down, if confessions to the deed can be produced.

Detailed consideration of the specific evidence put forward in support of the legend has been a focus of the revisionist literature, but I shall mention one point here. The claim of the legend is that there were no technical means provided for the specific task of extermination, and that means originally provided for other purposes did double duty in improvised arrangements. Thus, the Jews were allegedly gassed with the pesticide Zyklon, and their corpses disappeared into the crematories along with the deaths from “ordinary” causes (the ashes or other remains of millions of victims never having been found).

Surely any thoughtful person must be skeptical.

Chapter 1 • Trials, Jews and Nazis • 15,800 Words
Trials and Doubts • 2,600 Words

The “war crimes trials,” which the victors in World War II conducted, mainly of Germans but also of many Japanese, were precedent-shattering in their scope and in the explicitness of the victorious powers’ claims to some sort of legal jurisdiction in respect of laws or understandings, which did not exist at the time they were allegedly broken by the Axis powers. Thus, in disregard of European honor conventions, which had been respected for centuries, German civilian and military prisoners, many of the highest rank, met violent deaths while in Allied captivity as a supposed consequence of these extraordinary proceedings.

Nothing resembling the trials of 1945-1949, which were conducted by the wartime enemies of Germany, has ever occurred before. The case of Joan of Arc comes to mind, but that involved a solitary prisoner, not an entire state, and the English who were, in the last analysis, responsible for the trial did everything to make the issue appear to be one of heresy and witchcraft, already formally proscribed, to be decided by an impartial and universal church according to pre-existing rules of evidence and procedure.

In the United States, the real progenitor of the trials, opinion on the appropriateness of having conducted such trials has always been divided, but the balance has varied. In the immediate post-war period, opinion generally favored the trials with, however, some significant voices in opposition. In the middle of the heated election campaign of 1946, just before the major Nazis Göring, Ribbentrop et al. were to be hanged, Senator Robert A. Taft delivered a speech attacking both the legal basis for the trials and the sentences which had been imposed; his speech seems to have hurt his Republican Party in those elections.

A decade later, views had evidently changed somewhat, since at that time the then obvious presidential candidate John F. Kennedy published a book, Profiles in Courage (a survey of various people whom Senator Kennedy thought courageous), in which he commended Taft for taking this stand, adding that Taft’s views “are shared […] by a substantial number of American citizens today.”[1]Kennedy, 216-219; 236-239 in Memorial Edition.

With the Eichmann abduction in 1960 and subsequent “trial” and with the associated later publicity, opinion seemed to move again, however slowly, toward approval of the trials. Many reasons may be offered for this extraordinary reversal, but it seems to me that what had happened was that in a peacetime, generally non-hysterical atmosphere the world’s attention had been focused on one tale of a peculiarly macabre sort: the killing, mainly in “gas chambers,” of several (usual figure, six) million Jews of all ages and conditions by the Nazis during the war, as part of a program of ridding Europe of Jewry. Gerald Reitlinger’s The Final Solution, 2nd edition (1968), is generally accepted as the most detailed and useful presentation of this claim, and Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews (1961) tells essentially the same story. Other writings are Nora Levin’s The Holocaust (1968), several books by Léon Poliakov, and The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, by Lucy S. Dawidowicz (1975).

Returning to the problem of the appropriateness of the war crimes trials, everybody would agree as to the (at least) shaky legal foundations of the trials, but apparently many people would go along with the claim that the trials were appropriate anyway because normal wartime excesses were not involved; the extraordinary nature of the crime, the extermination of the European Jews, called for extraordinary proceedings. Such cruelty must not only be punished but documented as well, the argument goes.

I do not propose in this book to settle the question of what degree of cruelty justifies what degree of legal irregularity. Rather, a rarely heard point, which is at least relevant to the debate, is insisted upon here: It is a fact that without the evidence generated at these trials, there would be no significant evidence that the program of killing Jews ever existed at all. One has only to examine the sources employed by Hilberg and by Reitlinger to see this. If the trials had not been held, a person claiming the existence of the extermination program could not, if challenged, produce any evidence for this, save a few books (not including Hilberg or Reitlinger) whose claims are just as unsupported as his original claim. Thus, the problem that had been involved in deciding whether or not to hold trials on the Jewish extermination aspect was not a simple question of whether or not to try mass murder; unlike the usual murder case there was legitimate and very solid doubt that the deed had been committed at all.

This may surprise the reader who regards the tale of Jewish extermination as a near certainty; such is simply not the case. There are many considerations supporting this view, and some are so simple that they may surprise the reader even further. The simplest valid reason for being skeptical about the extermination claim is also the simplest conceivable reason: at the end of the war, they were still there.

This must be qualified only slightly. Consider a West European observer, who had been familiar with the status of European Jewry prior to the war, making a survey of West European Jewry in, say, late 1946 (East European Jewry was out of bounds). He would have found Italian, French, Belgian, and Danish Jewry essentially unscratched (these points will be discussed more fully in later chapters). On the other hand, he would have found that large numbers of Jews, possibly majorities, were missing from Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Czechoslovakia (then accessible from the West). German-Austrian Jewry was confused because, although most had emigrated before the war, it was difficult to be precise about what numbers had emigrated to where. In any case, large numbers, possibly majorities, of those who had remained were no longer resident in their former homes.

However, the absences were offset by the obvious fact that displaced persons’ camps in Germany were full of Jews (a figure of more than 250,000 has been given[2]Grayzel, 792.) and that many European Jews had emigrated to the U.S. or Palestine or elsewhere since the beginning of the war. The facts available to the West European observer in late 1946 argued very strongly against the extermination claims, which had received such wide publicity during the war and at the recent trial at Nuremberg.

The passage of a quarter of a century has, despite superficial developments, gradually strengthened this view of the extermination tale, although for many years there was only one serious writer in the field, the late French geographer Paul Rassinier. In 1948, he published a book, Passage de la Ligne, on his experiences as a left wing political prisoner at Buchenwald, 1943-1945, “generally received with sympathy, provoking only muffled and inconclusive gnashings of teeth on a certain side.”[3]Rassinier (1961a), 9. Then in 1950, he published Le Mensonge d’Ulysse (The Lie of Ulysses), a critical study of the concentration camp literature, in which he challenged the certainty of the gas chambers: “It is yet too early to pronounce a definitive judgment on the gas chambers.”[4]Ibid., 175.
(Rassinier (1961a), 9.)
This provoked a violent press campaign, which led ultimately to legal actions, in which author, preface author, and publisher were first acquitted, then found guilty with judgments involving fines, damages, and suspended prison sentence, and finally acquitted again.

In 1955, the two books were combined as Le Mensonge d’Ulysse, 2nd edition, in which material increasingly critical of the gas chamber claim had been added. The most common (but not very common) edition today is the fifth (referenced here), published in 1961, in which year Rassinier also published a short “complementary” volume, Ulysse Trahi par les Siens, consisting of three essays showing that he had moved rather strongly in the direction of a negative judgment on the gas chambers; the last essay is the text of a speech given in several German and Austrian cities in the early spring of 1960 (just before the Eichmann affair). In 1962 followed Le Véritable Procès Eichmann (The Real Eichmann Trial), a study of the entire range of alleged German crimes in their historical and political contexts; by this time, he had reached a definitive conclusion on the tale of extermination of the Jews: “a historic lie: the most tragic and the most macabre imposture of all time.”[5]Rassinier (1962), 112.

Rassinier employed two basic approaches to reach this conclusion: the material and the demographic.

By the material approach we mean the analysis of the evidence that mass executions of Jews by gassings or other specific means were in fact conducted by the Germans during World War II. The material approach is nearly synonymous with analysis of the war crimes trials evidence, or of the trials evidence as interpreted by Hilberg and by Reitlinger, and as supplemented by them with similar evidence. Rassinier only tentatively explored the demographic approach in Le Véritable Procès Eichmann, but in his final general work on the Jewish extermination problem, Le Drame des Juifs Européens (The Drama of the European Jews), 1964, he presented a lengthy analysis of the question from a demographic point of view. In 1965, he published L’Opération “Vicaire,” a critique of Rolf Hochhuth’s play The Deputy. One must comment that it is necessary to check up on Rassinier in his interpretation of sources; some do not check out, and, in addition, he employs some clearly unreliable sources at a few points. There are also some glaring but relatively irrelevant errors of fact, such as characterizing Hanson Baldwin as the New York Times’ “expert in matters of Jewish population” (it is doubtful that the Times ever had a staff member who could be characterized thus) and in asserting that the majority of American Jews are anti-Zionist and support the outlook of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism (which was never a politically significant organization). However, Rassinier was a courageous pioneer in an ignored area and, despite the various shortcomings of his work, no fair minded person could read it without becoming at least skeptical about the “exterminations.” Rassinier passed away in July 1967. His books had appeared in German, Spanish, and Italian translations, but no English translation was published for some years.[6]Editor’s note: A collection of the most important texts by Rassinier was published in 1978; another English language volume appeared in 1979.

Rassinier’s books were followed by three books, which Josef Ginsburg published under the pseudonym J. G. Burg: Schuld und Schicksal (Guilt and Fate), 1962, Sündenböcke (Scapegoats), 1967, and NS-Verbrechen (National Socialist Crimes), 1968.[7]J. Ginsburg wrote a number of other books, which got increasingly polemical with time, for instance Majdanek in alle Ewigkeit (Burg 1979). Editor’s remark. Ginsburg’s books are not particularly well researched, since his views are based mainly on what he had read in the newspapers plus his personal experiences as a Jew who, together with his family, was deported during the war to occupied eastern territory by the Nazis and the Romanians. After the war, Ginsburg took his family to Israel, but he eventually became very anti-Zionist and moved back to Europe, eventually setting up a bookbindery in Munich. While he believes that many Jews perished as a result of the combined effects of Nazi policies and wartime conditions, he denies that the German government ever contemplated the extermination of the Jews of Europe, and he is particularly scornful of the six million figure. He is unsure of the existence of gas chambers, but he believes that many Jews perished on account of epidemics, pogroms, air raids, and executions of partisans and offers an estimate of about three million as the maximum possible number of victims, although he believes the correct figure is much lower. As a reward for his efforts to get at the truth, Ginsburg, a small man and not young, was beaten up by Jewish thugs while visiting his wife’s grave in the Israelite cemetery in Munich.[8]The Ginsburg beating incident is well known and is mentioned by App, 20.

[Editor’s Note: In this context the seven-volume work Die Geschichte der Verfemung Deutschlands (The History of Germany’s Defamation) by the Vienna author Franz J. Scheidl ought to be mentioned, which was self-published in 1967/68. It was disseminated only in small numbers and is not widely known today even among revisionists. The work has a wide scope reaching from atrocity propaganda during World War I (vol. 1) to the injustice done to Germany and the German people after World War II (vols. 6 & 7). Especially volumes 3 to 5 tackle the orthodox Holocaust narrative head-on. A large part of Scheidl’s work consists of quotes from more or less revisionist writings which appeared earlier. It offers only little new material based on the author’s own research. Scheidl is moreover rather polemical at times and does not cite his sources properly in all cases. The value of this work lies primarily in its encyclopedic presentation of revisionist knowledge as it existed in the mid-1960s.]

In 1969, a short book was published in the United States, The Myth of the Six Million, attributed to an anonymous author.[9]This brochure had been authored by US historian David Hoggan; editor’s note. While some things can be said in favor of this book, e.g. I learned of Rassinier there, it also contains so many errors of fact that it illustrates that it is not enough that a book’s thesis be correct, for quite a few people who used it as a basis for prosecuting public controversy got burned as a result.

The next development was the publication in Germany of a book by Emil Aretz, Hexen-Einmal-Eins einer Lüge (The Witches’ Multiplication Table of a Lie), of which only the third edition, Munich, 1973, seems to have attained significant circulation. Aretz carries the case against the exterminations only slightly beyond Rassinier. He depends heavily on Rassinier in this respect, although he provides some new material. A major function of his book is the presentation of a remarkably bold and forthright general defense of the German nation.

The unreasonable continuation of war crimes trials in West Germany and the absence of any statute of limitations with respect to alleged war crimes by Germans have had a seldomly remarked implication: people who “were there” have been afraid to come forward and report what, to their knowledge, actually happened. They would rather not call attention to the fact that they “were there.” However, it was inevitable that a few courageous individuals would come forward nevertheless. The most important of these, to date, has been Thies Christophersen, author of the booklet Die Auschwitz Lüge (The Auschwitz Lie). Christophersen was at Auschwitz from January to December 1944. In 1973, he published his recollections and his firm view that no exterminations ever took place there. An English translation of Christophersen’s booklet, to which some colorful announcements had been added, was published in 1974. Christophersen was followed by Dr. Wilhelm Stäglich, a retired Hamburg judge, who had been assigned to an anti-aircraft unit near Auschwitz during 1944 and had visited the camp on a few occasions. For such honest reporting of his recollections, Stäglich was punished with a five year, twenty percent reduction of his pension.[10]Nation Europa, vol. 23 (Oct. 1973), 50; vol. 25 (Aug. 1975), 39. Editor’s remark: later Stäglich wrote an entire book (1979, Engl.: 1986), for which his doctor title was revoked. The book was ordered seized and destroyed; cf. Stäglich (2011), 505-510.

In late 1973, Austin J. App, a retired English professor in Maryland, published a short booklet, The Six Million Swindle. Early in 1974, Wolf Dieter Rothe published the first volume of his study, Die Endlösung der Judenfrage, and later in 1974, Richard Harwood published in England his book, Did Six Million Really Die? Harwood’s booklet is quite good in convincing power, although it has some weak points, and the reader is referred to Rassinier for a definitive treatment of the subject. It was favorably reviewed by Colin Wilson in the November 1974 issue of the influential British monthly Books and Bookmen, setting off a months-long controversy in the pages of that journal.[11]This brochure had a decisive influence on revisionism. Cf. Lenski. Editor’s remark.

In early 1975, Harry Elmer Barnes’ translation of one of Rassinier’s books, The Drama of the European Jews, was issued by a small publisher in the United States.

How Many Jews? • 2,700 Words

In this introductory chapter, we quickly review the principal problems that arise when demographic questions are asked. We then indicate, how demographic problems are resolved in this book, but indicate that the specific task of resolution must be deferred until later in the book.

The problems inherent in a demographic study are formidable. First, all sources of post-war primary data are private Jewish or Communist sources (exclusively the latter in the all important cases of Russia and Poland). Second, it appears that one can get whatever results desired by consulting the appropriately selected pre-war and post-war sources. Consider world Jewish population. The 1939 study of Arthur Ruppin, Professor of Jewish Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, gave 16,717,000 Jews in the world in 1938.[12]Ruppin, 30-33. Because Ruppin (who passed away in 1943) was considered the foremost expert on such matters, on account of many writings on the subject over a period of many years, the estimates of other pre-war sources tend to agree with him. Thus, the American Jewish Committee estimate for 1933, which appears in the 1940 World Almanac, was 15,315,359. The World Almanac figure for 1945 is 15,192,089 (page 367); no source is given, but the figure is apparently based on some sort of religious census. The 1946 World Almanac revised this to 15,753,638, a figure which was retained in the editions of 1947 (page 748), 1948 (page 572), and 1949 (page 289). The 1948 World Almanac (page 249) also gives the American Jewish Committee estimate for 1938 (sic), 15,688,259 while the 1949 World Almanac (page 204) reports new figures from the American Jewish Committee, which were developed in 1947-1948: 16,643,120 in 1939 and 11,266,600 in 1947.

However, New York Times military expert Hanson Baldwin, in an article written in 1948 dealing with the then forthcoming Arab-Jewish war on the basis of information available at the UN and other places, gave a figure of 15 to 18 million world Jewish population as well as figures for such things as Jews in Palestine, Jews in the Middle East, Arabs in Palestine, total Arabs, total Moslems, etc.[13]New York Times (Feb. 22, 1948), 4.

Such a sketch illustrates some of the simpler uncertainties that exist in a demography study. To carry the matter further, the 11-12 million postwar world Jewish population figure, which it is necessary to claim in order to maintain the extermination thesis, is very vulnerable on two points. The first is the set of statistics offered for the U.S., and the second is the set offered for Eastern Europe. Both, especially the latter, are subject to insuperable uncertainties. Let us first consider the United States. Census figures for the total U.S. population are:[14]World Almanac (1931), 192; (1942), 588; (1952), 394; (1962), 251.

Table 1: U.S. total population

while U.S. Jewish population figures, as given by the Jewish Statistical Bureau (subsidiary of either the American Jewish Conference or the Synagogue of America), H. S. Linfield, Director, are:[15]World Almanac (1931), 197; (1942), 593; (1952), 437; (1962), 258.

Table 2: U.S. Jewish population
YearJewish Population

It is important to note that all of the U.S. Jewish population figures are given by the same source (Linfield).

The indicated growth of U.S. Jewish population, 1917-1937, is 40.8%, while the growth of total U.S. population, 1920-1940, is 24.6%. This contrast is generally reasonable, since in the period under consideration Jewish immigration was fairly heavy. However, Jewish immigration into the U.S. raises some problems of its own. The American Jewish yearbook gave a net Jewish immigration for the years 1938-1943 and 1946-1949 (inclusive) of 232,191.[16]World Almanac (1952), 438. Figures for 1944 and 1945 do not seem to be available. It was in those two years, incidentally, that an indeterminate number of Jews were admitted to the U.S. “outside of the regular immigration procedure.” It was claimed that there were only 1,000 such Jews quartered at a camp near Oswego, New York, and that they were not eligible for admission to the U.S. This was supposed to be a U.S. contribution to relieving the problems of refugees, but the whole episode seems most strange and suspicious.[17]US-WRB (1945), 64-69; New York Times (June 10, 1944), 1; (June 13, 1944), 1; (Aug. 10, 1944), 5; (Oct. 24, 1944), 14; (Oct. 25, 1944), 13; Myer, 108-123.

Rather than attempt to settle the problem of the extent of Jewish immigration, suppose one allows the Jewish population a growth rate in 1937-1957 at least equal to that of the U.S. Jewish population of 1917-1937, as seems at least reasonable in view of various facts, e.g., the reasons which sent 1.5 million Jews to Palestine during the World War II and aftermath period appear to motivate immigration to the U.S. just as well, and no national or racial immigration quotas were applicable to Jews as such. In such a case, there should be at least 6,678,000 Jews in the U.S. in 1957, not the 5,300,000 that are indicated. There are about 1,400,000 Jews missing from the interpolated figures for 1957, and we consider this a conservative figure for the reason given. The period 1937-1957 was one of Jewish movement on an unprecedented scale.

On the other hand, we can adopt an equally conservative approach and assume that the 4,770,647 Jews of 1937 grew in 1937-1957 at the same rate as the U.S. population in 1940-1960. Under this assumption, these should have become 6,500,000 Jews in the U.S. in 1957. If one adds the reasonable figure of 300,000 more due to immigration, we have 6,800,000 in 1957. Thus, by either method of extrapolation the figures offered for post-war U.S. Jewish population are at least approximately 1.5 million short for 1957.

The specific major fault of the U.S. Jewish population figures is the inexplicably small claimed growth from 1937 to 1949 despite record Jewish movement and a very open U.S. immigration policy.

Eastern Europe, however, presents the core of the demographic problem. In order to avoid very serious confusion, one must first recognize that there have been extensive border changes in Eastern Europe in the course of the twentieth century. A map of Europe on the eve of World War I (1914) is given as Fig. 1. A map for January 1938 showing, essentially, Europe organized according to the Treaty of Versailles, before Hitler began territorial acquisitions, is given in Fig. 2, and Fig. 4 shows the post-war map of Europe. The principal border change at the end of World War II was the moving westward of the Soviet border, annexing the three Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) and parts of Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and East Prussia. Poland was compensated with the remainder of East Prussia and what used to be considered eastern Germany; the effect was to move Poland bodily westward.

Pre-war (1938) Jewish population estimates for Eastern Europe were offered by H. S. Linfield and the American Jewish Committee in the 1948 (sic) World Almanac (page 249). Post-war (1948) figures are published in the 1949 World Almanac (page 204).

Table 3: Eastern European Jewish population (est.)

The claimed Jewish loss for Eastern Europe is thus 4,985,912. The figure for the USSR includes, in both cases, the three Baltic countries and the Jews of Soviet Asia. The pre-war figures are in all cases in close agreement with the figures that Ruppin published shortly before the war. To the extent that the extermination legend is based on population statistics, it is based precisely on these statistics or their equivalents.

The trouble is that such figures are absolutely meaningless. There is no way a Western observer can check the plausibility, let alone the accuracy, of such figures. He must either be willing to accept Jewish or Communist (mainly the latter) claims on Jewish population for Eastern Europe, or he must reject any number offered as lacking satisfactory authority.

It is possible to reinforce our objection on this all important point and simultaneously deal with a reservation that the reader may have; it would appear excessively brazen to claim the virtual disappearance of Polish Jewry, if such had not been essentially or approximately the case or if something like that had not happened. This seems a valid reservation, but one must recall that much of the territory that was considered Polish in 1939 was Soviet by 1945. It was possible for Polish Jewry to virtually disappear, if, during the 1939-1941 Russian occupation of Eastern Poland, the Soviets had dispersed large numbers of Polish Jews into the Soviet Union and if, during 1941-1944, the Germans had concentrated Polish Jews eastwards, with the Soviet Union ultimately absorbing many of these Jews into its territory, with those who did not wish to remain in the Soviet Union emigrating, mainly to Palestine and the U.S., but also to some extent to the new Poland and other lands. This, in fact, is what happened to the Jews who had resided in Poland before the war.

Whatever may be said about Soviet Jewish policy after, say, 1950, it is clear that the earlier policies had not been anti-Jewish and had encouraged the absorption of Jews into the Soviet Union. It is known that many Polish Jews were absorbed during and immediately after the war, but of course numbers are difficult to arrive at. Reitlinger considers this problem and settles on a figure of 700,000, without giving reasons why the correct figure might not be much higher. He then notes that the evidence that he employs of extermination of Jews in Russia (documents alleged to be German) indicates about the same number of Soviet Jews exterminated, from which he correctly infers that, in the period 1939-1946, the Soviet Jewish population may have actually increased.[18]Reitlinger, 534, 542-544. This important concession, coming from the author of The Final Solution, shows that our unwillingness to accept the Communist figures need not be regarded as motivated merely by the necessities of our thesis. The figures are inarguably untrustworthy. It is claimed by the Soviets that their Jewish population declined by 38%, despite the acquisition of territory containing many Jews. Since the USSR is one of the lands where “Jew” is a legally recognized nationality, the Soviets do indeed possess accurate figures on the number of Jews they have but have chosen (in Reitlinger’s opinion, if you choose not to accept this author’s) to claim an utterly mythical Jewish population loss of 38%.

Likewise with the value to be attached to the remainder of the figures offered.

The most relevant research by a demographer appears to be that of Leszek A. Kosinski of the University of Alberta (Geographical Review, Vol. 59, 1969, pp. 308-402 and Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 11, 1969, pp. 357-373), who has studied the changes in the entire ethnic structure of East Central Europe (i.e. excluding Germany and Russia) over the period 1930-1960. He explains the extreme difficulties with basic statistics:

“The criteria used in compilation differ from country to country and are not always precise. In principle, two types are used: objective criteria, such as language, cultural affiliation, and religious denomination, and subjective criteria, based on the declaration of the persons themselves. Each type has virtues and deficiencies. Objective criteria define nationality only indirectly and are difficult to apply in marginal cases (for example, bilingual persons).

The same criticism applies even more to subjective criteria. External pressure and opportunism can influence the results, especially where national consciousness is not fully developed or where an honest answer can bring undesirable consequences. Official data are not always reliable, then, even when they are not forged, as has also occurred. However, criticism of the official data cannot be applied in the same degree to all the countries, and reliability is very much a function of national policy.”

Jews are of course one of the groups Kosinski is interested in, and he presents various figures, generally comparable to those given above, for numbers of pre-war Jews. However, his post-war data are so useless from this point of view that he does not even attempt to offer specific post-war numbers for Jews, although he offers post-war figures for other groups, e.g. gypsies, giving numbers less significant, statistically, than the numbers of Jews who, according to the extermination mythologists, survived in Eastern Europe. It is true that he accepts the extermination legend in a general way and presents a bar graph showing a catastrophic decrease in the Jewish populations of Poland, Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia. He also remarks that the combined war-caused population losses for Yugoslavs, Jews, Poles and east Germans was about 12.5-14 million, not breaking the total down, and referring the reader to the statistical summary Population Changes in Europe Since 1939 by Gregory (Grzegorz) Frumkin, whose figures for Jews come from the American Jewish Congress, the Zionist Organization of America, and the Centre de Documentation juive contemporaine (Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation) in Paris.

However, the point is that Kosinski arrives at no figures for Jews, as he obviously should not, given the problems he has noted. The ethnic population figures from Communist Hungary are based on language, and the figures from Communist Poland, Communist Czechoslovakia, and Communist Romania are based on “nationality,” whatever that means in the various cases. Naturally, he apologizes for his use of “official statistics, imperfect as these may be.” We will return to demographic problems, especially those which involve the Polish Jews, in Chapter 7.

We must also remember that the problem of counting Jews in Western countries contains enormous difficulties on account of the lack of any legal, racial, or religious basis for defining a “Jew.” As an example, the statistics available to Reitlinger indicate to him that early in World War II there were 300,000 Jews in France, including refugee German Jews.[19]Reitlinger, 327.

The Nazis, on the other hand, thought that there were 865,000, and I see no motivation for deliberate inflation of this figure; other figures used by the Nazis were not wildly inflated compared to the figures of other sources.[20]NG-2586-G in NMT, vol. 13, 212. I should add that I really have no idea how many Jews there are in the U.S. I can consult the World Almanac, which will tell me that there are about 6,000,000, but I cannot see how that figure was arrived at and have little confidence in it. As far as I know, the correct figure could as easily be 9,000,000. There must be at least 4,000,000 in the New York area alone.

To summarize what has been said with respect to Jewish population statistics: the problem of compiling such statistics is formidable even without political interference or pressure. Moreover, in the demographic argument for a five or six million drop in world Jewish population, the sources and authorities for the figures used are Communist and Jewish and thus, by the nature of the problem we are examining, must be considered essentially useless. In addition, the post-war figures for the United States are demonstrably too low by a significant amount.

One should not form the impression that it is essential to my argument that any demographic conclusions seemed to be reached above be accepted by the reader. It has only been shown what sorts of problems arise if one attempts a too direct demographic approach; it is not possible to settle anything in such a manner. In the final analysis, the difficulty is that the figures available amount to nothing more than statements, from Jewish and Communist sources, that millions of Jews were killed. Such claims are to be expected, but they must certainly not deter us from looking deeper. We will take up the demographic problem later in the book, however, because the nature of the situation is such that reasonably useful demographic conclusions are possible once it is understood what, in general, happened to the Jews.

Rassinier’s demographic study, in fact, does not really even attempt to settle the problem, strictly speaking. His basic approach is to analyze the inferences that have been drawn from two different sets of data, that of the Centre de Documentation juive contemporaine and that of Hilberg, both of whom infer from their data five to six million Jewish victims of the Nazis. Rassinier’s conclusion is that the former can only claim 1,485,292 victims form its data and the latter 896,892.[21]Rassinier (1964), 220. Rassinier accepts the reality of about a million Jewish victims of Nazi policies, while rejecting the claims of extermination. For example, it is known that some East European peoples took advantage of general political-military conditions to persecute Jews. Also, many Jews who were deported from their homes no doubt perished as a result of generally chaotic conditions, which accompanied the latter part of the war.

Believing that the task is not possible, I will offer here no definite estimate of Jewish losses. However, I have no strong reason to quarrel with Rassinier’s estimate.[22]Editor’s note: compare in this regard Sanning (1983), Benz (1991) and Rudolf 2003b.

Our Method, Argument, and Conclusion • 300 Words

As stated, the “material” approach will be extended here and, in addition, a “historical-political” approach will be “introduced.” This is just a fancy way of saying that we will grasp that there are two political powers involved in the problem, not just one. That is to say, we have a tale of extermination, and we should inquire into the circumstance of its generation. Clearly, there are two states involved in the problem. Germany had an anti-Jewish policy involving, in many cases, deportations of Jews from their homes and countries of citizenship. That is certain. The wartime policy of Washington was to claim extermination, and the post-war policy was to hold trials, at which there was generated the only evidence that we have today that these wartime claims had any foundation. That is also certain. The policies of both states are necessarily of interest, and if there is any respect, in which this book may be breaking fundamentally new ground on the problem, it is in its insistence in seeing Washington as an active agent in the generation of the story. Thus, we are interested not only in what Hitler, Himmler, Göring, Goebbels, and Heydrich were doing during the war in regard to these matters, but also what Roosevelt, Hull, Morgenthau, and the New York Times and associated media were doing during the war, and what the various tribunals controlled or dominated by Washington did after the war. This is not only a fair but, more importantly, an illuminating historical approach.

The conclusion is that Washington constructed a frame-up on the Jewish extermination charge. Once this is recognized, the true nature of German Jewish policy will be seen.

The War Crimes Trials • 9,900 Words

Before we review the details of the story, it should be pointed out that there are excellent a priori grounds for expecting a frame-up. There is of course the very general argument that political enmity of a magnitude to bring on armed conflict between two states necessarily excludes the impartiality on the part of one of them, which is a necessity for a fair trial and for which there exists no substitute. The judges had pursued political careers in the contexts of the internal politics of the Allied powers hostile to Germany and after the trials would, assuming they had not done anything highly improbable at the war crimes trials, return to these careers. They had, in addition, for several years heard only the anti-German viewpoint. In sitting on the military tribunals, they were ad hoc political appointees. Such considerations exclude approximate impartiality.

There are, however, much more specific reasons for expecting a frame-up. In order to see this, it is only necessary to consider the easily obtainable facts concerning the various tribunals involved.

First, there was the “big trial” conducted by the “International Military Tribunal” (IMT) at Nuremberg immediately after the war. This was the trial of the top Nazis Göring, Hess, Ribbentrop, et al., which ran from November 1945 to October 1946. The judges and prosecutors were American, British, French, and Russian. As with all “military” tribunals, there was no jury. There were three acquittals, seven prison sentences, and eleven death sentences. The latter were carried out almost immediately after the trial, except that Göring escaped the noose by swallowing a potassium cyanide capsule just before the hangings. It was never determined where Göring had obtained the poison or how he had managed to hide it for any length of time. A unique sequel to this episode was that the first Nuremberg prison psychiatrist, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, a leader in the treatment of psychiatric disorders with drugs, shortly later published a book on his experiences at Nuremberg, giving Göring and Göring’s last act a laudatory treatment:[23]Kelley, 76f.

Table 4: NMT Trials
Case No.U.S. vs.DescriptionNMT vols.
1BrandtMedical Case1,2
2MilchMilch Case2
3AlstötterJustice Case3
4PohlConcentration Camps Case5, 6
5FlickBusiness Men Case6
6KrauchI. G. Farben Case7, 8
7ListHostages Case9
8GreifeltRuSHA Case4, 5
9OhlendorfEinsatzgruppen Case4
10KruppKrupp Case9
11WeizsäckerWilhelmstrasse, or Ministries, Case12, 14
12von LeebHigh Command Case10, 11

“He stoically endured his long imprisonment that he might force down the Allied Tribunal and browbeat the prosecuting lawyers on their own terms. […] His suicide […] was a skillful, even brilliant, finishing touch, completing the edifice for Germans to admire in time to come. […] History may well show that Göring won out at the end, even though condemned by the high court of the Allied powers.”

A decade later, Dr. Kelley followed Göring by taking one of several potassium cyanide capsules which he possessed, said to be ‘souvenirs’ taken off Göring’s body.[24]New York Times (Jan. 2, 1958), 18; Robertson, 266.

The IMT trial was the only one that received very great attention. It was important in the sense that the Allied powers committed themselves to a specific version of the extermination claim, but there was little evidence presented of any substantial nature relative to Jewish extermination; it was almost entirely testimony and affidavits, not at all difficult for the victorious powers to produce under the circumstance. The only relative merit of the IMT trial, for our purposes, is that the complete transcript and a reasonably complete selection of the documents put into evidence are readily available in numerous libraries as a 42 volume set with a very complete subject and name index (see References).

From 1946 to 1949 a series of twelve superficially less important trials were held by the Americans before what is here called the Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT). They are referred to variously according to the “case number,” the major defendant, or a more descriptive title, see Table 4.

Several death sentences resulted from these trials, but the great majority received prison sentences, in many cases rather lengthy ones. However, almost all were free by the early Fifties.

The only cases among these that will concern us here in any way are Case 1, a trial of medical personnel involved in euthanasia and medical experiments, Case 4, a trial of concentration camp administration, Cases 6 and 10, self explanatory, Case 8, dealing with German resettlement policies, Case 9 (the Einsatzgruppen were used for rear security in the east) and Case 11, a trial of officials of various ministries. The U.S. Government published a fifteen volume set of books, referred to here as the “NMT set,” in which may be found “summaries” of the cases, along with very limited “selections” of the documents put into evidence. The volume numbers corresponding to the various cases are listed in the above table.

On this point, the student encounters a significant difficulty because, as can be seen by consulting Hilberg and Reitlinger, almost all the evidence for the extermination claim was developed at the NMT, not the IMT. That is to say the important documents, those which, for better or for worse, constitute major source material for writing any history of Nazi Germany, are those of the NG, NI and NO series, and these documents were put into evidence at the NMT trials. Documentary evidence is, especially in view of the irregular legal and political circumstances which prevailed, immeasurably more weighty than testimony, as has been suggested. The relevant documentary evidence generated at the NMT consists of certain kinds of material allegedly supporting the extermination charges: documents dealing with concentration camp administration, with crematory construction, with deportations, with certain Farben and Krupp operations which employed prisoner labor, with general Jewish policies of the German Government, etc. There is of course no direct documentary evidence for an extermination program. As Dr. Kubovy of the Center for Jewish Documentation in Tel-Aviv admitted in 1960:[25]Rassinier (1962), 83. See also Dawidowicz, 121.

“there exists no document signed by Hitler, Himmler, or Heydrich speaking of exterminating the Jews and […] the word ‘extermination’ does not appear in the letter from Göring to Heydrich concerning the final solution of the Jewish question.”

The difficulty for the normally circumstanced person is that only small fractions of the NMT testimonies and documents are widely accessible in English translations (in the fifteen volume NMT set). Additionally, these translations cannot always be trusted, as will be seen. Also, the extracts which are published have been selected by unknown criteria.

Finally, the fifteen volume NMT set is likely to be found only in cities of moderately large size.[26]Editor’s note: In 2008 the Library of Congress posted both the 42 volumes of the IMT series as well as the 15 volumes of the NMT series online:

The situation is better if one lives in a very large city, since reasonably complete collections of documents together with the mimeographed trial transcripts (almost always in German) exist in certain library centers. However, the normally circumstanced person may encounter trouble in arranging to examine specific pieces, which he may call for, and in some cases general browsing even by university faculty is not welcome. In addition, no subject or name indexes exist for the NMT trials (indexes of testimonies of witnesses, with many errors, appear in the NMT volumes).

The IMT and NMT trials are almost the only ones of significance here. Of general significance are a series held by the British; of these, only the Belsen case and the Zyklon B case interests us to any extent. The Poles, Russians, French, Dutch, and Italians have all held trials of no significance except to the victims. The Bonn Government has held some trials of slight interest, for example the “Auschwitz trial” of 1963-1965, reported on by Langbein, by Laternser, and by Naumann.

The manner, in which the IMT and the NMT were constituted, can be set forth with sufficient completeness for our purposes. Since the autumn of 1943, there had been in existence a United Nations War Crimes Commission, headquartered in London. However, the Commission never really did anything except realize, at one point, that if anything was to be done, it would be done by the individual Allied governments.

The first serious moves started in the United States. In August 1944, the Joint Chiefs of Staff considered a proposed program for dealing with war crimes. The proposal had been approved by the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army. On October 1, 1944, the Joint Chiefs approved this proposal and, at about the same time and in accordance with directives of the Secretary of War, a “War Crimes Branch” was established in the Department of the Judge Advocate General. The War Crimes Branch, headed by Brigadier General John M. Weir with Colonel Melvin Purvis as his assistant, was responsible for handling all war crimes matters for the State, War, and Navy Departments.

The proposal that had been approved by the Joint Chiefs did not survive for very long, for its character had been rather traditional, in that it contemplated, basically, the trial of persons who had broken the accepted laws of war in the field. Thus, offenses committed before the war or acts by enemy authorities against their own nationals were not considered to be under Allied jurisdiction. Thus, for example, all measures against German Jews were considered outside the jurisdiction of the planned war crimes trials. The concept of war crimes was, at this point, strongly under the influence of the principle, never questioned, that a belligerent may try enemy soldiers for the same sorts of offenses for which he may try his own soldiers.

The Secretary of War, Stimson, had a conference with President Roosevelt on November 21, 1944, at which Roosevelt made it clear that he had in mind a much broader idea of war crimes and that the proposals approved by the Joint Chiefs were completely unsatisfactory.

Accordingly, in January 1945, Roosevelt designated Judge Samuel Rosenman as his personal representative in discussions on war crimes problems. A meeting of January 18, among Stimson, Rosenman, Attorney General Francis Biddle, and others resulted in general agreement on very much expanded conceptions of war crimes to be tried.[27]Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 1-3; New York Times (Feb. 1, 1945), 4.

Biddle was later to sit as a judge at the IMT, although, for Roosevelt’s use at the Yalta conference, he had written in January 1945 that “the chief German leaders are well known and the proof of their guilt will not offer great difficulties.” The Russian IMT “Justice” Nikitchenko was slightly more direct in declaring before the trial that “we are dealing here with the chief war criminals who have already been convicted.”[28]Davidson, 6, 18, 21n.

In early May 1945, President Truman approved the revised proposals and appointed Robert H. Jackson, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, to act as Chief of Counsel for the U.S. in the forthcoming trial and also to represent the U.S. in negotiations with foreign governments relative to constituting the trial. On June 6, 1945, Jackson made an interim report to the President, and later in June, Jackson and his staff set up headquarters in London, where much of the preliminary work for the IMT was done.

A key member of Jackson’s London staff was Colonel Murray C. Bernays, who was one of the first people who had been involved in war crimes problems. Graduated from Harvard in 1915, he established a law practice in New York. He was given a commission in the Army in 1942, and in October 1943, he was made chief of the Special Projects Branch, Personnel Division, Army General Staff. His major project in this position was the preparation of plans for trials of German “war criminals.” After each stage of negotiations with the White House and others, he made the appropriate revisions in the plans being considered, although he was the author of the plan that was eventually settled on, if one is to credit his account. In any case, shortly after the appointment of Jackson, Bernays was awarded the Legion of Merit, the citation reading in part:

“Early recognizing the need for a sound basis in dealing with the problem of war criminals and war crimes, he formulated the basic concept of such a policy and initiated timely and appropriate action which assured its adoption as the foundation of national policy.”

Bernays returned to the U.S. in November 1945 and immediately resigned from the Army. Because, as we have seen, there was considerable dialogue at higher levels relating to plans for war crimes trials, it is doubtful that one can take Bernays’s claims at full value, but he no doubt had a great deal to do with the drafting of the plans for the trials. Moreover, he had certainly been an appropriate choice for something as novel as the formulation of the “legal” structure for the war crimes trials, since his views of justice were equally novel. After his return to the U.S., he had a chat with some editors (who characterized him as “the man behind the gavel”), and in answer to their queries as to “how the small fry are going to be hooked,” he replied:[29]New York Times (June 21, 1945), 6; (Dec. 16, 1945), sec. 4, 8; New Yorker (Nov. 17, 1945), 24; Survey Graphic (Jan. 1946), 4-9; Reader’s Digest (Feb. 1946), 56-64.

“There are a good many Nazi criminals who will get off if the roundups aren’t conducted efficiently. But if we establish that the SS, for example, was a criminal organization, and that membership in it is evidence per se of criminality, the Allies are going to get hold of a great many more criminals in one swoop. You know, a lot of people here at home don’t realize that we are now the government of Germany in our zone and that no judicial system can exist other than one we approve. We are the law. If we wanted to, for instance, we could try Germans for crimes twenty, thirty, forty years old.

We’ll be too busy with the current crop of war criminals, though, to have much time to look into ancient wrongdoings.”

In London, Jackson negotiated with the Allies on the trials, and his interim report of June 6 became the basis for the “London Agreement” of August 8, signed by the U.S., Britain, Russia, and France. An “indictment” was filed against twenty four individuals and six organizations (the SS, the General Staff, etc.) on October 18, and the trial opened at Nuremberg on November 20, 1945. Three of the listed defendants did not stand trial. Martin Bormann was never found, Robert Ley committed suicide before the trial, and Gustav Krupp was too ill and too old to stand trial. An attempt was made by the prosecution to substitute Krupp’s son as defendant, but this was too much even for that court, so the trial of Alfred Krupp had to wait until the NMT.

In passing we should note that Justice Jackson, in addition to being the American chief prosecutor at the trial, was also in a formal sense the leading personality in the London negotiations relative to the formulation of the legal system, under which he was to operate at the trial. A rare opportunity for a prosecutor, and probably an utterly unprecedented one in respect to proceedings that civilized people have seriously considered to be trials.

Equally unique features of the final charter of the IMT were that its jurisdiction was not restricted to acts taken in connection with the war but extended over the entire life of the Nazi Party, that the defense of superior orders was inapplicable, and that defendants could be compelled by the prosecution to testify.

The War Crimes Branch that had been set up in 1944 did not cease to operate, because in connection with the IMT trial Jackson had “enlisted the cooperation and participation of the War Crimes Branch of the Judge Advocate General’s Department.” Moreover, in the early months of the IMT trial (and perhaps also later), the ordinary prosecution staff, exclusive of Jackson, was “on the payroll of the Judge Advocate General.”[30]Taylor (Apr. 1949), 248-255; Select Committee, 1536.

A significant role for the Judge Advocate General’s department (JAG) was most natural under the circumstances because the JAG was the legal agency of the Army, and the basic American administrative machinery in Germany immediately after the war was that of the U.S. Army. The traditional role of the JAG had been the administration of military justice: courts-martial and related matters. However, during World War II the operations of the JAG had spread to all phases of military activity where legal matters arose; it even got involved in litigations relative to war production contracts. The Judge Advocate General, Major General Myron C. Cramer, had given a speech in May 1945, in which he declared that the pursuit and arraignment of Nazis was to tax to the utmost the capacity of the War Crimes Branch and become a major activity of the JAG, whose resources he pledged to Jackson. While it is not specified exactly what the War Crimes Branch did in connection with the IMT, it is most likely that it effectively supervised the American (hence major) role in the screening and selection of prosecution and defense lawyers and staff, in the selection of other staff such as translators, and in interrogations. Of course, Jackson formally held much of this authority, but it is reasonably sure that such responsibilities were, in fact, exercised by the War Crimes Branch.[31]New York Times (Oct. 17, 1943), sec. 6, 10; (May 20, 1943), 15.

The involvement of the War Crimes Branch in trials was, however, much deeper.

While the IMT and NMT trials were being conducted, several lesser trials were taking place. Among these were the trials held at the Dachau camp (outside Munich and thus not far from Nuremberg) of the staffs of some concentration camps (Buchenwald, Flossenbürg, Dachau) that had been captured by the Americans and of those accused of killing 83 American prisoners at Malmédy during the Battle of the Bulge. These trials were supervised by the War Crimes Branch.[32]Kolander; Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 4, 10, 13, 14. They were perhaps the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.

The entire repertoire of third degree methods was enacted at Dachau: beatings and brutal kicking, to the point of ruining testicles in 137 cases, knocking out teeth, starvation, solitary confinement, torture with burning splinters, and impersonation of priests in order to encourage prisoners to “confess.” Low rank prisoners were assured that convictions were being sought only against higher ranking officers and that they had absolutely nothing to lose by cooperating and making the desired statements. Such “evidence” was then used against them when they joined their superiors in the dock. The latter, on the other hand, had been told that by “confessing” they had taken all responsibility onto themselves, thereby shielding their men from trial. A favorite stratagem, when a prisoner refused to cooperate, was to arrange a mock trial. The prisoner was led into a room in which civilian investigators, dressed in U.S. Army uniforms, were seated around a black table with a crucifix in the center, with two candles providing the only light. This “court” then proceeded to hold a sham trial, at the conclusion of which a sham death sentence was passed. The “condemned” prisoner was later promised that, if he cooperated with the prosecutors in giving evidence, he would be reprieved. Sometimes interrogators threatened to turn prisoners over to the Russians. In many cases the prisoner’s family was threatened with loss of ration cards or other hardships if cooperation was not obtained.

As distinct from the mock trials, the official trials were also an apparently deliberate mockery of any conception of due process. The mockery started with the “indictment,” which made only general reference to very broad categories of crimes allegedly committed in the years from 1942 to 1945 (in the cases of concentration camp personnel), and then proceeded to present a long list of defendants accused of being criminal in the extremely general sense stated. Specific crimes by specific people on specific dates were not part of the indictments (e.g. document 3590-PS).

In some cases, the “defense counsel” was an American with no legal training who could not speak German. Competent interpreters were not provided at the trial. The “prosecution” also lacked legal training, as did the “court,” which consisted of ten U.S. Army officers. There was one person with legal training present, all of whose rulings on the admissibility of evidence were final. There were 1,416 convictions out of 1,672 tried, with 420 death sentences.

While the prosecution could hunt all over Europe for witnesses and, if necessary, torture or otherwise coerce Germans in order to get “evidence,” the accused, cut off from the outside world and without funds, were rarely able to summon anybody to their defense.

In addition, the “Association of Persons Persecuted by the Nazis,” by a propaganda campaign, forbade former concentration camp inmates to testify for the defense.

The American lawyer George A. McDonough, who had had the rather peculiar experience of having served as both a prosecutor and defense counsel in the war crimes program and later on as a member of a reviewing board and an arbiter on clemency petitions, wrote to the New York Times in 1948 complaining about the lack of legal basis for the trials and remarking that “in nine problems out of ten the authorities and the textbooks had no answer” to the legal questions that regularly and consistently came up for anybody seriously concerned with matters of legality. For McDonough, the major problem was whether or not a defense of superior orders should be accepted in war crimes trials. He wrote:

“At the Dachau trials, the claim of the accused that he would have been shot himself if he had not obeyed his superior’s order to commit an act which he, in ignorance, may have believed to be a legal order, or knew to be illegal, seemed to be handled by the courts as an issue of fact. The availability of this defense seemed to depend upon the age and the rank of the accused, and the state of battle existing at the time of the offense. Again it would seem high-handed procedure to hold an enlisted man to the knowledge of the illegality of a particular act when the international authorities themselves are in disagreement as to its illegality or have never defined the act at all.

[…] Hearsay evidence was admitted indiscriminately and sworn statements of the witnesses were admissible regardless of whether anybody knew the person who made the statement or the individual who took the statement. If a prosecutor considered a statement of a witness to be more damaging than the witness’ oral testimony in court he would advise the witness to go back to his home, submit the statement as evidence, and any objection by defense counsel would be promptly overruled.”

One notable incident occurred when investigator Joseph Kirschbaum brought a certain Einstein into court to testify that the accused Menzel had murdered Einstein’s brother. When the accused was able to point out that the brother was alive and well and, in fact, sitting in court, Kirschbaum was deeply embarrassed and scolded poor Einstein:

“How can we bring this pig to the gallows, if you are so stupid to bring your brother into court?”

The U.S. Army authorities in charge admitted some of these things. When the chief of the Dachau War Crimes Branch, Colonel A. H. Rosenfeld, quit his post in 1948, he was asked by newspapermen if there was any truth to the stories about the mock trials, at which sham death sentences had been passed. He replied:[33]New York Times (Apr. 31, 1946), Utley, 185-200; Chicago Tribune (Apr. 30, 1948),12; (Feb. 13, 1949), 3; (Feb. 14, 1949), 3; (Feb. 17, 1949), 8; New York Times (Oct. 31, 1948), sec. 4, 8.

“Yes, of course. We couldn’t have made those birds talk otherwise. […] It was a trick, and it worked like a charm.”

The Malmédy defendants had had a competent defense attorney, Lieutenant Colonel Willis M. Everett, Jr. It was Everett’s repeated appeals to, among others, the U.S. Supreme Court, plus a chorus of protests from German clergymen and others, plus such details regarding what was going on that managed to get into the press by various routes, that persuaded the American military governor, General Lucius D. Clay, to request an investigation of the trials at Dachau. On July 29, 1948, the Secretary of the Army appointed a commission consisting of two American judges, Gordon Simpson of Texas and Edward Van Roden of Pennsylvania, both JAG reserve colonels. They were assisted by JAG Lieutenant Colonel Charles Lawrence, Jr. The commission submitted its report to the Secretary of the Army in October 1948, and selected portions were made public in January 1949.

Subsequent public remarks by Van Roden and also, to some extent, by Simpson, plus an independent investigation by a review board appointed by Clay, decisively exposed the whole affair to the point where the defenders of the trials could only haggle about the numbers of German prisoners subjected to brutalities. The review board confirmed all that Van Roden claimed, taking exception only in respect to the frequencies of the brutalities.[34]New York Times (Jul. 30, 1948), 5; (Oct. 7, 1948), 15; (Jan. 7, 1949), 1, 9; (Mar. 2,1949), 1, 14; (Mar. 5, 1949), 1, 4; (May 5, 1949), 8. Oddly, in his book, Decision in Germany, Clay denies the brutalities, but he is contradicted by his own review board.

The cases, especially the Malmédy case, attracted a good deal of attention through 1949, and a subcommittee headed by Senator Baldwin conducted an investigation. One witness, formerly a court reporter at the Dachau trials, testified that he was so repelled by what had gone on there that he quit the job. He said that the “most brutal” had been Lieutenant Perl, Frank Steiner, and Harry W. Thon. He explained that both Perl and his wife had been in Nazi concentration camps and that the Nazis had killed Steiner’s mother.

Judge Gordon Simpson (unlike Van Roden, trying to put the best interpretation, even if very strained, on the sorry facts that had come out) conceded that this was probably “a poor team,” and explained that the shortage of German-speaking American lawyers and interpreters had forced the Army to “draw on some of the German refugees.” Steiner, Kirschbaum, and Thon (later chief of the evaluation section of the civil administration division of the U.S. military government) appeared later and denied all, but they were shaken by the testimony of investigator Bruno Jacob, who admitted a few things. Speaking for the press, investigators Dwight Fanton and Morris Elowitz also denied all. Colonel Rosenfeld denied almost all. He charged that Lieutenant Colonel Harold D. McGown, commander of the American soldiers massacred at Malmédy, had fraternized with SS Colonel Joachim Peiper, the German commander, and this explained why McGown had appeared at Dachau as a defense witness for Peiper and had testified that Peiper had held talks with him and had been responsible for saving a number of Americans. As evidence for the fraternization, Rosenfeld claimed that McGown and Peiper had been “entirely too friendly during those nights they spent talking together” and that, when Peiper and his men were later able to escape a U.S. Army trap, “McGown was with them.” Of course, McGown was Peiper’s prisoner.[35]New York Times (Mar. 5, 1949), 4; (Apr. 30, 1949), 2; (Sep. 6, 1949), 9; (Sep. 7, 1949), 9; (Sep. 8, 1949), 9.

It will, of course, be argued that these nightmarish Dachau “trials” have little to do with our subject because the standard maintained in the trials at Nuremberg were not comparable and because the bearers of the extermination legend do not cite any of the “evidence” produced at these trials. There is partial truth to these contentions; brutality and coercion were not nearly as extensive at the prominent Nuremberg trials as they were at the Dachau trials, and mass exterminations were not emphasized in the Dachau trials (although gas chambers made occasional appearances in testimony). However, the Dachau trials cannot be waved aside so easily because the administering agency, the War Crimes Branch, was also deeply involved in the Nuremberg trials, as we have noted, and as we are to reconfirm shortly in a particularly striking respect. In addition, coercion was, in fact, employed in order to get evidence at the Nuremberg trials, but that subject is discussed in Chapters 5 and 6.

None of the four powers was happy with the IMT arrangement, and after the “big trial” they split up and held the kinds of trials they were interested in. The British trials reflected a general interest, but on points of relatively minor significance here. The only major French trial was of Saar industrial magnate Hermann Röchling, whom the French had also tried, in absentia, after World War I. Planning for the American NMT trials had actually started in 1945, and in March 1946, a division of Jackson’s office, headed by Telford Taylor, had been created for this purpose.

It is worth noting that in all of these trials of Nazis, from the IMT through the Eichmann “trial” of 1961 (in which defense witnesses were not permitted) to the “Auschwitz trial” of 1963-1965 (which the Bonn Government would not allow Rassinier to attend as observer), the defense lawyers had no staff of trained research assistants to go through the documents and, in addition, almost all of the documents, which were available to them were controlled by the prosecuting powers.[36]Arendt, 201, 251, (221, 274 in 1964 edition); Aretz, 28f. Whatever the legalistic evaluation of such a situation, it can produce a very distorted historical picture if not approached skeptically.

Under the legalistic schema of the occupation, there was an important constraint on the NMT and other single-nation tribunals:

“The determination of the International Military Tribunal in the judgments […] that invasions, aggressive acts, aggressive wars, crimes, atrocities or inhumane acts were planned or occurred, shall be binding on the tribunals established hereunder and shall not be questioned except insofar as the participation therein or knowledge thereof by any particular person may be concerned. Statements of the International Military Tribunal in the judgment […] constitute proof of the facts stated, in the absence of substantial new evidence to the contrary.”

Two administratively distinct organizations functioned at the NMT. One was the collection of “Military Tribunals,” the judges, functioning administratively through a Secretariat, headed by a Secretary General. The judges were recruited in the U.S. “by the Department of the Army.” There were three or more judges at any one trial.

The second organization was the Office, Chief of Counsel for War Crimes (Telford Taylor), which had come into existence on October 24, 1946, immediately after Ribbentrop et al. had been killed. It filed its first indictment the next day. Although there was a trivial difference in their titles, Taylor, who had been an associate trial counsel at the IMT, was really the successor to Jackson in the trials being staged in the Nuremberg courthouse.[37]Taylor (Apr. 1949), 272-276.

We will have much to say of the NMT trials in this volume. However, the reader can grasp much of the spirit of these proceedings even from remarks made by some of the American judges who had been recruited by the U.S. Army to serve at Nuremberg. Understandably, these people were normally very reluctant to speak out publicly against what they observed. Thus, the remark of one of the judges in the Farben trial, that there were “too many Jews on the prosecution,” was a privately expressed hint to the prosecution, certainly not intended for publication. However, the presiding judge in Case 7 (trial of German generals for alleged wholesale murder of hostages), Charles F. Wennerstrum, spoke out publicly and forcefully immediately after sentences had been pronounced:[38]DuBois, 182. Chicago Tribune (Feb. 23, 1948), 1, 2; (Feb. 24, 1948), 3; (Feb. 25, 1948), 4; (Feb. 26, 1948), 1, 8; (Feb. 28, 1948), 4, 8; (Feb. 29, 1948), 2; New York Times (Feb. 23, 1948), 5; (Feb. 25, 1948), 10; (Feb. 29, 1948), 10; (Mar. 6, 1948), 6.

“If I had known seven months ago what I know today, I would never have come here.

Obviously, the victor in any war is not the best judge of the war crime guilt. Try as you will, it is impossible to convey to the defense, their counsel, and their people that the court is trying to represent all mankind rather than the country which appointed its members.

What I have said of the nationalist character of the tribunals applies to the prosecution. The high ideal announced as the motives for creating these tribunals has not been evident.

The prosecution has failed to maintain objectivity aloof from vindictiveness, aloof from personal ambitions for convictions. It has failed to strive to lay down precedents which might help the world to avoid future wars.

The entire atmosphere here is unwholesome. Linguists were needed.

The Americans are notably poor linguists. Lawyers, clerks, interpreters and researchers were employed who became Americans only in recent years, whose backgrounds were imbedded in Europe’s hatreds and prejudices.

The trials were to have convinced the Germans of the guilt of their leaders.

They convinced the Germans merely that their leaders lost the war to tough conquerors.

Most of the evidence in the trials was documentary, selected from the large tonnage of captured records. The selection was made by the prosecution.

The defense had access only to those documents which the prosecution considered material to the case.

Our tribunal introduced a rule of procedure that when the prosecution introduced an excerpt from a document, the entire document should be made available to the defense for presentation as evidence. The prosecution protested vigorously. General Taylor tried out of court to call a meeting of the presiding judges to rescind this order. It was not the attitude of any conscientious officer of the court seeking full justice.

Also abhorrent to the American sense of justice is the prosecution’s reliance upon self-incriminating statements made by the defendants while prisoners for more than two and a half years, and repeated interrogation without presence of counsel. Two and one-half years of confinement is a form of duress in itself.

The lack of appeal leaves me with a feeling that justice has been denied.

[…] You should go to Nuremberg. You would see there a palace of justice where 90 per cent of the people are interested in prosecution.

[…] The German people should receive more information about the trials and the German defendants should receive the right to appeal to the United Nations.”

Ironically, the validity of Wennerstrum’s attack on the low or non-existent standard of integrity maintained by the Nuremberg prosecution was confirmed even by the nature of Telford Taylor’s reaction to Wennerstrum’s statements, which were made in supposed privacy in Nuremberg for publication in the Chicago Tribune. Tribune reporter Hal Foust sent the message to Berlin for transmission to the U.S. on a wireless channel, which was supposedly secure from prying. However, the prosecution, apparently by employment of a ruse, managed to obtain a copy of the message. Ernest C. Deane, Taylor’s press officer, immediately phoned Foust in order to attempt “to talk him out of sending the story.” However, the story had already been sent, and Foust replied that “Taylor could not properly have knowledge of the article until its publication.” Taylor thereupon prepared a reply to Wennerstrum’s remarks, and the reply was actually made public before the Tribune published the Foust story containing Wennerstrum’s attack. Taylor accused the judge, among other things, of making remarks “subversive to the interests and policies of the United States.” Wennerstrum, on arrival in the U.S. shortly after the publication of Taylor’s “reply” and of the Tribune story, stood firm on his remarks and again criticized Taylor.

This incident was one of the notable “government spying” incidents of the year 1948. The Army issued an order against such spying, and there was much speculation that Taylor might be court-martialed. When reporters asked Taylor for his opinion on the legality of his action, the following exchange occurred:

“I don’t know whether it was legal or not,” he replied.

“Weren’t you general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission for two years before being commissioned in the army?

Yes, but what does that have to do with it?”

Taylor steadfastly refused to express an opinion of the legality of his action but

“off the record indicated he was as pleased with himself as a field officer […] which he never was […] who had just scored against the enemy by a trick outside the rules of warfare as prescribed by the 1907 Geneva convention.”

The quote is from Hal Foust’s story about the Taylor press conference. Foust claimed that this was the second instance of Army interference with his messages to his newspaper, and that in the first instance he had been picked up by Army agents for interrogation after his story had been sent.

Who was in Charge?

In our examination of the Nuremberg trials, we are naturally interested in who supervised the NMT proceedings. Pro forma, Taylor supervised almost everything except the appointments of the judges, since the Chief of Counsel’s formal responsibilities were not confined to the mere prosecution of cases. His Office was also charged with determining who should and who should not be tried (there was no separate proceeding for formulating indictments, such as a grand jury), what the former were to be charged with, and how the latter were to be disposed of. The Office also took over the functions of the Nuremberg staff and hence one may assume that the Office took over, at least formally, the (expanded) Nuremberg staff itself. Thus, the Office was responsible for interrogations, field work examination of documents, court reporting, and translating and interpreting.[39]Taylor (Apr. 1949), 272-276.

We have given reasons why one should expect that this Nuremberg staff had been under the effective supervision of the War Crimes Branch, and it will shortly be seen that, whatever Taylor’s formal powers, his actual functions do not suggest that he ever took over the Nuremberg staff in any effective sense. The War Crimes Branch, although quartered in far-off Washington, continues to be involved in our consideration of the Nuremberg trials.

On June 12, 1948, the American press carried a story which reported that an officer of the U.S. Army, Colonel David “Mickey” Marcus, a West Point graduate operating under the alias “Mickey Stone,” had been killed in action while serving as supreme commander of the Jewish forces in the Jerusalem sector in the Arab-Jewish war for the control of Palestine (actually, Marcus had been erroneously shot by one of his own sentries). The New York Times summarized his career. He had been Commissioner of Corrections in New York before the war and, as an Army officer, had helped draft the German and Italian surrender terms. He was a legal aid at the Potsdam conference (summer of 1945), after which point, if one judges for the adulatory New York Times article only, his career ended, since we are told of no other activity of Marcus’ until he turns up with the Haganah in Palestine in January 1948, visits the U.S. in April, receiving a medal at a ceremony in the British Embassy in Washington (probably a cover for negotiations on the details of the final British capitulation), and then returns to Palestine after three weeks to take over in Jerusalem. The only hint we get of any activity in the period August 1945 to January 1948 is a story on June 24, p. 15, reporting that the London Daily Telegraph of the same date said that:

“He was at the time of his death a full colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s office of the organized reserve of officers. […] Although not subject to military discipline, he had agreed to remain subject to recall.”

Marcus had, in fact, been Weir’s successor as head of the War Crimes Branch. Immediately after the war, he had been “number three man in making American policy” in occupied Germany, but was taken out of this position early in 1946 in order to take the war crimes job. His appointment was effective as of February 18, 1946, but he spent a few months in Japan after leaving Germany and then moved into the Washington office of the War Crimes Branch until April 1947, when he retired from the Army and went into private law practice.[40]Marcus; Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 11 (1945); Berkman, 44f.; Saturday Evening Post (Dec. 4, 1948), 179.

Our previous observations obviously suggest that it was in reality the War Crimes Branch that exercised the crucial functions in respect to the NMT. This is the case, as is made clear by a careful reading of Taylor’s official final report on the NMT trials, although the fact is not emphasized there.[41]Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 13f., 34f. The fact is confirmed by the remarkable book by Josiah E. DuBois, who headed the I. G. Farben NMT prosecution, and Berkman’s book about Marcus provides some sketchy information on this aspect of Marcus’ career.[42]DuBois, 19-22, 31, 53, 63, 69f., 74f.; Berkman, 195-199, 157-159.

Marcus was made head of the War Crimes Branch primarily in order “to take over the mammoth task of selecting hundreds of judges, prosecutors and lawyers” for the NMT and Far East (Tokyo) trials. In December 1946, DuBois had been summoned to Marcus’ office in Washington to discuss the possibility of DuBois’ taking over the prosecution of leading officials of the great German chemicals firm, I. G. Farben. DuBois had been undecided, so he conferred at length with Marcus on the problems involved; one of the problems being whether or not there was sufficient evidence to charge Farben with an “aggressive war” plot and, if so charged, the possible political repercussions that might ensue. They discussed the general advantages of bringing the Farben men to trial. One point Marcus made was that a trial might show how Farben managed to develop certain weapons in total secrecy. Then too, if they went free, they might start working for the Russians. Marcus displayed great knowledge of Farben. He pointed out that there was a “warehouse full” of Farben records in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, a fact that DuBois forgot, until later events forced him to recall and act on it during the pre-trial investigation.

They got around to the required length of the pre-trial investigation. Marcus said: “As far as I’m concerned, you could go over there for as long or as short a time as you liked.” DuBois suggested that he would need about four months, and Marcus replied: “I have no objection to that. Within a few days after you get home, you should get a wire from Telford Taylor agreeing to it.”

Taylor, of course, was in Europe in his capacity of Chief of Counsel. DuBois records Taylor’s activities relative to the Farben trial. He responded favorably to a staff member’s suggestion that DuBois (under whom the staff member had worked in the Treasury Department during the war) be appointed to prosecute Farben. He passed the recommendation on to Washington. After DuBois had taken the job, he had plans to see Taylor to get his okay for adding another man, specified by DuBois, to the prosecution staff. The okay was granted. Taylor went to Paris to plead before the French cabinet for the extradition of a key Farben man. Taylor gave the opening speech at the Farben trial and then disappeared from the proceedings. Taylor was not involved in the pre-trial investigation or in the formulation of the specific charges made by the prosecution.

All of this suggests rather strongly that Taylor’s role was in public relations and that he was not deeply involved in the details of the running of the trials, which were his formal responsibility. Such situations are not unusual in large scale operations.

The facts show that the real organizers of the NMT trials were not as much in the public eye as Taylor was; in effect and possibly in intention Taylor was a front man. Marcus, as head of the War Crimes Branch, no doubt exercised effective control of much of the Nuremberg staff, and he selected the judges and lawyers for the trials (with only a handful of exceptions). The book by DuBois shows that Taylor was not involved with the trials on the working level, so the inescapable conclusion is that the substantial powers of Taylor’s office were actually exercised either by the War Crimes Branch or by persons subordinate to Taylor. In examining the prominent persons in the latter group, one encounters Robert M. W. Kempner, who is discussed in Chapter 5.

Marcus seems to have had a real importance quite incommensurate with his relatively common rank of colonel, because we are told that during the war he had made a “favorable impression on FDR […] he was one of the anonymous handful who charted American policy behind the scenes.” A man whose career was remarkably intertwined with that of Marcus was General J. H. Hilldring, who headed the Army Civil Affairs Division, to which Marcus was assigned in 1943. The CAD had been created in 1943 within the Army General Staff in anticipation of a need for a group to concern itself with policies to be followed in occupied territories. It had been thought that Fiorello LaGuardia was to head the CAD, but the job went to Hilldring. Marcus became a member and later the chief of the Planning Branch of the CAD. It was as a consequence of Marcus’ activities in the CAD that he made his mark; his assignment to the military government of Germany was a direct result of his CAD responsibilities. It was Hilldring who, several months later, pulled him out of his military government position and assigned him to head the War Crimes Branch (which was transferred from the JAG to the CAD on March 4, 1946). Then Hilldring immediately moved over to the State Department as an Assistant Secretary of State in charge of occupied areas problems; in this capacity he headed a secretariat, which coordinated Army, Navy, and State Department policies in Germany. In September 1947, he left the State Department and became an Adviser to the U.S. delegation at the United Nations, where the diplomatic battle between the Zionists and the Arabs was being waged. Hilldring “was a tower of strength from the outset […] as information link with the Jewish representatives, he frequently conversed with Zionist strategists.” Then, at about the time Marcus was made supreme commander of the Jewish forces in Jerusalem, Hilldring was appointed back to the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for Palestine. Zionist sources have subsequently boasted that both the UN and second State Department appointments were direct result of Zionist lobbying.[43]Marcus; Berkman, 191-193, 199; John & Hadawi, vol. 2, 209n, 367; Zink, 209, 210; New York Times (Apr. 8, 1943), 12; (Apr. 16, 1943), 10; (Mar. 17, 1946), 15; (Sep. 16, 1947), 10; (Apr. 29, 1948), 16; Blum, 383. Quite a pair, Marcus and Hilldring.

The filling of the War Crimes Branch position with a fanatical Zionist, the “first soldier since Biblical times to hold the rank of General in the Army of Israel,” is not only significant in terms of what the Zionist might do in the position, but also significant in revealing, in a simple way, the nature of the overall political forces operating at the trials. This is the important point. It is simply not possible to imagine an appointment that would make these trials more suspect.

Under these political conditions it is simply silly to expect anything but a frame-up at the “trials.” The associated “extermination” hoax will be exposed with complete clarity in these pages.

The Nazis

This book is written for people who are already informed on the European side of World War II and the immediately preceding years. We have no intention of reviewing the nature of the Nazi state, the roles of Göring, Himmler, Goebbels, etc., or the anti-Jewish measures that were taken prior to the war, except that these matters will be touched upon here and there as a matter of course. The major events and approximate dates associated with the war are assumed known by the reader.

When Europe was dominated by the Germans, it was not organized according to the plan of the Treaty of Versailles; Figure 3 presents a map of Europe as it was organized in the autumn of 1942, at the apex of Hitler’s power. Germany had annexed Austria, Alsace-Lorraine, part of Czechoslovakia, and a great deal of Poland (more than just the part that had been taken from Germany after World War I). The part of Poland that remained was called the “General Government” and had the status of a subject province governed by the Germans, as did the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. In the same subject status were White Russia, the Ukraine, Bohemia-Moravia (formerly western Czechoslovakia), and Banat (long a part of Hungary dominated by ethnic Germans). The eastern part of Czechoslovakia had become the independent state of Slovakia, and Yugoslavia had been reorganized as Croatia and Serbia, corresponding to the two dominant of the five nationalities that had constituted Yugoslavia. Italy also had an interest in this area of Europe, controlled Albania, and shared influence in adjoining countries with her German ally. Finland, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria were also allied with Germany, and the Waffen-SS (regular military units within the SS) recruited troops all over Europe, particularly in the Baltic states, in the Ukraine, in Scandinavia, and in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and much (later all) of France were occupied by the Germans. Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal remained neutral throughout the war.

It is convenient to review, at this point, some matters pertaining to the SS, a strange bureaucracy, which had responsibility for certain improbable combinations of functions.

Only three of these functions – security, concentration camp administration, and resettlement policies – are of interest in our study.

The best known agency of the SS was the RSHA, Reich Security Main Office, which embraced the Gestapo (Secret State Police, headed by SS Lieutenant General Heinrich Müller), the SD (Security Service, headed by SS Lieutenant General Schellenberg), the Kripo (Criminal Police, headed by SS Lieutenant Generals Nebe and, later, Panzinger) and related functions. The first head of the RSHA had been SS General Reinhardt Heydrich, an ambitious and ruthless young man whose methods generated many enemies for him.

Ever since the Röhm purge of 1934, the substantial ambitions of the SS in respect to military matters had resulted in growing conflict between the SS and the regular military establishment, the Wehrmacht, and Heydrich was not in the least bit delicate in the methods he employed to prosecute the conflict. In 1938, he had forced the resignation of the Minister of War, General Blomberg, by showing that Blomberg’s new wife had been a prostitute. Blomberg’s obvious successor was General von Fritsch, so Heydrich constructed a frame-up of von Fritsch, based on perjured allegations of homosexuality. Although von Fritsch was eventually exonerated, his career had been ruined, and the bitterness toward Heydrich swelled.

The SS had a second basis for rivalry with the military establishment. The German intelligence services were the Abwehr, German military intelligence, responsible to the military high command and headed, since 1935, by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, and the SD, the political intelligence arm, responsible to Heydrich and Himmler. Since the two types of intelligence activity cannot be strictly separated, Canaris and Himmler inevitably became rivals. Heydrich appears to have attempted to be cooperative with Canaris, at least at first; this may have been due to Heydrich’s own background as a naval intelligence officer who, during the twenties, had served and trained under Canaris and had even been a frequent visitor to his home.

More significantly, the Admiral was a traitor; he is one of the awesome mysteries of World War II. During and even before the war (he was in contact with Churchill in 1938), Canaris betrayed Germany at every opportunity. A British official has expressed the role of Canaris most succinctly: “We had Admiral Canaris.” The man’s motivations remain as mysterious as his personality and his antecedents. Ian Colvin, one of the authorities on World War II intelligence operations, wrote a whole book about Canaris and, yet, never deciphered him:

“The readers will have to judge for themselves whether Admiral Wilhelm Canaris was a German patriot or a British spy, a European statesman or a cosmopolitan intriguer, a double agent, an opportunist, or a seer. It will not be easy for them to make up their minds.”

It may be of some relevance that the man whom Colvin, in his 1951 book, characterized as one of Canaris’ “close personal friends,” Otto John, the Abwehr man in the all important neutral capital of Lisbon during World War II, later became Chief of State Security for the Bonn Government and was subsequently exposed (in 1956) as a Soviet agent.[44]Colvin, vii, 1-6; New York Times (Dec. 23, 1956), 1; (Jul. 6, 1969), 11. See Sturdza, 161-162, for an episodic illustration of Canaris at work.

The Canaris case is sometimes confused by grouping Canaris with the men behind the abortive coup d’état of July 20, 1944. This is utterly erroneous since Canaris used all his powers to betray Germany, whereas the men of July 20, merely betrayed Hitler and would never have betrayed Germany. No Englishman, after the war, could have truthfully said: “we had Erwin Rommel.” The most one can say about Canaris’ involvement is that he was no doubt aware of the conspiracy in its early states and naturally gave its members the impression that he was with them. Canaris was a grand master at giving such impressions.

To return to Heydrich, great ambition had gotten the young SS General appointed Deputy Protector of Bohemia-Moravia in late 1941; he was thus starting to look bigger than his superior, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. It might also be interesting to speculate that, at about this time, Heydrich may have started to grasp Canaris’ game; as chief of the RSHA and as a former associate of Canaris, no man was better situated and motivated to penetrate Canaris’ secret than Heydrich was. When one considers the long burning antagonism of the Army, it appears that Heydrich, by early 1942, had accumulated a very long list of powerful enemies in Germany. It was thus remarkable that at this point in Heydrich’s career the English, it is said, fortuitously removed him in May 1942 by dropping two assassins from the sky. In accord with the all-too-common scenario for political assassinations (e.g. the Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy assassinations), the alleged assassins were said to have been killed before they got an opportunity to talk.

In an appointment that caused general astonishment, Heydrich was succeeded in early 1943 by the relatively obscure and much less ambitious Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Evidently desirous of avoiding repetition of the situation that had developed with Heydrich, Himmler retained a rather more direct control of the Gestapo and the SD than he had held previously. However, both agencies continued to be formally responsible to the head of the RSHA, now Kaltenbrunner. Himmler also charged Kaltenbrunner with a special task: to build up the intelligence service of the SD. This was a particularly timely decision on the part of Himmler, since Canaris fell from power (without being fully exposed) in February 1944 and, by a special Hitler decree, all military and political intelligence functions were taken over by the RSHA, thus uniting all intelligence activity under SD chief Schellenberg.

Canaris was arrested after the July 20 coup and he was executed shortly before the end of the war.

Concentration camp administration was under the WVHA, Economic-Administrative Main Office, headed by SS General Oswald Pohl. As its name suggests, the WVHA was concerned with the economic role of the SS which had arisen, for the most part, on account of the availability of the labor of concentration camp inmates. The commandants of the concentration camps reported to the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps, headed by SS Brigadier General Glücks, who reported to Pohl. Pohl reported to Himmler, and was formally equal in rank to Kaltenbrunner and Heydrich.

It is convenient to state at this point, in very general terms, what was going on with respect to the Jews of Europe during the life of the Nazi regime. Before the war, the German Government had used all means to encourage the emigration of Jews from Germany, and most German Jews had left Germany before the outbreak of the war. The persistent problems in connection with this emigration program were, first, the dislocations of the economy which were entailed in moving the Jews out and, second, the difficulty in arranging for other countries to take the Jews. By the summer of 1941, Germany was at war with Russia, and huge numbers of Jews, i.e., the greater part of all the Jews of Europe, were in the German sphere of influence. However, the war had also opened up, temporarily, vast new territories for the Germans, and consequently, a program of Jewish resettlement got under way in the autumn of 1941. Through the course of the war, as long as Germany controlled any significant amount of eastern territory, European Jews were being resettled in the East. There were also a certain number of young, adult Jews conscripted for labor.

On account of certain political problems and the priority of war requirements, the resettlement program was only partially carried out and, of course, nowhere near six million Jews were involved. Excluding Polish and Romanian Jews, perhaps 750,000 Jews were resettled, primarily in the Ukraine, White Russia, and Latvia. Not all Polish Jews fell under German domination. Apart from those who managed to flee before or after the German occupation, several hundred thousand or perhaps a million Jews had been deported from Poland by the Russians in 1940 and had been dispersed in the Soviet Union. For the most part, the Polish Jews who came into German hands were crowded into ghettoes in eastern Poland (1939 boundaries).

What happened to all of these people can be established only in a very general way, because all of the territory that the Jews had been resettled onto became Soviet territory after the war, and because the victorious powers engaged in considerable suppression of the data. However, there is sufficient evidence to permit us to see approximately what happened. Although it is very likely that a fair number perished in the disorderly and chaotic conditions that accompanied the German retreats, it is established that a large number of Jews, predominantly of pre-war Polish nationality, were absorbed into the Soviet Union, and the remainder of the Jews who had been uprooted ultimately resettled in Palestine, the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere.

These general remarks are supplied here to serve as a background to assist the reader in interpreting the analysis of the “extermination” claims, which is the task of the next few chapters. However, the major evidence for these remarks concerning what actually happened to the Jews will not be presented until Chapter 7.

The RSHA was responsible for carrying out most aspects of this Jewish policy. Within the Gestapo there was an office, “B4,” which designated the “religions and cults division – Jewish religion subdivision,” headed by one Karl Adolf Eichmann, whose highest attained rank had been lieutenant colonel or colonel.[45]Reitlinger, 28; Red Cross (1947), 99; Eichmann, session 75, V1, W1. Eichmann did the routine chores associated with the Jewish emigration and resettlement policies of the German Government; most of his time was spent arranging with the various Jewish Councils to draw up transport lists of Jews, and arranging for transportation for the deportees. There is no evidence that Eichmann ever participated in formulating policy, and since he was not involved in concentration camp administration, he could not have been directly involved in whatever it was that happened in those camps.

It is, therefore, quite ridiculous that it was possible to get so many people excited about the case of a person such as Eichmann, who had performed completely routine functions in Nazi Germany. Those functions were carried out in accordance with specific orders transmitted by his superiors. His Jerusalem testimony was given “after consulting Reitlinger and Poliakov, (producing) seventeen multicolored charts, which contributed little to a better understanding of the bureaucratic machinery of the Third Reich.”[46]Arendt, 136 (152 in 1964 edition). I see no point in viewing the Eichmann affair as anything but a publicity stunt on the part of a state accustomed to disregarding the constraints that other states feel bound to respect. A short discussion of the Eichmann case and of Eichmann’s Jerusalem testimony, is provided in Chapter 6 (pages 243ff.).

Other departments of the SS, which were involved in resettlement activities were the RKFDV (Reich Commission for the Strengthening of Germandom, headed by SS General Ulrich Greifelt), the RuSHA (Race and Settlement Main Office, headed by SS Generals Otto Hofmann and, later, Richard Hildebrandt) and the VoMi (Liaison Office for Ethnic Germans, headed by SS General Werner Lorenz). The most important responsibility of these departments was the resettlement of ethnic Germans on conquered territories, and Greifelt was the main personality in this program. However, they inevitably got involved in the program of Jewish resettlement to some degree.

Notes • 400 Words

[1] Kennedy, 216-219; 236-239 in Memorial Edition.

[2] Grayzel, 792.

[3] Rassinier (1961a), 9.

[4] Ibid., 175.

[5] Rassinier (1962), 112.

[6] Editor’s note: A collection of the most important texts by Rassinier was published in 1978; another English language volume appeared in 1979.

[7] J. Ginsburg wrote a number of other books, which got increasingly polemical with time, for instance Majdanek in alle Ewigkeit (Burg 1979). Editor’s remark.

[8] The Ginsburg beating incident is well known and is mentioned by App, 20.

[9] This brochure had been authored by US historian David Hoggan; editor’s note.

[10] Nation Europa, vol. 23 (Oct. 1973), 50; vol. 25 (Aug. 1975), 39. Editor’s remark: later Stäglich wrote an entire book (1979, Engl.: 1986), for which his doctor title was revoked. The book was ordered seized and destroyed; cf. Stäglich (2011), 505-510.

[11] This brochure had a decisive influence on revisionism. Cf. Lenski. Editor’s remark.

[12] Ruppin, 30-33.

[13] New York Times (Feb. 22, 1948), 4.

[14] World Almanac (1931), 192; (1942), 588; (1952), 394; (1962), 251.

[15] World Almanac (1931), 197; (1942), 593; (1952), 437; (1962), 258.

[16] World Almanac (1952), 438.

[17] US-WRB (1945), 64-69; New York Times (June 10, 1944), 1; (June 13, 1944), 1; (Aug. 10, 1944), 5; (Oct. 24, 1944), 14; (Oct. 25, 1944), 13; Myer, 108-123.

[18] Reitlinger, 534, 542-544.

[19] Reitlinger, 327.

[20] NG-2586-G in NMT, vol. 13, 212.

[21] Rassinier (1964), 220.

[22] Editor’s note: compare in this regard Sanning (1983), Benz (1991) and Rudolf 2003b.

[23] Kelley, 76f.

[24] New York Times (Jan. 2, 1958), 18; Robertson, 266.

[25] Rassinier (1962), 83. See also Dawidowicz, 121.

[26] Editor’s note: In 2008 the Library of Congress posted both the 42 volumes of the IMT series as well as the 15 volumes of the NMT series online:

[27] Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 1-3; New York Times (Feb. 1, 1945), 4.

[28] Davidson, 6, 18, 21n.

[29] New York Times (June 21, 1945), 6; (Dec. 16, 1945), sec. 4, 8; New Yorker (Nov. 17, 1945), 24; Survey Graphic (Jan. 1946), 4-9; Reader’s Digest (Feb. 1946), 56-64.

[30] Taylor (Apr. 1949), 248-255; Select Committee, 1536.

[31] New York Times (Oct. 17, 1943), sec. 6, 10; (May 20, 1943), 15.

[32] Kolander; Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 4, 10, 13, 14.

[33] New York Times (Apr. 31, 1946), Utley, 185-200; Chicago Tribune (Apr. 30, 1948),12; (Feb. 13, 1949), 3; (Feb. 14, 1949), 3; (Feb. 17, 1949), 8; New York Times (Oct. 31, 1948), sec. 4, 8.

[34] New York Times (Jul. 30, 1948), 5; (Oct. 7, 1948), 15; (Jan. 7, 1949), 1, 9; (Mar. 2,1949), 1, 14; (Mar. 5, 1949), 1, 4; (May 5, 1949), 8.

[35] New York Times (Mar. 5, 1949), 4; (Apr. 30, 1949), 2; (Sep. 6, 1949), 9; (Sep. 7, 1949), 9; (Sep. 8, 1949), 9.

[36] Arendt, 201, 251, (221, 274 in 1964 edition); Aretz, 28f.

[37] Taylor (Apr. 1949), 272-276.

[38] DuBois, 182. Chicago Tribune (Feb. 23, 1948), 1, 2; (Feb. 24, 1948), 3; (Feb. 25, 1948), 4; (Feb. 26, 1948), 1, 8; (Feb. 28, 1948), 4, 8; (Feb. 29, 1948), 2; New York Times (Feb. 23, 1948), 5; (Feb. 25, 1948), 10; (Feb. 29, 1948), 10; (Mar. 6, 1948), 6.

[39] Taylor (Apr. 1949), 272-276.

[40] Marcus; Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 11 (1945); Berkman, 44f.; Saturday Evening Post (Dec. 4, 1948), 179.

[41] Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 13f., 34f.

[42] DuBois, 19-22, 31, 53, 63, 69f., 74f.; Berkman, 195-199, 157-159.

[43] Marcus; Berkman, 191-193, 199; John & Hadawi, vol. 2, 209n, 367; Zink, 209, 210; New York Times (Apr. 8, 1943), 12; (Apr. 16, 1943), 10; (Mar. 17, 1946), 15; (Sep. 16, 1947), 10; (Apr. 29, 1948), 16; Blum, 383.

[44] Colvin, vii, 1-6; New York Times (Dec. 23, 1956), 1; (Jul. 6, 1969), 11. See Sturdza, 161-162, for an episodic illustration of Canaris at work.

[45] Reitlinger, 28; Red Cross (1947), 99; Eichmann, session 75, V1, W1.

[46] Arendt, 136 (152 in 1964 edition).

Chapter 2 • The Camps • 8,700 Words
Horror Scenes and ‘Extermination’ Camps • 900 Words

When Germany collapsed in the spring of 1945, it was after a long allied propaganda campaign that had repeatedly claimed that people, mainly Jews, were being systematically killed in German “camps.” When the British captured the camp at Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany, they found a large number of unburied bodies lying around the camp.

Photographs, such as Fig. 10, and pictures of guards with unfortunate facial expressions, such as Fig. 12, were accordingly reproduced all over the world.

It is, I believe, Belsen, which has always constituted the effective, mass propaganda “proof” of exterminations, and even today you will find such scenes occasionally waved around as “proof.” In fact these scenes, repeated in varying degrees at other German camps, e.g. Dachau and Buchenwald, were much less related to “extermination” than the scenes at Dresden after the British-American raids of February 1945, when many, many times as many bodies were found lying around.[1]Veale, 133-136; Martin, 121. The deaths at Belsen were the result of a total loss of control, not a deliberate policy. Equivalent scenes could easily have existed in any country invaded on all sides by enemy armies, crippled by powerful “strategic” bombings, which had caused all sorts of shortages and chaotic conditions.

The major cause of the deaths at Belsen was a typhus epidemic. Everybody agrees that typhus was a constant menace in all German camps and eastern military operations; for this reason there was a real fear of typhus spreading throughout Germany and vigorous countermeasures were applied.[2]Reitlinger, 122, 402; Hilberg (1961), 570-571; DuBois, 127. The typhus problem will play a most significant role in our story, because it was not merely at the end of the war that it manifested itself; the scenes at the end of the war were due to the total collapse of all measures against a disease that had plagued the German concentration camps since early in the war. The typhus was of the sort carried by the body louse, and consequently, defensive measures consisted in killing the lice, whose spread was due mainly to the constant rail traffic with the East.

Thus, all “survivor literature,” sincere or inventive and regardless of the type of camp involved, report the same basic procedures involved in entering a German camp: disrobe, shave hair, shower, dress in new clothes or in disinfested old clothing.[3]Burney, 9; Buber, 188; Lenz, 31; Cohen, 120-122.

At Belsen, the trouble had started in October 1944 with a breakdown of these measures. In the account of a political prisoner there:[4]Sington, 117f.

“Towards the end of February 1945 my own situation changed completely.

By that time typhus had become a serious danger for the whole camp. It was the species of typhus which is transmitted by lice. At one time all the transports which arrived at Belsen had had to pass through a ‘human laundry’ and this disinfection seems to have been effective enough to keep the camp free from lice until the autumn of 1944.

At the end of October a big transport had, for the first time, been admitted to the camp without being disinfected, because there had been some damage to the machinery of the shower-baths. Unfortunately the people of this transport were louse carriers, and from that day the lice gradually spread over the whole camp. […] Typhus broke out in Camp I about the end of January. At first there were only a few cases, but a month later a dozen had appeared, and it became impossible to check the disease […].”

Another serious complication was that, in the final months, Belsen was considered a Krankenlager, a sick camp, so that many people entering were sick to begin with.[5]Phillips, 152. The British could not check things at once, and over a quarter of those alive when they took over the camp were to perish in the first four weeks.[6]Sington, 48.

Despite the very effective propaganda role of the Belsen scenes, nobody acquainted with the most easily obtainable facts claims exterminations at Belsen, and the British military court which tried the commandant, SS Captain Kramer, never accused him of supervising an extermination camp at Belsen.[7]Phillips, 17. Today, in fact, exterminations at any of the concentration camps in Germany are not claimed by anybody trying to be serious; Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, etc. were not extermination camps. The extermination camps are all supposed to have been in occupied Poland, namely the camps referred to as Auschwitz, Belzec, Kulmhof (Chelmno), Lublin (Majdanek), Sobibor, and Treblinka.[8]Hilberg (1961), 561-564; Reitlinger, 94, 147-150, 154.

Also, exterminations of Jews were supposed to have been conducted in Russia by the Einsatzgruppen, employing either mass shooting or “gasmobiles.” The camps in Poland are also claimed to have employed “gas chambers” but, except for the case of Chelmno, stationary rather than mobile ones.

Thus, the exterminations are supposed to have taken place only at locations which had been abandoned before being captured by the Russians, not at camps which were still functioning, however disastrously, when captured by Western troops.

Although six extermination camps are claimed, one of them, Auschwitz, is the key to the whole story. It is for Auschwitz that quantities of documentary evidence are offered; there is little of any sort offered for the others. It was Auschwitz, as will be seen, that got the very special attention of Washington long before the end of the war. Thus, much of this work is necessarily concerned with the claim that at Auschwitz Jews were being exterminated during World War II.

The Camps and Their End • 5,200 Words

The subject of this book is the question of whether or not the Germans attempted to exterminate the European Jews. We are not concerned with considering in any detail the general question of alleged Nazi brutalities of all sorts or with presenting a complete picture of the functioning of German camps. However, it has been found that many people have such distorted views of these camps that, because at Auschwitz there were camps, it is difficult to separate Auschwitz at the outset and consider it in isolation from other camps. Thus, a few general words about the camps are in order. Fig. 23 presents a map (January 1938 boundaries) that shows the locations of a few of the most frequently referred to camps together with the locations of a few large cities.

There were many types of German camps, and only a fraction of them were called “concentration camps.” There were thirteen German concentration camps, each of them actually being a collection of neighboring camps. Only two of the six alleged “extermination camps,” Auschwitz and Lublin, were “concentration camps.” A table of many types of German camps, which includes many ordinary prisons, is given by Aronéanu, pp. 203-251, who lists about 1,400 “camps,” together with their locations and “characters.” While this table gives some idea of the scope and diversity of the German prison and camp systems, it has obvious major errors, such as giving the “character” of Birkenau as “medical experiments.” The major significance of Oranienburg, near Berlin, was that it quartered the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps, and was thus in direct communication with all concentration camps.

The typical inmate of a German concentration camp was a person being detained for punitive or security reasons. There were five major categories, and they were distinguished by colored insignia, which were associated with their uniforms:[9]Cohen, 26-28.

Table 5: Concentration camp inmate insignia
RedPolitical prisoners (mainly communists)
BlackAsocials (vagrants, drunkards, etc.)
PurpleConsidered disloyal on account of religious views (mainly Jehovah’s Witnesses)

At Auschwitz and some other camps, a triangle of the appropriate color was attached to the uniform. If the prisoner was Jewish, a yellow triangle was superimposed on the first triangle, forming a star of David. This is referred to as the Auschwitz “star system.”

Economic conditions being what they were, the German government made every effort to use concentration camp inmates for labor. Prisoners of war (POWs) were also used to the extent that such use did not conflict with the relevant conventions, as the Germans interpreted their obligations under them. Thus, Russian POWs were used freely, because Russia did not respect the conventions. Employment of western POWs was restricted to cases where certain legalistic “transformations” into civilian workers were possible, as with many French POWs,[10]Red Cross (1948), vol. 1, 546-547. or some cases where the work was not considered to be ruled out by the conventions, as with some British POWs employed under conditions to be discussed.

The number of inmates in the entire German concentration camp system was about 224,000 in August 1943 and 524,000 a year later.[11]1469-PS and NO-1990 in NMT, vol. 5, 382, 389. These figures include only camps referred to by the Germans as concentration camps and do not include any transit camps or camps referred to in other terms, such as the Theresienstadt ghetto or any other establishments intended for quartering families.

It is generally accurate to say that there was no such thing as a “concentration camp” for Jews as such, but this remark must be clarified; there are three distinct categories of Jews, which must be considered in this connection.

First, a fraction of those interned for punitive and security reasons were Jews, and under the national socialist system it was natural, in the camps, to segregate them from the “Aryan” inmates. Thus, sections of the camps could, in this sense, be considered “for Jews.” Second, specific legislation existed for the labor conscription of Jews, and many selected specifically for labor found their ways into concentration camps on this basis.

The third category was Jewish families, but the closest they got to “concentration camps” was in certain Durchgangslager, transit camps, which in some cases were independent camps such as Westerbork in the Netherlands[12]Cohen, xiii. and others (to be mentioned) and in some cases were separate compounds, which existed at some concentration camps, e.g. Belsen, possibly Dachau,[13]Aronéanu, 212. and others (to be mentioned). The transit camp, as its name suggests, was intended only for temporary quartering pending transport to some other destination.

In addition to the transit camps, there were “camps” for some Jewish families, such as Theresienstadt in Bohemia-Moravia and others far to the East, but the most pejorative term applicable in these cases would be “ghetto,” not “concentration camp.” In addition, as we shall see, toward the end of the war, as the Russians were approaching on the eastern front, the Germans put many formerly free Jews into ghettos for security reasons.

The full story regarding the position of Jews relative to German-controlled camps of all types is rather complicated. Rather than attempt to say here exactly what that position was, the subject will be touched on at many points in the book, and the reader will be able to form a reasonably complete picture.

There is no point in attempting to discuss the entire German camp system here. For our purposes it will suffice to discuss the three that are referred to most frequently (excluding Auschwitz): Belsen, Buchenwald, and Dachau (inmate populations in August 1943: 3,000, 17,600, and 17,300 respectively[14]1469-PS in NMT, vol. 5, 382.). Then we will pass on to preliminary discussion of the alleged “extermination camp” Auschwitz in Poland.


Belsen had only a very brief history. It had originally been a Wehrmacht camp for wounded POWs. In mid-1943, the SS took over half the camp for the purpose, among others, of turning it into an “exchange camp,” a transit camp for foreign nationals and Jews whom the Germans contemplated exchanging for Germans held abroad. Some new grounds and buildings were also added to the camp. Jews from Salonika, Greece, who possessed Spanish passports were the first Jewish arrivals (it was hoped to send them to Spain), but eventually the Dutch Jews predominated (about 5,000). A fraction of the Dutch Jews were there on a semi-permanent basis, because they numbered many of the skilled craftsmen of the essential Amsterdam diamond cutting industry, and thus, their diamond cutting operations had merely been moved to Belsen. The quarters for Jews at Belsen formed what was called the “Star Camp,” which was strictly separated from the rest of the camp and was essentially untouched by the typhus epidemic of the last months.[15]Reitlinger, 364f., 406; Hilberg (1961), 377-379, 632f.

The Dutch Jews were particularly heavily hit by deportations; reasons for this will be given later. It was at Belsen in March 1945 that Anne Frank is said to have perished from typhus, although the Jewish families were mostly isolated from the typhus epidemic.[16]A. Frank, 285. The question of the authenticity of the diary is not considered important enough to examine here; I will only remark that I have looked it over and don’t believe it. For example, as early as page 2 one is reading an essay on why a 13-year-old girl would start a diary, and then page 3 gives a short history of the Frank family and then quickly reviews the specific anti-Jewish measures that followed the German occupation in 1940. The rest of the book is in the same historical spirit.

The remainder of the Belsen concentration camp contained the usual assortment of inmates, and the fate of the camp has been seen. Bergen-Belsen never had a significant economic-industrial aspect, except for the diamond cutting.[17]Regarding Belsen see in general Barton and Weber (1995).


The major significance of Buchenwald was industrial; its satellite camps at Beuchow, Dora, Ellrich, Elsing, Gandersheim, and Halberstadt existed primarily for the sake of an underground aircraft factory, which employed the usual concentration camp and foreign labor in addition to regular German labor.[18]Aronéanu, 207, 213, 214, 217, 220. There were, however, two other aspects, the medical experiments conducted at the main camp Buchenwald and the activities of commandant Koch; these offer quite perfect illustrations on how the meanings of facts have been distorted in speaking of these camps. We are fortunate in having a book by Christopher Burney, a former inmate; this book not only indulges in some of this distortion but also offers us some facts or hints which enable us to see through the distortion. Burney’s book should illustrate to any reader the necessity, when reading “personal experience” literature of this sort, of sharply and rigorously distinguishing between the scenes the author actually claims to have witnessed or the claims he had read or heard, on the one hand, and the inferences he has drawn or pretended to draw on the other. The differences are often most stark. Describing commandant Koch:[19]Burney, 10-14.

“No cruelty was foreign to him, no single cell of his brain had not at some time or other contributed to the planning of new refinements of anguish and death for the rats in his trap.”

Burney goes on to explain that, because Koch was a homosexual, Frau Ilse Koch used to make out with the prisoners, “who were then sent to the crematorium,” except that highly valued tattooed skin was saved for lampshades. At this point in Burney’s book things obviously look bad for him, especially if he has tattoos and Frau Koch finds him but, happily, all of that had happened before he arrived there in early 1944. Koch had been arrested in 1943 for embezzlement and was succeeded by Pister who was “one of the mildest concentration camp commanders in history” so that:

“in the last year of its existence a casual observer who came to the camp and looked generally at it without probing its corners, would have seen little or no beatings, a large number of men doing no work, a much larger number working with a lethargy taught them by the Russians […], living blocks which were clean, kitchens with huge, horrifyingly modern soup-cookers and a hospital which would just pass muster at first glance.”

The Koch arrest had, in fact, been part of the breaking of a ring of corruption which had spread through the German concentration camp system and had involved the murder of some prisoners who knew too much. It was exposed through the efforts of SS Judge Konrad Morgen. Koch was executed by the SS.[20]Hoehne, 383-387 (434-436 in paperback).

The tattooed skin was undoubtedly due to the medical experiment role of Buchenwald. As remarked by Burney, when a Buchenwald inmate died, the camp doctors looked his body over and if they found something interesting they saved it.[21]Burney, 10. It is fairly certain that the collection of medical specimens thus gathered was the source of the tattooed skin and the human head that turned up at the IMT as “exhibits” relating to people “murdered” at Buchenwald. What is probably the greater part of the collection is pictured in Figure 32. The head is normally pictured, without any explanation, in the company of some soap (Fig. 24), allegedly made from human bodies, which was submitted as evidence by the Russians who, when they learned there was to be a trial, evidently read up on what the Germans had been charged with in World War I.[22]3420-PS; 3422-PS. For pictures see, e.g., Andrus, photographs. A “macabre collection” of specimens from Buchenwald is also pictured in Pélissier, 640 pp. By the time the IMT was done “developing” the fact about the tattooed skin found at Buchenwald, we had an official deposition:[23]3421-PS; IMT, vol. 3, 515; quoted Shirer (1960), 984.

In 1939 all prisoners with tattooing on them were ordered to report to the dispensary. No one knew what the purpose was, but after the tattooed prisoners had been examined, the ones with the best and most artistic specimens were kept in the dispensary and then killed by injections. […] the desired pieces of tattooed skin were detached from the bodies and treated. The finished products were turned over to Koch’s wife, who had them fashioned into lampshades and other ornamental household articles. I myself saw such tattooed skins with various designs and legends on them, such as ‘Hansel and Gretel’ which one prisoner had on his knee, and designs of ships from prisoners’ chests.”

Frau Koch was convicted of such crimes at her trial before a U.S. military court, but in 1948, the American military governor, General Lucius Clay, reviewed her case and determined that, despite testimony produced at her trial, Frau Koch could not be related to the lampshades and other articles, which were “discovered” (i.e. planted) in the Buchenwald commandant’s residence when the camp was captured in 1945. For one thing, she had not lived there since her husband’s, and her own, arrest in 1943. Also her “family journal,” said to be bound in human skin and which was one of the major accusations against her, was never located and obviously never existed. Clay thus commuted her life sentence to four years imprisonment for ordinary sorts of brutalities.

What happened after the commutation provided one of the many episodes which, together with the 1948-49 revelations of what had transpired at the Dachau “trials,” exposed quite effectively the lawlessness that prevailed in the war crimes trials. Rabbi Wise and other influential people protested the commutation so strongly that there was a Senate investigation into the matter, which concluded that:

“military authorities say they have been unable to find evidence of any other crime Ilse Koch committed on which she could be tried without violating the rule of double jeopardy. However […] because the trial conducted by our special military government court was based on charges that the various accused had mistreated ‘non-German nationals,’ the German courts might well try Ilse Koch under their law for crimes committed against German nationals. […] Should the German people bring Ilse Koch to trial on such charges, the subcommittee is convinced that it would then be the duty of our military authorities to give complete cooperation to the German authorities.”

This distinction between crimes against Germans and crimes against non-Germans was merely a bit of sophistry that was trotted out for the occasion. Not only had the U.S. war crimes courts always assumed jurisdiction in cases of alleged crimes against German Jews, but the distinction was irrelevant anyway, for Clay’s commutation of her sentence was based on a conclusion that she was not guilty of the major charges against her, which had to do with lampshades and the like, irrespective of the nationality of the alleged victims.

Clay did not change his position throughout the long public controversy concerning efforts to try Frau Koch a second time on essentially the same charges, a controversy which, according to the New York Times, “rocked the United States and Europe.” Clay was firm on his decision in the Ilse Koch case and explained that

“examination of the record, based upon reports which I received from the lawyers, indicated that the most serious charges were based on hearsay and not on factual evidence. For that reason the sentence was commuted.

I hold no sympathy for Ilse Koch. She was a woman of depraved character and ill repute. She had done many things reprehensible and punishable, undoubtedly, under German law. We were not trying her for those things. We were trying her as a war criminal on specific charges.”

Despite this empathic stand of the American military governor, pressures from the U.S. induced the German authorities to move against Frau Koch after she was released from American detention in October 1949. She was again tried on the familiar “lampshade” charges. Although the defense was able to show that the testimonies of two of the prosecution witnesses contradicted declarations that they had made in connection with earlier proceedings, thus forcing the German court to strike their testimonies from the record, Ilse Koch was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. She hanged herself in her cell in 1967.[24]New York Times (Sep. 24, 1948), 3; (Oct. 1, 1948), 11; (Oct. 8, 1948), 10; (Oct. 22, 1948), 5; (Dec. 27, 1948), 1, 12; (Dec. 20, 1950), 15; Jan. 16, 1951), 1; (Sep. 3, 1967), 1; cf. also A.L. Smith.

Burney reports some Belsen-like scenes at Buchenwald, but mainly among incoming prisoners evacuated from more eastern locations during the final chaotic weeks. So much for Buchenwald.[25]Burney, 106-109; cf. in general Weber (1986).


Dachau was one of the oldest Nazi concentration camps, with an emphasis on Austrian political prisoners, Roman Catholic priests (detained for reasons that need not be examined here), and old and semi-employable people of all categories. The camp also had its group of ordinary criminals. Work was mainly at outside factories, but a herb plantation was being built up at the camp, and some prisoners worked at draining swamps.[26]Lenz, 32, 42, 78; 1063-PS.

It is useful here to go into some detail on how, at the end of and immediately after the war, Dachau was misrepresented as an extermination camp with gas chambers. In showing that such events never took place at Dachau we are not, of course, contradicting the present story put forward by the bearers of the extermination legend, who do not claim Dachau in this connection, and build their story around the camps in Poland, with Auschwitz occupying the central position in this respect. The point of exploring these details regarding Dachau is that the credibility of the U.S. occupation is thereby demolished. The U.S. propaganda had claimed exterminations in the German camps and Dachau was the major camp taken over by the Americans (Buchenwald was later surrendered to the Russians). Thus, an effort was made to distort and misrepresent what had happened at the Dachau concentration camp. A recognition of the amazing crudeness and clumsiness of that effort, and the ludicrous nature of the “evidence” put forward will prime the reader quite suitably for our analysis of the central part of the hoax, the Auschwitz lie.

The conditions in the camps had forced the German government, in March 1945, to take the final step in reversal of its earlier policy of absolute exclusion of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from the concentration camps (existing conventions covered POWs, not concentration camp inmates). On March 29, 1945, SS General Kaltenbrunner authorized the ICRC to place one delegate in each camp for the purpose of distributing relief supplies, on the conditions that the delegate remained there until the end of the war.[27]Red Cross (1948), vol. 1, 620; vol. 3, 83, 184; Red Cross (1947), 82-84. The ICRC organized road transport for relief supplies (use of the railways was out of the question) but its effectiveness was to a degree influenced by the attitudes of individual concentration camp commanders; for example, the reception at Mauthausen on April 23-30 was at first negative. SS Colonel Ziereis claimed that he had not heard of the Kaltenbrunner order.[28]Red Cross (1947), 134-137.

At Dachau, the ICRC had gotten a relatively warm reception on April 27 (after some coolness on April 26), and a delegate was allowed to establish himself in the camp. By Sunday, April 29, it was found that most of the German officers, guards, and employees had fled, and the effective command of the camp had fallen to a certain SS Lieutenant Wickert who had similar intentions of leading a flight of the remaining guards. Because this raised many dangers, notably violence by prisoners against German civilians of the area and the spread of epidemics, the delegate talked Wickert out of this. They came to an agreement regarding surrender of the camp, which the ICRC delegate was to do his best to have respected. First, guards would remain in the towers to prevent the escape of prisoners.

Second, the soldiers not standing guard would assemble, unarmed, in one of the courtyards.

Third, the garrison would be allowed to withdraw to its own “battle lines,” after the transfer of the camp to the Americans.

The ICRC delegate then affixed a white towel to a broomstick and, taking a German officer with him, left the camp to hunt up some Americans. After a while they encountered an American motorized unit and the delegate presented himself to the American general (not named in the delegate’s report on these events) who, on learning the identities of his new guests, immediately asked that the delegate and the German officer accompany them for the purpose of taking press photos at the camp, particularly of a certain train which was full of dead bodies. Although the Red Cross delegate had been at the camp for two days, he had apparently been too busy to learn of this train while at the camp and learned of it from the general.

With its mission thus defined, the column set off for the camp. On the way, the delegate was able to ask a Major Every to communicate to the general the agreement for the transfer of the camp, but apparently this attempt to communicate with the general was not successful.

On arrival at the camp, they found that some Americans had already arrived, the German guards in the towers had been replaced and all the Germans had surrendered. The inmates were in great disorder and some were armed; shots were fired at SS guards and this resulted in some killed on both sides. The delegate was finally able to gain the attention of the general to present the plan for the transfer of the camp. The general assented to the plan, but the German prisoners were not allowed to leave anyway, and many of them suffered at the hands of inmates seeking vengeance. As many of the inmates were disarmed as possible, but this did not end the disorders. Some inmates embraced the American soldiers while others tore down barbed wire fences and escaped. Some shots were fired by the Americans over the heads of inmates, and an uneasy calm was finally reached by 10 p.m. There were, however, occasional shots fired during the following night. The following day, April 30, it was possible to pass out adequate food and on the next day, Tuesday May 1, some members of the ICRC legation arrived and, according to the delegate, they visited not only piles of corpses but “equally the execution chamber, the gas chamber, the crematory ovens, etc.”[29]Red Cross (1947), 144-146, 149-152.

The preceding is a summary of the report of the Red Cross delegate. It contains no assertions similar to later assertions made independently by former inmates Johann M. Lenz and Nerin E. Gun, both of whom claim that the Americans, on arrival, started killing all SS guards in sight (unquestionably at least an exaggeration). Gun claims that this policy even extended to the dogs in the kennels, while Lenz claims that the general ordered a two hour bombardment of the defenseless town of Dachau (he was eventually dissuaded from this) in retaliation for the bodies which had been found lying around.[30]Lenz, 270; Gun, 63-64. If there is any truth to these claims (in fact, this massacre of the wholesale execution of all SS members was even photographed by the U.S. Army),[31]Editor’s note: This massacre was photographed by the U.S. troops, see Fig. 21, bottom right. Compare also Buechner; see also Dachauer Hefte, issue 1 (1985): “Die Befreiung”. the ICRC delegate made a fairly significant omission in his report.

It is very important to recognize what the Red Cross delegate refers to as the “gas chamber” in his report. The tone of the delegate’s report is tongue-in-cheek and contemptuous at several points, for it was written in defensive awareness of all the drivel that was being given mass circulation in the press. Thus, he remarks, in connection with the bodies found on the train at Dachau, that “many of these men had been killed while the others were probably dead of hunger.” Also, while the delegate is happy to pass along the names of le lieutenant Wickert and le major Every and others, he refuses to mention the name of the U.S. commander (apparently either Linden or Patek), who is referred to only as “le general.”

There were two types of rooms which were claimed as gas chambers by the U.S. propaganda after the camp was captured, and Gun reproduces the relevant photographs. Here we present Figs. 16 and 22. The former shows an ordinary shower which the U.S. propagandists had the audacity to claim was a gas chamber disguised as a shower. Fig. 19 shows the entrance to this “Brausebad” (shower bath).

The second type of room, which was claimed as a gas chamber, was indeed a gas chamber, the door of which is shown as Fig. 22. This door certainly appears to be genuine and not manufactured for the propaganda. To see what is involved, examine Fig. 13 (top). On the left one can perceive the very same door and near the door a heap of dirty prisoner clothing. That “gas chamber” was obviously a chamber for disinfesting clothing; such equipment was necessary and existed at all of the German concentration camps. The interior of the disinfestation room is shown in Fig. 6.

The building shown in Fig. 13 housed disinfestation chambers, the shower bath of Fig. 16, and the crematory of Fig. 17. This building has been maintained and is regularly visited by tourists. It is removed from the main part of the camp, located in a relatively isolated spot. It was perfectly logical to locate both the disinfestation chamber and the crematory in such a way that inmates did not come into frequent contact with such things (the former for reasons of health and the latter for reasons of morale). The shower was necessary, obviously, to decontaminate the people who worked in this building before they returned to the main part of the camp. I do not know whether this shower bath also serviced incoming prisoners, or if a separate shower existed for that purpose. As suggested by Fig. 16 and confirmed by the literature, it was almost always the shower bath, rather than the disinfestation chamber, which served the propaganda as a “gas chamber.”[32]M. J. Smith, 94f. The latter was probably considered too small to represent as a gas chamber, which had claimed countless victims.

Naturally, the “war crimes trials” produced witnesses who claimed gassings at Dachau (e.g. IMT witness Franz Blaha, who also claimed tattooed skin scenes as at Buchenwald[33]IMT, vol. 5, 167-173; Rassinier (1962), 78.). Naturally, the people whose bodies had been found at the camp when it was captured, especially those on the train, were always represented as having been murdered.

The number of bodies on the train at Dachau was approximately 500. Finding dead people on trains in Germany toward the war’s end was not unusual even on ordinary passenger trains; in January 1945, 800 Germans, frozen to death, had been found on a train which had arrived in Berlin.[34]Burney, 107; Red Cross (1947), 151. The German rail system was in utter chaos, and conditions in April 1945 are difficult to imagine, but some attempt should be made to see some of these corpse-laden trains in context. Some thought might also be given to the possible conditions of people as they started their journeys on these trains. It is entirely possible that the typical individual concentration camp commander, presented with what he considered insane orders to “transfer” N inmates to X camp, reasoned that putting the half dead on the train had the double merit of minimizing numbers of deaths and also getting some of the dying off his hands. However, such problems are not of essential or central interest here.

The truth about Dachau was not long in coming out, but did not receive wide publicity. The causes for the dead bodies, which were found at the camp when it was captured, were described in a 1948 publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As the U.S. Army advanced into Germany, it encountered the sorts of conditions, which its medical services had anticipated and for which they had prepared counter-measures:[35]Gordon, 23-25.

“Germany in the spring months of April and May was an astounding sight, a mixture of humanity traveling this way and that, homeless, often hungry and carrying typhus with them. […] The more territory that was uncovered, the greater was the number of reported cases; for Western Germany in the areas of the American advance was rather uniformly seeded with typhus. To be sure, there were heavily involved communities and others lightly affected. There were great accumulations of cases in the concentration and prison camps, and in nearby small communities.

As estimated 35,000-40,000 prisoners were found in [Dachau], living under conditions bad even for a German camp of this kind and worse than any other that came into American hands. Extreme filthiness, louse infestation, and overcrowding prevailed throughout the camp buildings. Several car-loads of human bodies were found packed in box cars in the railroad yards adjacent to the camp, the vestiges of a shipment of prisoners from camps further north who were transferred to Dachau in the late days of the war to escape the advancing United States troops.

The number of patients with typhus fever at the time the camp was first occupied will never be known. Days passed before a census of patients could be accomplished. Several hundreds were found in the prison hospital, but their number was small compared with the patients who continued to live with their comrades in the camp barracks, bed-ridden and unattended, lying in bunks 4 tiers high with 2 and sometimes 3 men to a narrow shelflike bed; the sick and the well; crowded beyond all description; reeking with filth and neglect – and everywhere the smell of death.”

It is not surprising that Dachau had experienced catastrophes very similar to those at Belsen. Since the beginning of 1945, there had been an estimated 15,000 prisoner deaths from typhus, mostly in the final two months.[36]Red Cross (1947), 150.

The Americans brought the camp under control, and it served, as we have seen, as an American camp and center of “war crimes trials.” An American lawyer, Stephen S. Pinter, who was stationed there and evidently disapproved of what had been carried out there in the name of the United States, wrote in 1959:[37]Letter by Pinter in Catholic weekly Our Sunday Visitor (Jun. 14, 1959), 15; cf. Schwensen.

“I was in Dachau for 17 months after the war, as a US War Department Attorney, and can state that there was no gas chamber at Dachau. What was shown to visitors and sightseers there and erroneously described as a gas chamber, was a crematory. Nor was there a gas chamber in any of the other concentration camps in Germany. We were told that there was a gas chamber at Auschwitz, but since that was in the Russian zone of occupation, we were not permitted to investigate, since the Russians would not permit it.

[…] uses the old propaganda myth that millions of Jews were killed by the national socialists. From what I was able to determine during six postwar years in Germany and Austria, there were a number of Jews killed, but the figure of a million was certainly never reached. I interviewed thousands of Jews, former inmates of concentration camps in Germany and Austria, and consider myself as well qualified as any man on this subject.”

In 1960, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte of Munich, “the paragon of hostility and resistance to Nazism,” declared:[38]Die Zeit (Engl. Edition, Aug. 26, 1960), 14 (letter by M. Broszat); Rassinier (1962), 79. Rassinier refers to the German edition of Die Zeit (Aug. 19, 1960).

“The gas chamber in Dachau was never completed and put into operation […] The mass extermination of Jews by gassing started in 1941/1942, and took place […] with the aid of installations technically designed for this purpose, above all in occupied Polish territory [but nowhere in the Old Reich …].”

This is essentially the Dachau myth as it stood in the summer of 1973: the information given the visiting tourist at Dachau correctly identified the disinfestation room as such, without any attempt to represent it as a gas chamber for exterminating people. In regard to the shower bath the leaflet explained that

“This gas chamber, camouflaged as a shower room, was not used. The prisoners selected for ‘gassing’ were transported from Dachau to the Hartheim Castle, near Linz (Austria) or to other camps.”

So much for Dachau, a close examination of which was necessary in order to evaluate the general credibility of the U.S. propaganda.[39]Editor’s remark: Around the turn of the millenium the Dachau Museum made an about-face and has claimed ever since that some homicidal gassing did occur in this shower room; cf. Schwertfeger.

The Industrial Role of Auschwitz • 2,300 Words

The camps at Auschwitz were, of course, part of the same concentration camp system as the camps we have just discussed. However, the operations referred to with the term “Auschwitz” were really, in many ways, in a class by themselves. This is so much the case that, in order to see the role of Auschwitz clearly, it is necessary to go back considerably in time. It is also necessary, unfortunately, to indulge in a certain amount of discussion that may seem excessively technical at first.

The principal cause of the German defeat in World War I in 1918 had been shortages brought about, chiefly, by the British blockade. Shortages of such things as oil and rubber had been crippling the Army, and near starvation conditions in Germany had made the internal political situation unpredictable and unstable. Germany capitulated, a victim of, among other things, the twentieth century’s first “energy crisis.”

The extreme vulnerability of Germany in respect of raw materials had, of course, been realized by the German chemical industry during the war, and after the war the popularity of the concept of “autarky,” non-reliance on imports or foreign aid, was partially based on this consideration. The only raw materials that concern us here are oil and rubber, of which there was essentially none in Germany. In Europe, only Romania had significant oil resources, and there was no natural rubber anywhere in Europe. There were, however, huge sources of coal in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

The great German chemicals company, I. G. Farben, was in 1918 a collection of six smaller companies, which later combined in 1925 to form Farben. The principal predecessor company, Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik (BASF) of Ludwigshafen-am-Rhein had, starting early in World War I, been working on processes for producing synthetic oil and synthetic rubber from coal. These investigations continued after the formation of Farben and also after the rise of Hitler in 1933. The Nazi government soon adopted a policy of subsidizing these autarky-oriented developments.[40]Howard, 3, 11-22, 44, 60-62; NMT, vol. 7, 79-80. Thus, on account of government encouragement, the real need for the synthetics, and the general German scientific-technological pre-eminence of the time, especially in chemistry and chemical engineering, Germany was substantially ahead of the rest of the world in these areas.

Synthetic oil was by far the easier of the two problems. Coal is mainly carbon; the general principle is that coal treated with hydrogen gas at high pressure and temperature (“hydrogenation”) resulted in oil. The usual range of chemical products could be made from this oil: dyes, explosives, drugs, etc. Another state of hydrogenation yielded gasoline. The idea was basically simple, although the process was inherently expensive, and most research consisted in a search for the most effective catalysts. During World War II, there were many synthetic oil plants in and around Germany; they produced about 75 percent of the oil available to the Germans; the rest came mainly from Romania.[41]Craven, 172.

Synthetic rubber was a different matter; the technical problems in developing a sufficiently economic synthetic rubber suitable for tires were most severe and were not really resolved until approximately the beginning of the war.

The basic steps in making rubber are first making long chains of molecules of some sort, polymerization, and then causing these chains to “cross-stitch” – to join each other at various points – vulcanization. One needed a molecule congenial to polymerization and vulcanization, and it was found that butadiene was particularly suitable. In the late twenties, it had been found that sodium was an excellent catalyst for polymerization of the butadiene, and consequently the synthetic rubber that was being made from butadiene with sodium (Na) as catalyst was called “Buna” rubber. The sodium had been dropped by 1935, but the term “Buna” was retained. By replacing 25 per cent of the butadiene with styrene, “Buna-S” rubber, the type particularly suited for tires, was obtained.[42]Howard, 35-37.

The earliest serious German Buna-S plant, and the largest, was the Schkopau plant, started in 1937 and completed in 1939. It had a capacity of 6,000 tons per month. A second plant was started at Hüls in 1938 and was in operation in August 1940; its capacity was 4,000 tons per month. A third plant was started in January 1941 at Ludwigshafen, Farben research headquarters, and it was producing Buna in March 1943; its capacity was 2,500 tons per month. The fourth, at Auschwitz, was begun in 1941 and was designed for a capacity of 3,000 tons per month.

During all this plant construction, research on new processes continued, and the differences in the processes used in the four plants reflected this. All started from coal, but at Schkopau the butadiene was produced via a classical calcium carbide-acetylene-butadiene sequence; at Hüls the carbide state was replaced by one involving hydrocarbon gases. Ludwigshafen reverted to the classical sequence, but the superior Reppe process was introduced for the acetylene-butadiene state. The Buna plant at Auschwitz also used a version of the classical sequence.[43]Dunbrook, 50; Naunton, 107.

The reason for the appearance of Auschwitz in this context is very simple: Auschwitz was a huge industrial operation.

When Germany annexed a large part of Poland after the partitioning of Poland in 1939 by Germany and Russia, it came into the possession of the great coal fields of Polish Upper Silesia. It was naturally decided to exploit this, and the possibilities for a hydrogenation and Buna plant were examined. It was found that the little town of “Oświęcim” (population 13,000), translated into German as “Auschwitz” (Auschwitz had been a duchy of the Habsburg Empire before World War I), was ideally located, because the three rivers that joined there could provide the necessary water, while a fourth river for carrying off the waste was nearby. In addition, Auschwitz was on the southern border of the Silesian coal fields, the Kattowitz (Katowice) mining region of Poland.[44]DuBois, 154-155.

In early 1941, it was decided to build a hydrogenation and a Buna plant at Auschwitz employing both free and prisoner labor. By pure chance, there was already near the town a partisan POW camp holding 7,000 prisoners (it had formerly been a Polish artillery barracks); this camp became the nucleus for expansion via its own enlargement and also the construction of additional camps. It was quickly transformed into, and remained to the last, a camp for political prisoner-workers; it is usually referred to as Auschwitz I. The terms “main camp,” “Hauptlager,” and “Stammlager” are also sometimes used.[45]Reitlinger, 110, 128; NO-034 in NMT, vol. 5, 356-358.

Sometime in 1941, work had begun on a second camp, Auschwitz II, generally referred to as Birkenau (German for birch meadow). It was one to one and a half miles northwest of Auschwitz I and was initially referred to as a POW camp. Part of it was completed by April 1942; Russian POW labor was used for constructing the camp. Its functions will be examined at length.

Some 4,000 Jews were moved out of the town to another town to make room for free labor attached to the industries. On November 16, 1941, it was decided to build a third camp, generally referred to as Monowitz, three miles east of the town and close to the Farben plant, for quartering labor working on and in the plant. Russian POW’s were again used for constructing the camp.[46]Reitlinger, 114-115; DuBois, 156. The relative locations of the three camps are shown in Fig. 5.[47]Central Commission, Figs. 2, 4; Langbein, 929.

There was also a large number of smaller camps in the outlying region, most of them within a radius of 25 miles. These “outer camps,” of which Raisko and Harmense were two relatively close-in examples, were administered by the Auschwitz camp administration, and the number has been variously given as 13 to 39, depending upon what is considered a single camp.[48]The Auschwitz Museum currently gives a number of more than 40; cf. The smaller or outer camps were mainly for those who worked at the five blast furnaces or five coal mines. Monowitz and the collection of all outer camps taken together are sometimes referred to a Auschwitz III. The collection of all camps, Auschwitz I, Birkenau (Auschwitz II) and Auschwitz III, together with the industries which employed the inmates, is usually what is referred to under the blanket term “Auschwitz.”[49]Central Commission, 30; Reitlinger, 492; NO-021 in NMT, vol. 5, 385.

The prisoner population of Auschwitz II was nothing unusual except that there was a significant number of British POWs.[50]DuBois, 217-218, 223-227; Reitlinger, 115. The NMT judgment was that the use of British POWs was not contrary to the Geneva Convention, because the Buna factory had an ultimate peaceful purpose.[51]NMT, vol. 8, 1183-1184. The Red Cross apparently concurred because, although it was specifically aware of this situation, it did not mention the employment of British POWs in its later report on the problems it had encountered during the war in respect to the use of POWs for war-related work.[52]Red Cross (1947), 92; Red Cross (1948), vol. 1, 546-551.

Typical camp strengths were 20,000 for Auschwitz I, 35,000 for Birkenau (30 to 60 percent women) and 15,000 for Auschwitz III. By a wide margin, Auschwitz was the largest complex of concentration camps in the German system; in August 1943, the second largest was Sachsenhausen with a population of 26,500.[53]Central Commission, 31; Reitlinger, 123, 492; 1469-PS and NO-021 in NMT, vol. 5, 382, 385. There were also many free laborers working and living in the area. For example, less than thirty per cent of the workers at the Farben plant were in the “prisoner” category; more that half were free foreign workers who had enlisted voluntarily for labor and the remaining approximate twenty per cent were ordinary German employees.[54]NI-11412-A in NMT, vol. 8, 311-312.

Auschwitz I was the administrative center for all SS functions at Auschwitz. These SS functions included the guarding, feeding, clothing, housing, recreation, and disciplining of the prisoners, and also their medical services. The working hours at Auschwitz were those standard for the German concentration camps: eleven hours per day, six days a week, with extra work on Sunday mornings in “emergencies.”[55]NO-1290 in NMT, vol. 5, 371. At Auschwitz there were divers recreational activities: concerts, cabaret performers, movies and athletic contests. There was even a brothel for the prisoners, staffed by professionals recruited for the purpose.[56]Cohen, 180; Christophersen, 34. See also the discussion of the Dachau brothel in Gun, 38-40. Medical services receive further comment later on.

The providing of such extensive services naturally meant that companies using the labor of the prisoners “rented” them from the SS; a typical rate seems to have been RM 4.00-RM 6.00 (\$1.00-\$1.50) per day and up.[57]NMT, vol. 9, 121; Central Commission, 37. Thus, the prisoners were at the basis of Himmler’s bureaucratic and economic empire, and accordingly this resource, together with the supporting functions of feeding, clothing, etc. were jealously guarded. Nevertheless, Farben had been big enough to get a special arrangement for those at Monowitz; it was granted full authority for the care of the prisoners there and consequently the payments to the SS were reduced. This led to the expected scraps between the SS and Farben. The SS complained of beatings and other mistreatment such as unsanitary conditions at the Monowitz hospital. Also, one-fifth of the people who had been registered at this hospital were discharged by being sent to Birkenau, at which time the Farben appropriations for their care immediately ceased and they became the responsibility of the SS which, already wounded by not being accorded its customary rights in regard to employable prisoners, was incensed at receiving in return only the unemployable from Monowitz. The SS therefore demanded that the Monowitz hospital, which had only 300 beds, be enlarged, but the reply to this, of course, was that “if they aren’t strong enough to work, they don’t belong on the factory grounds.”[58]DuBois, 164, 220-224.

Birkenau, like Auschwitz I, had a responsibility of supplying labor for Farben and for sub-contractors to Farben. It also supplied labor for other enterprises such as the Krupp fuse plant and the Siemens electrical factory. In addition, inmates worked at clearing demolished structures, draining the marshy land, road construction, operating an establishment for the cultivation of special plants (Raisko), building and operating a model farm (Harmense), clothing manufacture, etc.[59]DuBois, 141; NMT, vol. 6, 207, 233; NMT, vol. 9, 120; US-WRB (1944), pt. I, 1-2; Christophersen, 23-25. Birkenau had other functions, as will be seen. It will be particularly necessary to examine the claim that at Birkenau a program of mass killings of Jews via gas chambers was in operation, the Jews having been transported to Auschwitz primarily for this purpose.[60]Reitlinger, 115, 157; Hilberg (1961), 565, 574.

The rough figures given above for camp populations are only illustrative; the Birkenau figure actually varied a great deal, and in addition, the Birkenau camp was never completed. The projected capacity of Birkenau seems to have been 200,000 prisoners, while Auschwitz I expanded to a capacity of about 30,000 and then stabilized.[61]Central Commission, 31. Thus, on the basis of seniority and also on account of quartering the Auschwitz SS administrative offices, Auschwitz I was indeed the “main camp,” but Birkenau, designed for the specific requirements of the Auschwitz operations, was clearly intended as the “principal camp” in terms of inmate accommodating functions.

While the Auschwitz-Kattowitz region was ideal from a technical point of view, it was also wretched from a human point of view. The ground was extremely flat with no means of draining away water in many places; it was dotted with stagnant ponds which poisoned the air and caused the area to be constantly muddy. Malaria and typhus were natural, not wartime-created, dangers in this region; the war conditions greatly aggravated matters. It is said that “motor cars were disinfected after each journey carrying prisoners or their clothing.”[62]Central Commission, 27-29; DuBois, 130; Friedman, 33.

After 1942, the hydrogenation plant at Auschwitz produced oil and gasoline and other chemicals, but by the time the camp was evacuated in January 1945, it had not produced any Buna; it was only at the point of producing acetaldehyde from acetylene.[63]DuBois, 341; Naunton, 107; Bebb & Wakefield, 945. This relative slowness in plant construction was no doubt due to the initially virgin character of the area, the use of prisoner labor, and the bad health of many prisoners; the latter had further implications, which will be seen later in proper context.

I do not know whether the Auschwitz Buna plant was to have been essentially the same as the Ludwigshafen plant, an improved version of the latter, or a new generation in Buna plant construction. In any case, if it had been finished, there would have been no more advanced Buna rubber plant in the world at the time.

Notes • 400 Words

[1] Veale, 133-136; Martin, 121.

[2] Reitlinger, 122, 402; Hilberg (1961), 570-571; DuBois, 127.

[3] Burney, 9; Buber, 188; Lenz, 31; Cohen, 120-122.

[4] Sington, 117f.

[5] Phillips, 152.

[6] Sington, 48.

[7] Phillips, 17.

[8] Hilberg (1961), 561-564; Reitlinger, 94, 147-150, 154.

[9] Cohen, 26-28.

[10] Red Cross (1948), vol. 1, 546-547.

[11] 1469-PS and NO-1990 in NMT, vol. 5, 382, 389.

[12] Cohen, xiii.

[13] Aronéanu, 212.

[14] 1469-PS in NMT, vol. 5, 382.

[15] Reitlinger, 364f., 406; Hilberg (1961), 377-379, 632f.

[16] A. Frank, 285.

[17] Regarding Belsen see in general Barton and Weber (1995).

[18] Aronéanu, 207, 213, 214, 217, 220.

[19] Burney, 10-14.

[20] Hoehne, 383-387 (434-436 in paperback).

[21] Burney, 10.

[22] 3420-PS; 3422-PS. For pictures see, e.g., Andrus, photographs. A “macabre collection” of specimens from Buchenwald is also pictured in Pélissier, 640 pp.

[23] 3421-PS; IMT, vol. 3, 515; quoted Shirer (1960), 984.

[24] New York Times (Sep. 24, 1948), 3; (Oct. 1, 1948), 11; (Oct. 8, 1948), 10; (Oct. 22, 1948), 5; (Dec. 27, 1948), 1, 12; (Dec. 20, 1950), 15; Jan. 16, 1951), 1; (Sep. 3, 1967), 1; cf. also A.L. Smith.

[25] Burney, 106-109; cf. in general Weber (1986).

[26] Lenz, 32, 42, 78; 1063-PS.

[27] Red Cross (1948), vol. 1, 620; vol. 3, 83, 184; Red Cross (1947), 82-84.

[28] Red Cross (1947), 134-137.

[29] Red Cross (1947), 144-146, 149-152.

[30] Lenz, 270; Gun, 63-64.

[31] Editor’s note: This massacre was photographed by the U.S. troops, see Fig. 21, bottom right. Compare also Buechner; see also Dachauer Hefte, issue 1 (1985): “Die Befreiung”.

[32] M. J. Smith, 94f.

[33] IMT, vol. 5, 167-173; Rassinier (1962), 78.

[34] Burney, 107; Red Cross (1947), 151.

[35] Gordon, 23-25.

[36] Red Cross (1947), 150.

[37] Letter by Pinter in Catholic weekly Our Sunday Visitor (Jun. 14, 1959), 15; cf. Schwensen.

[38] Die Zeit (Engl. Edition, Aug. 26, 1960), 14 (letter by M. Broszat); Rassinier (1962), 79. Rassinier refers to the German edition of Die Zeit (Aug. 19, 1960).

[39] Editor’s remark: Around the turn of the millenium the Dachau Museum made an about-face and has claimed ever since that some homicidal gassing did occur in this shower room; cf. Schwertfeger.

[40] Howard, 3, 11-22, 44, 60-62; NMT, vol. 7, 79-80.

[41] Craven, 172.

[42] Howard, 35-37.

[43] Dunbrook, 50; Naunton, 107.

[44] DuBois, 154-155.

[45] Reitlinger, 110, 128; NO-034 in NMT, vol. 5, 356-358.

[46] Reitlinger, 114-115; DuBois, 156.

[47] Central Commission, Figs. 2, 4; Langbein, 929.

[48] The Auschwitz Museum currently gives a number of more than 40; cf.

[49] Central Commission, 30; Reitlinger, 492; NO-021 in NMT, vol. 5, 385.

[50] DuBois, 217-218, 223-227; Reitlinger, 115.

[51] NMT, vol. 8, 1183-1184.

[52] Red Cross (1947), 92; Red Cross (1948), vol. 1, 546-551.

[53] Central Commission, 31; Reitlinger, 123, 492; 1469-PS and NO-021 in NMT, vol. 5, 382, 385.

[54] NI-11412-A in NMT, vol. 8, 311-312.

[55] NO-1290 in NMT, vol. 5, 371.

[56] Cohen, 180; Christophersen, 34. See also the discussion of the Dachau brothel in Gun, 38-40.

[57] NMT, vol. 9, 121; Central Commission, 37.

[58] DuBois, 164, 220-224.

[59] DuBois, 141; NMT, vol. 6, 207, 233; NMT, vol. 9, 120; US-WRB (1944), pt. I, 1-2; Christophersen, 23-25.

[60] Reitlinger, 115, 157; Hilberg (1961), 565, 574.

[61] Central Commission, 31.

[62] Central Commission, 27-29; DuBois, 130; Friedman, 33.

[63] DuBois, 341; Naunton, 107; Bebb & Wakefield, 945.

Chapter 3 • Washington and New York • 27,900 Words
The Rubber Crisis of 1942 • 1,900 Words

The military situation of the Allied powers in 1942 was superficially a desperate one. After the winter of 1941-1942, the German armies continued their advance across Russia. The destruction of most of the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, had made the Pacific a virtual Japanese lake. America was suddenly faced with a problem that was, for her, a strange one: lack of a crucial raw material without which no war effort appeared possible. Japan controlled what had been the source of ninety per cent of America’s rubber, Malaya and the East Indies, and the source of the other ten per cent, Central and South America, was hopelessly inadequate.[1]Howard, 4-7, 216; U.S. Special Committee, 24.

The manner in which America extricated herself from this grave situation will go down as one of the great ironies of history. America, one would expect, could not resolve this problem because nobody in America had thought in terms of “autarky.”

Standard Oil of New Jersey had the essentials of the I. G. Farben Buna rubber process. This was on account of a series of agreements between the two companies, commencing in 1927, covering technical cooperation and mutual licensing arrangements. Standard was quite interested in Buna rubber because it could also be made (more easily) from oil.

The cooperation continued, with the consent of the German government, right up to the outbreak of war and even, to some extent, after the outbreak of war. The American side benefited hugely from these arrangements, but the German side got almost nothing out of them.[2]Howard, chapters 2-9.

The outbreak of war in September 1939 between Germany on the one hand and England and France on the other threw these arrangements between Farben and Standard into a certain amount of legal confusion, which need not be explored here. Farben wished to clarify the confusion, and so a meeting was arranged at the Hague on September 22, at which certain legal arrangements were made. Standard official Frank A. Howard was puzzled by all of this:[3]Howard, 82f.

“I could not escape the conviction, however, that the Germans themselves were the only people who could profit from a military standpoint by leaving the relations between Standard and the I. G. in the situation into which the war had thrown them.”

The arrangements that had been made at the Hague soon proved to be inadequate, so it was decided in the spring of 1940 that another meeting was necessary. Howard saw another motivation for an additional meeting:

[…] we intended also to ask them to supply some of their detailed designs of manufacturing equipment and technique for Buna. We hoped that I. G. might obtain permission of its government to sell to us the plans for the Buna polymerization plants they had erected in Germany under the government program.”

These hopes were dashed at the conference between Standard and Farben which finally took place in Basle, Switzerland, in mid-April 1940 during the German occupation of Norway, which signaled the end of the Sitzkrieg. The new political conditions arising from the German realization that the situation was a serious one brought about at the conference the effective termination of the relations between Farben and Standard. Naturally, Standard got nowhere with its proposals to buy plant designs. However, as Howard explains:

“One other point was very much on our minds. We wanted to make sure, if possible, that the Germans had not, since the outbreak of the war in Europe, made any radical change in their Buna manufacturing processes or formulas. Direct questions were out of order, since the I. G. men could not discuss any phase of Germany’s industrial war effort. But during the settlements of patent transfers and discussions of license definitions needed to implement the Hague agreement, we obtained sufficient data to feel sure that all of the fundamentals of the Buna operation had remained unchanged. This conclusion was later fully confirmed.”

This was the “last direct contact Standard had with the Germans on Buna rubber.”[4]Howard, 104-108.

All American knowledge of the Buna processes, which made the American war effort possible, came from these relationships with I. G. Farben, and this is accepted fact in the rubber industry.[5]Naunton, 104. Nevertheless, Standard later came under some rather stupid criticism and even later legal action on account of them.[6]DuBois, 284.

The sudden unavailability in 1942 of a source of rubber set off a major political crisis in the United States. There had been a Buna program in existence since mid-1940, when the Rubber Reserve Corporation had been created within the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. This agency, headed by Jesse H. Jones, supervised the stockpiling of reserve crude rubber and also sponsored the construction of Buna plants, which started in 1941. However, nobody in authority had foreseen the complete loss of the Far East rubber, so the synthetic rubber program had been modest in scope. Consequently, in 1942 there was almost no practical experience with large scale use of the Farben processes.

The emergency had been realized immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, because three days later, the U.S. government banned the sale of new automobile tires for civilian purposes. General rationing of rubber followed quickly. Early in 1942 it became realized that, if there was to be any American war effort, a gigantic synthetic rubber industry would have to be created in record time. The apparently dismal prospects for such an achievement were the cause of some amount of panic, and naturally, scapegoats were sought. Jesse Jones was a favorite target, and his claim that 300,000 tons of synthetic rubber would be produced in 1943 and 600,000 tons in 1944 was jeered at (U.S. rubber consumption in 1940 was 648,500 tons). Standard Oil also came in for outrageously unfair abuse by people who interpreted the Farben-Standard agreements as a conspiracy to retard synthetic rubber development in the U.S. Harry S. Truman, chairman of a Senate committee, which investigated war production problems, first became prominent in connection with the rubber crisis of 1942.

The crisis also set off internal political conflicts. The big oil interests had a long lead in the production of Buna-S, but the farm bloc was dominant in Congress. Now, Buna can be made not only from coal and oil, but also from alcohol, an agricultural product. Foreseeing the birth of a major new industry, the farm interests started arguing in favor of making Buna from alcohol (the most expensive method). They cited the fact that the Russians, also long active in the synthetic rubber field, started from alcohol. They also produced a Polish refugee who was supposed to have made some revolutionary invention in connection with making Buna from alcohol.

There was another political bloc tied up with South American interests, which proposed subsidies for plantations. There was also a small farm bloc which pressed for more extensive planting of the guayule plant in the southwest. The effect of these internal political battles was to generate massive confusion and retard the progress of the existing U.S. Buna program.

The rubber crisis filled the press in 1942 and was, in fact, the major crisis the U.S. faced in connection with the war. There was constant lamenting that Germany was well ahead of the U.S. and that the U.S. lacked the vital experience with the processes that the Germans possessed. Methods being used in Germany were cited in connection with discussing the prospects of the U.S. program.[7]As stated, the rubber crisis “filled the press,” but the following stories seem to summarize the crisis adequately: Business Week (Jan. 31, 1942), 22+; (Mar. 14, 1942), 15+; (May 30, 1942), 15+; (Jun. 20, 1942), 15+; (Aug. 15, 1942), 15+; (Sep. 19, 1942), 15+; (Dec. 19, 1942), 28+; Newsweek (Apr. 6, 1942), 46+; (Apr. 13, 1942), 56+; (June 1, 1942), 46+; (Sep. 21, 1942), 58+; New York Times (Jan. 11, 1942), sec. 7, 6+; (Jul. 26, 1942), sec. 7, 3+; Fortune (June 1942), 92+; Nature Magazine (May 1942), 233+; Harper’s (Dec. 1942), 66+.

The farm bloc’s battle against what it called the “oily interests” achieved a temporary major success in July 1942, when the Congress passed the weird “Rubber Supply Act of 1942.” The Act would have established a new agency for rubber production, entirely under the control of Congress and outside the domain of the War Production Board, the Army, the Navy, or any executive agency of the Government. Of course, the Act also specified that the rubber was to be made from grain alcohol. President Roosevelt vetoed this bill on August 6 and announced the appointment of a committee to study the rubber problem and make some recommendations in regard to the organization of an American synthetic rubber program: “probably the most widely acclaimed action on the domestic front in the history of the war program.” The members of the committee were Dr. James D. Conant, President of Harvard, Dr. Karl T. Compton, President of MIT, and the financier and political leader Bernard M. Baruch, who served as Chairman. The committee is normally referred to as the Baruch Committee.[8]Naunton, 108; Howard, 210-213.

These three men were chosen partially because they were not considered connected with any specific interests in the conflict, and also because of their expertise. The appointment of Baruch as chairman of such a technically oriented group may seem peculiar at first, but this is not the case. Besides being a man of diverse talents and important financial, industrial, and political connections, he had chaired the War Industries Board during World War I. Moreover, for a period of more than thirty years, he had been interested in industrial ventures involving rubber and had independently inventoried, with war requirements in mind, American rubber stocks in the spring of 1941. As a consequence, he had gotten into fights with various people, mainly Jesse H. Jones. In addition, unlike the usual chairman of a “name” Washington ad hoc committee, Baruch threw all his energy into the work of the Committee. His assistant Sam Lubell also was put to work on the Committee’s assignment. Even after the issuing of the final report, Baruch maintained interest: Howard reports that Baruch later expressed a wish to speak to the Standard people and that a meeting was accordingly held, at which the major technical-economic problems were discussed.[9]Howard, 221f.; Coit, 120f., 162-222, 513-520.

The work of the Baruch Committee was completed with remarkable speed and the final report was issued on September 10, 1942; the best explanation for this speed would appear to be Baruch’s independent prior involvement in the problem.

We must attempt to see this problem as the Committee must have seen it in 1942. Primarily, it was a political problem requiring the reconciliation of the various interests contending for the synthetic rubber business. Thus, the final report of the Committee recommended the creation of a capacity to produce 100,000,000 gallons of additional grain alcohol per year. A second problem involved the lack of practical American experience with the Buna processes. Technical specifications were at hand, but there existed many questions on many details and quite a few alternative versions of the processes.

Thus, in order to accelerate the American synthetic rubber program, the Baruch Committee saw a need to learn as much as possible of the experiences of others. It made a specific recommendation that an immediate effort be made to learn the experiences of the Russians in the production of synthetic rubber and make use of them in the American program (Jesse Jones had been charged with overlooking this possibility). The effort was made but yielded no results of any value.[10]Howard, 227f.; U.S. Special Committee, 13, 18, 50f.; Dunbrook, 40-46. Under such conditions it is necessary to assume that somebody in America looked into new developments in Germany in as close detail as possible at the time, and the new German development in rubber in 1942 was Auschwitz, the site of the most advanced developments in Buna rubber at that time.

Auschwitz of Great Interest to Americans • 2,300 Words

The point to be made in our discussion of the American rubber crisis of 1942 is that American intelligence must have known what was going on at Auschwitz in that year.

Clearly, it would be delightful if we could learn exactly what U.S. military intelligence knew about events in and around Germany during the war. However, intelligence agencies are notoriously reluctant to release such information, even many years after the events in question. With respect to World War II intelligence operations, a few sensational episodes are known, but on the whole, the content of Allied intelligence information has not been divulged. The intelligence relative to Auschwitz will be a long, long time in being made public, if it is ever made public.

In attempting to estimate, therefore, what information was possessed by Allied intelligence agencies, one must proceed very much on the basis of common sense. The difficulty is that my common sense may differ very much from another’s, and that agreement on such matters may be most difficult to arrive at. Now, my common sense tells me that, quite apart from the rubber crisis, Allied intelligence would have known, in mid-1942, what was happening at the largest German concentration camp. If additionally, as every version of the extermination legend asserts, there had been anything as outré as a program of systematic extermination of Jews at Auschwitz in the summer of 1942, then my common sense tells me that it is a certainty that U.S. military intelligence would have known about it.

If another’s common sense does not lead him to the same conclusion, it is very doubtful that the disagreement could be settled by discussion. However, with Auschwitz we have the fact that it was of interest not only as a large concentration camp (and also, if the extermination claims were correct, an extermination camp), but also as the site of the most advanced developments in synthetic rubber. In 1942, no location in the German Reich was of greater interest, and no industrial operations of greater strategic importance. Therefore, if one wishes to claim that U.S. (or the closely related British) intelligence did not know what was happening at Auschwitz in the summer of 1942, then I am afraid that one must logically claim the complete ignorance and incompetence of these intelligence agencies.

Auschwitz was of the greatest interest to the U.S. in mid-1942 on account of its enormous technological significance. Above we saw Howard’s great interest, in 1940, in any information about possible new developments that could be obtained directly or inferred indirectly. A similar interest on the part of the Americans in 1942 must be assumed. It is a certainty that intelligence had developed the basic facts about the industry at Auschwitz: a plant for hydrogenation and other chemical processes aimed at producing gasoline and rubber. It has been seen that each one of the German Buna rubber plants employed processes differing in important details from the others and that the Auschwitz processes were to be the beneficiary of accumulated experiences with several different versions. We are thus justified in assuming, on account of the peculiar urgency of the rubber problem and the peculiar position of Auschwitz relative to this urgency, that the intelligence had gone into unusual detail in regard to Auschwitz, probably going over every inch via aerial photographic intelligence, and that the assembled information was available to various people in the U.S. The information probably included many details not greatly relevant to the rubber problem, such as the employment of prisoner and POW labor at Auschwitz.

Although concealment of information has been the rule in the area of military intelligence, we can nevertheless assume that the means of gathering intelligence data on Auschwitz included more or less conventional methods: exploitation of contacts with commercial representatives of Farben who were stationed in neutral countries (Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland), aerial photographic intelligence (aircraft used for such purposes may always have longer ranges than bombers on account of their lack of armaments), general knowledge of German industrial and economic matters, spies and informers in German industry and in the German government (e.g. Admiral Canaris), and informers in the employ of advantageously situated neutral organizations (such as the Swiss and Swedish diplomatic corps and also firms doing business in Germany). Although all of these means no doubt played a role, photographic intelligence was probably particularly important; the technology of photographic intelligence had attained a respectable level in 1942 so that a “you are there” effect was possible in blown-up aerial photos of even heavily defended positions. There were other channels of information, whose nature and existence are of some particular importance here and which will be discussed in due course.

Not being sufficiently acquainted with the technical problems that were associated with Buna at the time, we have no idea what information the Americans might have been after and how it could be inferred from the intelligence data, any more than we have an understanding of what questions were on the minds of the Standard people at the Basle meeting and how partial answers could be inferred from the legal ritual that took place at that meeting. We can, however, offer one possibility by way of example without any claim that such was the specific case.

We have seen that the first German Buna plant at Schkopau employed a carbide-acetylene-butadiene process and that at the Hüls plant the process was hydrocarbons-acetylene-butadiene. The new plant at Ludwigshafen, nearing completion when the Baruch Committee was meeting, had reverted to making the acetylene from carbide and had modernized the acetylene to butadiene stage. Because either a carbide or a hydrocarbons process was potentially applicable to the processes to be employed in the U.S. (which could have started from oil or grain alcohol), it was no doubt of great interest whether Auschwitz was to employ a carbide process (as was the case), suggesting abandonment of the hydrocarbons version on the basis of the Hüls experience, or was to employ a hydrocarbons or other process, suggesting failure to make a commitment to carbide processes.

Moreover, the carbide vs. hydrocarbons question could probably be answered on the basis of aerial intelligence, if necessary.

What was the ultimate value, in terms of the problems the Americans faced, of the detailed information about contemporary German Buna developments, which, we feel certain, they examined closely approximately in middle-late 1942? Perhaps none, as was the case with most categories of information; it is just that you don’t miss a bet in the sort of situation in which the Americans found themselves regarding rubber in 1942.

Consideration of technical matters has been necessary here because it was in a technical context that Auschwitz first became prominent in Washington. However, it is not the technical matters that have been our objective here but simply the fact of prominence, or heavy exposure, in U.S. inner circles in the summer of 1942; this is the only point relevant to our subject. We have no direct evidence of this, but we have reviewed reasons why such exposure may be assumed. It remains to show that events at Auschwitz at this time were such as to suggest an “extermination factory” charge to those in the inner political circles, who were alert to the appearance of semi-factual bases for atrocity stories. The events at Auschwitz in late 1942 – early 1943 will be covered in a second context in the next chapter and hence are not annotated here.

The eeriest aspect that Auschwitz must have presented while the Baruch Committee was meeting was that of the site of a ghost factory; starting around August 1, the Buna plant had been closed. There was no activity to be seen except possibly an occasional watchman. This must have excited great curiosity and no doubt special steps were taken to find out what was going on.

Our ugly old friend typhus was at Auschwitz; an epidemic had shut down the Buna plant for two months, so that work did not resume until late September. By this time, the number of dead must have been a few thousand, although there is a large degree of uncertainty here. The German policy was to cremate the bodies of camp inmates who died, but the epidemic caught the Auschwitz authorities with inadequate crematory facilities. There was a small crematory at Auschwitz I, but more extensive facilities at Birkenau, plans for which existed in January 1942, were still under construction in 1942, and the first complete new unit, consisting of fifteen conventional crematory muffles, was not available until March 1943. It appears that many of the victims of the epidemic were immediately cremated in pits, but it is possible that many were buried, at least temporarily. That the Germans were constructing crematories at Birkenau was probably evident to continued Allied surveillance (which we assume existed) in the autumn of 1942. The buildings housing the Birkenau ovens had certain halls, rooms, or cellars, which the accusations say were the “gas chambers.”

Several books offer versions of Fig. 7, which is claimed to be a photograph of gassed victims about to be burned in pits, taken by an Auschwitz inmate in 1944.[11]The photograph appears in Schoenberner, 162 (206 in paperback), and in Central Commission, Fig. 39. We have no way of knowing when, where, or by whom it was taken. However, such scenes were common at Auschwitz in 1942, when the camp presumably attained some prominence in Allied intelligence. Indeed, the poor quality of the picture caused some initial speculation on my part that it is an aerial intelligence photograph; the low angle does not rule out the possibility because such angles were frequently attained even with highly defended positions.[12]C.B. Smith, 166-171 and photographs. Also, the versions I examined in the various books do not have the border material which tends to support the claim that it was taken on the ground. Our Fig. 7 is reproduced from a print obtained in 1973 from the museum operated by the Polish government at Auschwitz, and there remain a number of mysteries concerning it. The version reproduced here is the only one, so far as I know, that is not obviously falsified to some extent.[13]Editor’s note: There are some reservations about the authenticity of this picture, see Walendy (2003), 253f.; Mattogno (2005a). However, such an observation does not settle the matter because of the strange fact that the falsified (or, at least, retouched) versions display more apparently genuine background detail (e.g. the fence and trees).

In any case, Birkenau was, in a very real sense, a “death camp;” dead, dying and sick people were sent there and, after the crematories were built, the dead were disposed of in them. If one is to claim an “extermination camp” when there is none, what better choice is there but a “death camp”?

While the preceding adequately suggests how the Auschwitz lie originated, it is not relevant to the circumstances, under which the more general extermination legend originated. The claims of exterminations of Jews have their origin not in Allied intelligence information but in the operations of the World Jewish Congress, whose leaders were at first either unconcerned with, or uninformed about, the facts pertaining to Auschwitz.

In this connection one must reject two possible fallacious expectations. The first is that Allied propaganda would strive to maximize Auschwitz propaganda after it was realized that the propaganda possibilities were excellent. The second is that the claims made in the Allied propaganda relative to Auschwitz would be almost completely devoid of real fact.

The second fallacious expectation is that American propaganda relative to Auschwitz would be almost free of fact. We have indicated already that this should not be expected. Washington had excellent and accurate information about Auschwitz, as it had about all important phases of German industrial activity, and it has been remarked above that the real facts about Birkenau seemed to invite distortion of interpretation.

If, as is claimed here, there was no German extermination program, but certain propagandists in the U.S. wished the acceptance of the thesis that there was, it would have been a most serious blunder for the propagandists to give maximum emphasis to Auschwitz or any other place as an alleged extermination camp, for this would amount to making a charge that the Germans could answer. If high U.S. officials, such as Roosevelt or his cabinet members, had made specific remarks about exterminations, naming sites where exterminations were taking place under circumstances where their remarks received the wide publicity normally given to public statements by officials of their rank, then both the Germans and the Allies would have been put on the spot on the question, and the truth would not have been long in coming out. On the contrary, as we shall see in Chapter 5, the first period, in which there was a persistence of references to Auschwitz as an extermination camp, appearing even under obscure circumstances, was immediately after D-Day (June 6, 1944), when nobody was paying any attention to such stories. Later in the summer of 1944, the emphasis shifted to the Lublin camp, which the Russians had just captured. The first reference to emerge from a U.S. government source that was high enough so that it could not be ignored, and which charged exterminations at Auschwitz, came in late November 1944, after the exterminations are supposed to have been terminated.[14]Hilberg (1961), 631; Reitlinger, 493-495. Otherwise, people such as Roosevelt and Churchill and their ministers spoke only in very general moralistic terms about exterminations. It is only if one believed there actually were exterminations taking place at Auschwitz, and one wanted to stop them, that one would have made a specific charge concerning Auschwitz, to which the Germans would have felt obliged to respond. No such challenge ever materialized. Despite the fact that in all versions of the extermination legend the Auschwitz exterminations had certainly started by the late summer of 1942, and despite the fact that U.S. military intelligence must have known whatever it was that was going on at Auschwitz at that time, no specific extermination charges came from any high source until much later.

The First ‘Extermination’ Claims and Washington • 4,700 Words

The first “inside” events relative to the extermination propaganda were in the context of a conflict involving the U.S. State and Treasury Departments and the World Jewish Congress (and American Jewish Congress), headed by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise. The prominent characters in the story are Treasury Secretary Morgenthau, later the nominal author of the notorious “Morgenthau Plan” for the despoliation of Germany, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, who were mildly reluctant to be carried along by the propaganda, and Assistant Secretary of State J. Breckenridge Long, who was very resistant to the propaganda. Also involved are the World Jewish Congress representatives in Switzerland, Gerhard Riegner and Professor Paul Guggenheim, who transmitted stories of supposedly European origin to Wise or to other persons in the U.S., notably to the State Department through the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, Leland Harrison, or through the U.S. Consul in Geneva, Paul C. Squire. The principal work that has set forth the events surrounding the birth of the extermination legend is Arthur D. Morse’s While Six Million Died, a book which is supplemented to some extent by Henry L. Feingold’s The Politics of Rescue. Additional material had been contributed by post-war accounts given by Morgenthau, historians J. M. Blum and Anthony Kubek (in interpreting Morgenthau’s papers, the latter for the U.S. Senate publication Morgenthau Diary), historian F. L. Israel (in summarizing the papers of J. Breckenridge Long), and J. DuBois, who was at first Chief Counsel of the Treasury’s Foreign Funds Control, involved in these matters chiefly in connection with efforts to extend assistance to refugees.[15]Unless otherwise noted, our treatment of the early extermination propaganda, related developments in Washington and New York, and the conflicts between the State Department, on one hand, and Zionists and the Treasury Department on the other, and the events leading up to the establishment of the War Refugee Board, is based on Morse, 3-99; Feingold, 167-247; DuBois, 183-189; Blum, 207-227; Israel, 173f., 216f., 306-337; Morgenthau.

The first extermination claim appears to have been made by the London section of the World Jewish Congress in June 1942. It was claimed that one million Jews had been killed in some undesignated and unlocated “vast slaughterhouse for Jews” which had been established in Eastern Europe. The only attempt to provide evidence for this claim was a remark that the Polish government in exile in London had received confirming information. The allegation was carried in the New York Times in a story that will be reviewed below.

The evidence for this London claim was obviously too flimsy to serve as effective propaganda, so an effort was made to improve matters slightly. On August 8, 1942, Riegner and Guggenheim approached the U.S. Consulate in Geneva, which had been cooperating with the World Jewish Congress to the extent of allowing it to use diplomatic channels for messages, with a story that some anonymous German industrialist had informed them that he had learned of a decision to kill all non-Soviet Jews under German control. Discussions, which the industrialist had overheard, were being held in the Führer’s Headquarters regarding the methods to be employed. One method under discussion was gassing with Prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide gas) after the Jews had been concentrated at camps in Eastern Europe. This story was forwarded to Washington by the Consulate via U.S. diplomatic channels and to London via British diplomatic channels. The “industrialist” has remained anonymous to this day.

When the U.S. State Department received the message, it was evaluated and it was decided that:

[…] it does not appear advisable in view of the […] fantastic nature of the allegations and the impossibility of our being of any assistance if such action were taken, to transmit the information to Dr. Wise as suggested.”

The message was accordingly suppressed, but Wise learned of its contents anyway. It is said that he learned from London, but it is also possible that he had composed the message in the first place and learned of its transmission and suppression through his various connections.

Wise immediately contacted Welles, who had approved the decision to suppress, in order to protest the State Department’s handling of the matter. Welles replied that the “information” was somewhat too unsubstantiated to be taken seriously and that some confirmation should be obtained before any public announcement was made. Welles then instructed the U.S. representative in the Vatican to attempt to check the allegations with Vatican sources. At that time, almost nobody in Washington pretended to take these claims seriously, and even President Roosevelt assured Justice Felix Frankfurter that the Jews who had been deported to the East were merely being used to help build fortifications.

In September 1942, two anonymous persons showed up in Geneva claiming to have escaped from German controlled areas. They reported the extermination of Polish Jews and the utilization of the Jewish corpses for the manufacture of fertilizer. This was forwarded to Washington through diplomatic channels, and again an attempt was made to get confirmation by the Vatican (which had thus far ignored the first request for confirmation). At about the same time, Wise had received a message from a World Jewish Congress official in Europe reporting on the “manufacture of soap and artificial fertilizer” from Jewish corpses.

In late September 1942, Riegner came forward with two new documents. The first had, he said, been prepared by an (anonymous, naturally) officer attached to the German High Command and had reached Riegner through several intermediaries. The anonymous officer claimed that there were at least two factories in existence which were manufacturing soap, glue, and lubricants from Jewish corpses and that it had been determined that each Jewish corpse was worth 50 Reichmarks. The second document consisted of two coded letters that had, it was said, been written by a Swiss Jew resident in Warsaw. The anonymous Jew reported wholesale exterminations of Warsaw Jews deported to the East. All of these messages were forwarded to Washington and then filed.

In passing we should note the resemblance of such claims to World War I propaganda and the appalling lack of originality and creativity on the part of the World Jewish Congress. It scarcely requires remarking that the soap and glue factories were a very transient propaganda phenomenon and that the only similar charges made at Nuremberg were made by the Russians. These charges were largely ignored even then, and nobody, to my knowledge, has since come forward with the locations of these factories, the identities of the persons who managed them, or similar information. Reitlinger does not claim the existence of such factories, and Hilberg (page 624) does not believe they existed.

On October 10, the Vatican finally informed the U.S. representatives that it had been unable to confirm the many reports it had heard of severe measures against the Jews.

On October 22, Riegner met with Ambassador Harrison and presented him with more of the same sort of “evidence,” this time reporting “information” provided by yet another anonymous German informant (whose name, however, is said to have been presented to Harrison in a sealed envelope and to have been kept secret from everybody but the Office of Strategic Services, OSS) and also an anonymous official of the International Red Cross. Harrison forwarded this material to Washington, but also wrote two personal letters to Welles in late October, claiming that he knew the name of the German industrialist and also claiming that the anonymous Red Cross official was Carl Jacob Burckhardt, the distinguished Voltaire-Goethe scholar who was prominent in the International Red Cross during the war. He enclosed an affidavit that Guggenheim had deposed before Squire on October 29, in which Guggenheim claimed that he had obtained from an anonymous German informant information confirming Riegner’s claims. The anonymous German informant had gotten his information from an anonymous official of the German Foreign Ministry and from an anonymous official of the German Ministry of War. Moreover, an anonymous Swiss informant, resident in Belgrade, had also given information to Guggenheim supporting the claims.

In order to confirm the claims, Squire arranged an interview with Burckhardt, which took place in Geneva on November 7. On November 9, Squire communicated to Harrison his memorandum on the interview, in which he had recorded that Burckhardt’s information was that Hitler had signed an order that before the end of 1942 Germany must be free of all Jews. Squire’s account of the interview explains:[16]Guggenheim’s affidavit is in dispatch no. 49 of October 29, 1942, of the retired files of the U.S. Consulate, Geneva, which are in the archives of the Foreign Affairs Document and Reference Center, Department of State, Washington. Squire’s memorandum of his interview with Burckhardt is attached to Squire’s personal letter of November 9, 1942 to Harrison, which is in the same file.

“I then asked him whether the word extermination, or its equivalent, was employed, to which he replied that the words must be Juden-frei (free of Jews) were utilized. He then made it clear that since there is no place to send these Jews and since the territory must be cleared of this race, it is obvious what the net result would be.”

This, the report of an ambiguous remark, made by an imperfectly informed Swiss citizen, reported by an intermediary who was friendly to the World Jewish Congress and eager to discover a sinister interpretation to such facts as were available, is as solid as this “evidence” ever got. To my knowledge, Burckhardt never spoke out publicly, during or after the war, in connection with these matters. He answered some written questions, which were put to him by Kaltenbrunner’s defense during the IMT trial, but these questions relating to Kaltenbrunner’s efforts to permit the Red Cross to enter the German camps toward the end of the war were not relevant to our subject. Nobody asked Burckhardt about exterminations.[17]The question put to Burckhardt and his answers are IMT document Kaltenbrunner 3, IMT Vol. 40, 306.

Late in November 1942, the State Department received “information” from an anonymous Vatican source consisting of a three page description, in French, of events allegedly transpiring in Poland. The document is unsigned, and the only sort of endorsement is a handwritten notation, “from Mr. F. at Vatican City,” which appears in an unknown hand on the first page. The document reports, inter alia:[18]The statement of the “Vatican source” is in the U.S. National Archives as Department of State file 740.00116 EW/726.

“Farms for the breeding of human beings are being organized to which women and girls are brought for the purpose of being made mothers of children who are then taken from them to be raised in Nazi establishments. […] Mass execution of Jews continues. […] They are killed by poison gas in chambers especially prepared for that purpose (often in railway cars) and by machine gun fire, following which the dead and the dying are both covered with earth. […] Reports are being circulated to the effect that the Germans are making use of their corpses in plants manufacturing chemical products (soap making factories).”

During the late summer and autumn of 1942, Wise had continuously campaigned for the Allied governments to take a public position directly condemning the alleged exterminations of Jews in Europe. On December 8, 1942, Wise led a delegation to the White House and presented to President Roosevelt a twenty-page document entitled Blue Print for Extermination, which was based on the sort of “information” we have reviewed. Related Jewish pressures finally brought capitulation to Wise on the mythical exterminations, and on December 17, 1942, the Allies, led by Washington, issued a statement condemning the exterminations. A related statement, released two days later, claimed exterminations at Belzec and at Chelmno, but Auschwitz was not mentioned (the relevant news stories are reviewed below).

Despite this public declaration, the group headed by J. Breckenridge Long continued to resist the propaganda. On January 19, 1943, Riegner gave Harrison the “information” that “in one place in Poland 6,000 Jews are killed daily.” On January 21, Harrison communicated this material to the State Department and also to certain unspecified “private Jewish agencies,” apparently meaning Wise. The message was merely filed, and the Department made no public mention of it. For a time, the private Jewish agencies were also silent about the message. On February 10, Long’s group took a further step in suppression of such propaganda. In a message signed by Welles (who is said to have not read the message) and with particular reference to Harrison’s cable of January 21, it instructed Harrison:

“in the future, reports submitted to you for transmission to private persons in the United States should not be accepted unless extraordinary circumstances make such action advisable. It is felt that by sending such private messages which circumvent neutral countries’ censorship we risk the possibility that neutral countries might find it necessary to take steps to curtail or abolish our official secret means of communication.”

Finally, on February 14, the New York Times published the story (see below). For explanation of the delay of four weeks in publishing the story, despite its being received by “private Jewish agencies” on January 21, and despite the evident policy of publishing the unsupported claims of such agencies, we can only conjecture that certain unknown persons were hoping that the State Department, given the precedent of the declaration of December 17, would release the “information” so as to confer a greater credibility than would have been granted to the story as it eventually appeared: a claim indistinguishable in terms of authority from the average sort of atrocity claim.

The Treasury (which, because of Morgenthau’s long crusade against Germany, had repeatedly interfered in the conduct of foreign affairs since at least 1936[19]Hull, 471-473.) was soon to come into conflict with State over this suppression. A second and more substantial basis for conflict between the two Departments was also established in February 1943. It was learned that the Romanian government was prepared to transfer 70,000 Jews to Palestine on Romanian ships bearing Vatican insignia (it is unlikely that the Romanians really cared where the Jews were sent, so I assume that the Palestine destination must have been somehow specified by the Zionists involved in the formulation of the proposals). An important condition was specified by “officials who were in charge in Romania of Jewish interests.” A cost of 250 pounds (about \$1200) per capita was specified. There were other difficulties. The British policy at the time was not to antagonize the Arabs, especially in view of the potentially catastrophic consequences of an Arab uprising in wartime, and thus the British at first refused to consider the admission of so many Jews to Palestine. The British took the position that, if such Jews were to be taken out of Europe, the U.S. should provide camps in North Africa for them. In addition, both the British Foreign Office and the U.S. State Department took the position that there would inevitably be spies in such a large group of people, that the logistical problems involved in transporting and accommodating such numbers were formidable, and that the money demanded might fall into the hands of the enemy (who valued Allied currency for various purposes). The Treasury was eager to get into the business of aiding Jewish refugees, and thus, it sought to overcome such objections. By July 1943, there was said to be bribe money demanded for the Romanian Jews, \$170,000, and the Treasury and the World Jewish Congress proposed that Romanian Jewish businessmen could produce the bribe money, if they could be reimbursed after the war with money to be held in escrow in Switzerland. However, the British objections to admitting Jews to Palestine stood, and efforts to circumvent them by proposing other destinations for the Jews ran into the opposition of various candidate countries and also into U.S. immigration laws.

The State Department, especially J. Breckenridge Long and associates, considered all the talk about “exterminations” to be just wartime propaganda in the same spirit as the stories invented during World War I. They were, after all, continually considering proposals to move these exterminated people out of Europe. As late as January 1944, the Department was taking steps to encourage Jews to leave Poland for Hungary. Long wrote that one danger in supporting the proposals of Wise was that it “may lend color to the charges of Hitler that we are fighting this war on account of and at the instigation and direction of our Jewish citizens.” State considered the whole project pointless and, indeed, in conflict with the requirements of an optimum war effort. Long wrote that:

“Wise always assumes such a sanctimonious air and pleads for the ‘intellectuals and brave spirits, refugees from the tortures of the dictators’ or words to that effect. Of course only an infinitesimal fraction of the immigrants are of that category – and some are certainly German agents. […] I did not allude to the Navemar – en route from Lisbon to Havana and New York – a freight boat, passenger accommodations for 15 and 1200 poor Jews above and below decks with no sanitary arrangements, no service, no kitchen facilities, at from \$700 to \$1500 apiece, 4 dead before reaching Bermuda, 6 hospitalized there, 1 of which died, victims of the greed of their fellows – not of Germany or the United States policy. The vessel is a menace to the health of any port where it stops and a shame to the human greed which makes it possible. But I did not allude to it in reply to Rabbi Wise. Each one of these men hates me. I am to them the embodiment of a nemesis. They each and all believe every person, everywhere, has a right to come to the United States. I believe nobody, anywhere has a right to enter the United States unless the United States desires.”

The State Department either procrastinated on the matter or actively sabotaged the proposed project. At the end of the summer of 1943, it was learned that 6,000 Jewish children could be taken out of France, and this possibility got involved in the problem.

The people from the Treasury and the World Jewish Congress kept pressing for the proposed projects and continually asserted, with apparent complete seriousness, that the only alternative was the death of the people in question at the hands of Hitler. It was even openly charged that the failure to approve the projects was “acquiescence of this Government in the murder of the Jews.” Pressure was also put on the British by various people. Long had become a whipping boy both publicly and within government circles, and he wrote bitterly that

“the Jewish agitation depends on attacking some individual. Otherwise they would have no publicity. So for the time being I am the bull’s eye.”

As a result of this campaign, Wise and Morgenthau achieved a breakthrough in December 1943, when arrangements were finally made for the evacuation of Romanian Jews and money was put into a Swiss account controlled by Riegner and the U.S. Treasury. Moreover, in December 1943, Romania put out peace feelers and was assured it would be treated well if it treated its Jews well; Romania immediately decided to repatriate Jews it had resettled by the Sea of Azov in Russia.

This Morgenthau victory had been achieved at a December 20 meeting of Hull, Long, Morgenthau, and John Pehle, chief of the Treasury’s Foreign Funds Control. Morgenthau had evidently decided on a showdown with State over the entire matter, for at that meeting he casually requested a copy of the complete text of the February 10 message from Welles to Harrison (the suppression instruction). The State Department complied, but deleted the reference to Harrison’s message of January 21, thereby causing the message of February 10 to appear utterly routine. In thus editing the message, State was obviously unaware that the complete contents of this correspondence had already been leaked to DuBois in the Treasury by Donald Hiss of the State Department (brother of Alger Hiss and later identified in Bentley-Chambers testimony as a Communist, although he denied it), who had acquired copies of the messages only with great difficulty and, in complying with DuBois’ request, nevertheless cautioned the latter that the messages were “none of Treasury’s business” and that Hiss could lose his job for the leak.[20]Kubek, 6.

When Morgenthau received the edited message, he knew that he had another weapon to use against Long and associates, and thus, he brought on a collision by charging editing of the message and demanding to see the unedited files, which were produced shortly later, exposing State’s clumsy attempt at concealment. The State Department people were now very much on the defensive, and further examination of the State Department files (which the Treasury was now in a position to insist on) revealed that, in response to a request by Wise, Welles had cabled Harrison in April to meet with Riegner and transmit new information that Riegner was supposed to have obtained. The confused Harrison did as requested (Riegner’s information had to do with proposals to assist Jewish refugees in France and Romania) and also remarked to Welles that such material should not be subjected to the restriction imposed by the February 10 message.

Morgenthau was victorious in the State-Treasury collision; Roosevelt, drawn into the issue, sided with him by establishing in January 1944 the so-called War Refugee Board consisting of Morgenthau, Hull, and Secretary of War Stimson. However, the executive director was “Morgenthau’s fair haired boy,” John Pehle, and Josiah DuBois was the general counsel. It was thus Morgenthau’s Board. The WRB naturally acquired the powers that had been held by the three Government Departments that were involved in the proposed projects for taking Jews out of Europe. Thus, the State Department became committed to appointing special attachés with diplomatic status on the recommendation of the Board (the UNRRA – United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration – set up the previous November, was to have a similar function but only after the war ended).[21]New York Times (Jan. 22, 1943), 6; (May 13, 1943), 8; (Sep. 5, 1943), 7; (Sep. 6, 1943), 7; (Jan. 23, 1944), 11.

In order to completely grasp the nature of its development and its import in terms of our subject, we should go beyond noting the obvious fact that the WRB was to serve, to a great extent, simply as an instrument of the World Jewish Congress and other Zionist organizations. The Communist apparatus was also through one of the directors involved, for the person to whom Morgenthau had delegated all of the Treasury’s powers in the areas relevant to the WRB was Harry Dexter White, later exposed as a Soviet agent. White became a member of Morgenthau’s inner circle in the spring of 1938. A week after Pearl Harbor, Morgenthau announced that “on and after this date, Mr. Harry D. White, Assistant to the Secretary, will assume full responsibility for all matters with which the Treasury Department has to deal having a bearing on foreign relations […].” The extreme generality of the wording of this order, especially the phrase “having a bearing on,” were to create grand opportunities for White in the years ahead. In early 1943, Morgenthau amplified White’s responsibilities:

“Effective this date, I would like you to take supervision over and assume full responsibility for Treasury’s participation in all economic and financial matters […] in connection with the operations of the Army and Navy and the civilian affairs in the foreign areas in which our Armed Forces are operating or are likely to operate. This will, of course, include general liaison with the State Department, Army and Navy, and other departments or agencies and representatives of foreign governments on these matters.”

White, who became an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in early 1945, took full advantage of these powers, especially in connection with occupation policy in Germany. It is also evident that, because the WRB was to a large degree an arm of the Treasury, its operations fell into White’s domain. It is also worth remarking that the general counsel of the WRB, DuBois, was “closely associated” with the Communist agent William L. Ullmann and was also a witness of White’s will.[22]Kubek, 6-9.

Long had mixed and, as it developed, prescient thoughts about the implications of these developments:

[…] it will be only a few more days now before I relinquish jurisdiction in connection with refugees and let somebody else have the fun. And it has been a heavy responsibility – domestic as well as foreign, because there are 5 million Jews in the country, of whom 4 million are concentrated in and around New York City. And we have no Arab or Moslem population, but we do have increasingly important commercial interests – principally oil – in the Moslem countries. In addition our ally England has hardly any Jewish citizenship but a very large political interest in the Near East. So our policy is increasingly based in part – a large part – on a domestic situation, while England’s is based entirely on a foreign affairs base – and the two are hard to reconcile […] it is good news for me […] this ensures me staying out. What they can do that I have not done I cannot imagine.”

Long miscalculated on the last point, for the WRB eventually did a considerable amount of Jew relocation, and its acts on behalf of refugees are of great importance in this book and are discussed in Chapter 7. In the final weeks of the war, it also aided concentration camp inmates through the Red Cross.[23]DuBois, 198-199; Red Cross (1947), 20, 23, 59-60; US-WRB (1945), 9-10, 56-61. As an instrument of Wise and other Zionists, the WRB also did considerable propagandizing,[24]US-WRB (1945), 45-56. and its most consequential propaganda achievement was a booklet, German Extermination Camps: Auschwitz and Birkenau, Executive Office of the President, Washington, November 1944. The booklet is hereafter referred to as the WRB report.

The WRB report constituted the formal birth of the “official” thesis of exterminations via gas chamber at Auschwitz. In it all of the essentials and many of the details of the later Auschwitz hoax are found. The Nuremberg charges grew out of the WRB report. There does not seem to have been any particularly strong reaction, one way or the other, to the WRB report at the time that it was issued. However, an American journalist, Oswald F. Schuette, wrote a critical letter to Stimson (one of the signers of the report), but Schuette did not get a satisfactory reply.[25]Kubek, 805-810; Aretz, 366-368.

Of course, the WRB report failed to change the opinions of the State Department people who had scoffed at the extermination propaganda from the very beginning. In private with DuBois, they were blunt in their opinion of the WRB report:

“Stuff like this has been coming from Bern ever since 1942. […] Don’t forget, this is a Jew telling about the Jews. […] This is just a campaign by that Jew Morgenthau and his Jewish assistants.”

The WRB report was said to have been transmitted from Bern to Washington. The report will be discussed in depth after we have surveyed a key part of the wartime propaganda in its public aspect. First, however, we should point out that some otherwise keen observers misinterpret the role of Auschwitz in the extermination legend. The distinguished American journalist and historian Harry Elmer Barnes wrote in 1967 that the extermination[26]Barnes, quoted in Anonymous, 3.

[…] camps were first presented as those in Germany, such as Dachau, Belsen, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, and Dora, but it was demonstrated that there had been no systematic extermination in those camps. Attention was then moved on to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, Chelmno, Jonowska, Tarnow, Ravensbruck, Mauthausen, Brezeznia, and Birkenau, which does not exhaust the list that appears to have been extended as needed.”

The basis for Barnes’ misunderstanding, of course, is that at the end of the war the mass media, for the sake of sensation mongering, did indeed seize on the scenes found in the German camps as proof of exterminations, and it is also true, as we indicated in the previous chapter, that these scenes have served as the mass propaganda “proof” of exterminations. However, our analysis shows that Auschwitz had been carefully chosen in 1944 as the core for the extermination hoax. This point will be supported by material to be reviewed below and also in Chapters 4 and 5. By publishing the WRB report in November 1944, Washington committed itself to a specific form of the hoax. That form was maintained in the trials in Nuremberg, and even today, the form of the hoax does not differ in any significant respect from the WRB report.

After his WRB victory, Morgenthau busied himself with other things, particularly with the policies to be followed in occupied Germany. He found that existing plans actually paid regard to the Hague and Geneva Conventions, to which the United States was signatory, and which prohibited such things as the seizure of private personal property of no military significance, the detaining of POWs long after the end of hostilities, and the needless imposition of starvation rations. He therefore campaigned for the harsher policies, which later became known as the Morgenthau Plan and of which many were actually adopted and put into practice. David Marcus in the CAD sponsored Morgenthau’s objectives there and kept him informed about his opponents. Colonel Bernard Bernstein, long associated with Morgenthau, performed a similar function for him at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) in London. Baruch also helped out.[27]Blum, 343, 383.

The First ‘Extermination’ Claims and New York • 11,900 Words

The thesis of this book is that the story of Jewish extermination in World War II is a propaganda hoax. Obviously, therefore, we must examine the origins of the hoax in wartime propaganda. We have already discussed many of the “inside” aspects, and the public aspects remain to be examined.

The enormity of the task plus the “controversial” nature of the subject seem to have discouraged a thorough study of the propaganda. There have been studies of special aspects. John T. Flynn, in While You Slept, surveyed the propaganda in respect to communist and pro-communist influences, especially in regard to Asia. James J. Martin made a study of the manner, in which the American media treated the Soviet Union, the negotiated peace question, and the Allied terror bombings during the war.

It is out of the question to survey all of the atrocity and extermination propaganda pertaining to the European theater in World War II. Here we may economize on the magnitude of the survey to be undertaken by noting that we are interested only in the Jewish extermination question and only in what important people were doing. We will therefore find that examination of stories concerning alleged Jewish extermination that appeared in the New York Times, spring 1942 through 1943, together with a summary of 1944 propaganda, which will be presented in Chapter 5, is all that is required to get a satisfactory conception of the propaganda. Therefore, we start here with spring 1942 stories.

Concurrent commentary will be made. In many cases there is a story involved – allegedly originating in Europe – claiming mass killings, and the matters of particular interest in such cases are the source of the story, the location of the alleged killings, and the method of killing allegedly employed. It should also be kept in mind that the post-war extermination legend claims only three varieties of mass exterminations: gassing at six sites in Poland,[28]Alphabetically listed: Auschwitz (incl. Birkenau), Belzec, Kulmhof/Chelmno, Lublin-Majdanek, Sobibor, Treblinka. Later, gassings were also claimed for the Stutthof camp, but it was not located in Poland at that time; editor’s note. “gasmobiles “ in Russia,[29]Gas vans are also claimed to have been deployed in the Chelmno camp as well as in Serbia; cf. Alvarez & Marais; editor’s note. and mass shootings in Russia.

Reports Nazi Slaughter Of Jews

April 6, 1942, p. 2 Kuibyshev, Russia, April 5 (AP) – The Anti-Fascist Jewish Committee reported today that the Germans have killed 86,000 Jews in and around Minsk, 25,000 at Odessa and ‘tens of thousands’ in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In Estonia, the report said, the entire Jewish population numbering 4,500 was wiped out.”

Nazis Blame Jews For Big Bombings

June 13, 1942 Berlin, June 12 (From German broadcast recorded by the United Press in New York) – Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels said tonight that Germany would carry out a mass ‘extermination’ of Jews in reprisal for the Allied air bombings of German cities which, he acknowledged, have caused heavy damage.

Dr. Goebbels, in an article in the publication The Reich, said the Jews would be exterminated throughout Europe ‘and perhaps even beyond Europe’ in retaliation against the heavy air assaults.”

Goebbels’ remark was directed against the Jewish controlled press, which he regarded as largely responsible for the propaganda atmosphere which made the terror bombings possible. His remark in Das Reich was:[30]Das Reich (Jun. 14, 1942), 2

“In this war the Jews are playing their most criminal game, and they will have to pay for that with the extermination (Ausrottung) of their race in Europe and perhaps far beyond. They are not to be taken seriously in this conflict, because they represent neither British nor American, but exclusively Jewish interests.”

Now this is indeed an extermination threat, because the primary meaning of the term “Ausrottung” is “extermination” (the English “uprooting,” to which the word is related etymologically, is only a secondary meaning). Similar totally public utterances were also made occasionally by Hitler. Examples are the result of this war will be the destruction of Jewry,” and “it will not be the Aryan peoples that will be annihilated but it will be Jewry.”[31]Jäckel, 62f.

In reaction to this, one should observe that (a) extreme statements were a pervasive feature of Nazi oratory and rhetoric, (b) the extermination mythologists find it necessary to claim that the exterminations were carried out in the most extreme secrecy, which makes it somewhat untenable to take such occasional references in the public declarations of Nazi leaders as evidence of exterminations, (c) it is necessary to fully grasp the specific circumstances of the Goebbels remark, i.e. it was a reaction to Allied terror bombings, (d) people can say heated things in wartime, and bloodthirsty statements were made by supposedly responsible people on both sides during the war, and (e) it is often the case that a complete understanding of context is necessary when interpreting the specific meaning of a reference to “extermination” or “annihilation” (or, in German, “Ausrottung,” “Vernichtung,” respectively). Moreover, the German word for “Jewry,” das Judentum, is ambiguous in meaning. Let each of these five points be examined in order.

(a) It is well known that Nazi oratory and rhetoric tended to have a provocatively inflammatory character whose origins go well back into the days when the Nazis were a minor party in Weimar Germany. It appears that this was a result of a deliberate and studied policy, for in 1931 Hitler explained the reasons for it in a private interview:[32]Calic, 34f. Hitler also made relevant remarks in Mein Kampf.

“What some madman of an editor writes in my own press is of no interest to me. […] We can achieve something only by fanaticism. If this fanaticism horrifies the bourgeoisie, so much the better. Solely by this fanaticism, which refuses any compromise, do we gain our contact with the masses.”

Put more simply, he often found that he could get attention by making wild statements.

Naturally, all of the Nazi leaders, especially Goebbels, were infected with this attitude to some degree. It is true that, after the Nazis came to power and assumed responsibility for ruling Germany, their public declarations became much more moderated in tone, but the tendency never entirely departed from them, and of course the war and the problem of attempting to reach public opinion in the Allied countries revived the feature somewhat. Under the circumstances, it is actually remarkable that Hitler and Goebbels only rarely made such declarations.

(b) We shall see in following chapters that the extermination mythologists are forced to take the position that the Nazis went to extremes to preserve the secrecy of their killing program of continental scope and did in fact preserve this secrecy to a most remarkable extent. What is known of the behavior of European Jews during those days, for example, despite the claims of some individual authors and the indubitable fact that there were all sorts of rumors current, shows that the Jews were not conscious of any extermination program. When they were told to pack up for transport, they did just that, and went without resistance. On p. 153 we shall note Theresienstadt Jews volunteering for transport to Auschwitz as late as August 1944, for the Jews at Theresienstadt knew nothing of any extermination program at Auschwitz or anywhere else. On p. 280 we shall note that the Nazis were allegedly even unwilling to commit anything to confidential documents for, we are told, ‘the drafting of circumspect minutes was one of the major arts of Hitler’s Reich.’ Because this is the case put forward by the extermination mythologists, then it is not merely that occurrences of the sort of remarks under consideration do not support their case; the problem becomes that of explaining such occurrences.

(c) The Goebbels remark should be seen for what it was: a professional propagandist’s reaction to the Allied bombings, which obsessed German policy in various ways from May 1940 on. Because the facts in this connection, although well established, are not well known, they are very briefly summarized here, but in order to avoid an inexcusably long digression, the summary is indeed brief. The reader interested in more thorough treatment is referred to Veale and to Colby.[33]Frederick J. P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism, and Benjamin Colby, ‘Twas a Famous Victory.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, German air doctrine viewed the bomber as a form of artillery and thus a weapon to be used in support of ordinary ground operations. It was in this connection that the well-publicized bombings of Warsaw in 1939 and Rotterdam in May 1940 took place: only after these cities had actually become the scenes of military operations and the laws of siege applied. “Strategic bombing,” as we understand the term, played no role in German combat operations (although of course it had been and was under study by German military planners).

This was not the case in Britain, however, for at the time that the Germans were using their bombers as artillery in the Netherlands, the British made the “splendid decision” to bomb German civilian targets, knowing perfectly well that Hitler had no intention or wish to engage in warfare of this sort (Hitler, indeed, did not want war with Britain at all).

There was a moderate amount of German bombing of targets in England during the early summer of 1940, but only specifically military targets were attacked, even while such cities as Hamburg and Bremen were undergoing general attack. It was only after three months of this, and with the greatest reluctance, that Hitler felt himself forced to reply in kind, and in this way the well publicized “Blitz” hoax was established. The British people were not permitted to find out that their government could have stopped the German raids at any time merely by stopping the raids on Germany.

The British raids on Germany, while of no military significance in 1940, had put the German government on the spot in German popular opinion, because the German people naturally thought that their government should be able to do something about them. The only reason the Germans adopted retaliatory bombing was as a last resort. In announcing the policy, Hitler declared in a Sportpalast speech of September 4, 1940:[34]Hitler, 848; Domarus, vol. II, 1580.

“If the British Air force drops two or three or four thousand kilograms of bombs, we will drop a hundred and fifty, a hundred and eighty, two hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, four hundred thousand kilograms and more in a single night.”

This was a gross exaggeration of his capabilities relative to the British, for his bombers were designed for support of troops and not for the “strategic bombing,” for which the British bombers were equipped, although at the time Germany’s bombers were numerically superior to the British. Nevertheless, violent words are cheap, and after the Luftwaffe, which was never more than a nuisance for the Allied bombing operations, violent words (sometimes coupled with promises of secret new weapons) were about all Hitler and Goebbels were able to come up with in 1940 or at any subsequent time to oppose the bombings. It is in this context that the Goebbels remark should be grasped.

(d) There were bloodthirsty remarks made on both sides during the war. In the U.S. there were many examples of wild views earnestly put forward by apparently civilized persons, which were received with apparently thoughtful reactions of approval by equally respected persons. Because there were so many such people, it will suffice to remark only on Clifton Fadiman, the well-known author and critic who, at the time, was the book review editor of the New Yorker weekly magazine.

Fadiman was the principal luminary of the Writers War Board, a semi-official government agency that did volunteer writing for government agencies in connection with the war. The Board was chaired by Rex Stout. The thesis that Fadiman and Stout carried to the writers’ community in 1942 was that writings on the war should seek “to generate an active hate against all Germans and not merely against Nazi leaders.” This generated some heated controversy, and writers and observers took sides in what became a debate hot enough for Fadiman to declare that he knew of “only one way to make a German understand and that’s to kill them and even then I think they don’t understand.”

These were not isolated outbursts, for Fadiman welcomed the opportunity to set down his views on Germans in a more organized context through his column in the New Yorker. In April 1942, he had found the juvenile concept he needed in a book by de Sales, The Making of Tomorrow. Taking for granted the reader’s concurrence that the Nazis were at least the worst scourge to come along in centuries, he wrote that de Sales’

“argument is simply that the present Nazi onslaught is not in the least the evil handiwork of a group of gangsters but rather the final and perfect expression of the most profound instincts of the German people. ‘Hitler is the incarnation of forces greater than himself. The heresy he preaches is two thousand years old.’ What is the heresy? It is nothing more or less than a rebellion against Western civilization. Mr. de Sales traces five such German rebellions, beginning with Arminius. At first you are inclined to be skeptical of the author’s grand indictment – his anti-Germanism may conceivably stem from his French ancestry – but as you follow his argument it becomes more and more cogent and the true proportions of this war emerge with great clarity.”

His reviews of books on the war expressed the historical concept that he had found in de Sales’ nonsense. Scoffing at Howard K. Smith’s claim that “If we can offer (the Germans) a real alternative to extermination, the nation, though it may not succumb to actual revolution, will fall into our hands,” Fadiman wrote:

“The world has been appeasing the Germans ever since their human wolf packs broke out of their forest lairs in the time of Arminius. The result is a Europe on the verge of suicide.”

This was followed by his obvious approval of “Hemingway’s extraordinary […] suggestion that ‘the only ultimate settlement’ with the Nazis is to sterilize them. He means just that, in a surgical sense.” Of course, Fadiman also saw no distinction between Nazis and other Germans and ridiculed Dorothy Thompson’s “passionate argument” for such a distinction as well as her conviction “that our postwar efforts must be directed toward the construction of a European federation of states, with Germany, under democratic leadership, occupying a leading position.” Although Fadiman never advocated the killing of all or most Germans, at least not in so many words, this was the clear sense of his declarations. After all, what else can be done with “wolf packs who broke out of their forest lairs,” who are now trying to enslave the rest of the world, and who “understand” only if you “kill them” and must not be given “a real alternative to extermination?”[35]New York Times (Oct. 29, 1942), 20; New Yorker (Apr. 18, 1942), 62; (Sep. 12, 1942), 53; (Oct. 24, 1942), 64f; (Nov. 28, 1942), 82; (Dec. 5, 1942), 82.

Clifton Fadiman was only a very prominent and semi-official example of a “school of thought” that existed among leaders of opinion in the U.S. during the war. James J. Martin and Benjamin Colby have published longer studies of Allied propaganda based on hatred of all Germans, the latter presenting a particularly thorough study of the Writers War Board.

The climate of wartime opinion in Britain, of course, was about the same and, on account of England’s earlier entry into the war, of longer standing. In reacting to Hitler’s Berlin Sportpalast speech on the initiation of German air raids on British cities (quoted above), the London Daily Herald gloated that Hitler had made “a frantic effort to reassure his raid-harassed people” who “are in an extremely nervous condition and stay awake even when there is no alarm.” The same issue of the Herald goes on to present the recommendations of the Reverend C. W. Whipp, vicar of St. Augustine’s Leicester:

“The orders ought to be, ‘wipe them out,’ and to this end I would concentrate all our science towards discovering a new and far more terrific explosive.

These German devils (that is the only word one can use) come over our cities and turn their machine-guns on women and children.

Well, all I hope is that the RAF will grow stronger and stronger and go over and smash Germany to smithereens.

A Minister of the Gospel, perhaps, ought not to indulge in sentiments like these.

I go further, and I say quite frankly that if I could I would wipe Germany off the map.

They are an evil race and have been a curse in Europe for centuries.

There can be no peace until Hitler and all those who believe in him are sent to hell which is their place of origin and their final home.”

The Herald remarked that Whipp “has aroused considerable local controversy,” so it is evident that in Britain, as in the U.S., there were many people who kept their heads despite the Fadiman types.

The peculiar ad hoc philosophy of history enunciated by de Sales and promoted by Clifton Fadiman also made its apparently independent appearance in England. An article by Reginald Hargreaves in the June 1941 issue of the respected journal National Review (not to be confused with the National Review that was founded in the U.S. in 1955) proposed as a war aim (as distinct from an unavoidable consequence of the war) that “at least three million Nazi soldiers (be) put permanently out of action,” it being:

[…] an absolutely vital prerequisite to the laying down of arms that a sufficient number of the present-day corrupted, brutalized and delirious young dervishes of Nazidom should be left dead upon the field.”

The necessity for this arose from the consideration that:

[…] throughout her whole history Germany has shown herself as utterly uncivilized and worthy of nothing but detestation and disgust. From the very beginning the behavior of the Teutonic peoples had qualified them for the role of pariahs – the outcast mad dogs of Europe. […] Our real war aim must be, not only military triumph in the field, but the reduction of the German people to such a shrunken and delimited condition that never again will they be in such a position to ‘start anything’ to the detriment of generations yet to come. Our conflict, despite mushy affirmations to the contrary, is with the German people; a race so savage, so predatory, so unscrupulous and so utterly uncivilized that their elimination as a major power is the only hope for a world that has no choice but to take the surgeon’s knife and cut out this cankerous growth from its body-politic, thoroughly, relentlessly, once and for all.”

Such declarations seem even more extraordinary when one considers that they came from a nation noted for understatement.

The point of this discussion is not that there had grown up any consensus in the U.S. and Britain that all Germans are by nature monsters and should be killed or at least sterilized. Everybody would agree that no such consensus existed (and even the extermination mythologists would agree, I think, that no consensus favoring extermination of the Jews existed in Germany). Moreover, as we all realize, the genocidal policies advocated or implied by many leaders of opinion in the U.S. and Britain were not, in their literal form, within the bounds of the possible; the American and British people would never have permitted such deeds to be done in their names. The point is that during the heat of wartime the most extraordinary things were said. For the most part (unfortunately, one can only say for the most part) such lunacies were not realized in events, but they were expressed nevertheless.

Murderous things were said on both sides, and in my opinion and dim re­collection of the times, the rhetoric in the U.S. (especially in regard to the Japanese) seems to me to have been more violent than anything that now seems to have been current in Germany during the war, although such a comparison is difficult and perhaps should not be attempted in regard to degree, on account of the very different roles played by “public opinion” and by the statements of political leaders in the two political systems involved.

On the Axis side, one should also note that Fascist Italy had various anti-Jewish laws that were however very mild in application and certainly never approached murder. Nevertheless, the anti-Jewish rhetoric in the Fascist press was at least as violent as anything generated in Germany, and assuming the New York Times (October 22, 1941) reported accurately, it even advocated that all Italian Jews be “annihilated as a danger to the internal front,” because “this is the moment to do away with half-way measures.”

(e) A final point is that one must use some common sense and a feeling for the context in interpreting references to “extermination” and “annihilation” properly. In the American Civil War, many wanted Lincoln to “annihilate” the South, and it is not inaccurate English to say that Lincoln did just that, but it was understood, then as now, that the killing of all Southerners was not contemplated.

Naturally, the same observation may be made in connection with public declarations of Nazi leaders, but there is an additional point to be made in this connection. Very often the Jews were referred to via the German word das Judentum, one of whose correct translations is “Jewry,” but which can also mean “Judaism” or even “Jewishness” or “the idea of Jewishness.” Thus, a Hitler reference to “die Vernichtung des Judentums,” if lifted out of context and interpreted in a purely literal way, can be interpreted as meaning the killing of all Jews, but it can also be interpreted as meaning the destruction of Jewish influence and power, which is what the politician Hitler actually meant by such a remark, although it is true that he could have chosen his words more carefully. Alfred Rosenberg made specific reference to this ambiguity in his IMT testimony, where he argued that “die Ausrottung des Judentums,” a term he had used on occasion, was not a reference to killing in the context in which Rosenberg had used it.

The lengthy digression made necessary by Goebbels’ “Ausrottung” remark being concluded, we return to the survey of stories in The New York Times for 1942-1943.

June 14, 1942, p. 1: “258 Jews Reported Slain In Berlin For Bomb Plot At Anti-Red Exhibit

by George Axelsson – by telephone to the New York Times Stockholm, Sweden, June 13. At the Gross Lichterfelde Barracks in the western suburbs of Berlin 258 Jews were put to death by the SS on May 28, and their families deported, in retaliation for an alleged Jewish plot to blow up the anti-Bolshevist ‘Soviet Paradise’ exhibition at the Lustgarten. […] If there were any bombs, they evidently were discovered before they had time to explode. […] The SS wanted the executions to be published. […] Instead […] leaders of the Jewish colony were called in.

Observers are inclined to see a link between the Berlin executions and the massacre at Lidice, in Czechoslovakia, after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.”

June 30, 1942, p. 7: “1,000,000 Jews Slain By Nazis, Report Says

London, June 29 (UP) […] spokesmen for the World Jewish Congress charged today.

They said Nazis had established a ‘vast slaughterhouse for Jews’ in Eastern Europe. […] A report to the Congress said that Jews, deported en masse to Central Poland from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and the Netherlands were being shot by firing squads at the rate of 1,000 daily.

Information received by the Polish Government in London confirmed that the Nazis had executed ‘several hundred thousand’ Jews in Poland.”

No such “slaughterhouse” where executions were by “firing squad” is claimed today. As noted above, this was the start of the World Jewish Congress’ campaign of extermination propaganda. It is quite possible that this first story was inspired by Goebbels’ then recent “Ausrottung” remark.

July 22, 1942, p. 1: “Nazi Punishment Seen By Roosevelt

[…] President Roosevelt declared last night in a message read to 20,000 persons at Madison Square Garden […]

President’s Message
‘The White House

‘July 17, 1942

‘Dear Dr. Wise:

[…] Citizens […] will share in the sorrow of our Jewish fellow-citizens over the savagery of the Nazis against their helpless victims. The Nazis will not succeed in exterminating their victims any more than they will succeed in enslaving mankind.

The American people […] will hold the perpetrators of these crimes to strict accountability in a day of reckoning which will surely come. […]

Text of Churchill Message

[…] you will recall that on Oct. 25 last, both President Roosevelt and I expressed the horror felt […] at Nazi butcheries and terrorism and our resolve to place retribution for these crimes among the major purposes of this war. […]’

Such vague statements of the wartime leaders, while devoid of any specific charges, carried more weight among the public than any of the more specific stories that the leaders may have seemed, by their statements, to be endorsing. We shall see that the specific claims of the time, at least for several months, did not very much resemble the claims made at the later trials. Nevertheless, the politics of the situation, as perceived by Roosevelt and Churchill, made it opportune for them to “go along,” at least to the extent of making vague public statements supporting the propaganda.

September 3, 1942, p. 5: “50,000 Jews Dying In Nazi Fortress

London, Sept. 2 (UP) – Fifty thousand Jews from Germany and Czechoslovakia have been thrown into the fortress at Terezin and several thousand who are ill or charged with ‘criminal’ acts are in underground dungeons where they are ‘dying like flies’ a Czech Government spokesman said tonight.

‘All hope for them has been abandoned,’ the spokesman said. […] The spokesman said the Germans had launched a campaign to exterminate Jews from the protectorate and that of 40,000 Jews formerly in Prague only 15,000 remain. Pilsen and Bruenn have been cleared of Jews, he said, many of them being sent to Terezin, largest concentration camp in Nazi-controlled Europe.

A European observer said the Germans planned to exterminate the Jews not only in Europe, but throughout the world. He declared the Nazis had executed 2,000,000 Jews in the past three years […].”

The only truth in this story lies in the fact that the death rate of Jews was rather high at Terezin (Theresienstadt) due to the German policy of sending all Reich Jews over 65 there. Another category at Theresienstadt was the “privileged” Jews – the war veterans – especially those with high decorations. There were other Jews, many of whom were eventually moved out, but if they suffered, it was not at Theresienstadt. The place was visited by the Red Cross in June 1944, and the resulting favorable report angered the World Jewish Congress.[36]Reitlinger, 176-186. There will be more to be said about Theresienstadt in subsequent chapters. While it was not the “largest concentration camp in Nazi-controlled Europe,” it nevertheless plays an important role here.

September 5, 1942, p. 3: “US Rebukes Vichy On Deporting Jews

Washington, Sept. 4 – The State Department has made the ‘most vigorous representations possible’ to the French Government through the American Embassy in Vichy over the mass deportation of Jews from unoccupied France, it was announced today by the American Jewish Committee.

The protest followed representations by four Jewish organizations, and the action was communicated to them in a letter by Sumner Welles, Under-Secretary of State. […] Mr. Welles said: ‘I have received your communication of Aug. 27, 1942, enclosing a letter […] in regard to the mass deportation of Jewish refugees from unoccupied France.

‘I am in complete agreement with the statements made concerning this tragic situation, which provides a new shock to the public opinion of the civilized world. It is deeply regretted that these measures should be taken in a country traditionally noted for adherence to the principles of equality, freedom and tolerance.

‘The American Embassy at Vichy […] has made the most vigorous representations possible to the highest authorities at Vichy […].’

[…] The letter of the four organizations to the Secretary of State follows:

‘On behalf of the organizations we represent […] the undersigned respectfully request our government to transmit to the government of France a solemn protest against the action taken recently by that government to turn thousands of refugees over to the agents of the Nazi government for deportation to Poland and to other Nazi-occupied regions in Eastern Europe.

‘Reports reaching us […stating] that the government of France is permitting the […] deportation by the Nazis of Jewish refugees who have been interned in a number of camps in the south of France. This action began about Aug. 8, when a total of 3,600 men, women and children were rounded up, loaded on trains and sent off without any word regarding their destination.

‘The reports agree that these 3,600 were the first contingent of a total of 10,000 Jewish refugees which the French government has agreed to deport to eastern territories […]

[…] Mass deportations of Jews from Germany and from territories under German occupation have been going on ever since the conquest of Poland. In accordance with the announced policy of the Nazis to exterminate the Jews of Europe, hundreds of thousands of these innocent men, women and children have been killed in brutal mass murders. The rest are being herded in ghettos in Eastern Europe under indescribably wretched conditions, as a result of which tens of thousands have succumbed to starvation and pestilence.’”

We should only note at this point that even the four Jewish organizations are not completely secure in claiming exterminations, because they allow themselves an “out” by referring to those being “herded in ghettos.” Welles’ reply, while “in complete agreement” with the letter, avoids direct endorsement of the extermination claim.

November 24, 1942, p. 10: “Hebrew Papers Mourn

JERUSALEM, Nov. 23 (UP) – The Hebrew press appeared today with black borders around reports of mass murders of Jews in Poland. The reports, received by the Jewish Agency, asserted that systematic annihilation of the Jewish population was being carried out by a special German ‘destruction commission’ […] on the former frontier between German and Russian Poland, thousands were thrown into the Bug river and drowned.”

December 13, 1942, p. 21: “Tardy War Report Held Aid To Faith

[…] Rabbi Israel Goldstein declared: ‘Authenticated reports point to 2,000,000 Jews who have already been slain by all manner of satanic barbarism, and plans for the total extermination of all Jews upon whom the Nazis can lay their hands. The slaughter of a third of the Jewish population in Hitler’s domain and the threatened slaughter of all is a holocaust without parallel.’”

December 18, 1942, p. 1: “11 Allies Condemn Nazi War On Jews

Special to the New York Times Washington, Dec. 17 – A joint declaration by members of the United Nations was issued today condemning Germany’s ‘bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination’ of Jews […]. The declaration was issued simultaneously through the State Department here, and in London. […]

Text of Declaration

[…] From all the occupied countries Jews are being transported in conditions of appalling horror and brutality to Eastern Europe. In Poland, which has been made the principal Nazi slaughterhouse, the ghettos established by the German invader are being systematically emptied of all Jews except a few highly skilled workers required for war industries. None of those taken away are ever heard of again. The able-bodied are slowly worked to death in labor camps. The infirm are left to die of exposure and starvation or are deliberately massacred in mass executions. The number of victims of these bloody cruelties is reckoned in many hundreds of thousands of entirely innocent men, women and children.’”

This was the beginning of the State Department involvement in the extermination legend, and that it came from such a seemingly official source was the basis for special comment in the Times editorial of the same day:

December 18, 1942, p. 26: “Hitler’s Terror

Despite all that has been written about Nazi persecution of the Jews, the facts in the joint statement issued yesterday in Washington, London and Moscow in the name of the United Nations will come as a shock to all civilized people who have preserved a modicum of human decency. For this statement is not an outcry of the victims themselves to which many thought it possible to close their ears on the ground that it might be a special plea, subject to doubt. It is the official statement of their own governments, based on officially established facts. […]

Clearly, it was believed that atrocity claims apparently coming from the State Department were more credible than claims coming from such groups as the World Jewish Congress, which is no doubt what is meant by the “victims themselves.” However, we have seen that Wise was also behind the “joint declaration.” The December 17 statement marked the start of U.S. and British government complicity in the extermination legend. The German government did not see the event as laden with import, and von Stumm of the Foreign Office’s press section flippantly explained to the neutral press that the Allied declaration was for the purpose of helping the Christmas sales of the Jewish department stores of New York and London.[37]Reitlinger, 439.

December 20, 1942, p. 23: “Allies Describe Outrages On Jews

What is happening to the 5,000,000 Jews of German-held Europe, all of whom face extermination, is described in a statement released yesterday by the United Nations Information Office. […]

[…] Novel methods of mass execution by shooting and lethal gas are cited in the main body of the report, which states that this destruction of the Jews is not ‘isolated in one country but is continent-wide. Early in December 1942 the State Department in Washington gave some figures showing that the number of Jewish victims deported and perished since 1939 in Axis-controlled Europe now reached the appalling figure of 2,000,000 and that 5,000,000 were in danger of extermination. […]

The document concludes:

‘The means employed in deporting from the ghetto all those who survive murders and shooting in the street exceeds all imagination. In particular, children, old people and those too weak for work are murdered. Actual data concerning the fate of the deportees is not at hand, but the news is available – irrefutable news – that places of execution have been organized at Chelmno and Belzec, where those who survive shootings are murdered en masse by means of electrocution and lethal gas.’”

The alleged electrocutions at Belzec appeared a few times in the propaganda and will be discussed again on p. 197. They are one of the versions of exterminations that were quickly forgotten about after the end of the war. Nevertheless, we can see, at this point, a clear tendency of the propaganda to resemble the claims which have become the fixed features of the legend, the gas chambers and the approximate 6,000,000 killed during the course of the war. We will have more to say a bit later on the origin of the six million figure.

December 28, 1942, p. 21: “Demand Jews Be Saved

Albany, Dec 27 (AP) – Dr. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress [… urged] formulation of an Allied program to halt the Nazi slaughter of civilians.”

Jan. 8, 1943, p. 8: “93 Choose Suicide Before Nazi Shame

Ninety-three Jewish girls and young Jewish women, the pupils and the teacher of a Beth Jacob School of Warsaw, Poland, chose mass suicide to escape being forced into prostitution by German soldiers, according to a letter from the teacher, made public yesterday by Rabbi Seth Jung of the Jewish Center of New York City.”

February 7, 1943, VI, p. 16: “In The Valley Of Death

[magazine article by Sholem Asch…] gas chambers and blood poisoning stations which are established in the outlying countryside, where steam shovels prepare community graves for the victims.”

February 14, 1943, p. 37: “Tyranny Of Nazis Shown

Warsaw is being subjected to a deliberate Nazi pattern of death, disease, starvation, economic slavery and wholesale elimination of population, the Office of War Information states in a twenty-four page pamphlet, ‘Tale of a City,’ published today.

Declaring that Warsaw has been the testing ground for Nazi plans of world conquest […]

[…] there is no way of telling at this time exactly how many Poles have been murdered by the Nazis in Warsaw.’ The execution spot is now Palmiry, near Warsaw, where mass shootings occur either at dawn or during the night.”

February 14, 1943, p. 37: “Execution ‘Speed-up’ Seen

Mass executions of Jews in Poland on an accelerated tempo was reported by European representatives of the World Jewish Congress in a communication made public by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress.

In one place in Poland 6,000 Jews are killed daily, according to the report, dated Jan. 19. Jews left in Poland are now confined in fifty-five ghettos, some in the large towns and some in the smaller towns that have been transformed into ghettos.”

This was the propaganda story involved in the conflict between State and Treasury. As noted in connection with the remarks on the Times editorial of December 18, if this story had managed to emerge from the State Department, greater credibility would, apparently, have been attached to it. Unfortunately for the propaganda inventors at the time, they had to settle for Rabbi Wise as ostensible source.

February 16, 1943, p. 7: “Nazis Shift 30,000 Jews

Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 15 (ONA) – All the aged and feeble [from Czestachowa, Poland] were sent to Rawa-Russka, in Galicia, for execution by the Nazis, sources from inside Poland said.”

February 23, 1943, p. 23: “Atrocities Protested

Thirty-five hundred children […] held a solemn assembly of sorrow and protest against Nazi atrocities in Mecca Temple, 133 West Fifty-fifth Street. […] Six refugee children related their experiences at the hands of the Nazis.”

March 2, 1943, pp. 1, 4: “Save Doomed Jews, Huge Rally Pleads

Immediate action by the United Nations to save as many as possible of the five million Jews threatened with extermination […] was demanded at a mass demonstration […] in Madison Square Garden last night.

[…Rabbi Hertz said] ‘appalling is the fact that those who proclaim the Four Freedoms have so far done very little to secure even the freedom to live for 6,000,000 of their Jewish fellow men by readiness to rescue those who might still escape Nazi torture and butchery. […]’

[…Wendell Wilkie said] ‘Two million human beings, merely because they are Jews, have already been murdered by every fiendish means which Hitler could devise. Millions of other Jews […] face immediate destruction […]

[…Chaim Weizmann said] ‘Two million Jews have already been exterminated. […]

‘The democracies have a clear duty before them. […] Let them negotiate with Germany through the neutral countries concerning the possible release of the Jews in the occupied countries. […] Let the gates of Palestine be opened to all who can reach the shores of the Jewish homeland […]’”

March 7, 1943, p. 30: “600 Jews Sent To Silesia

Stockholm, Sweden, March 6 (Reuter) – Nearly 600 Norwegian Jews […] are now known to have reached Polish Upper Silesia. Most of the men have been sent to work in the mines near Katowice.”

March 10, 1943, p. 12: “40,000 Here View Memorial To Jews

Forty thousand persons listened and watched […] last night to two performances of ‘We Will Never Die,’ a dramatic mass memorial to the 2,000,000 Jews killed in Europe. […] The narrator said ‘There will be no Jews left in Europe for representation when peace comes. The four million left to kill are being killed, according to plan.’”

April 1, 1943, p. 2: “French Jews Sent To A Nazi Oblivion

Wireless to The New York Times London, March 31 – A system of ‘death convoys’ under which French Jews are being rounded up […] and then shipped out to various points in Eastern Europe, after which they are no longer heard from, was described here today by the British section of the World Jewish Congress, which charged that the ‘full force’ of the Nazi and anti-Jewish terror now was being concentrated in France.

Basing its report on first hand information supplied by a prominent French Jew who has escaped to a neutral country, the Congress declared the last ‘convoy’ left France about Feb. 20. It involved 3,000 Jews of all classes and ages, and all that was known about its eventual destination was that it was somewhere in the East.

In mid-February, the Congress added, the Gestapo raided the Lyon headquarters of the General Union of French Jews, arrested the entire staff, removed them to the Drancy concentration camp and since has shipped them, too, to some ‘extermination center’ on the other side of Europe.”

Reitlinger (page 327) tells us that “less than a tenth of the Jews who were deported (from France) possessed French nationality.” By his figures that is perhaps 5,000 of the 240,000 French Jews, suggesting that maybe the 5,000 enlisted for work voluntarily or were actually “politicals” or partisans.

April 12, 1943, p. 5: “Nazis Erase Ghettos In Two Polish Cities

London, April 11 (AP) – The Polish Telegraph Agency said tonight that the Germans had erased the ghetto at Krakow in a three-day massacre that started March 13, and also had eliminated the ghetto in Lodz.

The fate of the Jews in the latter city was unknown, but the agency said it was believed they also were killed.”

April 20, 1943, p. 11: “2,000,000 Jews Murdered

London, April 19 (Reuter) – Two million Jews have been wiped out since the Nazis began their march through Europe in 1939 and five million more are in immediate danger of execution. These figures were revealed in the sixth report on conditions in occupied territories issued by the Inter-Allied Information Committee.

[…] The report said lethal gas and shooting were among the methods being used to exterminate the Jews.”

April 20, 1943, p. 11: “Rescue Of Jews Urged

The Jewish Agency for Palestine, in a memorandum addressed to the Bermuda Refugees Conference yesterday, urged that measures of rescue be launched immediately on behalf of 4,000,000 Jews estimated to be still surviving in Nazi occupied countries.

The Agency, headed by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, is recognized in the Mandate for Palestine as a body to advise and cooperate with the Government of Palestine on matters affecting the establishment of the Jewish National Home.

The memorandum declares that ‘should the announced policy of the enemy continue unchecked, it is not impossible that by the time the war will have been won, the largest part of the Jewish population of Europe will have been exterminated.’”

April 25, 1943, p. 19: “Scant Hope Seen For Axis Victims

Special Cable to the New York Times Hamilton, Bermuda, April 24 – The large scale movement of refugees is impossible under wartime conditions, and neither the United States nor Great Britain, alone or jointly, can begin to solve the refugee problem. These two concrete impressions have emerged after almost a week’s discussion of the refugee problem by the American and British delegations here.”

Because almost all Jews outside the Continent, particularly those in the U.S., believed the extermination claims, they brought political pressures which resulted in the Bermuda Conference. It was believed,[38]DuBois, 197. correctly, that the Nazis wished the emigration of the Jews from Europe (under appropriate conditions), and this put the British and American governments, on account of the propaganda basis for their war, into an awkward position, around which they were obliged to continually double-talk.[39]New York Times (Nov. 1, 1943), 5; (Dec. 11, 1943), 1; (Dec. 13, 1943), 11; (Jan. 3, 1944), 9. We have described the conflict between State and Treasury in this regard. The British had, at that point, no intention of opening Palestine, and both the British and Americans had no intention of providing the resources, in the middle of the war, for massive operations undertaken for reasons that were valid only to the degree that their propaganda was taken seriously. No sane modern statesmen believe their own propaganda. This is the dilemma, which J. Breckenridge Long and other State Department officials felt themselves facing.

Another point that should be made here before proceeding with the survey of the propaganda is that the six million figure had its origin apparently in the propaganda of 1942-1943.[40]Editor’s remark: Historically speaking, the origin is way older and reaches into the time prior to World Word One; cf. Heddesheimer. An examination of the problem of the origin of the six million figure could easily lead to the conclusion that it had its origin at the IMT, where the indictment mentioned a figure (supplied by the World Jewish Congress) of 5,721,800 “missing” Jews and Wilhelm Höttl of the SD signed an affidavit, 2738-PS, asserting that he had gotten a figure of six million from Eichmann. According to Höttl, Eichmann had visited his Budapest office in a depressed mood because he was convinced that the war was lost, thought that the Allies would punish him as a major war criminal, and then declared, with no other witnesses present, that four million Jews had been killed in extermination camps and that two million had met death in various other ways, mainly through executions carried out by the Einsatzgruppen in Russia.

Here we offer a different theory regarding the origin of the six million figure. Its very first appearance seems to be Rabbi Goldstein’s statement of December 13, 1942, followed by the story of December 20 to the same effect, except that it specified a potential seven million in danger of being exterminated, rather than the six million implied by Goldstein’s statement. However, it could correctly be argued that one must not infer the origin of the six million figure purely on the basis of these stories.

However, the appearances of the two million killed – four (or five) million to be killed – extermination claim at the public affairs reported on March 2 and 10, 1943, must be taken much more seriously. More information about the latter affair can be extracted from an advertisement that also appeared on March 10 (page 10), reporting that the show had been organized by the “Committee for a Jewish Army of Stateless and Palestinian Jews,” headed by Senator Johnson of Colorado. The advertisement makes the same extermination claim (two million killed, four million to be killed) and also lists the sponsors of the organization, which included many members of Congress and other notables. The same organization had also run a full page advertisement on February 16 (page 11), specifying two million killed and four million to go (and also claiming that the only Arabs who objected to massive Jewish immigration into Palestine were Nazi agents). The two stories of April 20 suggest rather widespread usage of the two million killed – four (or five) million to be killed – form of the extermination claim in early 1943. We therefore have very general usage of the six (or seven) million figure, long before the end of the war, by the political establishment that wrote the charges at Nuremberg: Thus, I believe that we can take late 1942/early 1943 propaganda as the origin of the six million figure. The complete independence of that figure of any real facts whatever is reflected in Reitlinger’s elaborate apologies for his belief that he can claim only 4.2 to 4.6 million Jews, almost all East European, who perished in Europe during World War II, one third of them dying from “overwork, disease, hunger and neglect.”[41]Reitlinger, 533, 545f. However, Reitlinger’s figures are also mostly independent of any real facts, but that matter will be discussed in Chapter 7.

It is not at all remarkable that after the war somebody could be found to declare at Nuremberg that the propaganda figure was correct. Höttl, indeed, was a completely appropriate choice, because he was one of those stereotype “operators,” with which the world of intelligence work is plagued. Born in 1915, he entered the SD in 1938 and soon acquired a reputation for mixing official business with personal business deals. His teaming up with a Polish countess friend in a Polish land deal led to an SS investigation of his activities in 1942. The report of the investigation characterized him as “dishonest, scheming, fawning […] a real hoaxer,” and concluded that he was not even suitable for membership in the SS, let alone a sensitive agency such as the SD. He was accordingly busted down to the ranks, but then the appointment in early 1943 of his fellow Austrian and Vienna acquaintance Kaltenbrunner to head the RSHA seems to have reversed his fortunes, and he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the end of the war and played a responsible role in foreign intelligence work. After the war, he worked for the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps until 1949 in lining up ex-SS personnel to give information. It is said that he managed to make this job rather lucrative. After 1949, he immersed himself in the snake pit of Vienna cold war politics, maintaining links with neo-Nazis, Soviet agents, and nearly everybody else. He had a particularly close relationship with one Soviet agent Kurt Ponger, a naturalized U.S. citizen whom he had met when Ponger was employed as a translator at the IMT (in addition a Kurt Ponger, probably the same person, was a prosecution lawyer in NMT Case 4). Höttl consequently became suspect in the Verber-Ponger espionage case of 1953 and was arrested by U.S. authorities in March in Vienna but released a few weeks later. In the mid-Fifties, he published two books on his wartime experiences. In 1961, he signed a prosecution affidavit for Eichmann’s trial (substantially the same as his IMT affidavits).[42]Time (Jul. 12, 1954), 98, 100; New Republic (Dec. 20, 1954), 22; New York Times (Apr. 7, 1953), 20; (Apr. 12, 1953), 33; Eichmann, session 85, A1-L1; IMT, vol. 11, 228; see also Höttl’s autobiography (1997).

Authors on my side have written that Höttl was an Allied agent during the war. This is not correct. The only real fact that is involved in this claim is that Höttl was in touch with Allen Dulles of the OSS in Switzerland toward the end of the war. This was a part of his duties: the RSHA was attempting to arrange a favorable conclusion of the hostilities, and Höttl was one of the persons involved in the secret contacts with the western Allies.

No doubt, during the very last weeks of the war many of these intelligence officers started acting with their personal interests in mind, and also without doubt, Höttl would have been delighted to have been enlisted as an Allied agent at this juncture of the war and may even have volunteered some favors to Dulles with this development in mind. However, these contacts are no more evidence that Höttl was an Allied agent than they are that Dulles was an Axis agent (Dulles is even said to have peppered his conversation with anti-Semitic remarks when he was trying to win the confidence of some German contacts[43]R. H. Smith, 214f.). If Höttl had been an Allied agent, it would seem that he would boast about this in one of his two books (The Secret Front and Hitler’s Paper Weapon), but he makes no such claim. In addition, Ian Colvin, who knows as much about these matters as anybody, wrote the Introduction for The Secret Front, and makes no remarks in this connection.

April 27, 1943, p. 10: “Norwegian Deportees Die

Stockholm, Sweden, April 26 (ONA) – Reports from Oslo said today that most of the Norwegian Jewish women and children deported from the country […] had died of starvation.

Transports of deportees that left Oslo in November and February were removing them toward an ultimate destination in the Silesian mining region around Katowice. […]

May 3, 1943, p. 12: “Britain Scored On Jews

An audience of 1,500 persons […] heard Pierre van Paassen […] assert that Palestine presented the only solution to the refugee problem.

[…] Mr. van Paassen said that Great Britain had made a ‘hollow mockery’ of the refugee conference in Bermuda by excluding discussion of Palestine among the possible solutions.

‘Britain feels that the modernization of Palestine by the Jews endangers the pillars of her empire. […] That is the real reason many more Jews face death because Britain wants to keep the doors of Palestine shut to them.’”

May 20, 1943, p. 12: “Eden Ties Victory To Refugee Hopes

Special Cable to the New York Times London, May 19. […] Eden […] insisted that it was not fair to accuse the British Government of utterly ignoring the situation.

[…] he disclosed that the war Cabinet had approved the [Bermuda Conference] report […]

[WJC disappointed with Bermuda Conference]

London, May 19 (Reuter) – The World Jewish Congress […] expressed deep disappointment with the results of the Bermuda Conference.

The note […] pointed out that the way to Palestine is now also free.”

May 22, 1943, p. 4: “Jews Last Stand Felled 1,000 Nazis

Wireless to the New York Times London, May 21 – Nearly 1,000 Germans were killed or wounded in the battle in the Warsaw ghetto in the last two weeks when the Nazis undertook the final liquidation of the ghetto.

[…] More news of the anti-Jewish campaign in Poland was picked up today from SWIT, the secret Polish radio station. It said the Nazis had started liquidating the ghetto of Cracow and Stanislawow […] shooting Jews wherever they were found or killing them in gas chambers.”

June 7, 1943, p. 15: “‘Rally Of Hope’ Is Held

Six thousand children […] participated yesterday in a ‘Rally of Hope’[…]. ‘[…] Jewish children and their parents are tortured and put to death by a barbarous enemy. […]’”

June 9, 1943, p. 3: [Deportations of Jews]

“London, June 8 (Reuter) – No fewer than 3,500 Jews have recently been deported from Salonika, Greece, to Poland, it was stated here today. Men, women and children were herded indiscriminately into cattle trucks, which were then sealed, it was added.”

June 13, 1943, p. 8: “Nazi Gas Killings Of Refugees Cited

By Telephone to the New York Times Stockholm, Sweden, June 12 – More than 10,000 Jews were killed since last October in the Brest-Litovsk district […] according to the Swedish language Jewish Chronicle published in Stockholm.

Thousands were gassed to death in hermetically sealed barns and others have been shot in groups of sixty in adjoining woods, the paper says.

[…] When Dr. Robert Ley, chief of the German Labor Front, recently spoke at Koenigsberg, Bialystok and Grodno he said: ‘The Jews are the chosen race, all right – but for extermination purposes only.’”

June 15, 1943, p. 8: “Nazis Deport 52,000 Belgians

London, June 14 (AP) – The Belgian Government in exile said today that the Germans had removed nearly all 52,000 Belgian Jews to concentration camps in Germany, Poland and occupied Russia.”

Reitlinger reports for Belgium the same situation as in France. Among the Jews deported from Belgium, “virtually none” were Belgian Jews. It is worth remarking that essentially the same held for Italy and Denmark.[44]Reitlinger, 367, 370f., 378.

June 21, 1943, p. 2: “Bermuda Parley Scored

A resolution condemning the ‘inaction’ of the Bermuda Conference and another calling upon President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill to open the doors of Palestine to refugees were adopted unanimously yesterday by the order of the Sons of Zion […] at the Hotel Pennsylvania.”

June 21, 1943, p. 3: “Romanians Blamed For Killing Of 5,000

Berne, Switzerland, June 20 (UP) – Swiss newspapers said tonight that 5,000 bodies reported by Axis propagandists to have been buried near Odessa were those of Romanian Jews killed by the Romanian secret police.

The Romanian press announced the discovery of the mass tomb on April 22, claiming the bodies were those of Romanians killed by the Russians after the latter occupied Bessarabia and Bukovina in 1940.”

June 23, 1943. p. 8: “Netherland Jews Ousted By Nazis

London, June 22, (UP) – All Jews in Amsterdam have been deported by the Germans to Poland, thus completing the removal of the entire Jewish population of the Netherlands, the Aneta news agency said today.”

This story is not true. Nevertheless, the majority of Dutch Jews were deported. The reasons for the great differences in policy in the Netherlands (and Luxembourg) on the one hand and in Belgium and France and other countries on the other will be seen on page 284. It will be shown that the ultimate, as distinct from immediate, destination of the Jews deported from the Netherlands was most probably not Poland. Of the 140,000 Dutch Jews, about 100,000 were deported.[45]Reitlinger, 352.

June 28, 1943, p. 8: [Aryanization of Jewish property]

“London, June 27 (Reuter) – A German radio broadcast tonight quoted Premier Nicholas von Kallay of Hungary as stating that all remaining property of Jews in Hungary would pass into ‘Aryan’ hands at the end of this year. This property will be distributed among those who have distinguished themselves in the war and families with many children, it is said.”

June 29, 1943, p. 6: “Nazis Execute 150 Jews

London, June 28 (Netherlands News Agency) – The Germans have launched mass executions of Netherlands Jews deported to Poland, it was reported tonight.

[…] 150 Jews in the village of Turck had been mowed down with machine gun fire. […] At Socky […] 340 Netherlands Jews were machine-gunned, and 100 women and children were slain near Potok. […] They were among the thousands of Jews who had been transported from the Netherlands to the notorious Treblinka concentration camp.”

It seems odd to transport people out of an extermination camp and then kill them. Whoever composed this story was evidently not only uninformed on what Treblinka was supposed to be, but also on the order of magnitude of the numbers that were supposed to be thrown around.

July 21, 1943, p. 13: “Quick Aid Is Asked For Europe’s Jews

Immediate action to rescue the Jews of Nazi-dominated countries was demanded last night by speakers at the opening session of the Emergency Conference to Save the Jews of Europe, held at the Hotel Commodore.

[…] Representative Rogers pointed out that some 3,000,000 of Europe’s 7,000,000 Jews already have perished and insisted that ‘this is a problem which cannot be solved through the exercise of vocal cords and routine protests.’

[…] ‘Certainly there are enough open spaces and unpopulated areas to accommodate 4,000,000 tortured human beings,’ he said. ‘Palestine is the logical place. It is nearer and over land instead of over water […]

[…] Count Sforza voiced the hope that Jews and Arabs would be able to cooperate in the future in the building of a great Near East federation, with Palestine as a member.”

August 2, 1943, p. 10: “16,000,000 Made Refugees By Axis

Washington, Aug. 1 – A survey of the European refugee problem, published today by the Foreign Policy Association, said that only a collective effort on the part of the great powers or an international organization could deal effectively with the situation that would follow the end of the war.

[…] On the basis of reports from the governments in exile and other informants, the report said, it was estimated that of the Jews who in 1939 inhabited European countries now held by the Axis, two million already have been deported or had perished from various forms of mistreatment or deliberate extermination.”

The Foreign Policy Association does not seem to be very secure in asserting exterminations, because it gives the impression that most of the Jews had been “deported,” even though by this time other propagandists were speaking of three million dead Jews.

August 8, 1943, p. 11: “2,000,000 Murders By Nazis Charged

London, Aug. 7 – Polish Labor Fights, a publication issued here today, printed an account of a house maintained by the Germans at Treblinka, Poland, for the extermination of Jews. In this place alone, it is said, the Germans have killed 2,000,000 persons.

[…] ‘When the cells are filled they are closed and sealed. Steam is forced through apertures and suffocation of the victims begins. At first cries can be heard but these gradually subside and after fifteen minutes all is silent. The execution is over.

[…] ‘Often a grave digger is too weak to carry two bodies, as ordered, so he ties arms or legs together and runs to the burial ground, dragging them behind him.’”

Of course, the post-war story was that the bodies were burned, not buried, because these millions of buried Jewish bodies simply did not exist.[46]Editor’s remark: orthodox historiography assumes that most victims allegedly murdered at Treblinka – between 700,000 and 800,000 – were initially buried, yet later exhumed and incinerated. Cf. Mattogno & Graf (2010), 137-154. More important is the discrepancy regarding the claimed murder weapon: steam. It dominated the early reports but was completely abandoned later on. Cf. ibid., 47-76.
(Reitlinger, 352.)

August 27, 1943, p. 7: “Report Bares Fate Of 8,300,000 Jews

[…] a 300-page survey made public yesterday by the […] American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.

More than 3,000,000 Jews have been destroyed by planned starvation, forced labor, deportations, pogroms and methodical murders in German-run extermination centers in eastern Europe since the outbreak of the war in 1939, according to the report, while 1,800,000 Jews have been saved by migration into the interior of the Soviet Union and 180,000 have succeeded in emigrating to other countries.

[…] The survey […] declares that 1,700,000 Jews have been victims of organized massacres and pogroms, […] that 750,000 Jews perished as a result of starvation and its consequences, and that 350,000 died in the process of deportation.

[…] A table showing how the process of extermination has been carried out […] follows:


August 27, 1943, p. 7: Deliberate Nazi Murder Policy Is Bared By Allied Official Body

London, Aug. 26 (UP) – The Inter-Allied Information Committee […] tonight accused Germany, Italy and their satellites of […] a deliberate program of wholesale theft, murder, torture and savagery unparalleled in world history.

[…] Poland: Exhaustion, torture, illness and executions have created a life expectancy of only nine months from the time an individual is thrown into a concentration camp. Conditions are particularly severe at the Oswiecim camp, where 58,000 persons are believed to have perished.

At least 1,000,000 Jews have been slaughtered, starved or beaten to death in Poland during the past three years. In Warsaw food rations permit only 23.4 per cent of the calories necessary to keep a human being alive.”

This was one of the very few pre-1944 specific references to the Auschwitz concentration camp (although the stories of March 7 and April 27 were oblique references).[47]Editor’s remark: An earlier reference by the Allied propaganda to Auschwitz as an extermination center – by the British radio station Sviet (transmitting in Polish) – occurred on 23 March 1943 right after the German discovery of the mass graves near Katyn. The 3,000 Polish victims of Stalin, who had initially been discovered by the Germans, were contrasted by the British propaganda with the claim that the Germans would “burn some 3,000 human beings, ‘mainly Jews,’ in the crematory at Auschwitz every day”. This also reveals the nature of this “news”: atrocity propaganda designed exclusively for Polish ears in German occupied Poland; cf. Maser, 343. The interesting thing about this reference to Auschwitz is that it is essentially correct, as shall be confirmed in the next chapter, although one cannot be confident of the accuracy of the 58,000 figure and “torture” and “executions” should not be included as causes of the high death rate. The important point is that this story implicitly rejects the post-war extermination claims which assert that thousands were killed at Auschwitz almost every day, starting at the latest in the summer of 1942 and continuing to the autumn of 1944.

October 8, 1943, p. 5: “All-Europe Purge Of Jews Reported

Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 7 – Well-informed circles here said today that a decree had been issued in Berlin ordering the removal of all Jews from Europe before the end of the war. The source said that the order was issued by Adolf Hitler himself.

[…] The power behind the Nazi persecution of Danish Jews is the so-called ‘Jew Dictator,’ Storm Trooper Eighman [sic…] who was born in Palestine of German emigrants and brought up there [and] is known for his sadistic hatred of Jews. He engineered all the extermination action against Jews in Germany and the occupied territories. […]

This seems to be Eichmann’s debut in the propaganda and, probably, the source of the myth that he was raised in Palestine (he was born in Solingen, Germany, and raised in Linz, Austria).

November 23, 1943, p. 4: “Wife Of Mikolajczyk Hostage Of Germans

The 43-year-old wife of Premier Stanislaw Mikolajczyk of Poland is being held by the Germans as a hostage in the Oswiecim concentration camp and may be facing imminent execution, the Polish Telegraph Agency reported from London yesterday.

[…] Oswiecim is the most notorious German prison in Poland, where thousands of helpless victims have been tortured to death. […]

The names of the Germans chiefly responsible for the massacre of Polish Jews were given in a Polish statement in London. […]

‘There are ten of them, headed by Ludwig Fischer, the Nazi Governor of the Warsaw area. […] A member of the Polish National Council said that most of the Jews in Poland had already been wiped out.’”

November 29, 1943, p. 3: “50,000 Kiev Jews Reported Killed

By W. H. Lawrence.

Kiev, Russia, Oct. 22 (Delayed) – Kiev authorities asserted today that the Germans had machine-gunned from 50,000 to 80,000 of Kiev’s Jewish men, women and children in late September, 1941 and, two years later – when Kiev’s recapture by the Red Army seemed imminent – had forced Russian prisoners of war to burn all the bodies completely destroying all the evidence of the crime.

[…] On the basis of what we saw, it is impossible for this correspondent to judge the truth or falsity of the story told to us. […]

December 6, 1943, p. 10: “Captive Killings Laid To Germans

London, Dec. 5 (UP) – Evidence that Russian prisoners of war were executed and cremated in German concentration camps has been offered to the emigre Czech Government by a Czech Army officer who spent several years in a German prison camp before he escaped to England.

[…] The officer’s teeth had been kicked out when he was struck on the mouth, he was deaf in one ear from a blow on the head and on his body was the scar of a swastika that he said had been carved by Germans to whom he went for treatment of an infection.

Jews were chosen at random from those in the camp and shot, he said. […]

This completes the survey of relevant New York Times stories for the period of spring 1942 through 1943. Selectivity on my part was, of course, necessary, but I believe that an adequate picture has been given of the sort of stories that were in circulation in supposedly intelligent circles.

What cannot be recaptured is the hysterical atmosphere of the time. The unusually critical reader will have noticed the rather high page number of many of the stories cited, especially those which report specific instances of mass killings. In practical politics only page one counts, and these things seldom appeared on page one. If Roosevelt said something, it was normally printed on page one, but only because he said it, not because he said anything interesting or significant. The allegations of exterminations of Jews do not appear to have had great importance to the public during the war, if one judges from the lack of any prominence given to such stories. Another way to express it is to say that if one spends some time examining the newspapers of the time, a high degree of hostility to the Nazis is obvious, but the specific basis of the hostility is virtually impossible to distinguish. Thus, there is something of an emotional nature missing from our survey, but this is unavoidable.

Two principal observations should be made in regard to the extermination propaganda. First, the legend has its origin among Zionists and, second, Auschwitz was not claimed as an extermination camp until very late in the war.

We have seen that the first extermination claims were not based on one scrap of intelligence data. Zionists, principally the World Jewish Congress, merely presented their nonsense to the Allied governments, in particular to the U.S. government, demanding endorsement of their nonsense. The first reactions in Washington were to scoff at the claims but, on account of various political pressures, and only on account of those pressures and not because corroborating information had been procured from military intelligence, official Washington eventually cooperated with the extermination propaganda to the extent of having high officials make vague public declarations in support of it, and of having propaganda agencies make more specific declarations of an obscure nature. The early propaganda had features which are retained in the legend to this day, such as the six million figure, and also features which were quickly forgotten, such as the soap factories, although both features were authored by the same Zionist circles.

In regard to our terminology, it should be remarked that the word “Zionist” is not being employed here as a code word for “Jewish;” the evidence shows that, while the hoax is certainly a Jewish hoax, in the sense of having been invented by Jews, it is also a Zionist hoax, in the sense of having been invented by Jews who were Zionists, on behalf of Zionist ends. The Zionist character of the propaganda is quite clear; note that, as a rule, the persons who were pressing for measures to remove Jews from Europe (under the circumstances a routine and understandable proposal) coupled such proposals with demands that such Jews be resettled in Palestine, which shows that there was much more in the minds of the Zionist propagandists than mere assistance to refugees and victims of persecution.

We have also noted that Auschwitz was absent from the extermination propaganda in 1942 and 1943 although, if there had been exterminations at such a prominent site, military intelligence and others would certainly have learned of it. To be sure, Auschwitz appeared in the propaganda, but the specific claims, bearing on a high death rate due to more or less normal causes, were in their essentials true, however amplified their content. There were no claims of gas chambers or exterminations. Naturally, I make the reservation that this statement is based on the fact that, after a reasonably thorough study, I have not noted Auschwitz in the 1942-1943 extermination propaganda; Treblinka, Belzec, and Chelmno appeared in the newspaper extermination stories, but not Auschwitz.

This view is confirmed by the periodicals and books of the period that I have examined. Three periodical publications are of particular interest. The issue of Commonweal for June 4, 1943, carried an article by Jacques Maritain, which summarized what he, evidently after some investigation, believed to be the chief features of the extermination program. Auschwitz is not mentioned, although exterminations via “poison gases, electrocution, mass piling into enclosed spaces where asphyxia takes place by degrees, suffocation […] in sealed freight cars” are mentioned, and particular reference is made to Chelmno.

The New Republic for August 30, 1943, was a special issue devoted to the plight of the Jews in Europe and made no reference to Auschwitz. A two page advertisement, placed by the Jewish Labor Committee (New York), mentions only Treblinka, Belzec, and “hermetically sealed cars where Jews are being poisoned.”

Survey Graphic for April 1943 carries a two page article by William L. Shirer. The subject is the whole range of alleged German atrocities and thus Auschwitz (Oświęcim) is mentioned, but only in connection with an alleged high death rate of 250 Poles per day, due to “executions, inhuman treatment, hunger, and epidemics.” Shirer claims exterminations of Jews at Belzec.

The Shirer story cites a March 7 report from the Polish government in London as the source for the statements about Auschwitz. This is the earliest reference that I know of to Auschwitz in the propaganda.[48]Editor’s remark: The earliest report about gas chambers or gassings at Auschwitz go back to October 1941 and originated from the Polish resistance; cf. Aynat (2004). These and other early reports were ignored by the Allied propaganda, though. The only candidate for an earlier claim that I know of appears in The Black Book of Polish Jewry, J. Apenszlak, ed., 1943. Pages 56 and 59 tell of reports in the “East London Observer” in early 1942 that the ashes of Jews who had been sent to Auschwitz were being returned to their relatives (contradicting post-war propaganda). However, as far as I have been able to determine, the East London Observer did not exist. The Black Book does not claim exterminations at Auschwitz but speaks of exterminations via gasmobile at Chelmno (pages 115-117, in agreement with later claims); via electrocution in baths at Belzec followed by burial (page 131, not in agreement); through being left in freight cars for days near Belzec followed by burning (pages 137-138, not in agreement); via steam baths at Treblinka followed by burial (page 143, not in agreement; the Diesel engine whose exhaust gases were used for killing in later versions of the story is used for digging the graves in The Black Book).

There remains one source which conveys the impression that Auschwitz appeared in the extermination propaganda early in 1943 or even earlier. This is the book The Devil’s Chemists by Josiah DuBois, whom we have encountered as a wartime Treasury official. At the NMT after the war, DuBois was the chief prosecutor in the Farben trial, and his book is his account of the trial and such other matters that he considered relevant. According to him, a message dealing with Auschwitz crossed his desk in November 1942. The message transmitted the contents of a note, a “crumpled testament of despair,” which had allegedly been written by a worker-inmate at Auschwitz and then passed along underground in hand-to-hand relay to Bern:

“We worked in the huge ‘Buna’ plant. […] There was a chain of sentry posts overlooking every 10 square meters of workers, and whoever stepped outside was shot without warning as ‘having attempted to escape.’ But attempts were made every day, even by some who tried to crawl past the sentries because they could no longer walk.”

The note also applied to Farben’s Ter Meer “stereotyped images of swastika and riding crop and fixed sneer.” (which had not characterized Ter Meer at any time during his life). The claimed origin and history of the note make the whole thing appear rather silly, but one should note the strong element of fact in the note: at approximately this time, many workers at Auschwitz were indeed not in a condition to work or even walk. Thus, this message was not really extermination propaganda, and we cannot be certain that it really existed, but if it did, all it suggests is that the propagandists were well aware, in late 1942, of what was happening at Auschwitz.

DuBois then proceeds to misinform his reader that the two messages of January and April 1943 from Harrison to the State Department, discussed above, dealt with Auschwitz, i.e. it was at Auschwitz that 6,000 were allegedly being killed every day. In reporting this, DuBois is simply passing along misinformation. His motive seems to be that, as the prosecutor in the Farben case, he was attempting to maximize the significance of Auschwitz in every respect possible, and has thus read in the record something that simply is not there.[49]DuBois, 137f., 186-188.

German Reactions • 300 Words

It is of passing interest to comment on what the Germans were saying about the Allied propaganda stories. We have seen that von Stumm of the press section of the German Foreign Office ridiculed the extermination claim when it was first made by the Allied governments, but that was a rare reference on the part of the German government to any specific Allied propaganda concoction. The weekly newspaper Das Reich, published by the Goebbels Ministry, and the Völkischer Beobachter, the daily newspaper of the Nazi Party, had much comment of a general sort on the “Greuelpropaganda,” but there were few references to specific propaganda claims. The usual situation was one of no commentary on the Jewish extermination claim as well as on other specific propaganda claims, e.g. starvation and torturing of American and British POWs and the various gruesome inventions of Hollywood, such as the draining of the blood of children in occupied countries for the use of the Wehrmacht.

The reason for this relative silence on specific propaganda claims was no doubt that there was no need, from the German point of view, to review its content. They had seen it all before, during World War I. Thus, the German press treatment of the “Greuelpropaganda” was on a higher level, and rather than concern itself with the specific contents of the stories, it concerned itself with such questions as the nature of the political interests that were served by the propaganda and the extent and means of Jewish influence in the Allied press (e.g. Das Reich for December 20, 1942).

The War Refugee Board Report: Birth of the Auschwitz Legend • 4,000 Words

The high level Washington commitment to the claim that Auschwitz was an extermination camp came in November 1944, after the claimed termination of the killing program, in the form of the WRB report (the claim had appeared many times in the propaganda earlier in 1944; those stories are reviewed in Chapter 5). The issuing of the report was carried by the New York Times on November 26, 1944, (page 1) and some excerpts were given.

The WRB report is described as two reports, one written by “two young Slovakian Jews” and the other by “a Polish major,” all of whom had been inmates at Auschwitz from the spring of 1942 until the spring of 1944, when they escaped (the two Jews on April 7).

There is an additional short supplement said to be written by two other young Jews who escaped on May 27, 1944, and made their way to Slovakia (under German domination until 1945) to make their report, which is said to have been received in Switzerland on August 6, 1944. The authors are completely anonymous, and this anonymity is duly apologized for “whose names will not be disclosed for the time being in the interest of their own safety.”

Sections 1, 2, and 3 constitute the first part of the report and section 4 the second part. The first section is the major part of the report. It is said to have been written by a Slovakian Jew who arrived at Auschwitz on April 13, 1942, and was given a registration number (tattooed onto his left breast) in the neighborhood of 29,000. He eventually became registrar in the Birkenau infirmary. The feature of this first section is a detailed record, for the period April 1942 to April 1944, of the transports which arrived at Auschwitz, together with the registration numbers assigned. About 55 groups of transports (sometimes more than one transport are in a group) are reported, and the (admittedly approximate) registration numbers assigned to the people in each group are given. The numbers start at 27,400 and run to 189,000 in the consecutive numbering system in which a number was not used twice. For each group the nationalities represented as well as other information is given (Jewish or Aryan, political prisoners or other, occasional names of individuals, numbers “gassed” instead of registered, etc.). The WRB report, if it is approximately correct in these matters (interpreting the people “gassed” as either never having existed or having been sent on to another destination), is one of the few known sources of significant amounts of such information (another is the referenced set of Netherlands Red Cross reports, which is the subject of Appendix C).

Almost all of this information is given by the author of the first section of the WRB report, but after he escaped, the authors of the third, supplemental section of the report kept an account of this information for the period April 7 – May 27 and have contributed it to the report.

The second section of the report is said to be written by a Slovakian Jew who arrived at the Lublin camp around June 4, 1942, but was sent to Auschwitz around June 30, 1942. According to the first section of the report, he then would have received a registration number around 44,000, which was tattooed onto his left forearm (the tattooing system had changed). The two authors of the first two sections of the report are the two young Slovakian Jews who escaped together on April 7, 1944. The third section of the report is the short supplement and the fourth section is the contribution of the “Polish major.”

The anonymity of the authors of the report is certainly a vulnerable feature, but the major implausibility is simply the contents of the WRB report. Examination shows that the information given in the report, which is most likely true to semi-true, is the sort of thing that could have been built up from intelligence data, not from reports of “two young Slovakian Jews and a Polish major” who “escaped.” This is exactly as one should expect; Germany’s enemies had certain means of gathering information about German camps and about events in Europe and simply used information gathered by such conventional methods, plus a considerable amount of invention, to compose the WRB report. It is just not believable that intelligence agencies were in such a primitive position with respect to, of all things, the industrial center Auschwitz that they were obliged to depend for information on miraculous escapes by unusually well-informed prisoners. This point will be amplified below. Of course, such an observation does not rule out the possible use of reports of former employees or inmates, escaped or otherwise, as part of the data.

The report presents the following information (or estimates, or guesses, or claims, or inventions):

  1. The number of prisoners at Auschwitz I in the month of April 1942, the predominant nationalities present, and the main causes of internment. Description of the inmate registration number system and the “star system” of inmate insignia. A list of various factories in the area (pt. I, 1-2).
  2. An accurate map of the area, comparable to our Fig. 5 (pt. I, 4).
  3. Dimensions related to the Auschwitz I camp size, its fences and its guard towers. Ditto for Birkenau. Description of barracks (pt. I, 5-7).
  4. In the case of a natural death of a prisoner, a death certificate was made out and sent to Oranienburg central camp administration. If the inmate was gassed, his name was entered in a special register and marked “S.B.” (Sonderbehandlung, special treatment) (pt. I, 9).
  5. Four buildings, referred to as Crematories I, II, III, and IV, were in use in spring 1944 at Birkenau; use of at least one of them had started in February 1943. Each building contained: (A) a furnace room of ovens; (B) a large hall; (C) a gas chamber. The first two buildings each contained 36 muffles and the other two 18 each. Three bodies are put in one muffle at a time and the burning took an hour and a half. Thus, one could dispose of 6,000 bodies per day. This was considered, at the time, an improvement over burning in trenches (the method previously employed) (pt. I, 14-15).
  6. The specific product used for generating the gas for the gas chamber was a powder called “Cyklon,” manufactured by a Hamburg concern. When exposed, it released cyanide gas, and about three minutes were required to kill everybody in the gas chamber. The containers for the Cyklon were marked “for use against vermin” (pt. I, 16).
  7. Prominent people from Berlin attended the inauguration of the first crematory in March 1943. The “program” consisted in the gassing and burning of 8,000 Cracow Jews. The guests (no names given) were extremely satisfied with the results (pt. I, 16).
  8. A detailed breakdown of the numbers and classifications of the inmates at Birkenau in April 1944 (pt. I, 23-24).
  9. In the camp, each block has a “block eldest” who “has power of life and death.” Until February 1944, nearly 50 per cent of the block eldests were Jews, but this was stopped by order of Berlin. Under the block eldest is the block recorder, who does all the clerical work. If the recorder has noted down a death by mistake, as often occurs, the discrepancy is corrected by killing the bearer of the corresponding number. Corrections are not admitted (pt. I, 25).
  10. A passage strikingly similar to the November 1942 “crumpled testament of despair”:
    “We worked in the huge buna plant to which we were herded every morning about 3 AM. […] As our working place was situated outside the large chain of sentry posts, it was divided into small sectors of 10 x 10 meters, each guarded by an SS man. Whoever stepped outside these squares during working hours was immediately shot without warning for having ‘attempted to escape.’ […] Very few could bear the strain and although escape seemed hopeless, attempts were made every day.” (pt. I, 30).
  11. A “careful estimate of the numbers of Jews gassed in Birkenau between April 1942 and April 1944,” summarized in a tabular form. The numbers showed up in the published record of the IMT trial and are presented here as Fig. 25 (pt. I, 33).
  12. Great excitement prevailed as a consequence of the escape of the two young Slovakian Jews (this is supposedly written by the authors of the supplementary section 3), and the friends and superiors of the two escapees were closely questioned. Because the two had held posts as “block recorders,” all Jews exercising such functions were removed for punishment and as a precautionary measure. This, of course, contradicts the implication of the “Foreword” of the WRB report that the Germans did not know the identity or even registration numbers of the two escapees, because it withholds such information “in the interest of their own safety.” (pt. I, 34).
  13. Starting May 15, 1944, Hungarian Jews started arriving at Birkenau at the rate of about 15,000 per day. Ninety per cent were killed immediately and, because this exceeded the capacity of the ovens, the method of burning in trenches, which had existed earlier, was reverted to. The ten percent who were not killed were also not registered at Birkenau but sent eventually to camps in Germany: Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Gross-Rosen, Gusen, Flossenbürg, Sachsenhausen, etc. (pt. I, 36-37).
  14. A new inmate registration number system was also put into effect in the middle of May 1944. At about the same time, a visit by Himmler to nearby Cracow was reported in the Silesian newspapers. These newspaper reports apparently omitted to mention, however, that on this trip Himmler had also visited Birkenau, and that his party made a special visit to Crematory I (pt. I, 37-38).
  15. In the late summer of 1943, a commission of four distinguished Dutch Jews had visited Auschwitz for the purpose of inspecting the condition of the Dutch Jews (who were then specially prepared by the Germans with new clothes, better food, etc.). The commission saw only a part of the Dutch Jews sent to Auschwitz but were told that the others were in similar camps. The commission was satisfied with this and signed a declaration that everything had been found in good order at Auschwitz, but after signing, the four Jews “expressed a desire to see the camp of Birkenau and particularly the crematoria about which they had heard some stories. […] The commission was then taken to Birkenau […] and immediately to Crematorium No. 1. Here they were shot from behind. A telegram was supposedly sent to Holland reporting that after leaving Auschwitz the four men had been victims of an unfortunate automobile accident.” (pt. I, 38).
  16. The area around Auschwitz, within a radius of 100 kilometers, had been evacuated, and the buildings not to be taken over by the camp were to be demolished (pt. II, 6).
  17. Description of the Auschwitz I hospital and its procedures. In the autumn of 1942, the hospital mortality rate was so high that Berlin requested an explanation. An investigation uncovered that the “camp doctor” had been administering lethal injections to weak and sick people, certain prisoners condemned to death, and some teenagers considered to be orphans. For “punishment,” the camp doctor was simply sent to the same job at the Buna plant (probably meaning Monowitz; the SS continued to provide some services to the camp administered by Farben) (pt. II, 8-10).
  18. As a result of bad treatment, a Jew could not last more than two weeks, irrespective of his physical condition (pt. II, 12).
  19. In the summer of 1942, Jews were being gassed in the birch forest (Birkenwald, where Birkenau was located) in special sealed buildings giving the impression of showers. Because the crematories were not completed, the bodies were buried in mass graves, causing putrefaction. In the autumn of 1942, the four crematories were completed, and many bodies were exhumed and burned (this is the Polish major’s account, contradicting that of the two young Slovakian Jews, who said that part of the new crematories were put into operation in February 1943 and that prior to that date bodies were burned in trenches) (pt. II, 16-17).
  20. Details on how it was decided exactly when to execute somebody already condemned to death (pt. II, 16-17).

The foregoing is effectively illustrative of the contents of the WRB report. It is a mixture of truth, guess-work, and invention, the factual part of which could have been, and obviously was, put together on the basis of inside information available in 1944.

The contradiction in the two accounts of exterminations serves to enhance the credibility of the claim that these are unsolicited reports of escaped inmates, but it is not clear that such increased credibility was the motivation for composing the report thus. The first version, that large crematories were in operation at Birkenau in early 1943 and that mass cremations took place in trenches before that date, is the one subsequently put forward (and the correct one in regard to the date of availability of the crematories) but the second version of mass graves might have some truth in it also, because there had been a typhus epidemic in the summer, at a time when inadequate crematory facilities existed.

Reitlinger uses the WRB report as a source. This is not entirely justified, but it is not entirely without justification either. One must assume that much of the material in the report is true. As will be elaborated below, there is no question of the competence of the authors of the report. However, one must be careful in this regard, obviously, and accept only that, which seems corroborated by either common sense or independent evidence. Given the protagonistic and propagandistic role of the report, but recalling that a well organized hoax necessarily contains much valid fact, this is perfectly reasonable.

One can be rather specific about the routes, by which information flowed out of the camps. In cases where there was significant industrial activity, the inmates inevitably came into contact with many people who were not camp inmates (company employees, railroad employees, etc.), and these contacts were the basis for an extensive system of clandestine channels of communication. Auschwitz, of course, furnished numerous and excellent opportunities for such contacts, and on account of the communist organization, there were very effective channels to outside underground centers, especially in nearby Cracow. Information about the camp, including, it is claimed, copies of orders received from Berlin or Oranienburg, flowed constantly out of Auschwitz. These channels were also used to send such things as money, medicine and forged papers into the camp. In addition, as discussed in another connection on page 156, the Communists in all of the camps were highly organized for illegal radio listening. If they had receivers, they no doubt also had transmitters. There has been witness testimony to possession of radio transmitters by camp inmates, and Reitlinger believes that Auschwitz inmates had transmitters.[50]NMT, vol. 5, 820; Reitlinger, 466; Borwicz, 66-76.

In order to grasp completely the nature of the information and propaganda channels that existed, one should take special note of the War Refugee Board and the OSS. The WRB maintained constant contact with events in Hungary even after the German occupation in March 1944. For example, it had its agent, Raoul Wallenberg, in the Swedish diplomatic corps, and there were other links through Jewish organizations. Jewish leaders in Budapest were in constant contact with those in Slovakia, and the Slovakian Jewish leadership was in contact with Polish Jewry, particularly in Cracow.[51]US-WRB (1945), 24-33. For contacts of Slovakian Jews with Poland, especially Cracow, and with Budapest, see Neumann’s book and also the testimony of Freudiger: Eichmann, session 51, Ww1-Eee1; session 52, A1-Bb1. Wallenberg discussed in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 416-420.

Possibly more important than the WRB, although its role in the hoax is not nearly as obvious, was the Office of Strategic Services, OSS, the predecessor of the CIA. The OSS was set up early in World War II under the leadership of General William Donovan. Its mission was intelligence of a political nature and related matters (e.g. sabotage, propaganda, guerilla warfare) as distinct from the more conventional forms of military intelligence, to which its operations were related somewhat as the operations of the German SD were related to those of the Abwehr, although high-placed Washington observers complained that the OSS seemed to enjoy unlimited funds and knew no bounds on its authority.

With only a few exceptions, the OSS was not staffed by military people but by persons recruited from private life. Thus, it included many political types, ranging from Communists to émigré monarchists. On account of their organization, the Communists were naturally a significant force in the OSS, irrespective of their numbers.

The OSS was deeply involved with propaganda. The OWI (Office of War Information), the most prominent U.S. wartime propaganda agency, had been the propaganda division of the “Office of the Coordinator of Information” (Donovan) when it split off from the OSS in 1942, and the remainder of Donovan’s organization was renamed the OSS. Despite this separation, the OSS remained active in the propaganda field, and when the Anglo-American PWB (Psychological Warfare Branch) was set up in Eisenhower’s headquarters, it drew its American personnel from both the OWI and the OSS.

Another propaganda operation of the OSS, one which employed a large number of “progressive writers,” was the MO (Morale Operations) Branch. The mission of MO was “black propaganda,” i.e. MO specialized in manufacturing propaganda presented in such a way that it would appear to have come from within the ranks of the enemy. MO thus distributed forged newspapers and military orders among enemy personnel, operated clandestine transmitters that purported to be broadcasting from within enemy territory, and started rumors in the Axis and Axis occupied countries. Its staff included “liberals and communists alike, all dedicated to the idealist interpretation of the fight against fascism.”

A particularly relevant facet of the OSS operations was that they had enlisted the cooperation of the Jewish Agency in Palestine (which was really the unofficial Israeli government of the time). The Jewish Agency, on account of extensive and elaborate contacts with Jews in Europe, especially in the Balkans, was able to undertake many important missions for the OSS. Thus, the channels to Jews in Hungary, Slovakia, and beyond were open.

Finally, it is of interest that the OSS was very significant on the prosecution staff at the IMT trial, especially in the early stages.[52]R. H.Smith, 2, 12, 23, 62, 125, 239; Kimche & Kimche, 108.

The point to be made in this discussion of the WRB report is certainly not that it was invented in the OSS or the WRB. I do not know the identity of the authors and do not believe that the question is of great significance. The main point is that two “internationals,” the Communist and the Zionist, played important roles in the intelligence, propaganda, and refugee assistance programs of the U.S. The WRB, effectively taking its orders from Harry Dexter White, Henry Morgenthau Jr., the World Jewish Congress, and other Zionists, and the OSS, with its staff of Communists and its Jewish Agency allies, show that the situation was perfectly suitable for the manufacture of a Jewish extermination propaganda lie, built about Auschwitz, which, as a precaution, contained enough real facts to suggest to the unreflective that the allegations were true.

The interior of the Auschwitz camp was not, by any exercise of the imagination, isolated from the Allies. The world’s most efficient intelligence organization, the Communist Party, could transmit any information desired to any destination whatever, and the situation was such that the ubiquitous Zionist International was in a position to manufacture and transmit whatever items seemed appropriate for the occasion. Even if the contents of the WRB report were entirely true, an escape by inmates would not have been at all necessary to get the “facts” into the hands of the Allies. Note that we are told that the entire contents of the WRB report are due to three independent escapes by remarkably informed inmates. In view of what we know about the channels of communication that existed, this is silly in the extreme.

The authors of the WRB report remained anonymous for quite a bit more than “the time being.” The report became a prosecution document at Nuremberg under the number 022-L. The descriptive material accompanying the document, dated August 7, 1945 (the “staff evidence analysis”), seems distressed at the anonymity of the authors. It tells of a certain Dr. Joseph Elias, “Protestant Pastor of Jewish ancestry, organizer of Jewish resistance in Hungary, head of Jo’Pasztor Bizottsag, who interrogated the first two Slovak Jews after their escape.” Then it tells of “Dr. G. Soos – Secretary of Hungarian underground movement MFM, who brought the first report (of the first two Slovak Jews) to Italy.” The organization “Jo’Pasztor” was real, but of the activities of Elias or Soos in connection with these matters nothing, it seems, is known. Of the origins of the parts of the report attributed to the other three people we are told nothing. It is said that R. D. McClelland, Bern representative of the WRB, forwarded the report to Washington in early July 1944 (the supplemental part was presumably not included).

The WRB report was put into evidence at the IMT as document 022-L by Major Walsh on December 14, 1945.[53]IMT, vol. 3, 568. There was no defense objection, at the IMT, to the acceptance of the report into evidence. At the Farben trial, the prosecution submitted the report (Document Book 89) as evidence, but the defense objected, and this objection “as to the competence and materiality of each and every document in the book” was sustained by that court. The result of the ensuing legal argument was that the court agreed to taking a certain very ambiguous “judicial notice” of the documents.[54]DuBois, 173-175.

Anonymity was maintained for several more years, because the first edition (1953) of Reitlinger’s The Final Solution considers the authors anonymous. In considering the beginnings of the gassings, reference is made to “the very reliable report of the Birkenau infirmary registrar or Blockschreiber, who escaped to Hungary in April 1944” (page 110). In connection with information about Theresienstadt Jews transported to Auschwitz, “we are indebted to a Slovak Jewish doctor, who escaped to Hungary in April 1944. This man, who was in charge of the Birkenau infirmary records […] ” (pages 169-170). In discussing the WRB report, Reitlinger told us that “the most important document is that of the anonymous Slovak Jewish doctor who escaped to Hungary in April 1944” (page 540). In all three cases Reitlinger was referring to the author of the first section of the WRB report, who, the report says, was the Slovakian Jew who arrived on April 13, 1942, and was given a registration number around 29,000. Reitlinger refers to him as a doctor, but the report actually does not make it clear what he was; it appears that he was supposed to be an “intellectual” or a “clerk.”

The next development seems to have been the publication in 1956 in Israel of the book Im Schatten des Todes, by J. Oskar Neumann. Neumann had been one of the leaders of the various Jewish councils and resistance organizations in Slovakia. In his account, Rabbi Michael Dov Ber Weissmandel (or Weissmandl), originally a Hungarian Jew resident in a part of Hungary that was annexed by Czechoslovakia after World War I, was the leader of Jewish resistance in Slovakia. In Neumann’s story the two young Slovakian Jews appear on schedule in Slovakia, as does the Polish major (actually, the WRB report does not say where the Polish major escaped to). Neumann gives the impression that he actually met these people: “Yet here sit eye-witnesses, who have told the whole truth.” His account does not mention the two authors of the third, supplementary, section of the WRB report, and he does not tell us the names or tattooed registration numbers of the escapees. Since they were in great danger of being found by the Gestapo, which was looking for them, they “were sent to an outlying mountainous area to rest.” Rabbi Weissmandel communicated the report to Budapest, Switzerland, and other destinations, in order to warn other Jews and to bring help.[55]Neumann, 178-183.

Weissmandel emigrated to the United States after the war and set up an orthodox Talmudic seminary in New York State. He died in November 1957. However, his war memoirs were published posthumously in 1960, unfortunately in Hebrew, which I am not able to read. The WRB report is a major subject of his book. I have assumed that his story is essentially similar to Neumann’s, because the two authors were similarly situated and had the same connections. However, I could be wrong.[56]New York Times (Nov. 30, 1957), 21; Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 16, 418f.

Rudolf Vrba • 2,000 Words

It appears that the next event involved Reitlinger. The anonymity of the authors of the WRB report is a striking and disturbing feature of the first edition of Reitlinger’s book, as I am sure he realized. This no doubt bothered him, for it appears that he set out to locate the authors of the report, for he writes in his second edition, published in 1968, that Rudolf Vrba, the author of the “most important” part of the WRB report, i.e., the first section, was “in hospital practice in Cardiff in 1960.” Reitlinger’s contact with Vrba in 1960, thus, would appear to be the first appearance of an alleged author of the report in any sort of historical record. Vrba was apparently produced as a consequence of Reitlinger’s investigations. The town of Cardiff in south Wales is incidentally only about 150 miles from Reitlinger’s home in Sussex. Reitlinger does not mention the name of any of the other authors. He considers a stencil book by Silberschein, Riegner’s World Jewish Congress colleague in Switzerland, as including the “complete version” of the report.[57]Reitlinger, 115n, 182, 590f.

Both authors of the first two sections of the WRB report (the first two young Slovakian Jews) acquired identities at Eichmann’s trial in 1961. Two witnesses testified regarding the report, and it was offered in evidence with the explanation that the first two young Slovakian Jews were Alfred Wetzler (or Weczler) and Rudolf Vrba (ex Rosenberg or Rosenthal, then resident in England). The document was rejected on the grounds that certain contradictions in the figures offered required further explanation. Therefore, late in the trial, the prosecution produced an affidavit by Vrba. The affidavit explains how Vrba arrived at the impressively detailed figures regarding the transports to Auschwitz, which are the main feature of the WRB report. His affidavit gives the impression that, while he got assistance from various people, he was solely responsible for drawing up the figures, and he does not give the name of or even mention his companion who allegedly escaped with him in April 1944. He mentions a Philip Müller, who helped him somewhat with his figures, because Müller “is apparently the only survivor alive at present.” Vrba’s affidavit was rejected by the court on the grounds that there was no excuse for the prosecution not bringing him to Jerusalem to testify.[58]Eichmann, session 52, M1, N1, W1-Aal; session 71, Ff1; session 72, I1-M1; session 109, J1-L1, R1, S1. The affidavit is reproduced by Vrba & Bestic, 273-276.

Vrba appeared again at the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt in 1964; his book I Cannot Forgive (with Alan Bestic), also appeared in 1964, shortly before his Frankfurt appearance. Vrba’s companion in his supposed escape appeared, too; Alfred Wetzler was said to have been the other young Slovakian Jew. Wetzler was (in 1964) a 46-year-old civil servant in Czechoslovakia, who had arrived at Auschwitz on April 13, 1942, and been given registration number 29,162. He had been a block registrar at Birkenau. Vrba was identified as a 40-year-old biochemist living in England, who had arrived at Auschwitz on June 30, 1942, and been given registration number 44,070. He had also been a block registrar at Birkenau. They had, they said, escaped on April 7, 1944, and made their way to Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, where they made their report to the Jewish elders and also to the Papal Nuncio. The report was smuggled to Budapest by Rabbi Weissmandel.[59]Naumann, 290f.; Langbein, vol. 1, 122-125; vol. 2, 968, 971.

The 1964 story differs, therefore, from that which was told to the authors of the IMT staff evidence analysis in 1945. The most serious apparent contradiction, however, is in the credit for the reporting of the figures related to the transports to Auschwitz. Vrba, in his 1961 affidavit (which did not mention Wetzler) and also in his Frankfurt testimony, presented himself as being primarily responsible for the figures. The WRB report, on the other hand, while it attributes the figures to both men, present the figures in the first section of the report, whose author is supposed to be Wetzler.

Vrba does not explain, in his 1964 book, why he waited 16 years to talk about his escape from Auschwitz and his delivery of the statistics that were eventually published by Washington. His book follows roughly the story of the WRB report with a few contradictions of varying degrees of importance. For example, in the book (page 128) Vrba writes that the girls working in the “Canada” area were in very good health, but in the WRB report (part I, page 31) these women were “beaten and brutalized and their mortality was much higher than among the men.” Other oddities in his book are his claim to have helped build the crematories (page 16, not mentioned in the WRB report) and his description of an Allied air raid on April 9, 1944, of which there is no record (page 233; he says that he and Wetzler hid in a woodpile for three days at Auschwitz after their April 7 escape. The possibility of an Allied air raid in April in discussed below on page 203). Wetzler just barely manages to get mentioned in Vrba’s book. Vrba says nothing about the Polish major or the two Jews who supposedly escaped later on to supplement the Auschwitz transport figures. In the book the other prisoners refer to him as “Rudi,” although his original name, and the name by which he was supposedly known at Auschwitz, is supposed to have been Walter Rosenberg (a point Vrba’s book does not bring up but is claimed elsewhere, e.g. in They Fought Back, edited by Yuri Suhl, and in Fighting Auschwitz by Jozef Garlinski). Vrba says nothing about resting in a mountain retreat after escaping.

Just as conclusive, in our evaluation of Vrba’s story, as the various contradictions of either the WRB report or known fact, is the general tone of the book and his description of how various people behaved at the camp. Although the book presents utterly incredible material in this connection from beginning to end, the best example is Vrba’s description of an alleged visit by Himmler on July 17, 1942 (pages 9-15, not mentioned in the WRB report). The prisoners were drawn up for inspection, and the orchestra was in readiness to play when Himmler arrived. As they waited, the leader of the orchestra:

[…] stood, baton raised, motionless, poised to weave music for the honored guest.

And then it happened. The catastrophe that every actor dreads. The moment of horror that only great occasions merit. The crisis that seems to dog every moment of truth.

In the tenth row outside our Block, the Block senior found Yankel Meisel without his full quota of tunic buttons.

It took some seconds for the enormity of the crime to sink in. Then he felled him with a blow. […]

Out of sight, […] they beat and kicked the life out of him. […]

[…] Himmler’s suite was twenty yards away. The baton moved […] and the orchestra followed […] with an excerpt from Aida.

It was ‘The Triumph March.’ […]

He lined us up and rapped: ‘I am the Reichsführer. Let’s see how you behave in front of me.’

Slowly he marched down the ranks, a little killer aping a big killer, glaring at each of us in turn. If he found dirty finger nails or wooden shoes not properly blacked, he howled abuse at the offender and thumped him with his heavy bamboo cane. He even inspected us, nursery fashion, behind the ears and then went prowling through the barracks, searching for blankets which had not been folded with precision.”

Vrba mentions a second Himmler visit (pages 15-19; the visit seems to correspond to the March 1943 visit of dignitaries from Berlin) in January 1943 to witness the gassing of 3,000 Polish Jews. The event was scheduled for 9 AM, but Himmler took until 11 AM to finish breakfast, so the 3,000 Jews had to wait two hours in the gas chamber. Himmler finally witnessed the gassing in a cheerful and relaxed mood, chatting with the commandant and others, occasionally throwing a glance through the peep-hole to observe the Jews being gassed.

The book manages to maintain this utterly incredible tone throughout, as you can verify by reading it, if you can stand it.

Reitlinger does not cite Vrba’s book in any connection in the second edition of his book. He still writes of Vrba as the author of the “most important” part of the WRB report, the first section, although the data offered shows that this role should be attributed to Wetzler. It does not appear important or relevant to Reitlinger that Vrba was only 18-years-old when, as he claims, he started collecting the numerical and other data concerning the transports to Auschwitz with the intention of making this information available to the outside world.

There has been no claimed break, so far as I know, in the anonymity of the Polish major.[60]Editor’s remark: later identified as Jerzy Wesolowski aka Jerzy Tabeau. In an article in Suhl’s book, Erich Kulka of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem offers names for the two authors of the supplementary section (Czezlaw Mordowicz who changed his name to Petr Podulka and Arnost Rosin who changed his name to Jan Rohác),[61]Kulka (1975). but I know nothing of these people other than that they remained quiet about their heroic exploits for an even greater number of years than Vrba and Wetzler did. Moreover, neither Elias, nor Soos, nor Vrba (as Vrba or as Rosenberg), nor Weissmandel appeared as witnesses in any of the Nuremberg trials, despite the sometimes contested role played by Document 011-L at those trials.

The records of the International Tracing Service in Arolsen, West Germany, report that two Jews named Wetzler and Rosenberg did escape on April 7, 1944,[62]See Figure 35. and this agrees with the Kalendarium published by the Polish government in 1964 as number 7 of Hefte von Auschwitz, which also declares that two Jews named Mordowicz and Rosin escaped on May 27, 1944. Because there were many successful escapes from Auschwitz during this period (many, many more than Vrba seems to think there were – compare page 217 of Vrba with Garlinski’s remarks about escapes), this data may well be correct, but it still does not authenticate the authorship of the WRB report, especially because we are told today that after escaping the four Jews adopted aliases for concealment purposes and that three of the four retained these different names after the war rather than reassume their real names.

The details behind the manufacture of the WRB report will probably never be completely uncovered, but it is entirely possible that its creators went to great lengths in simulating a report miraculously smuggled to Slovakia and then to Switzerland. If it was written in Slovakia, then it seems clear that Rabbi Weissmandel should be credited with at least co-authorship. It is also possible that, as claimed, the report was given to the Papal Charge d’affaires in Slovakia, Giuseppe Burzio, and that it was forwarded by him to Rome. It is clear that Burzio was contacted by Jewish propagandists and that he forwarded at least some of their “information” to Rome. Examples that Burzio transmitted to the Vatican were March 22 claims that the Germans were taking young Jewish women from their families to make them prostitutes for German soldiers on the eastern front (a complete fantasy) and an early 1943 letter from a Bratislava priest claiming that both Jewish and responsible German sources had told him of soap factories supplied with the bodies of gassed and machine-gunned Jews. Whether Burzio forwarded such material purely as routine procedure or because he gave credence to it is hardly relevant, although the later appears to be the case. The Vatican received and filed many such reports during the war, but never gave any credence to them. Its present position is that, during the war, neither it nor the “Jewish agencies were aware that the deportations were part of a general mass annihilation operation” (see also Appendix E).[63]New York Times (Apr. 27, 1974), 7. Actes et documents, vol. 8, 476, 486-489; vol. 9, 40, 178n.

In any case it is obvious that the WRB report is spurious. The data given in the report is not the sort of information that escapees would carry out; the claim that two more Jews escaped later on to supplement this data is more than doubly ridiculous. Instead of coming forward immediately after the war with ostensible authors of the report in order to lend more support to the lie, it appears that it was assumed that the whole thing was irrelevant until, for some reason (probably Reitlinger’s curiosity), an author was produced sixteen years after the event. That person’s story is not credible.

Thus was born the Auschwitz legend.[64]Editor’s remark: For more recent critiques of the WRB report see Aynat (1990), Mattogno (1990).

Notes • 800 Words

[1] Howard, 4-7, 216; U.S. Special Committee, 24.

[2] Howard, chapters 2-9.

[3] Howard, 82f.

[4] Howard, 104-108.

[5] Naunton, 104.

[6] DuBois, 284.

[7] As stated, the rubber crisis “filled the press,” but the following stories seem to summarize the crisis adequately: Business Week (Jan. 31, 1942), 22+; (Mar. 14, 1942), 15+; (May 30, 1942), 15+; (Jun. 20, 1942), 15+; (Aug. 15, 1942), 15+; (Sep. 19, 1942), 15+; (Dec. 19, 1942), 28+; Newsweek (Apr. 6, 1942), 46+; (Apr. 13, 1942), 56+; (June 1, 1942), 46+; (Sep. 21, 1942), 58+; New York Times (Jan. 11, 1942), sec. 7, 6+; (Jul. 26, 1942), sec. 7, 3+; Fortune (June 1942), 92+; Nature Magazine (May 1942), 233+; Harper’s (Dec. 1942), 66+.

[8] Naunton, 108; Howard, 210-213.

[9] Howard, 221f.; Coit, 120f., 162-222, 513-520.

[10] Howard, 227f.; U.S. Special Committee, 13, 18, 50f.; Dunbrook, 40-46.

[11] The photograph appears in Schoenberner, 162 (206 in paperback), and in Central Commission, Fig. 39.

[12] C.B. Smith, 166-171 and photographs.

[13] Editor’s note: There are some reservations about the authenticity of this picture, see Walendy (2003), 253f.; Mattogno (2005a).

[14] Hilberg (1961), 631; Reitlinger, 493-495.

[15] Unless otherwise noted, our treatment of the early extermination propaganda, related developments in Washington and New York, and the conflicts between the State Department, on one hand, and Zionists and the Treasury Department on the other, and the events leading up to the establishment of the War Refugee Board, is based on Morse, 3-99; Feingold, 167-247; DuBois, 183-189; Blum, 207-227; Israel, 173f., 216f., 306-337; Morgenthau.

[16] Guggenheim’s affidavit is in dispatch no. 49 of October 29, 1942, of the retired files of the U.S. Consulate, Geneva, which are in the archives of the Foreign Affairs Document and Reference Center, Department of State, Washington. Squire’s memorandum of his interview with Burckhardt is attached to Squire’s personal letter of November 9, 1942 to Harrison, which is in the same file.

[17] The question put to Burckhardt and his answers are IMT document Kaltenbrunner 3, IMT Vol. 40, 306.

[18] The statement of the “Vatican source” is in the U.S. National Archives as Department of State file 740.00116 EW/726.

[19] Hull, 471-473.

[20] Kubek, 6.

[21] New York Times (Jan. 22, 1943), 6; (May 13, 1943), 8; (Sep. 5, 1943), 7; (Sep. 6, 1943), 7; (Jan. 23, 1944), 11.

[22] Kubek, 6-9.

[23] DuBois, 198-199; Red Cross (1947), 20, 23, 59-60; US-WRB (1945), 9-10, 56-61.

[24] US-WRB (1945), 45-56.

[25] Kubek, 805-810; Aretz, 366-368.

[26] Barnes, quoted in Anonymous, 3.

[27] Blum, 343, 383.

[28] Alphabetically listed: Auschwitz (incl. Birkenau), Belzec, Kulmhof/Chelmno, Lublin-Majdanek, Sobibor, Treblinka. Later, gassings were also claimed for the Stutthof camp, but it was not located in Poland at that time; editor’s note.

[29] Gas vans are also claimed to have been deployed in the Chelmno camp as well as in Serbia; cf. Alvarez & Marais; editor’s note.

[30] Das Reich (Jun. 14, 1942), 2

[31] Jäckel, 62f.

[32] Calic, 34f. Hitler also made relevant remarks in Mein Kampf.

[33] Frederick J. P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism, and Benjamin Colby, ‘Twas a Famous Victory.

[34] Hitler, 848; Domarus, vol. II, 1580.

[35] New York Times (Oct. 29, 1942), 20; New Yorker (Apr. 18, 1942), 62; (Sep. 12, 1942), 53; (Oct. 24, 1942), 64f; (Nov. 28, 1942), 82; (Dec. 5, 1942), 82.

[36] Reitlinger, 176-186.

[37] Reitlinger, 439.

[38] DuBois, 197.

[39] New York Times (Nov. 1, 1943), 5; (Dec. 11, 1943), 1; (Dec. 13, 1943), 11; (Jan. 3, 1944), 9.

[40] Editor’s remark: Historically speaking, the origin is way older and reaches into the time prior to World Word One; cf. Heddesheimer.

[41] Reitlinger, 533, 545f.

[42] Time (Jul. 12, 1954), 98, 100; New Republic (Dec. 20, 1954), 22; New York Times (Apr. 7, 1953), 20; (Apr. 12, 1953), 33; Eichmann, session 85, A1-L1; IMT, vol. 11, 228; see also Höttl’s autobiography (1997).

[43] R. H. Smith, 214f.

[44] Reitlinger, 367, 370f., 378.

[45] Reitlinger, 352.

[46] Editor’s remark: orthodox historiography assumes that most victims allegedly murdered at Treblinka – between 700,000 and 800,000 – were initially buried, yet later exhumed and incinerated. Cf. Mattogno & Graf (2010), 137-154. More important is the discrepancy regarding the claimed murder weapon: steam. It dominated the early reports but was completely abandoned later on. Cf. ibid., 47-76.

[47] Editor’s remark: An earlier reference by the Allied propaganda to Auschwitz as an extermination center – by the British radio station Sviet (transmitting in Polish) – occurred on 23 March 1943 right after the German discovery of the mass graves near Katyn. The 3,000 Polish victims of Stalin, who had initially been discovered by the Germans, were contrasted by the British propaganda with the claim that the Germans would “burn some 3,000 human beings, ‘mainly Jews,’ in the crematory at Auschwitz every day”. This also reveals the nature of this “news”: atrocity propaganda designed exclusively for Polish ears in German occupied Poland; cf. Maser, 343.

[48] Editor’s remark: The earliest report about gas chambers or gassings at Auschwitz go back to October 1941 and originated from the Polish resistance; cf. Aynat (2004). These and other early reports were ignored by the Allied propaganda, though.

[49] DuBois, 137f., 186-188.

[50] NMT, vol. 5, 820; Reitlinger, 466; Borwicz, 66-76.

[51] US-WRB (1945), 24-33. For contacts of Slovakian Jews with Poland, especially Cracow, and with Budapest, see Neumann’s book and also the testimony of Freudiger: Eichmann, session 51, Ww1-Eee1; session 52, A1-Bb1. Wallenberg discussed in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 416-420.

[52] R. H.Smith, 2, 12, 23, 62, 125, 239; Kimche & Kimche, 108.

[53] IMT, vol. 3, 568.

[54] DuBois, 173-175.

[55] Neumann, 178-183.

[56] New York Times (Nov. 30, 1957), 21; Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 16, 418f.

[57] Reitlinger, 115n, 182, 590f.

[58] Eichmann, session 52, M1, N1, W1-Aal; session 71, Ff1; session 72, I1-M1; session 109, J1-L1, R1, S1. The affidavit is reproduced by Vrba & Bestic, 273-276.

[59] Naumann, 290f.; Langbein, vol. 1, 122-125; vol. 2, 968, 971.

[60] Editor’s remark: later identified as Jerzy Wesolowski aka Jerzy Tabeau.

[61] Kulka (1975).

[62] See Figure 35.

[63] New York Times (Apr. 27, 1974), 7. Actes et documents, vol. 8, 476, 486-489; vol. 9, 40, 178n.

[64] Editor’s remark: For more recent critiques of the WRB report see Aynat (1990), Mattogno (1990).

Chapter 4 • Auschwitz • 18,600 Words
Structure of the Legend • 500 Words

We now consider the specific Auschwitz “extermination” story that we are offered.

The trials that generated the evidence on which the extermination claims are based took place in a prostrate, starving Germany whose people were in no position to do anything but that which the occupying powers wished. This was the political reality of the situation. By the record, the “Zionist International” organized the specific extermination claims that were made, which were given no credence by high and knowledgeable Washington officials. The leading personality in setting up the legal system of the war crimes trials was none other than the American prosecutor at the IMT trial. At that trial the judges had previously expressed themselves on the obvious guilt of the defendants, and the findings of the trial were formal legal constraints on subsequent trials. The most important of the subsequent trials were those organized by the arch-Zionist David Marcus, future hero of Israel, and then head of the U.S. War Crimes Branch, an agency that had engaged in torture of witnesses in connection with certain trials. The “honor” of the states conducting the trials was committed to the thesis of extraordinary Nazi brutality. Under such conditions it is difficult to see how one could fail to expect a frame-up; this and the following chapter shows that the Auschwitz charges are what one should expect.

It must first be asked: what is the essential attribute, the “trademark” of a hoax on this scale? No sane author of such a thing would present a story which is untrue in every or in most details; ninety nine percent valid fact can be present in a story whose major claim has no truth whatever to it and recognition of this leads the author of the hoax to the maximally safe approach to his deed: distort the meaning of valid facts.

This is the basic structure of the Auschwitz extermination legend. It is shown here that every real fact contained in the story had (not could have had, but had) a relatively routine significance, having nothing to do with exterminations of people. Thus, those who claim extermination must advance a thesis involving a dual interpretation of the facts, but by then the impartial reader, in consideration of what has just been noted, should be on my side; the need for a dual interpretation of fact, the trademark of the hoax, has emerged.

Another trademark, not so obvious at this point, will be suggested by the analysis.

Also, facts which contradict the extermination claims will be noted, and for those who still believe the claims these facts are “mysteries.” The inconsistencies and implausibilities and obvious lies will appear and finally the crushing blow, a fact contradicting the claims, so huge in significance that there can be no mumbling about “mysteries.”

The Höss ‘Confession’ • 1,700 Words

The commandant of Auschwitz from May 1940 to late 1943 was SS Colonel Rudolf Höss. During the IMT trial he had signed some affidavits for the prosecution, the most noted being signed on April 5, 1946.[1]3868-PS In accord with a common IMT and NMT practice, he was then called by the Kaltenbrunner defense on April 15, 1946.[2]IMT, vol. 11, 396-422. The major content of his testimony was in his assenting, during cross-examination, to his affidavit of April 5, and also in certain points of supporting testimony.

Höss is universally considered the star prosecution witness and, despite the origins of the Auschwitz hoax in the WRB report, the extermination mythologists essentially treat the Höss affidavit as the Auschwitz extermination story or, more precisely, the framework for the story. All pleaders of the Auschwitz extermination legend present a story that is the Höss affidavit, with only numerical variations, as supplemented by the IMT, NMT, and similar evidence. None of the principal extermination mythologists gives prominence to the WRB report, and only Reitlinger seems to perceive a problem of some sort of importance in connection with it.

Thus, it is convenient to allow the Höss affidavit to act as framework for our analysis also. It is presented in full here, and then the individual points are reviewed with due regard for the supplemental and additional evidence. The fateful duality will emerge as an undeniable feature. The contradictions, inconsistencies, wild implausibilities, and lies will appear. The analysis will reveal something of the psychological context of the trials.

Due regard is also given to verifiable interpretation of sources, including instances where it is deemed better to reference Hilberg or Reitlinger rather than an original document, to which the reader is not likely to have convenient access.

“I, RUDOLF FRANZ FERDINAND HŌSS, being first duly sworn, depose and say as follows:

1. I am forty-six-years-old, and have been a member of the NSDAP since 1922; a member of the SS since 1934; a member of the Waffen-SS since 1939. I was a member from 1 December 1934 of the SS Guard Unit, the so-called Deathshead Formation (Totenkopf Verband).

2. I have been constantly associated with the administration of concentration camps since 1934, serving at Dachau until 1938; then as adjutant in Sachsenhausen from 1938 to May 1, 1940, when I was appointed commandant of Auschwitz. I commanded Auschwitz until December 1, 1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease, making a total dead of about 3,000,000. This figure represents about 70% or 80% of all persons sent to Auschwitz as prisoners, the remainder having been selected and used for slave labor in the concentration camp industries. Included among the executed and burnt were approximately 20,000 Russian prisoners of war (previously screened out of Prisoner of War cages by the Gestapo) who were delivered at Auschwitz in Wehrmacht transports operated by regular Wehrmacht officers and men. The remainder of the total number of victims included about 100,000 German Jews, and great numbers of citizens, mostly Jewish from Holland, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Greece, or other countries. We executed about 400,000 Hungarian Jews alone in the summer of 1944.

3. WVHA [Main Economic and Administrative Office], headed by Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl, was responsible for all administrative matters such as billeting, feeding and medical care, in the concentration camps. Prior to establishment of the RSHA, Secret State Police Office (Gestapo) and the Reich Office of Criminal Police were responsible for arrests, commitments to concentration camps, punishments and executions therein. After organization of the RSHA, all of these functions were carried out as before, but pursuant to orders signed by Heydrich as Chief of the RSHA. While Kaltenbrunner was Chief of RSHA, orders for protective custody, commitments, punishment, and individual executions were signed by Kaltenbrunner or by Müller, Chief of the Gestapo, as Kaltenbrunner’s deputy.

4. Mass executions by gassing commenced during the summer 1941 and continued until fall 1944. I personally supervised executions at Auschwitz until the first of December 1943 and know by reason of my continued duties in the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps WVHA that these mass executions continued as stated above. All mass executions by gassing took place under the direct order, supervision and responsibility of RSHA. I received all orders for carrying out these mass executions directly from RSHA.

5. On 1 December 1943 I became Chief of AMT I in AMT Group D of the WVHA and in that office was responsible for coordinating all matters arising between RSHA and concentration camps, under the administration of WVHA. I held this position until the end of the war. Pohl, as Chief of WVHA, and Kaltenbrunner, as Chief of RSHA, often conferred personally and frequently communicated orally and in writing concerning concentration camps. On 5 October 1944 I brought a lengthy report regarding Mauthausen Concentration Camp to Kaltenbrunner at his office at RSHA, Berlin. Kaltenbrunner asked me to give him a short oral digest of this in complete detail. This report dealt with the assignment to labor of several hundred prisoners who had been condemned to death […] so-called ‘nameless prisoners.’

6. The ‘final solution’ of the Jewish question meant the complete extermination of all Jews in Europe. I was ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941. At that time there were already in the general government three other extermination camps, BELZEC, TREBLINKA and WOLZEK. These camps were under the Einsatzkommando of the Security Police and SD. I visited Treblinka to find out how they carried out their exterminations. The Camp Commandant at Treblinka told me that he had liquidated 80,000 in the course of one-half year. He was principally concerned with liquidating all the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. He used monoxide gas and I did not think that his methods were very efficient. So when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz, I used Cyclon B, which was crystallized Prussic Acid which we dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber depending upon climatic conditions. We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped. We usually waited about one-half hour before we opened the doors and removed the bodies. After the bodies were removed our special commandos took off the rings and extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses.

7. Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our gas chambers to accommodate 2,000 people at one time, whereas at Treblinka their 10 gas chambers only accommodated 200 people each. The way we selected our victims was as follows: we had two SS doctors on duty at Auschwitz to examine the incoming transports of prisoners. The prisoners would be marched by one of the doctors who would make spot decisions as they walked by. Those who were fit for work were sent into the Camp. Others were sent immediately to the extermination plants. Children of tender years were invariably exterminated since by reason of their youth they were unable to work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka was that at Treblinka the victims almost always knew that they were to be exterminated and at Auschwitz we endeavored to fool the victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they realized our true intentions and we sometimes had riots and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women would hide their children under their clothes but of course when we found them we would send the children in to be exterminated. We were required to carry out these exterminations in secrecy but of course the foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz.

8. We received from time to time special prisoners from the local Gestapo office. The SS doctors killed such prisoners by injections of benzine. Doctors had orders to write ordinary death certificates and could put down any reason at all for the cause of death.

9. From time to time we conducted medical experiments on women inmates, including sterilization and experiments relating to cancer. Most of the people who died under these experiments had been already condemned to death by the Gestapo.

10. Rudolf Mildner was the chief of the Gestapo at Kattowicz and as such was head of the political department at Auschwitz which conducted third degree methods of interrogation from approximately March 1941 until September 1943. As such, he frequently sent prisoners to Auschwitz for incarceration or execution. He visited persons accused of various crimes, such as escaping Prisoners of War, etc., frequently met within Auschwitz, and Mildner often attended the trial of such persons, who usually were executed in Auschwitz following their sentence. I showed Mildner throughout the extermination plant at Auschwitz and he was directly interested in it since he had to send the Jews from his territory for execution at Auschwitz.

I understand English as it is written above. The above statements are true; this declaration is made by me voluntarily and without compulsion; after reading over this statement, I have signed and executed the same at Nürnberg, Germany on the fifth day of April 1946.

Rudolf Höss”

By “NSDAP” is meant the Nazi Party, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Worker’s Party).

Some points of information, which have not been included in the affidavit, although some might consider them relevant, are that Höss, as a nationalist brawler in the twenties, had committed a political killing, for which he served five years in prison,[3]Hilberg (1961), 575; Reitlinger, 113. and that he started in the concentration camps at Dachau as a corporal in 1934. He may seem to have risen unusually quickly because in 1945, during the final weeks of the war, he was a colonel and was negotiating concentration camp matters with the Red Cross and representatives of neutral countries.[4]Reitlinger, 113, 502, 516f.; Red Cross (1947), 95, 98, 103f. Most probably, his low rank in 1934 was due to artificial limitations on the size of the SS, imposed for political reasons. His rapid advance was probably the result of the expansion of the SS after the SA-Röhm purge of June 1934 and the greater expansion, which took place after the war began.

We now analyze the significant points of the affidavit. The plan of Birkenau is shown in Fig. 29; it is based on information gathered at the “Auschwitz trial” of 1963-1965, but the WRB report presents a similar plan.[5]Langbein, vol. 2, 930f.; Naumann, opposite of 19; US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 22.

Contradictions at the Outset • 500 Words
Paragraph 2

It would have been helpful in putting things into slightly better focus and perspective if Höss had briefly indicated what the nature of the “concentration camp industries” at Auschwitz was and the enormous importance this industry had for the Germans. In the entire transcript of IMT testimony there appears to be only one specific reference to the nature of the industry at Auschwitz. It is in the testimony of political prisoner Marie Claude Vaillant-Couturier where she makes passing reference to an “ammunition factory” (no doubt the Krupp fuse plant) and to a “large Buna factory, but as [she] did not work there [she did] not know what was made there.”[6]IMT, vol. 6, 211. There are other references, especially in the documents, but they are buried quite deeply.

Not even Höss clung to the figure of 2,500,000 victims gassed; in private at the time of his testimony and also at his own trial in 1947 in Poland (he was hanged), he used a figure of 1,135,000. The lowest figure to be claimed by those who claim that gassings took place is 750,000.[7]Reitlinger, 119; editor’s note: even lower figures were later claimed by Pressac (1993), 148; 1994 (202); and F. Meyer. The Russians claimed 4,000,000, including some killed by “injections, ill treatment, etc.,”[8]008-USSR (IMT, vol. 39, 261) but the highest figure claimed seems to be 7,000,000.[9]Friedman, 14. Editor’s remark: two French sources mention higher figures: 8,000,000 (Aroneanu, 7, 196) and 9,000,000 (documentary Nuit et Brouillard; 1955)

The remark about 400,000 Hungarian Jews was in accord with a strange emphasis in the legend on the Hungarian Jews. This emphasis existed well before the Höss affidavit, and it has persisted to this day. It was on May 5, 1944, that Eichmann was supposed to have proposed, through the intermediary Joel Brand, a “trucks for Hungarian Jews” swap with the Western allies.[10]Reitlinger, 472-478; US-WRB (1945), 39f. The continued emphasis on the Hungarian Jews seems to be a result of the focus, since 1960, on the activities of Eichmann. For the initial emphasis, the only explanation I can offer is that the problems of the Hungarian Jews started in March 1944 with the German occupation of Hungary, which was simultaneous with the beginnings of the functioning of the War Refugee Board, which had been established in January.

Much of the attention of the WRB was thus directed toward Hungary.[11]US-WRB (1945), 49f. The problem of the Hungarian Jews is given special attention in the next chapter.

Paragraph 4

Höss places the commencement of the gassings in the summer of 1941. He gets promoted in December 1943 to the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps at Oranienburg but knows “by reason of [his] continued duties” there that “these mass executions continued.” To claim knowledge of significant events at Auschwitz, while with the Inspectorate, seems very reasonable, but in his testimony he said that in the summer of 1941 he, Höss, had been summoned to report directly to Himmler and that during the interview the concentration camp commandant had received directly from the Reichsführer-SS the order to begin exterminating the Jews, with the stipulation that he should maintain the “strictest secrecy,” not allowing even his immediate superior Glücks to find out what he was doing. “Glücks was, so to speak, the inspector of concentration camps at that time and he was immediately subordinate to the Reichsführer.”[12]IMT, vol. 11, 398.

When Did It Start? • 400 Words
Paragraph 6

It will be seen in Chapter 7 what the “final solution” of the Jewish question meant. Höss claims that he “was ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941.” Thus, he reaffirms the date given in paragraph 4 and his testimony in support of the affidavit reaffirmed this date again; there seems no doubt that Höss was knowingly and deliberately given the summer of 1941 as the start and that no slip is involved here. Also, Höss testified that, at the time of the Himmler order, the Inspectorate (Glücks) was “immediately subordinate” to Himmler. This could only have been true prior to March 1942, at which time Oswald Pohl, chief of the WVHA (paragraph 3), took over the Inspectorate and Glücks started reporting to Pohl, who reported to Himmler. Prior to March 1942, the Inspectorate seems to have been an orphan organization and may have reported to Himmler, although it had connections with both Heydrich and Jüttner’s Operational Main Office (Führungshauptamt). Höss, of course, was familiar with these administrative arrangements, because in late April 1942 Pohl had held a meeting of all camp commanders and all leaders of the Inspectorate for the specific purpose of discussing them.[13]Hilberg (1961), 556-560; Reitlinger, 107ff.; documents R-129, NO-719 and 1063(F)-PS in NMT, vol. 5, 298-303.

Despite all this, Reitlinger insists that Höss meant the summer of 1942, not 1941, for certain reasons that will be seen later and also for other reasons. First, an obvious implicit claim of Höss‘ affidavit is that the visit to Treblinka took place after large deportations of Warsaw Jews to that camp. Höss confirmed this point explicitly in another affidavit. That puts the Treblinka visit in 1942. Second, according to Reitlinger’s sources, the first large transports (2,000) of Jews to Birkenau date from March 1942, when “the small gassing installation in Birkenwald had only started to work.”[14]Reitlinger, 109, 115. Actually, such arguments only increase the confusion, if we are also told that Höss received the extermination orders in the summer of 1942.

These are simply the sorts of contradictions that one should expect to emerge from a pack of lies. However, for the sake of discussion we should accept that Höss really meant the summer of 1942 and continue on to other matters. By any interpretation, however, Höss says that there were three other extermination camps at the time of the Himmler order, that he had visited Treblinka and that this camp had been exterminating for one half year. That puts the beginning of the gas chamber exterminations in early 1942 if we accept Reitlinger’s point.

The Alleged Gassings and Zyklon • 1,500 Words

One must agree that gassing with carbon monoxide is inefficient. The source of the carbon monoxide was supposed to have been the exhausts of a diesel engine[15]Editor’s note: on the absurdities involved with Diesel gas chamber claims see Berg. at Belzec and of captured Russian tanks and trucks at Treblinka![16]Reitlinger, 147ff.

One must also agree that Cyclon (Zyklon) B was more efficient because it consisted of crystals which, when exposed to air, sublimated into “Prussic acid” (hydrogen cyanide gas). There was no deadlier gas and, in fact, Zyklon was a well-known and widely used insecticide developed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung (DEGESCH), German Pest Control Co. It had been marketed world-wide before the war as an insecticide;[17]DuBois, 213. Some of the chemistry of Zyklon (“Cyclon”) is discussed in the article on “cyanide” in the Encyclopedia Britannica for 1943. the word Zyklon means “cyclone,” i.e. the product was a “cyclone” for pests. It was used throughout the German armed forces and camp system during the war, and it was thus used as an insecticide at Auschwitz. The ordering and receiving of Zyklon at Auschwitz was done by the so-called Referat für Schädlingsbekämpfung (Pest Control Office).[18]Hilberg (1961), 567-571.

The constant menace of typhus as carried by lice has been noted, and the calamitous results of a complete breakdown of disinfestation measures at Belsen have been seen. In view of the particular hospitability of the Auschwitz-Kattowicz operations to the typhus-bearing louse, in view of the fact of epidemics at Auschwitz that actually forced work stoppages, and in view of the tremendous importance of the Auschwitz industry to the German war effort, it is not surprising that Zyklon was used in liberal quantities at Auschwitz, and in the surrounding regions, for its intended purpose. It is this chemical product, known to be an insecticide and known to be used at Auschwitz as an insecticide, which, in the WRB report but starting even earlier, was claimed and continues to this day to be claimed as the source of the gas used to exterminate Jews at Auschwitz.

It is not correct to say that the insecticide role of Zyklon has been concealed; the WRB report mentions the anti-parasite role of Zyklon and a dual role for Zyklon at Auschwitz is explicitly claimed in the IMT transcript.[19]IMT, vol. 6, 225-332. We must be careful at this point to note the significance of the legend’s Zyklon B allegation. Here we have, on a major point, the main attribute of a hoax as we begin to examine the details of the Auschwitz extermination claims: the fact requiring a dual interpretation. This is not discussed or, apparently, even appreciated in the “final solution” literature. Hilberg merely utters the completely irrelevant assertion that “very little was used for fumigation” and then cites unconvincing authority. Reitlinger does no better.[20]Hilberg (1961), 570 Reitlinger, 154-156.

The most typical use of Zyklon was in disinfestation rooms and barracks. Everything was sealed and then the necessary amount of Zyklon, which came in green cans (Figs. 27, 28), was emptied in. After the proper time interval, it was assumed that all the lice and other insects and pests were dead, and the enclosure was aired out. Zyklon could be used for disinfesting clothing by employing an “extermination chamber”; such were marketed by the German “extermination” industry, although at that time steam baths were also used for the disinfesting of clothing, especially at permanent installations. The “extermination chambers” were preferred in connection with highly mobile or special conditions. The U.S. Army, which also had insect control problems during the war, had correspondingly similar devices and had devised a “field chamber.” Because the U.S. came into the war late, it had time to adopt the newly developed chemical DDT for the functions that Zyklon performed for the Germans.[21]Hardenbergh, 252-254, 257-259; Knipling. Naturally, the Americans employed DDT in their “camps,” concentration or otherwise. As a more advanced insecticide, DDT was more versatile for various reasons, e.g. it was not nearly as lethal for human beings as Zyklon, which was quite lethal and in its commercial form contained a “warning stuff,” an irritant that was noticed much easier than the almost odorless cyanide gas. It is common to leave out frills in military versions of products, and thus the irritant was absent from the Zyklon employed in concentration camps.

The dual role of Zyklon was asserted at the IMT on January 28, 1946, in the testimony of a witness called by French prosecutor DuBost. On January 30, DuBost submitted as evidence document 1553-PS, consisting of a number of invoices from DEGESCH, addressed to SS 1st Lieutenant Kurt Gerstein, for various quantities of Zyklon sent to Oranienburg and to Auschwitz, plus a lengthy “statement” attributed to Gerstein. After some hesitation over certain legal technicalities, both parts of the document were accepted in evidence, notwithstanding the claims of Rassinier and Reitlinger to the contrary that the “statement” was rejected.[22]IMT, vol. 6, 211, 225, 360-364; Rassinier (1962) 80, 224; Rassinier (1964), 105n; Rassinier (1965), 38-48; Reitlinger, 161n. Two invoices are printed in the IMT volumes, and part of the “statement” is printed in one of the NMT volumes.[23]NMT, vol. 1, 865-870; IMT, vol. 27, 340-342. The invoice samples printed in the IMT volumes include one invoice for 195 kg of Zyklon sent to Oranienburg and one for the same sent to Auschwitz. It is probable that the Oranienburg Zyklon was ultimately destined for other camps and that the Zyklon sent to Auschwitz was to be shared with all the smaller camps of the region and possibly also with the coal mines.

The case of Kurt Gerstein shows that there is no limit to the absurdities that intelligent people can attain once they have accepted falsehood as truth. This is the same Gerstein who appears as a major character in Rolf Hochhuth’s play, The Deputy.

Gerstein’s title in the SS was Chief Disinfestation Officer in the Office of the Hygienic Chief of the Waffen-SS,[24]Hilberg (1961), 570. and as such it was his responsibility to supervise the deliveries of disinfestation supplies to all the camps administered by the SS. Two versions of what happened to him at the end of the war are offered. In the one he encountered American interrogators by chance in a hotel in Rottweil, Black Forest, to whom he related that he had obtained a responsible post in the Nazi Party while operating as a secret agent for the sometimes anti-Nazi Reverend Niemöller, that he had been involved in operating gas chambers, and that he was prepared to act as a witness in any court. He handed them a seven-page document, typed in French, together with a note in English and some Zyklon invoices, and then vanished.[25]Reitlinger, 161; 1553-PS. In the other, he somehow found himself in Cherche-Midi military prison in Paris, composed a document in his own hand in French, added the Zyklon invoices, and then hanged himself in July 1945.[26]Friedlaender, vii-xii. In either case neither he nor his body has ever been found. He vanished, allegedly leaving a “statement” and some Zyklon invoices that became document 1553-PS. The former version of the Gerstein story is the one claimed in the descriptive material accompanying the document.

Even if we were not presented with such an obviously fishy story concerning Gerstein, we would doubt the authenticity of the “statement” merely on the grounds of its contents, for it is ridiculous in the story it presents, e.g. that Gerstein took his position in the SS in order to attempt to sabotage the exterminations (“a man who had penetrated hell with the sole intention of bearing witness before the world and aiding the victims”[27]Ibid., xi.
(Friedlaender, vii-xii.)
). The text of the “statement,” including the part published by the NMT, is included here as Appendix A; the “statement” plays no great role in the analysis, but the reader should examine it sometime. It is absolutely insane. It is no marvel that people who can take this story seriously have remarked on the “ambiguity of good” and feel “a certain malaise, an inability to arrive at a full explanation of Gerstein as a person.”[28]Ibid., x.
(Friedlaender, vii-xii.)
The Deputy opens with “Gerstein“ forcing his way into the reception room of the Papal Legation on the Rauchstrasse in Berlin, breathlessly relating the story of his “statement” to the Papal Nuncio!

It is thoroughly unforgivable that Hilberg and Reitlinger use such an obviously spurious “statement” as a source, and without apology. Reitlinger, however, points out that Hitler never visited Lublin, as the “statement” asserts.[29]Reitlinger, 162f. See also Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (Apr. 1953), 189n. Editor’s note: for a more recent and comprehensive work on Gerstein see Roques.

DEGESCH was not the only firm involved in the “extermination” business. The firm of Tesch and Stabenow supplied customers with Zyklon and also with equipment for “extermination chambers” that were of typical volume ten cubic meters and smaller. On page 71, we saw that there apparently existed such “gas chambers” at Dachau which were, of course, represented as murder chambers in the early phases of the propaganda, although today no attempt is made to claim they are anything other than “disinfestation chambers.” Tesch and Weinbacher, officers of the firm of Tesch and Stabenow, who had sold some “extermination chamber” equipment to the camp at Gross-Rosen, were hanged for their role in the extermination business, their plea that they did not know that their merchandise was to be used for purposes other than disinfestation and their alternate plea that an order of the SS could not be refused having been rejected by the British military court.[30]Hilberg (1961), 567; Reitlinger, 155f.; documents NO-4344 and NO-4345 in NMT, vol. 5, 362-364.

Lines of Authority • 300 Words
Paragraph 7

According to affidavits given by Höss and Friedrich Entress in 1947,[31]Hilberg (1961), 565; Reitlinger, 158n. the first gas chambers put into operation in the summer of 1942 (now contradicting the affidavit of 1946), were makeshift affairs consisting of two old peasant houses made air tight, with windows sealed up. At the “Auschwitz trial” in 1963-1965 it was held that the “bunker” in Fig. 29 was one of these early gas chambers.[32]Langbein, vol. 2, 930f.; Naumann, opposite of 19. The nature of later “gas chambers” is examined below.

This is a good point at which to raise objections regarding lines of responsibility and authority in these operations. Höss says he received his order directly from Himmler during – we have agreed to pretend – the summer of 1942. This means that Himmler not only bypassed Glücks, but also Pohl in giving this order directly to the camp commandant, specifying that Glücks was not to learn what was going on. Himmler reached three levels or more down to give the order and specified that Höss was to maintain an impossible secrecy. Most irregular.

That is not all. The story we are offered by the Höss affidavit and testimony and all other sources is that (except for certain later developments to be discussed) the German government left the means of killing, and the materials required, a matter for the judgment and ingenuity of the local camp commandant. Höss decides to convert two old peasant houses. Höss found the Zyklon kicking around the camp and decided that it offered a more efficient method of solving the Jewish problem than that employed at Treblinka, where they had scrounged up some captured Russian tanks and trucks to use for exterminations.

All of this is idiotic, and Reitlinger is obviously uncomfortable with the “problem” of the responsibility of the Zyklon decision but gets nowhere with the difficulty except to make it graver by suggesting that Hitler (!) finally decided on Zyklon “with misgiving.”[33]Reitlinger, 155-158.

Transports to Auschwitz • 1,000 Words

We are told that those Jews not fit for work were gassed immediately upon arrival (and hence do not appear in any written records, for the most part), but an account directly in conflict with this claim appears even in the WRB report.

According to that report, a transport of four to five thousand Jews from Theresienstadt, traveling as families, arrive at Birkenau in September 1943. They kept their baggage and were lodged as families in the camp sector designated in Fig. 29. They were allowed to correspond freely, a school was set up for the children, and the men were not obliged to work. They were considered to be in six months quarantine. It is said that they were gassed on March 7, 1944, and that “the young people went to their deaths singing.” The relatives of these Jews got mail from them dated March 23 or 25, but it is claimed that the mail had been written on March 1 and post-dated, in obedience to German orders.

This procedure was repeated with another group of Jewish families, 5,000 people who arrived from Theresienstadt in December 1943 and whose quarantine was due for expiration in June 1944. Some men were put to work. According to what are said to be surviving records, in May 1944 two thousand were on the employment list, 1,452 were still in quarantine, and 1,575 were considered “in readiness for transport” (“Vorbereitung zum Transport”), which Reitlinger considers to mean in reality “waiting for the gas chambers.” This was repeated a second time with a group of Theresienstadt families which arrived in May 1944.[34]US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 19-21, 37f.; Reitlinger, 182f.; Blumental, 105. Since these people were put into “quarantine,” it is a certainty that their quarters had been disinfested with Zyklon just prior to their moving in and perhaps at periods while they were living there. Now we are asked to believe that the Germans planned to kill them with the same chemical product later on!

Essentially the same story was repeated in IMT testimony.[35]IMT, vol. 6, 218. The presence of such material in the WRB report is no mystery. Whatever was happening to the Theresienstadt Jews in 1943-1944 was fairly well known in Europe. In October 1943, when 360 Jews were deported from Denmark, they were sent to Theresienstadt, “where the Danish king could be assured of their safety.”[36]Reitlinger, 183. We noted on page 108 the Red Cross visit of June 1944; the Red Cross involvement with Theresienstadt receives further treatment in the next chapter. In a 1945 visit, the Red Cross reported transfers to Auschwitz in 1944, adding no sinister interpretations.

To describe the Theresienstadt Jews as “in readiness for transport” just before their quarantine was to expire was perfectly logical, because it is known that many Theresienstadt Jews were being deported East. A source sponsored by the Israeli government, who had been at Theresienstadt, reports that from 1941 to 1944 the Germans were transporting Jews to such places as Minsk in Russia and Riga in Latvia. One must have passed by quite a few “extermination camps” to travel from Theresienstadt to those cities. The source also reports that young Theresienstadt Jews were eager to volunteer for transports to Auschwitz as late as August 1944.[37]Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 7, 109, 110n, 113. Rabbi Leo Bäck has claimed that somebody escaped from Auschwitz in August 1943 and made his way back to Theresienstadt, where he told Bäck of gassings. Bäck has explained why he told nobody else of this at the time. So that explains how it was possible that all those people were so eager to go to Auschwitz in their “ignorance” – at least that is what we will no doubt be told.[38]Reitlinger, 181f.; Boehm, 292f.

The part of the Auschwitz legend touching on the Theresienstadt Jews is obvious nonsense even without contrary evidence, however. It is not believable that the Germans would quarter for six months at Birkenau each of three distinct groups of people of a category for which there exists an extermination program at Birkenau. The dual role of Zyklon in this story merely effects passage from the nonsensical to the incomparably ludicrous.

If we examine another extant source of what is said to be statistical data concerning transports to Auschwitz, we meet the same situation. The data offered in the Netherlands Red Cross reports is more reliable than that offered in the WRB report, although it is rather limited. Nevertheless, as shown in Appendix C, the data shows that virtually all of the male Jews who were deported from the Netherlands to Auschwitz in July and August of 1942 entered Birkenau and were given registration numbers. It is also known that these Dutch Jews wrote letters to acquaintances in the Netherlands in which they described the work at Auschwitz as “hard” but “tolerable,” the food “adequate,” the sleeping accommodations “good,” the hygienic conditions “satisfactory” and the general treatment “correct” (this was reported by the Jewish Council in Amsterdam which claimed, however, that it knew of only 52 such letters). To Reitlinger, these things are “mysteries” for, he says, “at certain periods, entire transports were admitted.”[39]Reitlinger, 118-121. Reitlinger remarks on the “mystery” presented by the data in the Netherlands Red Cross reports, which is presented and discussed here in Appendix C. The letters from Auschwitz are considered by de Jong.

The term “spot decisions” has not been used subsequent to the Höss affidavit, so far as we know. The common term is “selections.” The story is that “selections” were made on incoming transports on a basis of suitability for work. This, of course, must be essentially true; given the extent and variety of the industrial operations at Auschwitz, selections were required not only on a work vs. no work basis but also on, e.g., a light work vs. heavy work basis. Other factors which must have figured in this connection were whether a given transport was composed of prisoners, volunteer laborers, Jews being resettled (such as the Theresienstadt Jews) or other. The transports were no doubt also screened for certain key professionals, such as medical personnel, engineers, skilled craftsmen, etc. The extermination legend merely claims that one category sought in these elaborate sortings and selections was all non-employable Jews, destined for extermination. This claim has already been seriously undermined by the evidence.[40]The “Kalendarium,” first published in 1964 in German as a magazine series, says that of 1500 people in a transport that arrived at Auschwitz on April 16, 1944, from the camp in Drancy, France, a certain number of the men were registered as inmates and the others gassed. Many years ago Robert Faurisson pointed out that, according to the deportation lists, “the others” included Simone Veil, who, as Faurisson wrote (1979, 1986a), was the first President of the European Parliament. Later I noticed that the English translation of the Kalendarium, published in 1990, engages in a little bit of revisionism on this, and now says some of the women were registered. A document from the International Tracing Service, Arolsen, Germany, is cited.

A Hospital for the People Being Exterminated? • 1,300 Words

Selections on incoming transports are not the only mode of gas chamber selections which have been claimed. A Dutch Jew, Dr. Elie A. Cohen, was arrested in 1943 for attempting to leave the Netherlands without authority. In September 1943, he and his family were shipped to Auschwitz, and he was separated from his family, which he never saw again. He later wrote a book, Human Behavior in the Concentration Camp, based on his experiences as a member of the hospital staff at Auschwitz I. Because Cohen’s contact with the people who were being exterminated was of a doctor-patient nature, it was necessary to produce an extraordinarily descriptive term for his book, and “objective” was as good a choice as any.

Cohen interprets certain selections in the hospital as selections for the gas chamber:[41]Cohen, 38f.

“After the ‘HKB (camp hospital) administrative room’ had given warning that the camp physician was about to make a selection, the whole block became a hive of activity, for everything had to be spic-and-span […] while everybody stood at attention, he made his entry with his retinue: SDG (medical service orderly), Blockälteste and block clerk. The sick Jews were already lined up – as a matter of course, naked. Simultaneously with the presentation of the card with the personal notes concerning each prisoner, to the camp physician, the block physician, in whose ear the diagnosis was being whispered by the room physician, introduced the patient in question to him […] in 90 per cent of the cases the card was handed to the SDG, which meant death by gassing for the patient, unless the political department gave orders to the contrary, which frequently occurred in the case of ‘Schutzhäfltinge’ (people charged with ordinary crime).

Not only emaciated prisoners, but also some who looked well fed were sometimes consigned to the gas chamber; and occasionally even members of the HKB staff, who were officially exempt, had to suffer a similar fate. Therefore, especially when one considered the ‘medical style’ of the camp physician, it was generally supposed that it was not only people incapable of work who were scheduled for killing, but that the decisive factor must be that a certain number of persons had to be gassed.

Officially no one knew what the final object actually was, not even the staff of the administrative room, for after the names of the gassed the initials S.B., short for ‘Sonderbehandlung’ (special treatment) were placed.”

Cohen does not report having seen any gas chambers; the only evidence which he draws on to support a “gassing” interpretation of such scenes (such interpretation certainly not being evident from the raw facts) consists in the post-war claim of extermination at Auschwitz and also in that there were rumors inside the camp of extermination somewhere at Auschwitz. The existence of such rumors is practically certain because a delegate of the International Red Cross reported their existence among British POWs at Auschwitz III in September 1944.[42]Red Cross (1947), 91f. However, nothing much can be inferred from the existence of rumors, as rumor spreading is an elementary aspect of psychological warfare, and we have seen that the OSS and, of course, the Communists engaged in rumor spreading and “black propaganda.” In fact, knowledgeable officials of the U.S. government have admitted the “information” spreading. At the Farben trial, prosecuting attorney Minskoff asked defense witness Münch the following question about gassings at Birkenau:[43]NMT. vol. 8, 320.

“Now, Mr. Witness, isn’t it a fact that, during the time you were at Auschwitz, Allied planes dropped leaflets over Kattowitz and Auschwitz informing the population what was going on in Birkenau?”

Münch did not know that. Minskoff was knowledgeable in this area because he had been a foreign operations oriented lawyer in the Treasury Department during the war and was presumably well-informed on WRB matters; the WRB had collaborated with the Office of War Information on various leaflet operations. The head of the prosecution staff at the Farben trial was DuBois, who had been general counsel of the WRB, who wrote that in his “office in 1944, [he] knew […] what was going on at Auschwitz,” and who chose in his book to reproduce with general approval the part of the testimony containing the Minskoff question.[44]DuBois, 53, 173, 231; US-WRB (1945), 48-55. This is good evidence for an American leaflet operation over Auschwitz, although the method seems somewhat crude. My guess is that, if the leaflets were indeed dropped, they were dropped at night and in moderate quantities.

Actually, a leaflet operation was not necessary to get rumors going in the camps, for the highly organized Communists were very active in this area. Their superior organization, which involved systematic illegal listening to radios, had made the other inmates essentially fully dependent on them for “news.”[45]Lerner, 152f. Let us remember that it was a small world, even in 1939-1945, and that, on account of the general ease with which information flowed into and out of the camp (a fact noted on page 131), the Allied stories about the camps would have ultimately and necessarily penetrated into those camps by various routes.

The Red Cross delegate mentioned above had attempted to visit the Auschwitz camps but apparently got no further than the administrative area of Auschwitz I and the quarters of the British POWs. The latter were the only persons the existing conventions entitled him to visit; with regard to other matters the German officers there were “amiable and reticent.” The delegate reported without comment that the British POWs had not been able to obtain confirmation of the rumors by consulting camp inmates. It is claimed that, despite these rumors, the British POWs who were interrogated by the Russians after the capture of the camp “knew nothing at all” of the “crimes.”[46]Friedman, 13f.

Subsequent events have, of course, changed the rumors into “knowledge” in many cases. Incoming Jews certainly had no suspicions of gassings.[47]Cohen, 119.

With the “selections” we are offered another fact for dual interpretation. There is no doubt that the extensive industrial and other activities required “selections” of people for various conventional purposes. We are then asked to add an “extermination” purpose to these activities.

Before leaving Cohen, we should note that there were sick emaciated Jews, as well as others, in the Auschwitz I hospital. He further informs us:[48]Ibid., 60.
(Cohen, 119.)

[…] The HKB was housed in five good stone-built blocks. There was one block for surgery, one for infectious diseases, one for internal diseases, one for ‘Schonung’ (less serious cases) and Block 28 (X-ray, specialists’ rooms, medical experiments, admissions). The sick lay in three bunks, one above another, on straw mattresses, and were dressed in a shirt (with, later, a pair of drawers added), under two cotton blankets and a sheet. Every week the patients were bathed, and every two weeks they were given ‘clean’ underwear and a ‘clean’ sheet; there were few fleas and no lice. Each berth was seldom occupied by more than two persons. But […] even patients in a state of high fever had to leave their beds to go to the toilet or to wash in the cold lavatory in the mornings. Because of ‘organizations’ from the SS, there were always medicines, though not in sufficient quantities, including even sulfa drugs; these had been brought in by large transports of Jews from every European country.”

He adds that hospital conditions were much worse in other camps (about which he has only read).

The Auschwitz I hospital was obviously no luxury establishment but never­theless it showed a serious concern, on the part of the Germans, for the recovery of inmates, including Jews, who had fallen ill. This observation also opposes the claim that those not fit for work were killed. Cohen reports certain selections of an incompletely known character, in connection with unknown destinations. It may be that those considered of no further use as labor were sent to Birkenau; this would be very reasonable because it has been shown that the unemployables from the Monowitz hospital were sent to Birkenau.

“Special Treatment” • 1,300 Words

The term “special treatment,” Sonderbehandlung, is supposed to have been one of the code words for gassing. When it is said that N Jews in a transport to Auschwitz were gassed, and that this is according to some German record or document, it is the case that the word “Sonderbehandlung” is being interpreted as meaning gassing. The documents in question are two in number, and are printed (not reproduced from originals) in a 1946 publication of the Polish government. Both documents are said to be signed by an SS Lieutenant Schwarz. They state that from several Jewish transports from Breslau and Berlin to Auschwitz in March 1943, a certain fraction of Jews were selected for labor, and that the remainder were sonderbehandelt. As far as I know, these documents are not Nuremberg documents; the originals, if they exist (which I am not denying), are in Polish archives.[49]Friedman, 14f.; Reitlinger, 172; Hilberg (1961), 587; Blumental, 109f. One of the documents are reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 198.

On account of this relatively well publicized interpretation of the term Sonderbehandlung, Cohen thinks that he has read “SB” in the notes made in the Auschwitz I hospital, but it is likely that he misread “NB,” nach Birkenau (to Birkenau).

There exists a document, apparently genuine, from the Gestapo District Headquarters Düsseldorf, which specifies the manner in which executions of certain offending foreign workers were to be carried out, and which uses the term “Sonderbehandlung” as meaning execution. There is also a document, put into evidence at Eichmann’s trial, which referred to the execution of three Jews as Sonderbehandlung.[50]NO-4634 in NMT, vol. 4, 1166; Eichmann, session 79, W1-Y1.

Thus, it seems correct that, in certain contexts, the term meant execution, but it is at least equally certain that its meaning was no more univocal in the SS than the meaning of “special treatment” is in English-speaking countries. There is completely satisfactory evidence of this. At the IMT trial prosecutor Amen led Kaltenbrunner, under cross examination, into conceding that the term might have meant execution as ordered by Himmler. Then, in an attempt to implicate Kaltenbrunner personally in Sonderbehandlung, Amen triumphantly produced a document which presents Kaltenbrunner as ordering Sonderbehandlung for certain people. Amen wanted Kaltenbrunner to comment on the document without reading it, and there was an angry exchange in this connection, but Kaltenbrunner was finally allowed to read the document, and he then quickly pointed out that the Sonderbehandlung referred to in the document was for people at “Winzerstube” and at “Walzertraum,” that these two establishments were fashionable hotels which quartered interned notables, and that Sonderbehandlung in their cases meant such things as permission to correspond freely and to receive parcels, a bottle of champagne per day, etc.[51]IMT, vol. 11, 336-339.

Poliakov reproduces some document which show that Sonderbehandlung had yet another meaning within the SS. The documents deal with procedures to be followed in the event of the pregnancies caused by illegal sexual intercourse involving Polish civilian workers and war prisoners. A racial examination was held to decide between abortion and “germanization” of the baby (adoption by a German family). The term Sonderbehandlung was a reference either to the germanization or to the abortion. In addition, at Eichmann’s trial, some documents were put into evidence which dealt with the treatment of 91 children from Lidice, Bohemia-Moravia. These children had been orphaned by the reprisals which had been carried out at Lidice after Heydrich’s assassination. A certain number were picked out for germanization and the remainder were sent to the Displaced Persons Center in Lodz (Litzmannstadt), operated by the RuSHA. The commander of the Center, Krumey, regarded the children as a special case within the Center, to be given Sonderbehandlung while at the Center. The term or its equivalent (eine gesonderte Behandlung) was also used in the Foreign Office in connection with special categories of prisoners of war, such as priests.[52]Poliakov & Wulf (1956), 299-302; Eichmann, session 79, Y1-Bb1; session 101, Hhl-Mml; session 107, U1-V1; session 109, F1-H1, N1, O1; NG-5077.

It is only to a person not accustomed to the German language that the term Sonderbehandlung sounds like it stands for some very special concept. For a German, however, the term is as diverse in possible application as “special treatment” is in English.

Himmler commented somewhat unclearly on Sonderbehandlung when he examined the “Korherr report,” documents NO-5193 through 5198. Korherr was the chief SS statistician and thus, in late 1942 and early 1943, he prepared a report for Himmler on the situation regarding European Jews. In March 1943 he reported that a total of 1,873,594 Jews of various nationalities had been subjected to a program of “evacuation,” with a parenthetical note “including Theresienstadt and including Sonderbehandlung.” The report also gave numbers of Jews in ghettos in Theresienstadt, Lodz and the General Government, the number in concentration camps, and the number in German cities on account of a special status conferred for economic reasons. It was also remarked that, from 1933 to December 31, 1942, 27,347 Jews had died in German concentration camps.

After Himmler examined the report, he informed Korherr through Brandt that the term Sonderbehandlung should not be used in the report and that transport to the East should be specified. Nevertheless, the document, as it has come to us, uses the term in the way indicated. The document gives no hint how the term should be interpreted but, because it occurs in such a way that it is linked with Theresienstadt, it is obviously fair to interpret it in a favorable sense, as a reference to some sort of favored treatment.

In a document said to be initialed by Himmler, he wrote shortly that he regarded the “report as general purpose material for later times, and especially for camouflage purposes.” What was to be camouflaged is not indicated in the document but, at his trial, Eichmann testified that after the Stalingrad disaster (January 1943) the German government quickened the pace of the deportations “for camouflage reasons,” i.e., to reassure the German people that everything was OK out there. Himmler specified that the Korherr report was not to be made public “at the moment,” but the camouflage remark could still be interpreted in the sense in which Eichmann suggested (Eichmann’s statement was not in connection with the Korherr report.)[53]Most of the Korherr report is reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 240-248. Eichmann, session 77, Y1, Z1.

Other documents are 003-L, a letter by SS General Katzmann, speaking of 434,329 resettled (ausgesiedelt) Jews of southern Poland as having been sonderbehandelt, and NO-246, a letter from Artur Greiser to Himmler dated May 1, 1942, referring to the Sonderbehandlung of about 100,000 Jews in the Warthegau (part of annexed Poland) to be completed within 2 to 3 months. Greiser was sentenced to death by a Polish court on July 20, 1946, despite the intervention of the Pope on his behalf. There is also a letter by Lohse, which is discussed on page 261.[54]Reitlinger, 557. Documents reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 197-199.

Summarizing the situation with respect to documents which speak of Sonderbehandlung, we may say that, while one can certainly raise questions regarding the authenticity of the relevant documents, it is nevertheless the case that even if all of the relevant documents are assumed authentic, they do not require an “extermination” interpretation of those that apply to Auschwitz. That the term Sonderbehandlung had more than one meaning within one agency of the German government is not very peculiar. For example, I understand that, within the Central Intelligence Agency, “termination” can mean execution or assassination in certain contexts. However, the term obviously could also be applied to the dismissal of a typist for absenteeism.[55]Editor’s remark: On special treatment at Auschwitz cf. Mattogno (2004a).

The point in paragraph 7 of the Höss affidavit about endeavoring “to fool the victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process” is, of course, a logical one because anybody on entering a German camp went through a delousing process such as Höss described in the affidavit and in his testimony – disrobe, shave, shower.[56]IMT, vol. 11, 400f. Again we are offered a fact for dual interpretation.

The Crematories • 3,400 Words

The last subject in paragraph 7 is the cremations; it is a big one. According to Höss and all other accounts of exterminations, Birkenau cremations took place in trenches or pits prior to the availability of the modern crematory facilities there.[57]IMT, vol. 11, 420; Central Commission, 87f. It is claimed that the new crematories were intended for extermination of Jews, but we have suggested a more routine purpose in the preceding chapter (pp. 87, 131). Let us review their history.

The construction was well into the preliminary stages of planning and ordering early in 1942 and this fact, in itself, makes it difficult, to say the least, to believe that they were related to any extermination program orders by Himmler in the summer of 1942. The construction plans for four structures containing crematory furnaces are dated January 28, 1942.[58]Central Commission, 83f.; Rassinier (1962), 85f. Rassinier does not cite a source, so he presumably got it from Central Commission. Editor’s remark: in early 1942 only one new crematory for the Auschwitz main camp was planned. The other three crematories were added in the summer of 1942, after an expansion of the camp to some 200,000 inmates had been decided upon and after the typhus epidemic had already broken out; cf. Mattogno (2010), 289f. On February 27, 1942, the head of the construction department of the WVHA, SS Colonel (later Lieutenant General) Dr. Ing. Hans Kammler, an engineer who also supervised the design of the German V-rocket bases and the underground aircraft factories, visited Auschwitz and held a conference at which it was decided to install five, rather than two (as previously planned), crematory furnaces, each having three muffles or doors.[59]Reitlinger, 157f.; Hilberg (1961), 565; NO-4472. This matter, therefore, was not left to the ingenuity of Höss. In the extermination legend, however, Höss definitely gets credit for the Zyklon. The fifteen muffles to be installed in each of the structures or buildings were ordered from Topf and Sons, Erfurt, on August 3, 1942.[60]Central Commission, 83; Rassinier (1962), 86; NO-4461. The ovens were of the standard type which Topf (still in business in Wiesbaden in 1962) sold. Fig. 26 is said to be a photograph of one of the crematories at Auschwitz. Each muffle was designed to take one body at a time, as are all standard cremation muffles; there is no evidence for the installation of any non-standard muffles, such as any designed to take more than one body at a time. Topf had also supplied ovens to camps for which exterminations are not claimed, such as Buchenwald.[61]Reitlinger, 159; NO-4353, NO-4400 & NO-4401 in NMT, vol. 5, 353-356; NO-4445; NO-4448. Photograph also in Schoenberner and in Nyiszli.

The plans for the four buildings containing the crematories, numbered II, III, IV and V (Crematory I seems to have been the ultimately dormant crematory at Auschwitz I which contained four muffles[62]Friedman, 54; editor’s note: crematory I later received a third double-muffle oven, resulting in 6 muffles altogether. See Mattogno (2003a), 373-412, and Mattogno (2005b).), show that a large hall or room existed in each. For II and III, these were below ground level and were designated Leichenkeller (mortuary cellar – literally corpse cellar – a German word for mortuary is Leichenhalle); their dimensions were height 2.4 meters and area 210 square meters and height 2.3 meters and area 400 square meters, respectively. The halls in the building containing Crematories IV and V were at ground level and were designated Badeanstalten (bath establishments); they were each of height 2.3 meters and area 580 square meters.[63]The halls adjacent to the furnace rooms of Crematories IV & V were mortuaries. Several more rooms existed in these buildings, of which three small ones do not bear any descriptions in the blueprints. These were obviously shower rooms and/or delousing rooms; orthodox historians claim, however, that these were execution gas chambers; cf. Pressac (1989), 401; Mattogno (2010), 158-180; editor’s note. According to the information generated at the “Auschwitz trial” of 1963-1965, these four buildings were located as shown in Fig. 29.

The Auschwitz construction department, in erecting the crematories, was assisted not only by Topf but also by the SS company DAW (Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke, German Equipment Factory), which helped with miscellaneous constructions. The first ovens installed were in Crematory II and numbered, as we have noted, fifteen muffles in five three-muffle units. The construction took considerable time, although it was carried out with deliberate haste as shown by the documents. The NMT volumes offer us the following English translation of document NO-4473; if the reader thinks he sees something in the document that is hostile to my thesis he should withhold judgment:[64]NMT, vol. 5, 619f.

“January 29, 1943

To the Chief Amtsgruppe C, SS Brigadeführer and Brigadier General of the Waffen SS.,

Dr. Ing. Kammler

Subject: Crematory II, condition of the building.

The Crematory II has been completed – save for some minor constructional work – by the use of all the forces available, in spite of unspeakable difficulties, the severe cold, and in 24-hour shifts. The fires were started in the ovens in the presence of Senior Engineer Prüfer, representative of the contractors of the firm of Topf and Söhne, Erfurt, and they are working most satisfactorily. The planks from the concrete ceiling of the cellar used as a mortuary [Leichenkeller] could not yet be removed on account of the frost. This is, however, not very important, as the gas chamber can be used for that purpose.

The firm of Topf and Söhne was not able to start deliveries of the installation in time for aeration and ventilation as had been requested by the Central Building Management because of restrictions in the use of railroad cars. As soon as the installation for aeration and ventilation arrive, the installing will start so that the complete installation may be expected to be ready for use February 20, 1943.

We enclose a report [not attached to document] of the testing engineer of the firm of Topf and Söhne, Erfurt.

The Chief of the Central Construction Management,

Waffen SS and Police Auschwitz,

SS Hauptsturmführer

Distribution: 1 – SS Ustuf. Janisch u. Kirschneck; 1 – Filing office (file crematory); Certified true copy: [Signature illegible] SS Ustuf. (F)”

I interpret this as meaning that, although all work for Crematory II was not completed, the ovens could be used in January 1943 for cremations, despite the impossibility of using the Leichenkeller.

On February 12, 1943, Topf wrote to Auschwitz acknowledging receipt of an order for five three-muffle units for Crematory III, the construction to be completed April 10. I have not seen any documentation indicating installation of any ovens in Crematories IV and V, unless a letter of August 21, 1942, from an SS 2nd Lieutenant at Auschwitz, mentioning a Topf proposal to install two three-muffle units near each of the “baths for special purpose,” should be interpreted as such.[65]008-USSR; editor’s note: the crematories IV & V each obtained one eight-muffle oven, whose muffles had a design similar to those of the other crematories; cf. Mattogno (2003a) for details. Regarding the ovens near the “baths for special purpose” cf. Mattogno (2010), 206-212. There was, however, carpentry work done on Crematories IV and V.[66]NO-4466 in NMT, vol. 5, 624; editor’s note: apart from Mattogno (2003a) see also Mattogno (2010), 158-180, on some aspects of construction works on these buildings.

This brings us to the problem of the number of muffles at Birkenau; it is a problem because it is said that the Germans demolished the crematory buildings before abandoning Auschwitz.[67]Friedman, 20, 74, 78; Hilberg (1961), 632. Obviously, we must assume that there were at least thirty available, fifteen in both Crematory II and Crematory III, sometime in 1943. Evidence for ovens installed in IV and V consists mainly in the appearance of a labor Kommando assigned to these crematories in what is said to be the Birkenau employment roster for May 11, 1944 (the same document the Theresienstadt Jews appear in), plus some witness testimony. The Russians and Poles claimed that each of these crematories had two four-muffle ovens, and that the other two had fifteen muffles each: 46 muffles. The WRB report had specified 36 in both II and III and 18 in IV and V: 108 muffles.[68]008-USSR; Central Commission, 88; US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 14-16; Phillips, 158; Blumental, 100.

Reitlinger claims 60 muffles by assuming that each crematory had fifteen. His only authority for this is the writings attributed to one Miklos Nyiszli, which we should not accept on anything, least of all a number. The Nyiszli account purports to be a record of personal experiences of a Hungarian Jewish doctor deported to Auschwitz in May 1944. It appeared in French in 1951 in the March-April issues of Les Temps Modernes, with a preface by translator T. Kremer. Rassinier has reported on his strenuous subsequent efforts to contact Nyiszli and determine whether or not he actually existed; the only person who seemed unquestionably to exist was translator Kremer.[69]Rassinier (1962), 245-249. An English translation of Richard Seaver, foreword by Bruno Bettelheim, was published in New York in 1960 under the title Auschwitz. Nyiszli was obviously dead by then because it is specified that the copyright is held by “N. Margareta Nyiszli.” As is the usual practice with deceased authors who held doctor’s degrees, the title page of a doctoral thesis, by “Nicolaus Nyiszli,” Breslau 1930, is reproduced in the 1960 NY edition.[70]On Nyiszli see Provan; editor’s note. The book was republished in French and German editions in 1961.

According to Rassinier, it is difficult enough to reconcile the numbers in the various editions, but it is not even possible to get internal consistency in one edition. In the 1960 edition we read (page 55) that the 60 muffles could reduce “several thousand” corpses per day. Further on (page 87) we are told that “when the two (burning pits) were operating simultaneously, their output varied from five to six thousand dead a day, slightly better than the crematoriums,” but then later on (page 92) we learn that Crematories II and III could alone dispose of at least 10,500 per day. This is total confusion.

The writings attributed to Nyiszli also commit what I consider the basic witness-disqualifying act; they claim gratuitous regular beatings of initially healthy prisoners by the SS (e.g. pp. 25, 27, 44, 57); it is known that this was not the case. Aside from possible humanitarian objections to such beatings, the prisoners were a source of income to the SS. Many were the complaints, on the part of the SS, against various forms of alleged Farben mistreatment. On the other hand, for security reasons, the SS discouraged fraternization between guards and prisoners. The SS guard was ordered to maintain “distance” (Abstand) from the prisoners, not even talking to them unless absolutely necessary. This regulation was of course difficult to enforce and the regular and very frequent infringements of it produced memoranda from Pohl to the camp commanders ordering appropriate and systematic instruction of the guards.[71]DuBois, 221. NO-1245.

Despite a certain amount of SS guard brutality as reported by authors of other books, Cohen does not report such experiences at Auschwitz and remarks that the “reception ceremony” for his transport “passed without violence.” However, he mentions a specially constructed wooden table used for beating prisoners on the buttocks. This was a formerly regulated mode of punishment of prisoners who committed various offenses in the camps; “intensified” beating was defined as whacking on the naked buttocks.[72]Cohen, 81, 125. See also Phillips, 159, and Appendix D here.

When an Auschwitz witness starts claiming regular gratuitous beating, he may be telling the truth on some matters, but one must reject his general credibility.

On the basis of the available evidence, the best assumption is that there were 30 muffles available at Birkenau in the spring of 1943, and 46 a year later. Before leaving the subject of the number of muffles, we should remark that there are certain ambiguities in the documents relating to the crematories. The most obvious is due to the fact that the WRB report does not seem to be the only source that mistakenly numbers the Birkenau crematories I-IV rather than II-V; the Germans sometimes did this themselves, or so it would appear from, e.g., NO-4466.[73]NMT, vol. 5, 624f. See also Blumental, 100.

The limit on the rate at which people could have been exterminated in a program of the type alleged is not determined by the rate at which people could have been gassed and the gas chambers ventilated, but by the rate at which the bodies could have been cremated. In estimating the capacity of the crematories, it is possible for arithmetic to produce some impressive figures. At that time an hour was a very optimistic time to allow for the reduction of one body, and the body’s being wasted would not have made much difference.[74]Polson, 138, 143-145. If we allow for one hour of cleaning and miscellaneous operations per day, one muffle could reduce perhaps 23 bodies per day, so 30 muffles could reduce 690 and 46 could reduce 1058 per day. This could accommodate exterminations at the respectable rate of about 240,000 to 360,000 per year, but of course one must bear in mind that, because the exterminations are supposed to have been halted in the autumn of 1944, Auschwitz could not have had 46 muffles for more than about one year of exterminations.

However, the logic leading to such figures as the preceding is rubbish; things do not work that way. People, especially concentration camp inmates, who manned the crematories, do not work with such efficiency, such equipment cannot be used in such a continuous manner, and equipment needs do not occur with such mathematical regularity in any case. If we allow operations to relax toward something more realistic, taking into account downtime for regular and irregular maintenance and allowing for usual engineering margins of excess capacity we have figures that are generally in line with anticipated epidemic conditions. It is also possible that, as the WRB report asserts, there was a backlog of buried bodies to dispose of.

It is obvious that, given a policy of cremating dead inmates, a vast operation such as Auschwitz would naturally provide relatively elaborate cremation facilities for the purpose. Thus, we again have a fact for dual interpretation if we are to believe the extermination legend; to the commonplace interpretation of these ovens, unquestionably valid, it is proposed that we also accept as valid a second interpretation of exterminations. Below we will examine specific evidence that the number of muffles was completely compatible with the rate of “normal” deaths.

That is not the last fact for dual interpretation that we are offered in connection with the cremations. Höss tells us that “all of the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on” on account of the “foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies.” If I were to select just two points in the extermination tale to hold up as near proof that the whole thing is a hoax, it would be this point and also the alleged role of Zyklon.

The hydrogenation and other chemical industry that existed at Auschwitz was notorious for creating stenches. Visit the northern part of the New Jersey Turnpike by the Standard Oil (now Exxon) refineries, or any other refineries, to see (or smell) this.[75]Editor’s note: equipped with modern ecological technology, today’s refineries do no longer produce such an intensive smell. The only significant difference Auschwitz presented, in terms of a stench, is that the coal the Germans started from is by any relevant measure a “dirtier” source than crude oil. If we are told that 30 to 46 bodies being reduced in modern crematories could even compete with, much less overwhelm, this stench of industrial origin then we know that what is involved here is not a fact for dual interpretation but an obvious lie. Actually, on account of the furor of phony objections raised by various fanatics in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, cremation had been developed so that it was a rather “clean” process.[76]Polson, 138f. Höss cannot be believed.

The analysis has revealed a previously unsuspected but nearly inevitable attribute of the great hoax: the excess fact. Following the principle that his story should involve mostly or almost entirely valid fact, the author of the hoax easily slips into the error of including as much fact as possible and commits the major blunder we have just seen; the story would obviously have been much better off without that “fact.” Of course, it is only on account of the passage of time that it has become a major blunder. At the time it was completely effective on account of an hysterical emotional atmosphere that it is impossible to recapture. DuBois wrote in 1952:[77]DuBois, 340f.

“On the stand Schneider had said that he never heard of any exterminations, although he recalled going along the main road one day, past a ‘dormant crematorium.’ At that time this ‘dormant’ crematorium was burning corpses at the rate of a thousand a day. The flames shot fifteen meters into the air; the stink pervaded the countryside to the north for forty miles until it joined the stink of the Warsaw crematorium; the fumes would pucker the nose of anyone within half a mile, and Schneider – a scientist with a specially acute sense of smell – had passed within a hundred yards of the place.”

It does not seem possible that, toward the end of a book, which gives (outside of technical literature) the best available description of the chemical industry at Auschwitz, DuBois could write thus, but there it is. It is not explicable in terms of normal errors of judgment; it is explicable only in terms of hysteria.

It would seem that somebody at the trial would have challenged Höss on this point. There was a challenge, but it was weak and ambiguous. The following exchange occurred near the end of Höss‘ testimony (Kaufman was counsel for Kaltenbrunner):[78]IMT, vol. 11, 421.

“THE PRESIDENT: The last sentence of Paragraph 7 is with reference to the foul and nauseating stench. What is your question about that?

DR. KAUFMAN: Whether the population could gather from these things that an extermination of Jews was taking place.

THE PRESIDENT: That really is too obvious a question, isn’t it? They could not possibly know who it was being exterminated.

DR. KAUFMAN: That is enough for me. I have no further questions.”

It is possible that there was a language difficulty at the time of this exchange, and that a misunderstanding existed, and that Kaufman really meant “persons” rather than “Jews” in his question. In any case this episode suggests the utterly irrational atmosphere that must have pervaded the IMT trial; Höss was not caught in a clumsy and transparent lie. It is not possible for us to grasp the spirit of these proceedings except to classify them as a form of hysteria. Speer was there, and he could have seen through this lie easily. Was he effectively asleep, resigned to the futility of opposition? Was he or his lawyer merely being careful to avoid becoming entangled in the extermination question? Only he can tell us; we do not know. All that is certain is that the spirit of the trial was such that even a simple truth such as the true source of the stench, exposing with great deftness that the witness was lying and suggesting the nature of the factual basis for the charges, could not emerge.

The stench was the basis for quite a bit of witness testimony to knowledge of exterminations,[79]DuBois, 218, 230, 232. and its use at one particular point of the Farben trial, to be discussed on page 242, was not only rather amusing but also revealing and illustrative of an important point to bear in mind when reading the records of these trials. This is discussed later.

In his booklet, Christophersen considered the problem of the factual basis, if any, for references to a pervasive stench at Auschwitz. The only thing he could recall was a blacksmith establishment at Auschwitz I; when horses were being shod, the burning hoofs created a stench, which could be perceived in the immediate neighborhood. Christophersen recognized that this could not account for a stench of the extent claimed in connection with the exterminations.

I communicated with Christophersen on this point, inquiring into the possibility that Christophersen might have forgotten the stench of industrial origin, in searching his memory for some stench that might have approximated the stench of burning flesh. Christophersen recalled no stench of industrial origin. I also communicated with Stäglich, who distinctly recalled only clean and fresh air near Auschwitz.

The recollections of Christophersen and Stäglich are, however, consistent with the theory that the stench of the hoax is none other than the stench associated with the Farben plant. With reference to Fig. 5, the map of the Auschwitz area, Christophersen was quartered at Raisko during his year at Auschwitz and had occasional business at Auschwitz I and Birkenau. Stäglich was quartered in the town of Osiek, which is about 6 miles due south of the town of Oświęcim, and mentions that he visited the “KZ-Lager Auschwitz” (presumably meaning Auschwitz I) “three or four times.” We do not know exactly where the Farben plants were, but we know that the camp called “Monowitz” was either within or immediately next to the town of Monowitz, and that the camp had been placed there so that it would be close to the Farben plants. In consideration of the locations of the rail lines, rivers and roads in the area, it is probable that the Farben plants were either immediately to the east or to the west of the town Monowitz. If the former, they were four or five miles from Auschwitz I and, thus, people at that camp, at Birkenau, and a fortiori at Raisko and Osiek would never have smelled the chemical industry (which was very modest in size compared to a typical American cracking plant). If the Farben plants were immediately to the west of the town, it is possible that people at Auschwitz I might have gotten a whiff now and then when peculiar wind conditions prevailed, but that could not qualify as a pervasive stench. Thus, close consideration of the point shows that Christophersen and Stäglich should not have experienced the stench of industrial origin to any extent that they would recall thirty years later. Moreover, the trial at which the pervasive stench was a pervasive feature of witness testimony was the Farben trial, at which most of the Auschwitz related defense witnesses and almost all of the prosecution witnesses were people who either lived near or worked at the Farben plant. Thus, they did indeed experience a stench and testified correctly in this respect, adding only an erroneous interpretation of the stench.

Back to the ‘Gas Chambers’ • 1,300 Words

The final subject in paragraph 7 is the gas chambers that, except for Höss’ early sealed up huts, are supposed to have been integrated into the crematory buildings. Reitlinger and Hilberg take different approaches to making this claim. Reitlinger interprets NO-4473, whose translation is presented above as it appears in the NMT volume, as evidence for a gas chamber in Crematory II. This is a result of mistranslation.

The crematories at Auschwitz are frequently referred to as “gas ovens” but this is hardly informative since, with the exception of electric crematories which enjoyed a brief existence during the Thirties, all modern crematories consist of “gas ovens,” a fuel-air mixture, which may be considered a “gas,” is introduced into the oven to start, control and finish the burning. The fuel used may be “gas,” town gas or some sort of liquefied gas is popular. Such a crematory is termed “gas-fired” on account of the use of gas as a fuel. Other types are “oil-fired” and “coke- (or coal-)fired,” but all are “gas ovens” because in all three cases it is a fuel-air mixture which is injected under pressure into the oven.[80]Polson, 137-146.

The customary German word for the concept in question here is Gaskammer, but the word in NO-4473 which was translated “gas chamber” is Vergasungskeller, which Reitlinger also mistranslates as “gassing cellar.”[81]Reitlinger, 158f. Editor’s remark: the English gerund suffix “-ing” can very well be translated using the German prefix “ver-”, hence Reitlinger’s is not wrong as such. Now the word Vergasung has two meanings. The primary meaning (and the only one in a technical context) is gasification, carburetion or vaporization, i.e., turning something into a gas, not applying a gas to something. A Vergaser is a carburetor and, while Vergasung always means gasification in a technical context, it usually means, specifically, carburetion in such a context.

There is also a secondary meaning of Vergasung, established by military usage in World War I: attacking an enemy with gas. Why the word Vergasung was used in this sense is not clear; it may be because the gases used in that war were really dusts and were generated by exploding some chemical into the atmosphere: Vergasung.

The translation “gassing cellar” is thus not absolutely incorrect; it is just over-hasty and presumptuous. A “gas oven” requires some sort of gasification or carburetion. In the case of the gas-fired ovens of Utting and Rogers in 1932:[82]Polson, 142.

“Burners set in the crown and sole of the furnace are fed by a mixture of air and gas under pressure; the mixture is regulated by fans, housed in a separate building. Separate control of both air and gas provides better regulation of the furnace temperature.”

That building is just a big carburetor. Oil-fired crematories are so similar in design that most gas-fired ovens can be easily adapted for use with oil.

The ovens at Birkenau seem to have been coke or coal-fired,[83]008-USSR; Central Commission, 89. and with this type there is an extra stage of fuel processing due to the initially solid state of the fuel. The two most common methods of producing fuel gases from coal or coke are, first, by passing air through a bed of burning coke to produce “coke oven gas” and second, by passing steam through the coke to produce “water gas.”[84]Johnson & Auth, 259-261. The first coke cremators employed what amounted to coke oven gas.[85]Polson, 141. Processes for generating such gases are termed Vergasung in German, as well as processes of mixing them with air. The coal-fired crematory ovens that W. H. Lawrence saw at the Lublin camp after its capture by the Russians employed equipment, including fans, very similar to that described in the above quotation. Lawrence, incidentally, termed a “gas chamber” what was obviously a steam bath.[86]New York Times (Aug. 30, 1944), 1.

In any case, it is obvious that the crematories at Auschwitz required equipment for doing Vergasung in order to inject a fuel-air mixture into the ovens and that the translation of NO-4473 should be revised, possibly to “gas generation cellar.” I have confirmed this interpretation of the Vergasungskeller with the technically competent sources in Germany. The reasons for installing such equipment in special separate rooms or even buildings are most probably the considerable noise that must be made by the fans and, in coal-fired ovens, the heat of the burning coal.

The primary meaning of the word Vergasung is of necessity applicable to document NO-4473. It is written in a technical context; it is a letter from the chief of the Auschwitz construction management to the head of the SS engineering group. It makes reference to a process, Vergasung, which is standard with all crematories, and the wording of the letter is such that it is implied that it would normally be peculiar to find bodies in the Vergasungskeller, because bodies are normally stored in what is correctly translated as the “cellar used as a mortuary.”

Document NO-4473 tends, in fact, like so many prosecution documents, to rejection of the prosecution’s claims when it is properly understood. We see that in Crematory II there were at least two cellars, a Leichenkeller and a Vergasungskeller, and that neither was a “gas chamber.”[87]Editor’s remark: This 1976 interpretation turned out to be wrong. See the author’s new interpretation in the Appendix, Supplement 5: Vergasungskeller.

Now NO-4473 is included in the NMT volumes in a selection of prosecution evidence from Case 4 (trial of concentration camp administration). One must assume that the prosecution has selected well. Yet this is as close as it has gotten to offering the documentary evidence that “gas chambers” existed in the crematory buildings at Birkenau. The three “gas tight Türme” (towers) ordered from DAW in NO-4465[88]NMT, vol. 5, 622f. are obviously irrelevant.

Hilberg takes a different and even less sound approach. He inexplicably passes over NO-4473 without dealing with the problem it raises; he even quotes from the document without quoting the phrase containing the word “Vergasungskeller.” He simply declares that the Leichenkeller in Crematories II and III and the Badeanstalten in Crematories IV and V were, in reality, gas chambers. Absolutely no evidence is offered for this; the documents cited by Hilberg at this point do not speak of gas chambers.[89]Hilberg (1961), 566. The only “evidence” for interpreting the Leichenkeller and Badeanstalten in this manner is in the affidavits and testimony (June 27 and 28, 1947) in Case 4 of witness (not a defendant) Wolfgang Grosch, an engineer and Waffen-SS major, who “baptized” these as “gas chambers,” the existence of Zyklon at Auschwitz being obvious justification for such baptisms.[90]Grosch’s testimony is supposed to be in the Case 4 transcript, 3565-3592, but these pages were missing in the transcript copy I consulted. Presumably he testified in agreement with his affidavit NO-2154. However, Grosch was a very unsteady witness since in affidavits of February 20 and March 5, 1947, he claimed knowledge of the existence of gas chambers, and then on June 26, 1947, the day before he was to testify, he retracted all these statements during interrogation and denied any knowledge of gas chambers.[91]NO-2154 quoted in Rassinier (1962), 84ff, and also in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 136. Grosch’s pre-court wavering is reported in the Ortmann memorandum attached to NO-4406. None of Grosch’s testimony is reproduced in the NMT volumes, and Hilberg does not cite his testimony or affidavits.

There is no reason to accept, and every reason to reject, the claims regarding the Leichenkeller and Badeanstalten. As for the Badeanstalten, we have observed that a shower for incoming inmates was standard procedure at all German camps, so there must have been showers at Birkenau. Now, according to Fig. 29, the “baths” or Badeanstalten associated with Crematories IV and V are near “filtration plants” and also near “Canada,” where the clothes of incoming inmates was stored.[92]Central Commission, 41, 43; Naumann, 194, 254; German edition of Naumann, 540. The “steam bath” was no doubt for disinfesting clothes, either prior to storage or after being temporarily taken away from inmates.[93]IMT, vol. 6, 211. If it was a sauna for incoming inmates, the inmates would need a cold shower afterwards in any case. The people remove their clothing near “Canada” and then shower. What could be simpler?

No reasonable considerations can make these gas chambers materialize. The claim that the shower baths, which are said to have been housed in the same buildings as some of the crematory ovens, were really gas chambers is just as unfounded as was the identical claim concerning the Dachau shower bath, which existed in the crematory building at that camp.

There is, incidentally, a small amount of doubt whether the shower baths were, indeed, in the same buildings as Crematories IV and V, because the camp plan given in the WRB report has the baths in a separate building. However, the point is of no importance.

This completes the analysis of the points raised in paragraph 7 of the Höss affidavit.

Why in English? • 200 Words
Final paragraph

This is a minor point. It seems strange that the Höss affidavit is in English. We are not aware of any evidence that Höss knew the English language but, in common with many Germans, he might have known something about it.

However, a prudent German, signing a document of this importance “voluntarily and without compulsion,” would not be satisfied with an ordinary foreign language ability; he would either have considered himself expert at English or he would have insisted upon a German translation to sign (a request that would necessarily have been honored). Höss was evidently not in a spirit to insist on anything.

There is no doubt that Höss hoped to buy his life by cooperating with the IMT prosecution, and it is most probable that a specific offer was made in this connection. However, Höss’ reward for his services was to be packed off to Poland about a month after his IMT testimony. In Poland he dutifully wrote out an “autobiography” for his captors, wherein he explained that he was just following orders in the exterminations. His reward on this occasion was final; he was “tried” and killed in April 1947. The “autobiography” was published in Polish translation in 1951 and in German and English in 1959.

The Role of Birkenau • 3,400 Words

Birkenau, of course, performed the normal functions of a German concentration camp; it quartered inmates for the principal or ultimate aim of exploiting their labor. Thus, when we refer to the “role” of Birkenau, we are referring to a theory that Birkenau was the site of certain very special functions that bear particularly strongly on the matters we have been considering.

The theory, which I consider beyond dispute, is simply that Birkenau was designated to accommodate all persons who were in the non-worker category but were, for whatever reason, the responsibility of the Auschwitz SS administration. Thus, Birkenau was designated to receive the permanently or semi-permanently ill, the dying, the dead, the underage, the overage, those temporarily unassigned to employment, and those for whom Auschwitz served as a transit camp. These categories could have been received either from other camps (including the many small camps in the Kattowitz region) or from incoming transports. This theory is based on the following considerations.

First, as has been noted, Birkenau was clearly the “principal” camp in terms of inmate accommodating functions. Auschwitz I was the “main” camp in an administrative sense, but it was a converted and expanded military barracks, while Birkenau had been designed from the beginning as a much larger camp intended for the specific needs of the SS operations in the area.

Second, it has been noted that people discharged from the Monowitz hospital as unfit for work were sent to Birkenau.

Third, family camps existed at Birkenau (the “gypsy” and “Theresienstadt” camps in Fig. 29). It has been seen that these people had been designated as being “in readiness for transport” during their stays of pre-specified limited duration, so that the obvious interpretation of these family camps is that they were transit camps, comparable to those that existed at Belsen and Westerbork. The destination of transport has been suggested and will be discussed further in Chapter 7.

Fourth, it was only at Birkenau that unusually extensive facilities for disposal of the dead via cremation were constructed.

Fifth, it was quite normal for a very high proportion of Birkenau inmates to be unemployed. In the two years summer 1942 to summer 1944, as Reitlinger remarks, “only a fraction of the starved and ailing Birkenau population had been employed at all.” On April 5, 1944, 15,000 of the 36,000 Birkenau inmates were considered “unable to work,” while only about 3,000 of the 31,000 other prisoners of the Auschwitz area were considered in this category. A month later, two-thirds of the 18,000 inmates of the Birkenau male camp were classed as “immobile,” “unemployable,” and “unassigned” and were quartered in sick and quarantine blocks.[94]Reitlinger, 125; NO-021 in NMT, vol. 5, 385. See also Phillips, 729, or Appendix D herein.

This makes it impossible, of course, to accept the assumption, so often expressed, that to be sick and unemployable and to be sent to Birkenau meant execution. This has been expressed in particular in connection with sick people being sent from Monowitz to Birkenau, the assumption being reinforced by the fact that such inmates’ clothing came back to Monowitz. The return of the clothing, of course, was due to their being transferred from the Farben to the SS budget.[95]DuBois, 192, 220.

Sixth and last, there was an unusually high death rate at Birkenau, although there are some difficulties in estimating the numbers except at particular times. The first major relevant event is the typhus epidemic of the summer of 1942, which resulted in the closing of the Buna factory for two months starting around August 1. The major evidence of this is the WRB report,[96]US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 30, 32; Reitlinger, 122. but there is confirming evidence. First, there certainly were typhus epidemics at Auschwitz.[97]DuBois, 209. Second, the data presented by the Dutch Red Cross (Appendix C) shows that the average death rate at the Birkenau men’s camp from July 16 to August 19, 1942, was about 186 per day, with the rates toward the end of the period noticeably higher than those toward the beginning. Third, there exists in Amsterdam a single volume of the Birkenau death book (also discussed in the Netherlands Red Cross Report).[98]The death book is at the Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, and is discussed by the Netherlands Red Cross, vol. 1, 8-12. Editor’s remark: See the Sterbebücher von Auschwitz (Auschwitz Death Books) as published by the Auschwitz Museum (Staatlichen Museum… 1995); see also the analysis by Aynat (1998). This volume contains death certificates for the five days September 28 to October 2, 1942. The number of deaths is 1,500, and the causes of death that are given are those typical of typhus epidemic conditions, although Reitlinger seems to consider such recorded causes as “weakness of the heart muscles” and others as “invented […] fanciful diagnoses of internee doctors, who were trying to save their patients from the ‘transport list’ or the phenol syringe.”[99]Reitlinger, 122f. In fact, such causes of death are typical with typhus; under the “Typhus Fever” listing in the Encyclopedia Britannica (eleventh edition) we read:

“Typhus fever may, however, prove fatal during any stage of its progress and in the early convalescence, either from sudden failure of the heart’s action – a condition which is especially apt to arise – from the supervention of some nervous symptoms, such as meningitis or of deepening coma, or from some other complication, such as bronchitis. Further, a fatal result sometimes takes place before the crisis from sheer exhaustion, particularly in the case of those whose physical or nervous energies have been lowered by hard work, inadequate nourishment and sleep, or intemperance.”

On account of the policy of sending sick people to Birkenau it appears that the victims of the typhus epidemic got recorded as Birkenau deaths, regardless of where they had been working. The WRB report claims that there were fifteen to twenty thousand deaths at Auschwitz during the two or three months of the epidemic.[100]US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 32. Editor’s remark: The typhus epidemic in fact raged at Auschwitz with varying intensity until late 1943, i.e. almost one and a half years, with a total of probably twice as many victims as given in the WRB report. Despite the unreliability of the source the claim seems consistent, at least in order of magnitude, with such other information as we have concerning this period at Auschwitz (although there is probably at least some exaggeration). It is also the case, as we shall see below, that the summer of 1942 was by far the worst at Auschwitz.

Incidentally, the “phenol syringe” which Reitlinger mentions comes up in so many places in the literature that it appears to have been real; mortally ill concentration camp inmates were sometimes killed by phenol injections into the heart.[101]E.g. Burney, 108f.

The fact of a very high death rate at Auschwitz during the summer of 1942 is, of course, at best only indirectly material to an “extermination” problem because these were recorded deaths from normal reasons, not exterminations carried out in attempted secrecy. They also have nothing to do with Jews as such, although some of the victims were Jews.

Reitlinger considers the high death rate at Auschwitz and offers an estimate of 160 to 179 deaths per day as a normal rate. However, the data he employs is essentially that which applies to the summer of 1942, which was a particularly catastrophic period. In the connection with these high death rates we should observe the fact that the extermination mythologists Reitlinger and Hilberg make much over such happenings at Auschwitz, although they recognize the distinction between high death rates and exterminations. It is therefore remarkable, indeed almost incredible, that they do not consider the possibility that the crematories existed on account of these high death rates. On the contrary, they both treat the crematories as having been provided primarily to serve in the extermination program.

In establishments that were supposed to be providing desperately needed labor these high death rates were naturally intolerable, so in late 1942 a special campaign got under way to reduce the concentration camp death rate and on December 28, 1942, Himmler ordered that the rate “be reduced at all costs.”[102]Reitlinger, 127; 2172-PS. On January 20, 1943, Glücks, in a circular letter to all concentration camp commanders, ordered that “every means must be used to lower the death rate.” On March 15, 1943, Pohl wrote Himmler that:[103]NO-1523 and NO-1285 in NMT, vol. 5, 372-376.

[…] the state of health […] of the prisoners sent in by the administration of Justice is catastrophic. In all camps a loss of between at least 25-30 per cent is to be reckoned with […] till now there were 10,191 prisoners […] of which 7,587 were assigned to […] Mauthausen-Gusen. From these the deaths totaled 3,853; 3,306 of them died in Mauthausen-Gusen. The reason […] must presumably be that the many prisoners […] who have been in prisons for years are suffering from physical debility owing to the transfer to a different milieu […] a great number of tuberculosis patients were also delivered.”

On April 10, 1943, Pohl requested Himmler’s approval of the draft of a letter to the Reich Minister of Justice. The letter, approved and presumably sent, points out that of 12,658 prisoners transferred to concentration camps, 5,935 had died by April 1. Pohl complained in the letter that these:

[…] shockingly high mortality figures are due to the fact that the prisons transferring them have literally released inmates who were in the worst possible physical condition [and] that in spite of all medical efforts the […] death of the prisoners cannot be retarded. […] I do not wish to support a quarantine station in the concentration camps. […]

What seems involved here is inter-departmental rivalry or, at least, conflict of interest. The prisons of Germany no doubt had their own economic-productive aspects and were not only reluctant to part with their more healthy prisoners but also eager to part with the more sickly ones.

We do not know whether or not Pohl managed to get more cooperation from the prison system. However, on September 30, 1943, he was able to report progress, due mainly to hygienic, nutritional, and procedural measures; he presented the Reichsführer-SS the following two tables with a promise that, allowing for the onset of the cold weather, the results achieved would be of a permanent nature.[104]1469-PS in NMT, vol. 5, 379-382.

Table 6: Death cases in the concentration camps, July 1942 to June 1943

Thus, after more than a half year of a campaign to reduce the death rate in the camps, Auschwitz still had about 80 per day on the average. Because, as had been seen, almost all the “unable to work” were at Birkenau, it is certain that almost all of these deaths occurred there.

Auschwitz also seems to have received some rather bad selections of inmates from other concentration camps.[105]NO-1935 in NMT, vol. 5, 366f.

The Netherlands Red Cross report on Auschwitz (vol. 2) also offers some data on the death rates at Auschwitz for 1942-1943. For the period October 30, 1942, to February 25, 1943, the death rate is specified as about 360 per week on the average, and about 185 per week for the period February 26 to July 1, 1943. It is also said that a total of 124 of the Dutch Jews who entered Birkenau in July-August 1942 (mentioned above) died in the period October 30, 1942, to July 1, 1943. However, their figures for total deaths seem somewhat low and difficult to reconcile with the data presented above, so there may be some error or misunderstanding here.

It is perfectly obvious that these deaths, however deplorable and whatever the nature and location of the responsibility, had nothing to do with extermination or with Jews as such. From the point of view of the higher SS administration, they were “catastrophic” and efforts were made to bring them under control. It is not at all remarkable that with such death rates, cremation and mortuary facilities anticipating worst period death rates of even hundreds per day existed at Auschwitz.

The Auschwitz death rate improved but slightly during the course of the war. During 1944, when the inmate population of the camp had expanded to 100,000 or more (probably on account of territorial losses in the east which forced evacuations of labor camps), the death rate was 350 to 500 per week at Birkenau (which, as we have seen, accounted for almost the entire Auschwitz death rate).[106]Phillips, 729, or Appendix D herein. Case 6 transcript, 14326.

Table 7: Death cases in the concentration camps for the month of August 1943
Concentration campInmatesDeathsAugust %July %Change
Auschwitz (men)48,0001,4423.002.96+0.04
Auschwitz (women)26,0009383.615.15-1.54
Stutthof (men)3,8001313.455.69-2.24
Stutthof (women)50010.200.00+0.20
Lublin (men)11,5008827.674.62+3.05
Lublin (women)3,9001724.412.01+2.40
Ravensbrück (men)3,100260.840.76+0.08
Ravensbrück (women)14,100380.270.24+0.03
Riga Herzogenbusch3,00010.030.33-0.30
Overall average for August 1943:2.09
Overall average for July 1943:2.23

It is a tragic fact that, even in modern times, “camps” established during wartime have amounted to death traps for many sent to them. The basic causes for such conditions have been similar: people thrown together chaotically in hastily organized camps, with inadequate sanitary measures and an uncertain situation as regards food and other supplies. Thus, during the American Civil War, the POW camps in the North such as Rock Island and Camp Douglas experienced death rates of 2%-4% per month. These figures were even exceeded in camps in the south such as Florence, where diarrhea and scurvy caused 20 to 50 deaths per day, in a prisoner population of about 12,000. Conditions at Andersonville were even worse, and 13,000 of the 50,000 Union POWs who were interned there perished.[107]Hesseltine, 152, 156, 192, 203; Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 1, 960.

During the 1899-1902 Boer War in South Africa, about 120,000 non-combatant white Boers and 75,000 black Africans were placed in British concentration camps. For about a year, the Boer mortality rate ranged from 120 to 340 deaths per thousand per year (1.1% to 3.4% per month) while the Boer infant mortality rate, due chiefly to epidemics of measles, was as high as 600 per thousand per year (7.35% per month). About 20,000 Boer women and children died in these camps.[108]Amery, vol. 5, 252f., 601; vol. 6, 24f. During World War I, the Germans mixed Russian POWs with those of other nationalities, resulting in typhus epidemics in their POW camps; conditions were strikingly similar to those experienced in the World War II concentration camps.[109]Encyclopedia Britannica, 12th ed., vol. 32 (third volume supplementing 11th ed.), 157. We have seen that Russians were used as labor at the concentration camps, especially at Auschwitz, so they were no doubt one of the principal sources of typhus. Because they were not considered regular concentration camp inmates, it is not clear whether or not they were included in the camp death figures which were reviewed above. However, it is certain that they contributed to the overall death rates at the camps, and that their bodies were disposed of in the same crematories, but numbers are not available.

A ridiculous feature of all this, as it strikes the student of the subject, appears in NMT volume 5, which summarizes Case 4, “U.S. vs. Pohl.” In section B, “The Concentration Camp System,” we are presented with documents which show that the camps experienced remarkably high death rates. These have just been summarized above. Then in section E, “The Extermination Program,” we are presented with documents showing that the Germans were building crematories at these camps at the time of the high death rates. Apparently it is believed that nobody would actually read one of these volumes, or maybe the compilers of the volumes did not read them!

Taking into account the different death rates, we can see that the number of muffles at Auschwitz was completely comparable to those which existed at camps where there were no exterminations. In 1942, crematories were constructed at Dachau and at Sachsenhausen; each contained four muffles. At Dachau, a crematory consisting of two muffles had existed prior to 1942, and the older crematory continued to be used after 1942. It is most likely that the same situation with respect to an earlier crematory held at Sachsenhausen. At Buchenwald, the pre-war cremation facilities were those, which existed in the nearby towns of Weimar and Jena. After the war started, crematories were constructed at the camp, and by the end of 1941, Buchenwald had a two tripple-muffle oven crematory. It appears that the Weimar crematory continued to be used until the end of the war.[110]Komitee der Antifaschistischen…, 86; M.J. Smith, 95; NO-3863 and NO-3860 in NMT, vol. 5, 613-616; Internationales Buchenwald-Komitee, 206f. and Fig. 55; Musiol, Figs. 88-91. It is also possible that concentration camp crematories, whether at Auschwitz, Dachau, or elsewhere, were used to dispose of the bodies of people who had nothing to do with the camps (e.g. Russian POWs).

This, then, is our view of the “death camp” aspect of the Nazi concentration camps. It is a view which does not harmonize with those of Christophersen and of Stäglich, who saw no high death rates and are not convinced that there existed extensive cremation facilities at Auschwitz. Our view is based on the relevant prosecution documents and comparable material, and their views are based on their observations at Auschwitz in 1944. It may seem that their observations are more to be trusted than the documentary material, but I believe that a careful consideration of the matter resolves the point in favor of our theory, while not denying their observations.

It is true that there exists a possibility of forged documents; indeed, it is more than a possibility. We shall see that there was considerable forgery of documents at Nuremberg. However, it does not appear that the documents dealing with deaths in the camps and with the constructions of crematories were forged, for the simple reason that there is absolutely nothing about extermination in them, as the reader can verify by consulting the “selections” of documents in NMT volume 5. They speak of a very high death rate, at certain times, in penal institutions (concentration camps), which a relatively small country, fighting against overwhelming odds for its existence, was attempting to exploit for labor. That high death rates might have been one consequence is perfectly plausible.

While the documents we have reviewed say nothing of extermination, they are nevertheless somewhat unsatisfactory in the sense that one does not get a full picture from them in regard to the causes of the death rates and the specific victims involved. The unhealthy prisoners contributed by the Ministry of Justice do not explain everything. The picture must be guessed and inferred, so here we will offer our impressions.

German concentration camps during the Thirties had only punitive and security functions, and no economic function. After the war with Russia got started, the camps underwent rapid expansion and also assumed their economic roles. Thus in 1942, there were three things happening in the camps:

(a) the rapid expansion was accompanied by the general chaos, unanticipated problems, and organizational difficulties which are common when large new enterprises are put into operation; this is particularly true of Auschwitz, which was a new camp in the process of rapidly expanding into the largest of all camps;

(b) the continued German victories and advances in Russia resulted in hordes of Russian POWs, some of whom were absorbed by the camps;

(c) unhealthy prisoners were contributed by the Ministry of Justice.

There were probably other problems, but these three factors seem to me sufficient to explain a high death rate in late 1942 – early 1943.

By late 1943 the death rate, while still deplorably high, was relatively under control as compared to the previous year and remained under control until the collapse at the end of the war. The statement of the Birkenau camp commander (Appendix D) indicates that at Auschwitz, by 1944, the deaths occurred primarily among ordinary criminals who had been transferred out of prisons. I have seen no documents, comparable to those we have reviewed, which deal with high death rates for late 1943 or any later period.

Now we are in a position to consider the observations of Christophersen and of Stäglich, which included neither crematories nor a high death rate at Auschwitz. Very simple considerations support their observations. First, deaths are naturally not things that the Auschwitz camp administration would have advertised; both the deaths and the associated cremations would naturally have been concealed to the extent that such concealment was possible. Thus in mid-1943, Pohl complained to concentration camp commanders that, too commonly, crematory buildings were situated in excessively public locations where “all kinds of people” could “gaze” at them. In response to Pohl’s complaint, Höss had a belt of trees planted around Crematories II and III. Moreover, it was the policy to carry corpses to the crematory only in the evening.[111]Documents NO-1242 and NO-4463, cited by Hilberg (1961), 566; Phillips, 731 or Appendix D herein. That Christophersen and Stäglich, who had only slight contacts with Birkenau, were unaware of the existence of a high death rate or of large crematories, is perfectly understandable.

The role that Birkenau plays in the hoax is very simple. Like any large industrial operation, Auschwitz was organized in a systematic manner thought to be of the greatest efficiency. The unemployed were quartered at Birkenau. Thus, the transit camps, to be discussed again in Chapter 7, were at Birkenau. This explains the existence of the gypsy and Jewish camps there. Also, the sick and the very sick and the dying and, perhaps, the dead were sent to Birkenau, and such concentration of the ill naturally meant that Birkenau was a “death camp,” complete with mortuary and cremation facilities, if one chooses to describe things thus. Indeed, of the order of one-half of all of the deaths in the entire German concentration camp system for 1942-1944 occurred at Birkenau. While the whole thing looks quite foolish when examined closely, as we have done in these chapters, the propaganda inventors obviously made a very rational choice in deciding to claim Birkenau as an extermination camp. The death rate in the concentration camp system was very high; it was near its highest at Auschwitz, which was the largest German concentration camp, and the Auschwitz deaths were concentrated at Birkenau.

Summary for Auschwitz • 500 Words

In the introduction to this chapter it was promised that the Auschwitz extermination legend would be shown to possess the basic trademark of the great hoax: the need for a dual interpretation of facts. This is true in every significant respect conceivable:

  1. Zyklon was employed for disinfestation and also allegedly for exterminations.
  2. The “selections” were necessary by the nature of the operations at Auschwitz and also allegedly for exterminations.
  3. It would not have been inaccurate (although perhaps somewhat misleading) to call Birkenau a “death camp,” especially at certain times (and especially when the Baruch Committee was in existence and immediately thereafter); it was also allegedly an “extermination camp.”
  4. Disrobing – showering procedures were followed for delousing and also allegedly for exterminations.
  5. Conventional crematories existed for accommodating both the death camp role and alleged extermination camp role of Birkenau.
  6. Some Leichenkeller were mortuaries while it is alleged that others were, in reality, “gas chambers. ” The two types of Leichenkeller were in proximate locations at Birkenau.
  7. Some Badeanstalten were bath establishments while it is alleged that others were, in reality, “gas chambers.” The two types of Badeanstalten were in proximate locations at Birkenau.
  8. The stench that the people of the area experienced was due not only to the hydrogenation and other chemical processes at Auschwitz but also allegedly to the cremations.

Actually in view of the points made in the analysis, it is only charity to say that there are proposed dual interpretation of fact in connection with these eight points. The proposed interpretations of extermination are obvious lies and the last, concerning the stench, is the “excess fact”; the authors of the hoax should never have used the fact of the stench in their story.

The facts in contradiction to the claims, the inconsistencies and the implausibilities have been reviewed. Himmler gives his orders directly to Höss, but leaves the means to the ingenuity of Höss. The interview emphatically took place in the summer of 1941; on the other hand it must have taken place in the summer of 1942, so Höss started improvising half a year after the plans for the four crematories which were used in the exterminations were formulated. The crematories were not left to the ingenuity of Höss. Or something. Jewish families with children reside for months at Birkenau, their quarters having been previously disinfested with the same chemical product they are supposed to have been killed with on entering, but they will be killed with it later. Or something.

The analysis of Auschwitz is not complete. Although it may seem that the promised “crushing blow” has been delivered, the material of this chapter was not what was being referred to when that expression was used in the introduction to the chapter. Our analysis has, thus far, focused on happenings at Auschwitz and has not considered the fate of any specific nationality group of Jews at Auschwitz. For the sake of thoroughness this must be done, and we can think of no better case for emphasis than that which the bearers of the legend have selected themselves: the Hungarian Jews, whose fate or whatever it should be called will be examined in the next chapter, with special regard for the Auschwitz claims.

Notes • 1,100 Words

[1] 3868-PS

[2] IMT, vol. 11, 396-422.

[3] Hilberg (1961), 575; Reitlinger, 113.

[4] Reitlinger, 113, 502, 516f.; Red Cross (1947), 95, 98, 103f.

[5] Langbein, vol. 2, 930f.; Naumann, opposite of 19; US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 22.

[6] IMT, vol. 6, 211.

[7] Reitlinger, 119; editor’s note: even lower figures were later claimed by Pressac (1993), 148; 1994 (202); and F. Meyer.

[8] 008-USSR (IMT, vol. 39, 261)

[9] Friedman, 14. Editor’s remark: two French sources mention higher figures: 8,000,000 (Aroneanu, 7, 196) and 9,000,000 (documentary Nuit et Brouillard; 1955)

[10] Reitlinger, 472-478; US-WRB (1945), 39f.

[11] US-WRB (1945), 49f.

[12] IMT, vol. 11, 398.

[13] Hilberg (1961), 556-560; Reitlinger, 107ff.; documents R-129, NO-719 and 1063(F)-PS in NMT, vol. 5, 298-303.

[14] Reitlinger, 109, 115.

[15] Editor’s note: on the absurdities involved with Diesel gas chamber claims see Berg.

[16] Reitlinger, 147ff.

[17] DuBois, 213. Some of the chemistry of Zyklon (“Cyclon”) is discussed in the article on “cyanide” in the Encyclopedia Britannica for 1943.

[18] Hilberg (1961), 567-571.

[19] IMT, vol. 6, 225-332.

[20] Hilberg (1961), 570 Reitlinger, 154-156.

[21] Hardenbergh, 252-254, 257-259; Knipling.

[22] IMT, vol. 6, 211, 225, 360-364; Rassinier (1962) 80, 224; Rassinier (1964), 105n; Rassinier (1965), 38-48; Reitlinger, 161n.

[23] NMT, vol. 1, 865-870; IMT, vol. 27, 340-342.

[24] Hilberg (1961), 570.

[25] Reitlinger, 161; 1553-PS.

[26] Friedlaender, vii-xii.

[27] Ibid., xi.

[28] Ibid., x.

[29] Reitlinger, 162f. See also Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (Apr. 1953), 189n. Editor’s note: for a more recent and comprehensive work on Gerstein see Roques.

[30] Hilberg (1961), 567; Reitlinger, 155f.; documents NO-4344 and NO-4345 in NMT, vol. 5, 362-364.

[31] Hilberg (1961), 565; Reitlinger, 158n.

[32] Langbein, vol. 2, 930f.; Naumann, opposite of 19.

[33] Reitlinger, 155-158.

[34] US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 19-21, 37f.; Reitlinger, 182f.; Blumental, 105.

[35] IMT, vol. 6, 218.

[36] Reitlinger, 183.

[37] Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 7, 109, 110n, 113.

[38] Reitlinger, 181f.; Boehm, 292f.

[39] Reitlinger, 118-121. Reitlinger remarks on the “mystery” presented by the data in the Netherlands Red Cross reports, which is presented and discussed here in Appendix C. The letters from Auschwitz are considered by de Jong.

[40] The “Kalendarium,” first published in 1964 in German as a magazine series, says that of 1500 people in a transport that arrived at Auschwitz on April 16, 1944, from the camp in Drancy, France, a certain number of the men were registered as inmates and the others gassed. Many years ago Robert Faurisson pointed out that, according to the deportation lists, “the others” included Simone Veil, who, as Faurisson wrote (1979, 1986a), was the first President of the European Parliament. Later I noticed that the English translation of the Kalendarium, published in 1990, engages in a little bit of revisionism on this, and now says some of the women were registered. A document from the International Tracing Service, Arolsen, Germany, is cited.

[41] Cohen, 38f.

[42] Red Cross (1947), 91f.

[43] NMT. vol. 8, 320.

[44] DuBois, 53, 173, 231; US-WRB (1945), 48-55.

[45] Lerner, 152f.

[46] Friedman, 13f.

[47] Cohen, 119.

[48] Ibid., 60.

[49] Friedman, 14f.; Reitlinger, 172; Hilberg (1961), 587; Blumental, 109f. One of the documents are reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 198.

[50] NO-4634 in NMT, vol. 4, 1166; Eichmann, session 79, W1-Y1.

[51] IMT, vol. 11, 336-339.

[52] Poliakov & Wulf (1956), 299-302; Eichmann, session 79, Y1-Bb1; session 101, Hhl-Mml; session 107, U1-V1; session 109, F1-H1, N1, O1; NG-5077.

[53] Most of the Korherr report is reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 240-248. Eichmann, session 77, Y1, Z1.

[54] Reitlinger, 557. Documents reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 197-199.

[55] Editor’s remark: On special treatment at Auschwitz cf. Mattogno (2004a).

[56] IMT, vol. 11, 400f.

[57] IMT, vol. 11, 420; Central Commission, 87f.

[58] Central Commission, 83f.; Rassinier (1962), 85f. Rassinier does not cite a source, so he presumably got it from Central Commission. Editor’s remark: in early 1942 only one new crematory for the Auschwitz main camp was planned. The other three crematories were added in the summer of 1942, after an expansion of the camp to some 200,000 inmates had been decided upon and after the typhus epidemic had already broken out; cf. Mattogno (2010), 289f.

[59] Reitlinger, 157f.; Hilberg (1961), 565; NO-4472.

[60] Central Commission, 83; Rassinier (1962), 86; NO-4461.

[61] Reitlinger, 159; NO-4353, NO-4400 & NO-4401 in NMT, vol. 5, 353-356; NO-4445; NO-4448. Photograph also in Schoenberner and in Nyiszli.

[62] Friedman, 54; editor’s note: crematory I later received a third double-muffle oven, resulting in 6 muffles altogether. See Mattogno (2003a), 373-412, and Mattogno (2005b).

[63] The halls adjacent to the furnace rooms of Crematories IV & V were mortuaries. Several more rooms existed in these buildings, of which three small ones do not bear any descriptions in the blueprints. These were obviously shower rooms and/or delousing rooms; orthodox historians claim, however, that these were execution gas chambers; cf. Pressac (1989), 401; Mattogno (2010), 158-180; editor’s note.

[64] NMT, vol. 5, 619f.

[65] 008-USSR; editor’s note: the crematories IV & V each obtained one eight-muffle oven, whose muffles had a design similar to those of the other crematories; cf. Mattogno (2003a) for details. Regarding the ovens near the “baths for special purpose” cf. Mattogno (2010), 206-212.

[66] NO-4466 in NMT, vol. 5, 624; editor’s note: apart from Mattogno (2003a) see also Mattogno (2010), 158-180, on some aspects of construction works on these buildings.

[67] Friedman, 20, 74, 78; Hilberg (1961), 632.

[68] 008-USSR; Central Commission, 88; US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 14-16; Phillips, 158; Blumental, 100.

[69] Rassinier (1962), 245-249.

[70] On Nyiszli see Provan; editor’s note.

[71] DuBois, 221. NO-1245.

[72] Cohen, 81, 125. See also Phillips, 159, and Appendix D here.

[73] NMT, vol. 5, 624f. See also Blumental, 100.

[74] Polson, 138, 143-145.

[75] Editor’s note: equipped with modern ecological technology, today’s refineries do no longer produce such an intensive smell.

[76] Polson, 138f.

[77] DuBois, 340f.

[78] IMT, vol. 11, 421.

[79] DuBois, 218, 230, 232.

[80] Polson, 137-146.

[81] Reitlinger, 158f. Editor’s remark: the English gerund suffix “-ing” can very well be translated using the German prefix “ver-”, hence Reitlinger’s is not wrong as such.

[82] Polson, 142.

[83] 008-USSR; Central Commission, 89.

[84] Johnson & Auth, 259-261.

[85] Polson, 141.

[86] New York Times (Aug. 30, 1944), 1.

[87] Editor’s remark: This 1976 interpretation turned out to be wrong. See the author’s new interpretation in the Appendix, Supplement 5: Vergasungskeller.

[88] NMT, vol. 5, 622f.

[89] Hilberg (1961), 566.

[90] Grosch’s testimony is supposed to be in the Case 4 transcript, 3565-3592, but these pages were missing in the transcript copy I consulted. Presumably he testified in agreement with his affidavit NO-2154.

[91] NO-2154 quoted in Rassinier (1962), 84ff, and also in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 136. Grosch’s pre-court wavering is reported in the Ortmann memorandum attached to NO-4406.

[92] Central Commission, 41, 43; Naumann, 194, 254; German edition of Naumann, 540.

[93] IMT, vol. 6, 211.

[94] Reitlinger, 125; NO-021 in NMT, vol. 5, 385. See also Phillips, 729, or Appendix D herein.

[95] DuBois, 192, 220.

[96] US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 30, 32; Reitlinger, 122.

[97] DuBois, 209.

[98] The death book is at the Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, and is discussed by the Netherlands Red Cross, vol. 1, 8-12. Editor’s remark: See the Sterbebücher von Auschwitz (Auschwitz Death Books) as published by the Auschwitz Museum (Staatlichen Museum… 1995); see also the analysis by Aynat (1998).

[99] Reitlinger, 122f.

[100] US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 32. Editor’s remark: The typhus epidemic in fact raged at Auschwitz with varying intensity until late 1943, i.e. almost one and a half years, with a total of probably twice as many victims as given in the WRB report.

[101] E.g. Burney, 108f.

[102] Reitlinger, 127; 2172-PS.

[103] NO-1523 and NO-1285 in NMT, vol. 5, 372-376.

[104] 1469-PS in NMT, vol. 5, 379-382.

[105] NO-1935 in NMT, vol. 5, 366f.

[106] Phillips, 729, or Appendix D herein. Case 6 transcript, 14326.

[107] Hesseltine, 152, 156, 192, 203; Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 1, 960.

[108] Amery, vol. 5, 252f., 601; vol. 6, 24f.

[109] Encyclopedia Britannica, 12th ed., vol. 32 (third volume supplementing 11th ed.), 157.

[110] Komitee der Antifaschistischen…, 86; M.J. Smith, 95; NO-3863 and NO-3860 in NMT, vol. 5, 613-616; Internationales Buchenwald-Komitee, 206f. and Fig. 55; Musiol, Figs. 88-91.

[111] Documents NO-1242 and NO-4463, cited by Hilberg (1961), 566; Phillips, 731 or Appendix D herein.

Chapter 5 • The Hungarian Jews • 23,800 Words
The International Red Cross • 8,300 Words

Because the Germans and their allies allowed the Red Cross, both the International Committee (ICRC) and the various national societies, a not negligible liberty to operate in Axis-controlled Europe, it developed that the ICRC was able to report a great deal concerning the European Jews. The reports of such a neutrally-situated organization are naturally of great importance in connection with our problem.

We say “neutrally situated” rather than “neutral” because there is no such thing as strict political neutrality; every organization is subject to political pressures. It is a question of degree.

Two ICRC publications are of major interest to us. The first is Documents sur l’activité du CICR en faveur des civils détenus dans les camps de concentration en Allemagne (1939-1945), Geneva, 1947. This is a collection of document reprints, the documents being correspondence between the ICRC and various governments and Red Cross societies, and also reports of ICRC delegates to the ICRC itself. Commentary sufficient only to interpret the documents is provided by the Red Cross. The publication is invaluable and had been cited several times in this book. Another 1947 publication was Inter Arma Caritas, but this was primarily a public relations effort.

The second important publication is the three volume Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities During the Second World War, Geneva, 1948. This has the form of a historical report; quotations from documents appear only occasionally. Below is reproduced in full an excerpt from volume 1, namely pages 641-657. I believe that some political pressures are evident in the excerpt of the Report, but it will not be necessary for the reader to share my notions regarding the specific manifestations of these pressures in the excerpt in order to accept the major conclusion that I draw from the excerpt. However, some obvious urgent questions will arise during the first reading, and all that can be said here is that two points should be kept in mind.

First, this Report was published in 1948, at a time when the authors could not have failed, especially in view of the politically sensitive nature of the subject matter, to be thoroughly familiar with the Allied claims, exhaustively aired at the war crimes trials and in the press, regarding the fate of the European Jews. We expect no careless remarks here. Second, we are not consulting the ICRC as a general sort of authority. That is to say, we are interested only in the reports that fall within the ICRC area of competence. It had delegations in various European countries that were heavily involved in Jewish affairs, and what we want to know is what, insofar as the ICRC was able to observe, happened to these Jews. Our emphasis, in fact, is on the Jews of Slovakia (Eastern Czechoslovakia), Croatia (Northern Yugoslavia) and Hungary. In a way our interest is even more narrow; we are interested in Hungary, but the other two lands are contiguous, and to the extent that the Germans controlled things, there was no reason for major differences in Jewish policy.

From a numerical point of view, it might seem that Poland should be selected as the key country in the problem. However, the fact remains that Hungary is the key because the creators of the legend chose to emphasize Hungary and not Poland in offering evidence for their claims. They offer no evidence for exterminations of Polish Jews, apart from witness testimony and the general extermination camp claims, which the analysis has already demolished. By a happy circumstance, it is possible to consult the reports of the ICRC to learn what happened in Hungary, but this is not the case with Poland. The reason for this is that the Germans did not permit the ICRC to involve itself in Jewish affairs in countries in which they considered themselves sovereign. However, the allies of Germany that were considered independent states admitted the ICRC into Jewish affairs. Thus develops the central importance of Hungary in the examination of the legend.

There are other respects in which the Report excerpt is of the greatest importance in our study, but this point is more effectively made in Chapters 6 and 7 (pp. 259, 276, 284).

The Report excerpt is reproduced in full here because it is written in such a way that it is difficult to cite on specific points without risking the possibility of being accused of distorting meaning. This will be more clear after the reading:

VI. Special Categories of Civilians


Under National Socialism the Jews had become in truth outcasts, condemned by rigid racial legislation to suffer tyranny, persecution and systematic extermination. No kind of protection shielded them; being neither PW nor civilian internees, they formed a separate category, without the benefit of any Convention. The supervision which the ICRC was empowered to exercise in favour of prisoners and internees did not apply to them. In most cases, they were, in fact, nationals of the State which held them in its power and which, secure in its supreme authority, allowed no intervention in their behalf. These unfortunate citizens shared the same fate as political deportees, were deprived of civil rights, were given less favoured treatment than enemy nationals, who at least had the benefit of a statute. They were penned into concentration camps and ghettos, recruited for forced labour, subjected to grave brutalities and sent to death camps, without anyone being allowed to intervene in those matters which Germany and her allies considered to be exclusively within the bounds of their home policy.

It should be recalled, however, that in Italy the measures taken against the Jews were incomparably less harsh, and that in the countries under the direct influence of Germany, their situation was usually less tragic than in Germany itself.

The Committee could not dissociate themselves from these victims, on whose behalf it received the most insistent appeals, but for whom the means of action seemed especially limited, since in the absence of any basis in law, its activities depended to a very great extent upon the good will of the belligerent States.

The Committee had in fact, through the intermediary of the German Red Cross, asked for information concerning civilian deportees ‘without distinction of race or religion,’ which was plainly refused in the following terms: ‘The responsible authorities decline to give any information concerning non-Aryan deportees.’ Thus, enquiries as a matter of principle concerning the Jews led to no result, and continual protests would have been resented by the authorities concerned and might have been detrimental both to the Jews themselves and to the whole field of the Committee’s activities. In consequence, the Committee, while avoiding useless protest, did its utmost to help the Jews by practical means, and its delegates abroad were instructed on these lines. This policy was proved by the results obtained.

Germany. – Even when the German Wehrmacht was winning, the Committee’s activities in behalf of the Jews met with almost insupportable difficulties. Towards the end of 1943, however, the German authorities allowed the Committee to send relief parcels to detainees in concentration camps, many of them Jews, whose names and addresses might be known to it. The Committee was able to collect a few dozen names, and by these slender means the system of individual and then collective relief for political detainees was started, an account of which is given elsewhere in this Report. Each receipt returned bore several names, and these were added to the list of addresses: thus the receipts often gave the first news of missing persons. By the end of the war, the Committee’s card index for political detainees (Jewish and non-Jewish) contained over 105,000 names.

During the last year of the War, the Committee’s delegates were able to visit the camp of Theresienstadt (Terezin), which was exclusively used for Jews, and was governed by special conditions. From information gathered by the Committee, this camp had been started as an experiment by certain leaders of the Reich, who were apparently less hostile to the Jews than those responsible for the racial policy of the German government. These men wished to give to Jews the means of setting up a communal life in a town under their own administration and possessing almost complete autonomy. On several occasions, the Committee’s delegates were granted authority to visit Theresienstadt, but owing to difficulties raised by the local authorities, the first visit only took place in June 1944. The Jewish elder in charge informed the delegate, in the presence of a representative of the German authorities, that thirty-five thousand Jews resided in the town and that living conditions were bearable. In view of the doubt expressed by the heads of various Jewish organizations as to the accuracy of this statement, the Committee requested the German government to allow its delegates to make a second visit. After laborious negotiations, much delayed on the German side, two delegates were able to visit the camp on April 6, 1945. They confirmed the favourable impression gained on the first visit, but ascertained that the camp strength now amounted only to 20,000 internees, including 1,100 Hungarians, 11,050 Slovaks, 800 Dutch, 290 Danes, 8000 Germans, 8000 Czechs and 760 stateless persons. They were therefore anxious to know if Theresienstadt was being used as a transit camp and asked when the last departures for the East had taken place. The head of the Security Police of the Protectorate stated that the last transfers to Auschwitz had occurred six months previously, and had comprised 10,000 Jews, to be employed on camp administration and enlargement. This high official assured the delegates that no Jews would be deported from Theresienstadt in future.

Whereas other camps exclusively reserved for Jews were not open to inspections for humanitarian purposes until the end, the Committee’s activities were at least effective in several concentration camps containing a minority proportion of Jews. During the final months, the Committee, in urgent circumstances, took on a task of the greatest importance by visiting and giving aid to these internees, providing food, preventing last-minute evacuations as well as summary executions, and even taking charge during the critical hours, sometimes days, which passed between the retreat of the German forces and the arrival of the Allies from the West or the East.

A more detailed account of these various activities is given in the chapters on Political Detainees in this volume and in Vol. III, as well as in special publication entitled Documents sur l’activité du CICR en faveur des civils détenus dans les camps de concentration en Allemagne, 1939-1945.

Less is known of the part played by the Committee in countries whose governments were subject, in varying degrees, to German influence and where special laws concerning Jews had been enacted, similar to those under German legislation.

Through its delegates, particularly in Budapest, Bucharest, Bratislava, Zagreb and Belgrade, the Committee was able to make the best possible use of its moral authority and the well disposed attitude shown to it by a few non-German authorities, who had more or less freedom of action, but who were not so relentlessly bent on carrying out a racial policy as the German government. In its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the Committee was in a position to transfer and distribute in the form of relief supplies over twenty million Swiss francs collected by Jewish welfare organizations throughout the world, in particular by the American Joint Distribution Committee of New York. Without the help of the ICRC, this concerted effort made by a whole community would have doubtless been vain, as no Jewish organization was allowed to act in countries under German control. A detailed account of this important relief scheme will be found in Vol. III.

The efforts of the Committee were not limited to the activities described above; as time went on, it eventually became in truth a ‘Protecting Power’ for the Jews, by interceding with governments in their behalf and in some cases exercising a genuine right of protection, by obtaining the benefit of extraterritoriality for hospitals, dispensaries and relief organizations, and even by acting as arbitrators in the settlement of disputes. This was its task, especially in Rumania and Hungary, for over a year during the last phase of the war in 1944 and 1945. In countries where the efforts of the Committee were less considerable, they were none the less of great benefit to the Jews. These may be described in a brief summary before reverting to the Committee’s activities in Hungary and Rumania.

France. – In November 1940, the Committee obtained permission from the authorities for one of its members to visit camps in the South, where a certain number of Jews were amongst the civilian internees. The camp at Gurs, in particular, contained six thousand Jews from the Bavarian Palatinate. The visit gave a clear idea of the situation inside the camp and the urgent necessity for relief; appropriate steps were taken in the internees’ behalf.

The Jews from Poland who, whilst in France, had obtained entrance-permits to the United States were held to be American citizens by the German occupying authorities, who further agreed to recognize the validity of about three thousand passports issued to Jews by the consulates of South American countries. The persons concerned were lodged in camps reserved for Americans at Vittel. In 1942, when Germany and the States in South America began negotiations for the exchange of internees, it was found that the majority of the internees at Vittel held accommodation passports and consequently were in danger of being deported. The ICRC interceded in their behalf through the Berlin Delegation and succeeded in arranging for them to remain at Vittel, only a few being deported.

Greece. – Immediately after the German occupation, the Committee was called upon to deal with the case of 55,000 Jews in Salonica, who were the victims of racial legislation. In July 1942, all men between eighteen and forty-five were registered, and the majority were enrolled in labour detachments. The delegation furnished them with medical and toilet supplies. In May 1943, these workers were sent to Germany, and the delegation in that country insisted on the right to give them food-parcels. This course led to difficulties with the German authorities, who in their resentment demanded that one of the delegates should be replaced.

Slovakia. – Many thousands of Jews had been forced to leave the country and enlist in what was called ‘labour service,’ but which in fact seems to have led the greater number to the extermination camps. At the same time, a large proportion of the Jewish minority had permission to stay in the country, and at certain periods Slovakia was even looked upon as a comparative haven of refuge for Jews, especially for those coming from Poland. Those who remained in Slovakia seemed to have been in comparative safety until the end of August 1944, when a rising against the German forces took place. While it is true that the law of May 15, 1942, had brought about the internment of several thousand Jews, these people were held in camps where the conditions of food and lodging were tolerable, and where internees were allowed to do paid work on terms almost equal to those of the free labour market. In 1944, the Jewish community had managed to secure an almost complete suspension of forced immigration towards the territories under German control.

At the time of the rising, the interned Jews escaped from the camps; some returned home, and others took to the hills. The measures of repression which followed fell on the Jewish population as a whole. The German military authorities summoned the Slovak government to make wholesale arrests for the purpose of deporting the Jews to Germany. The order dated November 16, 1944, laid down that all Jews should be mustered in the camp of Sered, and to that end, that Jews living in the capital should previously be assembled, on November 20, in the Town Hall of Bratislava. On the same day, the delegate went to the Town hall and noted that only about fifty Jews had obeyed the summons. The rest had gone into hiding, as the Slovak authorities had foreseen, either by fleeing to the country or concealing themselves in the town in the so-called ‘bunkers.’ In his concern over this situation, the President of the ICRC wrote to the Head of the Slovak government asking him to put an end to the deportations. Monsignor Tiso received this letter on January 2, 1945, and answered at length on January 10. He recalled the fact that up to that time the Jews had been spared, adding however that in view of the rising, his government had been forced to yield to the pressure which had been brought to bear upon them. He concluded by saying: ‘To sum up, it remains wholly true that in the solution of the Jewish question, we have endeavoured to remain faithful to humane principles to the full extent of our powers.’ Official aid to the fugitives in the ‘bunkers’ was out of the question; the delegation in Bratislava, however, with the help of the Slovak Red Cross and, in the provinces with that of the Catholic Church, succeeded in providing them with funds, which were handed to their spokesmen, and which allowed them to support life during the last months of the war.

The Committee’s representative was unable to secure permission to visit the camp of Sered. He was, however, allowed to enter the camp of Marienka, where Jews of alien nationality were interned.

Croatia. – From May 1943 to the end of 1945, the delegation gave aid to the Jewish community of Zagreb, to whom on behalf of the Joint Committee of New York, it paid out an average amount of 20,000 Swiss francs monthly. It also made available to it considerable quantities of food supplies, clothing and medical stores.

In October 1944, the German authorities, on the pattern of measures taken in the neighbouring countries, imprisoned the Jews of Zagreb, and seized their food stores. The delegation at once made representations to the Croat government, and secured the return of these stores.

Hungary. – As in Slovakia, the Jews were relatively spared, in so far as the local government retained a certain freedom of action. But when German pressure was reasserted, from March 1944 onwards, the position of the Jews became critical. The replacement in October 1944, of Horthy’s government by one in bondage to Germany, provoked a violent crisis; executions, robberies, deportations, forced labour, imprisonments – such was the lot of the Jewish population, which suffered cruelly and lost many killed, especially in the provinces. It was at this point that the Committee, to alleviate these sufferings, took action with vigour and authority. At the same time the aid prompted by the King of Sweden, was given with considerable courage and success by the Swedish Legation in Budapest, helped by some members of the Swedish Red Cross.

Until March 1944, Jews who had the privilege of visas for Palestine were free to leave Hungary. On March 18, 1944, Hitler summoned the Regent, Admiral Horthy, to his headquarters. He expressed his indignation that ‘in Hungary very nearly a million Jews were able to live in freedom and without restrictions.’ Even before the Regent had returned to Budapest, German troops had begun the occupation of Hungary in order to prevent her from abandoning her alliance with Germany. This occupation forced upon the Head of the Hungarian State a new government that was far more dependent on German authority than the one preceding it. Emigration of the Jews was straightway suspended, and the persecutions began.

This was a matter of the gravest concern to the ICRC. The President appealed to the Regent, Admiral Horthy: ‘The matters brought to our knowledge seem to us,’ he wrote on July 5, 1944, ‘so utterly contrary to the chivalrous traditions of the great Hungarian people that it is difficult for us to credit even a tithe of the information we are receiving. In the name of the ICRC, I venture to beg Your Highness to give instructions enabling us to reply to these rumours and accusations.’ The Regent replied, on August 12: ‘It is unfortunately not within my power to prevent inhuman acts which no one condemns more severely than my people, whose thoughts and feelings are chivalrous. I have instructed the Hungarian government to take up the settlement of the Jewish question in Budapest. It is to be hoped that this statement will not give rise to serious complications.’

In the spirit of this reply, the Hungarian authorities allowed the delegate in Budapest to affix shields on the camps and internment buildings for the Jews, conferring on them the protection of the Red Cross. If the use of these shields (hardly compatible, moreover, with the precise terms of the Geneva Convention) was no more extensive, this was due to the fact that the Jewish Senate of Budapest was of the opinion that the measure would doubtless lose its effectiveness if generally applied.

The Hungarian government, furthermore, showed themselves willing to favour a resumption of Jewish emigration. The Committee got in touch with the British and United States governments as a matter of extreme urgency and, during August, obtained a joint statement from these two governments declaring their desire to give support by every means to the emigration of Jews from Hungary.

To this end, the Committee was requested to transmit the following message to Budapest from the United States government: ‘The United States government has been advised by the ICRC of the Hungarian government’s willingness to permit certain categories of refugees to emigrate from Hungary. […] The Government of the United States, taking into account the humanitarian considerations involved as regards the Jews in Hungary, now specifically repeats its assurance that arrangements will be made by it for the care of all Jews who in the present circumstances are allowed to leave Hungary and who reach the territory of the United Nations or neutral countries, and that it will find for such people temporary havens of refuge where they may live in safety. The governments of neutral countries have been advised of these assurances and have been requested to permit the entry into the territory of Jews from Hungary who may reach their frontiers.’

On October 8, the Hungarian authorities, in conformity with the undertaking given to the Committee, announced the final suspension of deportations and made known that the Kistarcea Camp for Jewish intellectuals, doctors and engineers, had been broken up and the internees released.

The hope raised by this statement was short-lived. A few days later the full tide of the great tribulations of the Hungarian Jews was to set in. In view of the setbacks of the German Army, Admiral Horthy had decided to sever his country’s connection with Germany. On October 15, he asked the Allied Powers for an armistice for Hungary. This proclamation had an immense effect amongst the Jews, who were ardent in their demonstrations against the occupying Power. Although the German Army was in retreat both in Eastern and Western Europe, it had still a firm foothold in Hungary. The Regent failed in his plan and was arrested. Hungarian supporters of the Germans seized power and set about a repression, increasing in severity as the fighting zone came nearer, placing Budapest in a state of siege. It is alleged that shots were fired from Jewish houses on the German troops; however that may be, repression was centered on the Jews. It was immediately decided to remove them from Budapest and to confiscate their property. Sixty thousand Jews fit for work were to be sent to Germany, on foot, in parties of one thousand, by way of Vienna. Moreover, among the able-bodied, men between sixteen and sixty, and women between fourteen and forty were commandeered for forced labour in building fortifications in Hungary. The rest of the Jewish population, including the disabled and sick, was confined in four or five ghettos near Budapest. The only Jews to escape evacuation were those in possession of passports with visas for Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal or Spain.

These measures were accompanied, at the outset, by brutalities and thefts against which the delegate immediately protested. The Ministry of the Interior, giving heed to this action, issued a decree forbidding pillage as from October 20. Meanwhile, the delegation was giving refuge to the members of the Jewish Senate of Budapest. Since their position was apparently threatened, the delegate renewed his appeals to the German authorities, as to the Hungarian government and on October 29, the wireless announced that the ICRC buildings were granted extraterritoriality, similar to that of the Legations.

His position thus strengthened, the delegate devoted himself with all the more assurance to the relief work he had courageously undertaken in behalf of the Jews. ‘It is hard,’ he wrote, ‘to imagine the difficulty I had in holding out against a gang in whose hands the power lay, and at a time when disorder, murder and aggression were the order of the day, to compel it still to show some restraint and to observe the respect due to the Red Cross emblem […]’

The fate of children whose parents had been deported to the labour camps was especially tragic. The delegate succeeded, with the help of the ‘Jo Pasztor‘ organization, in setting up some twenty homes in which these children, accompanied in some cases by their mothers, could be accommodated. The hospital staff consisted of trained nurses and of Jews, whose employment in these homes ensured them a certificate of protection similar to those which the delegate issued to his fellow workers.

The Committee’s representatives also opened soup-kitchens, each able to provide about a hundred hot meals a day. Reception and accommodation centres were set up, as well as hospitals with children’s and maternity wards, and a first aid station open to the public ‘without distinction of race or creed.’ Furthermore, the delegate issued thirty thousand letters of protection, which although without any legal basis, were respected by the authorities and exempted their holders from compulsory labour.

In November, one hundred thousand Jews poured into Budapest from the provinces. The government decided to shut them up in a ghetto, and with them the Jews who had remained in Budapest, in particular the children sheltered in the Red Cross homes. ‘I considered that my main task,’ wrote the delegate, ‘lay in ensuring that this ghetto life was at least as bearable as possible. I had incredible difficulty in obtaining from the Hungarian Nazis, in the course of daily bargaining, conditions and concession which would ensure to some degree the means to exist for those in the ghetto. Continual interviews took place with the Jewish Senate on the one hand, and with the town administration on the other, to ensure at least minimum food supplies for the ghetto at a time when all traffic had stopped, owing to the constant bombing, and provisioning was becoming more and more difficult.’ The delegate secured that the Jews’ rations should be fixed at 920 calories, i.e. two thirds of the minimum Hungarian prison fare. Later on it was possible to make a slight increase of this figure, thanks to the issue of relief supplies.

In spite of the delegate’s efforts, the children transferred to the ghetto had been put sixty in a room in premises which it had been impossible either to clean or to disinfect. Pleading the danger of epidemics, he succeeded in getting the children inspected by a committee who had authority to make some decision on their situation. This health inspection allowed 500 of the 800 children examined to be sent back to the homes from which they had been removed, and for 300 to be placed in hospitals. The other children did not leave the ghetto, but were taken care of there by relatives or friends. Furthermore, the Delegation sent into the ghetto, with permission of the government, five persons instructed to furnish regular and detailed reports on each child’s need of food and clothing. Finally, on the initiative of the delegate, one thousand orphans selected ‘without distinction of race or religion’ were assembled in the Abbey of Panonalma, a Benedictine monastery placed at the delegate’s disposal by the Bishop of Gyor. This refuge, under the protection of the Red Cross, was respected by the German and Hungarian troops in retreat, and also by the Soviet Army.

The devotion and generosity of the Bishop of Gyor were a fruitful help to the delegate in the relief work he had undertaken. His task was to improve the food and shelter of the convoys of Jews who were being deported to labour camps in Germany and compelled to do stages of twenty-five to thirty kilometres a day on foot. The Bishop organized a relief centre en route, which he financed and which was administered by representatives of the Committee. It gave shelter from bad weather, for a few hours at least, to thousands of Jews during their terrible exodus. The ‘transport groups’ of the delegation issued food to them on the road, paid the peasants to carry the weakest, fifteen to twenty at a time, in their carts, gave medical attention to the sick and dispensed medical supplies.

On November 12, a new threat hung over the hospitals protected by the Red Cross emblem, which the police had searched with an order to turn out the Jews. The delegate, on the strength of the authority he had been granted, protested to the government. As a result, the police authorities were instructed not to proceed with the evictions from the hospitals.

It must be apparent what difficulties and dangers were encountered at every turn by the Committee’s representatives in a town subject to the most violent bombardments. They were supported in their courageous work by the untiring devotion to duty of the members of the Jewish Senate, and by the equally generous activity of the representatives of the two main protecting Powers, Switzerland and Sweden.

As soon as Budapest was liberated, the delegate and the local Jewish organizations established, with the funds of the New York Joint Committee stocks of foodstuffs and of the most necessary medical supplies. The Russian military authorities had ordered all foreigners to leave Budapest. When our delegate had to go, a Hungarian minister paid him the tribute of stating that he had, in a time of historic crisis, succeeded in making the capital a ‘protectorate of Geneva.’

Rumania. – The delegate’s part was a very important one, owing to the opportunities there were in that country for the purchase of foodstuffs. Financial aid and relief in kind could be sent from Bucharest to Poland and neighbouring countries. The Committee came to an agreement concerning relief in Rumania itself with the National Red Cross there, to whom our delegate handed funds for the purchase of goods. It should be emphasized that wealthy Rumanian Jews contributed in large measure towards assisting their co-religionists in need. From 1943, the Committee’s work in Rumania was made easier by the fact that the delegate had been able to inspire the Rumanian government with trust.

During the period in September 1940, when the ‘Iron Guard,’ supported by the Gestapo and the German SS, had seized power, the Jews had been subjected to persecution and deportation to death camps. Later, under the dictatorship of Marshall Antonescu, they met with less severity. Special understanding was shown by the Vice-president of the Council, Mr. Mihai Antonescu, who was entrusted with the settlement of the Jewish question. ‘The Rumanian government,’ he wrote to the delegate in Bucharest, ‘repudiates any material solution contrary to civilized custom and in defiance of the Christian spirit which dominate the conscience of the Rumanian people.’

In December 1943 Mr. Mihai Antonescu had an interview with this delegate which led to making their activities of the Committee in behalf of Jews far easier. This talk bore mainly on the case of Jews deported beyond the Dniester to the Ukraine, who were native of Bessarabia and the Bukovina. These provinces had been returned to Rumania after the first World War, and came again under Soviet power by the terms of the Soviet-German treaty at the beginning of the Second War. After the reshuffle in 1941, Rumania, who had become Germany’s ally against the USSR, reoccupied these two provinces. The Jews, whom the Rumanians considered guilty of having welcomed too easily a return to Russian allegiance, were then deported. The Rumanian government’s plan, drawn up in agreement with Germany, seems to have been to settle these Jews on lands in the region of the Sea of Azov. This could not be carried out, however, unless the USSR were defeated. In the light of the Russian victories, the Rumanian government decided, towards the close of 1943, to repatriate the survivors of this deplorable migration, the numbers of which had fallen from 200,000 to 78,000. Mr. Mihai Antonescu welcomed the opportunity of the approaches made by the delegate in Bucharest, to entrust him with a mission of enquiry into the means of carrying out this repatriation, and authorized him to tour Transnistria to distribute clothing and relief to these unfortunate people. Furthermore, the delegate succeeded in getting an assurance that the Czernowitz Jews, the only ones still compelled to wear the yellow star, should be exempted, as this badge exposed them to the brutality of German troops passing through. Finally, it was agreed that Red Cross purchases might be freely made at the official rates.

When the delegate saw the Vice-president of the Council again on his return, he drew his attention specially to the plight of the children who had lost their parents and were left abandoned in Transnistria. Mr. Mihai Antonescu promised to allow 150 children to leave each week for Palestine or elsewhere, if the Committee could arrange their journey. Three months later, the Rumanian government offered two recently-built first-class steamers, the Transilvania and the Bessarabia, then held in Turkish waters, and suggested the Committee should buy them, reserving to Rumania the option of repurchase, for use as transports for emigrants under the Swiss flag. Switzerland, as the protecting Power for British interests, could in fact be considered as the protecting Power for Jews bound for Palestine, since these Jews were to become on arrival assimilated to British nationals.

Up to that time, the remedy of emigration had been no more than a meagre palliative for the sufferings of the Jews. Bulgaria had shut her frontiers to emigrants traveling on a collective passport, and only Jews under eighteen years of age or over forty-five had been able to reach Turkey, under individual permits. Transport by sea from Rumanian ports would have afforded the best means of emigration. But besides the difficulties met with by the Jews in leaving, account had to be taken of the political problem raised for the British authorities by an influx of Jews, considered as intruders by the majority of the local population of a territory under British mandate. The first vessel, the Struma, which left Constanza for Palestine independently of any action by the Committee, at the beginning of 1942, had been detained at Istanbul owing to engine trouble, and was subsequently obliged to sail again for Rumania, as it was impossible to obtain the necessary permits to continue on its route. It was wrecked, and 750 emigrants were drowned. This pioneer expedition, ending so disastrously, was a lesson in the need of prudence.

The Committee was asked to grant the protection of the Red Cross emblem to emigrant transports and would have consented to this, on the basis of a very liberal interpretation of the provisions of the Tenth Hague Convention of 1907, which govern the use of hospital ships, whilst reckoning too that cargo-boats sailing under their control and carrying relief supplies for PW or civilian internees were covered by the Red Cross emblem. However, it would have wished to do this in agreement with all the Powers concerned. Therefore, the Committee made its consent conditional on the following terms. The transport organizations should charter neutral vessels which would be accompanied by the Committee’s representative, and would be used exclusively for the transport of emigrants. The ships were not to sail before obtaining safe-conducts from all the belligerents concerned, as well as their agreement as to the route to be followed.

These conditions were unfortunately never obtained. The Bellacita, however, was authorized by Rumania to carry out a daily service for the transport of Jewish children from Constanza or Mangalia to Istanbul, and sailed under the protection of the Rumanian Red Cross, the Committee having notified all belligerents of these voyages.

The delegate in Bucharest was faced with a very grave decision when the question arose of embarking Jews for Palestine on two Bulgarian vessels, the Milka and the Maritza, both chartered by Zionist organizations. There was reason to fear the same fate for them as for those who sailed in the Struma. Moreover, the heads of Jewish organizations did not agree as to the names for the list of emigrants, and the Rumanian authorities applied to the Committee to arbitrate. The delegate confined himself to a check of the emigration permits and thus aided their departure. They arrived safely in Istanbul a few days later. In August 1944, the Committee finally agreed that vessels carrying emigrants might display the Red Cross emblem, even in the absence of certain of the conditions which had been laid down.

On August 23, the King of Rumania took advantage of the retreat of the German troops to put an end to the dictatorship of Marshal Antonescu, and to enter into armistice negotiations with the Allies. The racial laws were thereupon abolished in Rumania.

The Committee continued their relief work on behalf of Jews, however, until the close of hostilities.

In its report of December 1944, the delegation in Bucharest stated that, thanks to consignments from the Joint Committee of New York and to collections made on the spot, it had been able to come to the help of 183,000 Rumanian Jews, comprising: 17,000 deportees repatriated from Transnistria; 30,000 men liberated from forced labour with their families (90,000 persons); 20,000 evacuees from small towns and villages; 10,000 evacuees from the war zone; 20,000 homeless persons, as a result of bombardments; 20,000 workmen and officials dismissed from their employment; and 6,000 Hungarians who had succeeded in escaping deportation and were found in Northern Transylvania.

Tribute was paid to this humanitarian work by the President of the American Union of Rumanian Jews. He wrote, in March 1945, to the Committee’s delegate in Washington as follows:

‘The work of the International Red Cross in helping the Jewish population in Rumania, and the Jews transported to Transnistria has been appreciated at its true worth not only by Dr. Safran, the Chief Rabbi in Rumania and the Jewish Community of Rumania, but also by the many thousands of members of our Union whose own relatives benefitted by that help. The International Red Cross Committee had rendered truly invaluable service to our people in Rumania.’

Mr. Joseph C. Hyman, Vice-President of the American Joint Distribution Committee of New York, had already made public the debt of gratitude due to the International Red Cross. In an article published in the journal ‘News’ on February 16, 1945, under the title ‘The Joint Distribution Committee Lauds International Red Cross Co-operation,’ he is quoted as follows: ‘Thousands of Jews in newly liberated lands and in German concentration camps owe their lives to the sanctuary and the help given them by the International Red Cross. In those parts of the world where J.D.C., major American agency for the rescue and relief of distressed Jews overseas, cannot itself work directly, we know we can count on the International Red Cross […] to act for us in bringing aid to suffering Jewry.”

Volume 3 of the Report, particularly pages 73-84, 335-340, 479-481, 505-529, contains additional material that can be cited as needed.

Recall that our objective here is to form a reasonably accurate picture of what happened to the Jews of Slovakia, Croatia, and Hungary. However there are some matters raised in the excerpt which deserve at least a few remarks.

There are enough references to “extermination” here to lead the casual reader to the impression that the Red Cross accepted the extermination claims. On reflection, however, such an inference is seen as being not so clearly necessary and, even if made, not very relevant. We are told that “the Jews had become […] condemned by rigid racial legislation to […] systematic extermination” but there was, as is well known, no such legislation if by “extermination” is meant mass murder. Also “they were […] sent to death camps,” which was true of those who had been conscripted for labor and sent to the concentration camps during the camps’ two worst periods (1942 and 1945). It “seems” that “many thousands” of Slovakian Jews went “to the extermination camps.” It is anybody’s guess what is meant by the “death camps” to which some Romanian Jews were sent in 1940; whatever is meant, it was not a German measure.

In Volume 3 we read (page 479) that “when military operations spread to Hungarian soil (in early October 1944), the ICRC delegate in Budapest made the uttermost exertions to prevent the extermination of the Hungarian Jews.” Further on (pages 513-514) we read that during the war, “threatened with extermination, the Jews were, in the last resort, generally deported in the most inhuman manner, shut up in concentration camps, subjected to forced labor or put to death.” The Germans “aimed more or less openly at their extermination.”

We can see two possible reasons for the presence of such (ambiguous and/or very general) remarks. The first is that they are there because the authors of the Report, or most of them, on the basis of news reports, the war crimes trials, the fact of deportations, the fact of Nazi hostility toward the Jews, and the fact that the Germans wanted the Jews out of Europe, believed the wartime and post-war extermination claims (they obviously did not see any Jews being exterminated). The second possible reason is that the remarks are there for political-public relations reasons. For example, although the Germans and Hungarians had allowed the ICRC to operate in Hungary and the Russians had expelled it, the Report nevertheless finds it expedient to say that Budapest was “liberated” by the Russian capture.

The critical reader will obviously wish that the first explanation for the appearance of these remarks be accepted, at least for purposes of discussion. We should have no objections to this; it makes little difference in the analysis because all we want to know from the Report is what happened to the Jews of Slovakia, Croatia, and Hungary. The presence of the remarks about “extermination,” put into the Report at a time when the detailed extermination charges had received the widest publicity, is actually helpful to our case because, whatever the explanation for the remarks, the possibility of extermination of most or many of the Jews of Slovakia, Croatia, and Hungary most definitely is part of the proper subject matter of the Report. An absence of claims bearing on extermination should not, thus, be interpreted as meaning that the possibility of extermination is not part of the matters being treated, but that the ICRC did not observe occurrences consistent with the extermination claims.

With these considerations in mind, what does the Report say happened to the Jews of Slovakia, Croatia, and Hungary? The extent of German influence had differed prior to 1944, and some number of Slovakian Jews had been deported to the East, but the Report makes no speculations of extermination here and obviously accepts that they had merely been deported. By 1944, German influence in the three countries was about uniform, and nothing very consequential happened until the autumn of 1944 when the Germans interned, or attempted to intern, many of the Jews for very valid security reasons and also deported a number of Hungarian Jews to Germany for labor.

On the subject of the Hungarian Jews, a certain amount was going on between March and October 1944, but whatever it was, the events which began in October 1944 after the arrest of Horthy were the most severe. The excerpt is most emphatic on this point in two places and, moreover, to place the critical date in the autumn of 1944 is fully consistent with the identical claim for the contiguous countries of Slovakia and Croatia.

It was after October 15 that “the full tide of the great tribulations of the Hungarian Jews was to set in” on account of the “German pressure (which) was reasserted, from March 1944 onwards,” which in October 1944 “provoked a violent crisis; executions, robberies, deportations, forced labor, imprisonments.” The Jews “suffered cruelly and lost many killed, especially in the provinces.”

To repeat, there was a certain amount going on prior to October 1944, including deportations, but the Report asserts unambiguously that the events beginning October 1944 were the major ones for the Hungarian Jews. The “executions” and “robberies” probably refer to private actions of Hungarians taken, perhaps, with the implicit encouragement or at least unconcern of the new puppet government. The Report is fully precise about the “deportations” and “forced labor” measures that were instituted in October 1944. Jews were put to work on fortifications in Hungary and the Germans decided to send 60,000 to Germany for labor (the number actually deported in this action was between 35,000 and 45,000). There being no rail transport available, the Jews had to walk, as least as far as Vienna, but the Red Cross organized aid along the route.[1]Red Cross (1948), vol. 3, 523.

It is not possible that the ICRC delegation in Hungary could have been unaware of anti-Jewish measures occurring significantly earlier in 1944, which even equaled in severity, much less dwarfed, the events beginning in October 1944. After all, the Jewish Senate of Budapest was being quartered in the Red Cross legation, and was doubtless fully informed on Hungarian Jewish matters. In addition, the later extermination claims would have “reminded” the delegate of far more drastic events earlier in the year, if they had actually occurred, as we shall see shortly.

Before passing on to consider the specific claims of extermination of Hungarian Jews, we should touch briefly on a few points made in the excerpt in connection with Theresienstadt.

We have had occasion in previous chapters to remark on Theresienstadt in Bohemia-Moravia (western Czechoslovakia) and our remarks are consistent with those of the excerpt. What is arresting in the Red Cross account is the report that “this camp had been started as an experiment by certain leaders of the Reich, who were apparently less hostile to the Jews than those responsible for the racial policy of the German government. These men wished to give to Jews the means of setting up a communal life in a town under their own administration and possessing almost complete autonomy.”

Jewish policy was administered by Eichmann’s office in the RSHA of the SS, and it was Karl Adolf Eichmann, “specialist for all Jewish questions,” who had accompanied the head of the Security Police of Bohemia-Moravia, Colonel Erwin Weinemann, in showing the Red Cross delegation around Theresienstadt during the April 6, 1945, visit. During a gathering in the evening, Eichmann had explained to the delegates “that Theresienstadt was a creation of Reichsführer-SS Himmler” and had explained the philosophy involved, accurately passed on to us in the Report excerpt. Eichmann added that he, “personally, did not entirely approve of these methods but, as a good soldier, he naturally blindly obeyed the orders of the Reichsführer.”[2]Reitlinger, 512f.; Red Cross (1947), 99f.

It is quite clear, therefore, that Theresienstadt was an operation of the SS, who were the “certain leaders of the Reich” involved here. In addition, it is known that it was RSHA chief Heydrich who made the Theresienstadt decision shortly after he had acquired his secondary role of Deputy Protector of Bohemia-Moravia in September 1941.[3]Reitlinger, 176f.; Shirer (1960), 991.

What the Red Cross saw at Theresienstadt was part of regular SS policy. It is of some interest that the Report tells us, without comment, that the delegate had asked about “departures for the East” and that the ICRC makes no speculations regarding any sinister interpretations to be placed on the “transfers to Auschwitz,” despite the notorious and universally known charges in this connection.

In critical evaluation of the Red Cross Report, one must obviously be wary in two senses. First, one should reserve some judgments in relation to a self-serving aspect of the Report. The typical respects in which a charitable organization’s publications might be self-serving are in exaggerating the efficacy of measures taken and, in cases where it is evident that no efficacious measures have been taken, in hastily blaming the lack of efficacy on the tight fists of potential contributors (and often there are very solid grounds for such claims). Thus, we should not be crushed if it were found that the Hungarian Jewish children or the Jews who walked to Vienna, both of whom were aided by the Red Cross, actually suffered a little bit more than might seem suggested by the Report (I am not, of course, making any claim that such was the case).

A second reservation concerns inevitable political bias as a result of external political pressures; the “liberation” of Budapest by the Russians shows this at work in the Report. The situation of 1948 clearly implied that when political bias appeared in the Report it be anti-German bias. We observe that this exists in the Report, but fortunately, this bias is effectively non-existent, if one reads the Report with well defined questions in mind, such questions bearing only on matters within the actual sphere of competence of the ICRC and its delegates.

Nevertheless, it should again be stressed that my argument in no way depends upon interpreting the Report as meaning other than what it says, or as not really meaning what it says, at those points selected by me. I offer no parallel of the extermination claims, which insist that phrases such as Leichenkeller, Badeanstalt, special treatment and “readiness for transport” be attributed meanings consistent with wartime propaganda claims. There is no quarrel with the person who insists on interpreting the Report as declaring in a very general way that the Germans were attempting to exterminate the Jews, because all we want to know is what the ICRC delegates were able to witness in their positions in Slovakia, Croatia, and Hungary.

1944 Propaganda • 1,900 Words

We have seen roughly what happened in Hungary, and now the extermination claims should be examined. We first review the relevant propaganda during 1944 and then the charges made after the war, constituting the legend of the extermination of the Hungarian Jews. There are both significant differences and significant similarities between the 1944 propaganda and the later claims. Our survey of the former again employs the New York Times as source.

In 1944, atrocity and extermination propaganda of a general sort continued:

12 Feb. 1944, p. 6: “A young Polish Jew who escaped from a mass execution in Poland […] repeated a story […that at Belzec] Jews were forced naked onto a metal platform operated as a hydraulic elevator which lowered them into a huge vat filled with water. […] They were electrocuted by current through the water.”

This claim had also been made in London in November 1942,[4]Reitlinger, 148. and we encountered it on page 111 in the New York Times story of December 20, 1942. The emphasis in the propaganda during the spring and summer of 1944 was, however, on the Hungarian Jews. Immediately after the German occupation:

21 Mar. 1944. p. 4: “The fate of 800,000 Jews in Hungary was one immediate concern of Jewish circles in Stockholm.”

Roosevelt involved himself directly with a speech prepared for him by the War Refugee Board.[5]US-WRB (1945), 49.

25 Mar. 1944, p. 4: “In the meantime in most of Europe and in parts of Asia the systematic torture and murder of civilians – men, women and children – by the Nazis and Japanese continue unabated. In areas subjugated by the aggressors innocent Poles, Czechs, Norwegians, Dutch, Danes, French, Greeks, Russians, Chinese, Filipinos – and many others – are being starved or frozen to death or murdered in cold blood in a campaign of savagery.

The slaughters of Warsaw, Lidice, Kharkov and Nanking – the brutal torture and murder by the Japanese, not only of civilians but of our own gallant American soldiers and fliers – these are startling examples of what goes on day by day, year in and year out, wherever the Nazis and the Japs are in military control – free to follow their barbaric purpose.

In one of the blackest crimes of all history – begun by the Nazis in the day of peace and multiplied by them a hundred times in time of war – the wholesale systematic murder of the Jews of Europe goes on unabated every hour. As a result of the events of the last few days hundreds of thousands of Jews, who, while living under persecution, have at least found a haven from death in Hungary and the Balkans, are now threatened with annihilation as Hitler’s forces descend more heavily upon these lands. That these innocent people, who have already survived a decade of Hitler’s fury, should perish on the very eve of triumph over the barbarism which their persecution symbolized, would be a major tragedy.

[…] All who knowingly take part in the deportation of Jews to their death in Poland or Norwegians and French to their death in Germany are equally guilty with the executioner. All who share the guilt shall share the punishment.

[…] In the meantime, and until the victory that is now assured is won, the United States will persevere in its efforts to rescue the victims of brutality of the Nazis and the Japs. In so far as the necessity of military operations permit this government will use all means at its command to aid the escape of all intended victims of the Nazi and Jap executioner – regardless of race or religion or color. We call upon the free peoples of Europe and Asia temporarily to open their frontiers to all victims of oppression. We shall find havens of refuge for them, and we shall find the means for their maintenance and support until the tyrant is driven from their homelands and they may return.

In the name of justice and humanity let all freedom loving people rally to this righteous undertaking.”


[…] based on the Nazi Nuremberg laws […]

whose nature was further specified as:

April 16, 1944, p. 17: […] the registration and closing of all Jewish properties. […]

April 28, 1944, p. 5: […] recent reports from Hungary said 300,000 Jews had been moved from the eastern and northeastern parts of the country to so-called collection camps.”

May 10, 1944, p. 5: “by Joseph M. Levy

[…] it is a fact that Hungary […] is now preparing for the annihilation of Hungarian Jews by the most fiendish methods. […] Sztojay’s […] government […] is about to start the extermination of about 1,000,000 human beings. […] The government in Budapest had decreed the creation in different parts of Hungary of ‘special baths’ for Jews. These baths are in reality huge gas chambers arranged for mass murder, like those inaugurated in Poland in 1941.”

May 18, 1944, p. 5: “by Joseph M. Levy

80,000 Jews of the Carpathian provinces […] have been sent to murder camps in Poland.”

June 9, 1944, p. 5: “300,000 Hungarian Jews have been interned in camps and ghettos [within Hungary…]

June 18, 1944, p. 24:[…] recent statements made by the Hungarian Premier, Doeme Sztojay, that Jews were being exterminated to provide ‘room for American Hungarians to return to their native country after the war.’”

June 20, 1944, p. 5: “Czechoslovak Jews interned in […] Terezin […] were dragged to gas chambers in the notorious German concentration camps at Birkenau and Oswiecim. Confirmation of the execution there of uncounted thousands was brought to London recently by a young Pole who had been imprisoned in both camps.”

June 25, 1944, p. 5: “[A Polish underground] message said that new mass murders were taking place at the Oswiecim concentration camp. They were carried out by gas in the following order: Jews, war prisoners, whatever their nationality, and invalids. A hundred thousand Jews have already been sent to Oswiecim for execution. […]

June 27, 1944, p. 6: “Hull [called] upon Hungary to halt her mistreatment of Jews [and warned that] those German officers and men […] who have […] taken […] part in the […] atrocities, massacres and executions will be punished.”

July 2, 1944, p. 12: “Hungarian sources in Turkey reported that the 350,000 Jews […] were being rounded up for deportation to death camps in Poland. By June 17, 400,000 had been sent to Poland; the remaining 350,000 are expected to be put to death by July 24.”

On July 3 (page 3) the “report” that eventually became the WRB report appeared as a report of two relief committees in Switzerland, specifying that since April 400,000 Hungarian Jews had been sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The crematories are reported to contain 50 furnaces each taking 8-10 corpses at a time. On July 6 (page 6), the story was repeated, Eden endorsed the charges, and the World Jewish

“Congress was notified more than two weeks ago that 100,000 Jews recently deported from Hungary to Poland had been gassed in the notorious German death camp at Oswiecim. Between May 15 and 27 sixty two railroad cars laden with Jewish children […] and six cars laden with Jewish adults passed daily through the Plaszow station near Cracow. Mass deportations have also begun from Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, where the Jews have heretofore been unmolested.”

July 13, 1944, p. 3: “2,500 Jewish men, women and children […] will arrive in the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps by this week-end, probably with previous knowledge of their fate.”

On July 15, (page 3) Hull again condemned the alleged killing of Hungarian Jews, and then from the “Polish underground”:

August 4, 1944, p. 5: “courier […] declared that Hungarian Jews were still being sent to Oswiecim, twelve trainloads every twenty-four hours. In their haste […] the Germans […] were killing small children with bludgeons. Many bodies were being burned in open fires, he said, because the crematories were over-taxed.”

On August 11 (page 4) is reported a letter by Horthy to the King of Sweden declaring that deportations of Jews had been stopped and that they were being allowed to leave Hungary.

There are too many contradictions in the propaganda for it to equal later charges. However, the charges resemble the propaganda somewhat. The present story is that between the middle of May and sometime in early July 1944, approximately 400,000 Hungarian Jews, from districts outside of the capital of Budapest, were deported by rail by the Germans and that almost all of these were killed at Birkenau, the killings having been the primary purpose of the deportations. This operation essentially cleaned out the Hungarian Jews, except for Budapest, where the Jews were left essentially intact. Even Birkenau was not designed for such large numbers of killings, so many bodies were disposed of in burning pits, and many were shot rather than gassed.[6]Reitlinger, 447-487, 540-542; Hilberg (1961), 509-554, 599-600. Reitlinger figures some of the Hungarian Jews among the Romanians.

It is obvious that no such thing could have happened, and received world-wide publicity during the war and at the later trials, without the ICRC delegation in Budapest learning of it. After all, we are speaking here of the near entirety of non-Budapest Jews, and such massive and monstrous events could not have been flippantly forgotten by the person contributing the “Hungary” section of the excerpt we have examined. The excerpt says emphatically that the major negative events effecting the Hungarian Jews occurred starting on October 1944 after Horthy’s arrest. Moreover, the Report contains the general remarks about “extermination” which we have noted, so any extermination of Hungarian Jews would, if it were a reality, definitely be mentioned in the Report. There is clearly no truth to the claim of exterminations of Hungarian Jews.

At this point it is appropriate to provide some remarks on Hungarian Jewish population in early 1944. The Nazis used a figure of about 700 or 750 thousand.[7]NG-2586-G in NMT, vol. 13, 212; NO-5194, part of the Korherr report, which is reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 240-248; NG-5620, cited by Hilberg (1961), 513. Ruppin’s 1940 book reports that the Hungarian Jewish population rose from 440 to 480 thousand in the autumn of 1938, due to the annexation of parts of Slovakia. In the spring of 1939, the Carpatho-Ukraine was annexed so that, in June 1939, there were about 590,000 Jews in Hungary. It is known that a good number of non-Hungarian Jews, mainly Polish, took refuge in Hungary after 1939, so Ruppin’s pre-war figure of 590,000 could easily have swelled to the 700,000 or 750,000 figure that the Nazis used. Ruppin’s figure for Budapest’s Jewish population is 200,000 in 1930. This figure would not have been supplemented by the annexations, but it would have been supplemented to some degree during the Thirties by German and Austrian Jews and to a greater degree by Polish and other Jews after 1939. It seems reasonable to assume that there were about 300,000 Jews in Budapest in the spring of 1944. Thus, we seem to have a fairly good idea of Hungarian and Budapest Jewish population in 1944. Clearly the removal of 400,000 or more non-Budapest Jews in the spring of 1944 would have entailed the removal of essentially all non-Budapest Jews. Not only could this not have failed to be noticed by the Red Cross delegation, it is also difficult to see where the “one hundred thousand Jews” who “poured into Budapest from the provinces” in November could have come from.[8]Ruppin, 30f., 68.

There are other arguments against the extermination claims. First, it will be seen that the charges specify that special arrangements were made at a conference in Vienna in early May to provide four trains per day to effect these deportations, and that the trains were in fact provided on schedule. That is, in the crucial few weeks before and after D-Day (June 6), at a time of desperate rail shortages, with both fronts threatening to collapse, the Germans provided an amount of extra rail transportation that would strain the resources of any rail system under the best of circumstances. That is just not believable. It is worth remembering that the rail journey from Budapest to Auschwitz is much more formidable than the map might suggest, on account of the mountains in eastern Czechoslovakia.

Where are the pictures? • 500 Words

A second additional argument against the charges relate to the question, often asked, why did not the Allies attempt to bomb the gas chambers that, by the time of the alleged killings of Hungarian Jews, the whole world “knew” about? The question can be considerably broadened.

On June 8, 1944, the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force, based in southern Italy, was ordered to emphasize oil targets in its bombings, and was given a list of specific oil targets in eastern and southeastern Europe. The principal target and the one that received the major share of attention was the Ploesti area in Romania. However, Auschwitz, which was also one of the targets on the list, was first bombed on August 20 and was subsequently bombed in September and December.[9]Craven, 280-302, 641f; Carter (see Index under “Auschwitz”).

Now in the Allied bombing operations in World War II it was customary to make extensive use of photographic intelligence. One objective was the assessment of damage done by attacks and another was the planning of attacks: determining whether or not the target was worth attacking and also determining the extent and nature of the defenses in the area of the target.[10]C. B. Smith, 167. It is a certainty that intelligence had photographed Auschwitz and the surrounding area, rather thoroughly, soon after the June 8 order. In this case the Americans should have been able to provide actual photographs of all these Hungarian Jews being moved into Auschwitz and shot and burned out in the open. They should not even have been obliged to take any special measures to produce for us, either at the time of the alleged killings or at the later trials, photographic evidence for their claims. Of course, to have been fully convincing, the former time should have been chosen, because the Russians controlled Auschwitz after January 1945.

The photograph of Fig. 7 is claimed to have been taken at Auschwitz in August 1944, but it has already been discussed in proper context. In any case, the number of bodies evident in the photograph roughly corresponds to the rate of ordinary deaths at Auschwitz, especially for 1942.

Despite all the attention the Hungarian Jews and Auschwitz were receiving at the time and despite the Roosevelt promise publicized on March 25, the Americans did not lift a finger either to interfere with the alleged deportations – by bombing the specific rail lines involved – or with the alleged killings – by bombing the “gas chambers.” They not only failed to take the opportunity to provide us with photographic evidence for their claims, they also do not seem to have the evidence despite having taken the photographs.

All of these considerations, the Red Cross Report, the wild impracticality of exterminating Hungarian Jews in the spring and summer of 1944, and the non-existence of any relevant consequences of the Allied control of the air, compel the conclusion that nothing resembling or approximating extermination actually happened to the Hungarian Jews.

Air Raids on Auschwitz: Rudolf Vrba Overreaches Himself • 1,000 Words

We will shortly review the evidence for the extermination claim, but first we should provide an aside relative to the problem of the date of the first air raid at Auschwitz. We remarked on page 136 that Rudolf Vrba’s claim that there was an air raid at Auschwitz on April 9, 1944, undermines his credibility. We have indicated above that Auschwitz was first bombed in August. This view is based mainly on the Combat Chronology, edited by Carter and Mueller, that the U.S. Air Force published in 1973, and on the standard and semi-official work by Craven et al., The Army Air Forces in World War II. The latter also treats the activities of the RAF Bomber Command, especially in connection with the oil campaign. The corresponding four volume British work by Webster and Frankland, The Strategic Air Offensive Against Germany 1939-1945, bases its account of the oil campaign on that of Craven et al.

An attack in early April seems completely out of the question. Auschwitz was of strategic importance only as an oil target. Craven et al. provide an excellent summary of the air force oil campaign. There had been a spectacular raid at Ploesti in 1943, but there was no sustained oil campaign until the spring of 1944, on account of disagreements among Allied leaders regarding target priorities. By May 1944, only 1.1% of Allied bombs had fallen on oil targets. On March 17, 1944, the Fifteenth Air Force was advised to undertake attacks against Ploesti at the first opportunity, but “surreptitiously under the general directive which called for bombing transportation targets supporting German forces that faced the Russians.” The first such attack came on April 5, and there were also attacks on April 15 and 24, in all three cases directed mainly against the rail centers near Ploesti, with a hope that there would be “incidental” damage to oil refineries. Oil-related bombings by England-based aircraft did not commence until April 19, but these were also carried out under cover of an objective other than oil. The Fifteenth Air Force carried out several more raids against Ploesti before the June 8 order, after which the oil campaign got under way officially and extensively.[11]Craven, 172-179.

This being the situation, and in consideration of the confirmation provided by the Combat Chronology, it is impossible to believe that Auschwitz was bombed in April, when it was difficult to justify, within the allied command, raids even against choice targets such as Ploesti. That a relatively minor oil target such as Auschwitz, much smaller than the not distant synthetic oil plants at Blechhammer, was bombed in April, is most unlikely. Even Blechhammer is not mentioned as a target until long after April.

Only the U.S. and British air forces are relevant to the problem of possible air raids at Auschwitz in the period April to September 1944. The Russians did not engage in industrial-strategic bombing operations of this nature.

Our conclusions, drawn from the official U.S. Air Force war histories, are confirmed by the recollections of two Germans who were at Auschwitz in 1944. Thies Christophersen, author of the booklet Die Auschwitz Lüge (mentioned on p. 31), wrote that the first air raid was “in the autumn of 1944.” Christophersen seems to be completely unaware that there is any significance in the question of the date of the first aid raid at Auschwitz.

In Dr. Wilhelm Stäglich’s statement, published in German journal Nation Europa (also mentioned here on page 32), he did not make any remarks in connection with air raids, but he did write that he was a member of an anti-aircraft unit that was stationed near Auschwitz for a very short time starting in mid-July 1944. In reply to a neutrally worded inquiry by this author, with no reference to the nature of the underlying issue involved, Stäglich replied that there were no air raids while he was there and that he believed there had been none earlier, because he had not been informed of any and had not seen any corresponding destruction.

When I finally determined that the attack had taken place on August 20, 1944, I wrote him again and asked him to reconsider this anew or to investigate it again. In fact, his wife found a letter from that time, written on August 20, 1944, with the sentence, “Today in the morning we had the first attack against the object we are to protect.” For me this episode was very instructive regarding the reliability of our memory.

The August date for the first air raid is confirmed by the Italian Jew Primo Levi, who wrote in his book Se Questo è un Uomo (early in the chapter entitled I fatti dell’estate) that the first raid was in August, when he had been there five months.

Another confirmation can be gleaned from the Kalendarium as published in the Hefte von Auschwitz (nos. 7 & 8, 1964). In it, the first reference to an air raid on Auschwitz dates from September 6, 1944.

My analysis of the problem of the first air raid at Auschwitz is also essentially confirmed by the extermination mythologists. Reitlinger does not explicitly take a position on the date of the first raid but remarks (page 383) on “the failure of the Allies to bomb the passes between Hungary and Auschwitz in May – July, 1944.” Hilberg (page 632) is well off the mark in placing the first raid on December 16, 1944, and this date is accepted by Levin (page 701). Friedman (page 78) is relatively on the mark in reporting a raid on September 13, 1944.

Because all evidence rejects a claim that there was an air raid at Auschwitz in April 1944, Vrba’s claim that there was such a raid while he was sitting there peeking out from the woodpile is an important factor in demolishing his credibility, in addition to the others mentioned in Chapter 3 (pp. 135-139). Moreover, it would be difficult for Vrba to claim a faulty memory comparable to Stäglich’s, because the raid supposedly occurred at a uniquely crucial point in Vrba’s life.

Documentary Evidence? • 5,000 Words

Returning to the immediate subject, we now review the evidence which is offered for exterminations of Hungarian Jews. It is mainly documentary.

We will essentially disregard the IMT affidavit (2605-PS) of Kastner, given September 13, 1945. Kastner was a Hungarian Jew who was in contact with Eichmann and associates in Budapest in 1944. His affidavit declares that 475,000 Hungarian Jews had been deported by June 27, 1944. It also gives a general “history” of the entire extermination program, said to be based on things told Kastner by SS Colonel Kurt Becher and SS Captain Dieter Wisliceny. That he enjoyed the confidence of these men is entirely possible, however, because in 1954, as an influential member of Ben-Gurion’s Mapai party in Israel, he was accused by another Hungarian Jew of having been a collaborator of Becher, one of Eichmann’s superiors in the SS operations in Hungary. The resulting libel actions, with verdicts against Kastner, generated a major political crisis in Israel whose catastrophic consequences were averted by the assassination of Kastner in 1957.[12]Reitlinger, 421f.; Hilberg (1961), 528; Rassinier (1962), 229f.; Sachar, 463f.; John & Hadawi, vol. 2, 36n. Kastner was another victim of the hoax.

Wisliceny, Eichmann’s subordinate in Hungary, also gave an affidavit on November 29, 1945, and supporting testimony at the IMT on January 3, 1945.[13]IMT, vol. 4, 355-373; U.S. Chief of Counsel, vol. 8, 606-621. The affidavit is another English-language job with, e.g., the obscure (for a German) expression “heads” for people in transports. In Wisliceny’s story there were written orders, given in early 1942 by Himmler, to exterminate the Jews. The orders were addressed to, among others, the “Inspector of Concentration Camps” who, according to the later testimony of Höss, was not intended by Himmler to know anything about the program.

The major evidence is a collection of reputed German Foreign Office documents. In March 1944, one Dr. Veesenmayer of the Foreign Office was sent to Hungary as “plenipotentiary” to act for the German government, supplementing the activities of special Ambassador Ritter. Veesenmayer communicated a great deal with the Foreign Office in Berlin via telegram. A document, NG-2263, shown in Fig. 30, is typical of those which are said to be one of these telegrams, taken from Foreign Office files. As a telegram received at the Foreign Office, it naturally does not have Veesenmayer’s signature. The endorsements consist in the Foreign Office stamps that have been used, and the handwritten notation on the left which says that the document is to be filed under “Hungary” (Ungarn) and is initialed by von Thadden and dated: vTh 4/7. It reads:

“I.) Transport of Jews out of Zone III concluded with 50,805 according to plan. Total number out of Zones I – III 340,162.

II.) Concentration in Zone IV and transport out of that Zone concluded with 41,499 according to plan. Total number 381,661. Continuation of operations had been separately reported with teletypes no. 279 of 27 June, no. 287 of 29 June and no. 289 of 30 June to Fuschl. Concentration in Zone V (hitherto uncovered region west of the Danube without Budapest) commenced 29 June. Simultaneously smaller actions in the suburbs of Budapest commenced as preparatory measures. A few small transports of political, intellectual and specially skilled Jews, and Jews with many children, are also under way.”

It is a collection of such documents that constitutes the evidence for the deportation of over 400,000 Hungarian Jews between May 15 and early July of 1944. In my determination, the relevant documents are summarized as below. The nature of the endorsements is indicated in each case. Naturally not all documents dealing with anti-Jewish measures, including deportations during the relevant time period, are involved; only those are listed, which might be claimed to compel an interpretation consistent with the extermination claims.

NG-2059: Mimeographed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 8, 1944. A certain number of Jews previously scheduled for deportation are to be put to work on military projects in Hungary instead. Application for the 100,000 employable Hungarian Jews requested by Organization Todt (the Speer ministry) must be made to Glücks of the WVHA, who is in charge of the deportation of Hungarian Jews. The endorsement is Thadden’s initials.

NG-2060: In two parts. The second part is a mimeograph copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to Ribbentrop via Ritter, dated April 21, 1944. It reports that 100,038 Hungarian Jews have been confined to camps as a result of the “Special Operations.” The endorsements are a Top Secret stamp and Thadden’s initials. The descriptive material accompanying the document (the “staff evidence analysis”) indicates that Geiger’s initials also appear, but this is not confirmed by examination of the rest of the material (in this case the English translation only).

NG-2061: Mimeographed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 20, 1944. It reports arrests of people involved with the anti-Nazi underground, and the interception of “intelligence material concerning the alleged conditions in the German concentration camps in the Government General. In particular the happenings in the Auschwitz camp are described in detail.” The endorsements are a Foreign Office stamp and Thadden’s initials, although the staff evidence analysis says it is initialed by Geiger.

NG-2190: The first part is a covering note for the second part. Signed by Thadden and Wissberg and initialed by Wagner, and stamped Top Secret. The second part is a report from Thadden to the Foreign Office on anti-Jewish measures in Hungary, dated May 26, 1944. It is reported that the Hungarian government has agreed to the deportation to the Eastern territories of all Hungarian Jews, with the exception of 80,000 to be retained for labor on military projects. The number of Hungarian Jews is estimated at 900,000 to 1,000,000. Most of the Jews outside Budapest have been concentrated in ghettos. As of May 24, 116,000 had been deported to the General Government in daily shipments of 14,000. The Jewish Council in Budapest (same as the Jewish Senate of the Red Cross Report excerpt) was reassured that these measures were directed only against unassimilated Jews, and that others were to be treated differently. However, the SS expects difficulties with future concentration and deportation measures anyway. Plans for future measures are outlined. Problems stemming from the differing German and Hungarian definitions of a Jew are discussed. It is estimated that about one third of the Hungarian Jews deported to Auschwitz are able to work, and that these are distributed immediately after arrival to Sauckel, Organization Todt, etc. Stamped Top Secret and signed by Thadden. The third part is a covering note for the fourth part, initialed by Wagner and Thadden, with handwritten references to Eichmann. The fourth part is a summary of Thadden’s report, with no endorsement.

NG-2230: A copy of a two page letter, dated April 24, 1944, from Thadden to Eichmann relaying the contents of NG-2233 (next to be discussed). Both pages initialed by Thadden. Date stamp and handwritten notations on bottom of page one. Note: the second time I consulted document NG-2230, it was an entirely different document, so there may be some error here.

NG-2233: In two parts. First part is a copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to Ritter, dated April 23, 1944. It reports on the work of interning Jews from the Carpathians in ghettos. 150,000 Jews have already been rounded up. It is estimated that 300,000 Jews will have been affected when the action is completed. The internment of Jews in other areas is then to follow. From May 15 on, 3,000 Jews are to be shipped daily to Auschwitz, and in order not to hold up their transport, the transfer of the 50,000 Jews, demanded for work in the Reich by Veesenmayer, will temporarily be held up. For reasons of security, feeding, and footwear, it is not considered practicable to send them on foot. The endorsement is the stamp of the foreign Office (Classified Material). The second part of the document is a carbon copy of a letter from Thadden to Eichmann, dated April 24, repeating the substance of the telegram. Initialed by Thadden.

NG-2235: A carbon copy of a telegram from Wagner to Veesenmayer, dated May 21, 1944. It is reported that Thadden is to visit Budapest shortly to discuss the disposal of the property of German and Hungarian Jews, within the framework of the general European solution of the Jewish question. Initialed by Wagner. There also appear to be initials “VM” on the document, but it does not appear that this is supposed to be Veesenmayer’s initials.

NG-2236: A typed memo from Wagner to Steengracht, dated July 6, 1944. Wagner states that it is the Reich policy to prevent Jewish emigration. The War Refugee Board request, through Switzerland, that emigration of Hungarian Jews to Palestine be permitted, must be denied because that would alienate the Arabs. Anyway, the Swiss-American intervention will be too late by the end of the month, for the anti-Jewish action in Hungary will be completed by that time. Stamped Secret and signed by Wagner. Initialed by Thadden and, possibly, by Hencke.

NG-2237: A mimeographed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 10, reporting that the measures for the concentration of Jews located north of Budapest had started, and that deportation of the Jews would start June 11. The endorsement is a Foreign Office stamp and Thadden’s initials.

NG-2238: Typewritten memo by Wagner proposing that negotiations with the Swiss and Swedes on emigration of Hungarian Jews be treated in a dilatory manner until the question of the treatment of the Jews remaining in Hungary had definitely been solved. Dated September 16, 1944. Signed by Wagner, initialed by Thadden and illegible others.

NG-2262: A mimeographed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to Ritter, Dated May 4, reporting that evacuation of 310,000 Jews of the Carpathian and Transylvanian regions into Germany (“nach Deutschland”) is scheduled to begin in the middle of May. Four daily transports, each holding 3,000, are contemplated. The necessary rail arrangements will be made at a conference in Vienna on May 4. Foreign Office stamp and Thadden’s initials.

NG-2263: A mimeographed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 30, reporting that 381,661 Hungarian Jews had been deported as of June 30. Round-ups had started west of the Danube, not including Budapest, and also in the suburbs of Budapest. Foreign Office stamp and Thadden’s initials.

NG-2424: In two parts. The first part is a typed letter from Foreign Office press chief Schmidt to Foreign Office Secretary of State Steengracht, dated May 27, suggesting a propaganda campaign (“the discovery of explosives in Jewish clubs and synagogues,” etc.) to precede any actions against the Jews of Budapest. The endorsement is initialing by Wagner. The second part is a typed copy of a telegram from Thadden to Budapest, dated June 1, passing on the suggestion. Initialed by Wagner and Thadden.

NG-2980: In three parts. The first part is a typed copy of a telegram from Wagner to Budapest, dated May 21, announcing a forthcoming visit to Budapest by Thadden, for negotiations on the Jewish problem. Stamped and initialed by Wagner. The second part is an unsigned carbon copy of a letter from Thadden to Wagner, constituting a covering letter for Thadden’s report on his activities in Budapest. Stamped Top Secret. The third part is the typed five page report, dated May 25. It is reported that special referent for Jewish questions at the German Embassy in Budapest von Adamovic, “has no idea of the actual intentions (or) of the practical application of the measure against the Jews.” He also reports a visit to Eichmann’s office, where he learned that 116,000 Jews had been deported to the Reich and that the deportation of another 200,000 was imminent. Concentration of about 250,000 Jews of the provinces north and northwest of Budapest will begin June 7. More plans are given. It is estimated that only about 80,000 Jews able to work will remain in Hungary. The entire operation is to be concluded by the end of July. The report is five pages long and the only endorsement is a top secret stamp on the first page.

NG-5510:1 A typed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, date May 8, stating that Count Bethlen and Dr. Schilling do not approve of the Jewish action, and that Veesenmayer will therefore request their dismissal. “Count Bethlen declared that he did not want to become a mass murderer and would rather resign.” The endorsements consist of a top secret stamp and a handwritten notation to file under “Hungary.”

NG-5532: A typed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, dated July 9, reporting Hungarian Minister of the Interior Jaross’ intention to concentrate the Budapest Jews outside of Budapest and then “release them gradually in batches of 30 – 40,000 Jews for transport to the Reich.” No endorsement.

NG-5533: A typed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 14, asserting that numerous Hungarian Jews had been slipping into Slovakia “since we pounced upon them” after March 19. Stamped with “Hungary” and “State Secretary” handwritten on the bottom.

NG-5565: An original typed copy of a telegram from Thadden to the German Embassy in Pressburg, dated May 2, announcing that a conference will be held May 4-5 in Vienna for the purpose of organizing rail transport for “a large number of Hungarian Jews for work in the Eastern Territories.” Stamped secret and initialed by Thadden.

NG-5567: A mimeographed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 17, giving the total number of Hungarian Jews deported to the Reich as 326,009. Stamped and initialed by Thadden (the staff evidence analysis states that the document is initialed by Wagner and Reichel, but this is not confirmed by the documents I examined).

NG-5568: A mimeographed copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 8. “In execution of Jewish measures in Hungary basic principle to be observed is secrecy regarding dates of deportation and of zones which will be cleansed one after the other in order to avoid disquieting of Jewish elements and attempts to emigrate. This applies especially to the city district of Budapest which is to be the last zone and where difficulties in this respect are to be expected.” Stamped and blue pencil noted by Thadden.

NG-5569: In several parts. The first and major part is a mimeograph of a telegram from Ludin in Pressburg (Slovakia) to the Foreign Office, dated June 14. It is reported that guards had entered the trains deporting Jews from Hungary across Slovakia and had robbed the Jews of money and jewelry and had shot some. They had then used the proceeds to get drunk at a nearby restaurant. Stamped. Next four parts are notes discussing the incident. Various stamps; initials of Wagner, Thadden, and Mirbach.

NG-5570: Mimeographed copies of five telegrams. The first is dated October 14, and reports the plans to deport about 50,000 Jews by foot from Hungary for labor in the Reich. It is added, confidentially, that “Eichmann plans […] to request 50,000 additional Jews in order to reach the ultimate goal of cleaning of Hungarian space […] ” Stamped and handwritten notes. Next four parts discuss operations with Budapest Jews and also with the Jews being deported for labor. Stamps and initialings by Wagner and Thadden.

NG-5571: Typewritten telegrams exchanged by Veesenmayer and Altenburg of the Foreign Office, dated June 25 and 28. In view of the “liquidation of the Jewish problem” in Hungary, the Hungarian government should reimburse the Reich with the corresponding amounts of food-stuffs. Stamps.

NG-5573: Typed report by Wagner to Ribbentrop, dated October 27. Of the 900,000 Jews who had been in Hungary, 437,402 had been sent for “labor to the East.” A discussion of Hungarian Jews being allowed to emigrate follows. Stamped and initialed by Mirbach.

NG-5576: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 30. Horthy objected to measures against the Budapest Jews but agreed to postponed measures. Thus, “assembling in last provincial Zone V [so far not covered space west of Danube, with exclusion of Budapest] has started. Simultaneously assembling will be carried out within jurisdiction of first constabulary commando in remoter suburbs of Budapest in order to facilitate drive in capital.” Stamped.

NG-5594: Anonymous telegram from Budapest to the Foreign Office, dated April 18. The “Hungarian population urgently desires a swift, radical solution to the Jewish problem, since fear of Jewish revenge is greater than the fear of Russian brutality.” Handwritten notations to file.

NG-5595: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the foreign Office, dated April 28. “Special operations” in Hungary had resulted in the arrest of 194,000 Jews. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5596: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated April 28. 194,000 Jews arrested by the special operations, and Hungarian plans to distribute the Budapest Jews throughout the city on account of the Allied bombing raids. Stamped.

NG-5597: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated April 30. 194,000 Jews arrested by the special operations, and discussion of Jews trying to be conscripted for labor in Hungary in order to avoid concentration camps. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5599: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 5. 196,700 Jews arrested by the special operations. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5600: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 6. Jews are being rounded up, and the Jews think that they are “only going to the special camps temporarily.” Stamped.

NG-5602: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 24. 110,556 Hungarian Jews have been deported. Stamped, handwritten notations, and illegible initials.

NG-5603: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 19. 51,000 Hungarian Jews deported. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5604: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 20. 62,644 Hungarian Jews deported. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5605: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 20. Same report as NG-2061. Handwritten notations.

NG-5607: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 16. The deportation of the 300,000 Jews concentrated in the Carpathian area and in Transylvania had began on May 14, with four special trains with 3,000 Jews in each leaving daily. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5608: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office dated May 25. 138,870 Hungarian Jews had been deported to the Reich. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5613: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated July 20. The Hungarian Nazis got the Franciscans to schedule a Thanksgiving mass to celebrate the deportation of the Jews, but the bishop objected and certain compromises had to be made. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5615: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated July 11. 437,402 Hungarian Jews had been deported. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5616: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated July 8. 422,911 Hungarian Jews had been deported to the Reich. Stamped.

NG-5617: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 17. 340,142 Hungarian Jews had been deported to the Reich. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5618: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 17. 326,000 Hungarian Jews had been deported to the Reich. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5619: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 13. 289,357 Jews had been deported from the Carpathian and Transylvanian regions. Future plans for deportation are outlined. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5620: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 8. Document, except for staff evidence analysis, was missing from the collection consulted, but it is apparently similar to those immediately preceding and immediately following.

NG-5621: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 2. 247,856 Hungarian Jews had been deported to the Reich. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5622: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 1. 236,414 Hungarian Jews had been shipped to the Reich. Stamped.

NG-5623: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated June 1. 217,236 Hungarian Jews had been shipped to the Reich. Stamped and handwritten notations

NG-5624: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Office, dated May 31. 204,312 Hungarian Jews had been shipped to the Reich. Stamped and handwritten notations.

NG-5637: Typed memo from Wagner to Steengracht, dated May 21, 1943. Wagner reports a visit from the Hungarian Ambassador. Difficulties relating to solution of the Jewish problem in Hungary were discussed. The deportations would have to be carried out in stages and, in order not to alarm those left behind, the ones deported should be allowed “a possibility to earn a living, at least for a short period.” Stamped and signed by Wagner.

NG-5684: Typewritten copy of a telegram from Veesenmayer to Ribbentrop, dated July 6. A six page report of a conference with Horthy, who mentioned that “he received a flood of telegrams every day from all quarters abroad and at home, for instance from the Vatican, from the King of Sweden, from Switzerland, from the Red Cross and other parties,” in regard to the Hungarian Jews. He advocated keeping Jewish physicians and also the Jewish labor companies who had been assigned to war related tasks. Veesenmayer told him that “the solution of the Jewish question […] was carried out by Hungary [but] could never [have been] completed without [SS and SD] support.” Initialed by Steengracht.

A few words on the general conditions under which this documents analysis was carried out are in order before proceeding to interpret this evidence. Unless one goes to Washington to examine original documents, what one typically has made available when a specific document is examined may consist of as many as four parts. First, there may be a photostatic copy of the original document. This happens only in a minority of cases. The other three parts are almost always available. First, there is the mimeographed reproduction, in German, of the original document. Thus, instead of any handwritten material, there is typewritten material that is indicated as having been handwritten. Second, there is the English translation of this German language document. Third, there is the accompanying descriptive material, the “staff evidence analysis.” Among the four parts, quite a few minor contradictions were noted in the course of the study. In addition, a very few documents were missing from the collection examined.

It might be said, with good grounds, that certain of these documents should not be in the list, because they admit of many interpretations other than transport of the majority of Hungarian Jews to the Reich. NG-2424 is of this nature; we have seen that the proposed Budapest action finally took place in October. NG-5533 and NG-5684 admit of many interpretations; with respect to the latter, there is no doubt that some Hungarian Jews were deported to the Reich specifically for labor and the document may be interpreted in that respect.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that I must declare, at this point, that a quite considerable amount of forgery was involved in the production of these documents; they were written after the war. That the events the documents speak of, involving over 400,000 Hungarian Jews transported to the Reich (or Poland) in May – July of 1944, did not occur is a certainty, for reasons given. However there are grounds for a certain uneasiness here because forgery does not seem to have been practiced with respect to the parts of the Auschwitz extermination legend which have been examined up to this point. Forgery is a risky business. Thus, although forgery seems a certainty, we should wish for some independent evidence for a charge of forgery.

Forgery is less risky if it does not involve the actual forgery of signatures; if the cooperation of the persons who signed or initialed the forged documents could have been obtained, then it might have seemed that the risk was removed or minimized. Thus, we should take a close look at the endorsers of these documents. If NG-5684 is excepted, we have endorsements consisting of initials and/or signatures (or alleged initials and signatures) by Geiger, Wissberg, Hencke, Reichel, Mirbach, Wagner and Thadden, with the great majority of the endorsements coming from the latter two. These seven people have one very interesting thing in common; none were defendants in Case 11 or, apparently, in any other trial. In the cases of the first five, this can be argued to have been reasonable, either on account of the low rank of the person or on account of his peripheral involvement with the alleged crimes. Thus, the first five people had only a minor involvement in Case 11; Mirbach appeared as a defense witness and Hencke was a defense affiant.[14]NMT, vol. 14, 1023, 1027.

With Wagner and Thadden, however, the immunity from prosecution is most mysterious, if one does not grasp that the apparently safe manufacture of the incriminating Hungary documents required, basically, only their cooperation. We should thus examine their roles in the Foreign Office and their experiences after the war.

Eberhard von Thadden was an official in “Inland II” in the Foreign Office. This group’s responsibility was liaison with the SS, and thus, Thadden was the “Jewish expert” of the Foreign Office, so to speak. Communication with Eichmann relative to the carrying out of Jewish policies, whatever those policies were, was a quite normal part of his duties. NG-2233 and NG-2980 are quite accurate in at least that respect. Horst Wagner was a member of Foreign Minister Ribbentrop’s personal staff and, as the head of Inland II, was Thadden’s superior and, as the documents correctly suggest, he was equally involved in the Jewish policies of the German government. The Foreign Office had been accused by the various military tribunals of being implicated in the extermination of Jews, and at the IMT Ribbentrop had been found guilty in this respect. The main defendants in Case 11 were some officials of the Foreign Office, most of them ordinary diplomats, and implication in Jewish extermination was naturally one of the charges. Both ex officio and in consideration of the documents that have been reviewed, both Thadden and Wagner would have seemed, at the start of Case 11, to have been in serious trouble. Moreover, they could not have been considered too obscure in relation to Case 11, the Ministries or Wilhelmstrasse Case. For example, the New York Times story announcing the opening of Case 11 chose to mention eight prominent “defendants or witnesses,” and Thadden was one of those in the list.[15]New York Times (Feb. 26, 1947), 4; Hilberg (1961), 350f; NMT, vol. 14, 1057f.; Steengracht 86.

It is thus inexplicable, on normal grounds, that they were not even defendants in the trial; they both appeared as prosecution witnesses.[16]NMT, vol. 14, 1031. Strange occurrences continued for several years. With respect to Thadden, German tribunals attempted to correct the glaring omission by prosecuting him. After he was released from American detention in 1949, a German court in Nuremberg charged him in December 1950, but he went to Cologne in the British zone and extradition was denied. Then a Cologne court charged him in May 1952, but the trial never materialized. He signed a prosecution affidavit for Eichmann’s trial in 1961. In early 1964, he was arrested again but released after he managed to produce \$500,000 bail, but then in November 1964 he was in an automobile accident and died of the injuries received.

Similarly, Horst Wagner was arrested by German authorities in 1949, but he managed to flee to Spain and then to Italy. Extradition proceedings commenced in 1953 but failed. In 1958, he returned to Germany to apply for a pension, was arrested, but soon released on \$20,000 bond, despite his previous flight to escape prosecution. His case seemed to disappear, but a trial was finally scheduled for May 20, 1968, ten years after his return to Germany. However there were several postponements for various stated reasons, and finally, in late 1972, his trial was postponed indefinitely. In late 1975, he was living in quiet retirement in a suburb of Düsseldorf.[17]Hilberg (1961), 714f.; Reitlinger, 443, 566f.; Eichmann, session 85, A1, B1, O1-R1; London Times (Nov. 20, 1964), 16; New York Times (Nov. 20, 1964), 8. London Daily Telegraph, (Nov. 7, 1975), magazine section, 17.

So much for the documentary evidence supporting the claims of extermination of Hungarian Jews.[18]Editor’s remark: For more recent contributions to that topic see Butz (2000) und Mattogno (2001). Wagner and Thadden had joined, as had Höss and others, the “new Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” but they evidently did it in an intelligent manner, because they acquired effective immunity from prosecution. In this connection, a detailed study of the documents by some expert person would be, most probably, very worthwhile. One object of analysis should be the language used. For example, the expression “nach Deutschland” in NG-2262 sounds as peculiar to me as “to America” would sound in an official State Department document, but I am not the appropriate judge in this matter. In any case, Wagner and Thadden held some cards merely by virtue of knowledge of the existence of false documents, that others did not hold. For example, Höss was in a position of dependence only on the gratitude of the Allies.

I have not examined all of the documents in the NG series (there are more than 5,000), and therefore I cannot reject the possibility, or even probability, that a few more exist. It is also possible that one or two might turn up with scribbles, said to be initials, for which I have no immediate answer. However, the documents study has been relatively thorough in consideration of the purposes of our study. It goes far beyond the documents that happen to have been referenced by Hilberg and by Reitlinger, far enough to satisfy me three times over on the fundamental dependence of this evidence on the post-war cooperation of von Thadden and Wagner.

It is well worth noting that Wagner and Thadden were not the only Germans involved with the Hungarian Jews who were mysteriously excused from prosecution. SS General Otto Winkelmann, Higher SS and Police Leader for Hungary and in command of all SS operations in Hungary, was also a prosecution witness in Case 11. SS Colonel Kurt Becher, representative in Hungary of the SS Führungshauptamt (and thus of Himmler), served the prosecution at the IMT.[19]Editor’s remark: On Becher’s collaboration see Holming. In fact none of the principals unquestionably involved in whatever were the German measures relative to the Hungarian Jews stood trial at Nuremberg or (with the exception of Eichmann) anywhere else. Eichmann was missing at the time of the Nuremberg trials, and the others gave evidence for the prosecution of those whose involvement had been at most peripheral.

The Producers • 5,600 Words

Nobody should be surprised to find the most sordid practices behind these trials. We have seen in Chapter 1 (pp. 45-48) that no ethical limitations were respected in the means sometimes employed to produce “evidence.” We should, therefore, take a closer look at who was in charge in Case 11. Recall that there was no substantial “indictment” process involving a grand jury, and that, as one may confirm by reading DuBois‘ book, it was the prosecution in each case that decided who was to be put on trial and with what he was to be charged.

The Wilhelmstrasse Case was not really commensurate with the other cases tried before the NMT; all of the latter had had special purpose characters, as Table 4 shows (p. 40). The Ministries or Wilhelmstrasse Case, however, was somewhat like a “little IMT,” that is, people from an assortment of German government ministries were put on trial and the trial had a correspondingly wide scope. Thus, it was split into an “economic ministries section” and a “political ministries section,” each of which had different prosecution staffs.

The important section from our point of view and, indeed, the most politically important case to come before the NMT was the political ministries section of Case 11, whose chief prosecutor was Robert M. W. Kempner, who has quite a history. It is very useful to present a short summary here of the “high” points of his career.

Kempner, a Jew, was born in Germany in 1899, studied law, and joined the Prussian Ministry of Interior during the Twenties. In the years 1928-1933, he was a senior counsel for the Prussian State Police (under the Ministry of the Interior) and specialized in investigating the rising Nazi Party. He became an anti-Nazi crusader in his official capacity and energetically attempted, without success, to have the party outlawed.

When the Nazis took over the German government in 1933, he was dismissed from his government position, but although Jewish, he was able to continue his legal practice for a short while as a counselor in international law and Jewish migration problems and also, apparently, as legal counsel for the German taxi drivers’ organization. Whether or not he spent any time in a camp or in some other form of detention is not clear. In any case, he moved to Italy in 1935 to take an administrative and teaching (political science) position at a small school in Florence. The Mussolini government closed the school in 1938, so the school and Kempner moved to Nice, France. He did not remain with the school for very long, however, and emigrated to the United States in 1939. His mother already had a research job at the University of Pennsylvania, and this connection seems to have landed him his “research associate” position at that University.[20]New York Times (Feb. 22, 1940), 22; (Aug. 26, 1940), 17; (Mar. 30, 1944), 6; (Nov. 14, 1945), 8; (Jan. 17, 1946), 14; Select Committee, 1534f.; Current Biography (1943), 370; Who’s Who in World Jewry, 498.

He immediately resumed his anti-Nazi crusading. He had somehow managed to smuggle out of Germany some of the Prussian police papers, to which he had contributed, and these became the basis of a book, which he published privately in 1943. The book, in stencil form, attempted to show, on the basis of Kempner’s past experiences in Germany, what should be done in Germany after the war in order to permanently suppress Nazism. It did not achieve wide circulation but, together with some other books and articles that he wrote, established him as a sort of expert on fighting Nazis. He had also smuggled out some phonograph recordings of Nazi meetings; these had been made by the Prussian police during the years of his service. He contributed them to the University of Pennsylvania. He also did a certain amount of anti-Nazi letter writing to the newspapers. As the war was drawing to a close, he wrote that the Nazi leaders should be tried in the U.S. before regular American courts. In the meantime, he had acquired U.S. citizenship.[21]Kempner, 1-12; New York Times (Sep. 28, 1941), sec. 2, 6; (Jan 20,1945),10.

During the war he worked for both the U.S. Department of Justice and the OSS. In the latter agency, he was charged with drawing up lists of German anti-Nazis who could be trusted with posts in the coming occupation government of Germany. He was one of a large group of German Jews in the OSS (which included, e.g., Herbert Marcuse).

At the end of the war, Kempner switched to the War Department and accompanied the U.S. Army back into Germany “on the payroll of the Judge Advocate General.” Prior to the opening of the IMT trial, he served in the fairly significant role of prosecution liaison with defense counsel and later on was in charge of the division that prepared the U.S. trial briefs against individual defendants. During the trial, he was an apparently ordinary member of the prosecution staff and specialized in the prosecution of the Nazi Minister of the Interior Frick. He does not appear to have been particularly prominent, although immediately after the trial he contributed a magazine article to the New York Times on the great work the trial had done in educating the Germans. The killings of the German military and political leaders had not yet been carried out, so he simultaneously predicted, with great satisfaction, that the doomed Nazis would be buried in unmarked graves to “avoid fanatical pilgrimages by still ardent Nazis.” Actually, the ultimate procedure was even more hysterical, because the bodies of Göring et al. were photographed (in order to be gloated over shortly later in the press and in newsreels), disguised in U.S. Army uniforms, taken secretly to Dachau and cremated there, the ashes being sifted into a nearby stream.[22]R. H. Smith, 217, 222; Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 5, 44; New York Times (Oct. 6, 1946), sec. 6, 8; (Oct. 7, 1946), 2; (Mar. 18, 1947), 4; Select Committee, 1536, 1539.

As he was taking over his responsibilities in Case 11 in 1947, Kempner was in the news in a related but nevertheless highly important connection from the point of view of our subject. In 1943 and 1944, there had been held, in the land of the “free press,” some “sedition trials” of Americans whose views of the U.S. government’s war policies were considered unwelcome. The U.S. prosecutor was O. John Rogge, an Ohioan who had, in his youth, been expected by family and friends to enter the ministry. He became a lawyer instead and is said to have turned in a brilliant performance at the Harvard Law School. Attorney General Biddle chose him to prosecute the “sedition” case, replacing William P. Maloney, whose methods had provoked protests from several influential members of Congress. The proceedings, involving 30 defendants, were completely contrary to U.S. constitutional principles and were fortuitously aborted when the trial judge passed away in November 1944, and a mistrial was declared. While the government was planning to resume the case, the Supreme Court had reversed another sedition conviction, and grave doubt arose within the Justice Department about the wisdom of continuing the spectacle. We hope the reader will abide this long digression on the “sedition” episode within the present digression on Kempner, for the point to be made is most important.[23]Current Biography (1948), 533f.; New York Times (Feb. 7, 1943), 34.

Rogge lost interest in the sedition case as such, but he did not lose interest in the general subject of a “Fascist” internal menace in the U.S. In the spring of 1946, he went to Germany on an 11 week “information” gathering expedition and accumulated some alleged facts that he summarized in a report, which he submitted to the Justice Department later in the year. Because there was no immediate reaction from the Justice Department to the material he had submitted, it appears that he got impatient and could not restrain himself. He therefore resorted to going around giving speeches in which he divulged some of the “information” he had been able to gather by interrogating Germans. In a speech to B’nai B’rth in New York in October 1946, he reported in very general language that Fascists are still at large “in the world and in this country. […] Now the Fascists can take a more subtle disguise; they can come forward and simply say ‘I am anti-Communist’.” A few days later he was much more specific whom he was talking about. John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine workers, and the late William R. Davis, an oil operator and promoter, had, he declared in a speech at Swarthmore College, conspired with Göring and Ribbentrop to defeat President Roosevelt in the elections of 1936, 1940 and 1944. According to the “evidence” that he had obtained in Germany, other prominent Americans who, in the view of the Nazis, “could be organized against United States participation in the war” included, he said, Senator Burton K. Wheeler, former Vice President John N. Garner, former President Herbert Hoover and Democratic big-wig James A. Farley. Rogge had also given some of his material to Drew Pearson, and it appeared in Pearson’s column at about the same time. For such flagrant violation of the rules and standards of the Justice Department and of the legal profession and also, presumably, for stepping on some important political toes, Rogge was immediately dismissed from the Justice Department by Attorney General Clark. Rogge defended his actions, explaining that, after all, he had merely made “a study of international Fascism, for the people under investigation were part of an international movement to destroy democracy both here and abroad.” Again he was specific; two of the people posing the Fascist threat were Mr. Douglas MacCollum Stewart and Mr. George T. Eggleston, at the time a member of the staff of the Reader’s Digest. Rogge said that in Germany he had obtained information about them from former German diplomats who had had official connections with the U.S. before Pearl Harbor. Pravda described Rogge’s removal as a “scandal.”[24]Current Biography (1948), 534; New York Times (Oct. 14, 1946), 44; New York Times (Oct. 23, 1946); 8; (Oct. 26, 1946), 1; (Oct. 27, 1946), 16; (Nov. 3, 1946), 13; Newsweek (Nov. 4, 1946), 26.

In the period before Pearl Harbor, Stewart and Eggleston had published the Scribner’s Commentator, which was dedicated to keeping the U.S. out of World War II. During 1941, Stewart had received a large sum of money, \$38,000, and could not explain where it came from. He told the “sedition” grand juries of 1943-1944 that he had found this money in his home. Since such a story sounds ludicrous even to an impartial observer, Stewart was assailed by the prosecutor and judge for giving such testimony. His refusal to change it led to his being held in contempt of court, and he was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail (he was paroled after 75 days).

In the course of 1946, the Justice Department, including even Rogge, had become convinced that no “sedition” charge could succeed in court, so the case that had been opened in 1943 was finally closed. However, there was still the matter of Stewart’s testimony, which seemed a good basis for a perjury charge. Thus, in March 1947, Stewart was put on trial for committing perjury in testifying before the wartime grand jury.

The prosecution claimed that Stewart had received \$15,000 of the \$38,000 from the German government and produced two witnesses to support its contention. Baron Herbert von Strempel, former First Secretary of the German Embassy in Washington, testified that he had given Stewart \$15,000 in the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York in the fall of 1941. The money had been obtained, he said, from Dr. Hans Thomsen, German Chargé d’Affaires. Thomsen then testified in support of von Strempel’s story. The testimony of Strempel and Thomsen was, in fact, the direct consequence of Rogge’s information gathering expedition in Germany in 1946.

Stewart’s defense produced evidence that Stewart had received large sums of money from American sources in 1941. It claimed that some wealthy Americans wished to support the, by then, beleaguered cause of staying out of the war, but anonymously, so they slipped money to Stewart anonymously. Whether this claim was truthful or the truth was that Stewart had, indeed, lied before the wartime grand jury on account of feeling himself obliged not to divulge the identities of his American supporters, is scarcely relevant to our subject. More relevant was the defense cross examination of the prosecution’s German witnesses, because the defense was able to discredit the prosecution case by showing that the testimony had been coerced. Baron von Strempel said that he had been arrested in Hamburg by two British agents who, when asked for their warrant, “smiled, drew their guns from their shoulder holsters, and said that was their warrant.” He then spent four weeks in an American interrogation center and then seven months in a detention camp, where he was again subject to continual questioning. During this period, his health was “never so bad.” He was questioned by Robert M. W. Kempner, but did not want to talk about this. Judge Laws was obliged to direct von Strempel to reply to defense attorney Magee’s questions about this feature of his experiences. He finally said that Kempner had told him that if he “concealed any embassy dealings” he would be court martialed and sentenced to death. He then told the whole story. Incessant, intensive questioning by interrogators made him feel as if he had been “hypnotized.” O. John Rogge became one of von Strempel’s interrogators in Germany. During Rogge’s interrogation, he said, his necktie and shoelaces were removed, he was kept in solitary confinement, was questioned all day without food, and was “at all times under duress.” He admitted that he had signed a statement, but said that this was on account of fear of further solitary confinement. He gave this testimony, so destructive to the prosecution’s case, despite the fact that the U.S. was paying him \$70 per week, plus hotel expenses, in connection with his appearance as a witness against Stewart. There was also the possibility of U.S. retaliation via some sort of “war crimes” charge. Thomsen was likewise cross-examined; he admitted that von Strempel had told him of the death threat and said that he had been “coached” by Rogge in recalling details. The jury found Stewart innocent during the course of a lunch break. Thus had Kempner appeared in the newspapers even before Case 11 had gotten underway.[25]New York Times (Mar. 12, 1947), 6; (Mar. 13, 1947), 17; (Mar. 14, 1947), 12; (Mar. 15, 1947), 11; (Mar. 18, 1947), 4; (Mar. 19, 1947), 5; (Mar. 26, 1947), 4; Chicago Tribune (Mar. 19, 1947), 20.

In examining the sedition affair, we have, therefore, encountered the Wilhelmstrasse Case, in the sense that Kempner enters the picture as interrogator and potential prosecutor of incarcerated former officials of the German Foreign office. The connection with Case 11 is even more substantial because Stewart’s attorney in the 1947 trial, Warren E. Magee, was shortly later to become co-counsel for Baron von Weizsäcker, the principal defendant in Case 11. We therefore have the unusual fact that the two sides involved in Case 11 had, almost simultaneously, clashed in a regular U.S. legal proceeding and that the testimony that had been the result of the interrogation of the captive Germans had been successfully challenged by the defense as coerced. This is an extraordinary and important confirmation of the kind of activity, indicated by the evidence we have already reviewed, which must have transpired behind the scenes at the NMT – carrot and stick tactics of various sorts, including even third degree methods in some cases (but not necessarily in all cases where the evidence could correctly be said to have been “coerced”). Magee’s successes along these lines did not, moreover, cease with the Stewart trial. In another extraordinary choice of a person to use as a prosecution witness rather than put on trail, Kempner had used Friedrich Gaus, who had a reputation as “Ribbentrop’s evil spirit,” as the chief prosecution witness against von Weizsäcker. Magee, evidently by virtue of being an American having access to documents denied the German lawyers, was able to prove in court that Kempner had threatened to hand Gaus over to the Russians if Gaus did not cooperate with the prosecution, a frequent and effective threat that had certain variations. Häfliger, one of the defendants in Case 11, was a Swiss citizen, but according to his trial testimony, he was told by interrogator Sachs that if he stood on his Swiss nationality he would be turned over to the Russians, and Sachs urged him “to note that there were no diplomatic relations between Russia and Switzerland.” Much more to the point is the fact that von Thadden, under cross examination by defense attorney Dr. Schmidt-Leichner, admitted that Kempner, in connection with an execution that had supposedly been carried out by German authorities in France:

“had made me understand that there were two possibilities for me, either to confess or to be transmitted to the French authorities, before a French tribunal, where the death penalty would be sure for me. A delay of twenty four hours was accorded me, during which I had to decide.”

A Swiss journalist wrote at the time that Kempner and colleagues were attempting to misrepresent Nazism as a “concoction of the German upper classes” in order to destroy the pre-Nazi social structure of Germany.[26]Utley, 172, 177; Gaus (Case 11 transcript, 5123-6167) denied the coercion but, as Magee commented in court, “we have the questions and answers that the witness gave” in the relevant interrogation. The von Thadden and Häfliger declarations were made in the sessions of March 3 and May 11, 1948, respectively, and the corresponding parts of the trial transcript are quoted by Bardèche, 120ff, who gives other examples of coercion and intimidation of witnesses at Nuremberg.

Rogge had a long and interesting career, but a thorough summary would carry us too far afield. In fairness to him, we should say that his behavior in connection with the “sedition” cases should not lead one to assume that he was insensitive in regard to civil liberties, because when the first postwar steps were being taken to set up an anti-Communist internal security program, Rogge started yelling about “witch hunts” and, in the following years, became Chairman of the New York State (Henry) Wallace for President Committee, a perfectly logical appointment, because Rogge embodied all that was unique in that movement’s approach to dealing with the Soviet Union. Characterized by the left wing Nation in 1950 as “the lone independent in various Communist-operated congresses, committees, and delegations,” he had traveled to Moscow in March to attend the “World Congress of Partisans for Peace.” He explained to the Soviets that the cold war was equally the fault of both sides, and stood up in a formal meeting in the Kremlin and quoted Thomas Jefferson, actions that were not appreciated by his Soviet hosts. The Nation commented further that[27]New York Times (Nov. 8, 1947), 10; (Apr. 4, 1948), 46; Nation (May 27, 1950), 528; (Dec. 2, 1950), 499.

“It is easy to put down O. John Rogge as a quixotic busybody, a fuzzy-minded liberal so out of touch with reality that he believes the ills of the world to be merely the result of unfortunate misunderstanding. […] He has shown why the Russian rulers regard with suspicion even their own followers who have had contact with the West.”

Rogge also involved himself in the widely publicized “Trenton Six” murder case of 1948-1953 as a lawyer for the “Civil Rights Congress.” In December 1949, the judge barred him from the New Jersey trial for :

[…] violating the lawyers’ canons of ethics by denouncing the conduct of the trial in public, by showing ‘studied discourtesy and contempt’ in the court and by ‘deliberately distorting the facts.’ [The judge also charged that] the Civil Rights Congress […] collected more money from the public than was needed for the trial.”

Seven months later, a U.S. court held that Rogge’s barring from the trial was wrong but did not order his restoration.[28]New York Times (Dec. 17, 1949), 1; (Jul 22, 1950), 32. This short discussion of Rogge suffices for our purposes.

To return to Kempner. When the Bonn government had been newly constituted in 1949, he warned of incipient Nazism there. Such a view did not prevent him from serving, two years later, as Israel’s representative to Bonn in negotiations relative to the restitution of Jews who had suffered injury at the hands of the Nazi government. However, the next month he was attacking the reprieves and reductions of sentences of “war criminals” that had been granted by the U.S.[29]New York Times (Sep. 30, 1949), 2; (Jan. 12, 1951), 7; (Feb. 2, 1951), 8.

Kempner next appeared in connection with the 1952 House investigation of the Katyn Forest massacre, a well-known Russian atrocity whose handling by the IMT throws full light on the absurdity of that tribunal’s claim to respect.

On April 13, 1943, the Germans announced that, in the Katyn Forest near the city of Smolensk in Russia (mid-way between Minsk and Moscow), mass graves of Polish officers who had been captured by the Russians in 1939 had been uncovered. Four days later the minister of defense of the Polish government in exile (in London) announced that he was requesting the International Red Cross to make an inquiry. The Germans supported the proposed inquiry but the Russians opposed it, referring to the London Poles as “Hitler’s Polish collaborators,” and on April 26 broke diplomatic relations with that government over the matter.

On account of the Russian opposition, the Red Cross refused to get involved. However, the German government exhibited the Katyn mass graves to various parties of Poles, to a group of foreign newspaper correspondents, to a group of German journalists, to small parties of British and American POW’s, to a technical team of the Polish Red Cross and, most importantly, to an international commission of experts in forensic medicine (specialists in rendering medical opinions in legal proceedings). The commission concluded with a report which demonstrated the certainty that these Polish officers had been murdered by the Russians prior to the outbreak of war between Russia and Germany in June 1941.

When the graves had first been discovered, the German propaganda service, not knowing how many bodies were to be found there but knowing the approximate number of Polish officers who could have been involved as victims, used the figure of 10,000 and 12,000 as the number of bodies discovered, and these were the figures which were given the widest publicity during the war. Consequently, at the IMT, the indictment charged the Germans with murdering 11,000 Polish officers at Katyn, although it had been established, later in 1943, that there were only 4,253 bodies to be found. This fact was published by the German government, but naturally, because it contradicted their earlier claims, the Germans did not give the correct figure great publicity. But since the remaining officers were never found, it can be assumed they all fell victim to the Soviet firing squads.

What happened at the IMT with respect to this charge illustrates the foolishness of that tribunal’s claim to anything approximating legal jurisdiction. The testimony of members of the forensic commission was naturally of interest, so the Russians produced Professor Marko Markov, a citizen and resident of Bulgaria, who had been one of the signers of the commission report. Bulgaria being, by then, under Soviet control, Markov had changed his mind and testified in support of the Russian position, i.e., that the Germans had intimidated him into approving the commission report.[30]Belgion, 64-78.

Göring’s counsel, on the other hand, applied to have Professor F. Naville, the chairman of the commission, called to testify. On this point one can see the emptiness of the tribunal’s effectiveness in getting at the truth, even if it had wished to. Naville was a Swiss citizen, resident in Geneva, and could not be forced to testify and, in fact, he declined to testify. The motivation is obvious. The counsel for Field Marshall Keitel also requested that Naville (who had also been an International Red Cross representative) answer some questions (relative to a different subject) to be put to him in writing, but it appears that this interrogation did not materialize. Thus, the IMT tribunal, by its very nature, was prejudiced against the appearance of the most reliable type of witness: the citizen of a country which had been neutral during the war and independent after the war (I am only saying that the IMT could not compel testimony from such people; we have seen that Burckhardt, the President of the Red Cross, voluntarily answered written questions put to him in Switzerland for Kaltenbrunner’s defense). The defense ended up by calling three German soldiers to testify (three witnesses were allowed to each side on this matter).[31]IMT, vol. 10, 648.

The tribunal’s final disposition of the Katyn issue was a disgrace even independent of the true facts concerning the atrocity: it was quietly dropped and does not appear in the judgment. The Germans were not “found” either guilty or not guilty of this Russian atrocity. The IMT ducked the whole matter.

In 1952, the U.S. House of Representatives investigated the Katyn massacre and naturally made an inquiry into what had happened at the IMT in this respect. The Select Committee set up for this purpose accordingly held some hearings in Frankfurt, Germany, in April of that year. The Committee heard, among others, representatives of both the defense and prosecution legal staffs of the IMT. To speak for the German side, the Committee logically called Dr. Otto Stahmer, who had been counsel for the principal defendant Göring, who had also been the defendant who had pressed this particular matter at the IMT. To speak for the American prosecution, the Committee, surprisingly, chose Robert M. W. Kempner. Examination of the trial record reveals no reason why Kempner should have been selected for this role. That Kempner appears to have been living in Germany at this time and that the Committee naturally thought it convenient that he testify at the Frankfurt hearings, does not explain anything. During the course of all of its hearings, the only other member of the prosecution that the Committee heard was Justice Jackson, but his appearance in November in Washington was somewhat ceremonial and added nothing to the record.

According to the record of the public hearing held in Frankfurt, Kempner explained that the Katyn massacre was, according to the understandings among the prosecution staffs, “a clear-cut Russian affair and was handled right from the beginning by the Russians. […] We had no right to interfere in any way.” Nevertheless, after the witnesses had been heard, the general view, according to Kempner, was that Göring had scored a victory on this point. Thus, the failure to mention Katyn in the judgment called into question the integrity of the Nuremberg trials, and a realization of this was implicit in the questions asked by the committee members. Kempner was asked about possible participation by the U.S. prosecution staff in the behind-the-scenes activity in regard to Katyn, and denied that such had taken place. In response to questioning, he also denied that there had been any “conspiracy or attempt to collude between anybody on the American side and anybody on the Russian side.”[32]Select Committee, 1536-1548.

The New York Times reported that the tone of the Frankfurt hearing was such that “the principles governing the trial procedure in Nuremberg were being questioned. United States officials at the hearing privately expressed concern over the situation.”[33]New York Times (Apr. 25, 1952),5; Chicago Tribune (Apr. 24, 1952), pt. 4, 1. The Chicago Tribune reported that, at a secret session the night before the public hearing in Frankfurt, Kempner had admitted that the U.S. prosecution staff at the IMT had possessed evidence showing that the Russians had committed the Katyn murders.

The Select Committee on the Katyn Forest massacre concluded that the U.S. government had suppressed the truth about Katyn both during and immediately after the war. In particular, a report by Lt. Col. John H. Van Vliet, Jr., one of the American POW’s who had witnessed the mass graves, “later disappeared from either Army or State Department files.” It was also found that the Federal Communications Commission had intimidated radio stations in order to suppress criticism of the Russians.[34]New York Times (Nov. 15, 1952), 2; (Dec. 23, 1952), 1.

In the years immediately following 1952, there was little for Kempner to do in relation to Nazis, but with the Eichmann affair he was back in action and served as a “consultant” to the Israeli government in assembling evidence for the trial. From that point on, he was very active. He contributed an article to the Yad Vashem Studies on methods of examining Nazis in trials, and he published a book in German, rehashing old propaganda myths. In 1971, he expressed approval of the conviction of Lt. Calley, and in December 1972, he endorsed the “evidence” that Ladislas Farago had gathered in connection with Farago’s Martin Bormann-is-in-Argentina fiasco of that month. Evidently yearning for the old days, Kempner declared that the “United States and its Allies should reopen the Bormann case within the framework of the International Military Tribunal.”[35]Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 10, 904; New York Times (Mar. 31, 1971), 1; (Dec. 5, 1972), 16. Bormann had been tried in absentia at the IMT and sentenced to death. He was never found, and it is now generally agreed that he died in Berlin.

In regard to Kempner, three principal conclusions may be drawn from this short summary of the man’s career (based entirely on material in the public record). First, he could accurately be characterized as a fanatical anti-Nazi, starting in the Twenties, when the Nazis were certainly no more criminal than several other groups on the violent and chaotic German political scene (the Communists and Social Democrats also had private armies). Anti-Nazism is obviously Kempner’s consuming vocation. Second, he was an extremely important figure in the trials that the U.S. held in Nuremberg. We have seen that he had critically important responsibilities in connection with the IMT and was also treated, later on, as a particular authority on what had gone on there. At the end of the IMT trial, the press described him as “Jackson’s expert on German matters” and “chief of investigation and research for […] Jackson.”[36]New York Times (Oct. 6, 1946), sec. 6, 8; (Oct. 7, 1946), 2. At the NMT, he took over the prosecution of the most important case, the political section of the Wilhelmstrasse Case, and he may well have been the most important individual on the Nuremberg staff, although further research would be required to clarify the real power relationships that existed on the Nuremberg staff, if such clarification is possible. James M. McHaney headed the division that prepared Cases 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 12. Other significant persons at the NMT have been discussed by Taylor.[37]Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 38+. The Encyclopedia Judaica describes Kempner as “chief prosecutor” at the NMT trials.

The third conclusion that may be drawn is that there are excellent grounds, based on the public record, for believing that Kempner abused the power he had at the military tribunals and produced “evidence” by improper methods involving threats and various forms of coercion. The Stewart case makes this conclusion inescapable.

This is the man who held the power of life and death over Eberhard von Thadden and Horst Wagner.

Our digression on Kempner is concluded. We came to the point, in our analysis of Hungary, where irregularities in the production of evidence in Case 11 were clearly indicated. Thus, it was necessary to examine two subjects: who was in charge in Case 11 and what was the level of integrity maintained in the operations of the trials at Nuremberg. It was found that the truth in regard to the latter subject was established rather decisively in the course of examining the former; a study of Kempner’s career reveals all that one needs to know in order to evaluate the reliability of the evidence generated at the Nuremberg trials.

Clearly, any person who wished to maintain the authenticity of the Hungary-related documents that imply extermination must produce some tortured story whose structure we cannot begin to imagine.

Another person involved in the documents is Veesenmayer, who was a defendant in the Wilhelmstrasse Case and who was questioned in connection with some of these documents. The general position taken in his testimony was a reasonable one in view of his objective of gaining acquittal or a light sentence. He had to report everything that went on in Hungary, and thus, Jewish measures were in his reports. However, these measures did not have the importance in his mind at that time that they have in our minds at this time. He testified that he often got twenty assignments a day and in the course of a month would receive mutually contradictory assignments. His reports, he said, were naturally prepared by assistants, hastily scanned by him, and then signed. Shown documents, which have him reporting that two transports, each of 2,000 Jews fit for work, were sent to Auschwitz in April 1944, and asked if this were correct, he remarked that he had no specific memory but that it was “quite possible,” but that he never knew what Auschwitz was. Shown NG-5567, which had him reporting that up to June 17, 326,009 Jews had been deported from Hungary, he also remarked “quite possible.” In other words, he did not want to involve himself, in any way, in these matters by taking any strong position, either assenting or dissenting, with respect to the alleged facts. If he had said that he clearly recollected, in detail, mass deportations of Jews in the numbers alleged in the spring and summer of 1944, then such testimony would have implicated him in the alleged exterminations. On the other hand, if he had denied that such mass deportations had taken place, then he would, in effect, have been claiming close involvement in whatever had happened and he would have also, by such testimony, flung down a challenge to the prosecution and court which they couldn’t possibly have ignored. Thus the logic of his testimony. He said that he was concerned with moving the Jews out of Budapest because of the danger of revolt as the Russians approached. Pressed on this matter, he explained that:

“In practice the question was, will the front hold or won’t it? If Budapest revolts, the whole front will be rolled up. […] If I participated in such conversations, which I won’t deny is possible, then I participated exclusively from a military point of view. What can I do to hold up the Eastern front as long as possible? Only from that point of view.”

Veesenmayer was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment, but he was out by early 1952.[38]NMT, vol. 13, 487-508; Reitlinger, 566.

This seems to be as good a place as any to point out a fact that seems to be effectively forgotten by many writers on this subject. There was a war going on during World War II. The Germans were thinking about ways of winning it, not about exterminating Jews. The claim of NG-2233 that the extermination program had rail priority over military production is absolutely ridiculous.

What Happened in Hungary? • 800 Words

On the subject of what actually happened in Hungary, note that the Red Cross Report says that the basic German policy in 1944 was to intern East European Jews, on account of their posing a security menace as the front came nearer. Now, the documents reporting concentration and deportation of large numbers of Hungarian Jews may be correct in regard to concentration alone; this was the policy in neighboring countries. However, it seems unlikely that anywhere near 400,000 were concentrated. That would have been quite a huge operation.

It appears possible to get a fairly accurate picture of what happened in Hungary by supplementing the story of the Red Cross with an examination of the documents, rejecting the documents which are obvious forgeries. We are fortunate in having the two-volume collection of reproductions of selected original documents, The Destruction of Hungarian Jewry, edited by Randolph L. Braham; these volumes offer the normally circumstanced reader a handy substitute for a regular documents collection. Examining the documents included and rejecting as forgeries those that pertain to alleged deportations of 400,000 Hungarian Jews, a believable story unfolds. On April 14, 1944, Hungary agrees to the deportation of 50,000 employable Jews to Germany for labor (page 134, NG-1815). On April 19, Veesenmayer requests freight cars, whose procurement is “encountering great difficulties,” for the deportation of 10,000 employable Jews delivered by the Hungarians (page 138, NG-5546). Finally on April 27, Veesenmayer reports on the imminent shipment of 4,000 employable Jews to Auschwitz (page 361, NG-5535). Also on April 27, Ritter reports on delays in the deportation of the 50,000 on account of rail shortages (page 362, NG-2196). Later in the year, July 11, Veesenmayer reports on the difficulty of carrying out the Jewish policy in Hungary because of the more lenient policies practiced in Romania and Slovakia (page 194, NG-5586). On August 25, Veesenmayer reports Himmler’s offer to stop deportations from Hungary (page 481, no document number), and on October 18, Veesenmayer reports on the new Jewish measures in Hungary (page 226, no document number). A believable story, and one consistent with the Red Cross Report. One may also remark that, on Hungary, the authors of the hoax have again attempted to supply a dual interpretation to a perfectly valid fact. There were, indeed, deportations of Hungarian Jews in the spring of 1944 to, among other places, Auschwitz. However, the deportations, which were for labor purposes only, were severely limited by the disintegrating European rail system and do not appear to have been carried out on the approximate schedule originally contemplated or aspired to.

A few words regarding the Joel Brand affair, the proposed swap of Hungarian Jews for trucks and other supplies, are in order.

The pre-war German policy, which was also maintained to some extent early in the war, was to encourage Jewish emigration by all means. However, after the war had developed into a great conflict, the policy changed, and emigration from countries in the German sphere was made very difficult for Jews. The principal reason for this was, of course, that such Jews were manpower that could and would be used against them. There were a variety of lesser reasons, one of the most important being that, in an attempt to drive a wedge between Britain and the Arabs, the Germans supported the Arab side on the question of Jewish immigration into Palestine. Thus, the standard German attitude in the latter half of the war was that Jewish emigration could proceed in exchange for Germans held abroad, especially if the Jews were not to go to Palestine. We have seen that Belsen served as a transit camp for Jews who were to be exchanged. What was involved in the Brand Affair was the same sort of thinking on the German side, with a variation regarding the form of the quid pro quo. The Germans were willing to let the Jews emigrate in exchange for the trucks and other supplies. Thus, there is nothing implausible in the Brand affair, provided one understands that it was not the lives of the Hungarian Jews that were at stake in the matter.

Although the Brand deal was not consummated, there was a trickle of German and Hungarian authorized emigration of Jews from Hungary to, e.g., Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S. A rather larger number slipped into Romania and Slovakia illegally in 1944 (reversing the earlier direction of movement, which had been into Hungary). The defense documents Steengracht 75, 76, 77, and 87 give a picture of the situation.

The survey of 1944 propaganda that was presented in this chapter shows that Auschwitz (referred to as Oświęcim) finally emerged in the propaganda as an extermination camp in the period immediately after D-Day, when nobody was paying any attention to such stories. Later in the summer of 1944, the emphasis switched to the camp at Lublin, which was captured by the Russians in late July. The expected propaganda nonsense was generated in respect to the cremation ovens (five in number) that were found there, the Zyklon, some bones (presumably human), etc. Lublin remained the propaganda’s leading extermination camp well into the autumn of 1944.[39]Lublin (Majdanek) propaganda appeared in Life (Aug. 28, 1944), 34; (Sep. 18, 1944), 17; Newsweek (Sep. 11, 1944), 64; Reader’s Digest (Nov. 1944), 32; Time (Aug. 21, 1944), 36; (Sep. 11, 1944), 36; Saturday Review Lit. (Sep. 16, 1944), 44; on Majdanek see Graf & Mattogno (2012).

Can Anybody Believe such a Story? • 300 Words

This concludes our analysis of the Auschwitz charges. It is impossible to believe them; the allegations are so breathtakingly absurd that they are even difficult to summarize. We are told that the Nazis were carrying out mass exterminations of Jews at the industrial center Auschwitz, employing the widely used insecticide Zyklon B for the killing. The 30 or 46 cremation muffles at Auschwitz, used for disposing of the bodies of the very large numbers of people who died ordinary deaths there, were also used for making the bodies of these exterminated Jews vanish without a trace. As an extermination center, Auschwitz was naturally the place that the Hungarian Jews were shipped to for execution. Shipments of Jews conscripted specifically for desperately needed labor in military production were delayed in order to transport the Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz for execution. The 46 cremation muffles, which existed at Auschwitz, turned out to be inadequate to dispose of people arriving at the rate of about 10,000 per day, so the bodies were burned out-of-doors in pits. This cleaning out of the Hungarian Jews escaped the notice of the International Red Cross delegation in Budapest, which was deeply involved in Jewish affairs. The evidence for all of this, presented to us by the U.S. government, consist of documents whose authenticity is proved by the endorsements of Jewish policy specialists Wagner and von Thadden, who are also incriminated by the documents. However, the U.S. government did not prosecute Wagner and von Thadden in the Wilhelmstrasse Case, where the indictments were in the hands of a lifelong Nazi-hater (Kempner) and where an American lawyer had exposed the evidence as coerced, just as he did in a regular U.S. legal proceeding in Washington where Kempner was involved.

The U.S. government also failed, despite all of its talk in 1944, to interfere in any way with, or even make photographs of, these alleged events at Auschwitz.

Can anybody believe such a story?

Notes • 400 Words

[1] Red Cross (1948), vol. 3, 523.

[2] Reitlinger, 512f.; Red Cross (1947), 99f.

[3] Reitlinger, 176f.; Shirer (1960), 991.

[4] Reitlinger, 148.

[5] US-WRB (1945), 49.

[6] Reitlinger, 447-487, 540-542; Hilberg (1961), 509-554, 599-600. Reitlinger figures some of the Hungarian Jews among the Romanians.

[7] NG-2586-G in NMT, vol. 13, 212; NO-5194, part of the Korherr report, which is reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 240-248; NG-5620, cited by Hilberg (1961), 513.

[8] Ruppin, 30f., 68.

[9] Craven, 280-302, 641f; Carter (see Index under “Auschwitz”).

[10] C. B. Smith, 167.

[11] Craven, 172-179.

[12] Reitlinger, 421f.; Hilberg (1961), 528; Rassinier (1962), 229f.; Sachar, 463f.; John & Hadawi, vol. 2, 36n.

[13] IMT, vol. 4, 355-373; U.S. Chief of Counsel, vol. 8, 606-621.

[14] NMT, vol. 14, 1023, 1027.

[15] New York Times (Feb. 26, 1947), 4; Hilberg (1961), 350f; NMT, vol. 14, 1057f.; Steengracht 86.

[16] NMT, vol. 14, 1031.

[17] Hilberg (1961), 714f.; Reitlinger, 443, 566f.; Eichmann, session 85, A1, B1, O1-R1; London Times (Nov. 20, 1964), 16; New York Times (Nov. 20, 1964), 8. London Daily Telegraph, (Nov. 7, 1975), magazine section, 17.

[18] Editor’s remark: For more recent contributions to that topic see Butz (2000) und Mattogno (2001).

[19] Editor’s remark: On Becher’s collaboration see Holming.

[20] New York Times (Feb. 22, 1940), 22; (Aug. 26, 1940), 17; (Mar. 30, 1944), 6; (Nov. 14, 1945), 8; (Jan. 17, 1946), 14; Select Committee, 1534f.; Current Biography (1943), 370; Who’s Who in World Jewry, 498.

[21] Kempner, 1-12; New York Times (Sep. 28, 1941), sec. 2, 6; (Jan 20,1945),10.

[22] R. H. Smith, 217, 222; Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 5, 44; New York Times (Oct. 6, 1946), sec. 6, 8; (Oct. 7, 1946), 2; (Mar. 18, 1947), 4; Select Committee, 1536, 1539.

[23] Current Biography (1948), 533f.; New York Times (Feb. 7, 1943), 34.

[24] Current Biography (1948), 534; New York Times (Oct. 14, 1946), 44; New York Times (Oct. 23, 1946); 8; (Oct. 26, 1946), 1; (Oct. 27, 1946), 16; (Nov. 3, 1946), 13; Newsweek (Nov. 4, 1946), 26.

[25] New York Times (Mar. 12, 1947), 6; (Mar. 13, 1947), 17; (Mar. 14, 1947), 12; (Mar. 15, 1947), 11; (Mar. 18, 1947), 4; (Mar. 19, 1947), 5; (Mar. 26, 1947), 4; Chicago Tribune (Mar. 19, 1947), 20.

[26] Utley, 172, 177; Gaus (Case 11 transcript, 5123-6167) denied the coercion but, as Magee commented in court, “we have the questions and answers that the witness gave” in the relevant interrogation. The von Thadden and Häfliger declarations were made in the sessions of March 3 and May 11, 1948, respectively, and the corresponding parts of the trial transcript are quoted by Bardèche, 120ff, who gives other examples of coercion and intimidation of witnesses at Nuremberg.

[27] New York Times (Nov. 8, 1947), 10; (Apr. 4, 1948), 46; Nation (May 27, 1950), 528; (Dec. 2, 1950), 499.

[28] New York Times (Dec. 17, 1949), 1; (Jul 22, 1950), 32.

[29] New York Times (Sep. 30, 1949), 2; (Jan. 12, 1951), 7; (Feb. 2, 1951), 8.

[30] Belgion, 64-78.

[31] IMT, vol. 10, 648.

[32] Select Committee, 1536-1548.

[33] New York Times (Apr. 25, 1952),5; Chicago Tribune (Apr. 24, 1952), pt. 4, 1.

[34] New York Times (Nov. 15, 1952), 2; (Dec. 23, 1952), 1.

[35] Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 10, 904; New York Times (Mar. 31, 1971), 1; (Dec. 5, 1972), 16.

[36] New York Times (Oct. 6, 1946), sec. 6, 8; (Oct. 7, 1946), 2.

[37] Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 38+.

[38] NMT, vol. 13, 487-508; Reitlinger, 566.

[39] Lublin (Majdanek) propaganda appeared in Life (Aug. 28, 1944), 34; (Sep. 18, 1944), 17; Newsweek (Sep. 11, 1944), 64; Reader’s Digest (Nov. 1944), 32; Time (Aug. 21, 1944), 36; (Sep. 11, 1944), 36; Saturday Review Lit. (Sep. 16, 1944), 44; on Majdanek see Graf & Mattogno (2012).

Chapter 6 • Et Cetera • 18,300 Words

The extermination claims have been so concentrated on Auschwitz that this book could justifiably end right here; because the central part of the extermination legend is false, there is no reason why the reader should believe any other part of it, even if the evidence might appear relatively decent at first glance. Hundreds of trained staff members were dispatched to Europe and employed there to gather the “evidence” for exterminations and related crimes, and we have seen what kind of story they have presented with respect to Auschwitz; a fabrication constructed of perjury, forgery, distortion of fact and misrepresentation of documents. There is no reason to expect a better case for the less publicized features of the extermination legend. Nevertheless, the remainder of the story should be examined, partly for the sake of completeness, partly because the examination can be accomplished rather quickly, and partly because there is a respect in which one feature of the legend may be partially true. It is also convenient to review here a few odd matters that might strike some readers as evidence in support of the extermination claims.

More ‘Extermination’ Camps • 1,200 Words

The evidence for exterminations at Belzec, Chelmno, Lublin, Sobibor, and Treblinka is fairly close to zero. There is the Höss affidavit and testimony and the “Gerstein statement.” There is a draft of a letter by Dr. Wetzel, another Nazi who became immune from prosecution, speaking of there being “no objections to doing away with those Jews who are unable to work, by means of the Brack remedy” (NO-0365). The draft is typewritten and apparently initialed by Wetzel, who had been head of the Race-Political Office of the NSDAP, but was transferred in 1941 to Rosenberg’s Ministry for the East, where he served as the expert for Jewish affairs. There is no evidence that the letter, which is addressed to Hinrich Lohse, Reichskommissar for the Ostland (map, Fig. 3), was ever sent. A similar document, bearing a typewritten Wetzel signature, is NG-2325. Wetzel was not called as a witness at any of the Nuremberg trials, and was not threatened with prosecution until 1961, when he was arrested by German authorities in Hannover, but his case seems to have immediately disappeared from the public record, and nothing more was heard of him, except that he is said to have been finally charged in 1966; if such is the case it is odd that he is not listed in the 1965 East German Brown Book. However, no trial ever materialized.[1]Hilberg (1961), 562; Reitlinger, 137, 567; Rassinier (1962), 80n. We will have occasion to comment on Lohse below.

The Viktor Brack of Wetzel’s letter was an official of the Führer-Chancel­lery, involved in the Nazi euthanasia program. The present claim is that the gas chambers in Poland, exclusive of those allegedly used at Auschwitz, “evolved” from the euthanasia program which, it is claimed, employed gas chambers. Despite Brack’s testimony, it is difficult to believe that euthanasia was practiced in German hospitals by a method of gassing 20 or 30 persons at a time with carbon monoxide.[2]NMT, vol. 1, 876. Auschwitz, of course, must be excluded from this “evolution” from the euthanasia program on account, among other reasons, of the Höss testimony. Reitlinger and Hilberg do not seem worried over the confusion thus created in the structure of the legend.

The euthanasia program came into existence via a Hitler decree of September 1, 1939, authorizing the mercy killing of mortally ill patients. Later the severely insane were included. The program encountered deep hostility in the German population, especially because rumors of unknown origin immediately started circulating; the rumors claimed, inter alia, mass gassings of the sick and elderly. On November 6, 1940, Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich wrote to the Ministry of Justice, setting forth the Catholic Church’s objections, and pointing out[3]NO-824 (Hitler order), NO-846 (Faulhaber letter), NO-844 (report on rumors).

“[…] that a great disturbance has arisen in our people today because the mass dying of mentally ill persons is discussed everywhere and unfortunately the most absurd rumors are emerging about the number of deaths, the manner of death, etc.”

It did not take long for the euthanasia program to appear in propaganda, and in December 1941 the BBC broadcast an address by author Thomas Mann, in which Mann urged the German people to break with the Nazis. In listing the Nazi crimes, Mann said:[4]New York Times (Dec. 7, 1941), 45.

“In German hospitals the severely wounded, the old and feeble are killed with poison gas – in one single institution, two to three thousand, a German doctor said.”

This seems to be the first appearance of gas chambers in the propaganda but, as far as we can see, this claim was not related to the extermination propaganda which started half a year later, and in the course of which no reference, apparently, was made to the euthanasia program. The relating of the euthanasia program to exterminations came much later.

At the IMT, the prosecution did not attempt to relate euthanasia to exterminations. It remained for a defense witness to do this. In the closing days of the IMT, Konrad Morgen appeared as a defense witness for the SS. We have seen that it was Morgen who had exposed the ring of murder and corruption centered around commandant Koch of Buchenwald. Morgen was thus considered a “good” SS man, in contrast to the bloodthirsty scoundrels who had been his colleagues and comrades (he continues to be considered a good guy, although not as good as Gerstein, who has by now achieved beatification in the “holocaust” litany). As a defense witness for the SS under seemingly hopeless circumstances, Morgen presented a story that had an inevitable logic to it and, indeed, the logic of Morgen’s testimony has an importance in our analysis which transcends the immediate point we are discussing.

Morgen testified that in the course of his investigations of the camps, carried out in pursuance of his duty as an SS official, he unexpectedly encountered extermination programs at Auschwitz and at Lublin, but that SS involvement was nonexistent or minimal. At Lublin the exterminations were being conducted by Wirth of the ordinary criminal police, with the assistance of Jewish labor detachments (who were promised part of the loot). Wirth supervised three additional extermination camps in Poland, according to Morgen. Although the criminal police, the Kripo, was administratively under the RSHA, Morgen was careful to point out that Kriminalkommissar Wirth was not a member of the SS. Morgen claimed that Wirth had been attached to the Führer Chancellery, had been involved in the euthanasia program (which is possibly true), and had later received orders from the Führer Chancellery to extend his exterminating activities to the Jews. Although the only real point of Morgen’s testimony was the futile attempt to absolve the SS, the testimony is considered “evidence” by Reitlinger and by Hilberg, who avoid considering the fact that Morgen, in his attempt at excusing the SS, also testified that at Auschwitz the extermination camp was Monowitz, the one of the complex of camps that was administered by Farben. Morgen did not go so far as to claim that Farben had its own company extermination program, but he declared that the only SS involvement consisted of a few Baltic and Ukrainian recruits used as guards, and that the “entire technical arrangement was almost exclusively in the hands of the prisoners.”[5]IMT, vol. 20, 487-515.

Morgen’s ploy obviously inspired the prosecution anew, because it had not occurred to relate exterminations to euthanasia. It was too late to develop the point at the IMT, so it was developed in Case 1 at the NMT (actually the euthanasia program is loosely linked with exterminations in the “Gerstein statement,” reproduced here in Appendix A – the Gerstein statement was put into evidence at the IMT long before Morgen’s testimony, but nobody paid any attention to its text). To us, this relating of exterminations to euthanasia is just another example of the “excess fact”; the inventors were so concerned with getting some real fact into their story that it did not occur to them that there are some real facts that a good hoax is better off without.

This seems to cover the evidence for gassings at the camps in Poland exclusive of Auschwitz.

We again remark that the logic of Morgen’s testimony, as courtroom defense strategy, is of some importance to our study. His side obviously calculated that the court was immovable on the question of the existence of the exterminations, and thus, Morgen’s testimony invited the court to embrace the theory that somebody other than the SS was guilty.

Logic of Defense Testimonies • 300 Words

Before passing to consideration of the activities of the Einsatzgruppen in Russia, it is convenient to review various statements made or allegedly made by various Nazis, mostly after the war, which explicitly or implicitly claim exterminations.

An important category consist of statements made by German witnesses and defendants at the war crimes trials. In evaluating such statements, one must bear in mind the simple fact that the powers which conducted these trials were committed, as an immovable political fact, to the legend of Jewish extermination, especially in regard to Auschwitz. Their leaders had made the relevant charges long before they possessed a scrap of what is today called “evidence.” Thus, the courts were committed a priori to the extermination legend. A finding that exterminations had not occurred was simply not in the realm of political possibility at these trials, in any practical sense. This is an undeniable fact.

On the other hand, with only a tiny handful of exceptions, the courts were not a priori committed on questions of personal responsibility of individuals. With respect to individuals the courts were not as greatly constrained, politically speaking. In most cases judgments of absence of personal responsibility were well within the realm of political possibility (as distinct from probability). All defense cases were organized in relation to these undeniably valid observations, and even with those individuals whose cases were hopeless, the lawyers had no choice but to proceed on the assumption that a favorable verdict was within the realm of the possible. In considering the trials from this point of view, it is very helpful to consider them chronologically.

Josef Kramer, ‘Beast of Belsen’ • 900 Words

The first relevant trial was not the IMT but the “Belsen trial,” conducted by a British military court, of Germans who had been on the staff of the Belsen camp when it was captured. The commandant, SS Captain Josef Kramer (the “Beast of Belsen”), was naturally the principal defendant. The importance of the Belsen trial derives, however, from the fact that Kramer has previously been (during 1944) the Birkenau camp commander. Kramer’s trial was conducted in the autumn of 1945 and was concluded in November, just as the IMT trial was beginning. Kramer was hanged in December 1945.

We are fortunate in having the lengthy first statement that Kramer made in reply to British interrogation. The importance of this statement lies in the fact that it was made before any general realization developed among Germans that the Allied courts were completely serious, and immovable, on the question of the reality of the exterminations (it might have been made within about a month after the capture of Belsen, but this is not certain). There is little courtroom logic playing a role in Kramer’s first statement, and for this reason it is reproduced here in Appendix D. Kramer’s story was completely in accord with what we have presented here, i.e., there were crematories in all of the concentration camps, some had rather high death rates, especially Auschwitz, which required relatively extensive cremation facilities, because it was also a huge camp. His statement is quite frank regarding the more unhappy features of the camps, and is as accurate a description of the camps as we are likely to get. In regard to atrocities, he firmly asserted:

“I have heard of the allegations of former prisoners in Auschwitz referring to a gas chamber there, the mass executions and whippings, the cruelty of the guards employed, and that all this took place either in my presence or with my knowledge. All I can say to all this is that it is untrue from beginning to end.”

Kramer later retreated from this firm stand and made a second statement, also reproduced in Appendix D, in which he testified to the existence of a gas chamber at Auschwitz, adding that he had no responsibility in this connection, and that the exterminations were under the direct control of the central camp administration at Auschwitz I. At his trial, Kramer offered two reasons for the discrepancy between his two statements:[6]Phillips, 157.

“The first is that in the first statement I was told that the prisoners alleged that these gas chambers were under my command, and the second and main reason was that Pohl, who spoke to me, took my word of honor that I should be silent and should not tell anybody at all about the existence of the gas chambers. When I made my first statement I felt still bound by this word of honor which I had given. When I made the second statement in prison, in Celle, these persons to whom I felt bound in honor – Adolf Hitler and Reichsführer Himmler – were no longer alive and I thought then that I was no longer bound.”

The absurdity of this explanation, that in the early stages of his interrogations, Kramer was attempting to maintain the secrecy of things that his interrogators were repeating to him endlessly and which by then filled the Allied press, did not deter Kramer and his lawyer from offering it in court. The logic of Kramer’s defense was at base identical to that of Morgen’s testimony. Kramer was in the position of attempting to present some story absolving himself from implication in mass murder at Birkenau. The truth that Birkenau was not an extermination camp had no chance of being accepted by the court. That was a political impossibility. To have taken the truth as his position would have been heroic for Kramer but also suicidal, because it would have amounted to making no defense at all in connection with his role at the Birkenau camp. Even if he had felt personally heroic, there were powerful arguments against such heroism. His family, like all German families of the time, was desperate and needed him. If, despite all this, he persisted in his heroism, his lawyer would not have cooperated. No lawyer will consciously choose a suicidal strategy when one having some possibility of success is evident. Kramer’s defense, therefore, was that he had no personal involvement in the exterminations at Birkenau. Höss and the RSHA did it. Remember that these proceedings were organized by lawyers seeking favorable verdicts, not by historians seeking the truth about events.

An incidental matter is the claim that Kramer, as commandant at Natzweiler, had had eighty people gassed there for purposes of medical experiments. These people had supposedly been selected at Auschwitz by unknown criteria and then transported to Natzweiler to be killed, because the bodies were needed fresh in nearby Strassburg. Kramer affirmed this story in his second statement but, because it is (implicitly, but unambiguously) denied in his first statement, I am inclined to believe that it is untrue. However, it is quite possible that some people were executed at Natzweiler when somebody else was commandant, and that the bodies were then used at the anatomical institute in Strassburg (which certainly possessed bodies for its research purposes). In any case, the matter is not relevant to an extermination program.

Hermann Göring et al. at the IMT • 2,800 Words

The IMT trial is somewhat more complicated to consider, because of the great number of defendants, each one having his own possibilities in regard to excusing himself from any real or imaginary crimes. The trial transcript is not really adequate to study the behavior of the IMT defendants, but the record kept by the Nuremberg prison psychologist, Dr. G. M. Gilbert, and published by him as Nuremberg Diary, supplements the transcript to an extent that is adequate for our purposes. Gilbert’s book gives an account of the attitudes and reactions of the IMT defendants, not only at the trial but also in the Nuremberg prison. One cannot be absolutely confident in regard to the accuracy of Gilbert’s account. Most of the material consists of summaries of conversations the defendants had in the prison, either with each other or with Gilbert. However, Gilbert took no notes on the spot and wrote everything down each day from memory. His manuscript was critically examined by a former employee of the Office of War Information and by the prosecutors Jackson and Taylor. Even with the best will and most impartial disposition, Gilbert could not have captured everything with complete accuracy. His book has a general accuracy, but one must be reserved about its details.

The IMT defendants were arrested shortly after the German capitulation in May 1945, imprisoned separately, and interrogated and propagandized for six months prior to the opening of the IMT trial in November, when they met each other for the first time since the surrender (in some cases, for the first time ever). There are four particularly important observations to make. First, not surprisingly, all except Kaltenbrunner had developed essentially the same defense regarding concentration camp atrocities and exterminations of Jews, whatever the extent to which they might have actually believed such allegations; it was all the fault of Hitler and Himmler’s SS. Kaltenbrunner, sitting as a defendant as a substitute for the dead Himmler, was ill when the trial opened and did not join the other defendants until the trial was a few weeks old. When he appeared, the other defendants shunned him, and he said very little to the others during the course of the next ten months.

The second observation is not quite so expected. Indeed, it may be mildly startling; with the exception of Kaltenbrunner and perhaps one or two others, these high ranking German officials did not understand the catastrophic conditions in the camps that accompanied the German collapse, and which were the cause of the scenes that were exploited by the Allied propaganda as “proof” of exterminations. This may appear at first a peculiar claim, but consultation of Gilbert’s book shows it to be unquestionably a valid one (the only other possibility is that some merely pretended to misunderstand the situation). The administration of the camps was far removed from the official domains of almost all of the defendants and they had been subjected to the familiar propaganda since the German surrender. To the extent that they accepted, or pretended to accept, that there had been mass murders, for which Hitler and Himmler were responsible, they were basing their view precisely on the scenes found in the German camps at the end of the war, which they evidently misunderstood or pretended to misunderstand. This is well illustrated by Gilbert’s account of an exchange he had with Göring:[7]G.M. Gilbert’s book should be read in its entirety, but pp. 15, 39, 46f., 64, 78, 152, 175, 242, 273-275, 291 are of particular interest.

‘Those atrocity films!’ Göring continued. ‘Anybody can make an atrocity film if they take corpses out of their graves and then show a tractor shoving them back in again.’

‘You can’t brush it off that easily,’ I replied. ‘We did find your concentration camps fairly littered with corpses and mass graves – I saw them myself in Dachau! – and Hadamar!’

‘Oh, but not piled up by the thousands like that –’

‘Don’t tell me what I didn’t see! I saw corpses literally by the carload –’

‘Oh, that one train – ‘

‘ – And piled up like cordwood in the crematorium – and half starved and mutilated prisoners, who told me how the butchery had been going on for years – and Dachau was not the worst by far! You can’t shrug off 6,000,000 murders!’

‘Well, I doubt if it was 6,000,000,’ he said despondently, apparently sorry he had started the argument, ‘– but as I’ve always said, it is sufficient if only 5 per cent of it is true – .’ A glum silence followed.”

This is only one example; it is clear from Gilbert’s book that, when the subject of concentration camp atrocities came up, the defendants were thinking of the scenes found in the German camps at the end of the war. It is probably not possible to decide which defendants genuinely misunderstood the situation (as Göring did) and which merely pretended to misunderstand, on the calculation that, if one was not involved with concentration camps anyway, it was a far safer course to accept the Allied claims than to automatically involve oneself by contesting the Allied claims.

Our third observation is in regard to a calculation that must have figured in the minds of most of the defendants during the trial. It seemed probable, or at least quite possible, to them that the Allies were not completely serious about carrying out executions and long prison sentences. The trial was certainly a novelty, and the defendants were well aware that there was considerable hostility to the war crimes trials in the public opinion of the Allied countries, especially in the U.S. and England. Many must have calculated that their immediate objective should be to say or do whatever seemed necessary to survive the transient wave of post-war hysteria, deferring the setting straight of the record to a not distant future when a non-hysterical examination of the facts would become possible.

Fourth, extermination of Jews was only one of the many accusations involved at Nuremberg. In retrospect, it may appear to have been the main charge, but at the time, the principal accusations in the minds of almost everybody concerned responsibilities for “planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of a war of aggression” – so-called “Crimes Against Peace.”

With the preceding four observations in mind, we can see that the behavior of the defendants during the trial was about what one would expect from a diverse collection of dedicated Nazis, technocrats, conservative Prussian officers, and ordinary politicians. In “private,” i.e. in prison, when court was not in session, the prisoners were just as guarded in their remarks as they were in public, and there was an abundance of mutual recrimination, buck passing, and back biting. Frank made the worst ass of himself in this respect, but the practice was rather general. The Nazis were not one big happy family. In regard to trial defense strategy, it will suffice to discuss Speer, Göring, and Kaltenbrunner.

Speer’s trial strategy was simple and also relatively successful, because he did not hang. He claimed that his position did not situate him so as to be able to learn of the various alleged atrocities. Even today, he is permitted to get away with this nonsense. In fact, Speer and his assistants were deeply involved in, e.g., the deportations of employable Hungarian Jews in the spring of 1944 for work in underground aircraft factories at Buchenwald.[8]Hilberg (1961), 599; Reitlinger, 460-463; IMT vol. 16, 445, 520. Any rail transport priority given to Hungarian Jews to be exterminated, as opposed to employable Hungarian Jews, would have become known to them, if such had actually happened. If Speer had testified truthfully, he would have declared that he had been so situated that, if an extermination program of the type charged had existed, he would have known of it and that, to his knowledge, no such program had existed. However, if Speer had testified truthfully, he would have joined his colleagues on the gallows.

In his book, Speer gives only one ridiculous piece of “evidence” that he encountered during the war that he now says he should have interpreted as suggesting the existence of an extermination program, and that was the suggestion of his friend Karl Hanke (who was appointed Himmler’s successor as Reichsführer-SS by Hitler in the last days of the war), in the summer of 1944, that Speer never “accept an invitation to inspect a concentration camp in Upper Silesia.” Speer also passes along Göring’s private remark just before the IMT trial about Jewish “survivors” in Hungary: “So, there are still some there? I thought we had knocked off all of them. Somebody slipped up again.”[9]Speer, 375f., 512. Such a sarcastic crack was understandable under the circumstances, because Göring never conceded the reality of any extermination program and insisted that he had known only of a program of emigration and evacuation of Jews from the German sphere in Europe.

The introduction to Speer’s book, by Eugene Davidson, mentions the fact (noted here on page 153) that many Dutch Jews sent to Birkenau, “within sight of the gas chambers,” were unaware of any extermination program. They wrote cheerful letters back to the Netherlands.[10]Speer, xvii; de Jong. The remarks about Jewish extermination were not in the original version of Speer’s manuscript; they were added at the insistence of the publisher.[11]New York Times Book Review (Aug. 23, 1970), 2, 16.

Unlike the other defendants, Göring assumed throughout the trial that he was to be sentenced to death, and his testimony appears to be the approximate truth as he saw it. Although he never conceded the existence of a program of extermination of Jews, we have seen that he misunderstood what had happened in the German camps at the end of the war and assumed that Himmler had, indeed, engaged in mass murder in this connection. However, he never conceded any number of murders approaching six millions.[12]In Göring’s testimony, see especially IMT, vol. 9, 515-521, 609-619.

An incidental remark that should be made in connection with Göring is that he was not, as legend asserts (and as Speer claimed in private on several occasions during the IMT), a drug addict. The Nuremberg prison psychiatrist, Douglas Kelley, has attempted to set the record straight in this regard. Göring was a military man, had been an air ace in World War I, and had been the last commander of the “Flying Circus” of von Richthofen (the “Red Baron”). Refusing to surrender his unit to the Allies at the end of the war, he returned to Germany and found himself a hero without a profession. Eventually joining the Nazi Party, he naturally, as a holder of the Pour-le-mérite (Germany’s highest military decoration), soon became a leader of the small party. As such, he was a leader of the putsch of 1923, in which he was wounded in the right thigh. The wound developed an infection which caused him to be hospitalized for a long while, during which time he was injected with considerable amounts of morphine. He developed a mild addiction but cured it shortly after being released from the hospital in 1924. Much later, in 1937, Göring developed a condition of aching teeth and began taking tablets of paracodeine, a very mild morphine derivative that was a common prescription for his condition, and he continued to take the paracodeine throughout the war. His addiction for (or, more exactly, habit of taking) these paracodeine tablets was not severe, because he was taken off them before the IMT by Dr. Kelley, who employed a simple withdrawal method involving daily reductions of the dosage.[13]Kelley, 54-58.

To return to the IMT defendants, Kaltenbrunner’s position seems to us today to have been somewhat hopeless, and it is probable that his lawyer felt the same way, but he nevertheless had to present some sort of defense, and his defense on the matters that we are interested in rested on two main points.

The first point was that he was head of the RSHA, which was charged with security, and not the head of the WVHA, which administered the concentration camps. He thus claimed that he had had almost nothing to do with the camps. The only known instance of Kaltenbrunner’s involvement with the internal operation of the camps was in his order of March 1945, concerning permission for the Red Cross to establish itself in the camps (how he assumed authority for giving this order we do not know). He made a great deal of this matter in his defense and, rather than setting the record straight in regard to the catastrophic conditions in the camps at the end of the war, he inflated his action in connection with the Red Cross to make it appear to be an act against concentration camps as such, which, of course, he had always deplored anyway, he said.

Kaltenbrunner’s second point was that, as everybody would agree, it was his predecessor Heydrich, and not he, who had organized the details of the Jewish policy, whatever that policy was. He took over the RSHA in 1943 with a directive from Himmler to build up the intelligence service of the SD, a fact which he distorted in claiming that, under the new arrangement, in which Himmler was not going to allow anybody to grow to the stature that Heydrich had attained, Kaltenbrunner was to concern himself only with intelligence and not to have any control over the police and security functions of the RSHA, in particular the Gestapo, which sent political prisoners to the camps and also, through Eichmann’s office, administered the Jewish deportations. Thus, according to Kaltenbrunner, there was no respect in which he could be held responsible for exterminations of Jews that, he conceded, had taken place just as the Allies charged (except that they had started, according to Kaltenbrunner, in 1940). Indeed, according to him, it was not until the summer of 1943 that he learned of the extermination program that Eichmann of his department was conducting. He learned from the foreign press and the enemy radio. He got Himmler to admit it early in 1944 and then protested, first to Hitler, then to Himmler. The extermination program was stopped in October 1944, “chiefly due to (his) intervention.”[14]IMT, vol. 11, 273-276, 335. The manner in which Kaltenbrunner claimed to have learned of the exterminations, while nonsense, is nevertheless consistent with the extreme secrecy that is always said to have been maintained in connection with the extermination program.

Kaltenbrunner’s story was complete rubbish, but this fact should not blind us to the serious character of this testimony as defense strategy. Suppose that Kaltenbrunner had testified that no extermination program had existed. In such a case, any leniency shown by the court in the judgment would have been tantamount to that court’s conceding the untruth, or possible untruth, of the extermination claim, a political impossibility. By claiming that, while the extermination program had existed, Kaltenbrunner had had no responsibility and had even opposed it, the defense was making it politically possible for the court to be lenient in some sense or was at least making a serious attempt along this line. A few seconds’ reflection reveals that this was the only possible strategy for Kaltenbrunner on the extermination charge. The trial was obviously going to end with some death sentences, some acquittals, and some in between dispositions of cases; this was necessary in order to give it the semblance of a real trial. Thus, on analysis, we see that there was perfectly sound lawyer’s logic operating in Kaltenbrunner’s defense. That the specific story presented was unbelievable was not very important from this point of view; the manner, in which facts have been treated in connection with these matters, has been endless nonsense anyway. The case of Speer shows that a nonsensical story not only had a chance of being accepted by the IMT, but also by general opinion much later, when there should have been adequate opportunity to see matters clearly.

The ordinary person, and even the informed critic, can easily fail to understand the significance of such things as the Kaltenbrunner testimony, because he fails to grasp the perspective of the defendants, who did not have the historical interests in these trials that we have. Their necks were at stake, and they regarded the trials, quite correctly, as a manifestation of hysteria. Attempting to save their necks meant devising trial strategies to suit the prevailing conditions, and no optimum trial strategy seeks to move the court on matters on which the court is immovable. This also happens in ordinary legal proceedings. Once something had been decided, it had been decided, and the lawyers organize their cases accordingly.

Of course, it is deplorable that Nazis or anyone else should lie in order to promote their personal interests. I have seen scholars tell lies almost as big just to pick up an extra bit of summer salary, and that too is deplorable.

Oswald Pohl at Nuremberg • 600 Words

At Kramer’s trial and at the IMT, the courts were effectively committed a priori to the conclusion that Nazi Germany had had a program of exterminating Jews. At the later NMT trials, the courts were committed a priori as a formal matter, on account of the legal constraint previously noted (page 49), that statements made in the IMT judgment constituted “proof of the facts stated.” The IMT judgment said that millions had been exterminated in German concentration camps, particularly at Auschwitz, which was “set aside for this main purpose”; specifically, 400,000 Hungarian Jews were said to have been murdered there.[15]IMT, vol. 22, 494-496. Thus, defendants and witnesses at the NMT faced a situation similar to that faced by earlier defendants and witnesses, except that it was formalized. Prosecutors were known to redirect the attentions of judges to this legal constraint, when there seemed a chance of its being overlooked.[16]Case 6 transcript, 197.

Here we will take special note of only two cases. Defendant Pohl, of course, did not deny the extermination program; in denying personal involvement in the exterminations, he took advantage of the fact that the Allied charges had naturally been directed at the Gestapo and the SD functions of the SS, which were not in Pohl’s domain as head of the WVHA.[17]NMT, vol. 5, 664-676. Even the Höss affidavit and testimony explicitly support him in this position. After all, who ever heard of the Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt? Nevertheless, Pohl was hanged.

The testimony of Münch, a doctor at Auschwitz, is of some interest. He appeared as a defense witness at the Farben trial, having previously been acquitted by a Polish court. This is the witness whom prosecution lawyer Minskoff asked about the leaflets dropped at Auschwitz by Allied planes (p. 155). While Münch testified that he had known about the exterminations while he was at Auschwitz and had even witnessed a gassing, he also testified that people outside the Auschwitz area, that is those in Germany, did not know. Also, the whole thing was arranged “masterfully” so that “someone who visited a plant in Auschwitz twice or three times a year for a period of one or two days” would not learn of the exterminations. Almost all of the defendants, of course, were in the category of those who could not have known, according to Münch, but he did not stop there. He also asserted that, while all of the SS men and prisoners knew of the exterminations, they did not talk to civilians about them for fear of punishment. For example, Farben engineer Faust, whom Münch knew very well at Auschwitz, did not know about the exterminations. Münch also remarked several times that all one could perceive of the exterminations was the odor, “perceptible everywhere,” of the cremations. Nobody at this trial of chemical engineering experts bothered to point out that the chemical industry of the area also created a bit of an odor. An odd feature of Münch’s testimony is his placing of the crematories and the gas chambers “one or one and half kilometers southwest of the Birkenau camp camouflaged in a small woods.”[18]DuBois, 230f.; NMT, vol. 8, 313-321; Case 6 transcript, 14321-14345.

The Münch testimony is merely another illustration of the manner in which defense cases were formulated. The strategy was to avoid contesting things that the courts were already decided on but to present stories exonerating defendants of personal responsibility. Thus, it was invariably claimed that the extermination program had features that happened to excuse the relevant defendants, but by claiming that such features of the program existed, it was obviously necessary to claim also that the program itself existed.

Adolf Eichmann • 1,500 Words

The next trial that is worth examination is the Eichmann trial. It will be recalled that Adolf Eichmann was illegally abducted from Buenos Aires in May 1960 by Israeli agents, who sent him to Israel to become the victim of a “trial” that was to break all records for illegality, because the state conducting the trial had not even existed at the time of the alleged crimes. The illegal courtroom proceedings opened in Jerusalem on April 11, 1961, the Jewish court pronounced the death sentence on December 15, 1961, and the murder was carried out on May 31, 1962.

In order to understand Eichmann’s defense strategy, consider his situation prior to the trial as a lawyer would have seen it. It was basically a political situation involving an Israeli determination to stage a show trial. In capturing Eichmann, Israel had spat on Argentine sovereignty and, from a lawyer’s point of view, the only hope of securing a favorable verdict (a prison sentence to be later commuted) depended upon world opinion developing so as to encourage Israel to temper its arrogance somewhat with a magnanimous gesture. However, the possibility of such an outcome depended upon presenting a defense whose fundamental acceptance by the Jerusalem court would have been within the realm of political possibility. Thus, just as with the Nuremberg defendants, Eichmann’s only possible defense under the circumstances was to deny personal responsibility.

Eichmann conceded the existence of an extermination program, and the first edition of Reitlinger’s book was accepted by both sides as approximately descriptive of what had happened. Eichmann’s fundamental defense, thus, was that he had merely organized the transports of Jews in obedience to orders that could not be disobeyed. In one respect, his defense was partially successful, for his (accurate) picture of himself as a mere “cog in a machine” has been more or less universally accepted by those who have studied and written about this trial (e.g. Hannah Arendt’s book).

Actually, Eichmann inflated himself a bit beyond “cog” status, for a secondary feature of his testimony is that he claimed that he, Eichmann, had done whatever a person as lowly as he could do in order to sabotage the extermination program, and his interpretations of the meanings of many of the documents used in the trial were obviously strained in this respect. A good example was Eichmann’s commentary on two particular documents. The first document was a complaint by the commander of the Lodz resettlement camp, dated September 24, 1941, complaining of overcrowding at the camp due to tremendous transports of Jews that were pouring in:

“And now they face me with a fait accompli, as it were, that I have to absorb 20,000 Jews into the ghetto within the shortest possible period of time, but further that I have to absorb 5,000 gypsies.”

The letter is addressed to the local head of government. The second document is a letter by that local head, dated October 9, 1941, passing on the complaint to Berlin, and adding that Eichmann had acted like a “horse dealer” in sending the Jewish transport to Lodz for, contrary to Eichmann’s claim, the transport had not been approved. Eichmann’s Jerusalem testimony in regard to these documents was that there were only two places he could have shipped the Jews to, the East (where he was supposed to send them, he said) or Lodz. However, according to him, there were exterminations in the East at that time, but none at Lodz. Being in strong disapproval of the exterminations and doing everything that his low office permitted to thwart them, he shipped the Jews to Lodz despite the inadequate preparations there.[19]Eichmann, session 78, N1-O1; session 98, T1-W1.

This feature of Eichmann’s defense strategy is also illustrated by his testimony regarding the “trucks for Hungarian Jews” proposals of 1944. He naturally attempted to represent efforts on the German side to conclude the deal as being due in no small measure to the force of his initiative, motivated, again, by Eichmann’s desire to save Jews.[20]Eichmann, session 103, Jj1; session 106, V1.

It is worth mentioning that the major thrust of the prosecution’s cross-examination of Eichmann did not treat wartime events directly. The prosecution’s chief effort was to hold Eichmann, in court, to whatever he was supposed to have said to Israeli interrogators during his year of imprisonment prior to the trial and also to what he was supposed to have said to one Sassen in Argentina in 1957. According to Eichmann’s testimony, he encountered Sassen, an ex-SS man, in Buenos Aires in 1955. At this time Eichmann was, except within tiny circles, a very much forgotten man. The Eichmann-Sassen relationship eventually led to a project to write a book on the persecutions of the Jews during the war. The book, to be completed and promoted by Sassen, was to be based on tape recorded question-and-answer sessions with Eichmann, but according to Eichmann’s testimony, the original form of these sessions could not be retained:

[…] when these questions were put to me, I had to reply from time to time, that I did not remember and did not know; but, obviously, this was not the way to write a book […] and then it was agreed that it did not really matter what I remembered – the main thing was to describe the events as they had happened; then we spoke about poetic license, about license for journalists and authors, which would entitle us to describe the events – even if I did not remember certain details, the essence which would remain would be a description of the events as they had taken place and this is really what was eventually taken down.

[Sassen] told me to say something about every point, so that the necessary quantity be obtained.

[…] it was also agreed that he, Sassen, would then formulate everything in the form of a book and we would be co-authors in this book.”

Sassen’s material eventually appeared, in the autumn of 1960, in Life magazine, so it is clear that Sassen’s sessions with Eichmann were designed for the primary purpose of producing a marketable book, as distinct from a historical one. Eichmann obviously planned to acquire a share of the profits, but this testimony does not shed any light onto the specific financial expectations that Eichmann and Sassen had.

Sassen transcribed some of the tape recorded material into typewritten form, and Eichmann added comments and corrections in the margins of some of the pages in his own hand. He also composed 83 full pages of handwritten comments. After the appearance of the Life articles, the prosecution obtained material from Sassen, namely a photostat of a 300-page typewritten document with marginal comments, apparently in Eichmann’s hand, purporting to be a transcript of 62 of 67 tape recorded sessions, and also a photostat of what was said to be the 83 page document in Eichmann’s hand. Original documents were evidently not procured, thus raising the possibility of tampering and editing, especially in the case of the 300 page document. In regard to the original tapes, the prosecution commented:

“We do not know about the tapes themselves – I don’t know whether the people who took part in this conversation kept the tape or whether the tape was erased and re-used for other recordings.”

The defense challenged the accuracy of the documents, claimed that the majority of marginal corrections were not included in the document, and further claimed that if Sassen himself could be brought to court to testify, it could be proved that:

[…] he changed and distorted what was said by the accused, to suit his own aims. He wanted to produce a propaganda book; this can be proved, how the words were distorted.”

However, the prosecution assured the court that if Sassen were to come to Israel, he would be put on trial for his SS membership.

The court decided to admit the photostats of the 83 pages in Eichmann’s hand, but the prosecution, finding during the course of the rest of the trial that there was virtually nothing in the 83 pages that it could use, made another bid very late in the trial and finally managed to get accepted into evidence the excerpts of the typewritten document which carried handwritten corrections. Life magazine, which apparently received the same material from Sassen, treated all of it as unquestionably authentic.[21]Eichmann, session 72, Aal-Kk11; session 73, A1-R1; session 74, Hh1-Iil; session 88, L1-P2 and appendices; session 104, T1-V1; session 105, W1-Z1; Life (Nov. 28, 1960), 19+; (Dec. 5, 1960), 146+.

We close this short discussion of the Eichmann trial by reporting Eichmann’s reaction to the allegation, widely publicized, that at the end of the war he had declared that he would “jump gladly into the grave” with the knowledge that five or six million Jews had been killed. Eichmann testified that he had, indeed, made a bitter remark such as this to his staff at the end of the war, but that the five million killed were not “Jews” but “enemies of the Reich,” i.e. enemy soldiers, principally Russians. While his defense strategy entailed not contesting the general reality of the extermination program, he insisted that he was in no position to know even the approximate number of Jews killed, and that all remarks attributed to him in this connection (e.g. Höttl’s affidavit) are falsely attributed.[22]Eichmann, session 85, J1-K1, T1-U1; session 87, M1-O1, Y1; session 88, G1-H1.

West German Trials • 1,700 Words

The trials held in West Germany during the Sixties are barely worth mentioning and, moreover, rather difficult to study, on account of the obscurity of the defendants involved. The most publicized, of course, was the “Auschwitz trial” of 1963-1965, and a few words are perhaps in order.

This group of war crimes trials, of which the Auschwitz trial was the most prominent, was held for political reasons in the aftermath of the hysterical publicity surrounding the capture of Adolf Eichmann. One of the first victims was Richard Baer, successor to Höss and last commandant of Auschwitz, who was arrested on December 20, 1960, near Hamburg, where he was working as a lumberjack. He was imprisoned and interrogated in prison and insisted that the Auschwitz gas chambers were a myth. Unfortunately, he did not live to take this position in court, because he died in prison on June 17, 1963, at the age of 51, apparently from a circulatory ailment, although his wife considered his death rather mysterious.[23]Aretz, 58; Naumann, 8.

When the trial finally opened in Frankfurt in December 1963, the principal defendant was one Robert K. L. Mulka, an ex-SS Captain who had served briefly as adjutant to Höss at Auschwitz. Mulka had been tried and sentenced, by a German chamber immediately after the war in connection with his role at Auschwitz, and quite a few of the other 21 defendants at the Auschwitz trial were standing trial for the second time on basically the same charges.

The court, of course, did not ignore legal matters entirely, and it took the trouble to explain that the Bonn Government considers itself the legal successor to the Third Reich, and thus, it was competent to try persons for infringing laws that were in force in Germany during the war. Killing Jews, of course, had been illegal in Nazi Germany, and thus, the majority of the defendants were charged in that respect. In regard to the reasonableness of such a trial, one can do not better than to quote from the opinion of the Frankfurt court itself:[24]Naumann, 8-26, 416f.

“This determination of guilt has, however, confronted the court with extraordinarily difficult problems.

Except for a few not very valuable documents, almost exclusively only witness testimonies were available to the court for the reconstruction of the deeds of the defendants. It is an experience of criminology that witness testimony is not among the best of evidence. This is even more the case if the testimony of the witness refers to an incident which had been observed twenty years or more ago under conditions of unspeakable grief and anguish. Even the ideal witness, who only wishes to tell the truth and takes pains to explore his memory, is prone to have many memory gaps after twenty years. He risks the danger of projecting onto other persons things which he actually has experienced himself and of assuming as his own experiences things which were related to him by others in this terrible milieu. In this way he risks the danger of confusing the times and places of his experiences.

It has certainly been for the witnesses an unreasonable demand for us to question them today concerning all details of their experiences. It is asking too much of the witnesses if we today, after twenty years, still wish to know when, where and how, in detail, who did what. On this basis astonishment was repeatedly expressed by the witnesses, that we asked them for such a precise reconstruction of the past occurrences. It was obviously the duty of the defense to ask about those details. And it is unjust to impute to the defense that it wished to make these witnesses appear ridiculous. On the contrary, we must call to mind only once what endless detail work is performed in a murder trial in our days – how, out of small mosaic-like pieces, the picture of the true occurrences at the moment of the murder is put together. There is available for the court’s deliberations above all the corpse, the record of the post-mortem examination, the expert opinions of specialists on the causes of death and the day on which the deed must have occurred, and the manner in which the death occurred. There is available the murder weapon and fingerprints to identify the perpetrator; there are footprints he left behind as he entered the house of the slain, and many more details at hand which provide absolute proof to the court that this person was done to death by a definite perpetrator of the deed.

All this was missing in this trial. We have no absolute evidence for the individual killings; we have only the witness testimonies. However, sometimes these testimonies were not as exact and precise as is necessary in a murder trial. If therefore the witnesses were asked, in which year or month an event happened, it was entirely necessary for the determination of the truth. And these dates sometimes presented to the court the only evidence for the purpose of determining whether the event related by the witness did in fact happen as the witness related it, or whether the witness had committed an error or confused victims. The court was naturally aware that it was an extraordinary burden for the witnesses, in view of the camp conditions, where no calendars, clocks or even primitive means of keeping records were available, to be asked to relate in all details what they experienced at the time. Nevertheless, the court had to be able to determine whether an individual defendant did in fact commit a real murder, and when and where. That is required by the penal code.

This was an ordinary criminal trial, whatever its background. The court could only judge according to the laws it is sworn to uphold, and these laws require the precise determination of the concrete guilt of an accused on both the objective and subjective side. The overburdening of the witnesses shows how endlessly difficult it is to ascertain and portray concrete events after twenty years. We have heard witnesses who at first appeared so reliable to the court that we even issued arrest warrants on their declarations. However, in exhaustive examination of the witness declarations in hours long deliberations it was found that these declarations were not absolutely sound and did not absolutely correspond to objective truth. For this purpose certain times had to be ascertained and documents reexamined – whether the accused, who was charged by a witness, was at the camp Auschwitz at all at the time in question, whether he could have committed the deed there, or whether the witness perhaps projected the deed onto the wrong person.

In view of this weakness of witness testimony – and I speak now only of the sworn witnesses whose desire for the truth, the subjective and objective truth, the court was thoroughly confident of – the court especially had to examine the witness testimonies. Only a few weeks ago we read in the newspapers that a member of the Buchenwald concentration camp staff had been convicted of murdering an inmate who, it is clear today, is alive and was certainly not murdered. Such examples should make us think. These cases of miscarriages of justice do not serve to strengthen the respect for the law. On these grounds also the court has avoided whatever could even in the most remote sense suggest a summary verdict. The court had examined every single declaration of each of the witnesses with great care and all earnestness and consequently is unable to arrive at verdicts of guilty on a whole list of charges, since secure grounds could not be found for such verdicts. The possibilities of verifying the witness declarations were very limited. All traces of deeds were destroyed. Documents which could have given the court important assistance had been burned. […]”

Although these admissions on the part of the Frankfurt court should be conclusive in forming one’s opinion of such trials, we must add that the court understated the facts of the situation. The great majority of the witnesses were citizens of Soviet bloc countries, with all that such a fact implies regarding their testimonies. The court complained that “this witness testimony was not so accurate and precise as is desirable,” but one should observe that it was certainly attempted to organize the memories of the witnesses suitably, for the “Comité International d’Auschwitz“ had set up its headquarters in Frankfurt and from there had issued “information sheets” on the terrible things that had happened at Auschwitz. These “information sheets” had been made available to, and had been read by, the witnesses before they testified. There was also a “Comité des Camps” in circulation, and other persons, e.g. the mayor of Frankfurt, made suggestions to the witnesses of varying degrees of directness and subtlety.[25]Laternser, 85-94.

The farce extended also into the matters that the court considered in the course of the long trial and the sentences that were imposed. Mulka, found guilty of being second man in the administration of the great extermination camp, of having ordered the Zyklon B on at least one occasion, of having been in charge of the motor pool, which transported the condemned, of having handled some of the paperwork dealing with transports, and of having been involved in the construction of the crematories, was sentenced to 14 years at hard labor, but was released less than four months later on grounds of ill health. Defendant Franz Hofmann, ex-SS Captain who had been in charge of Auschwitz I, received a life sentence for the simple reason that, although found guilty in connection with exterminations, he had really been tried on a charge of having thrown a bottle at a prisoner, who later died from the head injury received. This incident evidently had a greater impact on the court than mass exterminations, which is not surprising, because the bottle episode could clearly be recognized as the sort of thing that happens in penal institutions. Hofmann was sentenced to life imprisonment, but shortly later released anyway on the grounds of his previous detention.[26]Naumann, 412f., 418f., 422f.. Reitlinger, 551, 561.

Precedents for the Trials? • 500 Words

In searching the history books for proceedings comparable to the “war crimes trials,” it is not suitable to fasten on prior politically-motivated trials for precedents. Such trials, e.g. the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, lack the hysterical atmosphere of the war crimes trials. Another feature of the usual political trial is that there is generally only one, or at any rate only a few, victims, and the proceedings are not spread over more than two decades. Even the trial of Joan of Arc, which had aspects of hysteria, is not really comparable to the war crimes trials, because only a single person was on trial, but not an entire nation.

In determining precedents for the war crimes trials, only the witchcraft trials of Europe’s younger days offer satisfactory comparisons. A most important similarity lies in the fact that the accused in witchcraft trials frequently found it expedient in the contexts, in which they found themselves, to go along with the charges to some extent. In fact, in many cases a partial confession offered the only possible trial strategy. One could not deny the very existence of the sorts of Sabbaths that the popular imagination had decided must have existed. When the sentences of the condemned were carried out, one had scenes like this:[27]Michelet, 151-157, 313f.

“On one scaffold stood the condemned Sorceresses, a scanty band, and on another the crowd of the reprieved. The repentant heroine, whose confession was read out, stuck at nothing, however wild and improbable. At the Sabbaths they ate children, hashed; and as a second course dead wizards dug up from their graves. Toads dance, talk, complain amorously of their mistresses’ unkindness, and get the Devil to scold them. This latter sees the witches home with great politeness, lighting the way with the blazing arm of an unbaptized infant, etc., etc.”

The situation was such that one had to feed the fantasies and passions of the judges and the population, and there were even ways of getting ahead by claiming to be a witch, and thus being informed on the activities of certain other witches, knowledgeable on ways of exposing them, etc.

The comparison of the war crimes trials with the witchcraft trials is almost perfect. Both involve large numbers of potential victims, and the possibilities for mutual recrimination are boundless. Most important, both take place in an atmosphere of unreality and hysteria. The person who will not disbelieve those who claim that a modern state was exterminating masses of human beings at a center of chemical industry, employing an insecticide, and that the pervasive stench at that site was due to the associated cremations, is the complete twentieth century equivalent of the person who, in earlier centuries, believe those who claimed that misfortunes were caused by people who conversed with toads, had intercourse with the Devil, etc.

Torture? • 1,500 Words

Another important relationship between witchcraft trials and the war crimes trials is that torture of witnesses and defendants played roles in both. Invented testimony at witchcraft trials is usually explained in terms of torture (although our reference employed above points out that mass hysteria also provides a completely effective motivation). We know that some people were tortured in connection with the war crimes trials, and we should therefore consider the problem of the extent to which torture might have accounted for testimony, especially defendant testimony, in support of exterminations.

Available evidence indicates that torture was frequently employed in the war crimes trials. We have noted at length, on p. 45, the tortures inflicted on German defendants in the Dachau trials. Very similar scenes took place, under British sponsorship, in connection with the Belsen trial, and Josef Kramer and other defendants were tortured, sometimes to the point where they pleaded to be put to death.[28]Belgion, 80f.

On the other hand, it appears that defendants at the IMT were too prominent to torture, although Julius Streicher was an exception, and it is even said that he was forced to eat excrement. Streicher complained at the IMT that he had been beaten up by Negro soldiers after his arrest. On the motion of prosecutor Jackson, this testimony was stricken from the record because otherwise “the court would have had to conduct an investigation.” Streicher was the editor and publisher of a disreputable and quasi-pornographic magazine Der Stürmer, which attacked not only Jews, Freemasons, and clerics but on occasion even top Nazis. Streicher once claimed in Der Stürmer that Göring’s daughter had not been fathered by Göring but by artificial insemination. Der Stürmer was considered offensive by nearly all political leaders in Germany, but Streicher had the protection of Hitler out of gratitude for Streicher’s having delivered Nuremberg to the Nazi Party. In 1940, Göring arranged for Streicher to be put partially out of action; although Der Stürmer was not suppressed, Streicher was deprived of his Party position of Gauleiter of Nuremberg. Streicher never held a position in the German Government, before or during the war, and his inclusion in the first row of “defendants” at the IMT was ludicrous.[29]Bardèche, 12, 73; Davidson, 44-47, 51.

There was never any general or massive exposé of torture of witnesses and defendants at the NMT trials, but we believe that the fact, noted in the previous chapter (p. 219), that the Nuremberg prosecution did not hesitate to torture witnesses even in connection with a regular U.S. legal proceeding, is strong support for our assumption that torture was employed rather commonly at Nuremberg or, more precisely, employed on witnesses and defendants who played roles in the trials at Nuremberg.

We are inclined to believe that Adolf Eichmann was not tortured by his Israeli captors, at least not for the purpose of forcing him to give specific trial testimony. This view is based on the simple fact that he did not complain, in his trial testimony, that he had been tortured thus, although he did complain, early in his trial testimony, that he had suffered rather rough treatment during the few days immediately after his capture, particularly when his captors forced him to sign a declaration that he had come to Israel voluntarily (and which the prosecution had the audacity to put into evidence at the trial). However, the extreme secrecy that surrounded Eichmann’s imprisonment in Israel allows the possibility that he was tortured in some sense, but that he had tactical or other reasons for not charging torture in his testimony.[30]Eichmann, session 75, U1. For the fanatical measures taken to isolate Eichmann from the outside world during his imprisonment in Israel see, e.g., the London Jewish Chronicle (Sep. 2, 1960), 15.

In considering the problem of torture, it is important to observe that the efficacy of torture in producing testimony having a desired content is rather questionable. We cannot believe that the prosecuting authorities at Nuremberg had any moral compunctions about using torture, but they most probably made the rather obvious observation that, no matter how much you torture a man, you still cannot be absolutely sure what he will say on the witness stand. Exceptions to this statement are provided by the “Moscow trials” of the Thirties and other trials staged by Communists, but the defendants in such cases are always “brainwashed” to the extent that they utterly prostrate themselves before the court when on trial and denounce themselves as the foulest beings on earth.[31]Solzhenitsyn has given the definitive account of the historical development of the Communist political “trial.”. See also Conquest, 82-147. No such attitude is perceptible in the Nuremberg defendants who, despite much untruthful testimony damaging to the Nazi regime in general, always argued their personal innocence.

In examining the torture problem, we must be careful regarding what questions one might ask and what inferences may be drawn from the answers. Obviously, there is the question of whether or not a man was tortured. Second, there is the question of whether or not he testified to the reality of exterminations. Assuming that affirmative answers apply to both questions, it is a non sequitur to infer that the former accounts for the latter. This is illustrated by the case of Kramer who, despite torture, spoke the truth in his first statement, and evidently only changed his story when his lawyer explained to him the logical implications of insisting on a story that the court could not possibly accept. On the other hand, if a witness had been tortured, we may infer that the authorities in charge are not to be trusted.

Moreover, one must not make assumptions too quickly in regard to the probable motivations that the Nuremberg jailers might have had for employing torture; the motivation need not have been to produce specific testimony, and may have been either more or less thoughtfully conceived. First, torture might have been employed purely to produce pleasure; the Jews in charge hated their German victims. Second, torture may have been employed merely on the basis of the passing observation that, while it was not guaranteed to be helpful, it also could not hurt matters as long as the proceedings were kept suitably confidential.

A third possible motivation, a far more intelligent one, could have been that torture, while not of much use in producing specific pieces of testimony, could be of assistance in a less specific and more general sense. If my interrogator threatens that he will take steps against my family if I do not cooperate, I may doubt him on the basis that I see no evidence that he either has the necessary power or the necessary cruelty or both. However, if he imprisons me for a year or more, torturing at will, I will eventually believe that he is both powerful and cruel. Thus, we see that torture, while indeed inadequate in itself to produce the sort of testimony that was produced at Nuremberg, might very well have been employed to achieve a general “softening up” of witnesses and defendants that would help the process of coercion and intimidation at other points.

A few complications are also worth mentioning. First, physical torture is not such a very well defined thing. One could argue that extended imprisonment under unhealthy or even merely uncomfortable conditions with daily interrogation is a form of torture. Another complication is that there are modes of torture, mainly sexual in nature or related to sex, that one could never learn about because the victims simply will not talk about them. Finally we should observe that almost none of us, certainly not this author, has ever experienced torture at the hands of professionals bent on a specific goal, and thus we might suspect, to put it quite directly, that we simply do not know what we are talking about when we discuss the possibilities of torture.

Our basic conclusion in respect to the torture problem is that there is something of an imponderable involved. We believe it likely that torture was employed to achieve a general softening up of the victims, so that their testimonies would more predictably take courses that were motivated by considerations other than torture, and we have analyzed witness and defendant testimony in preceding pages of this chapter on this basis; the effects of and fear of torture do not, in themselves, explain testimony in support of exterminations. We thus tend to disagree with much of the existing literature in this area, which, it seems, places too much weight on the singular efficacy of torture at Nuremberg, although we concede that our analysis of this hard subject is not conclusive. We have similar suspicions that writers on witchcraft trials have also leaped to invalid conclusions on the basis of the two indisputably valid facts that, first, victims in witchcraft trials were tortured and, second, many of these people later testified to impossible happenings. The former does not really account for the latter, but it can be a contributing factor when its effects are added to the more weighty motivations for delivering certain kinds of false testimony.

Adolf Hitler • 500 Words

We will return to some statements made at trials in due course. There are a few remarks, allegedly made by top Nazis, that should be mentioned. On April 17, 1943, Hitler met Admiral Horthy at Klessheim Castle. Hitler was critical of Horthy’s lenient Jewish policy and, it is said, explained to Horthy that things were different in Poland:

“If the Jews there did not want to work, they were shot. If they could not work, they had to be treated like tuberculosis bacilli, with which a healthy body may become infected. This was not cruel if one remembers that even innocent creatures of nature, such as hares and deer, which are infected, have to be killed so that no harm is caused by them.”

The evidence that Hitler said this is the alleged minutes of the meeting and the supporting IMT testimony of Dr. Paul Otto Schmidt, Hitler’s interpreter, who normally sat in on such conferences and prepared the minutes. Schmidt testified that he was present at the meeting and that the minutes were genuine and prepared by him. However, in his later book, he wrote that he was not present, because Horthy had insisted on his leaving the room![32]Reitlinger, 450-452; Hilberg (1961), 524; Schmidt, 248.

There is also a statement in Hitler’s political testament :

“I also made it quite plain that, if the peoples of Europe were again to be regarded merely as pawns in a game played by the international conspiracy of money and finance, they, the Jews, the race that is the real guilty party in this murderous struggle, would be saddled with the responsibility for it. I left no one in doubt that this time not only would millions of grown men meet their death and not only would hundreds of thousands of women and children be burned and bombed to death in cities, but this time the real culprits would have to pay for their guilt even though by more humane means.”

This statement is frequently interpreted as an admission of exterminations, but its meaning is at least ambiguous. After all, the payment spoken of was by “more humane means than war.” The Jews who had been in Hitler’s domain had lost property and position in Europe, and that fact may offer the correct interpretation. Loss of property and position might seem a woefully inadequate payment for the events charged to the Jews, but it is well known that all politicians, before leaving the public scene, like to exaggerate the significance of their works.

There also exists a possibility that the text of the testament was tampered with, because its discovery by British and American authorities was not announced until December 29, 1945, and because only the last page is signed. Only the typewriter and stationery Hitler’s secretary used would have been required to make an undetectable alteration.[33]Last page of testament reproduced by Trevor-Roper, 180. Discovery and text of testament reported in New York Times (Dec. 30, 1945), 1; (Dec. 31, 1945), 1, 6. Text also given by Shirer (1947), 180-181; Domarus, vol. II, 2237.

Heinrich Himmler • 1,700 Words

There is a speech allegedly given by Himmler in Posen in October 1943. The translation of the relevant part, as it appears in the NMT volumes, is as follows, with the original German given in some cases:[34]1919-PS in IMT, vol. 29, 110-173 (in German). Excerpts in English translation in NMT, vol. 13, 318-327.

“I also want to talk to you, quite frankly, on a very grave matter. Among ourselves it should be mentioned quite frankly, and yet we will never speak of it publicly. Just as we did not hesitate on June 30, 1934, to do the duty we were bidden and stand comrades who had lapsed up against the wall and shoot them, so we have never spoken about it and will never speak of it. […]

I mean the evacuation of the Jews (die Judenevakuierung), the extermination (Ausrottung) of the Jewish race. It’s one of those things it is easy to talk about, ‘The Jewish race is being exterminated [ausgerottet],’ says one Party Member, ‘that’s quite clear, it’s in our program – elimination [Aus­schaltung] of the Jews and we’re doing it, extermination [Ausrottung] is what we’re doing.’ And then they come, 80 million worthy Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. Of course the others are vermin, but this one is an A-1 Jew. Not one of all those who talk this way has watched it, not one of them has gone through it. Most of you must know what it means when 100 corpses are lying side by side, or 500, or 1,000. To have stuck it out and at the same time – apart from exceptions caused by human weakness – to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written, for we know how difficult we should have made it for ourselves, if with the bombing raids, the burdens and the depravations of war we still had Jews today in every town as secret saboteurs, agitators, and trouble-mongers. We would now probably have reached the 1916-1917 stage when the Jews were still in the German national body.

We have taken from them what wealth they had. I have issued a strict order, which SS Obergruppenführer Pohl has carried out, that this wealth should, as a matter of course, be handed over to the Reich without reserve. We have taken none of it for ourselves. […] We had the moral right, we had the duty to our people, to destroy this people (dieses Volk umzubringen) which wanted to destroy us. But we have not the right to enrich ourselves with so much as a fur, a watch, a mark, or a cigarette, or anything else. Because we exterminated (ausrotteten) a germ, we do not want in the end to be infected by the germ and die of it. […] Wherever it may form, we will cauterize it.”

The evidence that Himmler actually made these remarks is very weak. The alleged text of the Posen speech is part of document 1919-PS and covers 63 pages in the IMT volumes. The quoted portion occurs in a section of 1-1/2 pages length which stands about mid-way in the text under the heading “Jewish evacuation.” The manuscript of the speech, which bears no signature or other endorsement, is said (in the descriptive material accompanying the trial document) to have been found in Rosenberg’s files. It was put into evidence at the IMT as part of document 1919-PS, but it was not stated, during the IMT proceedings, where the document was supposed to have been found, and nobody questioned Rosenberg in connection with it. On the other hand, Rosenberg was questioned in regard to 3428-PS, another document said to have been found in his files (which is discussed briefly below), and he denied that it could have been part of his files.[35]IMT, vol. 11, 561. It is further claimed that during Case 11 “the Rosenberg files were rescreened and 44 records were discovered to be a phonographic recording of Himmler’s Poznan speech of October 4, 1943.”[36]NMT, vol. 13, 318. The records are supposed to be document NO-5909 and were put into evidence during the testimony of defendant Gottlob Berger, SS General, former head of the SS administrative department, Himmler’s personal liaison with Rosenberg’s Ministry for the Occupied East, and chief of POW affairs toward the end of the war. In his direct examination, Berger had testified that he had known nothing of any extermination program and also that Himmler had indeed delivered an “interminable” speech at Posen in 1943, to an audience of higher SS leaders which included himself. However, he denied that document 1919-PS was an accurate transcript of the speech, because he recalled that part of the speech had dealt with certain Belgian and Dutch SS leaders who were present at the meeting, and[37]NMT, vol. 13, 457-487.

[…] that is not contained in the transcript. I can say with certainty that he did not speak about the Ausrottung of the Jews, because the reason for this meeting was to equalize and adjust these tremendous tensions between the Waffen SS and the Police.”

In the cross examination prosecutor Petersen played a phonograph recording of somebody speaking the first lines of the alleged speech, but Berger at first denied that the voice was Himmler’s and then, after a second playing of the same lines, he said that it “might be Heinrich Himmler’s voice.” The records were then offered in evidence and more excerpts, including the one dealing with Jewish evacuation, which is quoted above, were played in court. Berger was not questioned further, however, on the authenticity of the voice and was excused immediately after the playing of the records. It was only with some reluctance that the court accepted these records in evidence: