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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

W. Stäglich - AUSCHWITZ (A)

AUSCHWITZ: A JUDGE LOOKS AT THE EVIDENCE

by WILHELM Stäglich



INSTITUTE FOR HISTORICAL REVIEW

Auschwitz: A Judge Looks at the Evidence

English translation from the German original, Der Auschwitz Mythos Original English title The Auschwitz Myth Published under license from Grabert Verlag, Tübingen, West Germany

English translation by Thomas Francis Copyright ©1986 by Institute for Historical Review

First English language edition published December, 1986 Second edition published January, 1990

Manufactured in the United States of America

ISBN: 0-939484-32-3, Clothbound

ISBN: 0-939484-22-1, Paperback

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 89-85508

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The only exception would be excerpts quoted in conjunction with a review.
-------------------------------------

CONTENTS (only the marked as # were found)

#Introduction

#Foreword

#Chapter One: The Making of a Myth

Origins of the Auschwitz Myth
Form and Content of the Auschwitz Myth

#Chapter Two: Contemporaneous Documents

Basic Documents from German Official Records
Speeches and Other Public Statements by Political Leaders of the Third Reich
Contemporaneous Manuscripts and Private Papers
Photographic "Documents"

Chapter Three: Testimony and Personal Accounts

"Eyewitness" Accounts of Auschwitz
Allied "War Crimes" Trials
The Birkenau "Death Factories" as Portrayed in the Most Important "Eyewitness Accounts"
The Cracow Memoirs of Rudolf Höß, Commandant of Auschwitz

#Chapter Four: The Auschwitz Trial

Legal Proceedings as a Source of Material for Historians: Fact and Fiction
The Auschwitz Trial: A Show Trial?

Appendices

Partial Translation of Document NG-2586-G
"My Impressions of the Auschwitz Camp in 1944"
An Exchange of Correspondence between the Author and the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte
Denial of Access to the Files of the Proceedings against Dr. Johann Paul Kremer
Denial of Access to the Files of the First Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial
An Exchange of Correspondence between the Author and the International Red Cross


Footnotes

Bibliography


Index


Illustrations
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INTRODUCTION


The "open society" and "the free exchange of ideas" are generally regarded not only as praiseworthy ideals but as indelible characteristics of twentiethcentury Western democracy. Their concomitants, freedom of speech and the press, are held to be rights the infringement of which places in jeopardy all other democratic liberties, for it is only through freedom of expression that the citizenry of a democratic state can reach an informed consensus.

Thus the fate of this book and the ordeal of its author, Judge Wilhelm Stäglich, is a telling indictment of the Federal Republic of Germany's imposture as a sovereign democracy. No less is the silence of those Western circles which so loudly profess devotion to freedom of expression in other cases a condemnation of their own hypocrisy, for there are few if any parallels in the recent history of democratic states for the sustained hounding and persecution which Judge Stäglich has endured over the past twenty years.

Judge Stäglich is unfortunate enough to have trusted his own powers of observation and to have refused to muzzle himself when the issue was not only historical truth, but the honor of his country. For, having been stationed near the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War, in which he served as an officer in an anti-aircraft unit, he made so bold after the war, when his dismembered fatherland was being re-educated in its various parts to execrate the allegedly unique wickedness of its conduct, to remark on his own observations of the camp, which diverged considerably from the horror stories which became the staple of Germany's post-war "mastering of the past."

In 1965 Stäglich, who was serving as a judge in Hamburg, was denounced by a colleague to the Jewish mayor of the city as a "Nazi" for his heretical remarks on Auschwitz. Judge Stäglich then underwent a two-year "disciplinary proceeding" aimed at driving him from the bench, which included an obligatory "psychiatric evaluation."

This first effort to silence Judge Stäglich, which failed for lack of evidence, served rather to goad than to intimidate the courageous jurist. In 1973 he published an account of his Auschwitz observations in the magazine Nation Europa (translated as Appendix II of this book). Stäglich's public challenge to the official version of life at Auschwitz brought forth a succession of measures aping those of the modem totalitarian states, and malting a sad mockery of the proud struggle for freedom of expression and inquiry waged by German academics in the preceding century and a half.

Judge Stäglich was the subject of a second inquisition, by which he was induced to resign, his health having been affected by the campaign against him. The proceeding was continued, however, with the object of stripping Stäglich of his pension (the authorities eventually settled on reducing the judge's pension by twenty percent over a five-year period).

Prematurely retired, Stäglich set to work on a systematic study of the evidence supposedly substantiating systematic murder by gassing at Auschwitz, a study to which he brought juristic experience unique in the Revisionist movement. This book, the fruit of those researches, is the most comprehensive examination of the various "proofs" offered for the Auschwitz myth, as well as a damning analysis of the several post-war trials staged by the Allied victors and their fuglemen in the Federal Republic, most notably the famous "Auschwitz Trial" which took place in Frankfurt in 1963-1965.

The appearance of Der Auschwitz Mythos in West Germany in 1979 spurred the custodians of the myth of Germany's solitary and monstrous guilt in the war to new excesses in censorship. West German authorities set in motion the procedure by which offending books are "indexed" as "harmful to youth," thereby severely restricting their advertising and distribution. Nevertheless, all but seven of the 10,000 copies of the first edition had been sold by the time the book was ordered seized as a result of further legal action by the government.

In a crowning absurdity, Judge Stäglich was "deprived" of the doctoral degree he had earned at the University of Gottingen in 1951. In this action the university authorities had recourse to a law signed personally by the late Filhrer and Reichskanzler, Adolf Hitler, to all of whose values and practices the Federal Republic proclaims itself a standing reproach. A series of other harassments, from police raids on Judge Stäglich home to seize forbidden literature to the enactment of a constitutional provision aimed at those who dare to question the "Holocaust," has followed.

It would tax the powers of belief of even the least conspiratorial-minded to imagine that there was something adventitious or arbitrary about the actions of West German authorities, which have been undertaken under "conservative" and "social democratic" regimes alike. Their activities, carried out with unswerving purpose against one man and his ideas for more than twenty years, give abundant evidence that the maintenance of orthodoxy on the state-mandated "Holocaust" tale is far more important than is the maintenance of even lip service to freedom of expression and inquiry.

As Wilhelm Stäglich has written:

We Germans, in spite of the repeated assurances to the contrary of our puppet politicians, are politically and intellectually no longer a sovereign nation since our defeat in the Second World War. Our political subservience, which is apparent in the fact of the breaking up of the Reich and the incorporation of the individual pieces into the extant power blocks of the East and of the West, has had as its consequence a corresponding intellectual subservience. Escape from this intellectual subservience is prevented primarily by the guilt complex inculcated in most Germans through the "re-education" instituted in 1945. This guilt complex is based primarily on the Holocaust Legend. Therefore, for us Germans the struggle against what I have called the 'Auschwitz Myth' is so frightfully important.1
The suppression of Der Auschwitz Mythos in West Germany, however, is less than even a Pyrrhic victory for the world-wide forces which strive to impose a one-sided, propagandistic history of the Second World War, a history which has as its central motif the "Holocaust" hoax. It is rather humiliating acknowledgement of their inability to confront modern Revisionism according to the canons of scholarship, an inability that has manifested itself in the Holocaust Establishment's attempts to suppress the writings of scholars such as Arthur Butz and Robert Faurisson.

The appearance of this translation of The Auschwitz Myth under the auspices of the Institute for Historical Review, indeed, confers upon the Stäglich affair the aspect of triumph and victory. A little more than two years after the Institute's headquarters were reduced to a heap of ashes and rubble by a terrorist attack, the English-speaking world has gained access to this vital Revisionist work. The work of "bringing history into accord with the facts" goes on; ultimately, there is no power on earth which will stop it.

The Institute for Historical Review would like to acknowledge the help of Russell Granata in translating the footnotes to The Auschwitz Myth.

Theodore J. O'Keefe
December, 1986

1. The Journal of Historical Review, Spring, 1984 (vol.5, no.1), p. 65.

FOREWORD

"AUSCHWITZ--IT WAS HELL." For all its subjectivity, 'this remark attributed to a former inmate does not begin to characterize the emotion-charged ideas the word Auschwitz evokes today. Auschwitz symbolizes more than the multitudinous agonies suffered in concentration camps, not only German camps during the war, but concentration camps everywhere, past and present: It has come to symbolize the "murder of millions of European Jews." Everyone "knows" that we are not "supposed to" voice the slightest doubt regarding the legend that is Auschwitz, or even relate personal experiences that might not be entirely in line with it. Indeed, to commit such heresy is to run the risk of losing one's livelihood. For the powers that be have ordained that Auschwitz must be viewed in one way only.

That is exactly what should make us leery. Truth does not require coercion to be accepted. Its persuasiveness does not depend on constant repetition of bold-faced claims. All that is really needed for truth to prevail is to show the facts, and let common sense do the rest. What then could be more natural than to examine the factual basis of the allegation that Auschwitz was the site of the most extensive and atrocious massacre of Jews in history? Almost everybody is familiar with this claim, but nobody can say just what evidence there is to support it. People have come to regard the whole subject as taboo. I noticed this was true even of the judges who imposed a relatively harsh penalty on me for my having published, in the form of an open letter, a de vssu account of the Auschwitz parent camp that conflicts with the now current picture of Auschwitz. *

When I wrote that letter, it was far from my intention to dispute the extermination thesis per se. Anyway, that would have been outside the

*It appeared in the monthly periodical Nation Europa, vol. XXIII, no. 10 (October 1973), pp. 50-52. For an English translation of this document, see Appendix II below. --T.F.
[3]

scope of my account. However, the reaction it provoked made me realize for the first time what importance the powers that have for decades been determining our destiny as a nation place on the Auschwitz taboo. That realization awakened in me an irresistable urge to research the historical sources for the allegation that Auschwitz was an "extermination camp," and come to grips with it. I believe my findings deserve to be brought to the attention of the general public.

At the outset, let one thing be noted: Contrary to popular belief, Auschwitz was not a single camp under central administration. Rather, it consisted of a number of individual camps of various sizes, some of which had considerable organizational autonomy. The actual Auschwitz camp -- the so-called Stammlager ("parent camp" or "main camp," also known as "Auschwitz I") -- was situated about 2 kilometers southwest of the town of Auschwitz in Upper Silesia. Not this camp, but the Birkenau camp, located about 3 kilometers west of the town, is supposed to have been the site of the extermination of the Jews. There was a series of other camps in the Auschwitz region, some of which had been established for special purposes, such as Raisko, for agricultural experiments, and Monowitz, for the production of synthetic rubber. All these camps were associated, more or less loosely, with the main camp. Thus it is hardly correct to designate "Auschwitz" as an "extermination camp," pure and simple, as people often do, perhaps from ignorance. Basically, "Auschwitz" was a network of labor camps established in the industrial area of Upper Silesia for the German war economy. The Birkenau camp ("Auschwitz II"), which is the focal point of the extermination claims, served primarily as an internment camp for specific groups of prisoners, such as Gypsies, women with children, as well as the chronically ill and those who were otherwise incapable of labor. It also served as a transit camp and, initially, even as a prisoner of war camp. In the spring of 1943, several crematoria-- allegedly containing "gas chambers" for the extermination of Jews -- were put into operation there, while the original camp crematorium in "Auschwitz I" was shut down in July 1943.

The real subject of our investigation is the charge that Birkenau was an "extermination camp." This work is not intended to give a definitive picture of Auschwitz -- something that would, in any case, be beyond the limited resources at my disposal. It also has no pretensions to being a Geschichtsschau in the Rankean sense, that is an attempt to depict Auschwitz "as it really was." Rather, it is an effort to survey, examine, and assess as objectively as possible the evidence that has thus far been presented for the claim that Auschwitz was a "death factory."

Unfortunately, the Institut fUr Zeitgeschichte [Institute for Contemporary History] in Munich has not seen fit to grant my request for its assistance. My correspondence with the institute is so revealing that I must share it with my readers (see Appendix Ill). Likewise, I was refused permission to examine relevant trial records (see Appendices IV and V), and therefore had to rely on published collections of trial documents, such as they exist.

I am aware, of course, that Auschwitz is not the only camp that has been linked to the "extermination of the Jews." Nevertheless, it assumes such importance in this connection, both qualitatively and quantitatively, that I am convinced that the extermination thesis stands or falls with the allegation that Auschwitz was a "death factory." That alone should justify my restricting the scope of this inquiry.

Finally, let it be noted that the present volume is the work not of a professional historian, but of a jurist with an interest in recent history. Naturally, I have tried to observe the rules of scholarship. My intention is not to polemicize, but to take stock of the evidence that has thus far been presented for the claim that Auschwitz was a "death factory," as objectively as possible, and draw the logical conclusions from it. If certam passages in this work strike the reader as polemical, he would do well to ask himself whether such lapses are not unavoidable given the nature of the subject.

Hamburg, December 1978

DR. WILHELM Stäglich
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CHAPTER ONE

THE MAKING OF A MYTH


IN EVERY PERIOD of history, men have succumbed to certain illusions. Perhaps the most widespread illusion of our time is that people are now more thoroughly, comprehensively, and, above all, accurately informed than ever before. In reality, just the opposite seems to be the case. The quality of the information disseminated via modem techniques of communication stands in inverse proportion to its quantity. This general observation also applies to the veracity of specific pieces of information. Anyone who has seen an event reported about which he has firsthand knowledge will attest that much of the depiction was at variance -- even radically so--with what actually happened.

This is hardiy the place to examine the manifold causes of such distortion. Of one thing there can be no doubt: All politically related "information" that appears in the mass media today is designed to serve a purpose. The vaunted "independence" of the communications media is little more than a soothing copybook platitude. Though every once in a while ostensibly dissenting viewpoints are aired in the mass media, so as to give a certain substance to pretensions of "balance," that does not alter in the least the fact that the clique which, by virtue of its enormous wealth, largely controls the communications media is primarily interested in manipulating individuals and nations to attain its political ob jectives.' The ultimate achievement of propaganda is, as Emil Maier-Dom has so vividly put it, to "make millions of people eagerly forge the chains of their own servitude."2

A most depressing example of a people forging its own chains is to be seen in the almost fanatical tenacity with which so many Germans cling to feelings of guilt that have been implanted in them about an epoch in which bitter necessity impelled the German people to seek an independent path to the future. Many things go into the makeup of our national [6 7] guilt complex, but more than anything else it is the product of deliberate misinformation about the German past. As a result of this artificial and utterly baseless guilt complex, at no time since the fall of the Third Reich has the German people been able to bring itself to pursue its own political interests. Mendacious propaganda of a kind and scope perhaps unique in history has insidiously -- and thus all the more effectively -- deprived it of the national self-confidence required for such a policy. Just as an individual cannot get along without a healthy measure of personal self-esteem, so a people without a sense of national self-esteem cannot maintain its political independence. In the long run, this political propaganda disguised as "historiography" can have a positively lethal effect on the nation.

Pivotal to the German national guilt complex is the Auschwitz Myth. During the war, a number of concentration camps were established near Auschwitz, an industrial town of some 12,000 inhabitants situated about 50 kilometers west of Cracow.3 In the course of the 1960's, but especially after the so-called Auschwitz Trial of 1963-1965, the name of this town evolved into a synonym for "genocide." In the concentration camps of the Auschwitz region -- so the story goes -- millions of Jews were systematically killed on orders from the leadership of the Third Reich. Today the word "Auschwitz" has the almost mystical force of traditional fables and legends, and it is in this sense, too, that the phrase "Auschwitz Myth" should be understood. Indeed, the Auschwitz Myth has become a quasi-religious dogma. Skepticism about it is not tolerated, nor often expressed. Cleverly using the Auschwitz Myth to represent itself as the sacrosanct embodiment of "Humanity" -- and the German people as the embodiment of utter evil -- international Jewry has laid claim to a privileged status among nations. Similarly, forces inside Germany, as well as outside, have used the Auschwitz Myth to forestall or suppress any objective discussion of the Third Reich era. Whenever Germans show signs of deviating from what Gob Mann calls the "sociopedagogically desirable view of history" ("das volkspädagogisch erwünschte Geschichtsbild"), one need only utter the catchword "Auschwitz" to remove all doubt as to the basic depravity of the German people.4 Not only does the very mention of "Auschwitz" call a halt to rational discussion of the Third Reich, since beside "Auschwitz," this sym bol of absolute evil, everything else seems inconsequential; it can also be used to cast a shadow over any other aspect of the German past. So long as the Auschwitz Myth retains its terrible power, the recovery of our national self-esteem is virtually impossible.5

Origins of the Auschwitz Myth


When one traces the evolution of the extermination legend, it is really quite difficult to comprehend how the Auschwitz Myth came to occupy such a towering position in it. To be sure, as early as 1944 the inventors of the legend had decided on Auschwitz as the site of the "extermination of the Jews," and were clever enough to bolster this allegation with an official U.S. Government publication, the "War Refugee Board Report," as Dr. Butz has shown.6 However, the WRB Report, which we shall discuss at greater length in the next two chapters, was consigned to oblivion after the war. At least in Germany, the "gas chamber" propaganda largely centered around camps in the Reich itself, even though the International Military Tribunal (IMT) had asserted in its decision, on the basis of an affidavit from Rudolf Höß, the former commandant of Auschwitz, that some 2,500,000 Jews were murdered in "gas chambers" at the camp.7 Almost immediately after the war, severe tensions arose between the western Allies and Soviet Russia, with the result that a line of demarcation, the "Iron Curtain," was drawn between their respective spheres of influence. Partly for that reason, partly for others, the western Allies never got to inspect the Auschwitz area. Here one recalls the statement of Stephen F. Pinter, a U.S. War Department attorney who was stationed at Dachau for 17 months:

We were told 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.8
Thus there was some uncertainty about what position the Soviets would ultimately take on the "extermination of the Jews," especially since Stalin himself was reputed to be an "anti-Semite." For whatever reason, the Auschwitz Myth was not widely publicized until well into the 1950's. At least, it still had not acquired the crucial significance attributed to it today. No distinction was as yet made between the various camps when the "Final Solution"--the physical destruction of European Jewry allegedly ordered by the leadership of the Third Reich -- was discussed. They were all supposed to have played basically the same role in this enormous "murder plot." Every concentration camp, it was said, had one or more "gas chambers" in which Jews were asphyxiated with volatile cyanide (in the form of "Zyklon B," a proprietary fumigant) or carbon monoxide -- in usu vulgi: "gassed." Even in the later editions of his "standard work" The Final Solution, Gerald Reitlinger claims:

Thus, eventually, every German concentration camp acquired a gas chamber of sorts, though not on Auschwitz lines. The Dachau gas chamber, for instance, was preserved by the American occupation authorities as an object lesson, but its construction had been hampered and its use restricted to a few experimental victims, Jews or Russian prisoners-of-war, who had been committed by the Munich Gestapo.9
In Reitlinger's hedging of his statement about the Dachau "gas chamber," one sees a rearguard action. As early as 1960, the Institut für [8-9] Zeitgeschichte in Munich felt itself called upon to issue the following statement, perhaps in response to the findings of the French historian Paul Rassinier:

Neither in Dachau nor Bergen-Belsen nor in Buchenwald were Jews or other inmates gassed. The gas chamber in Dachau was never finished and put into operation . . . The mass extermination of the Jews by gassing began in 194142, and occurred in a very few places, selected exclusively for the purpose and outfitted with the appropriate technical facilities, above all in occupied Polish territory (but nowhere in the German Reich proper).10
If Reitlinger's statement was a rearguard action, the statement of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte was a general retreat. What made it so sensational was that not only had a host of former inmates testified that "gassings" took place at concentration camps in the Reich, but several commandants of these camps even signed "confessions" affirming the existence of the alleged "gas chambers."11 At the Nuremberg IMT trial, the British Chief Prosecutor Sir Hartley Shawcross specifically cited Dachau, Buchenwald, Mauthausen, and Oranienburg as places where murder was "conducted like some mass production industry in the gas chambers and ovens."12

For a long time, Auschwitz and other camps that had existed in the German-occupied eastern territories played a subordinate role in the extermination legend. But after Dr. Martin Broszat, a leading member of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte, made the statement quoted above, the view that any concentration camps in Germany were "death factories" became completely untenable.

However, the claim that some six million Jews had fallen victim to the "Final Solution" was so vital to the interests of the inventors and promoters of the extermination legend that they absolutely could not abandon it. Not only was that charge a means of holding the German people in political subjugation; it had also become a highly lucrative source of income for international Jewry. The six million figure was the basis of the "reparations" which the Federal Republic of Germany obligated itself to pay to the State of Israel and the Jewish international organizations, in addition to compensation payments to individual Jews, beginning in the early 1950's and continuing even today.13 For that reason alone, the six million figure, about which certain writers had already expressed wellfounded and earnest doubts on other grounds, could not be abandoned, even after it was established definitely that none of the camps in the German Reich proper were "extermination camps."14

Thus the necessity of sticking to the six million figure led the extermination mythologists to shift their emphasis from the camps in Germany to the camps in German-occupied Poland. Auschwitz, undoubtedly the largest camp complex, became the focal point of the extermination allegation. Since the Poles had set themselves to the task of refashioning part of the camp complex into an "Auschwitz Museum"-- a move that also signaled the Soviets would hold to the extermination legend, something about which there had been some uncertainty after the IMT trial -- the extermination propagandists no longer had any reason for restraint.

Although the Auschwitz propaganda campaign was aggressively pursued from the very beginning, it still had a lot of catching up to do. To be sure, "extermination camps" in occupied Poland had been mentioned in the so-called Gerstein Report, a document allegedly composed by a onetime SS man named Kurt Gerstein. At first, nobody seemed to take this document seriously, and it was not even admitted in evidence at the IMT trial.15 At least three versions of it were circulated: two French versions and one German version. Numerous passages in these texts vary from one another.16 According to the French version published in 1951, the following "extermination camps" were in existence as of August 17, 1942:

Belzec, on the Lublin-Lwow road. Maximum per day, 15,000 persons
Sobibor, I don't know exactly where it is, 20,000 persons a day
Treblinka, 120 Kilometers NNE of Warsaw
Maidanek, near Lublin (in preparation)17
One notes that the supposedly well-informed Gerstein does not include Auschwitz on this list, though "mass murders" are now alleged to have begun there in the spring of 1942.(The first "gas chambers" were, it is claimed, two converted farm houses) 18 Since, according to this document, Gerstein was responsible for the procurement and distribution of Zyklon B, he certainly would have been aware of the existence of Auschwitz. As a matter of fact, Auschwitz is mentioned as an "extermination camp" at the end of the English version of the document -- along with Theresienstadt, Oranienburg, Dachau, Belsen, and Mauthausen-Gusen!19 This version of the "Gerstein Report" (the one that appears m Dr. Butz's volume) was used by the Americans in the "trials" they conducted on their own after the IMT proceedings.

As the years went on, Auschwitz by and large receded into the background. A decade after the war, the public knew virtually nothing about it. This may be attributed partly to the fact that the Soviets did not permit outsiders to inspect the grounds of the Auschwitz complex. What is more, none of the German and Austrian soldiers interned at Auschwitz, which served for several months as a Soviet prisoner of war camp, found any traces of the alleged mass murders, not even in Birkenau, supposedly the actual extermination camp, and so reported after their release.20 Of course, remnants of the crematoria were there to be seen, but the quantity of rubble did not match what would have been left behind by crematoria of the size required for the mass extermination of several thousand people per day.21

One may well ask: If this allegation were true, why then did not the Soviets immediately exhibit the camp to journalists from all over the world and place the evidence of the alleged mass murders under international [10] control? I shall leave it to the reader to answer this question for himself. Even less comprehensible is the fact that the majority of Germans offered virtually no resistance to the Auschwitz propaganda campaign that began in the middle of the 1950's. They did not ask why Auschwitz was suddenly being brought forward as the greatest extermination camp of them all, a camp in which Jews were "gassed" by the millions. Everyone seemed to have forgotten the old German proverb: Wer einmal lii gt, dem glaubt man nicht.* Given the fact that the falsehoods about Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, and other camps lasted hardly a decade, similar charges about Auschwitz should have been regarded with the utmost suspicion.

Of course, here one must take into account the fact that even today many Germans are in the dark about how shamelessly they were deceived in regard to the concentration camps in Reich territory. Countless Germans still believe the lies they were told, for neither the government nor the mass media gave Dr. Broszat's revealing admission the publicity it deserved.

However, that alone is not enough to explain the establishment and entrenchment of the Auschwitz Myth. Not even the segment of our population most familiar with the Dachau "gas chamber" hoax, for example, is immune to the Auschwitz Myth. Anyone who follows the nationalist press knows that even there "Auschwitz" is often used as a synonym for "genocide."22 In part, this implicit endorsement of the Auschwitz Myth may be the result of a thoughtlessness that is in itself unpardonable. But there is also some genuine belief involved, as became clear to me from discussions with editors of those publications. To support their position they usually cited the findings of the first Frankfürt Auschwitz Trial. Indeed, the actual reason for the widespread public acceptance of the Auschwitz Myth may be that the decisions of German courts enjoy the unlimited confidence of the German people. Despite many miscarriages of justice, judicial authority and objectivity are still considered above suspicion. Whether this trust is justified when it comes to such blatantly political trials as the so-called Frankfürt Auschwitz Trial is a question that will arise many times in the course of our investigation. At this point, it should be enough simply to note that it can never be the task of the courts to pronounce the final verdict on historical matters, something that certain groups consider the real purpose of the so-called "Nazi Crimes of Violence Trials" ("NSG-Verfahren"), of which the Auschwitz Trial is the prime example 23

Considering the importance of the Auschwitz Myth, and its strange etiology, it is high time that the facts be systematically investigated and scrutinized. To be sure, other writers --for example, Rassinier and

*Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus; literally, "He who lies once is not to be believed twice."--T.F.

[10-11]

Butz -- have brought many significant facts to light. However, since their studies embraced the whole problem of the German concentration camps, their treatment of Auschwitz was necessarily limited to the essentials, and could do with some supplementation. Beyond that, I should like to treat the Auschwitz Myth from a different point of view, as will become evident in the following pages. Before going into details, let us take an overall look at the "official" image of Auschwitz and how it has been fashioned.

Form and Content of the Auschwitz Myth

The "Official" Auschwitz Image


Undoubtedly, the image of Auschwitz that haunts the public mind today is the result of the persistent "educational campaign" conducted by the press, radio, and television, the so-called mass media. This image, which, of course, still meets with a certain amount of skepticism,24 follows a set pattern that is, as we shall see, of very obscure origin. It has been supplemented and broadened by a literature, full of contradictions, that ranges from accounts of personal experiences to discussions of particular aspects of the camp to general treatises with scholarly pretensions. Considering the importance of the subject, there are fewer of the latter than one would expect, and they are also quite superficial as historiography. The superficiality of these "standard works" may be attributed to the fact that the authors do not approach their subject in the manner of professional historians, but of propagandists. Because nearly all of them are Jews, there is an inherent bias.25

Why professional historians steer clear of this subject is rather obvious. On the one hand, if a historian affiliated with an institution dared cast doubt on the image of Auschwitz that a worldwide propaganda campaign has made into a taboo -- something he could not fail to do, given the lack of genuine evidence to support it -- he would be out of a job. On the other hand, if the same historian lent his authority to the "official" version of Auschwitz, he would destroy his professional reputation. How many people can be expected to risk their livelihood or reputation? In his book on the Auschwitz Trial, which he covered for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the journalist Bernd Naumann gives in a nutshell the version of Auschwitz propagated in the mass media and "scholarly" tomes, which the court took for granted throughout the proceedings:

The camp was set up in May, 1940, at Auschwitz, 37 miles west of Cracow. Convicted criminals were installed as its prisoner hierarchy. The first shipment of Polish inmates arrived on June 14, 1940. Twelve months later, Hitler decided on the "flnal solution of the Jewish problem."

Auschwitz became the chosen center for the planned mass extermination, and Himmler therefore ordered that the camp be expanded. The adjacent town of [11] Birkenau was converted into a gigantic barbed-wire enclosure, a barracks town able to acconunodate 100,000 inmates. It became known as Auschwitz II, and the original camp as Auschwitz I.

On September 3, 1941, more than four months before the infamous Wannsee Conference at which Heydrich* outlined the details of the "final solution," about 600 prisoners were sent to the gas chambers --this in the nature of an "experiment." The same fate befell a group of Jews from Upper Silesia, who, in January, 1942, were gassed in a converted barn in the razed village of Birkenau. The schedule for the final solution was about to become Eichmann's grim reality. Endless shipments of prisoners, mostly Jews, began to pour into the extermination camp.

On May 4, 1942, the first "selections" were conducted at the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the "selectees' gassed. Only a week later, an entire transport, 1,500 men, women, and children, was taken to the gas chambers immediately after its arrival, without ever setting foot in the prison compound. The extermination of European Jewry and of members of "inferior" races was under way. Corpses were burned in huge incineration pits because the so-called Old Crematory was unequal to the job. Consequently, the speedy construction of four large gas chambers and crematories was ordered, and on June 28, 1943, Sturmbannfuuml;hrer Bischoff, the chief of the building section of the Auschwitz Waffen SS, reported that with the last crematory built, the camp had a daily capacity of 4,756 cremations. However, many more could be killed per day: Each of the two larger gas chambers could accomodate up to 3,000 persons. Thus the cremation of bodies under the open sky continued, and the human fat served as supplementary fuel. The stench of burning flesh blanketed the countryside for miles around; dark, fatty smoke wafted across the sky.

But murder in Auschwitz was committed in a variety of ways. Inmates were given injections of phenolic acid, beaten and tortured, arbitrarily and summarily executed, and made guinea-pigs in so-called medical experiments. Inhuman working conditions, unspeakably primitive sanitary conditions, inadequate diet, and the complete degradation of the individual all contributed their share: Debility, disease, and despair took the lives of tens of thousands. The life expectancy of an Auschwitz inmate was but a few weeks.

Also part of the Auschwitz camp complex were a number of subsidiary slavelabor camps (primarily Monowitz --Auschwitz III -- where IG Farben constructed a Buna [synthetic rubber] camp, which, however, never got around to producing rubber), and about thirty industrial enterprises. There, too-- that is, right under the noses of the civilian supervisors of these war plants --feeble and sick prisoners were selected for the gas chambers.

In autumn, 1944, the end of Auschwitz seemed to be approaching. A special prisoner detail assigned to work in the crematories managed to destroy Crematory IV. This rebellion was put down brutally. Almost all involved were shot; a few managed to escape. After this, the crematories were in operation for only a few more weeks; in early November gassings were stopped on orders from above; the murder machinery was grinding to a halt. The gas chambers were blown up and documents destroyed. On January 17, 1945, the evacuation of the camp began. Ten days later, Soviet troops entered Auschwitz; 5,000 sick prisoners, left behind by the retreating Nazis, were saved.

Five thousand--out of more than 400,000 officially registered Auschwitz prisoners: two-thirds men, one-third women. Of these, 261,000 died in the camp or were murdered; the number of those who died during the "evacuation march" is not known. Neither is the number of those who died without ever being registered, who went from railroad siding to gas chamber without stopping over at the camp. Auschwitz Commandant Höß testified at Nuremberg on April 15, 1946, that the number was 2.5 million; he said, though, that this figure was not based on his personal knowledge but was one mentioned by Eichmann. In his memoirs he maintained that the figure he had given was much too high. Eichmann himself, who is believed to have known the actual number, kept silent on this point during his Jerusalem trial.

Pery Broad (one of the defendants at Frankfürt), in a report written by him at the end of the war, spoke of 1 to 2 million. The estimates of historians range from 1 to 4 million.26

Here I must forgo point by point discussion of Naumann's various claims, many of which strike one as implausible even at first glance. So far as they have anything to do with the alleged mass extermination of Jews at Auschwitz, they will be examined later in the proper place, together with the evidence adduced to support them. However, I must note that in the literature on Auschwitz there is no unanimity about the details the authors use to give an impression of punctilious accuracy. Also, I should perhaps note that it is a well-known fact that Himmler* was not present at the "Wannsee Conference," which, according to the so-called Wannsee Protocol, was held under the chairmanship of Reinhard Heydrich.27

Since the proper, if not exclusive, subject of our inquiry is the allegation that Auschwitz was an extermination camp set up as part of a scheme to destroy the Jewish people, certain inaccuracies in the passage quoted above, and others like them, may be ignored. Only those allegations which give the extermination thesis -- what we have called the Auschwitz Myth -- a semblance of credibility come within the purview of this work. Above all, this study is concerned with the allegation that "gas chambers," purportedly the means whereby thousands of people were exterminated all at once and in a short time, existed at Auschwitz. That allegation, the focal point of the depiction of Auschwitz found in the concentration camp literature and transmitted to the general public by the mass media, is the sine qua non of the Auschwitz Myth. The other causes of inmate mortality Naumann mentions -- phenolic acid injections, beatings and torture, arbitrary and summary executions, medical experiments, inhuman working conditions and primitive sanitary conditions -- could hardly have been the vehicle for the extermination of all Jews in German-controlled territory. We may leave aside the question of whether tens of thousands of Jews were in fact killed by these means, as Naumann claims. That allegation has no direct bearing on the real subject of our investigation, viz., the charge that millions of Jews fell victim to a systematic, racially motivated program of "genocide." Nevertheless, I believe a few comments about these other alleged causes of death are in order:

Phenolic acid injections. If the lives of inmates were indeed terminated


*In the German original, Naumann has Himmler attending the Wannsee Conference. This error is corrected in the English-language edition of his book, from which the above passage is taken. --T.F.
[14] by means of phenol injections, this action would seem to come under the heading of euthanasia rather than "genocide." Whether euthanasia is ever justifiable, for example, during a life and death struggle such as the Second World War, may be disputed.28 On this matter the testimony of the Auschwitz Trial defendant Josef Klehr is very much to the point. Among other things, Klehr stated that inmates singled out for the "knock-off shot" ("Abspritzung") were not merely ill, but already half-dead.2' The employment of this method of killing would seem, by the way, to speak against the existence of "gas chambers": Why were the terminally ill not simply "gassed" along with the rest?

Arbitrary and summary executions. During the Second World War, summary executions--with or without court-martial sentences -- were hardly uncommon, and in some cases may have been "arbitrary." In the occupied eastern territories, for example, the German armed forces sometimes resorted to the firing-squad as a means of combatting the plague of guerrilla warfare~ Our enemies were no different, even after the armistice, as many Germans who lived through the invasion and occupation of our country can testify firsthand. If summary executions did occur at Auschwitz, one could not say that they were all "arbitrary" without examining each and every case. But how is the allegation that summary executions were carried out at Auschwitz directly relevant to the extermination claim?

Beatings and torture. Physical brutality against prisoners, especially resulting in death, obviously deserves the strongest condemnation. If Auschwitz camp personnel beat or otherwise tortured inmates, they were acting in violation of Himmler's strict guidelines for treatment of prisoners, and subject to punishment.30 Indeed, Himmler ordered camp commandants and physicians to give top priority to the preservation of inmates' health and fitness for work.31 It should not be forgotten that SS tribunals did in fact rigorously prosecute SS men for maltreating inmates. At the Nuremberg IMT trial, SS Justice Konrad Morgen testified that SS tribunals convicted some 200 persons -- among them five camp commandants -- of such offenses, and that the sentences were usually carried out. Two camp commandants went before the firing-squad.32

Medical experiments. To be sure, experimentation on living human beings is a grisly business, but, like experimentation on animals, it is sometimes indispensable to medical research. Any experimentation in the concentration camps could be undertaken only by special permission of Himmler.33 Incidentally, the medical experiments performed in American penal institutions today -- and not just on death-row prisoners -- require no top-level governmental authorization.34

Inhuman working conditions and primitive sanitary conditions. Naumann's claim that living conditions at Auschwitz were in themselves homicidal remains to be proved. At times, conditions there [14 15] might have been deadly, especially when epidemics were rampant. In his booklet Die Auschwitz-Liige [The Auschwitz Lie], Thies Christophersen gives convincing testimony that as late as 1944, the fifth year of the war, living and working conditions at Auschwitz were, in general, tolerable; in part, even good.35 (On my visits to the Auschwitz parent camp in the middle of 1944, I never encountered a malnourished inmate.) Likewise, Naumann's claim that the life expectancy of an Auschwitz inmate did not exceed a few weeks from the time of his arrival is obviously nothing but speculation. Here one recalls that a number of now prominent Jews lived and worked for years at Auschwitz, for example, the Austrian Jew Benedikt Kautsky (a prominent socialist) and the German Jew Erik Blumenfeld (Party Chairman of the Hamburg branch of the "conservative" Christian Democratic Union). According to former Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, "tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands" of onetime Auschwitz inmates are alive today in Israel alone. 36

Even these few brief factual observations should take away some of the drama from Naumann's portrayal of Auschwitz. Anyway, it is not such incidental atrocity charges as these that have over the past three decades transformed the word "Auschwitz" into a synonym for Hell on earth, but the "gas chamber" charge. Our primary task, then, is to scrutinize the evidence adduced for that charge and determine whether there is any substance to it.

To be sure, a number of facts are already known that would warrant skepticism about the allegation that "gas chambers" existed at Auschwitz.37 They are not, however, officially acknowledged, much less communicated to the public. The standard treatment of this subject is to assert that the "gassing of the Jews" is an "established historical fact," what is known in legal parlance as a matter of "common knowledge," i.e., something regarded as so obvious that it does not require proof. Thus Hermann Langbein, for example, in his book ... wir haben es getan [We Did It], makes the claim that "scholars" have proved the leadership of the Third Reich ordered the planning and execution of mass murder. To be precise, he says:

Perhaps the evidence accessible to research and examination might leave some doubt about this or that detail, but not about the vast killing action itself, ordered and organized by the State. To scholars the facts are clear. In the area of public opinion, however, political passions and guilty conscience distort the picture.38
While we need not allow ourselves to be spoonfed such arrogant generalities, we are not, as a basic principle, the ones who have to come up with the evidence here. Anybody who implies that we are is turning things upside down. The burden of proof, to use a juristic term, rests solely with those groups which, aided by virtually the entire mass media and even part of "German" officialdom, including the judiciary, have for more than thirty years stridently and doggedly accused Germany of having committed "genocide" against the Jewish people. [16]

In the field of historical scholarship there is, strictly speaking, no burden of proof in the juristic sense. However, before the historian can approach his task of depicting some past epoch or event through critical interpretation of the source material he has researched, he must determine the reliability of those sources, something "establishment" historians have not, as I see it, so much as attempted to do with regard to the subject under discussion here. Every conscientious historian will reject a source when he has reason to suspect that it may be false or even unreliable, and, accordingly, eliminate from his work any statements based thereupon, just as a court of law will dismiss a case on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Our attempt to scrutinize the evidence for the "gassing of the Jews" allegation is a preview of the kind of research future historians will have to undertake on a broader scale.

Since the "gas chamber" allegation has been used to represent Germany as a nation of criminals, I find it quite appropriate to introduce the burden of proof concept into the dispute over the extermination thesis. The criteria of penal law may be readily applied to the wholesale indictment of the German people. In the penal jurisprudence of every Western nation it is an established principle that the accused must be proved guilty. If his guilt cannot be proved, he is to be regarded and treated as innocent. According to the time-honored principle of Roman law in dubio pro reo, he must be acquitted when the facts of the case leave room for doubt, even though his innocence cannot be definitely established. The German people have every right to expect this standard to be applied to them in the court of world history.

Thus we the accused -- the German people -- are under no obligation to prove that "gas chambers" did not exist. Rather, it is up to our accusers to prove that they did. As will be seen in the following chapters, they have yet to do so, and we must not allow ourselves to be fooled by any claims to the contrary, such as those of Langbein. So long as the Auschwitz mythologists make this charge, they will be responsible for proving it. We do not have to plead guilty to a mere accusation. It is to be hoped that this point will not be lost on some otherwise well-meaning and patriotic journalists who use the word "Auschwitz" as a synonym for "genocide," because -- as one of them stated in response to a question of mine -- "the opposite cannot be proved."

Foundations of the "Official" Auschwitz Image

Documentary Evidence

As source material for historiography, documents of every kind are assigned pre-eminent rank. Generally speaking, documents constitute the soundest basis for the portrayal of historical events and the analysis of historical processes. While the term "document," in the broadest sense, may be used to describe almost any object conveying information, for example, maps, blueprints, sketches, photographs, motion pictures, and so forth, in the narrower sense it refers only to original or official statements in writing. Transcripts of witness testimony, affidavits, memoirs, letters, and the like are all examples of documents in this limited sense of the word.39

Documents that originated in connection with the alleged events, to which the general term "contemporaneous documents" has been applied, will naturally be assigned greater importance in our study than the post-war testimony and personal accounts the Auschwitz mythologists use to support their grave charges. The latter came into being in what Dr. Butz has called a "hysterical emotional atmosphere."40 Indeed, the testimony and affidavits in the Nuremberg and other "war crimes" trials were often given under duress. Contemporaneous documents, particularly those which are said to have played an indispensable role in the alleged events, represent the most reliable source of information about what actually happened.

According to our ground rules, only contemporaneous documents will count as documentary evidence. To be specific: written statements, both personal and official, but especially the latter, relating to "extermination actions"; construction plans of installations necessary for the operation of an "extermination camp" (e.g., "gas chambers" and crematoria); purported photographs of such installations and actions; and any surviving objects that convey information about the alleged events.

At the outset, we should make a few general comments about the authenticity of the documents that allegedly come from German official files. It is -- or should be -- well known that America has thus far returned to Germany only selected portions of the tons and tons of documents it confiscated from German archives.41 (By "Germany" I mean the Federal Republic of Germany: I do not know whether the German Democratic Republic has received any confiscated documents from the Soviet Union or another of its allies. That is most unlikely.) Official documents relating to what happened in the concentration camps were assembled and evaluated in connection with the various "war crimes trials" staged by the victorious Allies, especially the Nuremberg trials, which were largely an American production. There they received the number and letter designations by which they are cited in the standard works on our subject, seldom with any indication of where the originals are to be found. At best, one finds a footnote indicating that a photocopy of this or that document is to be found at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte or in some other archive. Very often, however, it is not even a photocopy of the original, but rather a photocopy of a "transcription of the original made by the Allies." Nobody seems to know where the originals of the "Nuremberg Documents" -- as they are called -- repose today. Evidently, [18] "scholars" and "professional historians" have not taken the trouble to locate the originals of these documents. (When I tried to locate the socalled Wannsee Protocol, which is constantly represented as the key document on the "extermination of the Jews," I had no success whatsoever.) It is doubtful, by the way, that an independent expert has ever examined a single "Nuremberg document" for its authenticity. The documents are, as Udo Walendy puts it, "nearly inaccessible."42

Given these facts -- particularly the fact that they have not been evaluated by independent experts, indeed, cannot be -- one must have grave doubts as to the authenticity of all "German official documents" cited in the literature on our subject. It is hardly surprising that such authentication was not undertaken in connection with the Nuremberg trials. For the sake of argument, however, we shall proceed on the premise that they are genuine. When doubt as to their authenticity may be surmised from their origin and variance from known fact, it will be indicated in the proper place.

Readers interested in probing further into this episode in recent history will find most of the documents used at the Nuremberg IMT trial in the 42-volume published record of those proceedings, which may be found in all the larger libraries. Particular documents are not always easy to locate in the trial record, since the individual volumes lack tables of contents and the general indexing is incomplete. However, page and volume numbers are usually cited correctly in the literature on our subject. It is more difficult to obtain the text of documents used in the subsequent "war crimes trials."43 There is, of course, an official compendium, as it were, of the documents used in the Nuremberg NMT* proceedings, the 15-volume Trials of War Criminals, but it contains only English translations which, according to Dr. Butz, cannot always be trusted. As even Reitlinger admits, neither there nor anywhere else are these documents systematically collected and reproduced in full. Nevertheless, we may be sure that all the fundamental documents on the "Final Solution" are to be found in the German-language literature on the subject. They will be the starting-point of our investigation. This approach seems unobjectionable, since the task we have set for ourselves is not to determine what Auschwitz was "really" like, but simply to investigate whether sufficient documentary evidence can be adduced for the claim that Jews were exterminated en masse at the camp. We may assume that our "contemporary historians" have left no stone unturned in their search for evidence to support even the least of their allegations. Almost invariably they make use of the same documents that were used in the Nuremberg trials, often quoting only excerpts from them.

Now, let us assume for a moment that the leadership of the Third Reich actually decided to "exterminate the Jews of Europe." (Ever since the war, the anti-German propagandists who claim such a policy existed [18-19]

*Nuremberg Military Tribunal, a series of twelved trials of lesser" German defendants, con ducted entirely by the Americans -- T.F.
have equated it with the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question," a term which, as we shall see, was used with a quite different meaning during the Third Reich.) The formulation and implementation of a program of mass extermination would have involved so much planning and preparation, so many governmental officials and agencies, that one would expect it to have produced a corresponding mass of paperwork. But where are these contemporaneous documents? In his introduction to the purported autobiography of the former Auschwitz camp commandant Rudolf Höß, Dr. Martin Broszat, one of the "expert witnesses" in the so-called Frankfürt Auschwitz Trial and currently director of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte, talks as though the Auschwitz legend had long since been substantiated with reliable documents. "Documents on Auschwitz are nothing new," he asserts. One wonders to what extent he understands the meaning of the term "document." From the context in which this remark appears, one must assume that he regards all the post-war testimony and reports on Auschwitz as "documents." However, as we shall see, genuine contemporaneous documents that can in any way be construed as supporting the allegation that Jews were "exterminated" at Auschwitz-Birkenau are almost non-existent.

The explanation usually adduced for this dearth of contemporaneous documents is that the Reich leadership kept its homicidal plans under tight security. All the necessary orders and directives were, it is claimed, given orally. Since it has never been proved that Hitler or any other top Reich official issued a written order for the extermination of all Jews in German-controlled territory, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte is reduced to claiming that "according to many witnesses, it must have been given orally."" The same claim appears in the depositions leading members of this institute gave as "expert witnesses" in the Auschwitz Trial, and the arguments they use to support it are thoroughly unconvincing. One of these "experts," Dr. Helmut Krausnick, cites in this regard the memoirs of Himmler's masseur Felix Kersten, which have since been branded a forgery. (Since a number of respected historians hold the view that the Kersten memoirs are fraudulent, it cannot be simply dismissed) .45 Another of Krausnick's arguments in support of this assertion is that the Einsatzgruppen (SS commandos) took Hitler's so-called Commissar Order as a license to kill every Jew they could in their field of operations.46 Be that as it may, the occurence of such actions would not per se prove that Hitler or Himmler ordered the liquidation of those Jews. Testimony to that effect from the Nuremberg trials carries no weight here, since there are so many examples of that testimony being extorted through physical and psychological torture or bought with promises.47 Obviously, the claim that the Commissar Order included a directive to exterminate all Jews but that this part of the order was never put in writing is pure speculation. Even such a hardly impartial biographer of Hitler as Joachim C. Fest must admit that "in the table [20] talk, the speeches, the documents or the recollections of participants from all those years not a single concrete reference of his to the practice of annihilation has come down to us "48

Also opposing the hypothesis that Hitler or Himmler issued an oral directive for the extermination of the Jews is the fact that no request for confirmation of such an order has been found among the files of any subordinate agency. Given the famous German penchant for thoroughness and the gravity of the alleged order, one would assume that those involved in carrying it out would, if only for their own protection, have requested confirmation. At the very least, one would expect some traces of such requests to have survived. This is especially true if Robert M.W. Kempner is correct in his charge that countless officials and agencies of the Reich Government were not only aware of the "extermination of the Jews," but even took part in ~ There can be hardly any doubt that the Allies went through the documents they confiscated with a fine-toothed comb to find such evidence. Since no document contaming a reference to an "extermination order" has yet been discovered, it is highly improbable that the order was given. If massacres of Jews did occur, by means of gas or whatnot, subordinates acting on their own undertook them. Such killings would therefore have nothing to do with any "plan" to exterminate the Jewish people. No wonder the extermination mythologists doggedly insist -- despite a total lack of evidence -- that Hitler must have given the order for the "extermination of the Jews" orally. Of course, this "must have" is no substitute for proof.

In this connection, an order Himmler allegedly issued in autumn 1944 for the suspension of the "extermination program" is constantly cited in the literature on our subject. From the alleged order, the extermination mythologists conclude that an order for the "extermination of the Jews" must have been issued in the first place. Apart from the fact that this conclusion is something of a non sequitur, one notes they usually avoid mentioning that there is no documentary proof that Himmler issued any order to shut down an "extermination program."50

Besides the extremely rare contemporaneous documents that bear directly on Auschwitz, there are a number of documents that are supposed to bear indirectly on the alleged plan to exterminate the Jews. They cannot be ignored here, even though they contain no mention whatever of Auschwitz, because they form the basis of the claim that the evacuation (i.e., deportation) of Jews from all parts of Europe to concentration camps in the German-occupied Eastern territories, beginning in 1941 -- an indisputable historical occurrence -- was undertaken for the purpose of killing them, and that, in particular, Birkenau was the site and "gas chambers" the means of this mass murder.51 Even these documents, however, are not particularly numerous. The documents that bear, directly or indirectly, on the question of whether an extermination program was implemented at Auschwitz will be scrutinized in the following chapter.

Post-War Personal Accounts

Considerably more numerous than contemporaneous documents used to support the Auschwitz legend are the personal accounts of those who purportedly had firsthand experience of the "death factories." In this connection, accounts written by former Auschwitz inmates figure most prominently, but former members of the SS camp personnel have also written accounts or given depositions claiming Jews were exterminated at the camp in "gas chambers" and crematoria built especially for this purpose. Perhaps the most important of the accounts ascribed to former SS men is that of Rudolf Höß, commandant of the Auschwitz camp, which we have mentioned above.

A particularly instructive collection of such accounts is the book Auschwitz: Zeugnisse und Berichte [Auschwitz: Testimony and Reports], edited by the former concentration camp inmates H.G. Adler, Hermann Langbein, and Ella Lingens-Reiner. This compilation has a foreword by Hermann Langbein but is otherwise without commentary. Obviously intended as psychological spadework for the Frankfürt Auschwitz Trial, which began in 1963 after several years of preliminary investigations, it contains accounts by persons who later appeared as prosecution witnesses, some of whom likewise told their stories on the radio prior to the trial. A similar compendium of personal accounts is Hermann Langbein's Menschen in Auschwitz. Unlike the previously mentioned volume, this compilation contains a good deal of augmentation and commentary. There are other books that deal exclusively with the purported experiences of their authors in Auschwitz, but these two collections, I believe, represent the most copious sampling of what has been reported about the "extermination camp."

The evaluation of these "eyewitness accounts," only a very few of which contain any even remotely specific statements about "gassings" or "gas chambers" and crematoria, leads us to the problem of how to regard witness testimony in general. For it must be equally clear to both layman and jurists that not everything witnesses state is the truth. Here we can only touch briefly on this problem. Later on, we shall treat it in greater detail.

It goes without saying that virtually all of these accounts are far removed from objectivity. In the case of accounts written by former inmates that is quite understandable. Nobody likes to be deprived of his freedom. People who have been imprisoned are inclined to speak only evil of their erstwhile jailers. After the fall of the Third Reich, such a depiction was expected, indeed, demanded, of former inmates of its concentration camps and prisons. We must always bear in mind that witnesses in the initial "war crimes trials"-- and even later ones -- were under pressure to give a certain line of testimony. Few people today can imagine the variety and intensity of the pressures and influences to [22-23] which those witnesses were subject.52 Furthermore, we must take into account what Rassinier calls the "Odysseus complex," namely, the psychic tendency, present in most individuals, to exaggerate one's own experiences, whether good or bad.53 In view of these self-evident facts, less weight should be assigned to post-war accounts than to contemporaneous documents. All post-war accounts must be subjected to particularly rigorous scrutiny.

Even those accounts by writers and witnesses who appear to be making a sincere effort to relate the truth as it is known to them must be regarded with critical reserve. The ability of human beings to observe and record has its limits. Any honest person will affirm this fact from his own experience. What is more, the suggestive effect of the atrocity propaganda spread by the mass media since 1945 has caused even wellintentioned writers of personal accounts to mingle inseparably hearsay and personal experience, or to relate hearsay as personal experience. Along with this confounding of fact and fiction goes a certain mutual influence -- conscious or unconscious -- among former concentration camp inmates. 54

Thus one must warn against placing any great trust in post-war accounts of Auschwitz. No responsible historian would regard personal accounts alone as proof, least of all of the extermination thesis. Unless they could be verified from authentic sources, he would not even take them into consideration as evidence. Most "witnesses" to the alleged gassing of the Jews" have failed, by the way, to provide a convincing explanation of how or why their own lives were spared.

Post-War Legal Proceedings

Since most people place a great deal of trust in judicial decisions, the various post-war trials of so-called "Nazi" war criminals played an important role in the establishment and consolidation of the extermination legend. Beginning with the Nuremberg trials of the Allies, judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings have been used to give a semblance of plausibility to the six million legend. All the courts had to do, it seems, was note in their decisions that the "extermination of the Jews" is an "established fact."

Nevertheless, the various "war crimes trials" conducted by the victorious Allies failed to accomplish the purposes for which they were designed. In Germany, as elsewhere, they were unpopular from the start, and their "findings" continue to meet with doubt.55 That helps explain why the name Auschwitz was virtually unknown to the average citizen until well into the 1950's, even though the International Military Tribunal had represented Auschwitz as the site of millions of murders, largely on the basis of the Höß affidavit, which was undoubtedly the product of coercion.56

[22-23]

After the propaganda campaign to make Auschwitz the focal point of the extermination legend began, it must have seemed advisable to get a German court to echo this allegation. Hence the grotesque proceedings against Mulka et al. before the Frankfürt Assize Court, which have entered the history of jurisprudence under the heading of the "Auschwitz Trial." This trial, which received extraordinary attention in the mass media, has influenced the historical consciousness of a great many people, especially in Germany. There can be no doubt that it not only strengthened the belief of those who were already convinced that Auschwitz was the center of the extermination of the Jews, but also persuaded a wider range of people that there might be some truth to this allegation, even, as mentioned above, elements on the so-called right-wing.

Although the Auschwitz mythologists constantly invoke the various Nuremberg trials, as well as the Frankfürt Auschwitz Trial, as proof that Auschwitz-Birkenau was a "death factory," they do not merit any special consideration within the framework of this study. For the findings of these trials are based on documents and witness testimony found in the literature on the camp, and will be discussed in that context. It goes without saying that a legal proceeding, even one concerned with events in recent history, is only worth as much as the documents and testimony on which its findings are based. As Rassiier has noted, not a single document has been presented, either at the Nuremberg trials or in the concentration camp literature, that substantiates the allegation that "gas chambers" were installed in German concentration camps, on orders from the Reich Government, for the purpose of mass extermination of Jews.57 In this regard, the Auschwitz Trial changed nothing.

Even so, I think it appropriate to devote a chapter to the Auschwitz Trial, because quite a few people believe that its findings have especially great "probative value." I also think this costly trial is the best possible illustration of the fact that penal trials are unsuited for the clarification of historical issues--indeed, that they hinder, rather than promote, the search for historical truth.
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