Monday, August 29, 2011

William Shirer's Berlin Diary and "Mercy Killings"

Source: Two entries in late 1940 in William Shirer's Berlin diary.

Comment:  Written or prepared for publication in early 1941 it must represent one of the earliest descriptions of "Mercy Killings" in the Allied public sphere.  Quite accurate in identification of 3 of the 6 major locations, but not accurate at all in his description of the genesis of the scheme.

Berlin, September 21 1940

X came up to my room in the Adlon to-day, and after we had disconnected my telephone and made sure that no one as listening through the crack of the door to the next room he told me a weird story.  He says the Gestapo is now systematically bumping off the mentally deficient people of the Reich.  The Nazis call them "mercy deaths".  He relates that Pastor Bodelschwingh, who runs a large hospital for various kinds of feeble-mined children at Bethel was ordered to be arrested a few days ago because he refused to deliver up some of his more serious mental cases to the secret police.  Shortly after this, his hospital is bombed.  By the "British".  Must look into this story.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Selections of Hans Joseph Graf MATUSCHKA's affidavit on the Hungarian Jews

Source: NG-2440, 26 August 1947 Nuernberg.  The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes.  Vol. 8, pp 248-254

I, Hans Joseph Graf (Count) MATUSCHKA was employed in the German Foreign Service from 1918 to 1919 and from 1934 to 1945.  From 1940 to the end of the war (1945), I was German Consul in Kaschau (Kassa), which then belonged to Hungary.  During this period, I observed the following facts related to the policy concerning the Jews; I am noting down these observations in lieu of oath according to the best of my knowledge and conscience.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Testimony of Henri Henripierre re Strasbourg skeleton collection

Source: Nuernberg Transcript of Proceedings, USA v. Karl Brandt, et all., pp 708-718.  December 18, 1946

Comment: The eyewitness who claims to have prepared the skeletons of Hirt's collection

Q. Witness -
A. Yes
Q. Your name is Henri Henripierre?
A. Yes sir.
Q.  You are a citizen of France?
A.  Yes, I am a French citizen.
Q.  When and where were you born?
A.  I was born in Lievres on the 23rd of August 1905
Q.  What was the year in which you were born again, please?
A.  1905
Q.  What is your present address?  That is your home address?
A.  My present address is 14 Rude De Lail, Strassbourg.
Q.  Will you tell the Tribunal just a bit about your personal history, what you have done and been doing up to the time you came to be a Clerk in the Anatomical Institute at Strasbourg?
A.  I should like fist of all to make it clear that I did not come here with any feelings of hatred or vengeance.  I came here solely owing to a sentiment of having to do my duty and out of justice.  I owe this to the 86 doctor victims whom we received in the month of August, 1943, I would, therefore, say before having to proceed with the preservation of the 86 victims that I made at least 250 preservations of Russian and Polish prisoners who died under the ill treatment at Mutzig.  That is enough to show that I know how to appreciate the difference between a violent death and a natural death.

Albert Hartl on Kiev

Source: NO-5384.  The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes. Vol 10, page 220-221

Comment:  Albert Hartl made a series of rather odd claims regarding Kiew.  This is one of them.

I, Albert HARTL, swear, despose and state:
1.  I was born in Roschholzen on 13 November 1904.  I attended elementary school in Hofkirchen from 1910 to 1914.  From 1914 to 1919 I attended the Latin School in Schayern and from 1919 to 1923 the Gymnasium in Freising.  Then I was at the High School there for a year and 4 years at Munich University.  I studied philosophy and theology.

2.  Early in 1934 I received an offer from Himmler to work on a scientific assignment for him.  In the year 1935 I took over the Intelligence Service concern church affairs.  Early in the year 1941 I came to Office IV.  Because I had differences of opinion with my officer chief Mueller, in which he reproached me for being too soft, Mueller as a punishment wanted to assign me to a shooting kommando in Kiev.  Since this task did not appeal to me, I went to Heydrich and complained.  Heydrich told me he saw my point of view and gave me a scientific assignment which I was to carry out in the east.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Memoirs of Field Marshal Keitel

Source: The Memoirs of Field Marshal Keitel, edited by Walter Gorlitz, 1965.

Comment: Might have interest in Brauchitsch, resistance networks and other sundry matters.

Page 87 [Speech of August 22 1939 at Berghof]
All the more remarkable was his Berghof speech delivered on 22nd August to the generals of the eastern armies ranged against Poland, a speech delivered with the finest sense of psychological timing and application.  Hitler was an extraordinarily gifted orator, with a masterly capability of moulding his words and phrases to suit his audience.  I would even go so far to say that he had learned his lesson from the ill-conceived meeting with the chiefs of staff, and had realised that trying to set them at odds with their commanders-in-chief had been a psychological error.  Other versions of this particular speech have been subjectively distorted, as the minute taken by Admiral Boehm, who must be regarded as absolutely impartial, clearly shows.
On 24th August, Hitler arrived in Berlin and on the 26th the invasion of Poland was due to begin.  The events in the Reich Chancellery during the days prior to 3rd September are of such world-wide and lasting historical importance that it will be better for me to leave their logical analysis and exact interpretation to professional historians; I myself can contribute but little from my own experience, and unfortunately I dispose over no notes or memoranda upon which to base my own recollections.

Monday, June 6, 2011

NO-508 Affidavit Dr Gerhard Schiedlausky - Buchenwald physician

Source: NO-508 Affidavit of 7 August 1945.


Freising, 7 August 1945
I, Gerhard SCHIEDLAUSKY, MD, Hauptsturmfuehrer of the Reserve of the Waffen SS, declare the following:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

NO-2429 Gustav Claussen, affidavit on Hartheim

Source: Nuremberg document NO-2429

Comment:  Claussen is wrong to suggest all who allegedly destroyed the Hartheim facilities were killed.  At least one person gave testimony


I, Gustav Claussen, born in Busum [?], Schleswig, Holstein, on 7 March, 1897, and now residing in Dachau, Germany, duly swear and state:

That from the end of 1943 till March 1945 I was a prisoner on duty in the Arbeits Einstaz in Mauthausen where the administrative work was accomplished for Mauthausen and sub-camps; that in this office I did clerical work, such as making reports, keeping records, and corresponding with firms who used prisoners in the operation of their business; that in the course of my duties I saw a secret teletype message which to the best of my memory was as follows:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anton Kaindl, Commandant of Sachsenhausen. July 16 1946

Source: Affidavit of 16 July 1946, from which NI 280 was derived.  Entered into Nuremberg Documentation Scheide 12 (Defense Exhibit Number).



Affidavit                         Nuernberg, 16 July 1944

Concerning my person:  My name is Anton Kaindl, born on 14 July 1902 in Munich.  My last rank was: SS-Standartenfuehrer of the Waffen SS.  My last position was: commander of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, from August 1942 until its dissolution.
Being duly sworn/depose and say:
Ad rem:
Section I:  Historical development of the Concentration Camp system
Staff commands and SS-Death-Head Units (Totenkopfverbaende) = SS - T - Wachsturmbann (guard unit)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Richard Baer's Five interrogations

Source:  Frankfurt trial DVD

Comment:  Provided to assist my more misguided friends.  Five interrogations in which Baer provides no details about homicidal gassings with a rather weak exception of the day after his arrest.  The last interrogation was October 1961, there are no further records released until his premature death in June 1963.

 Richterliche Vernehmung des Angeklagten Richard Baer vom 22.12.1960

Amtsgericht, Abteilung 931

Frankfurt am Main, den 22.12.1960

931 Gs 7908/60

Amtsgerichtsrat Opper
als Richter,

als Urkundsbeamtin der

Vorgeführt aus der Untersuchungshaftanstalt Frankfurt am Main-Hammelsgasse, erscheint der Beschuldigte Richard Baer.

Der Haftbefehl des Amtgerichts Frankfurt am Main – 931 Gs. 6320/60 – vom 21.10.1960, der dem Beschuldigten durch das Amtsgericht Schwarzenbek am 20.12.1960 bereits verkündet worden ist, wurde dem Beschuldigten erneut mit Beschwerderecht bekanntgegeben.

Dem Beschuldigten wurde außerdem der Beschluß des Amtsgerichts Frankfurt am Main – 931 Gs. 7862/60 verkündet.

Der Beschuldigte wurde gefragt, ob er auf die Beschuldigungen im Haftbefehl etwas erwidern wolle.

Er erklärt, daß er sich nicht im Sinne der Beschuldigungen im Haftbefehl strafbar gemacht habe.

Er erklärt:

Ich bin nur Lagerkommandant im Lager Auschwitz I gewesen. Mit den Teillagern, in denen Vergasungen stattfanden, hatte ich nichts zu tun. Ich habe auch keinen Einfluß auf die Vergasungen selbst gehabt. Die Vergasungen fanden im Lager II statt. Dieses Lager unterstand nicht mir, sondern dem Hauptsturmführer Kramer. Er war zu meiner Zeit Kommandant des Lagers II. Der Evakuierungsmarsch wurde vom Reichssicherheitshauptamt in Berlin angeordnet und unter meiner Leitung, allerdings nur, soweit es sich um das Lager I handelt, durchgeführt. Ich selbst habe nach einigen Stunden des Marsches gesehen, daß das so nicht ging. Es lag viel Schnee, und die Häftlinge waren nicht in der Lage, die vorgesehenen sechs Tage bis ins KL Groß-Rosen zu marschieren. Ich bin dann im Auto vorausgefahren und habe in Ratibor nach mühsamen Verhandlungen mit Beamten der Reichsbahn erreicht, daß ich offene Waggons bekam, mit denen dann die Verlegung zum Bestimmungsort durchgeführt worden ist.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

NO-2368. Friedrich Entress on Auschwitz

Source: NO-2368.  Only the English translation seems available.

Comment: Entress was a camp doctor.  He was convicted and sentenced to death in the Mauthausen trial in 1946.  This affidavit was given about 1 month before he was hung while seeking clemency.

I, Friedrich ENTRESS, swear, depose and state as follows:

1.  I, Friedrich ENTRESS, was born on 8 December 1914 in Posen.  There I attended the elementary school, the high school and the university.

2.  I passed my state examination in June 1939, and in the middle of 1942 was given by decree the doctor's title by the Ministry of culture.

3.  I was never a member of the NSDAP.  In 1939 I enlisted in the self defense (Selbstschutz) in Posen voluntarily and was drafted into the Waffen-SS in October 1939.

Jan Karski: Story of a Secret State

Source:  Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski

Comment: Items of interest

[page 7 - mobilisation and German attack]
There were, too, the remarks my brother had made during the hours immediately after the mobilization.  My brother, who was my senior by nearly a score of years, held an important government position and had belonged, as far back as I could remember, to the 'well-informed circles.'  The citations which Pietrzak made from his father, who had even more authoritative channels of information, amplified and confirmed the analysis given by my brother.  Others joined in with gleanings from relatives, friends and their personal deductions.  The entire compilation, when sifted down, tended to leave us with the conclusion that our mobilization was simply the Polish riposte to the Nazi war of nerves.  Germany was weak and Hitler was bluffing.  When he saw that Poland was strong, united, prepared, he would back down quickly and we should all go home,  If not, the farcical little fanatic would be taught a severe lession by Poland and, if necessary, by England and France.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jan Malinowski: Early Escapee from Auschwitz

Source: The Miami News - October 25, 1942 - North American Newspaper Alliance

Comment: Jan Malinowski escaped in June 1942, but was not aware of gas chambers and has only a garbled account of what might be phenol lethal injections.

[Editor's Note: This is the story of a Polish physician, who since March, 1940, edited an underground newspaper in Warsaw and was arrested in December, 1941 and has just succeeded in escaping to England.  Dr. Malinowski was deported to the ill-famed concentration camp in Oswiecim, southern Poland.  Last June he and a companion made a break for freedom.  His friend was caught and shot, but the doctor managed to reach the Hungarin border, and with the help of the Polish underground, arrived in the Middle East and now London.]

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jan Karski's visit to Belzec

Source:  Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski, pp339 - 353, pub. 1944 Riverside Press

Comment: Another version of his visit

To Die in Agony

A few days after my second visit to the Warsaw ghetto, the Bund leader was to arrange an opportunity for me to see the Jewish death camp.
The camp was located near the town of Belzec about one hundred miles east of Warsaw and was well-known all over Poland from the tales of horror that were circulated about it.  The common report was that every Jew who reached it, without exception, was doomed to death.  The Bund leader had never been in it but had the most detailed information in its operation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Red Cross interview with Adolf Eichmann, April 1945

Source: The Red Cross and the Holocaust by Jean-Claude Favez, pages 305-306

Comment: Eichmann alludes to labour from Auschwitz being sent further East to dig trenches - gas chambers were not mentioned on either side.

Note dated 22 April 1945 by Otto Lehner about his meeting in Prague on 6 April with Erwin Weinemann, head of the SS in the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia, and Adolf Eichmann, Himmler's plenipotentiary in all matters concerning the Jews (see p. 268 above).

At a reception held in Hradschin I had the opportunity to talk to these two men until late at night and to discuss the various problems.  What the International Committee of the Red Cross particularly wanted information about was not really the living conditions and amenities of the Theresienstadt ghetto so much as whether the ghetto was simply a transit camp for the Jews and to what extent deportation to the East (Auschwitz) had taken place.  As I discovered while in the Theresienstadt ghetto, the camp's representative, Dr Eppstein, an older of the Jews, had himself, along with many others, been deported to Auschwitz.  So I asked Dr Weinemann directly when the deportations had occurred and what their exent was.  Dr Weinemann replied that the last deporations to Auschwitz had taken place 6 months before.  They involved 10,000 Jews.  They were employed to work on further extensions to the Auschwitz camp, he said, and were mainly workin gin the camp administration.  Some were being used as trench-diggers in the East.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bruno Beger and the Skeleton Collection

Source:  The Master Plan by Heather Pringle

Comment: See

Text: page 260-262
Over the next few days, Beger proceeded with his studies, performing detailed racial measurements in a small room in one of these blocks.  As the prisoners filed in, the sculptor Gabel stared at their faces.  "When I found a Jew who was especially interesting or remarkable," he later recalled, "Dr. Beger agreed that I should also make a cast of them."  In all likelihood, Gabel chose individuals who possessed one of the supposed Jewish traits - short head, fleshy lips, large ears. [...]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Soviet POW losses and NOKW 2125

Source: Anatomy of the SS State, by Helmut Krausnick, et al.  Particular chapter by Hans-Adolf Jacobsem

Comment: A secondary source discussing Nuremberg NOKW 2125 contents and Soviet POW losses

A report sent in by the Organization Branch of the OKW Prisoners of War Department on 1 May 1944 on the whereabouts of Russian prisoners stated that the total number of Red Army soldiers taken by the Germans was 5,165,381.  The returns recorded nearly 2 million 'deaths' under the heading 'wastage'; 280,000 other ranks and officers perished or vanished in the transit camps, and 1,030,157 prisoners shot while trying to escape or handed over to the SD and therefore liquidated or transferred to concentration camps.  The grand total of more than 3.3 million is likely to be too low than too high a figure, especially as by 1945 an estimated 5.7 million Russian soliders had reached German prisoner-of-war camps, of whome over one million survived.  To these must be added the so-called auxiliary forces and Osttruppen (Armenians, Causcasians, Mohammedans, Vlassov troops, etc.) 'with a probable strength of between 800,000 and one million.'

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Part 2: Nobody Remembers The Armenians: Document L-3


Comment: 2nd part of the documents of August 22 speech.  Originally published by Louis P Lochner in 1942, this version, according to William Shierer, was probably embellished either by Lochner or the German opposition.  Discussion of this issue and scottish journalist Ian Bell can be found here:

Decision to attack Poland in the spring. Originally it was feared that due to political combinations, England, Russia, France, and Poland had to be fought against simultaneously. Even this risk would have had to be borne. Goering has stated that the Four Year Plan had failed and that we were at the end if we were not victbrious in the coming year.

Part 1: Nobody Remembers The Armenians: Documents: 798-PS, 1014-PS


Comment:  Presenting the original documents for discussion of the validity of the alleged "No one remembers the Armenians" quote of August 22 1939.  798-PS is unquestionably genuine, 1014-PS may be, neither mention Armenians.  Discussion on this issue and scottish journalist Ian Bell can be found here

The Fuehrer's speech to the Commanders in Chief on 22 August 1939
I have called you together to give you a picture of the political situation, in order that you may have insight into the individual elements on which I have based my decision to act and in order to strengthen your confidence.
After this we will discuss military details.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jan Karski on Belzec Death Camp

Source:  America Views the Holocaust, page 183-191.  Polish Death Camp: Collier's, October 14, 1944

Comment: Useful to demonstrate that visiting Izbica is not a viable explanation for Karski's testimony

 As a member of the underground, I was ordered to leave Warsaw and report to the Polish government and the Allied authorities about conditions in Poland.  My orders came from the delegate of the Polish governement acting somewhere in Poland and from the commander in chief of the underground army.  Jewish leaders confided to me their written report but they insisted that in order to be able to tell the truth I should see with my own eyes what actually happened to the Jews in Poland.  They arranged for me to visit one of the Jewish death camps.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Football at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Source: Winter time: memoirs of a German Sinto who survived Auschwitz by Walter Stanoski Winter and Struan Robertson.  Pages 54 -57

Comment:  Not the most important issue in the world, but an interest facet of camp life.  The soccer field was located right beside Krema III at Birkenau.  The influence of the ghost writer is often palpable.

One day a new Roll Call Leader arrived.  If I'm not mistaken his name was Hartmann, a man very keen on sport, an SS man naturally.  He asked around, the Block Senior, the Roll Call Clerks and the Block Orderlies, to identify those interested in sport: "Who plays football?"
Naturally, I was interested, along with other lads from East Prussia who had played in major clubs, and also my cousins.
He chose me as trainer and said, "You get together eleven or twelve footballers."
I must say that, in my opinion, this Roll Call Leader had a humane side to him.  He supplied us with some provisions that he had probably 'organised' by takin them from others [A hint of ghost writer influence here - my comment].  But we didn't give this a thought at the time, it being a matter of survival.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jozef Retinger on the "Jewish Question" in Poland 1941

Source: Why We Watched by Theodore S Hamerow page 58-59

Comment: Jozef Retinger was an influential figure in mid 20th century Europe and one of the people who held bring about the European Common Market (see wikipedia ).  Hamerow half quotes and half summarises his views on the "Jewish question" which he rightly sees as representative of a powerful strand of elite thinking at the time.

[Peaceful separation would be mutually advantageous]  This was the view expressed in 1941 by Jozef Retinger, personal secretary to the leader of the Polish government in exile in London, Wladyslaw Sikorski.  Poland had by then been occupied for two years by the armies of the Third Reich.  The Jewish minority had been pauperized and ghettoized; indeed, the initiation of a program of mass extermination was only a few months away.  But in a book dealing with Poland's tragic situation, Retinger remained preoccupied with the problems that his nation had faced before the war and that it would surely have to face again afterward.  Among the most important of these problems was "the largest agglomeration of Jews in Europe."  But not only in Europe: Poland had the highest percentage of Jewish inhabitants of any country in the world.  And that was bound to lead to serious ethnic frictions and hostilities.  "The three and a half million Jews concentrated in Poland give the greater part of the towns and cities a specific character owing to the radically different social structure and powerful separatism of the Jewish inabitants."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hubert Pfoch Diary of Treblinka

Source: Into that Darkness by Gitta Sereny page 158-159

Comment: Photographs and diary entered into evidence at Dusseldorf Treblinka trial.  I include some of Sereny's additional comments.  He describes going to Siedlce and seeing a transport loaded for the very short trip to Treblinka and then his troop train following the deportation train up the branch line towards Malkinia.  Normally troop trains would get priority.

Against this, however, there is the extraordinary eye-witness account recorded at the time by Hubert Pfoch, then a member of the illegal Austrian Socialist Youth Organization, and now a Vienna city councillor. As a young soldier moving up to the Eastern front, he saw a transport to Treblinka on August 21, 1942. The photographs he took - at considerable danger to himself (see pages 4 and 5 of illustrations)- were part of the evidence at the trial of ten former Treblinka guards in Düsseldorf in 1964-

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reports on Sobibor

Source: Richard Rashke: Escape From Sobibor pages 1 and 373-374 [he gives other sources]

Comment: Part of an effort to bring together all Sobibor related material for assessment.  Useful discussion is found here

Thomas Blatt interviewd the stationmaster of Sobibor after the war.  The stationmaster recalled Karl Frenzel sending a telegraphed message to Lublin shortly after the revolt, describing the escape and asking for help.  That stationmaster did not recall the exact time of the telegram, but he did remember the reason Frenzel sent it was the telephone wires had been cut.  The telegram has never been found [actually if this was a radio telegram it was intercepted by the British - see link above].

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Transport Telex or Radio Message

Source: Eichmann's Men by Hans Safrian, page 64-65

Comment: Strikingly similiar to a document David Irving made famous from British decodes, suggests originally this must have been a normal communication, for reasons unknown only a handful have survived.  Possibly the reason the one in the British Decodes made it through the net, was because there was a mention in a Himmler telephone memo.

Telegrams from Lodz to the RSHA Referat IV D 4 served as confirmation and final report about each deoportation train.  A December 17 telex, for example, reported under the heading "Transport of Poles - Lithuanian Operation" that:
train 3145 carrying 957 Jews had arrived in Lodz/Litzmanndstadt on December 17, 1940 at 5 AM and after inspection left for its final destination of Lukow [in the Generalgouvernement] at 6 AM.  This transport would probably conclude this operation for the remainder of the year.  The foodstuffs provided for this transport in Soldau [Danzig-West Prussia] amounted to: sausage 500 kilograms, bread 1,000 kilograms, legumes 200 kilograms.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Great and Small Provocations in Wilna/Vilnius: July and September 1941

Source: The report is found in the Military Archive Freiburg.  403 KTB Anlagen (filed between 26 August and 4 September 1941 in the Anlagen, although undated the report is almost certainly written around 15 July 1941).  The second text is a translation of a Bekanntmachung (Public Notification) issued by Hingst, Commander of Wilna, translation by Arad.

Comment Both seem to describe "provocation" type events although at different dates.  The one of mid July is found in the Einsatzgruppen Reports.  The one of end August and lacking in umlausts, is also found mentioned in the Jaeger Report but not in the Einsatzgruppen Reports.

Text 1
Bericht ueber die Taetigkeit des Div.Stabes in Wilna
I.) Einsatz
Bei Eintreffen des Div.Stabes befand sich in Wilna ein vom AOK 9 eingesetzter Stabsoffizier mit der Bezeichnung ‘Militärbefehlshaber von Wilna und Umgebung’. Ihm unterstanden 2 Bataillonen, die vom AOK 9 zurück gelassen waren. Der Offizier, Oberstleutnant von Ostmann, pflegte gute Beziehungen zu einehm litauischen ‘Bürgerkomitee’, das sich in der Stadt gebildet hatte, geleitet von dem Präsidenten ‘Zakevicius’, Universitätsprofessor in Wilna. Stellvertreter Universitätsprofessor ‘Jurgutis’ (1922 litauischer Aussenminister). Diese Komitee sah sich in seinem Bestreben, eine rein litauische Politik zu betreiben, nicht gehindert. Obgleich die litauische Bevölkerung in Wilna nur etwa ¼ der gesamten Bevölkerung ausmacht, die Polen aber in der Stadt überwiegen, befand sich kein Pole in Bürgerkomitee, auch kein Weissrusse. Juden waren selbstverständlich auch ausgeschlossen. Der führende Kopf im Komitee ist Professor Jurgutis, der mit führenden kreisen in Kowno rege Verbindung unterhält und anscheinend von dort Weisungen bekommt.
Der Oberbefehlshaber der 9. Armee, Generaloberst Strauss, suchte mich in Wilna auf und befahl mir, dafür zu sorgen,
1.) dass hier keine litauische Politik betrieben wird, sondern ausschliesslich deutsche,
2.) das keine ‘Etappe Gent’ entsteht.
Oberstleutnant von Ostmann verliess die Stadt, mit ihm die beiden Bataillonen der 9. Armee. Diese mussten sofort ersetzt werden. Dazu stand nur die Eingreifgruppe und das Wach Batl. 705 zur Verfügung, auf die ich ungern zu Wachzwecken zurückgriff. Es wurden daher das III./IR 406 und das Wach Btl. 705, unter Führung des Kommandeurs des Lds.Schtz.Rgt. 85, Major Graf von Roedern, eingesetzt.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eichmann's "Interview" in Life Magazine

Source: Life, Vol. 49, No. 22, November 28, 1960

Comment: Kind of interesting.  At times Eichmann seems like he is taking the piss


The final solution: liquidation

The continuance of the war finally changed out attitude on emigration entirely. In 1941 the Führer himself ordered the physical annihilation of the Jewish enemy. What made him take this step I do not know. But for one thing the war in Russia was not going along in the Blitz fashion the High Command had planned. The ruinous struggle on two fronts had begun. And already Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the world Zionist leader, had declared war on Germany in the name of Jewry. It was inevitable that the answer of the Führer would not be long in coming.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Early Accounts of Dresden bombing

Text: Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty pages 343-344.  Revised 2000 edition Prion books

Comment: To test the claim that it was Goebbels who originally forged the famous Tagesbefehl 47, rather than the East Germans.  Phillip Knightley presents no evidence to support a briefing by Goebbels of 200 000 death toll.

Ministry of Defence records show that there were no war correspondents with the planes over Dresden, and so there were no eye-witness accounts of the bombing, except for thos of a few air crews interviewed on their return, and they had been given various concocted explanations as to why they were bombing the city - they were attacking German army headquarters, destroying an arms dump, knocking out an industrial area, or even "wiping out a large poison gas plant."

German Soap Factory WW1

Source: Phillip Knightley: The First Casualty, pages 111-113

Comment:  Background for Danzig Anatomical Institute WW2 claim

Even the most popular atrocity story of all -- the German corpse factory -- turned out to be another war correspondents' invention. This particular story had a long and highly successful run. It had several variations, but basically it was that close behind their front line the Germans had established factories for boiling down the corpses of their soldiers, from which to distill glycerine for munitions. The Times initiated the story, on April 16, 1917, with a suspiciously vague paragraph that said baldly: "One of the United States consuls, on leaving Germany in February, stated in Switzerland that the Germans were distilling glycerine from the bodies of their dead." The account quickly blossomed. The Times expanded the original report by reproducing a dispatch by a German correspondent, Karl Rosner, in which he referred to the German army's Kadaververwertungsanstalt, which The Times translated as "Corpse Exploitation Establishment." Foreign newspapers picked up the story. It appeared in LInde'pendance and La Belge, two Belgian newspapers published in France and Holland. French correspondents were instructed by their army authorities to send dispatches to their newspapers over their own signatures detailing what was known about the corpse factories. The matter came up in the House of Commons on April 30, when the Prime Minister was asked if he would make the story known as widely as possible in Egypt, India, and the East generally. A corpse-factory cartoon appeared iii Punch, and in general the affair had world-wide circulation and considerable propaganda value.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ventilation letter for Auschwitz Crematorium and Gas chamber and translation

Source:  Auschwitz Archives.

Comment:  Provided as is.  I have made a translation of a letter of May 1942 from Topf to Auschwitz Building Office and also present the original (plus some typos).  If it is useful for anyone, you are welcome.  For those interested this
and this may prove helpful

After we received from you the buildings with your correspondence of 2.4.41 concerning the implementation of the crematorium, we must alter the earlier planned aeration and ventilation installations for the individual rooms.  We have for this reason prepared a new drawing D 59394, from which you can see the arrangements of the ventilation and aeration fans,  In general  we have, so far as this was possible,  followed your building plans lying in front of us.
The exhaust air shafts we have, as you specified, in your drawing 1183/74 implemented underneath the attic; however in this case these two exhaust air shafts will not be pulled together, rather between these exhaust air shafts a further two more will be included, as we have inscribed this in our drawing D 59394 on the floor plan of the attic.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hoess as seen by Gustav Gilbert Part 2

Source: Nuremberg Diary by Gustav Gilbert, pages 155 to 160 then as identicated

Comment: 2nd part of Gilbert's account of Hoess.  Of particular interest is Ribbontrop's, Jodl's, Sauckel's and Goering's reactions.  Much of the material on propaganda also turns up in Goldensohn's Nuremberg Interviews.  Of possible interest:
April 12
Colonel Hoess's Cell:  After completing today's test, Hoess said: "I suppose you want to know in this way if my thoughts and habits are normal."
"Well, what do you think?" I asked.
"I am entirely normal.  Even while I was doing this extermination work, I led a normal family life, and so on."
"Did you have a normal social life!"
"Well, perhaps it is a peculiarity of mine, but I always felt best alone. - If I had worries I tried to work them out myself. - That was the thing that disturbed my wife most. - I was so self-sufficient.  I never had friends or a close relationship with anybody - even in my youth. - I never had a friend.  And in company, I was sometimes present, but not spiritually.  I was glad when people enjoyed themselves, but I could never participate with them."

Hoess as seen by Gustav Gilbert: Part 1

Source: Nuremberg Diary by Gustav Gilbert pages 149-153

Comment: Gustave Gilbert talks to Hoess a few times in mid April, given by date.  Interest lies in Goering's reaction.  Also interest in Kaltenbrunner's distance from his defence lawyer, who seems to be the driving force to have Hoess testify.  Possible relevant commentary here:

April 9
Colonel Hoess of Auschwitz
Hoess's Cell:  Examined Rudolf Hoess, 46, commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who has recently been captured, in anticipation of Kaltenbrunner's defence.
After completing his test, we discussed briefly his activity as the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp from May, 1940 to December, 1943, which camp was the central extermination camp for Jews.  He readily confirmed that approximately 2.5 million Jews had been extermination under his direction.  The exterminations began in the summer of 1941.  In compliance with Goering's scepticism, I asked Hoess how it was technically possible to exterminate 2.5 million people.  "Technically?" he asked.  "That wasn't so hard - it would not have been hard to exterminate even greater numbers."  In answer to my rather naive questions as to how many people could be done away in an hour, etc., he explained that one must figure it on a daily 24 hour period.  He explained that there were actually 6 extermination chambers.  The 2 big ones could accommodate as many as 2000 in each and the 4 smaller ones up to 1500 making a total capacity of 10,000 a day.  I tried to work out how this was done, but he corrected me.  "No, you don't work it right.  The killing itself took the least time.  You could dispose of 2,000 head in a half-hour, but it was the burning that took all the time.  The killing itself was easy; you didn't even need guards to drive them into the chambers; they just went in expecting to take showers and, instead of water, we turned on poison gas.  The whole thing went very quickly."  He related all this in a quiet, apathetic, matter-of-fact tone of voice.

Hoess as seen by Col. B C Andrus

Source: The Infamous of Nuremberg by Col. B.C. Andrus - page 148-154

Comment: Quotes one of Hoess's affidavits in full and then gives a brief summary of Major Goldensohn's briefing.  Also include a short section which erroneously claims the executed defendents were cremated at Dachau camp.  Of possible relevance:

[First part, the affidavit that was read by Hoess in court]
The whole court looked at Hoess in open astonishment and horror as he assented to the truth of his vile statement.
When he was testifying that he had caused a glass window to be cut into the wall of the extermination chamber so he could view the suffering and the dying he had a gloating smile on his face.  He obviously felt tremendous pride that he had been a more efficient killer than anybody else.  His attitude was something beyond sadism.  The judges looked shocked as this little man with the beady eyes detailed his camp activities.  Many of us felt overwhelming nausea.
What sort of man was this, whose matter-of-fact admissions of horrifying murder dumbfounded the whole court?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Testimony of Hoess at Nuremburg on witness stand

Source: IMT volumes April 15, 1946

Comment: None

Testimony of Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz

[Testimony on Monday, April 15, 1946]

Morning Session DR. KAUFFMANN: With the agreement of the Tribunal, I now call the witness Hoess.
[The witness Hoess took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Stand up. Will you state your name?
RUDOLF FRANZ FERDINAND HOESS (Witness): Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: "I swear by God,the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth,and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath in German.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you sit down?
DR. KAUFFMANN: Witness, your statements will have far-reaching significance. You are perhaps the only one who can throw some light upon certain hidden aspects, and who can tell which people gave the orders for the destruction of European Jewry, and can further state how this order was carried out and to what degree the execution was kept a secret.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kauffmann, will you kindly put questions to the witness.
[Turning to the witness.] From 1940 to 1943, you were the Commander of the camp at Auschwitz. Is that true?

Nuremberg: Rudolf Hoess and Otto Moll confronted

Source: 16 April 1946.  Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands, 1945 by Richard Overy, p. 387-400

Comment:  Just bizarre.

Extract from the interrogation of Otto Moll and Rudolf Hoess taken at Nuremberg on 16 April 1946, 14:15 to 16:15, by Lieut.-Colonel Smith W. Brookhart (the interrogation was conducted in English and German)

Q. You are the same Otto Moll who appeared here this morning and you understand that your statements here are made under oath?
A. Yes. May I make a request please?
Q. Yes.
A. In Landsberg I made a request that I be confronted with Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of the Auschwitz Camp, so that I may testify in front of Hoess and Hoess may testify in front of me. I request you now that this may be granted. I would like to have Hoess testify in my presence, as I would like to see him make the statements in my presence and I can testify as to the truth.
Q. Assuming that you are confronted by Hoess, are you going to tell the truth, or are you going to continue to give us the same kind of a story that you gave us this morning?

Nuremberg Interpreter on Hoess

Source: New York Times Magazine, May 02, 1999

Comment: Interesting description of Hoess signing his affidavit in English, he does seem to understand it, but it also seems to be a document that is presented to him and he himself is depicted as depressed and unmotivated.   Also indicates the dependence of Nuremberg on emigres.

Lives; The Interpreter
By Harry Fiss
Published: May 02, 1999

I can still visualize the dimly lighted corridors of the labyrinthine ''Palace of Justice,'' and especially Room No. 167, where the interrogation took place, furnished with a polished table, a wooden bench and two shoddy chairs. I'll never forget the sensation I felt when he entered the room, an icy chill that turned my breath into frost.

2 Early Testimonies by Rudolf Hoess

Source: Originally from Public Archives UK, WO.309/374, I have taken them from, the website associated with David Irving.

Context: Two testimonies - brief and with little detail given on 16 and 20 March respectively.  Interesting in mapping the development of Hoess's testimony.  This is the start of series on statements by Hoess.  A useful listing of statements has been compiled here:

Text 1: 16 March 1946
STATEMENT of Rudolf HOESS ------------
                    Statement of Rudolf HOESS, male, made 
                    voluntarily at Minden Gaol on 16th March
1.                  I was commandant of AUSCHWITZ from May 1941 until December 1943.
2.                  During this time the camp was visited by the following 
high-ranking persons
                         SCHWERIN-KROSIGK - Finanzminister
                         THIERACK     - Justizminister
                    They inspected the camp of AUSCHWITZ, its factories and farms 
and remained for approximately 3 - 4 hours.
3.                  I held the position of Adjutant and Schutzhaftlagerführer 
in SACHSENHAUSEN Concentration Camp from 1938 until 1940.
4.                  During this time I saw the following high ranking persons 
visit the camp of SACHSENHAUSEN.
                         FRICK - Innenminister (Minister of the interior)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Documents concerning rescue attempts of the Hungarian Jews

Source: The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes. ed John Mendelsohn.  Vol 16.  Doc 23, page 128.  Doc 30, page 152.

Comment: Interest lies in the suggestion of camps available for those unable to work during Hungarian Deportation.  This is in connection with the issues discussed around Elie Wiesel, Lazar Wiesel and a tattoo.  See more here:

Text: Doc 23
Department of State (Incoming Telegram)
Dated September 11, 1944:  Received 10:26 pm
Secretary of State, Washington
2827, September 11, 5 p.m.
Mayer reports that with the approval of the Hungarian Jewish Community all Hungarian Jews between 14 and 70 are to be put in to 3 classes.  Class I all able to work who will be employed in industry.  Class 2, all medically unsuited to heavy work who will be interned in camps outside Budapest.  Thse will also be required to work where possible in agriculture and light industry and will organize camps themselves under supervision Intercross.  Class 3, all completely unfitted to work who will be sent to Jewish hospitals.  Mayer also asks immediate advice and instructions about money asked for JDC 67.  He claims this an eleventh hour situation as next meeting delegation September 13.

The Viscount instructs....

Reference: War 1939 : Dealing With Adolf Hitler. p133.  Uncovered editions

Comment: Telegram of Viscount Halifax to British Ambassador in Warsaw.  Illustrates the intransigence of British attitude towards Danzig and an interest to make the issue a casus belli.

Viscount Halifax to Sir H. Kennard (Warsaw).
(Telegraphic.)                Foreign Office, June 30, 1939

You should at once seek interview with Minister for Foreign Affairs and ask him how the Polish Government propose to deal with the situation which appears to be impending.  It would seem that Hitler is laying his plans very astutely so as to present the Polish Government with a fait accompli in Danzig, to which it would be difficult for them to react without appearing in the role of aggressors.  I feel that the moment has come where consultation between the Polish, British and French Governments is necessary in order that the plans of the three Governments may be co-ordinated in time.  It is in the view of His Majesty's Government essential that these plans shall be so devised as to ensure that Hitler shall not be able so to manage matters as to manoeuvre the Polish Government into the position of aggressors.