Operation "Harvest Festival"
1. Origin of the Name
In its entry for "Harvest Festival", the Enzyklopädie des Holocaust writes:
"Code word for the murder of most of the Jews in the Lublin District of the General Government on November 3-4, 1943 [...]. In total, 42,000 to 43,000 Jews were murdered during 'Operation Harvest Festival', including those in smaller forced labor camps such as Chełm."
Several authors have touched on this gigantic massacre that is alleged by official historiography, but not one of these authors has approached the matter from an historical and technical perspective. We shall attempt to do this in the present chapter.
Let us begin by noting that while the "code word" Operation Harvest Festival appears in every work discussing the alleged massacre, the origin of this name is not explained in any of them. Who coined the phrase? Who used it? In which documents does it appear? The historians maintain a deafening silence on these fundamental questions-which is not really surprising, since there is not a single document dealing with this alleged mass execution. The only documented use of the term "harvest festival" falling approximately into the time in question occurs in the diary of Hans Frank. In his summary of an October 23 discussion with Secretary of State Josef Bühler, President Ohlenbusch, Press Chief Gassner and Senior Provincial Administrative Councillor Weirauch, Frank used this term, but strictly in the literal sense: Count A. Ronikier, Chairman of the Polish Chief Committee, had sent the Governor General a letter in which he stated that his participation in the harvest festival scheduled for the following day would depend on whether or not the Germans would guarantee that no Poles would be executed.
2. Past History and Reasons for the Alleged Massacre According to Official Historiography
In a long article about "Operation Harvest Festival", Adam Rutkowski writes:
"The prisoners' revolt in the extermination camp Sobibór [on October 14, 1943] took the German occupation authorities completely by surprise and triggered a panic. They began to regard the Nazi camps for Jews in the surrounding area as 'highly dangerous hotbeds of resistance' and as autonomous breeding grounds for unrest and chaos. This revolt attracted the attention not only of the police, military and administrative authorities in the District but also that of Hans Frank himself, the Governor General of occupied Poland. On October 19, 1943, just five days after this unusual event, Frank convened an extraordinary meeting of the 'government' in Cracow to discuss the matter of security. All experts and persons responsible for 'order' in the General Government (G.G.) attended, namely Police General Walther Bierkamp, Commandant of the Orpo [=Ordnungspolizei, Order Police], General Haseldorff as representative of the Wehrmacht, General Sommé as representative of the Luftwaffe, Secretary of State Josef Bühler, General Schindler, the Chief of Army Inspection in the G.G., etc. Referring to the recent events in Sobibór, all participants stressed the great danger which the 'Jew camps' in the Lublin District posed for the Germans."
There is no question that approximately 300 inmates broke out of the Sobibór camp on October 14, 1943. Among other units, the three squadrons of the Pol. Cavalry Unit III, stationed in Chełm, were detailed for hunting the fugitives down. Regarding the deployment of the first squadron, their "Situation Reports" for the time from September 26 to October 25, 1943, state:
"From October 14 to October 18, 1943, the squadron participated in the Jew-related operations of the SS Special Unit Sobibór (40 km northeast of Cholm). In cooperation with the Wehrmacht and the Customs Border Patrol [sic], about 100 of the 300 escaped Jews could be eliminated."
Regarding the second squadron, the reports state:
"The second squadron participated in the following major operations: on October 14, 1943, together with the SS.-Pol. Cavalry Unit III, in the forested area north of Kaplonosy. On October 16 to 18, 1943, together with the SS-Pol. Cavalry Unit III, at Sobibór."
However, these brief reports would not seem to indicate that the German authorities were all that worried about security in the Lublin area. While it is true that Hans Frank convened a session on October 19 to discuss this matter, the discussions focused primarily on the results of the decree regarding combating attacks on the German reconstruction efforts in the General Government which had already been proposed by Assistant Secretary Wehr on October 2, 1943, and which had taken effect on October 10, four days before the mass escapes from Sobibór. This decree, intended particularly as countermeasure to the Polish Resistance movement, provided for an expansion of the areas of jurisdiction of all security organs as well as for public reprisals against the murder of Germans by partisans. Any danger posed to security in the Lublin district by Jewish camps was so purely hypothetical that it is not even mentioned in the excerpts of the October 19 session protocol, which was submitted at the Nuremberg Trial, even though the authors of Nuremberg Document PS-2233 scoured Hans Frank's diary thoroughly for anything which might have served to fashion a noose for him and the members of his Administration.
3. The Chain of Command
A. Rutkowski reconstructs the relevant chain of command as follows:
"After Himmler had been informed of the revolt in Sobibór and about the mass escape of the rebels, he ordered Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger, the Higher SS and Police Chief of the General Government, to liquidate all Jewish camps in the Lublin District as quickly as possible. Krüger then called Jakob Sporrenberg, the SS and Police Chief of the same District, to Cracow to inform him of Himmler's order and to put him in charge of carrying it out [...]. After a brief stay in Cracow, Sporrenberg returns to Lublin, where a telegraph message awaits him: SS and Police units will arrive in Lublin to launch the operation against the Jews [...].
In those days,[] special SS units and commandos arrive in Majdanek, just as General Krüger had announced. They came from various locations, including from the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Erich Muhsfeldt, then Chief of the Majdanek crematorium, testified that ten SS-men commanded by Otto Moll and Franz Hössler arrived from Auschwitz. The remaining commandos came from Cracow, Warsaw, Radom, Lwów, Lublin and Debica."
The verdict at the Düsseldorf Majdanek Trial describes the last phase of the chain of command as follows:
"Late in the evening of November 2, 1943, Sporrenberg called together the leaders of the units intended to participate in this operation-the leaders of units of the Commander of the Security Police (KdS) in Lublin, of the Waffen-SS, and of Police Regiments 22 and 25-as well as the Commandants of the camps Majdanek, Poniatowo [actually: Poniatowa] and Trawniki. Representing the concentration camp in these discussions was either the deputy camp Commandant Florstedt, who had been arrested shortly before [...] or the newly appointed camp Commandant Weiss. During these discussions Sporrenberg advised those present of the impending measures, justifying them by pointing out that the Jews remaining in the Lublin district were to be liquidated 'as per the highest orders'."
Before we continue we must explain how the police force in the General Government, and specifically in Lublin District, was structured in early November 1943. The Higher SS and Police Chief (HSSPF), SS-Obergruppenführer Krüger, reported directly to Himmler; Krüger himself was the superior to the Commander of the Order Police (BdO), Major General of the Police Grünwald, and to the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service (BdS), SS-Oberführer Bierkamp. Also subordinate to the HSSPF was the SS and Police Chief (SSPF) of Lublin District, SS-Gruppenführer Sporrenberg. Himmler was the Supreme Chief of the police force, but Governor General Frank, who reported directly to Adolf Hitler, attached great importance not only to his complete independence of Himmler but also to his command over all police formations in the General Government, and he made no secret of this. The following is one example from the time period here at issue:
On October 23, 1943, on the occasion of the beginning of the winter semester at the new University of Cracow's Academy of Administration, Frank gave a lecture on the topic of "The Leadership Principle in Administration" in which he said, inter alia:
"We are subordinate exclusively and directly to the Führer. In the General Government the Administration has the same functions as the Reich government and the other Reich offices have in the Reich proper. We have legislative authority for this region. Police and security forces are subordinate to the Governor General."
Three days later, during the government session of October 26, 1943, Frank took the same line:
"The policy which I was determined from the start to maintain in this region is sanctioned by the Führer; he is the only one to whom we are answerable. No one else has the right to give us orders in any way, shape or form."
This was no vain bragging, for the HSSPF of the General Government, Krüger, was also Secretary of State for Security Matters and as such was also subordinate to Frank.
In practice, any order issued by Himmler for the execution of more than 40,000 Jews in the camps of Lublin District could under no circumstances have been carried out without Frank's approval. If Himmler had actually planned such a massacre, there would unquestionably have been some pertinent comments to be found in Frank's diary, regardless whether the Governor General had approved or rejected the plan. But Frank's diary contains not even the slightest suggestion of any such enormous mass murder-neither about its order nor about preparations for it, nor about its implementation, beginning with the aforementioned session of October 19, 1943.
Another strange circumstance is the following:
On November 18, two weeks after the alleged slaughter, Himmler was in Cracow as the Governor General's guest. If the butchery had really taken place, then only with Frank's permission, and what better opportunity could the latter have found to praise the executor of the bloody order? In the presence of Himmler and "leading members of the General Government's Administration and numerous SS and Police Chiefs" (in other words, men with whom he could have been perfectly open), Frank gave an address in which he praised the police and thanked Krüger for having crushed a partisan group. He said:
"What the police from all units have achieved here need not be spelled out; their achievements make up one of the proudest chapters in German police history. The fact that you, my dear General Krüger, did such exceptionally good work this summer in combating the so-called Kolbak Gang, which like a bolt out of the blue suddenly struck the District Galicia which we had thought was almost pacified, is a particularly glorious chapter of your achievements. I would like to express my especial gratitude, and thank you in the name of all Germans and all members of the Administration."
Regarding an "Operation Harvest Festival", on the other hand, Himmler said nothing at all, even though if it had taken place he would have had even more reasons to thank Krüger, even if only in veiled form, for example with a covert reference to the Jews in the General Government whose numbers had declined because they had "emigrated or been shipped east".
But what is even more strange is the way in which Odilo Globocnik described the events of that November 3:
"On November 3, 1943, the labor forces were taken from the labor camps and the plants were shut down. The camp Commandants had not been informed of this, even though the responsibility rested with them; thus, I was hindered in the performance of my supervisory duties. I instructed the camp Commandants to carry out the closures and to continue ascertaining orders and transfers.
The day before the camp was evacuated, Arms Inspector/Cracow General Schindler, acting on the basis of SS-Obergruppenführer Krüger's promise, came to an agreement with the camp leaders that
a) henceforth only arms orders will be sent to the camps;
b) on November 2 he had been assured that another 10,000 Jews would be detailed to armaments work. This agreement could not be met."
So just one day prior to the alleged mass murder, Schindler and Krüger were intending to expand the camps in Lublin District and to assign another 10,000 Jewish forced laborers. But if Krüger had received Himmler's order a few weeks earlier, decreeing that the Jews in the SS labor camps were to be shot, then how can one explain his above "promise" to the Commandants of these selfsame camps... and on the day before the mass execution, no less?
The fact that these Commandants had not been informed of the evacuation of the Jews from the camps, set for November 3, is admittedly very odd, regardless whether one presumes the murder or the transfer of these Jewish workers.
We are indeed left with an unsolved riddle here.
4. Carrying out the Order
In essence, all descriptions of the alleged massacre are based on the account of SS-Oberscharführer Erich Mußfeldt, who testified that he had had to attend the mass execution at the new Crematorium and afterwards had supervised the cremation of the corpses. It is therefore worth repeating in detail what Mußfeldt stated on August 16, 1947, in Polish captivity:
"One day in late October 1943 the excavation of pits was begun behind Compounds V and VI, approximately 50 meters behind the structure of the new Crematorium. 300 inmates were put to this work; they dug without interruption for three days and nights, in two shifts of 150 each. In the course of these three days, three pits were excavated; they were more than two meters deep, zigzag-shaped, and each about 100 m long.
During these three days, special commandos from the concentration camp Auschwitz as well as SS and Police commandos from Cracow, Warsaw, Radom, Lwów and Lublin gathered in Majdanek. Otto Moll and Franz Hössler came from Auschwitz with 10 SS men. Altogether, some 100 SS men arrived from the cities I mentioned, and these SS men made up the Special Commando. On the fourth day-it may have been November 3-reveille was sounded at 5:00 a.m. Therefore I went to that part of the camp where I usually stayed. The entire camp was surrounded by the police; I would estimate that there were about 500 policemen. They stood guard with their weapons at the ready. They were armed with heavy and light submachine guns as well as with other automatic weapons.
A truck mounted with a radio transmitter was parked near the new Crematorium; a second such truck stood near the camp entrance, not far from the Building Administration. When I arrived at the camp grounds, both transmitters were already on. They broadcast German marches and songs as well as dance music from records. The two trucks had been provided by the Propaganda Office [of the NSDAP] in Lublin.
I want to stress that up to that day I had no idea of the storm that was gathering. While the pits were being dug I had thought that they were air-raid trenches, since an anti-aircraft battery was stationed nearby. I asked an SS-man what they were for but I received no answer, and I got the impression that he himself didn't know what it was all about. The Jews who had been put to digging the pits replied to my questions that these pits were surely intended for them. I wouldn't believe that; I laughed at them and said that no doubt they were air-raid trenches. It was an honest remark, for at that time I really thought that.
Around 6:00 a.m.-or maybe it was already near 7:00 a.m.-the operation began. Some of the Jews who were gathered on Compound V were herded into a barrack, where they had to strip naked. Then Commander Thumann cut the wires of the fence separating Compound V from those pits, making a passageway. Armed policemen formed a human chain from this passageway to the pit. The naked Jews were led past this line-up to the pits, where an SS-man from the Special Commando chased them into one of the pits, in groups of ten. When they were in one, they were chased to the other end of the pit, where they had to lie down, and then an SS-man from the Special Commando shot them from the edge of the pit. The next group was likewise driven to the same end of the pit, where they had to lie down on the bodies already there, so that the pit gradually filled with layers of corpses lying crosswise almost up to the edge. Men and women were shot separately, in separate groups.
This operation went on without a pause until 5:00 p.m. The SS-men in charge of overseeing the execution took turns; after their replacements arrived they went to the local SS barrack to eat, and the execution continued without respite. Music was blaring from the two radio transmitters the entire time. I observed these events from the new Crematorium, where I had my own room for myself and the inmates assigned to my unit.
That day all the Jews in the Majdanek camp were shot, also those who were quartered with various enterprises such as the DAW and the Clothing Works as well as all those in the units working outside the camp. Jews who had been brought in from the [Lublin] Castle were also shot.[] The entire operation was organized along military lines: a radio transmitter was used to keep in contact with the Chief of the SS and Police in Lublin and with other higher officers. The SD officer supervising the operation on-site (I don't recall his name) used this transmitter to give updates on the progress of the operation by periodically announcing the number killed. I heard that a total of more than 17,000 Jews of both sexes were shot that day. This also included all the Jews from my own commando. In the morning, after I had arrived in the camp, I had made inquiries as to what was going on, and I had asked Commander Thumann to please leave me my commando. He told me that was impossible; the operation, he said, was being conducted by Globocnik and the SD, and all the Jews of Lublin were to be killed, on the order of Governor General Frank. He added that instead of the Jews I would be assigned a unit of Russians.
However, 300 Jewesses were left alive that day; they were needed to sort the things that had been piled up in the barrack where the unfortunate victims had undressed before being led to the slaughter. Another 300 Jews were kept in the camp, at the disposal of the so-called Special Commando 1005. They were all quartered on Compound V. The women from this group had arrived in Majdanek in March and April 1943.[] A couple dozen days later the men were gradually incorporated into the Special Commando [...].
After all the Jews had been shot on November 3, the pits were covered over with a thin layer of soil.
On the day this operation was carried out, the camp received a new Commandant. SS-Sturmbannführer Florstedt was recalled, and SS-Sturmbannführer Weiss of Amtsgruppe D took over his post. Florstedt was relieved of duty because he had appropriated Jewish possessions. The matter was investigated by a Special Unit of the Reich Criminal Police led by SS-Sturmbannführer Morgen. To try and save his neck, Florstedt pretended to be insane. Even before he was relieved of office he had ordered me to remove the bodies of those murdered on November 3. Commandant Weiss later repeated this order. I was assigned 20 Russians for this purpose. The fourth day I gathered wood and boards, and on November 5, 1943, I began to burn the corpses.
Since a section of the pits (that end at which the victims had climbed down into them) was not filled with bodies, I piled a bit of soil there so that a small incline was formed, making it easier to climb down. The following day I set up a sort of wooden grate in the pit; that's where the inmates placed those bodies that were in the farthest part of the pit. When the pyre was ready I poured methanol over it and set it on fire. I set up the next pyres closer towards the far end of the pits, on those spots where the bodies had lain that were already cremated. Once the ashes cooled off after the pyre burned down, the inmates from my unit brought it up, and then the bones were pulverized in a special, gasoline-powered mill. This powder was then put into paper bags and taken on cars to an SS-factory near the camp, where this bone meal was later used to fertilize the soil. My work was supervised by an SD functionary from Lublin who saw to it that all the bodies were cremated, that no unburned bodies remained in the pits, that any gold teeth were pulled from the bodies prior to cremation, and that all jewels they wore were removed [...].
By Christmas 1943 I had finished cremating the bodies of the more than 17,000 Jews murdered on November 3. After cremation was concluded, the pits were filled with earth and leveled off [...].
Construction of the [new] Crematorium was completed after New Year 1944. I cremated the bodies of those who had died in the camp up to that time, together with those of the victims of November 3, 1943."
Let us now examine the salient points of this statement.
a) The Pits
First, a very important point: an air photo dating from September 18, 1944, does in fact show three pits approximately 50 m from the new Crematorium; the longest of these measures some 55 m. But the official plan drawn up in August 1944 by the Polish-Soviet Investigative Commission does not show these pits, even though this plan is very detailed and shows, among other things, a depression approximately 40 × 30 m in size, about 250 m northeast of Barrack 42. Why did the Polish-Soviet experts not indicate the pits near the crematorium on their plan?
In his account of the alleged execution of November 3, 1943, C. Simonov speaks of "several pits, two meters deep and several hundred meters long", but even though he personally inspected the camp he does not mention the pits in his description thereof. Simonov writes at length about the new Crematorium, and continues:
"That it was necessary to build the crematorium became particularly apparent after the Katyn affair. Since the Germans feared that they might once again be exposed by an exhumation of the graves where they had buried their victims, they began extensive excavations near the Lublin camp in early fall 1943. They removed the semi-decomposed bodies from the numerous pits in the vicinity of the camp, and burned them in the crematorium to wipe out the evidence of their heinous deeds. The ashes and charred bones from the cremation oven were thrown back into the same pits where the bodies had been dug up. One of these pits had already been opened. In it, a layer of ashes almost a meter thick was found."
Thus it is clear that the three pits appearing on the air photo of September 18, 1944, did not yet exist at the time the camp was liberated. After all, Simonov was escorted by former inmates who showed him the horrors of the camp, and after visiting the ruins of the new crematorium he would not under any circumstances have foregone the opportunity to linger over those pits and to report that the most bestial atrocity in the camp's history had been committed there. A photograph taken in August at the earliest, but probably in September or October 1944, which was then submitted as evidence at the Lublin Trial, shows the cross-section of one of the three pits visible on the air photo: the stack of the new crematorium rises up in the background; in the foreground approximately 50 skulls can be seen, lined up neatly in five rows, and beside them is a pile of long human bones. Farther in the background is a small group of people, two of whom are standing in another pit, up to chest level, while the others are standing at the pit's edge. It is also clear that the pits were opened by the Soviets and the Poles, and in any case this photo shows the most horrific of their finds.
Today there are two pits near the new crematorium. The first, which is closer to the camp fence, looks much like that on the aforementioned photo, both in terms of its length and of the location of its three component parts. It consists of three segments. The first is approximately 4 m long and runs south-southwest (about 200 degrees), the second is roughly 25 m in length and runs south-southeast (approximately 145 degrees), while the third is some 27 m long and runs east (approximately 85 degrees). The pit is funnel-shaped; the distance between its edges varies from 4 to 7 m, while the average width at its bottom is 1 m. The depth ranges from 1.50 to 3.20 m. The third segment branches off into another ditch approximately 11 m long and running north (roughly 15 degrees). It extends all the way to the Mausoleum that has been built beside the crematorium. Incidentally, the latter is not visible on the air photo.
The second pit, or ditch, runs parallel to the first in parts and consists of two segments, one 9 m in length running south-southwest (approximately 220 degrees) and one fully 11 m long running south-southeast (about 145 degrees).
This ditch is funnel-shaped as well. Like the first, its ground-level width from edge to edge is 4 to 7 m, and its bottom width is also approximately 1 m. It varies in depth from 1.60 to 2.60 m. On the air photo this second segment is roughly 21 m long. The present-day funnel shape of the two ditches is no doubt due to the gradual crumbling of their edges.
Thus, the present shape and form of these two ditches does not permit any conclusions with regard to what took place there more than half a century ago.
Insofar as the situation of November 3, 1943, is concerned, there is no material or documentary proof that the three ditches visible on the air photo already existed at that time or, if they did already exist, that they were of the dimensions apparent on the air photo. According to Erich Mußfeldt the execution pits were zigzag-shaped, which holds true-partly-for only the first ditch on the air photo. On the other hand, this air photo reveals numerous zigzag-shaped ditches, including at least 10 W-shaped ones approximately 30 m long in the area of the construction yard northeast of Compound I, as well as one more than 50 m in length beside the camp fence close by the camp headquarters. Some 500 m west of the camp there is a zigzag-shaped, almost circular ditch about 300 m in length; it is connected to two other pits, also zigzag-shaped. The first of these extends eastward for several hundred meters right to the camp grounds. The other runs in the opposite direction for approximately 60 m. Furthermore, some 400 m distant from the three pits near the crematorium there are two additional, sizeable ditches, similarly zigzag-shaped and approximately 100 m long. And finally, a zigzag-shaped ditch of the same length appears at the southern edge of Compound VI. The origin and purpose of these ditches are unknown.
At the Majdanek Trial in Düsseldorf, however, the Court, drawing exclusively on eyewitness testimony, claimed the following with regard to the alleged execution ditches:
"In late October 1943, probably on Sporrenberg's initiative, excavations were begun behind the eastern corners of the Protective Detention Camp behind Compound V, near the so-called Crematorium and approximately 100 m distant from the so-called L-Barrack located on this side of Compound V. Here, a 6 to 7 m wide pit was dug, as were at least three zigzag-shaped ditches extending from the pit diagonally into the surrounding land. The ditches were up to 100 m long, between 1.5 and 3 m deep, and approximately 3 m wide at the bottom. They were to serve as execution site for the victims; the pit was intended for 'distributing' the victims among the ditches."
Let us note right away that the air photo of September 18, 1944, shows no trace of this pit. Where the three ditches are concerned, they beg two questions:
First, the shape of these ditches is inexplicable. Why did they have to be zigzag-shaped? Normal, straight ditches would have been much easier and faster to excavate. The zigzag-shape is all the more mysterious since E. Mußfeldt claimed that the three ditches were dug in three days' uninterrupted shift work, which means that the matter must have been very urgent.
Second, the location of the pits was such that there would have been no hope of covering up the mass murder. The aforementioned air photo shows that the town of Dziesiata was only approximately 400 to 500 m distant from the ditches, meaning that the townspeople could have watched the massacre comfortably from the windows of their homes. Under these conditions, playing loud music would have been completely pointless, for even if the townspeople had not heard anything, they could still have seen it all.
b) The Execution Process
According to E. Mußfeldt the killing began at 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning and ended around 5:00 p.m., so that it could not have taken more than 11 hours. The Jews were liquidated in groups of ten. Assuming that the executions took place in all three ditches simultaneously, this would indicate (17,000÷30=) 567 separate executions. Therefore, each execution took (11×3,600÷567=) approximately 70 seconds. In this short time, the ten people making up each of the three groups had to climb down into their ditch, cover a distance of 50 m on average and lie down on the bodies of their predecessors, to be shot in their turn. After the first few executions, the victims would literally have had to climb onto the corpses of the earlier victims. Perhaps all this might theoretically have been possible in 70 seconds, but only if everything went absolutely smoothly, that is, if there was never any resistance or any attempts at escape-which is impossible. The victims would have known that they had nothing left to lose, and at least some of them would have put up desperate resistance.
The execution commando is said to have comprised 100 SS-men, meaning that 33 or 34 would have been available per execution ditch. If these took turns and alternated regularly, each executioner would have carried out 17 of the group executions and been "on duty" for about 20 minutes, i.e., for barely 3% of the total time which the entire operation took. Therefore no doubt several SS-men would have been involved per execution. If they used automatic weapons, each execution group would have used many times more than 10 bullets, for the automatic weapons of that time fired some 600 shots per minute, the MG 42 as many as 1,200 shots. For example, if four of the killer marksmen had fired for even two seconds, they would have expended 80 to 160 bullets to kill 10 victims. Thus, the amount of ammunition used would have been enormous. But Mußfeldt wisely remains silent on this point and also makes no mention of the numerous ammunition crates that would have to have been stacked up along the execution pits or on trucks standing nearby.
Where were the men from the Special Commando posted? Mußfeldt makes do with the laconic comment that they stood by "the edge of the pit". Consider:
- Each ditch was approximately 100 m long, 3 m wide and 2.25 m deep on average, making for a volume of about 675m³;
- The excavated material took up a volume greater by 10 to 25%;
- Mußfeldt testified that on the very day of the massacre he was ordered to begin cremating the bodies, and that the ditches were filled in again and leveled so as to destroy the evidence.
This means that on November 3, 1943, an enormous pile of earth some 800m³ in volume lay beside each ditch. Oddly enough, Mußfeldt also does not mention this, even though these mountains of excavated material must have made it difficult for him to see what was going on.
That Otto Moll, Franz Hössler and 10 other SS-men were sent to Majdanek shortly before the mass murder is not mentioned anywhere in Danuta Czech's Auschwitz Kalendarium. There is also no other documentary evidence for the dispatch of the other SS-men.
c) Body Cremation
As we have just pointed out, E. Mußfeldt claims to have received the order to cremate the bodies on the very day of the mass murder. In light of this it is difficult to understand why the bodies would then first need to be covered up with soil at all.
Still according to Mußfeldt's own statements, made in Polish Communist detention, Mußfeldt proceeded to obtain the required firewood on November 4, and began cremating the bodies the following day. He does not touch on the matter of the firewood again in the rest of his statement, but the quantities required would have been enormous. Since we have performed experiments in the burning of animal flesh, we know that 3.1 kg wood are required to burn 1 kg of flesh in an oven that is open at the front and top and equipped with a grate. If the flesh is cremated in a pit, the firewood requirement increases to 3.5 kg. In a mass cremation situation in a large ditch it is safe to postulate a minimum of 3 kg firewood per kg of flesh to be cremated, which means that 200 kg firewood are needed to cremate one body. This means that some 3,400 tons of firewood would have been required for the cremation of 17,000 bodies. That is approximately equal to 120 freight cars, fully loaded! Where did such a gargantuan amount of firewood come from, and how was it transported to Majdanek? Where was it stacked to protect it from the autumn rains and frost? Not only does Mußfeldt fail to answer these essential questions-he does not even acknowledge them.
Since according to Mußfeldt cremation was finished by Christmas, it cannot have taken more than 50 days at most (from November 5 to December 24).
In his statement of August 15, 1947, Mußfeldt testified that in February 1943 Florstedt, then Commandant of Majdanek, had sent him to Auschwitz where he was to familiarize himself with the technique of cremation. He continues:
"After I had looked at everything, I returned to Lublin the following day. On Florstedt's orders, I and the unit assigned to me began to cremate the bodies that had been buried in the forest towards Lwów. At first I excavated a pit, but because cremation did not proceed quickly enough in this pit I devised the following set-up for cremation: I spread old truck tarps over rocks piled to a considerable height, ordered the bodies placed on these, and poured methanol over them. I had wood stacked beneath the tarps and set on fire. In this way about 100 bodies could be burned at one time. Some of them had been dug up, some were fresh, just brought in from the camp. After such a load had been reduced to ashes, these were pounded to powder and dumped into the pit whence we had removed the bodies in the first place. To pound the ashes we used iron sheets and pounders. These tools were supplied by an SD functionary from the so-called Commando 1005 who supervised my work. In this way I managed by the end of October to cremate all the bodies buried in the forest and in the region behind Compound V. According to the pertinent calculations I cremated approximately 6,000 bodies in the forest and approximately 3,000 behind Compound V. These figures also include the fresh corpses of inmates who died in the camp during this time."
To summarize: Mußfeldt dispensed with cremations in pits because this method was inefficient, and he needed more than eight months to cremate 9,000 bodies! But in November and December, he claims, he chose precisely this inefficient method of cremation in pits, and managed more than 17,000 bodies in at most 50 days!
Judging from a photograph taken in Krepiecki Forest in 1943, cremation proceeded very slowly even with the set-up described by Mußfeldt. The photo shows about 20 charred bodies lying on a metal grate, which rests on some stones and has warped from the heat. In light of this it is not surprising that the cremation of each of the 90 pyres holding 100 bodies took an average of four days.
But if it took more than four months to cremate 9,000 bodies, then why did it only take 50 days, or even less, to manage more than 17,000, especially considering that all of 20 people were available for this job?
One of the aforementioned experiments in cremating animal flesh in a pit showed that the temperature of the embers was still fully 280°C even 24 hours after the wood had been set on fire! After 31 hours it was still 160°C, even though the quantity of firewood that had been burned only weighed 52.5 kg. How long would it have taken the embers from several dozen tons of firewood to cool off? Even if one presumes a minimum time of 48 hours for a pyre to burn down, a cremation would theoretically still have taken two days, so that 700 bodies would have been cremated in that time. In practical terms, however, the time between individual cremations would have been longer, since the 20 men at Mußfeldt's disposal would have had to perform a whole series of tasks. To give an idea of the difficulties involved in such an operation, we shall base the following data on 700 bodies:
Approximately 140 tons of wood had to be carried into a pit and stacked there;
700 bodies had to be carried out. After the firewood was stacked, these bodies had to be placed on the wood;
After the pyre had burned down, approximately 3.7 tons of human ashes and roughly 11.2 tons of wood ashes had to be removed from the pit;
The ash had to be sieved, and about 3.7 tons of it had to be transported to the "mill".
About 3.7 tons of bone meal had to be put in paper bags (74 bags at 50 kg each).
Even if one accepts the unrealistic assumption that 20 men could have done all this in a single day, a cremation would have taken three days. This means that the cremation of approximately 17,500 bodies would only have been possible if more than 1,000 bodies were burned together each time, in other words at least ten times as many as Mußfeldt had managed in the previous months.
In light of these bare facts, it is no longer difficult to assess Mußfeldt's statements. They are unbelievable through and through, which means that his confession was forced from him.
5. Reports of the Polish Resistance Movement
The first account of the alleged massacre is contained in a secret message which Majdanek inmate Henryk Jerzy Szczęśniewski is said to have written on the very day of the crime itself, on November 3, 1943. However, several internal inconsistencies in this note show that it must have been written later. For example, November 2 is not called "yesterday", but "the day before" (na dzien przedtem). What is even more revealing is that author mentions an event that took place three days after the alleged mass execution (na trzeci dzien), i.e., he refers to November 6. The letter seems rather incoherent and disjointed. The author devotes only a few lines to the mass murder itself, and supplements these with a sketch; the text reads as follows:
"The operation proceeded this way: on Compound V, in front of the Crematorium, they [i.e., the guards] set up a fence around the Laundry-in front of the Laundry on Compound V they [i.e., the Jews] stripped naked [in] A and went through the fence [in] C [into] B, where they were shot with carbines and submachine guns, and there they were buried [in] D."
Regarding the number of victims, the author cites 17,000 and 22,000 dead, "as per conversations with the SS-men."
The entire letter is written in a sober, downright objective tone: there is no sense of the horror that the writer should have felt at the sight of a blood bath of such an extent, and the massacre is reported more like a trite detail of a camp chronicle. No less surprising is the fact that the letter contains no request to its recipient, one Kazimiera Jarosinska, whom her inmates regarded as a sort of mother figure ("mateczka"), to inform the illegal Resistance Movement and the Polish government-in-exile in London of this atrocity.
So there is no doubt at all that this letter was dated retrospectively. We do not know by whom, since H. J. Szczęśniewski's correspondence was not found until 1966. Regarding the mass execution, the writer claims that it actually took place not in the ditches themselves, but in front of these (Zone C on his sketch); not until afterwards were the bodies buried in the ditches (Zone C). This is certainly not an insignificant detail. It is also anything but likely that the author found out in "conversations with the SS-men" how many Jews had been shot.
The Delegatura learned of the alleged massacre only after an inexplicable delay, and the first reports differ from today's official version in some important aspects. We shall reproduce the relevant reports in chronological order.
On November 15 the Delegatura reported:
"On Friday, November 5, a massacre was committed in Lublin. The Jews from all Lublin camps were brought together in Majdanek, and shot."
On November 18:
"Reliable sources state that all camps in Lublin have been entirely liquidated. (Altogether about 10,000 people.) The inmates from all camps were brought together in Majdanek and shot. Among the camps to be liquidated was that on the Lublin airfield which (a unique case on Polish territory) had previously held selected Jews-social activists, politicians, the foremost representatives of science, art etc. For a long time they had lived there under the illusion that since they had been specially selected and, in so many cases, transferred to the air field from other camps, the fate in store for them must be a better one. The liquidation of these camps has inflicted the last painful losses on the Jews' social fabric."
On November 24 the Delegatura reported:
"Lublin. In Majdanek a massacre was committed of Jews who had been brought together there from all Lublin-area camps. A few days before, the Jews had been ordered to excavate pits outside the camp grounds-pits several hundred (kilkuset) meters long, three meters deep and five meters wide. On November 4 an SS unit arrived at the camp. The day after (November 5) the Jews were divided into groups, which were led to be executed one after the other. They were ordered to strip naked and were then mowed down with submachine guns. Loud dance music broadcast over megaphones drowned out the shots. The SS-men had been told that the execution victims were all Soviet Commissars and spies. The last group was taken to Trawniki to cremate the bodies, and then murdered."
And finally, the Delegatura report of November 30:
"Majdanek. Preparing to evacuate Lublin, the Germans have begun the liquidation of Majdanek. The inmates were divided into three groups. The first, composed of a few hundred persons, includes political prisoners charged with grave crimes, and sick, invalid, and elderly inmates. This group was separated from the rest. There were worries that they might be marked for execution. The others were divided into two groups. One group was to be released, the other abducted to the Reich to work.
Majdanek. The Jews from all the camps in Lublin were brought together there, some 13,000 people in total. A few days before the liquidation the Jews were ordered to dig some ditches outside the camp grounds, ditches several hundred meters long, five meters wide and three meters deep. On November 4 a unit of the Waffen-SS arrived at the camp; on November 5 the Jews were separated and had to strip naked, whereupon they were led off one by one to be executed. The execution was carried out by submachine guns. Loud dance music from megaphones drowned out the noise of the shots.
Trawniki. Before the liquidation, conditions in the camp had improved markedly, so that the shock was all the greater. On November 3 all the men were led away to dig 'air-raid ditches'. During this work they were suddenly surrounded and shot. The women and children were loaded onto 60 trucks, taken to the execution site, and shot, naked. Finally, a group of POWs (Jewish-Polish soldiers) were shot. During the execution loud dance music from megaphones drowned out the sounds of the shots. There was no resistance. The Ukrainians did not participate in the execution. SS-men surrounded and isolated them. 150 Jews who had been brought in from Majdanek were put to work burning the dead bodies, and after they finished they too were shot. Then some 3,000 Italian Jews were brought into the camp."
As we can see, the first report about the blood bath of such incredible extent took up all of two lines! Subsequent reports tried to lend the story credibility by adding details-which, however, stand in noticeable contradiction to today's version. The two most important are: the number of victims (10,000 to 13,000 instead of 18,000) and the date (November 5 instead of 3). While the first 'mistake' may be understandable, it is absolutely incomprehensible how one could be unsure about the date weeks after the alleged event.
As we have shown in Chapter VII, the Delegatura had excellent sources of information about the events in the Majdanek camp at its disposal. Whenever these sources reported verifiable facts, their distinguishing feature was accuracy. We shall give two more examples of this from the time of particular interest in this context:
On October 1, 1943, the Delegatura had a list of 35 SS-men, with first and last names, rank, previous posting, address and birth date! And on November 22, 1943, the Delegatura had an alphabetical listing of 369 inmates, drawn up by the Resistance cell operating in the camp.
As already mentioned, the alleged execution site was clearly visible from the houses in the town Dziesiata, so that the townspeople could readily have provided reliable first-hand information. In short: there is no reasonable explanation for why the Delegatura, with its excellent sources of information both inside and outside the camp, should have been so poorly informed of an event with such enormous consequences as this alleged gigantic massacre. What is no less baffling is that it learned absolutely nothing about the cremation of the bodies. Just imagine:
After the execution of 17,000 to 18,400 Jews, the camp must perforce have drawn the attention of informants even more than before. On November 5 Mußfeldt begins to cremate the bodies. For about 50 days, the inmates remaining in the camp, the townspeople of Dziesiata, and everyone else in the area are constantly exposed to the sight of hellish flames and smoke from the pyres, and to the stench of the burning flesh. But not a single informant considers all this worth mentioning, and not one writes even one line about it!
That also goes for the inmate Henryk Jerzy Szczęśniewski, who supplied a wealth of news about the camp in his secret messages of November 25 and December 14, 1943-when the cremation is said to have been in full swing-but wasted not so much as a word on these cremations.
And meanwhile, on November 17, the camp authorities calmly release 300 inmates-no doubt so that these could report far and wide all the horrors they had just witnessed and give the Delegatura as precise an account of the massacre as possible!
6. The Alleged Mass Executions Make No Sense Economically
A. Rutkowski points out the economically nonsensical nature of the alleged mass executions with the following question:
"Why would the central authorities of the Third Reich decide in late 1943 to wipe out some 40,000 qualified workers, in complete disregard of the great shortage of manpower?"
The matter is even more important and more complex than this question would indicate.
According to official historiography the massacre allegedly committed in Majdanek on November 3, 1943, was only one part of a much more comprehensive operation affecting all the camps of the Eastern Industries Ltd. ("Osti") in the General Government.
The Osti was founded by the SS on March 12, 1943. Oswald Pohl, the Chief of the Economic-Administrative Main Office, as well as Gruppenführer Lörner, the Chief of Amtsgruppe B of the Economic-Administrative Main Office, were members of its Executive. Pohl, Krüger, Lörner and Sammern-Frankenegg, the Higher SS and Police Chief of Warsaw, made up its Board. The firm's Directors were O. Globocnik and Max Horn, the Economic-Administrative Main Office's chief accountant. Globocnik was also the head of the Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke (DAW, German Equipment Works) that employed some 8,000 Jews in Lublin and Lemberg (Lwów).
The purpose of the Eastern Industries was to establish a group of SS labor camps in order to make use of the manpower of drafted Jews. In June 1943 the Osti already controlled five camps with a total of 45,000 Jewish workers: the SS labor camps Poniatowa and Trawniki, the SS camp Budzyn, the DAW in Lublin, and the Clothing Manufacturing Plant in Lublin, in addition to the concentration camp Lublin, i.e. Majdanek.
On September 7, 1943, Pohl decided to incorporate ten SS labor camps in Lublin District into the Majdanek camp as branches thereof; this was already done on the 14th of that month.
On October 22, 1943, Pohl put the following camps under the charge of Amtsgruppe D of the Economic-Administrative Main Office:
- the old airfield Lublin;
- SS labor camp Trawniki;
- SS labor camp Poniatowa;
- forced labor camp and SS workshops in Radom;
- forced labor camp and SS workshops in Budzyn;
- main camp Cracow-Płaszów (Płaszów);
- Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke, Lublin;
- arms production camp in Lemberg.
The same day, Globocnik was relieved of his office as Director of the Osti, and replaced by the Vice-Director.
On October 26, Pohl sent the Commandants of 19 concentration camps, including Lublin (Majdanek), a directive regarding an increase in the camp inmates' productivity. He noted:
"Thanks to the expansion and consolidation of the past 2 years, the concentration camps have become a factor of vital importance in German arms production. From nothing at all, we have created armaments production sites that are unparalleled anywhere.
We must now do everything to ensure that our achievements to date are not only maintained but constantly increased.
Since the plants and factories are the vital aspect of this, this can only be achieved by maintaining and increasing the inmates' capacity to work.
In years past, given the scope of the educational efforts at that time, it did not matter whether an inmate could do useful work or not. Now, however, the inmates' ability to work is important, and all measures taken by the Commanders, Leaders of the V Service, and physicians must work towards keeping the inmates healthy and fit.
Not out of a false sense of sentimentality, but because we need them with their physical abilities intact-because they must contribute to the German people winning a great victory-we must take good care of their health and well-being.
I propose as our first goal: no more than 10% of all inmates at a time may be unable to work due to illness. By everyone responsible working together, this goal must be attained.
1) proper and practical diet,
2) proper and practical clothing,
3) making full use of all natural means for preserving health,
4) avoiding all unnecessary strain and expenditure of energy not directly required for work,
5) productivity bonuses."
A. Rutkowski answers his own question-quoted at the start of this section-by saying that the reasons for the mass execution were political in nature, and adds that where the Jewish Question was concerned Himmler did not care about economic considerations.
Even though, on the whole, this assessment is not entirely untrue, it is incorrect where the matter at hand is concerned. First of all, even before the time of interest here, Himmler's efforts to evacuate even those Jews working in the armaments industry had met with opposition from Hans Frank. On March 31, 1943, at a session in the government seat in Cracow where the state of security in the General Government was being discussed, Krüger gave an address in his capacity as Secretary of State; the session stenographer recorded his words as follows:
"There can be no doubt that the removal of the Jews has also contributed to bringing calm to the region. It was one of the most difficult and unpleasant tasks for the Police, but had to be carried out on the Führer's order because it was necessary in the greater European interest [...] Only recently he [Krüger] again received the3der to achieve the removal of the Jews within a very short time. It had become necessary to also remove the Jews from the armaments industry and those enterprises involved in the war industry, unless they were working exclusively for interests vital to the war effort. The Jews were then gathered together in large camps, from where they are dispatched to day labor in these armaments enterprises. However, the Reichsführer-SS would like to see this employment of the Jews ended as well. He [Krüger] had discussed this matter in detail with Lt.-Gen. Schindler and believes that in the end it will not be possible to fulfil this wish of the Reichsführer-SS. Among the Jewish workers there are some with special qualifications, precision engineers and other qualified tradesmen which one cannot simply replace with Poles nowadays."
Secondly, in early November the SS labor camps were already part of the Economic-Administrative Main Office's jurisdiction and were considered branches of Majdanek, whose Commandant was one of the recipients of Pohl's letter previously quoted.
In view of these facts, the destruction of more than 40,000 workers who were of great importance and use to the German war industry would have been, in economic terms, sheer idiocy
7. What Really Happened on November 3, 1943?
Considering the almost complete lack of documents, it is impossible to answer this question precisely. The only thing we may be certain of is that on November 2, 3 and 4, 1943, various police units participated in a major operation in Lublin which the three squadrons of the Pol. Cavalry Unit III mention, albeit only briefly. The first squadron reported:
"From November 2-November 4, 1943, the squadron, strength 1:25, participated in a major operation of the SS-Pol. Unit 25 in the area of Lublin and Pulawy."
The second squadron noted:
"The second squadron took part in the ma3or operation of November 2-November 4, 1943, in the Lublin area."
The third squadron reported:
"A section, strength 1/40, was deployed as part of the unit's responsibilities, on a special mission in Lublin from November 2 to November 4."
Battalion 101, about which Christopher R. Browning has written a book, was part of the 25th Regiment. Browning's book also includes a chapter about the "Harvest Festival", but it contributes absolutely nothing to our understanding of the matter; most importantly, it cites not so much as a single document in support of the actuality of the alleged massacre.
So what did these numerous units, dispatched to take part in a special operation, actually do? The most likely thing is that it was a major transfer to other camps.
One item of circumstantial evidence for this was provided by the November 20, 1943, issue of the Polish newspaper-in-exile Dziennik Polski, printed in England. The paper reported the murder of "15,000 Jews" and added:
"25,000 Jews were transferred from Majdanek to Cracow, where they were quartered in hundreds of recently constructed barracks. Probably these Jews will have to work in the German factories which have recently been transferred to the Cracow district."
The following also supports the hypothesis of a mass transfer of Jewish inmates to the west:
As Raul Hilberg notes in his standard work on the 'Holocaust', a total of 22,444 Jews worked in the armaments industries of the General Government in October 1943. In January 1944, however, two months after the alleged mass murder, the number of Jews working for the armaments industry in the General Government had not decreased; quite the contrary-it had increased to 26,296!
|||Enzyklopädie des Holocaust. op. cit. (note 7), v. I, pp. 418f.|
|||PS-2233. In: IMT, vol. XXIX, pp. 614f. Frank replied that if Count Ronikier was outraged by the execution of Polish partisans by the Germans, then he, Frank, was even more outraged by the murder of almost 1,000 Germans by the Poles. Ibid.|
|||Adam Rutkowski, "L'opération 'Erntefest' (Fête de moisson) ou le massacre de 43.000 juifs les 3-5 novembre 1943 dans les camps de Majdanek, de Poniatowa et de Trawniki," in: Le Monde Juif, octobre-décembre 1973, no. 72, pp. 13ff.|
|||Wojciech Zysko, "Eksterminacyjna działałność Truppenpolizei w dystrykcie lubelskim w latach 1943-1944" (The extermination activity of the Troop Police in the Lublin District in 1943-1944), in: ZM, VI, 1972, p. 186.|
|||Ibid., p. 187.|
|||IMT, vol. XXIX, p. 612.|
|||Ibid., pp. 612f.|
|||Adam Rutkowski, op. cit. (note 575), p. 14.|
|||Between October 30 and November 1.|
|||District Court Düsseldorf, op. cit. (note 55), v. II, pp. 459f.|
|||PS-2233. IMT, vol. XXIX, p. 614.|
|||Ibid., p. 630.|
|||Ibid., p. 618.|
|||Ibid., pp. 619-621.|
|||Wirtschaftlicher Teil der Aktion Reinhardt. Undated document by Odilo Globocnik. NO-057.|
|||Anna Zmijewska-Wiśniewska, op. cit. (note 164), pp. 142-146.|
|||The Germans had confined political prisoners in the Lublin Castle.|
|||The Polish text has 1944 as the date, but this is obviously a misprint.|
|||Cf. Photograph V.|
|||See Document 5.|
|||On the map this ditch is numbered 5.|
|||C. Simonov, op. cit. (note 310), p. 16.|
|||Ibid., p. 11.|
|||See Photograph V.|
|||District Court Düsseldorf, op. cit. (note 55), v. II, p. 459.|
|||Meyers Handbuch über die Technik, Mannheim: Bibliographisches Institut, 1964, p. 500. However, the MG 42 could not have been used for this purpose, since its powerful recoil and heavier weight required that it be supported i.e. mounted for use. What is more, on average the barrel of this machine gun had to be changed after every expended ammunition belt, since it was prone to overheating.|
|||G. Colombo, Manuale dell'ingegnere, Milan: Hoepli, 1916, p. 190.|
|||I.e. Carlo Mattogno, who performed these experiments in fall 1994 and winter 1995.|
|||Anna Zmijewska-Wiśniewska, op. cit. (note 164), pp. 141f.|
|||Op. cit. (note 23), Photographs 1 and 2 (photos on unnumbered pages).|
|||One would have to add to the 17,000 execution victims another approx. 500 inmates who died in the camp in November and December 1943.|
|||We assume three pyres, i.e., one per pit.|
|||We proceed from the assumption that the average weight of a body was 67 kg and that a quantity of ash weighing 8% of the body remains after a cremation. The latter figure is slightly greater than the percentage remaining after incineration in a crematorium, since organic tissue is never completely incinerated in an open-air cremation. The calculation is as follows: (67 × 700=) approx. 3.7 tons.-In the cremation experiment which we (C.M.) performed, the weight of the ashes was 4% of the flesh, even though the beef that was used was practically boneless. Cf. "Combustion Experiments with Flesh and Animal Fat", The Revisionist, 2(1) (2004), pp. 64-72.|
|||We proceed from the experimental findings of 8% ashes and arrive at (140 × 0.08=) 11.2 tons.|
|||In that case Mußfeldt's team would have had even more work to do.|
|||The Polish term is "gryps".|
|||Zbigniew Jerzy Hirsz, op. cit. (note 467), pp. 212-214.|
|||Ibid., p. 214.|
|||See Document 38.|
|||Ibid., p. 205.|
|||Krystyna Marczewska, Władysław Waźniewski, op. cit. (note 445), p. 207.|
|||Ibid., p. 218.|
|||Ibid., pp. 218f.|
|||Ibid., pp. 203f.|
|||Ibid., pp. 208-217.|
|||Zbigniew Jerzy Hirsz, op. cit. (note 467), pp. 215-217.|
|||Krystyna Marczewska, Władisław Waźniewski, op. cit. (note 445), p. 219.|
|||A. Rutkowski, op. cit. (note 575), p. 28.|
|||Raul Hilberg, The Destruction..., op. cit. (note 232), p. 340.|
|||Joseph Billig, Les camps de concentration dans l'économie du Reich hitlérien, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1973, p. 187.|
|||Letter from Globocnik to SS-Obersturmbannführer Brandt, dated June 21, 1943. NO-485.|
|||Archiwum Muzeum Stutthof, I-IB 8, p. 53.|
|||A. Rutkowski, op. cit. (note 575), pp. 31f.|
|||IMT, vol. XXIX, p. 670.|
|||W. Zysko, op. cit. (note 576), pp. 188f.|
|||Ibid., p. 189.|
|||Ibid., p. 190.|
|||Christopher Browning, Ganz gewöhnliche Männer. Das Reserve-Polizeibataillon 101 und die 'Endlösung' in Polen, Reinbek: Rowohlt 1997. The book is based almost exclusively on the statements made by 125 former members of Battalion 101 in the course of court investigations conducted twenty years after the fact (p. 13 and 193) and contains a number of anecdotes collected and assiduously commented on by the author. It is much more of a historical novel than a serious study of history.|
|||Ibid., chapter 15, pp. 179-189.|
|||Jolanta Gajowniczek, op. cit. (note 446), p. 256.|
|||R. Hilberg, The Destruction..., op. cit. (note 232), p. 341.|
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