CHAPTER IV:
The Actual Function of the Camp as Revealed by Historical Documents

1. Stutthof as Labor Reservoir

After examining and refuting the official claim that Stutthof became a makeshift extermination camp for Jews in 1944, we must determine the purpose actually performed by the camp at that time. The surviving documents provide an unequivocal answer to this question.

As the war continued, the labor shortage in the Reich took on desperate proportions, and the economic significance of inmate labor increased constantly. On October 26, 1943, Oswald Pohl sent a directive to all camp commandants demanding increased inmate productivity, stating:[203]

"In earlier years, it might have been regarded with indifference, within the framework of the educational tasks at that time, whether or not an inmate performed useful work. But at the present time, inmate manpower is of significance, and all measures of the commandants, leaders of the V service and doctors, must be aimed at maintaining inmate health and ability to work. Not from false sloppy sentimentality, but rather because they must contribute to the achievement of a great victory by the German people; we must therefore be alert to the well-being of the inmates."

To ensure the optimal use of inmate labor, the Stutthof authorities maintained a card file of statistical data. The file was maintained by four Polish inmates, including the later camp historian K. Dunin-Wąsowicz, and included approximately 8,000 inmate names by the end of the war, with an indication of identity and profession. Parts of this card file have survived.

Beginning in October 1944, a central distribution of manpower to industrial undertakings of particular importance to the war effort was initiated in all concentration camps. The manufacturers involved sent an application for the allocation of inmates to Office D II, which was subordinate to SS Standartenführer Gerhard Maurer of the SS WVHA, who either approved the application after examination or rejected it; in the former event, the office ordered a transfer from one camp to another.[204]

On April 26, 1944, the camp commandant ordered an increase in the daily working times to eleven hours; on Sundays, inmates had to work in the morning only, as before.[205] A great many inmates were transferred to other concentration camps. The following table provides an overview of the documented transfers:[206]

The correctness of all the data listed in the table is confirmed by the Kommandanturbefehl (headquarters order) document series.

Date

Destination

Number of Jews
Transferred

21. July 1944:

Dachau

2,000

25. July 1944:

Auschwitz

1,423

13. Aug. 1944:

Dachau

950

16. Aug. 1944:

Buchenwald

1,350

17. Aug. 1944:

Sachsenhausen

500

17. Aug. 1944:

Buchenwald

500

10. Sept. 1944:

Auschwitz

575

12. Sept. 1944:

Neuengamme

500

29. Sept. 1944:

Neuengamme

500

29. Sept. 1944:

Natzweiler

1,000

18. Oct. 1944:

Neuengamme

150

03. Nov. 1944:

Buchenwald

800

24. Nov. 1944:

Flossenbürg

500

26. Nov. 1944:

Buchenwald

1,000

12. Dec. 1944:

Buchenwald

800

TOTAL:

 

12,548

The transferees were assigned directly to outside commandos, merely bypassing the main camp involved. Many Jewish women were also involved in a constant expansion of the network of Stutthof auxiliary camps.

The Chief of Amtstruppe D in the SS WVHA, Richard Glücks, ordered these transfers. They form part of a gigantic program for the inmate labor service. The Polish historian Mirosław Glinski summarizes the significance of Stutthof camp as follows:[207]

"A relatively significant increase in terms of the numbers of auxiliary camps took place during the summer and fall of 1944. Stutthof camp could not house and employ all the inmates assigned to it. In particular, it lacked jobs for the nearly 43,000 Jewish women from Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary. The problem was solved by sending over 22,000 persons to other concentration camps, and the remaining 21,000 persons into newly formed auxiliary camps or by assigning them to farmers in Zulawy. Of the Jewish women, 10,500 were transferred to the Organization Todt, which was building field fortifications in the vicinity of Thorn and Elbing; over 5,000 women were set to work in the maintenance of military airports in East Prussia. Jewish women worked in the maintenance of railway tracks in Bromberg, Stolp, and in the area of Praust, in addition to the gunpowder factory in Bromberg, the electrical works in Thorn, and the Schichau wharfs in Danzig. In addition to the auxiliary camps for Jews, there were also 'Aryan' auxiliary camps. The work there was managed by technicians, chiefly Poles [...] A total of nearly 30,000 inmates were sent to the newly built camps in the summer and fall of 1944."

Thus, the question of the real function of Stutthof in the summer and fall of 1944 is answered very clearly: the camp was in no way intended for the extermination of human beings; on the contrary, it represented a large labor reservoir for the German war effort.

2. The Transfer of Unfit Jews from Stutthof to Auschwitz and the Reasons for such Transfers

As stated above, Stutthof acted as a labor reservoir beginning in mid-1944. This provides a natural explanation for the two transfers of unfit Jews to Auschwitz that occurred on August 26 and September 10, 1944 which, according to the Polish historiography, were allegedly "for the purpose of extermination". In this regard, J. Grabowska remarks as follows:[208]

"The transports of July 1944 from Kowno and Riga contained mothers with small children [...] After a stay of several days in Stutthof, some of these children were transported to Auschwitz. On July 26, 1944, a transport left with 1,423 persons, including 524 women, 416 girls, and 483 boys. The others were transferred on the next transport on September 10, 1944. This transport contained 575 Jewish women and children, as well as 8 mothers with 8 children, and 9 pregnant women of other nationalities. Both transports were sent to Auschwitz II (Birkenau), that is, to direct extermination."

The purpose of the transfer of unfit Jewish inmates was quite obviously to make room for Jews who could work, and who were arriving at Stutthof in great numbers at this time. That the unfit Jews were sent to Auschwitz, and that D. Czech's Kalendarium only mentions two registered new arrivals from Stutthof on September 11,[209] in no way proves that the purpose of these transports was to exterminate the transferees. In 1944, the percentage of unfit inmates at Birkenau was very high over this entire period. D. Czech herself informs us that 7,150-i.e., 27.2%-of the 26,230 inmates of the women's camp at Birkenau on October 2 of that year were sick and unable to work.[210] In the men's camp on August 8, 3,167 men were "unable to work or do service"-a figure equivalent to 16.58% of the total manpower of 19,115.[211]

D. Czech also provides us with other, highly valuable information in this regard: in the summer of 1944, very large numbers of Jews were housed in the so-called "Durchgangslager" (transit camp) without being registered. This same transit camp, on August 22, 1944, contained 30,000 unregistered Hungarian Jewish women.[212]

For this reason, it is hardly remarkable that the two transports mentioned above have left so little trace in the documentation at Auschwitz concentration camp.

That the children were sent to Auschwitz from Stutthof without any intention to murder them is also confirmed by Polish historiography. D. Drywa writes:[213]

"The next group of minor children was sent on June 19, 1944 to Mauthausen. A few weeks prior to departure of this transport, all Polish and Russian boys under 18 years of age were taken away from the work groups and housed in block 20. Of this number, 239 able-bodied individuals were selected, as determined by the camp doctor.

When one considers that, in particular, another transport had already left for the eastern youth protective custody camp of Tuschingen (in the vicinity of Lodz) on an even earlier date, on March 28, 1944, and included 29 children and one adult female, and when one considers the later transports of mothers with children to Auschwitz, then the characteristic desire of the Stutthof camp authorities to rid themselves of the inmates is apparent."

The transfer of the mothers-some of whom were quite able to work-together with their children, was doubtlessly ordered because the authorities were unwilling to separate the mothers and children, i.e., on humanitarian grounds.

That the two transports to Auschwitz mentioned above were doomed for extermination is, of course, in crass contradiction to the claim that Stutthof was an auxiliary extermination camp. As we have seen, it is claimed that "the extermination of the Hungarian Jews, which was carried out at Auschwitz until mid-1944 [...] exceeded the capacity of the camp", and that therefore, "some of them, mostly women", were transferred to Stutthof. But then why would Jews from Stutthof be sent to Auschwitz to be gassed? The whole story is rendered even more absurd by the fact that, according to the calculations of the Soviet Commission relating to the gas chamber at Stutthof-calculations which can be theoretically reconstructed-if the chamber had been misused for criminal purposes, it could have killed 768 persons in 24 hours. Assuming an 'operating time' of only twelve hours a day, all of the 2,023 unfit inmates could have been liquidated in less than a week!

The nonsensical allegations purveyed by the official historiography with regards to the reciprocal death transports back and forth between the "main extermination camp" and the "auxiliary extermination camp" now continue with even more nonsense:

Of the 48,609 Jews who arrived at Stutthof between June 29 and October 27, 1944, more than half, i.e., 25,043, were transferred from the Baltic camps; 10,458 were from Kaunas (Kowno), while another 14,585 were transferred from Riga. The official historiography has drastically reduced these numbers in order to prove that the 'missing' Jews were murdered. Raul Hilberg makes the following statement:[214]

"Only a few months later [after May 1944] the Baltic camps were definitively evacuated. Between August 1944 and January 1945, a few thousand Jews were allocated to concentration camps in the Reich territory. Thousands of Baltic camp inmates were, however, shot immediately before the arrival of the Red Army." (Emphasis added.)

Hilberg thus turns 25,000 into "a few thousand"! The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust reduces these numbers in a manner that is almost as deceptive:[215]

"Approximately 4000 Jews from Kowno were transferred to Germany, most of them to the concentration camps at Kaufering[[216]] or Stutthof. In October, Jews also arrived from Kowno after having been interned in camps in Estonia."

If Stutthof alone accepted more than 10,000 Jews from Kaunas, and then sent a number of them-the number is unknown to us-to the Dachau auxiliary camp at Kaufering, then the total number of Jews accepted from Kaunas cannot possibly have been "approximately 4000".

According to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, the unfit among them were murdered before the departure of the transports:[217]

"As the Red Army approached the Latvian border in July 1944, the evacuation of the camp began. Before the evacuation, thousands of unfit Jews-the sick, weak, and children-were killed."

Yet the transports of Jews from Kaunas and Riga clearly refute these allegations. The transferred inmates included, in particular, hundreds of minor children who were sent to Stutthof with the notation "boy" or "girl". The lists of names of deportees from Kaunas-which have only survived in part-use these expressions for persons born in 1929 or later, i.e., 15 years of age or less. For example, the transport list of July 12, 1944-which has survived in part, and which originally consisted of a total of 3,098 names-80 out of 510 of the surviving names fall into this category; the nearly complete list of 19 July-consisting of 1,095 out of 1,097 names-contains the notation "boy" or "girl" in 88 cases.[218] The following table illustrates the data on the percentage of minor children under the age of 16:

Age

Transport
of July 12

Transport
of July 19

15 years old

3

-

14 years old

7

4

13 years old

4

28

12 years old

8

13

11 years old

2

6

10 years old

4

9

9 years old

10

2

8 years old

4

6

7 years old

5

7

6 years old

9

8

5 years old

7

-

4 years old

8

3

3 years old

8

2

2 years old

1

-

Total:

80

88

The sum total must have been much higher, since 416 girls and 483 boys were transferred from Stutthof to Auschwitz on July 25.

To sum up: according to the official historiography, these Baltic Jewish children miraculously survived the SS mass shootings of the unfit in Riga and Kaunas, then escaped the gas chamber of the "auxiliary extermination camp" at Stutthof by another miracle, only to be sent to Auschwitz; and all this at a time when over 20,000 Jews were being transferred from Auschwitz to Stutthof, "because the extermination of the Hungarian Jews, which was carried out until mid-1944, exceeded the capacity of this camp"!


Notes

[203]AMS, I-IB-8, p. 53.
[204]M. Orski, "Die Arbeit", in Stutthof: Das Konzentrationslager, op. cit. (note 34), p. 214f.
[205]Ibid., p. 215.
[206]K. Dunin-Wąsowicz, "Żydowscy Więźniowie...", op. cit. (note 3), p. 17. All the above mentioned transports prior to that of Sept. 10 were confirmed by the Kommandanturbefehl (headquarters order) document series (AMS, I-IB-3). The transport to Auschwitz on Sept. 10 is proven by a transport list mentioned by D. Drywa ("Direkte Extermination", op. cit. (note 104), p. 251, footnote 87).
[207]M. Glinski, "Nebenlager und größere Außenkommandos des KZ Stutthof", in: Stutthof: Das Konzentrationslager, op. cit. (note 2), p. 226f.
[208]Danuta Drywa, "Häftlingstransporte...", op. cit. (note 155), p. 138.
[209]D. Czech, Kalendarium..., op. cit. (note 56), p. 874. The transport of July 27, 1944, is not even mentioned!
[210]bid., p. 893.
[211]APMO, D-AuII-3a, p. 46.
[212]D. Czech, Kalendarium, op. cit. (note 56), p. 860. On the transit camp, see also ibid., p. 699f.
[213]D. Drywa, "Ruch transportów...", op. cit. (note 21), p. 21.
[214]R. Hilberg, Die Vernichtung..., op. cit. (note 6), vol. II, p. 408.
[215]Enzyklopädie des Holocaust, op. cit. (note 5), vol. II, p. 806.
[216]An auxiliary camp of Dachau concentration camp.
[217]p. cit. (note 5), vol. II, p. 728.
[218]AMS, I-IIB-10, transport lists.

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