National Socialist Concentration Camps: Legend and Reality
1. Starting Position
On April 11, 1945, American troops entered Buchenwald concentration camp. Four days later, British troops reached Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. In the weeks that followed, the Anglo-Americans liberated other camps, including Dachau (April 29) and Mauthausen (May 5). To the victorious soldiers, all these concentration camps represented scenes of horror. The Jewish historian Walter Laqueur reports in this regard:
"On April 15, units of a British regiment entered Bergen-Belsen concentration camp following a ceasefire negotiated with the local German commander. Colonel Taylor, who commanded the regiment, wrote following an initial investigation of the camp in the laconic language of an official report:
'As we walked along the main street of the camp, we were greeted with jubilation by prisoners and saw the condition of the inmates for the first time. Many were little more than living skeletons. Men and women lay in rows on both sides of the street. Others crawled slowly and aimlessly around with emaciated, expressionless faces.'
Tens of thousands of corpses, many in advanced stages of decomposition, lay piled on top of each other."
Following the soldiers came a swarm of photographers and journalists; the world was immediately filled with horrifying images of piles of bodies and walking skeletons. Now, at long last, the Allies had the long-sought proof that the Americans had been fighting the embodiment of Evil, a diabolical enemy against whom any and all methods of warfare had been permitted, including the barbaric terror bombings of German cities.
From the very outset, to be sure, a few sober observers recognized that the mass deaths in the recently liberated National Socialist concentration camps were not the result of an extermination policy on the part of the Germans, but were due to mass epidemics. The Chicago-based Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, reported on May 19, 1945:
"By negotiations between British and German officers, British troops took over from the SS and the Wehrmacht the task of guarding the vast concentration camp at Belsen, a few miles northwest of Celle, which contains 60,000 prisoners, many of them political. This has been done because typhus is rampant in the camp and it is vital that no prisoners be released until the infection is checked."
But the voices of reason were drowned out in the maelstrom of atrocity propaganda unleashed by the media. In the following months, the anti-German atrocity machine went into high gear, the newspapers dishing up fantastic figures of the numbers of people allegedly exterminated in National Socialist concentration camps.
A Swiss newspaper, for example, screamed in August 1945:
"Hitler-Germany Heads the World. Twenty Six Million People Murdered in German Concentration Camps!"
The prosecutors at Nuremberg did not go as far as this in terms of numbers, but they did their best. The Soviets claimed at Nuremberg 4 million deaths at Auschwitz and 1.5 million at Majdanek, while 840,000 Russian prisoners of war were said to have been murdered at Sachsenhausen and their bodies cremated in four mobile crematoria!
Sir Hartley Shawcross, British head prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial, summarized the accusations raised against vanquished Germany in the following words:
"The murders were carried on like any other mass production industry, in which gas chambers and ovens of Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka, of Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Majdanek and Oranienburg."
Revisionist author Wilhelm Stäglich hit the nail on the head in this regard when he wrote:
"Whenever [in the immediate post-war period] there was any talk of the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question' in the sense of an alleged physical extermination of the Jews ordered by the leadership of the Third Reich, no distinction was made between the individual concentration camps. All were supposed to have been used in this monstrous murder program, since - as was explained - every concentration camps was alleged to have possessed one or more gas chambers, in which Jews were said to have been killed using Zyklon B or carbon monoxide."
For a large proportion of the public - in Stäglich's words - "no distinction is made between the individual concentration camps", even today. The average citizen presumably still believes that Jews and other inmates were gassed in Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald. The principal reason for this situation, in particular, is that photos of victims of epidemic disease (both Jewish and non-Jewish) are regularly shown on television and reproduced in the press as 'proof' of an alleged "systematic extermination of the Jews"; on the other hand, the media, half a century after the end of the war, continue unashamedly to speak of gassings in western concentration camps. For example, a Canadian newspaper in 1993 featured the story of one Moshe Peer, who claimed to have survived no less than six gassing actions as a boy in Bergen-Belsen:
"Each time he survived, watching with horror as many of the women and children gassed with him collapsed and died. To this day, Peer does not know how he was able to survive."
Another 'Holocaust survivor,' Elisa Springer, claimed in her memoirs, which appeared 42 years after the war(!), that "the gas chambers and ovens" had started to operate in Bergen-Belsen after Josef Kramer had become camp commandant.
The media may occasionally peddle this type of horror story, even today. Historical writers with any claim to seriousness, however, realized that the legend about the purpose of the western camps - to carry out a program of deliberate mass extermination - could not stand scrutiny for long, because it was in overly crass contradiction to the obvious facts. Walter Laqueur states in the appendix to the excerpt about Bergen-Belsen quoted at the beginning:
"The Belsen case was unbelievable for more than one reason. Three years had passed since the world first heard of the existence of the extermination camps for the first time. There were detailed individual reports on the names of these camps, their locations, on the millions of human beings who were killed there - even the names of the camp commandants were known. [...] Thus Belsen set off a wave of the most violent indignation although paradoxically it was in no way an extermination camp [...]."
In fact, the orthodox historians, i.e., those who defend the allegation that a physical extermination of the Jews took place, abandoned the claim of any mass exterminations in Bergen-Belsen or other western concentration camps soon after the end of the war. While a part of the these historians until today are of the opinion that unsystematic gassing actions took place on a small scale in these camps, others no longer speak of gassings in the western camps at all (see section 5).
This does not, of course, mean that the accusation that millions of people - mostly Jews - were murdered in German concentration camps has in any way been dropped. To mark the defeated enemy with an indelible mark of Cain, for a "crime unique in world history", to break German morale and self-respect for all time, the victorious powers - with their German vassals - continued their campaign of anti-German atrocity stories, but shifted the scene of the mass killings to a few locations east of the Iron Curtain, inaccessible to western observers. The result was the gradual crystallization of the version of the 'Holocaust' familiar to most people today. According to this version, National Socialist concentration camps fell into three categories:
'Normal' concentration camps, i.e., work camps, where executions - and, according to a few authorities, gassings on a small scale - are alleged to have taken place, but where most of the victims are said to have died 'natural' deaths, i.e., in particular, from disease and exhaustion.
Auschwitz and Majdanek. The claim is made that these two camps were used as both work camps and extermination camps. Jews unable to work are said to have been exploited for slave labor, while those unable to work were purportedly killed.
Finally, the "pure extermination camps" of Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and Chelmno, are alleged to have been founded exclusively for the purpose of carrying out a mass extermination of Jews. Apart from a few "working Jews" required to operate the camps, every Jew in these camps was allegedly gassed, regardless of age or state of health, without being registered.
That the above classification of National Socialist concentration camps is found in the entire body of orthodox literature on 'Holocaust' itself, even today, should in no way be allowed to conceal the fact that the classification is entirely arbitrary and is based upon no documentary evidence whatsoever. All the German wartime documents relating to Auschwitz and Majdanek (Lublin) refer to them simply as "concentration camps" in exactly the same manner as, for example, Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen. As we shall soon see, Auschwitz and Majdanek were governed by the same German regulations as the other camps, and the reasons for the high mortality rates were essentially the same.
The situation with regards to the so-called "pure extermination camps" is a different one; the present article restricts itself to a few comments only in this regard. First, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and Chelmno were not concentration camps. There are very few surviving documents relating to these four camps, and there is no material evidence at all. There is not the slightest proof that any program of mass extermination was carried out in these camps at all: all the allegations made in this regard are based solely on unreliable 'eyewitness' testimony. On the basis of the few available documents and a great deal of other evidence, it may be deduced that Treblinka and Sobibor were transit camps, via which some Jews were sent east - into the occupied Soviet zones - while others were sent, in transit, via these camps, to a variety of work camps. It is highly probable that Belzec was a transit camp as well. Of Chelmno, we know next to nothing. These four camps are not the topic of the present paper, and we shall not, therefore, discuss them in any further detail below.
With regards to the other camps, we have taken the trouble to compare the many myths about National Socialist concentration camps against the documented facts. Inevitably, many long-cherished preconceptions will be abandoned along the way.
2. Development and function of the National Socialist camp system
2.1. Historical Precedents and Parallels
That concentration camp systems were not invented by Germans has become fairly well known as a result of Alexander Solzhenitzyn's Gulag Archipelago. But they were not invented by the totalitarian Soviet system either: many democracies have also interned prisoners of war, allegedly disloyal civilians, and unpopular minorities in similar camps. The following are a few major examples only:
During the American Civil War, both the North and South maintained concentration camps for prisoners of war and civilian enemy sympathizers; a considerable percentage of these inmates died, mostly from epidemics. In the Northern prison camps of Camp Douglas and Rock Island, the mortality rates ranged from 2 to 4%. At the Southern prison camp of Andersonville, there were 13,000 deaths out of a total of 52,000 Union prisoners, i.e., a death rate of 25%. As we shall see, the mortality rate at Andersonville was entirely comparable, in terms of percentages, with many National Socialist concentration camps.
During the Second Boer War (1900-1902), the British built approximately 40 camps in Boer territory, interning a total of 115,000 Boer civilians, of whom 26,251 women and children died, a mortality rate of 25%.
During the Second World War, the United States government ordered the interment in concentration camps of many Americans of German descent and virtually all persons of Japanese ancestry resident in the United States, including American citizens, regardless of the fact that there had never been a single case of subversion or sabotage by Japanese-Americans. During the same war, the National Socialists interned large numbers of Jews. Though this cannot be legally justfied, they had at least a reason for it, since - understandably so - Jews constituted a disproportionately large proportion of resistance members and partisans in all German-occupied territories.
2.2. National Socialist Concentration Camps During the pre-War Period
The interment camps erected soon after Hitler's assumption of power on 30 January 1933 - including the well-known "Moor camps" such as Papenburg and Esterwegen - were used to neutralize the militant political opposition: most of the inmates were Communists. The first regular concentration camp was opened at Dachau, near Munich, in 1933. In addition, by the beginning of the war, five additional camps were also opened (Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Flossenbürg, and Ravensbrück).
While the number of internees in the camps still amounted to 27,000 in October of 1933, their numbers fell to 7,000 by February 1934 as a result of the rapidly relaxing political situation and then remained quite stable, although in addition to political prisoners hardened criminals ("Berufsverbrecher") and "Asocials" (tramps, beggars etc.) were interned too. The Jewish historian Arno Mayer gives the number of concentration camp inmates for the summer of 1937 as 7,500. Another Jewish historian, Joseph Billig, emphasizes that the number of deaths in camps was very low throughout this period:
"In the early years of the regime, the death of inmates caused problems for the Nazi leaders. An avalanche of deaths was unacceptable for their policies which had to take account of public opinion. The stability [of the number of camp inmates] was therefore chiefly attributable to the number of released inmates, as well as the arrival of new inmates, which maintained the stability of the total camp population."
In August 1938, the Swiss divisional commander J.-C. Favez, Delegate of the International Red Cross, visited Dachau concentration camp. In his final report, he wrote:
"There are over 6,000 prisoners in the camp. [...] Conditions of interment: Solidly built, well-illuminated and well-ventilated barracks. [...] Every barracks contained a modern and quite clean water closet, in addition to wash basins. [...] Work in the summer from 7 to 11 A.M., and from 1 to 6 P.M., in the winter from 8 to 11 A.M. and from 1 to 5 P.M. No work on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. [...] Rations: The meals were prepared in roomy, very clean kitchens. It is simple, but different every day of the week, plentiful and of sufficient quality. [...] Every inmate is permitted to receive 15 Marks per week from his relatives, to improve his care. [...] The tone of the officers is correct. The inmates are permitted to write to their families, and are permitted to send, of course alternatively, one letter and one card per week. [...] The discipline is however very strict. The guards and soldiers do not hesitate to use their weapons in the event of attempted escape. [...] Solitary confinement takes place in roomy, well-illuminated cells. [...] The bastinade can also be inflicted as an extraordinary punishment. This punishment is supposed to be used in the most extremely unusual cases only. [...] It is apparently quite painful and is much feared. [...] When a soldier-guard strikes an inmate, he is severely punished, and expelled from the SS. [...] The treatment of the prisoners is of course very strict, but cannot not be characterized as inhumane. The sick in particular are treated with kindness, understanding, and proper professionalism."
Until 1938, Jews were only interned in the camps if they were political enemies of the National Socialist regime (or criminals); after the murder of a German diplomat in Paris and the so-called "Crystal Night" in November 1938, approximately 30,000 Jews were interned, but the overwhelming majority were soon released.
In the last years before the war, the number of inmates as well as the number of fatalities rose continually. In Buchenwald 48 inmates died in 1937; in 1938, the number of deaths rose to 771, and in 1939 to 1,235. In Sachsenhausen, there were 6 deaths in 1936, 38 in 1937, and 229 in 1938.
2.3. The Function of Concentration Camps During the War
After the beginning of the war, a number of new concentration camps were rapidly established, from Natzweiler in Alsace to Majdanek near the Polish city of Lublin; the number of inmates rose dramatically. The number of prisoners increased to 110,000 by September 1942, 225,000 by August 1943, and 524,000 by August 1944. The peak number of inmates was reached in early 1945, with a total of 635,586 prisoners in all concentration camps combined. All concentration camps had a network of auxiliary camps (up to approximately 100). In the Generalgouvernement, i.e., occupied Poland, a dense system of labor camps, in which the inmates, mostly Jews, performed compulsory labor, was created parallel to the official concentration camp system.
One reason for this rapid development of the concentration camp system was the spread of active resistance movements, particularly in German-occupied territories. A Polish source remarks in this regard:
"From the beginning of 1942, a partisan movement also began to develop, reaching approximately 20,000 armed soldiers fighting in several dozen different underground formations by 1944. [...] Although the occupying power took the most drastic steps in the struggle against the resistance movements (reprisals, burning villages, executions, deportations, etc.), it was unable to bring the situation under control. We will merely state at this point that, according to German documents, between July 1942 and December 1943, on the territory of the District [of Lublin], no fewer than 27,250 attacks were carried out and several large partisan battles fought [...]; that, during the first months of 1944 alone, 254 trains were derailed or blown up, 116 railway stations and railway installations attacked, and 19 transports held up or shot at."
No occupation authority can tolerate such a situation. Terror tactics of the partisan movement led, inevitably, to increasingly severe reprisals on the part of the Germans. The camps formed a chief instrument of this repression.
An even more important reason for the constant expansion of the concentration camp system was the lack of manpower. At a time when almost every German fit for service was on the front, the concentration camp system acquired an increasingly greater economic significance, particularly with regards to the war effort. Many German documents attest to this fact; the following are a few particularly important examples only.
On January 25, 1942, five days after the Wannsee Conference, where - according to a stubborn historical myth - the decision was allegedly made to order a physical extermination of the Jews, SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler wrote a letter to Concentration Camp Inspector Richard Glücks:
"Be prepared to accept 100,000 male and up to 50,000 female Jews in the concentration camps over the next few weeks. Great economic tasks will arise for the concentration camps in the next few weeks."
"The war has brought about a visible change in the structure of the concentration camps and their tasks with regards to the utilization of inmates. The increase in the number of inmates on the grounds of security, educational, or preventive measures alone is no longer one of the primary purposes. The chief emphasis has shifted to the economic aspect. The mobilization of inmate labor first for military purposes (increased armaments) and later for peaceful tasks is increasingly shifting to the foreground. Based on recognition of this fact necessary measures result which demand a gradual transfer of the concentration camps from their early one-sided political form into an organization reflecting their economic tasks."
On August 21, 1942, Martin Luther, a Foreign Ministry Official, stated in a memorandum that the number of Jews transported to the east was insufficient to cover the requirements for manpower.
The extremely high mortality rates in the camps, due chiefly to diseases, but also to poor nourishment and clothing (see section 4), naturally influenced the economic efficiency of the camps in a highly negative way. On December 28, 1942, Concentration Camp Inspector Richard Glücks sent the following instructions in a circular letter to the commandants of 19 concentration camps:
"The first camp doctors must strive with all means available to them to ensure that the mortality figures in the individual camps are to be considerably reduced. [...] The camp doctors must supervise the nourishment of the inmates more than in the past, and submit suggestions for improvement in conformity with the administrations. Such measures must exist, not merely on paper, but must rather be regularly controlled by the camp doctors. [...] The Reichsführer SS has ordered that the mortality must be reduced at all costs."
These instructions had concrete results: within eight months the mortality in the concentration camps fell by almost 80%.
On October 26, 1943, SS-Obergruppenführer and Leader of the of the SS-WVHA Oswald Pohl sent all concentration camp commandants a circular letter in which he remarked:
"Within the framework of the armaments production the concentration camps have become [...] a factor of decisive military significance. We have created incomparable armaments factories where nothing existed before.
In earlier years, within the framework of the then applicable educational tasks it could be a matter of indifference whether an inmate performed useful work or not. Now, however, the working power of the inmates is of significance and all measures of the commander, leaders of the V Service and doctors must apply themselves to the maintaining the health and efficiency of the inmates. Not from reasons of sentimentality, but rather because we need them, with their arms and legs, because they must contribute to the achievement of a great victory by the German people, therefore we must be attentive to the well-being of the inmates.
I set the following objective: No more than a maximum of 10% of all inmates may be unable to work as a result of disease. This objective must be reached in a common task of all responsible officials. The following are necessary for this purpose:
I will bear personal responsibility for the supervision of the measures repeatedly described in the present letter."
The following are a few concrete examples of the significance of inmate labor to the war effort.
In Auschwitz, the largest camp, a considerable proportion of the inmates were assigned to work in I.G. Farbenindustrie factories for the manufacture of Buna - synthetic rubber - used for the production of tires and therefore a very important product. In his standard work on the 'Holocaust,' Raul Hilberg reports:
"On 19 March and 24 April 1941, the TEA [Technische Ausschuß der I.G. Farbenindustrie AG; Technical Committee] decided upon the details of production in Auschwitz. Two factories were to be created, one for synthetic rubber (Buna IV) and one for acetic acid. [...] Investment in Auschwitz initially amounted to over 500,000,000 Reichsmarks, but, in the end, to over 700,000,000 Reichsmarks. Approximately 170 sub-contractors were assigned to the work. The factory was erected; streets were built; barracks for the inmates were constructed; barbed wire was used for 'factory fencing'; when the city of Auschwitz was finally completely filled with I.G. personnel, two company towns were built. To ensure that I.G. Auschwitz received all the needed materials, [I.G. official] Krauch ordered 'Emergency Classification I' for all materials required for the manufacture of Buna. In the meantime, and in addition, I.G. Auschwitz assured itself of its own coal supplies, from the Fürsten mine and Janina mine. Both mines were operated using Jews."
In the Dora-Mittelbau camp, especially feared for its hard working conditions and administered as an auxiliary camp of Buchenwald until 1944, but then promoted to the rank of a concentration camp in its own right, inmates in underground factories manufactured the rockets by means of which Germany still hoped to bring about a turning point in the war.
On 11 May 1944, Hitler personally ordered the employment of 200,000 Jews within the framework of the fighter-plane construction program.
On 15 August 1944, the SS-WVHA announced the immediately forthcoming delivery of 612,000 inmates to the concentration camp. However, this number was never even remotely reached in actual fact.
3. Conditions in the Camps
3.1. Various Inmate Categories
After the beginning of the war, new inmates categories were added to the political prisoners (known as "Reds" in camp jargon due to the red identifying triangles sewn on their uniforms), the "Greens" and "Asocials" (or "Blacks"). Prisoners of war - particularly Soviets - were interned in several camps; another group consisted of Jehova's Witnesses, who were punished for refusal to do military service.
From 1942 onwards, the mass deportation of Jews to concentration camps occurred from all German-occupied territories. The percentage of deported Jews varied greatly from country to country; thus, 75,721 Jews, a quarter of the total Jewish population of that country were deported from France, predominantly those with foreign passports. The country with the highest percentage of deportees (over three quarters of all Jewish residents) was Holland.
In addition to the Jews, there were two further inmate categories who are repeatedly alleged to have been the target of a systematic program of extermination, i.e., gypsies and homosexuals. A brief correction of fact is called for at this point.
Political leaders speaking on behalf of German gypsies (or "Sinti and Roma") claim that members of this racial group were murdered by the hundreds of thousands in the National Socialist concentration camps. The figure of 500,000 purportedly exterminated gypsies is regularly seen in the relevant literature and repeated in the media. That this figure is purely a figment of the imagination and there is no evidence of a mass murder of gypsies under the Third Reich was proven by Udo Walendy, as early as 1985, in his periodical Historische Tatsachen. A body of supplementary evidence against the claim was produced by Otward Müller in 1999. - Representatives of the official historiography have also drastically reduced the number of one half million murdered gypsies: in 1997, German historians were talking about 50,000 'murdered' "Sinti und Romas."
It is a fact that Heinrich Himmler order the internment of "Gypsies of mixed race, Roman Gypsies and Gypsies from the Balkans" on 16 December 1942. At the same time, however, he excepted a number of other categories of gypsies, those classed as "socially adjusted" gypsies, from internment. According to the Auschwitz Death Books, containing a record of every instance of mortality in Auschwitz, 11,843 Gypsies died of what amounted to natural causes, i.e., mostly as a result of disease. That the gassing of more than 2,000 gypsy women in Auschwitz on 2 August 1944 claimed by the official historiography is another myth lacking all basis in fact, has been unimpeachably shown by Carlo Mattogno.
The growing acceptance of homosexuality in western society, and the increasing influence of gay organizations, have led to intensified efforts to attribute to homosexuals the 'martyr status' of a minority "systematically exterminated" during the Third Reich. The number of homosexuals alleged to have died in National Socialist concentration camps is stated by special interest groups to amount to as many as 500,000 - or even more. What is indisputable is that homosexuality in National Socialist Germany - and in a great many other countries at the same time, for example, Great Britain and the USSR - was a criminal offence. Between 50,000 and 60,000 homosexual males were sentenced by German courts between 1933 and 1944. A minority of these - presumably 10,000 to 15,000 - were sent to concentration camps after finishing their prison sentences in ordinary prisons; these were mostly repeat offenders, male prostitutes, transvestites and seducers of minors.
There is no doubt that poor food contributed to the high mortality rates of the early war years, and it is in no way our intent to whitewash the camp administration in this regard. But it should be noted that serious efforts were taken to improve conditions. In the circular letter to all concentration camp commandants quoted above, referring to the necessity for "correct and adequate food", SS Obergruppenführer O. Pohl gave precise instructions as to how the food was to be prepared and served, stating, among other things:
"Vegetables should be served at mealtimes, both raw, in the form of salad, or unprocessed (carrots, sauerkraut). [...] The quantity of food served at midday meals must amount to 1.25 - 1.5 l. No thin soups, but heavy, nourishing dishes. [...] The receipt of additional food is to be encouraged. [...] If sick persons are to recover more rapidly as a result of special diets, then such special diets must be served, but in hospitals only."
Tadeusz Iwaszko, former head of the Auschwitz Memorial, in an article on inmate food at Auschwitz, writes as follows:
"At midday meal, 'meat soup' was served four times a week, and 'vegetable soup' three times a week, the latter consisting of vegetables including potatoes and beets or carrots [Rüben]."
According to Iwaszko, the soup possessed a nutritional value of 350-400 calories. At midday meal, the inmates were served approximately 300 grams of bread, approximately 25 grams of sausage or margarine as well as a spoonful of marmalade or cheese with a nourishment value of 900 to 1000 calories. Could German front line soldiers be assured of receiving similar rations every day of the week?
The Polish resistance movement, which certainly had no vested interest in whitewashing the conditions in the camp, had the following to say on the food in Majdanek concentration camp in early 1943:
"The food was rather meager at first, but has recently improved and is of higher quality than in the prisoner of war camps in 1940, for example. In the morning, the inmates receive approximately half a liter of broth at 6:00 A.M. (two days a week herbal tea with a peppermint taste). At midday meal, 1:00 P.M., half a liter of quite nourishing soup is served, even enriched with fat or meal. Evening meal was served at 5:00 P.M., and consists of 200 grams of bread with spread (marmalade, cheese or margarine, twice a week 300 grams of sausage) as well as half a liter of broth or soup from the meal of unpeeled potatoes."
3.3. Medical Care
In a strongly anti-National Socialist monograph on Groß-Rosen concentration camp, the author, Isabell Sprenger, writes as follows:
"A continual collection of disease reports from the years 1943-1945 with very detailed daily tasks on the treatment of individual patients shows that at least in some cases time and effort could be expended on healing the inmates."
The objection that Groß-Rosen was an "ordinary concentration camp" and not an "extermination camp" collapses immediately when it is seen that a great quantity of documents relating to the medical care of inmates have survived even for Auschwitz, the best-known of the alleged extermination camps. For example, a report on the medical treatment of 3,138 Hungarian Jewish internees was drawn up on June 28, 1944, - when the 'gas chambers' were allegedly being operated at full capacity - establishes precisely the illnesses for which the persons concerned are to be treated:
In another "extermination camp", Majdanek, there was a hospital for wounded Soviet prisoners of war, the construction of which was personally ordered by Himmler on 6 January 1943.
3.4. Punishments and Mistreatment
The widespread idea that limitless arbitrary cruelty prevailed in the National Socialist concentration camps and that sadistic mistreatment was a common occurrence is simply not confirmed by surviving German wartime documentation. We are aware that regulations may exist only on paper, and we do not doubt that acts of cruelty often occurred in the camps. But that such acts in no way reflected official policy is clearly obvious from the regulations for the camp administration. In Auschwitz, every SS man had to sign a declaration reading word for word as follows:
"I am aware that only the Führer possesses life and death decision-making powers over enemies of the State. I am not permitted to injure or kill any enemy of the State (inmate). Any killing of an inmate in a concentration camp requires the personal approval of the Reichsführer SS. I am aware that I will be severely called to account for any violation of this regulation."
Kazimierz Smoleń, former Director of the Auschwitz-Museum, wrote an article on the punishment system at Auschwitz based on German documents, in which the various punishments provided for by the regulation are listed in order of severity:
Prior to execution of the beating punishment an examination by a physician was required. Death sentences required approval by the RSHA prior to execution.
Severe steps were occasionally taken against SS men guilty of committing crimes against inmates: two camp commandants - Karl Koch of Buchenwald and Hermann Florstedt of Majdanek - were executed by the National Socialists themselves.
3.5. Terror by Criminals and Communists
The mixing of political and criminal inmates could have frightful consequences for the politicals, since the criminal inmates were often the dregs of the underworld, creating a veritable reign of terror in many camps. Whether the camp administration recruited the "Kapos" (trustees) from the "Reds" or "Greens" was a matter of life or death to many inmates. Austrian Jewish Socialist Benedikt Kautsky, who spent the years between 1938 and 1945 in a number of different concentration camps (Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz and, once again, Buchenwald), wrote the following in relation to terror by criminal inmates:
"Whether the criminals or political prisoners ruled a camp was a matter of life and death for ordinary inmates. In Buchenwald or Dachau camps, the responsibility incumbent upon the camp officials [recruited from] the ranks of the politicals was allocated as skillfully as possible; many SS - attacks were nipped in the bud, sabotaged or robbed of their effectiveness by passive resistance. Other camps under the leadership of criminals, such as Auschwitz and Mauthausen were hotbeds of corruption, where the inmates were cheated out of their rightful allocations of rations in food, clothing, etc. and furthermore mistreated in the grossest manner by their fellow inmates."
Other former concentration camp inmates have painted a darker picture of the camp officials recruited from the ranks of the political prisoners. Paul Rassinier, French resistance fighter and founder of Holocaust revisionism, described the terror of Communist inmates in Buchenwald in his book Le Mensonge d'Ulysse, written in 1950. Those inmates tyrannized other, non-Communist inmates and robbed them of their food packages, which was equivalent to a death sentence for many of them. In a U.S. Army report drawn up following the liberation of Buchenwald states that the Communists gradually took power away from the criminal Kapos and - to some extent in collaboration with the SS - killed many inmates. They were said to have been responsible for a large proportion of the brutalities in the camp and were said to have controlled the distribution of food packages. That the camp administration failed to take sufficiently energetic steps to put an end to the actions of the criminals and Communists must be considered a serious act of negligence.
Large numbers of inmates were released, even after the beginning of the war. According to Polish sources, 5,000 inmates were released from Stutthof concentration camp, while the incredible number of 20,000 inmates were released from the alleged "extermination camp" of Majdanek. The total number of inmates released from Auschwitz is unknown, but must have been considerably high. Danuta Czech, in her Kalendarium, for the period between February 1942 and February 1945 indicates a total of 1,100 released inmates; the very fragmentary release records which have survived, however - records found by C. Mattogno and myself and covering the period between June and December 1943 alone - show almost 300 releases; suggesting that the actual number of total releases must have been far higher. Most of the releases involved educational inmates transferred to Birkenau "work education camp" for 56 days in punishment for violation of their labor contracts (this practice resulted from a Himmler order dated 28 May 1942). Many of these short-term inmates were released in the summer of 1944, at the same time as the alleged mass extermination of the Hungarian Jews. We are therefore supposed to believe that the National Socialists continually released witnesses to their own mass extermination program, so that the witnesses, in turn, could inform the world about German atrocities at Auschwitz! Prior to the evacuation of the camp, the German authorities at Birkenau left 4,299 inmates behind to await the arrival of the Soviets.
Some of the German concentration camps continued operation after the war, this time with allied personnel and German prisoners who were considered a threat to allied security or who were opposed to occupational policies. Especially infamous in this regard is the Sachenshausen camp under Soviet control, but even the American operated Dachau camp served as a concentration camp after the war. One of the prisoners held captive by the Americans in Dachau published a diary, which is interesting reading especially when compared with the diary of a prisoner who was in the same camp under German rule, i.e., during the war. In an analysis, Ingrid Weckert has juxtaposed both diaries and by so doing, was able to show that conditions in the Dachau camp were considerably better under German rule than they were under U.S. military rule - except for the very last months of the war, when the German infrastructure had broken down and the inmates, like everybody in Germany, suffered terribly due to lack of all supplies.
4. Mortality Rates in Concentration Camps and their Causes
4.1. Number of Victims of the Camps
How many people died in the National Socialist concentration camps? Quite precise, and, in some cases, highly precise, statistics are available for seven different concentration camps, based on documentation of the individual camp authorities for these camps, which were, in turn, practically equivalent to the seven largest camps. In addition to the number of the inmates who died in the concentration camps, we also know the number of total arrivals, which, with the exception of Majdanek, are also known with complete or almost perfect precision. In addition, it should be noted that many inmates were often interned in several different camps, being frequently transferred from one camp to another (it should be recalled, in this regard that B. Kautsky, for example, spent the years between 1938 and 1945 in Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz and, once again, Buchenwald). This means that the total number of inmates interned in the camps was much less than a mere addition of the figures for individual camps would tend to indicate. It also means that one must take care to avoid drawing the false conclusion that an inmate who survived one camp, must necessarily have survived the war: of the approximately 365,000 inmates registered at Auschwitz and subsequently transferred to other camps, to cite merely one example, a considerable proportion died in another camp.
The statistics for the seven camps are as follows:
If one adds the numbers of victims for these seven camps, one arrives at a total figure of approximately 372,000 victims. For the other concentration camps, we must refer to the statistics of the Special Registry Office for Marriages, Births, and Deaths at Arolsen (Sonderstandesamt Arolsen, Germany), which are, however, incomplete, partly because some of the documentation is missing for certain camps, and partly because certain deaths registered at other municipal registries of births, marriages, and deaths have not been certified at Arolsen. In 1990, the situation was as follows:
How incomplete are these statistics? For each of the previously listed seven camps, the mortality figures are more or less well known. However, for these camps Arolsen gave only the following numbers of certified deaths in 1990:
This figure reflects approximately 55% of the actual figures of approximately 372,000 victims. This suggests that the number of 53,445 victims for the seven other camps registered at Arolsen should be doubled; in this case one arrives at approximately (372,000 + 107,000 =) 479,000 victims for the fourteen concentration camps.
The mortality figures for inmates having died in the work camps - mostly located in Polish territory - must be added to the above, but no reliable statistics are available to us in this regard. Raul Hilberg estimates the number of Jews having died in these work camps at 100,000, but fails to back up the estimate with any source references. If we accept Hilberg's figure, at least as a working hypothesis, and if we assume an equally high mortality figure for non-Jews having died in these same camps as well, we arrive at approximately (479,000 + 200,000 =) 679,000 or almost 700,000 human beings having perished in National Socialist concentration camps and work camps. In our view, this would have to be the maximum figure; it is probable that the actual figure was lower. The number of Jews among the victims cannot be determined exactly under present circumstances, but was presumably no lower than 50%.
4.2. Reasons for High Mortality Rates
The worst mortality figures for Auschwitz occur during the second half of 1942, when a typhus epidemic was raging, killing a large percentage of the total camp population. The epidemic peaked between the 7th and 11th of September 1942, with an average death rate of 375 inmates per day. In Majdanek, the mortality rate peaked in August 1943, a month in which 6.84% of all camp inmates died. The principal cause of the mass mortality rate lay in the bad hygienic conditions caused by the absence of any connection to the sewer system of the city of Lublin, a failing which was catastrophic for the camp, encouraging the spread of epidemics.
The situation in the western camps was different. For example, as we have seen, over 15,000 people died in Dachau between January and April 1945, more than in all the previous war years put together. Statistics for the other western camps are usually similar. The extremely high mortality rate was the immediate result of the German collapse, for which the Allies themselves were partially responsible. In his autobiography, the famous American aviator, Chuck Yeager, recalls that his squadron was ordered to machine gun "everything that moved" over a 50-square mile area:
"Germany cannot be so easily divided into innocent civilians and military personnel. The farmer on his potato patch was, after all, feeding German troops."
The Allied terror bombings destroyed the German infrastructure, with the result that concentration camp inmates could no longer be supplied during the closing phase of the war. The main reason for the mass deaths in 1945, however, was not starvation, but epidemics, caused by the evacuation of the eastern camps, which in turn spread epidemic diseases to the overcrowded western concentration camps and could not be brought under control as a result of wartime conditions.
The British physician Dr. Russell Barton spent a month in Bergen-Belsen as a young medical student and drew up a report on the conditions in the camp, in which he remarked:
"Most people attributed the conditions of the inmates to deliberate intention on the part of the Germans. [...] Inmates were eager to cite examples of brutality and neglect, and visiting journalists from different countries interpreted the situation according to the needs of propaganda at home. [...] German medical officers told me that it had been increasingly difficult to transport food to the camp for some months. Anything that moved on the autobahns was likely to be bombed. [...] I was surprised to find records, going back for two or three years, of large quantities of food cooked daily for distribution. At that time I became convinced, contrary to popular opinion, that there had never been a policy of deliberate starvation. This was confirmed by the large number of well-fed inmates. [...] The major reasons for the state at Belsen were disease, gross overcrowding by central authority, lack of law and order in the huts, and inadequate supplies of food, water and drugs."
The Allied propagandists of 1945 were naturally uninterested in such facts, and the media of the western world are equally uninterested in these same facts today. In the distorted picture of the diabolical SS men who supposedly allowed the inmates to starve to death, Bergen-Belsen Camp Commandant Josef Kramer - who was executed after a judicial farce, although he did everything in his power to bring about an improvement in desperate camp conditions - went down in history as the "Beast of Belsen", a history written by the victors, as is always the case.
5. 'Gas Chambers'
5.1. Gas Chamber Stories Relating to Western Camps
All allegations of 'gas chambers' - by which we mean gas chambers intended for the killing of human beings - in National Socialist camps are based on 'eyewitness' testimonies and are not supported by German wartime documents (which survived the war by the thousands of tons). The 'gas chambers' of the "extermination camps" at Auschwitz and Majdanek are discussed by Germar Rudolf and Carlo Mattogno in the present book. The same authors prove that the structures in question, by reason of their architectural features, were unsuited for the killing of human beings with poison gas and, as a result, could never have been used for that purpose. The following comments are restricted to the claims of the 'gas chambers' in the western camps only.
There were numerous 'eyewitness' testimonies relating to these 'gas chambers' as well. At the Nuremberg Trial, a former camp doctor at Dachau, a Czech named Dr. Franz Blaha, testified as follows:
"The gas chamber was finished in 1944, and I was summoned by Dr. Rascher to examine the first victims. Of the 8-9 persons in the gas chamber, three were still alive, and the others appeared to be dead. Their eyes were red, and their faces were puffed"
A fantastic description of the 'gas chamber' at Buchenwald was provided by a Frenchman named Georges Hénocque in 1947:
"The room was perhaps five square meter wide and three to three and a half meters high. On the ceiling at irregular intervals were seventeen air-tight, sealed shower heads. They looked like ordinary shower heads. The deportees assigned to the crematorium had warned me of the manner in which the victims, to mock them, were all given a towel and a small bar of soap before entering the shower. The unfortunates were thus brought to believe that they were entering a shower.
The heavy iron door shut behind them - a door sealed by a half centimeter thick insulation strip of rubber, so that no air could get in. Inside, the walls were smooth, without cracks and looked as if they were lacquered. On the outside, next to the door frame, one could see four buttons, each one of which lay beneath the others: one red, one yellow, one green, and one white.
But one detail disturbed me: I didn't understand how the gas could descend from the shower heads. Next to the room in which I was standing, was a passageway. I entered it and saw a gigantic pipe, so big that I could not reach all the way around it with my arms, a pipe that was covered with a rubber lining approximately one centimeter thick.
Next to the pipe was a crank, which turned from left to right, to cause the gas to enter the room. The pressure was so strong that the gas descended to the floor, so that none of the victims could escape what the Germans called the 'slow and sweet death'.
Beneath the spot where the pipe entered the gas chamber were the same buttons as on the exterior door: one red, one green, one yellow, and one white. They were obviously used to measure the sinking of the gas. Everything was organized on a strictly scientific basis. The Devil himself could not have planned it better."
Many revisionists are of the view that orthodox historians have finally banished the 'gas chambers' of the western camps to the rubbish dump of history, but that is an inaccurate oversimplification. In justification of this argument, they cite a letter to the editor written in 1960 by Martin Broszat, at that time an employee and later the head of Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich, in which he stated:
"No Jews or other inmates were gassed in Dachau or Bergen-Belsen or Buchenwald. [...] The mass extermination of the Jews by gassing began in 1941/1942 and took place exclusively in a few locations selected for this purpose and equipped with technical installations, particularly in occupied Polish territory (but nowhere in the Old Reich): in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Sobibor am Bug, in Treblinka, Chelmno und Belzec."
Anyone who reads Broszat's letter attentively recognizes that Broszat only expressly disputes any and all gassings for three camps (Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald). In relation to all other camps, he rules out "mass gassings" only, thus leaving open the possibility of gassing actions on a smaller scale. Such small-scale gassing actions are alleged in the well-known anthology Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen durch Giftgas (National Socialist Mass Killings with Poison Gas) edited by Kogon, Langbein, Rückerl, and others. According to the same source, such gassings occurred in the camps of Ravensbrück, Sachsenhausen, Neuengamme, Mauthausen, Natzweiler, and Stutthof. In relation to Dachau, the editors are uncertain; no gassings are reported for Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen, although numerous eyewitness testimonies confirming such gassings are available for precisely these camps. All such 'eyewitness' testimony, therefore, in the view of the editors, is false. Why the 'eyewitness' testimonies on gassings in Ravensbrück, Natzweiler, or any other camp should be any more credible, remains a mystery.
The intellectual level of the anthology is indicated, among other things, by the quoted description of the "gas chamber" (singular) at Mauthausen. As proof of their existence a sentence of a U.S. court is quoted, according to which the "gas cells" (plural) were pre-heated with a hot brick and then the gas was introduced "on paper strips"!
In addition to eyewitness reports by former concentration camp inmates, numerous "perpetrator confessions" are also quoted. All these confessions were given under duress and are not worth the paper they are printed on. That members of the SS imprisoned in the western camps could be compelled to make any kind of 'confession' one wanted, is proven quite obviously by the deathbed 'confession' of Mauthausen commandant Franz Ziereis, who - dying from three bullet wounds in the stomach - stated the following on the 'gas chamber' at Hartheim castle near Linz:
"SS-Gruppenführer Glücks has given the order to declare weak inmates as insane and to kill them in a large installation with gas. Approximately 1 to 1.5 million were killed there. This place is known as Hartheim and lies 10 kilometers from Linz in the direction of Passau. These inmates were reported as having died of natural causes in the camp [Mauthausen]."
Kogon, Langbein, Rückerl, and company are naturally not stupid enough to quote this passage from the Ziereis confession in their book. But if the Mauthausen commandant had spoken of a few thousand instead of "1 to 1.5 million" gassing victims at Hartheim, this part of the confession would certainly have been included as 'irrefutable proof' of the murders at Hartheim.
The number of gassing victims in all western camps, if we add up all the figures quoted in the above mentioned anthology, amount to some thousands only, and therefore, numerically speaking, are not necessary for the 'Holocaust', i.e., the alleged systematic gassing of several million Jews. That the editors stubbornly insist upon these killings by means of poison gas can perhaps be explained by a desire to prove that National Socialist concentration camps, by their very nature, were fundamentally different from Russian, Chinese, French, and American concentration camps, etc., and were therefore simply diabolical. The diabolical nature of the camps is lent to them by the 'gas chambers' and, therefore, as many National Socialist concentration camps as possible must necessarily have possessed such installations.
On the other hand, mainstream historiography knows pretty well that abandoning any 'gas chamber' in any camp could be disastrous for other 'gas chamber' claims as well. After all, why should one believe any 'eyewitness' and any mainstream historian that there were 'gas chambers' in camps A and B, if it is a proven and acknowledged fact that all the 'eyewitness' testimonies and other evidence for camps C and D are fraudulent? Raul Hilberg, on the other hand, who never mentions any gassings in western camps in his 1,300-page work on the 'Holocaust,' is more pragmatic than the editors of the above mentioned anthology.
The most detailed documentation on the eyewitness testimonies on the gassings in the western camps so far is the Second Leuchter Report, prepared under the leadership of Robert Faurisson. This booklet is an indispensable source of information for anyone interested in this matter.
5.2. A Revealing Example: The 'Gas Chamber' of Sachsenhausen
In his excellent study on Sachsenhausen, Carlo Mattogno describes the origins of the legend of the homicidal 'gas chamber' in that camp. According to Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen durch Giftgas, Sachsenhausen commandant Anton Kaindl was assigned by Concentration Camp Inspector Richard Glücks to the construction of a gas chamber for the liquidation of inmates. The editors of the anthology quote a 'confession' to this effect by Kaindl, made in Soviet imprisonment, and continue:
"During the trial both Kaindl and former inmate Sakowski, who worked as executioner in the crematorium complex and was present during the gassings, described the gas chamber, which had an installation for the mechanical opening of the gas containers, a so-called 'pressure ventilator'. He stood next to the outside wall of the gas chamber. The gas container was mechanically opened and the ventilator propelled the gas through a system of pipes, which could be heated, into the gas chamber."
A report drawn up by a group of Soviet experts in June 1945 contains a detailed description of the functions of this chamber. As shown by Mattogno, every detail of the description corresponds to the features of an adapted Degesch circulation delousing installation using Zyklon B: the Soviet propagandists therefore turned a disinfestation installation intended for the destruction of vermin into a homicidal gas chamber! The dimensions of the chamber are indicated in the report as 2.75 × 3 m˛, reducing to an absurdity any notion that the chamber could have been used for the killing of large numbers of people. And if the SS had wanted to kill individual inmates, they could have simply shot them, instead of killing them in a highly complicated manner using a dangerous poison gas.
After the war, the Soviets used Sachsenhausen as a concentration camp for themselves. Gerhart Schirmer was a former German soldier who ended up in that camp right at the end of the war until he was transferred to a forced labor camp in Siberia in 1950. In his memoirs, Schirmer described briefly how he and other prisoners were forced by the Soviets to build a 'gas chamber' in Sachsenhausen half a year after World War II had ended:
"There exists a notarized, sworn affidavit about the construction of a gas chamber and a shooting facility during October/November 1945 by eight prisoners, of whom I was one (appendix 4). Briefly described, this 'gas chamber' was a shower room with 25 showerheads in the ceiling. This was supposed to give the impression that the gassing was conducted in it. Attached to this, we erected a separate chamber with an opening, in front of which the executee would sit facing the opposite side in order to receive a shot in his neck. At least this was what the guide had to tell [to Soviet visitors]. This [guide] was our Fritz Dörrbeck, a translator who had to play this theater because - born in Russia - he spoke perfect Russian."
This preposterous 'gas chamber' was obviously something of a headache to the Soviets and their puppets in the Communist, former German Democratic Republic, since the building in which it was allegedly located was torn down in 1952, thus destroying all incriminating and exonerating evidence.
5.3. Origins of the Gas Chamber Lie
The book Le Mensonge d'Ulysse by Paul Rassinier, later to become the founder of Holocaust revisionism, by means of an impressive example, shows the manner in which even the most improbable rumors were believed in the panic-stricken, hatred-impregnated atmosphere of the concentration camps. Over the entrance gate to Buchenwald camp, there was an inscription reading "Jedem das Seine," a principle of ancient Roman law meaning: the principle of justice is to give each person that to which he is rightfully entitled. Rassinier, who knew German, understood the inscription. But among the other French inmates, a rumor quickly spread that the inscription in fact meant "Abandon hope, all ye that enter here."
Benedikt Kautsky, who experienced three concentration camps, described the witch's brew of camp rumor-mongering as follows:
"The frivolity in the camp was incredibly great. Rumors, called 'parolen' by the Aryans and 'bonkes' by the Jews, swarmed around constantly and found willing listeners, no matter how nonsensical they might be. No matter how much the rumor-mongering ridiculed the camp (a common joke was 'Will trade two old whoppers for one new one'), most people fell for the so-called 'good old whoppers' every time".
Dionys Lenard, former Majdanek inmate, had the following to say about rumor-mongering at Majdanek:
"I remember how I learned in the newspapers that the British had landed at Bologna. Great hope was placed in this occurrence. Everyone expected a collapse. But the hope refused to become reality. Most of the time, we didn't believe the rumors. It was impossible to test all these unreal reports. [...] Once, somebody told me that the Russians were already in Lvov. It was said that artillery fire could already be heard. Another time, they told me that the German front in the north had collapsed and the Russians were already in Königsberg. They also told me that the Hungarians had laid down their arms and that the Italians had joined them. The Czechs and Serbs were fashionable for a certain time. They were said to have begun resistance on such a scale that the Germans had had to bring up 40 divisions against them. The Japanese on the other hand, were said to have concluded a peace treaty with the United States and Great Britain."
Very often, rumors like this did not arise spontaneously, but were the result of false reports deliberately spread throughout the camps by the resistance movement. That the reports on deliberate mass exterminations in the camps lack any real basis is obvious from the mere fact that the versions spread during the war often failed to accord with the post-war versions in any way. The following is an example.
In Auschwitz concentration camp, the resistance movement, beginning in 1941, fabricated an endless stream of horror stories and reports of mass killings of inmates. But the pesticide Zyklon B was never even mentioned; instead, in a constantly changing manner, the killings were said to being committed by means of "electrical baths", combat gases and a "pneumatic hammer." Even after the liberation of the camp by the Red Army, the Soviet-Jewish war correspondent Boris Polevoi published a report on an "electric conveyor belt" upon which inmates were killed with "electrical current." The version in which Zyklon B became the murder weapon only became current during the following months.
The German-Jewish Communist Bruno Baum, in 1935 sentenced to ten years imprisonment for anti-government activity together with Erich Honecker, later president of Communist East Germany, and transferred to Auschwitz from Brandenburg prison in 1943, was, by his own admission, one of the most active fabricators of camp propaganda. After the end of the war, Baum wrote his memoirs, which appeared in three different editions (published in 1949, 1957, 1961). The first edition, published in 1949, states as follows on page 34:
"It is no exaggeration when I say that the majority of all Auschwitz propaganda, which was spread at that time all over the world, was written by ourselves in the camp."
One page later, Baum raises the ante:
"We carried out this propaganda in [for] the world public until our very last day of presence in Auschwitz."
Baum thus generously admits that the reports were resistance movement "propaganda". In the next edition, published in 1957, however, he states:
"It is no exaggeration when I say that the greatest part of the publications on Auschwitz spread all over the world originated from ourselves [...] We informed the world in this manner until the very last day of our stay in Auschwitz." (p. 89)
Thus, "propaganda" became "publications," by means of which the world was "informed"! Baum was transferred from Auschwitz to Mauthausen, where he assiduously continued his propaganda activity in the local camp resistance movement.
Just how industriously Germany's military enemies propagated their atrocity stories becomes obvious from the following report by the Norwegian Erling Bauck, who was transferred from Sachsenhausen to Majdanek together with 13 other Norwegian inmates, where they were liberated:
"In the early fall of 1944, it was possible to read in the American newspapers and illegal Norwegian newspapers, that fourteen Norwegians had been executed in Lublin on orders from Berlin. That we were supposed to be the fourteen executed Norwegians proves that the order must have been issued at least four months earlier, when there were still fourteen of us. We were all mentioned by name and inmate serial number. In November, the priest from Notodden received a letter signed by Ilya Ehrenburg in which the priest was requested to inform the father of the Brattli brothers that his sons were among the fourteen executed men. Papers found in the camp by the Russians stated that we were killed with Zyklon gas and then laid in an acid bath so that no mortal remains could be found."
Immediately after the liberation of Majdanek by the Red Army (on July 23, 1944) the Soviet-Jewish reporter Constantin Simonov wrote a report describing, among other things, the murder of former French Prime Minister Léon Blum in the same camp in the spring of 1943. In writing his report, Simonov relied on two eyewitnesses, P. Mikhailovic and C. Elinski, who described Blum's last moments "in great detail". Radio Moscow gave solemn credence to this story. The French Communist newspaper Fraternité reported in August 1944:
"Radio Moscow reported the death of former Prime Minister Léon Blum, seventy years of age, who fell a victim to racist barbarism like so many of his fellow faithful."
The report of Léon Blum's murder in Majdanek was a total fabrication. In reality, Blum was deported to Buchenwald in 1943 and then transferred to Dachau, where he was liberated on May 4, 1945.
The inmates took atrocity propaganda about the 'gas chambers' very seriously. The Polish historian Zofia Murawska writes as follows about Majdanek:
"In the fall of 1943 (September or October) trucks entered Field V, into which the SS men began to load the children; they tore them out of the hands of their unsuspecting mothers. Although the SS assured the mothers that their children would be cared for in homes under the protection of the Polish Red Cross, the mothers became desperately frightened, claiming that the destination of the journey was the gas chambers. In reality, the young inmates were placed in the children's camp in Lodz."
In the judgment of the Majdanek Trial, the District Court of Düsseldorf stated as follows:
"The mass selection of human beings for killing by gassings was generally known in Majdanek concentration camp by the beginning of 1943 at the latest. The result of this was that a large number of inmates considered selections under similar circumstances - but in reality for other purposes, chiefly for transfer to other camps - to be selections for gassings."
Carlo Mattogno comments in this regard:
"In fact, matters were the reverse of what the court assumed: since the selected inmates who were transferred elsewhere did actually disappear from the camp, those who remained behind became convinced that their departed comrades had been murdered. This conviction was strengthened by the fact that before leaving the camp, the selected inmates went through the showers and delousing, i.e., through Barracks 41 and 42 where delousing gas chambers were known to exist. This procedure left the remaining inmates with one powerful impression: their fellow prisoners had been sent to where the gas chambers were; they had not returned; consequently, they had been gassed."
There is, therefore, no doubt that many former concentration camp inmates believed in the reality of the homicidal gassings in good faith. Let us quote B. Kautsky, who states the following in regards to the 'gas chambers' of Auschwitz:
"At this point I would like to give a short description of the gas chambers, which I never saw myself, but which were described to me so credibly by so many people that I cannot help but repeat their description here."
Kautsky then proceeds to describe the 'gas chambers' which he never saw. This is not without irony, since he himself describes the camp rumor-mongering, hitting the nail right on the head:
"No matter how much the camp ridiculed the rumor-mongering [...], most people fell for the so-called 'good old whoppers'."
To the end of his life, Kautsky probably never imagined that he had himself fallen for the biggest of the "good old whoppers" in mentioning the 'gas chambers' and even described them!
6.1. Fiasco of Official Historiography
In view of these obvious facts, orthodox historians were unable to continue to uphold the claim of the extermination character of all National Socialist concentration camps. They were compelled to shift the scene of the alleged mass killings away from nearby locations, such as Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald, to more remote alleged extermination camps located in the east, which was then in the Soviet sphere of influence and thus inaccessible to critical observers. In addition to the four so-called "pure extermination camps" of Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and Chelmno, in regards to which there is almost no surviving documentary or physical evidence, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek were alleged to have been "combined extermination and work camps" in which Jews were killed in gas chambers in huge numbers. These claims are in direct contradiction to many verifiable facts destined to bring about the utter defeat of the orthodox historians:
As in the western camps, most of the deaths in Auschwitz and Majdanek were due to epidemics, with the difference that the death rate in both of the last two camps peaked in 1942 or 1943, while, in the western camps, the death rate peaked shortly before the end of the war, as a result of the German collapse.
Like the camp administrations of Dachau, Buchenwald, etc., the camp administrations of Auschwitz and Majdanek received repeated instructions to reduce the mortality rate at all costs and to improve inmate living conditions.
Large numbers of surviving documents from Auschwitz - the "death camp" par excellence - describe the medical care provided to keep the Jews alive who were allegedly destined for death.
In 'proof' of the exterminations in the eastern camps, the orthodox historians can produce only 'eyewitness' testimonies and 'confessions.' which are qualitatively no better than the corresponding, but discredited, testimonies and 'confessions' from the western camps. There is no discernible reason why the 'confession' of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höß relating to the gassing of 2.5 million people by November 1943 in Auschwitz alone should be any more credible than that of Mauthausen commandant Franz Ziereis relating to the gassing of one to one and a half million people at Schloß Hartheim.
The orthodox historians are unable to explain why Jewish inmates who were allegedly destined for extermination were, in many cases, nevertheless transferred from one camp to another, without succumbing to extermination; or why Benedikt Kautsky, who, as a left-wing Socialist and Jew was doubly marked for extermination, survived Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and, once again, Buchenwald; or why Israel Gutman, later co-editor of the Encyclopadia of the Holocaust, survived not only the "extermination camps" of Majdanek and Auschwitz but the "ordinary concentration camps" of Mauthausen and Gunskirchen as well; or why the Polish Jew Samuel Zylbersztain survived to write a report entitled Memoirs of an Inmate of Ten Camps, describing his experiences in Majdanek, Auschwitz, and eight (!) other concentration camps.
The orthodox historians must be deeply embarrassed by the release of 20,000 inmates from Majdanek "extermination camp," each one of which must have been a witness to the cruelty of the "mass exterminations," if any such exterminations ever took place there; or by the fact that the National Socialists released large numbers of inmates in the summer of 1944, in the midst of the alleged extermination of the Hungarian Jews. They cannot explain either why the Germans, during their withdrawal from Auschwitz-Birkenau, left 4,299 inmates behind, almost all of them Jewish, each of whom would have been an accuser of the Third Reich if the official version of Auschwitz squared with the historical facts.
In short: the orthodox history of the National Socialist concentration camps has reached the point of collapse.
6.2. Breakdown in Civilization?
The orthodox historians and journalists never tire of yammering about an alleged "breakdown in civilization" represented by National Socialist concentration camps generally, and Auschwitz in particular. The alleged "breakdown in civilization" was also mentioned by Spiegel editor Fritjof Meyer in his now famous article on the number of Auschwitz victims. In his reply to Meyer, Germar Rudolf raised the question of whether or not the existence, at Auschwitz, of choir groups, orchestras, kindergartens, a dental clinic, a large kitchen, a microwave delousing installation, a swimming pool, and football field, truly represents a "breakdown in civilization."
After the war, the Jewish professor of medicine Marc Klein had the following to say, among other things, about his imprisonment at Auschwitz:
"To the loud applause of the viewers, football, basketball and water ball games were held on Sunday afternoon: men need very little to distract them from the threat of danger! The SS administration allowed the prisoners regular pleasures, even on weekdays. The prisoners were shown Nazi newsreels and sentimental films in a cinema, in addition to which a saucy cabaret put on shows which were often viewed by SS men. Finally, there was a very respectable orchestra initially composed exclusively of Polish musicians, but replaced, over time, by a team of first-class musicians of all nationalities, mostly Jews."
A "breakdown in civilization"? Anyone who reads James Bacque's documentation Other Losses, in which he describes the manner in which Eisenhower's soldiers allowed German soldiers to die miserably by the hundreds of thousands, after the war, in camps without any infrastructures of any kind, without barracks, without medical care, totally exposed to rain and cold weather, dying of starvation because they were deliberately deprived of food - food which was available in large quantities - must wonder whether the "breakdown in civilization" was, in actual fact, a German phenomenon, or whether, on the contrary, it occurred as the result of the actions of quite different people.
I am indebted to my friend Carlo Mattogno of Italy for supplying me with important source references. J. Graf.