Irving v. Lipstadt

Defense Documents

[The Van Pelt Report]: Electronic Edition, by Robert Jan van Pelt

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<< IV. Attestations, 1945 - ...

V Confessions, 1945 - 47

But good sense, founded in experience, will answer, that they who record matters, concerning which they are strongly biased by their affections, their passions and their prejudices, and wherein they have directly, or indirectly, an immediate and great private interest to serve by inventing falsehoods, or by disguising truths, are never to be received as good witnesses, unless their testimony be confirmed by collateral and disinterested evidence....When are less liable to be deceived by the concurrence of authors, more independent and more indifferent than these, though they may not be all of equal credit: because when their motives and designs are not the same, when they had no common principle, and when they cannot be suspected to have had any concert together, nothing out of the notoriety of facts can make their relations coincide. Lord Bolingbroke, "The Substance of Some Letters." 367

By the end of the 1945 the major elements of the story had been established on the basis of on-site inspections, testimonies of witnesses, and study of the crematoria files in the archive of the Zentralbauleitung. Yet the Poles had not been able to interview any of the men who had constructed and run the camp, and who could give some insight into the aims that had shaped the development of the camp. Two documents that became available to the Poles in late 1945 were, while extremely important as corroborating evidence, not very informative as to the actual operation of the camp. The first was the war-time diary of Dr. Johann Paul Kremmer, Dozent of Anatomy at the University of Münster. Kremer had volunteered as a member of the General SS in 1935, and he had   been detailed to Auschwitz in August 1942 to replace a physician who had fallen ill. There he served until November 20. An avid diarist since he was sixteen, Kremer recorded his impressions at the time. Kremer was not part of the overall command structure, and on temporary duty in Auschwitz he showed remarkably little curiosity as to the historic events he witnessed and, in a subordinate role, helped to shape. Yet this very lack of engagement also marks the great historic interest of the diary. One of the remarkable aspects of the Holocaust was that it was conceived, initiated, executed, and completed by ordinary men who had learned to kill as part of their ordinary activities.
Kremer's diary was found when he was arrested, and was immediately recognized as an important piece of evidence of the atrocities committed in Auschwitz. We give here,in the common English translation, a few excerpts.
August 30,1942. Departure from Prague 8.15 a.m. through Böhmisch Trübau, Olmütz, Prerau, Oderberg. Arrival at Concentration Camp Auschwitz at 5.36 p.m. Quarantine in camp on account of numerous contagious diseases (typhus, malaria, dysentery). Received to secret order through garrison physician Hauptsturmführer [Kurt} Uhlenbrock and accommodation in a room (no.26)in the Waffen-SS club-house [Home].
August 31, 1942. Tropical climate with 28° Centigrade in the shade, dust and innumerable flies! Excellent food in the Home. This evening, for instance, we had sour duck livers for 0.40 RM, with stuffed tomatoes, tomato salad, etc. Water is infected, so we drink seltzer-water which is served free (mattoni). First inoculation against typhus. Had photo taken for the camp identity card.
September 1, 1942. Have ordered SS officer's cap, sword-belt and brace from Berlin by letter. In the afternoon was present at the gassing of a block with Cyclon B against lice.
September 2, 1942. Was present for the first time at a special action at 3 a.m. By comparison Dante's inferno seems almost a comedy. Auschwitz is justly called   an extermination camp!368

After his arrest, Kremer was extradited to Poland, and he became one of the defendants in the Auschwitz Trial held before the Supreme National Tribunal in Cracow in November and December 1947. During his pre-trial interrogation Kremer was asked to elucidate the various entries of his diary. On August 18, 1947, he stated that "by September 2, 1942, at 3 a.m. I had already been assigned to take part in the action of gassing people."
These mass murders took place in small cottages situated outside the Birkenau camp in a wood. The cottages were called "bunkers" in the SS-men's slang. All SS physicians on duty in the camp took turns to participate in the gassings, which were called Sonderaktion [special action]. My part as a physician at the gassing consisted in remaining in readiness near the bunker. I was brought there by car.I sat in front with the driver and an SS hospital orderly sat in the back of the car with oxygen apparatus to revive SS-men, employed in the gassing, in case any of them should succumb to the poisonous fumes. When the transport with people who were destined to be gassed arrived at the railway ramp, the SS officers selected from among the new arrivals persons fit to work, while the rest--old people, all children, women with children in their arms and other persons not deemed fit to work--were loaded onto lorries and driven to the gas chambers. I used to follow behind the transport till we reached the bunker. There people were driven into the barrack huts where the victims undressed and then went naked to the gas chambers. Very often no incidents occurred, as the SS-men kept the people quiet, maintaining that they were to bathe and be deloused. After driving all of them into the gas chamber the door was closed and an SS-man in a gas mask threw the contents of a Cyclon tin through an opening in the side wall. The shouting and screaming of the victim could be heard through that opening and it   was clear that they were fighting for their lives. These shouts were heard for a very short while. I should say for some minutes, but I am unable to give the exact length of time.369

Three days later Kremer witnessed another gassing, and dutifully recorded it in his diary.
September 5, 1942. At noon was present at a special action in the women's camp(Moslems)--the most horrible of all horrors. Hschf Thilo, military surgeon, was right when he said to me today that we are located here in the anus mundi. In the evening at about 8 p.m. another special action with a draft from Holland. men compete to take part in such actions as they get additional rations--1/5 litre vodka, 5 cigarettes, 100 grammes of sausage and bread. Today and tomorrow (Sunday)on duty.370
In Poland, Kremer gave again a full explanation of this entry. On July 17,1947 he testified that "the action of gassing emaciated women from the women's camp was particularly unpleasant."
Such individuals were generally called Muselmänner [Moslems ]. I remember taking part in the gassing of such women in daylight. I am unable to state how numerous that group was. When I came to the bunker they sat clothed on the ground. As the clothes were in fact worn out camp clothes, they were not let into the undressing barracks but undressed in the open. I could deduce from the   behaviour of these women that they realized what was awaiting them. They begged the SS-men to be allowed to live, they wept, but all of them were driven into the gas chamber and gassed. Being an anatomist I had seen many horrors, had dealt with corpses, but what I then saw was not to be compared with anything ever seen before. It was under the influence of these impressions that I noted in my diary, under the date of September 5, 1942 "The most horrible of all horrors. Haupsturmführer Thilo was right when he said to me today that we are located here in the anus mundi." I used this expression because I could not imagine anything more sickening and more horrible.371
Yet by the next day Kremer was sufficiently recovered to enjoy an "excellent" Sunday dinner consisting of "tomato soup, one half chicken with potatoes and red cabbage (20 grammes of fat), dessert and magnificent vanilla ice-cream."372
Three more entries are of interest. The first one is of October 3.
October 3, 1942. Today I preserved fresh material from the human liver, spleen and pancreas, also lice from persons infected with typhus, in pure alcohol. Whole streets at Auschwitz are down with typhus. I therefore took the first inoculation against abdominal typhus. Obersturmbannführer Schwarz ill with typhus!373
During his trial Kremer commented at length on the first sentence of this entry.
In my diary I mentioned in several entries the taking, for research purposes, of   fresh human material. It was like this: I had been for an extensive period interested in investigating the changes developing in the human organism as a result of starvation. At Auschwitz I mentioned this to Wirths who said that I would be able to get completely fresh material for my research from those prisoners who were killed by phenol injections. To choose suitable specimens I used to visit the last block on the right [Block 28 ], where prisoners who acted as doctors presented the patients to the SS physician and described the illness of the patient. The SS physician decided then--taking into consideration the prisoner's chances of recovery--whether he should be treated in the hospital, perhaps as an outpatient, or be liquidated. Those placed by the SS physician in the latter group were led away by the SS orderlies. The SS physician primarily designated for liquidation those prisoners whose diagnosis was Allgemeine Körperschwäche [general bodily exhaustion]. I used to observe such prisoners and if one of them aroused my interest, owing to his advanced state of emaciation, I asked the orderly to reserve the given patient for me and let me know when he would be killed with an injection. At the time fixed by the orderly the patients selected by me were again brought to the last block, and were put into a room on the other side of the corridor opposite the room where the examinations, during which the patient had been selected, had taken place. The patient was put upon the dissecting table while he was still alive. I then approached the table and put several questions to the man as to such details which pertained to my research. For instance, I asked what his weight had been before the arrest, how much weight he had lost since then, whether he took any medicines, etc. When I had collected my information the orderly approached the patient and killed him with an injection in the vicinity of the heart. As far as I knew only phenol injections were used. Death was instantaneous after the injection. I myself never made any lethal injections.374
The second entry is of October 12.
October 12, 1942.(Hössler!) The second inoculation against typhus; strong reaction in the evening (fever). In spite of this was present at night at another special action with a draft from Holland (1,600 persons). Horrible scene in front of the last bunker! This was the 10th special action.375
On July 18, 1947, Kremer elucidated this entry as follows:
In connection with the gassing described by me in the diary under the date of October 12, 1942, I have to explain that around 1,600 Dutchmen were then gassed. This is an approximate figure which I noted down after hearing it mentioned by others. This action was conducted by the SS officer Hössler. I remember how he tried to drive the whole group into one bunker. He was successful except for one man, whom it was not possible by any means to squeeze inside the bunker. This man was killed by Hösler with a pistol shot. I therefore wrote in my diary about horrible scenes in front of the last bunker, and I mentioned Hössler's name in connection with this incident.376
Finally there is the entry for October 18.
October 18, 1942. In wet and cold weather was on this Sunday morning present at the 11th special action (from Holland). Terrible scenes when 3 women begged   merely to have their lives spared.ref
Again, Kremer explained this entry during his trial.
During the special action, described by me in my diary under the date of October 18, 1942, three women from Holland refused to enter the gas chamber and begged for their lives. They were young and healthy women, but their begging was to no avail. The SS-men, taking part in the action, shot them on the spot.378
If Kremer's diary provides those who seek to deny the gassings in Auschwitz with some direct German evidence that support the "gassing claim," and if it provides the historian with important clues as to the mental state of one class of perpetrators, it lets us down in that it provides little factual knowledge of the gassing operations. A second document, the testimony of SS-Unterscharführer Pery Broad, proved rather more informative. Broad, who served in the Political Department (the "camp Gestapo") at Auschwitz, wrote it shortly after the German capitulation while in British captivity. By all accounts he wrote the report voluntarily while working in the camp as a translator for the British counter-intelligence unit. In 1964, during the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, Broad's British superior Cornelis van het Kaar testified that in the beginning of June, 1945, Broad approached him, and told him the history of Auschwitz.
Van het Kaar: "It seemed so important to me, that I immediately took him out of the camp, and gave him an English uniform. I told him: 'Write everything down,   especially write about the daily life there.' Broad lived in the same house as we, and wrote everything down in two or three days. Later Broad went to the Munsterlager camp and began to help us with weeding our war criminals from the camps.
Representative of Adjunct-Prosecutor [Henry ] Ormond: "Did other people cooperate with the writing of the report? Did that possibility even exist?" Van het Kaar: "No. Broad has written the report by himself. He came voluntarily to us. We did not search him. He came to us around 15 June. It was a kind of confession. He wanted to unload his heart."379
Broad created six copies of his report. One of them was given to van het Kaar's superior Hermann Rothmann, who provided it to the Frankfurt court for Broad's trial. Examined during the trial under oath, Rothmann declared that Broad had written it by himself, and that the report roughly covered what Broad had told him in person.380
Broad admitted, after some hesitation, that the report was his.
Presiding Judge: "Accused Broad, what do you say about the document that has just been read."
Broad: "Without hesitation I recognize some parts as my own notes, but not the whole document."
Presiding Judge: "You had in Auschwitz much knowledge about what happened there."
Broad: "Yes, I had much knowledge."
Presiding Judge: "You expressed at the time, that it concerned a crime."
Broad: "That is also my conviction today. Every act in Auschwitz aided and abetted that. I believe there are more versions of this report. It seems to me there   is much unfamiliar knowledge in this report."
Presiding Judge: "The report is written in one style and it is homogeneous in character. Does it not seem that it was written by one man, that means by you?"
Broad: "Yes, that is right. I only do not know the source of the numbers mentioned. That I could not know."381
The Broad report, which was of independent origin, corroborated important elements of the picture that had begun to emerge in Sehn's investigation, and added important new descriptions. Perhaps most important was Broad's recollection of the first gassings in crematorium 1, which was located adjacent to his own office in the barrack that housed the camp's Political Department.
From the first company of the SS-Totenkopfsturmbannes, stationed in the Auschwitz concentration camp, SS-Hauptscharführer Vaupel selected six particularly trustworthy men. Among them were those who had been members of the black General SS for years. They had to report to SS-Hauptscharführer Hössler. After their arrival Hössler cautioned them to preserve the utmost secrecy as to what they would see in the next few minutes. Otherwise death would be their lot.
The task of the six men was to keep all roads and streets completely closed around the area near the Auschwitz crematorium. Nobody should be allowed to pass there, regardless of rank. The offices in the building from which the crematorium was visible were evacuated. No inmate of the SS garrison hospital was allowed to come near the windows of the first floor which looked onto the roof of the nearby crematorium and the yard of that gloomy place.
Everything was made ready and Hössler himself made sure that no uncalled-for persons would enter the closed area. Then a sad procession walked along the streets of the camp. It had started at the railway siding, located between the garrison storehouse and the German Armaments Factory (the siding branched   off from the main railway line, which led to the camp). There, at the ramp, cattle vans were being unloaded, and people who had arrived in them were slowly marching towards their unknown destination. All of them had large, yellow Jewish stars on their miserable clothes. Their worn faces showed that they had suffered many a hardship. The majority were elderly people. From their conversation one could gather that up to their unexpected transportation they had been employed in factories, that they were willing to go on working and to be as useful as they could. A few guards without guns, but with pistols well hidden in their pockets, escorted the procession to the crematorium. The SS-men promised the people, who were beginning to feel more hopeful, that they would be employed at suitable work, according to their preoccupations. Explicit instructions how to behave were given the SS-men by Hössler.Previously the guards had always treated new arrivals very roughly, trying with blows to make them stand in ranks "at arm's length," but there were no uncivil words just now! The more fiendish the whole plan!
Both sides of the big entrance gate to the crematorium were wide open. Suspecting nothing the column marched in, in lines of five persons, and stood in the yard. There were three or four hundred of them. Somewhat nervously the SS guard at the entrance waited for the last man to enter the yard. Quickly he shut the gate and bolted it. Grabner and Hössler were standing on the roof of the crematorium. Grabner spoke to the Jews, who unsuspectingly awaited their fate, "You will now bathe and be disinfected, we don't want any epidemics in the camp. Then you will be brought to your barracks, where you'll get some hot soup. You will be employed in accordance with your professional qualifications. Now undress and put your clothes in front of you on the ground."
They willingly followed these instructions, given them in a friendly, warm-hearted voice. Some looked forward to the soup, others were glad that the nerve-racking uncertainty as to their immediate future was over and that their worst expectations were not realized. All felt relieved after their days full of anxiety.
Grabner and Hössler continued from the roof to give friendly advice,   which had a calming effect upon the people. "Put your shoes close to your clothes bundle, so that you can find them after the bath." "Is the water warm? Of course, warm showers." "What is your trade? A shoemaker? We need them urgently. Report to me immediately after!"
Such words dispelled any last doubts or lingering suspicions. The first lines entered the mortuary through the hall. Everything was extremely tidy. But the special smell made some of them uneasy. They looked in vain for showers or water pipes fixed to the ceiling. The hall meanwhile was getting packed.S everal SS-men had entered with them, full of jokes and small talk. They unobtrusively kept their eyes on the entrance. As soon as the last person had entered they disappeared without much ado. Suddenly the door was closed. It had been made tight with rubber and secured with iron fittings. Those inside heard the heavy bolts being secured. They were screwed to with screws, making the door air-tight. A deadly paralyzing terror spread among the victims. They started to beat upon the door, in helpless rage and despair they hammered on it with their fists. Derisive laughter was their only reply. Somebody shouted through the door, "Don't get burned, while you make your bath!" Several victims noticed that covers had been removed from the six holes in the ceiling. They uttered a loud cry of terror when they saw a head in a gas mask at one opening. The "disinfectors" were at work. One of them was SS-Unterscharführer Teuer, decorated with the Cross of War Merit. With a chisel and a hammer they opened a few innocuous-looking tins which bore the inscription "Cyclon,to be used against vermin. Attention, poison! To be opened by trained personnel only!" The tins were filled to the brim with blue granules the size of peas.
Immediately after opening the tins, their contents was thrown into the holes which were quickly covered.
Meanwhile Grabner gave a sign to the driver of a lorry, which had stopped close to the crematorium. The driver started the engine and its deafening noise was louder than the death cries of the hundreds of people inside, being gassed to death. Grabner looked with the interest of a scientist at the second hand of his wrist watch. Cyclon acted swiftly. It consists of hydrocyanic acid in solid   form. As soon as the tin was emptied, the prussic acid escaped from the granules. One of the men, who participated in the bestial gassing, could not refrain from lifting, for a fraction of a second, the cover of one of the vents and from spitting into the hall. Some two minutes later the screams became less loud and only an indistinct groaning was heard. The majority of the victims had already lost consciousness. Two minutes more and Grabner stopped looking at his watch.
It was over. There was complete silence. The lorry had driven away. The guards were called off, and the cleaning squad started to sort out the clothes, sotidily put down in the yard of the crematorium.
Busy SS-men and civilians working in the camp were again passing the mound, on whose artificial slopes young trees swayed peacefully in the wind. Very few knew what terrible event had taken place there only a few minutes before and what sight the mortuary below the greenery would present.
Some time later, when the ventilators had extracted the gas, the prisoners working in the crematorium opened the door to the mortuary. The corpses, their mouths wide open, were leaning on one another. They were especially closely packed near to the door, where in their deadly fright they had crowded to force it. The prisoners of the crematorium squad worked like robots, apathetically and without a trace of emotion. It was difficult to tug the corpses from the mortuary, as their twisted limbs had grown stiff with the gas. Thick smoke clouds poured from the chimney.--This is how it began in 1942!382
Broad's testimony was important, but as any observer will notice, not without its problems. He showed some literary ambition in his account, and his flowery and sentimental descriptions clashed with the evidentiary import of his recollections.
According to Broad, the main motivation to build the four new crematoria in Birkenau was the difficulties the Germans had in keeping the killings at bunkers 1 and 2 secret. The inhabitants of Wola, located at the opposite shore of the Vistula, had been able   to observe the proceedings.
Thanks to the bright flames from the pits, where corpses were continually burnt, they could see the processions of naked people from the barracks, where they had undressed, to the gas chambers. They heard the cries of the people, brutally beaten because they did not want to enter the chambers of death; they also heard the shots which finished off those who could not be squeezed into the gas chambers, which were not roomy enough.383
The burning pyres produced a terrible stench and coloured the sky red at night.
[I]t was by reason of the unmistakable sweet smell and the nightly flames that the neighbourhood of Auschwitz learnt about the goings-on in the camp of death. Railwaymen used to tell the civilian population how thousands were being brought to Auschwitz every day, and yet the camp was not growing larger at a corresponding rate. The same information was supplied by police escorts of the transports. The result was that a party speaker, when making his speech in the town of Auschwitz, had to retreat as most of the audience was hostile.384
The completion of four new crematoria, which ended the need to incinerate the corpses on large pyres, allowed the Germans to restore secrecy.
Two of them had underground gas chambers, in each of which 4,000 people could be killed at the same time. The other two smaller crematoria had two gas chambers partitioned into three sections, built on the ground floors. In each of these death factories there was an immense hall where "evacuees" had to undress.   The halls of crematoria I [2] and II [3] were also underground. Stone stairs, about two metres wide, led down to them. Crematoria I [2] and II [3] had fifteen ovens each, and each oven was equipped to hold four or five corpses.385
But even the large crematoria could not keep the murders secret. Remarkably enough, Broad credited the architects with one very peculiar leak.
The building section of the Auschwitz concentration camp was so proud of their achievements that they placed a series of pictures of the crematoria in the hall of their main building for everybody to see. They had overlooked the fact that the civilians, coming and going there, would be less impressed with the technological achievements of the building section; on seeing the enlarged photos of fifteen ovens, neatly arranged side by side, they would, instead, be rather apt to ponder on the somewhat strange invention of the Third Reich. Grabner soon took care to quash the bizarre publicity. But he could not prevent the numerous civilian workers, employed by the building section to construct the crematoria, from talking to outsiders about the construction plans, with which they were naturally thoroughly acquainted.386
Working in an administrative capacity in the Political Department of the camp (the in-house Gestapo office), Broad gave some valuable information regarding record keeping.
When information was requested by the Reich Main Security Office concerning a past transport, as a rule nothing could be ascertained. Former transport lists were destroyed. Nobody could learn anything in Auschwitz about the fate of a given person. The person asked for "is not and never has been detained in camp," or "he   is not in the files"--these were the usual formulas given in reply. At present, after the evacuation of Auschwitz and the burning of all papers and records, the fate of millions of people is completely obscure. No transport or arrival lists are in existence any more.387
Broad was called as one of the witnesses in the trial of Bruno Tesch, Joachim Drosihn and Karl Weinbacher. Tesch had been the owner of the firm of Tesch and Stabenow, which had supplied Zyklon B--the commercially sold fumigation product that had hydrogen cyanide as its active agent--to Auschwitz and other camps; Weinbacher had been a manager in the firm and Droshin the chief technician. According to the indictment, the defendants had known since 1942 that Zyklon B was used not only for its normal fumigation purposes, but also to kill human beings. Nevertheless Tesch and his subordinates had continued to supply the product. According to the prosecution, "knowingly to supply a commodity to a branch of state which is using that commodity for the mass murder of Allied civilian nationals is a war crime, and the people who did it were war criminals for putting the means to commit the actual crime into the hands of those who actually carried it out."388
During the trial, Broad testified on behalf of the prosecution. He testified that he had witnessed a gassing at crematorium 1 at some 40 to 45 meters distance.
Q.: "Will you tell us what you saw in connection with exterminations at the old crematorium?
A.: "The installation at the crematorium was the following. The roof was plain, and there were six holes of the diameter of ten centimetres. Through these holes,   after the tins had been opened, the gas was poured in."
Q.: "How many people were they putting in at a time in the old crematorium?"
A.: "At the time when I observed it,there were about 300 or 400 or there might have been even 500."
Q.: "How long did the gassing take to finish the 500 off?"
A.: "One could hear the screaming of the people who were killed in the crematorium for about two or three minutes."
Q.: "Did you later get to know more about the gassing operations?"
A.: "Yes; later on I got to know the name of that particular gas; it was Zyklon."
Q.: "Did you ever see any gassings at the new crematoriums at Birkenau?"
A.: "I have seen those gassing actions from a rather bigger distance."
Q.: "At Birkenau?"
A.: "Yes."
Q.: "How many gas crematoriums were there at Birkenau?"
A.: "There were four crematoriums at Birkenau."
Q.: "How many people a day were they gassing at Birkenau?"
A.: "In the months of March and April 1944 about 10,000."
Q.: "Per day?"
A.: "Yes, per day."389
Broad was asked to identify the labels of the Zyklon B cans, and then to explain who were the victims. He estimated the total number of victims between 2.5 and 3 million. Then he described the gassing and incineration procedures at the crematoria, and the renewed use of pyres in 1944 when the killing exceeded the incineration capacity of the ovens.
Q.: Who were the men who actually did the gassing?What type of man was that in the camp?"
A.: "They were called disinfectors."
Q.: "Will you tell us about these disinfectors shortly?"
A.: "They were under the orders of the doctor and their duties comprised, apart from killing human beings, also the disinfection and the delousing of the internees' clothes."
Q.: "How was that delousing and disinfection carried out?"
A.: "In airtight rooms. The clothing was dealt with in the same way as the human beings."
Q.: "Will you look at this extract from this report and tell me if you know anything about it? Who wrote that report, which is set out there in inverted commas?"
A.: "I myself."
Q.: "The disinfectors are at work ...With an iron rod and hammer they open a couple of harmless looking tin boxes, the directions read 'Cyclon [sic], vermin destroyer, Warning, Poisonous. 'The boxes are filled with small pellets which look like blue peas. As soon as the box is opened the contents are shaken out through an aperture in the roof. Then another box is emptied in the next aperture, and so on. And in each case the cover is carefully replaced on the aperture....Cyclon works quickly, it consists of a cyanic compound in a modified form. When the pellets are shaken out of the box they give off prussic acid gas (Blausauregas).... After about two minutes the shrieks die down and change to a low moaning. Most of the men have already lost consciousness. After a further two minutes ...It is all over. Deadly quiet reigns.... The corpses are piled together,their mouths stretched open....It is difficult to heave the interlaced corpses out of the chamber as the gas is stiffening all their limbs. Is that based on your experience?"
A.: "Yes."390
The Kremer Diary and the Broad Report were available to researchers of Auschwitz since their discovery or compilation in 1945. A third, and important document, created in the summer of 1945, was to remain hidden in the Public Record Office until it   was released for study in 1992. Ironically, the first to see them was David Irving.391 Irving, however, initially chose not to go public with his discovery of the five accounts about Auschwitz created shortly after the war by Höss's one-time deputy Hans Aumeier. Seeking to make the best from a very bad situation, he buried a reference to Aumeier's statement in a footnote in his 1996 book on the Nuremberg Trials.392
SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) Hans Aumeier became in early 1942 Lagerführer (Camp Leader)of Auschwitz, and as such he was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Schutzhaftlager (literally "Protective Custody Camp"), the inmate compound of the concentration camp. He remained in function until the end of that year, and therefore oversaw the transformation of Auschwitz from a "normal" concentration camp into a camp that, amongst other functions, also served as an extermination camp for Jews. Aumeier was not very effective, and in early 1943 he was transferred to run a concentration camp in Estonia.393 Finally he ended up running a concentration camp in   Norway. Arrested after the German capitulation in May 1945, he was initially interrogated in Norway. In a first account written by Aumeier, dated June 29, 1945, he stated that during his tenure as Lagerführer 3,000 to 3,500 prisoners died in Auschwitz. He denied knowledge about gas chambers.394
A month later, Aumeier admitted that gas chambers had been in operation in Auschwitz, and that they were used for the killing of Jews.
As far as I can remember, the first gassings of some 50 to 80 Jewish prisoners took place in the month of November or December 1942.395 This happened in the morgue of the crematorium in camp I [crematorium 1], under supervision of the camp doctor, of Untersturmführer Grabner, the camp commandant, and various medical orderlies. I was not present at that time, and also did not know beforehand that this gassing was going to take place. The camp commandant always remained distrustful towards me, and did not tell me much. Only the next day did the camp doctor, Grabner, Obersturmführer H[öss]ler, Haupsturmführer Schwarz and I have to go to the camp commandant, and he told us that he had received via the Reich Security Main Office the order of the Reichsführer SS that, in order to prevent further epidemics, all Jewish prisoners incapable of work, and all ill inmates, who in the opinion of the doctor could not be brought back to work, ought to be gassed. He further told us that in the preceding night the first inmates had been gassed, but that the crematorium was too small and could not handle the incineration of the corpses, and that therefore   in the new crematorium in Birkenau also gas chambers were to be built.
We were all very shocked and upset, but he added that the whole affair was a secret Reich matter, and that because of our oath of allegiance we would be condemned to death by the Reichsführer SS if we were to talk about it to others. We had to sign a declaration to this effect, which was given for safekeeping by the camp commandant. All the men who later had something to do with the commando were instructed by Untersturmführer Grabner, and also had to sign such a declaration in his presence.
In the time that followed some three to four gassings were undertaken in the old crematorium. These always occurred in the evening hours. In the morgue were two to three air vents and medical orderlies, wearing gas masks, shook blue [cyanide ] gas into these. We were not allowed to come close, and only the next day the bunker [gas chamber] was opened. The doctor told that the people died within half a minute to a minute.
In the meantime in Birkenau, close to the burial sites, two empty houses were equipped by the construction office with gas chambers. One house had two chambers, the other four. These houses were designated as bunkers 1 and 2. Each chamber accommodated about 50 to 150 people. At the end of January or February, the first gassings were undertaken The Kommando was called SK [Sonderkommando],and the camp commandant had put it under direct authority of Untersturmführer Grabner and was again led and brought into action by [...] H[öss ]ler. The area was surrounded by notices and marked as a security zone, and moreover encircled by a eight guard posts from the Kommando.
From that moment onwards the camp doctors sorted from the arriving transports immediately the inmates, and those who were destined to be gassed. They had instructions to select for gassing those crippled by illness, those over 55 years of age who could not work, and children up to 11 or 12 years.396
Near bunkers 1 and 2 two barracks were built, and in this one inmates had to undress, and there they were told that they were to be deloused and bathed. Then they were brought to the chambers. Air vents were set in the side walls of these chambers.
In the same manner as described above, gassings took place under control of the doctor. The bunker was always opened the next day. On the next day gold teeth would be broken out of the corpses under supervision of a dentist or a medical orderly, and after that the corpses were burned in trenches in a manner described above.
At the same time doctors also selected seriously ill Jewish prisoners in the sick wards of the camp, and from time to time led to the gassing. It must have been around the middle of April 1943 that crematorium I [2] in Birkenau was completed and brought into operation. In the basement of the crematorium (I believe it had eight ovens)had been built a concrete bunker that had place for between 600 to 800 people. In front of the crematorium was also built a hut for   undressing.397
Gassing occurred likewise through air vents from above. The Bunker had a system to introduce fresh air, so that after gassings the bunker could be opened after five to eight hours.398 The corpses were then brought with an elevator directly to the ovens for incineration.
Additionally it is worth to mention that valuables were taken from the Jews and were sent by the administration to the SS-Wirtschafts-verwaltungshauptamt. After delousing, the clothes were partly issued in the [Auschwitz] camps, and partly sent to other camps.
At the beginning of May 1943 crematorium II (5 ovens)was completed and alternately gassings also took place there.Its gas chamber was smaller and held perhaps 400 to 500 people. It did not have a system to bring in fresh air, and gassings happened by means of air vents in the side walls.399
At the time of my transfer crematorium III was still under construction and not ready. It was roughly planned on the same model as crematorium II (5   ovens).400
My estimate is that during my tenure between 15,000 and 18,000 Jewish prisoners were gassed.
Both Kremer's diary, Broad's report, and Aumeier's explanations provided in the months immediately after the end of the war in Europe important additional evidence about the history of Auschwitz as an extermination camp. Yet the immediate impact of these documents was small. This was different with the so-called Belsen Trial, held by a British Military Tribunal in the fall of 1945 in the German city of Lüneburg to try the captured SS personnel of Bergen Belsen. It did not merely generate valuable evidence, but also focussed attention on Auschwitz, as most of the defendants had, at one time or another, worked in Auschwitz before being transferred to Bergen-Belsen. Kommandant Josef Kramer, for example, had also served as Lagerführer of Birkenau during the Hungarian Action. Hence there were two distinct charges upon which the accused were arraigned. The first concerned the criminal and inexcusable neglect that characterized the SS' rule in Belsen, and the second focussed on the carefully designed and executed policy of extermination in Auschwitz.
the opening speech for the prosecution, Colonel T. M. Backhouse stated that he was to provide evidence to show that the conditions in Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz were caused not only by criminal neglect, but also "that they were caused by deliberate starvation and ill-treatment, with the malicious knowledge that they must cause death."
In respect of Auschwitz I will go further and say that not only will the Prosecution ask you to say that it was done with deliberate knowledge that the conditions would cause death, but that there was deliberate killing of thousands and probably millions of people, quite deliberate cold-blooded extermination of millions of people in that camp, and that each of the accused who was serving at Auschwitz and is charged in the second charge had his or her share in this joint endeavour in this group of persons who were carrying out this policy of deliberate   extermination.404
The first witness for the prosecution to testify on the conditions in Auschwitz was the Polish-Jewish physician Dr. Ada Bimko. She arrived in Auschwitz in August 1943 with 5,000 other Jews from Sosnowitz. Of this transport, 4,500 were sent directly to the crematorium. "My father, mother, brother, husband and small son of six years of age were included in that number."405
[Colonel Backhouse]: "After that date did you attend any other selections of this kind?"
A.: "Yes. I was working as a doctor in the hospital and was present at several selections. The first of these happened on the day of the greatest feast of the Jews, the Day of Atonement. There were three methods of selection. The first one immediately on the arrival of the prisoners; the second in the camp among the healthy prisoners; and the third in the hospital amongst the sick. The camp doctor was always present and other S.S. men and S.S. women.406
Dr. Bimko testified that she seen one of the gas chambers. In her original deposition, she discussed the circumstances that made the visit possible.
In the Birkenau section of Auschwitz Camp there were five brick buildings. These five buildings were similar in appearance and different from all the other buildings in the camp. They were commonly known by all the prisoners in the camp as   crematoria.407 When selections were held I saw the condemned persons driven to these buildings in lorries. I did not see the persons actually enter the buildings as it was not possible to get sufficiently close to do so. Both men and women were in the parties taken to these buildings. Usually the condemned women were ordered to undress and leave their clothes behind in Block 25, and sometimes they undressed at the gas chamber. Occasionally they were allowed to take blankets with them to the gas chamber, but this was all according to the S.S. Man in charge. Hospital blankets were used for this purpose. The crematorium and gas chambers were in an area of the camp known as Brzezinki.408
Attached to the hospital in the women's camp, Dr. Bimko was responsible for recovering the blankets which the naked prisoners used after having undressed in Block 25, the holding pen in the women's camp for those selected for the gas chambers. During the trial, she explained how this brought her into the crematoria.
Q.: "Have you ever been into one of the gas chambers?"
A.: "Yes. In August,1944. I was working in a portion of the camp as a doctor. A new crowd of those selected for the gas chamber had arrived, and as they were sick they came covered with a blanket. After two days we were told to fetch all those blankets from the gas chamber. I took the opportunity, as I always wanted   to see with my own eyes this ill-famed gas chamber, and I went in. It was a brick building and there were trees around in a way as if it were camouflaged. In the first room I met a men who came from the same town as I do. There was also an S.S. man with a rank of Unterscharführer, and he belonged to the Red Cross. I was told that in this first big room the people left their clothes, and from this room were led onto a second, and I gained the impression that hundreds and hundreds might go into this room, it was so large. It resembled the shower-baths or ablution rooms we had in the camp. There were many sprays all over the ceiling in rows which were parallel. All these people who went into this room were issued with a towel and a cake of soap so that they should have the impression that they were going to have a bath, but for anybody who looked at the floor it was quite clear that it was not so, because there were no drains. In this room there was a small door which opened to a room which was pitch dark and looked like a corridor. I saw a few lines of rails with a small wagon which they called a lorry, and I was told that prisoners who were already gassed were put on these wagons and sent directly to the crematorium. I believe the crematorium was in the same building, but I myself did not see the stove.409
One of the other witnesses for the prosecution was Dr. Charles Sigismund Bendel, a Rumanian Jewish physician living in Paris. Arrested in November 1943, he had been taken first to the transit camp at Drancy, and from there to Auschwitz. At the end of February,1944,Bendel was detailed as a doctor to the Gipsy camp in Birkenau, where he witnessed Dr. Mengele's medical experiments on twins.
[Colonel T. M. Backhouse]: "In June, 1944, was your employment changed?"
[Bendel]: "Indeed, it was changed. Dr.Mengele gave me the honour to attach me to the crematorium. The men who worked there were called Sonderkommando, a Special Kommando numbering 900. They were all deported people. Just as there   existed a Sonderkommando amongst the prisoners so there was a Sonderkommando also amongst the S. S. They enjoyed special privileges, for instance, in alcohol, and were completely separated from the other S.S. There were about fifteen S.S. in this Sonderkommando, three for each crematorium. The prisoners amongst the Sonderkommando lived in the camp in two blocks which were always locked, and were not allowed to leave them. Some of S.S. of the Sonderkommando were on night duties and others did their duty in rotas. They were always relieved by the others. At first I lived in the camp with the other prisoners, but later on in the crematorium itself. The first time I started work there was in August, 1944. No one was gassed on that occasion, but 150 political prisoners, Russians and Poles, were led one by one to the graves and there they were shot. Two days later, when I was attached to the day group, I saw a gas chamber in action. On that occasion it was the ghetto at Lodz--80,000 people were gassed.
Q.: "Would you describe just what happened that day?"
A.: "I came at seven o 'clock in the morning with the others and saw white smoke still rising from the trenches, which indicated that a whole transport had been liquidated or finished off during the night. In Crematorium No.4 the result which was achieved by burning was apparently not sufficient. The work was not going on quickly enough, so behind the crematorium they dug three large trenches 12 metres long and 6 metres wide. After a bit it was found that the results achieved even in these three big trenches were not quick enough, so in the middle of these big trenches they built two canals through which the human fat or grease should seep so that work could be continued in a quicker way. The capacity of these trenches was almost fantastic. Crematorium No.4 was able to burn 1000 people during the day, but this system of trenches was able to deal with the same number in one hour."
Q.: "Will you describe the day's work?"
A.: "At eleven o'clock in the morning the chief of the Political Department arrived on his motor cycle to tell us, as always, that a new transport had arrived. The trenches which I described before had to be prepared. They had to be cleaned   out. Wood had to be put in and petrol sprayed over so that it would burn quicker. About twelve o'clock the new transport arrived, consisting of some 800 to 1000 people. These people had to undress themselves in the court of the crematorium and were promised a bath and hot coffee afterwards. They were given orders to put their things on one side and all the valuables on the other. Then they entered a big hall and were told to wait until the gas arrived. Five or ten minutes later the gas arrived, and the strongest insult to a doctor and to the idea of the Red Cross was that it came in a Red Cross ambulance. Then the door was opened and the people were crowded into the gas chambers which gave the impression that the roof was falling on their heads, as it was so low. With blows from different kinds of sticks they were forced to go in and stay there, because when they realized that they were going to their death they tried to come out again. Finally, they succeeded in locking the doors. One heard cries and shouts and they started to fight against each other, knocking on the walls. This went on for two minutes and then there was complete silence. Five minutes later the doors were opened, but it was quite impossible to go in for another twenty minutes. Then the Special Kommandos started work. When the doors were opened a crowd of bodies fell out because they were compressed so much. They were quite contracted, and it was almost impossible to separate one from the other. One got the impression that they fought terribly against death. Anybody who has ever seen a gas chamber filled to the height of one and a half metres with corpses will never forget it. At this moment the proper work of the Sonderkommandos starts. They have to drag out the bodies which are still warm and covered with blood, but before they are thrown into the ditches they have still to pass through the hands of the barber and the dentist, because the barber cuts the hair off and the dentist has to take out all the teeth. Now it is proper hell which is starting. The Sonderkommando tries to work as fast as possible. They drag the corpses by their wrists in furious haste. People who had human faces before, I cannot recognize again. They are like devils. A barrister from Salonica, an electrical engineer from Budapest--they are no longer human beings because, even during the work, blows from sticks and rubber truncheons are being showered over them. During the time this is going on   they continue to shoot people in front of these ditches, people who could not be got into the gas chambers because they were overcrowded. After an hour and a half the whole work has been done and a new transport has been dealt with in Crematorium No.4.410
Cross-examined by Captain L. S. W. Cranfield, one of lawyers for the defence, Bendel gave more details about the arrival procedures of the selected deportees at the crematoria.
[Cranfield]: "When a party arrived for the gas chamber, was it brought down by one of the doctors?"
A.: "No. There was one S.S. In front and one at the back. That is all."
Q.: "Did these parties usually arrive in trucks?"
A.: "It varied--some prisoners arrived marching; on the other hand, sick people arrived in trucks. These trucks were so constructed that they could be tipped over, and the drivers found amusement in doing so, and throwing the people out."411
Perhaps the most important witness was the Kommandant of Bergen-Belsen, Josef Kramer. Initially, during the pre-trial interrogations, the former Lagerführer of Birkenau had maintained that there had been no gas chambers in Auschwitz.
I have heard of the allegations of former prisoners in Auschwitz referring to a gas chamber there, the mass executions and whippings, the cruelty of the guards employed, and that all this took place either in my presence or with my knowledge. All I can say to all this that it is untrue from beginning to end.412
  Yet he changed his story when the prosecution was able to present him with proof that he had constructed and operated during his tenure as Kommandant of the camp at Natzweiler-Struthof a gas chamber. Confronted with this material, Kramer decided that it was better to confess to the existence of gas chambers in both Natzweiler-Struthof and Auschwitz, but to deny any direct responsibility. In the case of Auschwitz, where he served as Lagerführer of Birkenau, his denial of direct authority over the crematoria was, probably, justified. The crematoria were located outside the prisoner compound, and were under the direct responsibility of the Political Department and the Kommandant.
The first time I saw a gas chamber proper was at Auschwitz. It was attached to the crematorium. The complete building containing the crematorium and gas chamber was situated in camp No.2 (Birkenau),of which I was in command. I visited the building on my first inspection of the camp after being there for three days, but for the first eight days I was there it was not working. After eight days the first transport, from which gas chamber victims were selected, arrived, and at that time I received a written order from Hoess, who commanded the whole of Auschwitz camp, that although the gas chamber and crematorium were situated in my part of the camp, I had no jurisdiction over it whatever. Orders in regard to the gas chamber were, in fact, always given by Hoess, and I am firmly convinced that he received such orders from Berlin. I believe that had I been in Hoess's position and received such orders, I would have carried them out, because even if I had protested it would only have resulted in my being taken prisoner myself. My feelings about orders in regard to the gas chamber were to be slightly surprised, and wonder to myself whether such action was really right.413
Kramer testified on Monday, October 8. Major T.C.M.Winwood, his counsel, first examined the discrepancy between Kramer's two depositions.  
Q.: "Will you explain to the Court how it is that, in the first statement you made, you said the allegations referring to gas chambers, mass executions, whipping and cruelty were untrue, whereas in your second statement you said they were true?"
A.: "There are two reasons for that. The first is that in the first statement I was told that the prisoners alleged that these gas chambers were under my command, and the second and main reason was that Pohl, who spoke to me, took my word of honour that I should be silent and should not tell anybody at all about the existence of the gas chambers. When I made my first statement I felt still bound by this word of honour which I had given. When I made the second statement in prison, in Celle, these persons to whom I felt bound in honour--Adolf Hitler and Reichsführer Himmler--were no longer alive and I thought then that I was no longer bound."414
During cross-examination, Colonel Backhouse once more confronted Kramer with the issue of the conflicting statements.
Q.: "Do you believe in God?"
A.: "Yes."
Q.: "You remember the oath which you took when you first went into the witness box. Do you realize that to lie after you have taken that oath is deliberate perjury?"
A.: "Yes."
Q.: "In the first statement you made at Diest did you make precisely the same oath before you signed your statement?"
A.: "I am not sure whether it was before or after."
Q.: "I put it to you that you took precisely the same oath that you took in this court before you made your statement and that you lied and knew you were lying   when you made that statement in which you said that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz at all?"
A.: "I have already said that, at that time, I felt still bound to my word of honour on that subject."415
Examined by his counsel, Kramer gave a description of whom was responsible for what, carefully distancing himself from the whole issue.
Q.: "Did Kommandant Hoess say anything to you about the gas chambers?"
A.: "I received a written order from him that I had nothing to do with either the gas chambers or the incoming transports. The Political Department which was in every camp had a card index system of prisoners and was responsible for personal documents and for any sort of prisoners and was responsible for personal documents and for any sort of transports or incoming prisoners. At Auschwitz the Political Department was also responsible for all the selections from incoming transports for the gas chamber. In the crematorium the S.S. And prisoners -Sonderkommando -were under the command of the Kommandant of Auschwitz,Hoess.As the place where transports generally arrived was in the middle of my own camp I was sometimes present at their arrival. The people who took part in supervising and who were responsible for the security were partly from Auschwitz No.1, and partly from my own camp at Birkenau, but the selection of these people who had to supervise was done by the Kommandant of Auschwitz No.1. The actual selection of the internees were made only by the doctors. Those who were selected for the gas chambers went to the different crematoria, those who were found to be fit for work came into two different parts of my camp, because the idea was that in a few days they were to be re-transferred to different parts of Germany for work."
Q.: "Did you yourself ever take part in the selections?"
A.: "No, I never took part, nor did the other S.S. members of my staff. I do not   know exactly who the doctors got their orders from, but I think it was probably from Dr. Wirths, the senior doctor of the camp. The doctors lived together in Auschwitz No.1 where the headquarters were."
Q.: "What did you personally think about the whole gas chamber business?"
A.: "I asked myself, 'Is it really right about these persons who go to the gas chambers, and whether that person who signed for the first time these orders will be able to answer for it?' I did not know what the purpose of the gas chamber was."416
Mrs. Rosina Kramer testified on behalf of the defence of her husband. During crossexamination, Colonel Backhouse raised the issue of the gassings.
Q.: "You said that Hoess had been sent to Auschwitz for the incoming transports. What transports were these?"
A.: "I believe these were the transports which were destined for the gas chambers."
Q.: "You know about the gas chambers, then?"
A.: "Everybody in Auschwitz knew about them."417
One of the main defendants was Dr. Fritz Klein, an ethnic German from Rumania who had been drafted into the SS. As a physician, he participated in many selections. In his initial deposition he gave a very concise description of his responsibility, or lack thereof.
When transports arrived at Auschwitz it was the doctor's job to pick out those who were unfit or unable to work. These included children, old people and the sick. I have seen the gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz, and I knew that those I selected were to go to the gas chamber. But I only acted on orders given   me by Dr. Wirths. I cannot say from whom Dr. Wirths received his orders and I have never seen any orders in writing relating to the gassing of prisoners. All orders given to me were given verbally.418
Examined by his counsel Major Winwood, Dr. Klein discussed the selection in greater detail.
Q.: "Will you tell us what happened on selections?"
A.: "Dr. Wirths, when the first transport arrived, gave me orders to divide it into two parts, those who were fit to work and those who were not fit, that is those who, because of their age, could not work, who were too weak, whose health was not very good, and also children up to the age of fifteen. The selecting was done exclusively by doctors. One looked at the person and, if she looked ill, asked a few questions, but if the person was healthy then it was decided immediately."
Q.: "What happened to those people who were selected as capable of work?"
A.: "The doctor had only to make the decision. What happened to them afterwards was nothing to do with him."
Q.: "What happened to those people whom the doctors selected as unfit for work?"
A.: "The doctor had to make a selection but had no influence on what was going to happen. I have heard, and I know, that part of them were sent to the gas chambers and the crematoria.419
Later on Klein admitted that he had visited a gas chamber when not in operation. Asked his opinion about "this gas chamber business," he answered that he did not approve, and   added "I did no protest because that was no use at all."420
The third important defendant was Franz Hoessler, who in 1944 had served as Lagerführer at Auschwitz I. In his deposition he admitted to the existence and use of the gas chambers.
Everyone in the camp knew about the gas chamber at Auschwitz, but at no time did I take part in the selection of prisoners who were to go to the gas chamber and then be cremated. Whilst I was there selection of prisoners for the gas chamber was done by Dr. Klein, Dr. Mengele and other young doctors whose names I do not know. I have attended these parades, but my job was merely to keep order. Often women were paraded naked in front of the doctors and persons selected by the doctors were sent to the gas chamber. I learnt this through conversation with the doctors. I think those selected were mostly those who were not in good health and could not work. When transports of prisoners arrived the prisoners were taken from the train and marched to the camp. On arrival they were paraded in front of the doctors I have mentioned, and persons were selected for the gas chamber, the remainder being sent to the concentration camp. I have also attended these parades, but only when I have been Orderly Lagerführer, as this was part of his duties. Train-loads of 2000 and 3000 arrived at the camp and often as many as 800 went to the gas chamber. The doctors were always responsible for these selections.
Whilst I was at Auschwitz the Kommandant, until June, 1944, was Hoess and he was succeeded by Baer. I made many complaints to Hoess about the way people were being sent to the gas chamber, but I was told it was not my business. The camp was inspected once a year by Himmler and also Obergruppenführer Glücks and Obergruppenführer Pohl from Berlin.
Himmler knew people at Auschwitz were gassed because it was he who gave the orders that this would be done. These orders could only have come from the top. Hitler must also have known that this was going on as he was the head of   the country.421
Examined by his counsel Major A.S.Munro, Hoessler went into greater detail.
Q.: "Did you have to attend selections for the gas chambers?"
A.: "Yes, I attended these selections because I had to guard the prisoners. I did not make selections myself, and there were no selections without doctors."
Q.: "What did you think when you were told to attend a selection parade for the first time?"
A.: "When they told me for the first time, in summer 1943,I did not know even what it meant. I only thought I had to see that the people got out of their wagons and came into the camp."
Q.: "Did you later learn the real purpose of these parades?"
A.: "Yes, I heard about it and did not think that that was right. Once when Hoess arrived in his car I asked him if it was all right what was going on, and he just told me to do my duty. I received the order to go on selection parade personally and verbally from Hoess."
Q.: "Will you explain exactly what happened when transports arrived in the camp?"
A.: "The transport train arrived at the platform in the camp. It was my duty to guard the unloading of the train and to put the S.S. sentries like a chain around the transport. The next job was to divide the prisoners into two groups,the women to the left, the men to the right. Then the doctors arrived, and they selected the people. The people who had been inspected by the doctors and found to be fit for work were put on one side, the men and the women. The people who were found to be unfit for work had to go into the trucks, and they were driven off in the direction of the crematorium."422
Within the difficult circumstances of the time, the Belsen Trial was conducted with due regard to proper procedure. Some of the court-appointed defenders put up a spirited fight. For example, Major T.C.M. Winwood, counsel for Kramer, argued that really Heinrich Himmler was responsible, and that if anyone deserved the epithet "Beast of Belsen" it was the Reichsführer-SS, and not Kramer who had the misfortune to have become the "Scapegoat of Belsen."423 And the fact that the latter had volunteered to work in a concentration camp should not be held against him, certainly not by an English court.
The concentration camp is not a German copyright. The first concentration camp in modern times was set up by the British authorities during the South African war to keep undesirable elements away until the fighting was over. The most modern concentration camp was set up in Egypt by the British in order to keep undesirable elements from Greece out of the reach of the ordinary people. The object of the German concentration camp was to segregate the undesirable elements,and the most undesirable element,from the German point of view, was the Jew.424
After having explained why one should not judge the Germans too harshly in confining Jews to camps, Winwood proceeded effortlessly to put the blame for the conditions within the camps on the inmates.
As regards these German concentration camps, there were large numbers of people housed in them, and it is a fact that they were very overcrowded. The guards were few, and the administration staff was even fewer in proportion. The result was that it was left to the internees to do the ordinary "interior economy"   of the camp, and that is the principle applied to prisoner of war and internee camps. The type of internee who came to these concentration camps was low, and had very little idea of doing what they were told, so that the control of these internees was a great problem.425
Then there was Major L.S.W. Cranfield, who did his best to assault the credibility of witnesses, and to create reasonable doubt as to the operation of Auschwitz as an extermination camp. The summary of his closing speech reads in many ways as the founding document of negationism. "The court had first of all to decide what were the facts about the selections for the gas chamber at Auschwitz and what actually had happened," Cranfield argued. How did people know that those who had been selected ended up in the gas chambers?
From the evidence it appeared that the usual grounds for inferring people had been gassed was that they disappeared, but the same thing would have happened if they had been sent away to a factory or to another camp. With regard to Block 25,it might well have been that that block was used as a staging block for any party that was to leave the camp after a selection. When parties had been chosen they would obviously have to be segregated until they got away. Witnesses had spoken about people staying in Block 25 for days. If the authorities had decided to have a gas chamber selection they would not have done that unless they knew   that the gas chamber was ready to take the people selected. Would they have selected 1000 people for the gas chamber and put them in Block 25 and kept them there for three days?426
And thus Cranfield began the search for alternative explanations that, as we will see below, became a hallmark of negationist reasoning.
Cranfield also tried another route. In his opening speech for the defendants Irma Grese and three others, Cranfield argued that the concentration camps were, under German law, prisons and that their inmates were legally imprisoned. He admitted that even if the camps had been legally established, the defendants should have refused to obey their superiors as they should have known that they were participating in a crime against humanity. "I answer that by saying that the accused can only judge what is a crime against humanity by their own environment," Cranfield retorted. "What is alleged to have been done in these concentration camps was to the accused nothing else than common form in Europe."427
Obviously, Cranfield's reasoning was less than satisfactory, and therefore Colonel Smith, sometime Professor of International Law at London University, was added to the defense team to help them deal with the legality of the indictment from the perspective of international law. Smith first of all argued that what happened in the concentration camps was no war crime because it did not involve an offence against the legitimate conduct of the operations of war.
This policy of concentration camps was started by Hitler within a few weeks of his ascension to power in early 1933. It was continued with ever increasing intensity throughout the whole time of peace, and it would have continued after the war if   the Germans had won the war. It was part of a national German policy, a policy which we are all agreed is detestable, primarily the degradation and ultimate extermination of the Jewish race. More than that, in addition to the unfortunate Jewish race the Germans regarded as their inferiors the Slavonic races, who were treated with scarcely less severity. So I would like to submit to the Court, and as strongly as I can, that we are dealing here with incidents which occur, it is true, in time of war, but which have no logical connection with the war whatever --a policy which was begun in peace as a peace-time policy and was intended to be carried on as a permanent and long-term policy.428
As a result, it was inappropriate to indict the defendants with a war crime and try them before a Military Court.
Colonel Smith even maintained that the orders that had been given to build and operate the gas chambers had been legal within the admittedly unusual legal structure of the Third Reich, and that Kramer could therefore not be tried, as he merely had obeyed the law. Smith observed that, by the mid 1930s, Hitler had become the law, and that he had chosen to delegate some of his powers to Himmler, and that the latter had placed his instruments of power--the Gestapo, the concentration camps--outside the control of the courts. "Apply that to the most important thing in the charges, the gas chamber at Auschwitz," Smith asked. "If you ask me to produce a law legalizing the gas chambers at Auschwitz and Belsen, of course I could not do it," Smith admitted. BBut this did no matter. All that mattered was Himmler saying "Have a gas chamber."
If Himmler said a gas chamber was to be erected, he did not need a special law for it. His order was sufficient, and everyone concerned had to obey it. TThat is my proposition and believe it to be a perfectly sound one. What it leads to is this. In the case of the average German it was impossible to have the kind of conflict which might arise in England, where a man might question the order of   his superior officer and say: "You cannot give me that order under the Army Act," and so on. An order as an order is perfectly legal, and where there is a conflict between internal law and the international law the individual must always obey the law.429
Because Kramer and his colleagues had not built the gas chambers on their own initiative, and because they had sent people there on orders of others which, ultimately, came from Hitler, he could not be held accountable under International Law.
Observers who followed the trial were in fact quite troubled by the amount of leeway given to the defence. "Impatience over the Belsen trials seems to be growing, and ought to be," the British weekly The Spectator reported as early as October 5.
It is perfectly right, and in true accord with the best traditions of British justice, that the accused should be adequately defended and anything that can be said for them said. But there are limits. It would almost appear as if the relevant authoorities were determined to ge Kramer and his Kramerish colleagues acquitted at any price.430
More than a month later public opinion had not changed much. "The Belsen trial is at last reaching its end, and justice will at last be done," the representative of Jewish relief organizations at the trial Norman Bentwich observed.
The general verdict that is passed on its protracted hearing is that, while it was an example of British administration of justice, conducted with dignity and with every regard for the accused, it involved an efflorescence of legal procedure. The twelve defending officers put all the forty-five accused persons into the box to tell   a long story; and people began to believe the wisecrack, that was passed around Luneburg in the first week of the trial, that they would save their clients from the gallows by boring them to death.431
The prosecution rested its case on November 13,1945.Colonel Backhouse made it clear that he had no doubts as to the historical record.
There is only one general picture of Auschwitz. Here was a camp in Poland, in a place where even the S.S. objected to being posted, and you have seen the type of place it was from the film supplied by the Russian government and heard what went on there from a variety of people. Can the Court have the slightest doubt, first of all, about the gas chamber or the selections which were made? It is freely admitted that there were in the camp Birkenau five gas chambers attached to the crematoria,432 and that when they were really busy the latter could not keep up, so that they had in addition to dig pits where bodies were thrown and burned by oil or petrol being poured upon them. People were gassed night and day. We have been told that these gas chambers could carry 1000 people at each gassing and that during some periods people were saved up until there were 1000 in order to save wasting gas. In the busy period the Sonderkommando was working so that   there was a gassing every hour and they were working in double shifts day and night. You have heard that utterly foul picture painted by Dr. Bendel. Can you have any doubt about it? The persons who were being put into these gas chambers were not people who had committed any crime or offence, they were not people who had been submitted to any trial; they were pure and simply persons who were no longer fit to work for the Reich, and although Kramer would not admit it to me in cross-examination, when it was put to him in re-examination he said: "It was a doctrine of my party to destroy the Jewish race. "Whatever other places may also have been used in the course of this destruction, in Auschwitz alone literally millions of people were gassed for no other reasons than that they were Jews. The people who were gassed were the old, the weak, the pregnant women, and children under 14. Those were the people who were being selected and put into these gas chambers and quite blatantly murdered. No one could for a moment believe that that was anything but murder and an obvious crime against humanity.433
Given all the hesitation the Russian report--the only one available at the time of the Belsen Trial--had shown in even mentioning the word "Jew," Backhouse's closing speech was a remarkably straightforward and honest assessment of whom had been the principal victims of the gas chambers. And these were not, as Kramer had suggested, "the dregs of the ghettos " without whom the world was better off. "This is manifestly untrue from the evidence," Backhouse asserted.
The people who were going through this gas chamber were going through without regard to class or ability; without regard to anything at all except for the fact of their religion, their race, or that they could work no longer as slaves. This is why   they went through the gas chamber.434
Conforming the customs of military justice, the Judge Advocate--the professional lawyer C. L.Stirling--provided a summary of the arguments, laying out the legal issues, and the questions the court should consider.
Now I want to remind you that in every trial in a British court there are two main issues which have to be established, and you will forgive me if I perhaps repeat things which are known to you because of your experience and standing in the Army. I feel it is my duty in a case of this gravity to emphasize these points although it may well be they have already occurred to you. The two broad issues that have to be established to your satisfaction beyond all reasonable doubt are, first, has the crime set out in the charge-sheet been established? Secondly, if it has been established, have the accused or any of them before you in the charge-sheet been proved to your satisfaction to have committed it?435
As far as the first issue was concerned, Stirling had the following to say:
Rightly or wrongly (it is, of course, for you to decide whether or not you accept it) in my view there is a tremendous general body of evidence going to establish that at Auschwitz the staff responsible for the well-being of internees were taking part in these gassings....I am not for a moment suggesting that the prisoners in the dock necessarily committed what I call that general crime. I will consider that later in detail under the second heading. There is that evidence before you and I must leave it to you to decide whether you accept it or not. As, however, the evidence is before you I am satisfied to say that there is evidence upon which you   could find that the war crime set out in the first charge had been committed.436
At the end of his summation, Stirling reminded the court of their duty.
You are about, in the next few minutes, to go to the peace and quiet of your own room to decide the fate of these men and women in the light of evidence. When you go I would ask you to take with you the words of Lord Sankey in the famous case of Woolmington v. The Director of Public Prosecutions, 1935 A.C. 462, a case that is known throughout the length and breadth of every English court. "Throughout the web of the English Criminal Law one golden thread is always to be seen, that is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner's guilt. If at the end of and on the whole of the case there is a reasonable doubt created by the evidence given by either the prosecution or the prisoner, the prosecution has not made out the case and the prisoner is entitled to an acquittal no matter what the charge or where the trial." The principle that the Prosecution must prove the guilt of the prisoner is part of the common law of England, and no attempt to whittle it down can be entertained, and no attempt has been made in this case by the Prosecution to whittle it down.
If you have a reasonable doubt in regard to any one of these accused, it is your duty to record a finding of not guilty. On the other hand, if the Prosecution have established their case to your satisfaction, and have excluded reasonable doubt by producing that judicial certainty which excludes such a doubt, then, gentlemen, it would be your duty to convict and to mete out that stern justice which a conviction on charges of this kind not only requires but demands.437
The court withdrew, and returned with 30 guilty verdicts and 14 acquittals. Of the 30 guilty verdicts, ten included a guilty for having committed a war crime in Auschwitz.   Kramer, Klein and Hoessler were amongst those convicted. They were sentenced to death.
The proceedings of the Belsen Trial were published in 1949, and in the introduction the editor, Raymond Phillips, observed that in some future the trial would perhaps be remembered "for the achievement of the British Legal System in refusing to be stampeded into the wild justice of revenge." Confronted with charges that had aroused "the resentment and horror of humanity," the court had brought "a cool, calm, dispassionate and unhurried determination."438 I agree with Phillips. On reading and re-reading the proceedings, one is not left with the sense that there were many, if any, loose ends. The prosecution did establish that the crime happened, that gas chambers operated in Auschwitz, and that the many of the accused shared a responsibility for it.439
For the first time in the West, people entrusted with judicial authority had to pass   formal judgement on the evidence according to traditional and proven methods. At the conclusion of the trial, the editors of The Spectator who had shown so much criticism for the proceedings before, finally admitted that all the attention to judicial form had served an important purpose.
There has been much criticism of the proceedings, chiefly directed to their length and the pains taken to ensure that justice shall be done and shall be seen to be done. Now the trial is over, such criticism seems very near praise. The trial has served a valuable purpose in exposing in detail some of the horrible crimes which were common form in the Germany of the concentration camps and in ensuring that they met with the strictest justice. One of the most interesting features was that the accused, who were capable of such inhuman cruelty, presented no appearance of abnormality and regarded their crimes as honourable services to their fatherland.440
With the Belsen Trial, the gas chambers at Auschwitz formally entered the historical record as what Colonel Backhouse rightly identified as "a war crime which has never been equalled."441
On August 8, 1945 the four Great Powers had signed an accord to establish an International Military Tribunal that was to prosecute and punish leading war criminals. The tribunal was initially given jurisdiction over three types of crimes: 1. Crimes against peace; 2. War crimes; and 3. Crimes against humanity. The last included the extermination, enslavement, and deportation of civilians and persecution on political, racial or religious grounds. The tribunal charged 22 political and military leaders of the Third Reich, including Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who had been since January 30, 1943 chief of   the Reich Security Main Office--the central agency charged with the coordination of the so-called Final Solution of the Jewish Problem. Of all the defendants, Kaltenbrunner was the only SS official, and had had as such most business with Auschwitz. But even so, Kaltenbrunner had had only a relative little significance in the history of the camp: the main architect of the camp's history, and its transformation from a regular concentration camp into an extermination camp, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Heinrich Himmler, was dead, as was his aide Reinhard Heydrich. As a result, the war-time history of Auschwitz had little direct bearing on the proceedings against the defendants. Only in the case against Kaltenbrunner was there an explicit connection between the camp and a defendant's direct responsibility. And, as we will see, it was in the case against Kaltenbrunner that the most important testimony was to occur.
The first time that the role of Auschwitz was highlighted was on January 3,1946 in the testimony of Dieter Wisliceny, who had been an aide to Eichmann. Wisliceny, told the court about his involvement, in 1942, with the deportation of Slovak Jews as forced labour to Auschwitz, and of his involvement in early 1943 with the preparations for the deportation of more than 50,000 Saloniki Jews in between 20 and 25 transports of between 2,000 and 2,500 people each to Auschwitz.442
Lt.Col. Brookhart: "And what was the ultimate disposition of the Jews sent to Auschwitz from Greece?"
Wisliceny: "They were without exception destined for the so-called final solution."443
Wisliceny also testified that he had participated in the deportation of some 450,000 Jews from Hungary.  
Q.: "What became of the Jews to whom you have already referred-approximately 450,000?"
A.: "They were, without exception, taken to Auschwitz and brought to the final solution."
Q.: "Do you mean they were killed?"
A.: "Yes, with the exception of perhaps 25 to 30 percent who were used for labor purposes. I here refer to a previously mentioned conversation on this matter between Hoess and Eichmann in Budapest."444
Later that January Auschwitz took, for a short time, center stage in the presentation of the French case against the defendants. It was appropriate that the French would raise the issue, as they had suffered under Nazi rule, and 69,000 French citizens had been deported to Auschwitz. Interestingly, the French described the world of the camps as the center of a conspiracy against civilisation itself--that very civilisation of which France had been such a staunch defender. The Chief Prosecutor, Francois de Menthon defined "the organized and vast criminality" of National Socialism as a denial of "all spiritual, rational, and moral values by which the nations have tried, for thousands of years, to improve human conditions." Its aim, he said, was to "plunge humanity back into barbarism, no longer the natural and spontaneous barbarism of primitive nations, but into a diabolical barbarism, conscious of itself and utilizing for its ends all material means put at the disposal of mankind by contemporary science." Indeed, to de Menthon, the defendants did not stand accused because of war crimes committed "in the excitement of combat," or "under the influence of a mad passion," or out of "a warlike anger," or out of "an avenging resentment," but "as a result of cold calculation, of perfectly conscious   methods, of a pre-existing doctrine."445
Given this approach, the concentration camps were important evidence of the German assault against civilisation. Three witnesses described life and death in Mauthausen, and two testified about conditions in Buchenwald. On January 28,1946, Marie Claude Vaillant-Couturier, deputy of the Constituent Assembly and Knight in the Legion of Honor, provided a long, precise and important testimony on the situation in Auschwitz. Vaillant-Couturier--a gentile--had been a member of the resistance, and she was arrested in 1942 and deported to Auschwitz in 1943. Examined by Deputy Prosecutor Charles Dubost, she provided a detailed account of the atrocious conditions in the women's camp at Birkenau, the sterilization of women, the killing of babies born of women who had arrived pregnant, and so on.
Dubost: "What do you know about the convoy of Jews which arrived from Romainville about the same time as yourself?"
Vaillant-Couturier: "When we left Romainville the Jewesses who were there at the same time as ourselves were left behind. They were sent to Drancy and subsequently arrived at Auschwitz, where we found them again 3 weeks later, 3 weeks after our arrival. Of the original 3,000 only 125 actually came to the camp; the others were immediately sent to the gas chambers. Of these 125 not one was left alive at the end of 1 month."
The transports operated as follows:
When we first arrived, whenever a convoy of Jews came, a selection was made; first the old men and women, then the mothers and the children were put into the trucks together with the sick or those whose constitution appeared to be delicate. They took in only the young women and girls as well as the young men who were sent to the men's camp.
Generally speaking, of a convoy of about 1,000 to 1,500, seldom more   than 250--and this figure really was the maximum--actually reached the camp. The rest were immediately sent to the gas chamber.
At this selection also, they picked out women in good health between the ages of 20 and 30, who were sent to the experimental block; and young girls and slightly older women, or those who had not been selected for that purpose, were sent to the camp where, like ourselves, they were tattooed and shaved.
There was also, in the spring of 1944, a special block for twins. It was during the time when large convoys of Hungarian Jews--about 700,000--arrived. Dr.Mengele, who was carrying out the experiments, kept back from each convoy twin children and twins in general, regardless of their age, so long as both were present. So we had both babies and adults on the floor at that block. Apart from blood tests and measuring I do not know what was done to them."
Q.: "Were you an eye witness of the selections on the arrival of the convoys?"
A.: "Yes, because when we worked at the sewing block in 1944, the block where we lived directly faced the stopping place of the trains. The system had been improved. Instead of making the selection at the place where they arrived, a side line now took the train practically right up to the gas chamber; and the stopping place, about 100 meters from the gas chamber, was right opposite our block though, of course, separated from us by two rows of barbed wire. Consequently, we saw the unsealing of the cars and the soldiers letting men, women, and children out of them. We then witnessed heart-rending scenes; old couples forced to part from each other, mothers made to abandon their young daughters, since the latter were sent to the camp, whereas mothers and children were sent to the gas chambers. All these people were unaware of the fate awaiting them. They were merely upset at being separated, but they did not know that they were going to their death. To render their welcome more pleasant at this time--June-July 1944--an orchestra composed of internees, all young and pretty girls dressed in little white blouses and navy blue skirts, played during the selection, at the arrival of the trains, gay tunes such as "The Merry Widow," the "Barcarolle" from "The Tales of Hoffman," and so forth. They were then informed that this was a labor camp and since they were not brought into the camp they saw only the small   platform surrounded by flowering plants. Naturally, they could not realize what was in store for them. Those selected for the gas chamber, that is, the old people, mothers, and children, were escorted to a red-brick building."
Q.: "These were not given an identification number?"
A.: "No."
Q.: "They were not tattooed?"
A.: "No. They were not even counted."
Q.: "You were tattooed?"
A.: "Yes, look.[The witness showed her arm]. They were taken to a red brick building, which bore the letters 'Baden,' that is to say 'Baths.' There, to begin with, they were made to undress and given a towel before they went into the so-called shower room. Later on, at the time of the large convoys from Hungary, they had no more time left to play-act or pretend; they were brutally undressed, and I know these details as I knew a little Jewess from France who lived with her family at the 'Republique' district."
Q.: "In Paris?"
A.: "In Paris. She was called 'little Marie' and was the only one, the sole survivor of a family of nine. Her mother and her seven brothers and sisters had been gassed on arrival. When I met her she was employed to undress the babies before they were taken into the gas chamber. Once the people were undressed they took them into a room which was somewhat like a shower room, and gas capsules were thrown through an opening in the ceiling. An SS man would watch the effect produced through a porthole. At the end of 5 or 7 minutes, when the gas had completed its work, he gave the signal to open the doors; and men with gas masks--they were too internees--went into the room and removed the corpses. They told us that the internees must have suffered before dying, because they were closely clinging to one another and it was very difficult to separate them.
After that a special squad would come to pull out gold teeth and dentures; and again, when the bodies had been reduced to ashes, they would sift   them in an attempt to recover the gold...."446
By the time Dubost finished his presentation of the evidence of the concentration camps, there were few doubts left that the French prosecution had achieved its aim. Judge Sir Norman Birkett noted in his diary that "the evidence is building up a most terrible and convincing case of complete horror and inhumanity in the concentration camps." And he added that one did not need much more. "The case has been proved over and over again."447
Yet the Russian prosecutors did not see any reason not to confront the court once more with Auschwitz. On February 27, 1946 they presented Severina Shmaglevskaya, a Polish inmate in Auschwitz, with the single aim to receive testimony about the attitude of the SS.
Mr. Counsellor Smirnov: "Tell me, Witness, did you yourself see the children being taken to gas chambers?"
Shmaglevskaya: "I worked very close to the railway which led to the crematory. Sometimes in the morning I passed near the building the Germans used as a latrine, and from there I could secretly watch the transport. I saw many children among the Jews brought to the concentration camp. Sometimes a family had several children. The Tribunal is probably aware of the fact that in front of the crematory they were all sorted out."
Q.: "Selection was made by the doctors?"
A.: "Not always by doctors: sometimes by SS men."
Q.: "And doctors with them?"
A.: "Yes, sometimes, by doctors too. During such a sorting, the youngest and healthiest Jewish women in very small numbers entered the camp. Women carrying children in their arms or in carriages, or those who had larger children, were sent into the crematory with their children. The children were separated from their parents in front of the crematory and were led separately into gas chambers.
At that time, when the greatest number of Jews were exterminated in the gas chambers, an order was issued that the children were to be thrown into the crematory ovens or the crematory ditches without previous asphyxiation with gas."
Q.: "How should we understand that? Were they thrown into the ovens alive or were they killed by other means before they were burned?"
A.: "The children were thrown in alive. Their cries could be heard all over the camp. It is hard to say how many there were."
Q.: "Nevertheless, there was some reason why this was done. Was it because the gas chambers were overworked?"
A.: "It is very difficult to answer this question. We don't know whether they wanted to economize on the gas or whether there was no room in the gas chambers.
I should also add that it is impossible to determine the number of these children--like that of the Jews--because they were driven directly to the crematory, were not registered, were not tattooed, and very often were not even counted. We, the internees, often tried to ascertain the number of people who perished in gas chambers; but our estimates of the number of children executed could only be based on the number of children's prams which were brought to the storerooms. Sometimes there were hundreds of these carriages, but sometimes they sent thousands."
Q.: "In one day?"
A.: "Not always the same. There were days when the gas chambers worked from   early morning until late at night."448
That same day the prison psychologist at the Nuremberg Trial, Gustave M. Gilbert, noted in his diary that Karl Doenitz's lawyer, Otto Kranzbuehler, had asked him "Didn't anybody know anything about any of these things?" Doenitz had just shaken his head, shrugging sadly. Gilbert had gone over to Alfred Jodl to ask him if it was possible that nobody knew anything about the camps.
"Of course, somebody knew about it," Jodl said quietly. "There was a whole chain-of-command from the Chief of the RSHA down to the people who executed those commands.
I then walked over to Kaltenbrunner. "I suppose you didn't know anything about these things either."
"Of course not," he whispered. "The people who did are all dead.--Hitler, Himmler, Bormann, Heydrich, Eichmann--"
"Did those few people have the sole knowledge and responsibility for the murder of millions of people and the burning of children alive?"
"Well, no--the people who actually participated in it did--. But I had nothing to do with it."
"Even as Chief of the RSHA?"
"Concentration camps were not my responsibility. I never found out anything about any of this."449
By the end of February, no-one felt that there was a need for more testimony about Auschwitz in the trial. The French and Russian prosecutors rightly assumed they   had made their point, and the lawyers for the defendants felt no inclination to call attention to the camp. Then, on March 11, 1946, everything changed: British soldiers found Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolf Höss, who had been in hiding since the end of the war.
By his own account, initially the British treated Höss roughly.450 At the end of March his treatment improved, and he was flown to Nuremberg to serve as a defence witness for Kaltenbrunner. As we have seen, Kaltenbrunner maintained that he had nothing to do with Auschwitz--"Concentration camps were not my responsibility. I never found out anything about any of this "--and Kaltenbrunner's lawyer Kurt Kauffman believed that Höss could confirm Kaltenbrunner's claims in the matter of Auschwitz. In Nuremberg Höss was interrogated. At the certain moment he was asked if he could confirm that Jews started to arrive in great numbers in 1942. Höss did, and then gave a detailed list of the numbers: 250,000 from Poland, 65,000 from Greece, 100,000 from Germany, 90,000 from Holland, 110,000 from France, 90,000 from Slovakia, 20,000 from Belgium and 400,000 from Hungary. The conversation continued as follows:
Q.: "Now you just told us that you had facilities for 130,000. If you add all those figures they amount to a much greater number than 130,000.How could you accommodate all those people?"
A.: "They were not supposed to be employed in work there, but they were supposed to be exterminated."451
On 5 April Höss was given an affidavit which he corrected and ultimately signed. In that he admitted that he had overseen the extermination, "by gassing and burning," of at least two and half million human beings--mostly Jews.
6. The "final solution" of the Jewish question meant the complete extermination of all Jews in Europe. I was ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941. At that time there were already in the general government three other extermination camps; BELZEK, TREBLINKA and WOLZEK.452 These camps were under the Einsatzkommando of the Security Police and SD. I visited Treblinka to find out how they carried out their exterminations. The Camp Commandant at Treblinka told me that he had liquidated 80,000 in the course of one-half year. He was principally concerned with liquidating all the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. He used monoxide gas and I did not think his method were very efficient. So when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz I, I used Cyclon B, which was crystallized Prussic Acid we dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber depending upon climatic conditions. We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped. We usually waited about one-half hour before we opened the doors and removed the bodies. After the bodies were removed our special commandos took off the rings and extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses.
7. Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our gas chambers to accommodate 2,000 people at one time, whereas at Treblinka their 10 gas chambers only accommodated 200 people each. The way we selected our victims was as follows: we had two SS doctors on duty at Auschwitz to examine the incoming transport of prisoners. The prisoners would be marched by one of the doctors who would make spot decisions as they walked by. Those who were fit for work were sent into the Camp. Others were sent immediately to the   extermination plants. Children of tender years were invariably exterminated since by reason of their youth they were unable to work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka was that at Treblinka the victims almost always knew that they were to be exterminated and at Auschwitz we endeavoured to fool the victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they realized our true intentions and we sometimes had riots and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women would hide their children under the clothes but of course when we found them we would send the children in to be exterminated. We were required to carry out these exterminations in secrecy but of course the foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz.453
On Monday, 15 April Höss was called to the witness stand. Examined by Kaltenbrunner's lawyer Kauffmann, Höss tried to serve Kaltenbrunner's case as well as he could.
Dr. Kaufmann: "I ask you whether Himmler inspected the camp and convinced himself, too, of the process of annihilation?
Höss: "Yes. Himmler visited the camp in 1942 and he watched in detail one processing from beginning to end."
Q.: "Does the same apply to Eichmann?"
A.: "Eichmann came repeatedly to Auschwitz and was intimately acquainted with the proceedings."
Q.: "Did the Defendant Kaltenbrunner ever inspect the camp?"
A.: "No."
Q.: "Did you ever talk with Kaltenbrunner with reference to your task?"
A.:: "No, never...."454
Kauffmann's examination did not help Kaltenbrunner's case. American prosecutor Colonel John Harlan Amen's cross-examination proved damaging for all the defendants. Initially Amen asked Höss a few simple questions concerning the practice of high German functionaries of visiting the camps, and more specifically about Kaltenbrunner's connection to Auschwitz. Then he turned to the affidavit, and asked if Höss had signed it voluntarily. Höss answered in the affirmative.455
Höss' testimony created great gloom amongst the accused. Dr. Gilbert noted in his diary that the former Governor General of Poland, Hans Frank, told him that "That was the low point of the entire Trial--to hear a man say out of his own mouth that he exterminated 2 1 /2 million people in cold blood--. That is something that people will talk about for a thousand years."456 Gilbert, however, was nor surprised by Höss willingness to testify. He had got to know him during two visits. On April 9 Gilbert visited Höss in his cell.
He readily confirmed that approximately 2 1 /2 million Jews had been exterminated under his direction. The exterminations began in the summer of 1941.In compliance with Goering's scepticism, I asked Hoes how it was technically possible to exterminate 2 1 /2 million people. "Technically?" he asked. "That wasn't so hard--it would not have been hard to exterminate even greater numbers." In answer to my rather naive questions as to how many people could be   done away with in an hour, etc., he explained that one must figure it on a daily 24-hour basis, and it was possible to exterminate up to 10,000 in one 24-hour period. He explained that there were actually 6 extermination chambers. The 2 big ones could accommodate as many as 2,000 in each and the 4 smaller ones up to 1500, making a total capacity of 10,000 a day.457 I tried to figure out how this was done, but he corrected me. "No, you don't figure it right. The killing itself took the least time. You could dispose of 2,000 in a half hour, but it was the burning that took all the time. The killing was easy; you didn't even need guards to drive them into the chambers; they just went in expecting to take showers and, instead of water, we turned on poison gas. The whole thing went very quickly." He related all of this in a quiet, apathetic, matter-of-fact tone of voice.458
Asked by Gilbert to provide more detail, Höss wrote later that month a short memorandum which Gilbert did not publish at the time, but was to present during the Eichmann Trial to the District Court of Jerusalem. It gave a detailed description of the arrival, selection and killing of the deportees.
The freight trains with the Jews destined for extermination moved along a special railroad installation which had been laid down especially for this purpose right up to the extermination installations. Notification of these trains was given in   advance by Obersturmbannführer Eichmann of the RSHA, and they were allocated consecutive numbers, together with letters of the alphabet, in order to prevent a mix-up with transports of other prisoners. Each cable relating to these transports bore the reference: "In accordance with the specified directives, and are to be subjected to special treatment." These trains consisted of closed freight cars and contained, on the average, about 2,000 persons. When the trains arrived at the aforementioned ramp, the accompanying railway personnel and the accompanying guard--members of the Security or Order Police--had to leave the area. Only the transport commander who had delivered it remained until it had been completely handed over, and the numbers checked, to the duty officer of the camp. After the trains were off-loaded and the numbers determined (lists by names were not drawn up), all the people had to file past two SS duty doctors, and in the course of this, those who were fit for work were separated from those who were unfit. On the average about twenty-five per cent were found to be fit for work. These were marched off immediately into the camp, in order to change their clothes and be received there. All the luggage remained on the ramp and, after those unfit for work had also been sent off, it was brought to the store of personal effects, to be sorted out. Those unfit for work were classified according to sex--men, women, and children--and marched off to the nearest available extermination installation. Those unable to walk and women with small children were transported there on trucks. When they arrived, all of them had to strip naked in rooms which gave the impression of being delousing installations. The permanent labour unit of prisoners who worked in these installations--and who were also housed there and did not come into contact with other inmates of the camp--helped with the undressing and coaxed the hesitant to hurry up, ss that the others would not have to wait so long.
They were also told to take note where they put away their clothes, so that they would be able to find them again immediately after taking their bath. All this was done on purpose, in order to dispel any fears which might arise. After they had taken off their clothes, they were taken into a nearby room--the gas chamber itself. It had been prepared to look like a washroom--that is to say,   showers and pipes were installed throughout, water drainage channels, etc. The moment the entire transport had entered the chamber, the door was closed, and simultaneously the gas was forced in from above through a special aperture. It was Zyklon "B" gas, cyanide acid in the form of crystals, which vaporized immediately, that is to say, it took effect immediately upon coming into contact with oxygen. The people were dazed already on taking their first breath, and the process of killing took from thirteen to fifteen minutes., depending upon the weather conditions and the number of people locked up within. Thereafter, nothing moved any more. Thirty minutes after the gas had been released and had entered the chambers, they would be opened, and the transfer of the bodies to the crematoria would commence. Throughout all these years, I never came across a single case of a person coming our of the gas chambers while still alive. While the bodies were taken out, the women's hair was still cut, and gold teeth and rings removed by prisoner dentists who were employed in this unit.
In Birkenau there were five installations -two large crematoria, each of which had a capacity for receiving 2,000 persons in the course of 24 hours. That is to say, it was possible in one gas chamber to put to death up to 2,500 persons; in five double ovens heated with coke, it was possible to burn at most 2,000 bodies within 24 hours; two smaller installations could eliminate about 1,500 people, with four bigger double ovens to each of them. Furthermore, there was also an open-air installation--that is, an old farmhouse was sealed and turned into a gas chamber, which could also contain 1,500 persons at one and the same time.459 The incineration was carried out there in an open pit on wood, and this was practically limitless. In my estimation, it was possible to burn there, in 24 hours, up to 8,000 persons in this way. Hence it was possible to exterminate and eliminate up to 10,000 people within 24 hours in the installations described above. As far as I am aware, this number was attained only once in 1944, when delays   occurred in the arrival of trains, and consequently five transports arrived together on one day. The ashes of the burnt bodies were ground into dust, which was poured into the Vistula in remote places and swept away with the current.
On the basis of the figure of 2.5 million, which is the number of people who--according to Eichmann--were brought to Auschwitz for extermination, it may be said that on average, two transports arrived daily, with a combined total of 4,000 persons, of whom twenty-five per cent were fit for work, the balance of 3,000 were to be exterminated. The intervals in the various operations can be computed together at nine months. Thus there remain 27 months, with 90,000 people each month--a total of 2,430,000 people. This is a calculation of the technical potential. I have to keep to the figure mentioned by Eichmann, for he was the only SS officer who was allowed to keep records concerning these liquidation operations, according to the orders of the Reichsführer-SS.All other units which took part in any way had to destroy all records immediately. Eichmann mentioned this number in my presence when he was called upon, in April 1945, to present a report to the Reichsführer-SS. I had no records whatsoever. But, to the best of my knowledge, this number appears to me much too high. If I calculate the total of the mass operations which I still remember, and still make allowance for a certain percentage of error, I arrive, in my calculation, at a total of 1.5 million at the most for the period from the beginning of 1941 to the end of 1944. But these are my computations which I cannot verify.
Nuremberg, 24 April 1946 (Signed) Rudolf Höss
(At the bottom of the document): Hungary - 400,000; Slovakia - 90,000; Greece -65,000; Holland - 90,000; France - 110,000; Belgium - 20,000; the region of the Generalgouvernement and Upper Silesia - 250,000; Germany and terezin -100,000. Total - 1,125,000.460
Gilbert noted that Höss had little remorse. "One gets the general impression of a man who is intellectually normal but with schizoid apathy, insensitivity and lack of empathy that could hardly be more extreme in a frank psychotic."461
Höss's Nuremberg testimony marked an important development in the historiography of Auschwitz. Until Höss took the stand, information had been based on the testimony of witnesses, of members of the camp's lower personnel and middle-management, on a document collection that was only comprehensive where it concerned the construction of the camp, and on the inspection of the site itself. It had become clear by 1946 that the history of the camp had been complex, but there had been little insight why and how the camp had evolved. In Poland, Jan Sehn was not only ready to prosecute Höss for war crimes, but also very anxious to interview him as an eye-witness to history, as only the former commandant would be able to answer most of the various outstanding questions concerning the evolving purpose of Auschwitz. Sehn got his chance when, on request of the Polish government, Höss was extradited to Poland.
After Höss's arrival in Poland on May 25, 1946, Sehn and the psychologist Professor Stanislaw Batawia, who had been assigned the task to create a psychological profile of Höss, set out to establish a working relationship with him. Knowing quite well that he had no chance of acquittal, Höss decided to cooperate, and on their suggestion he wrote 34 shorter (the shortest is one paragraph long)and longer (the longest is 114 densely written pages long) documents. The first essay Höss drafted was a roughly 9,000 word-long statement on the role of Auschwitz in the Holocaust entitled "The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Concentration Camp Auschwitz." In this essay, and in accordance with earlier statements made in Nuremberg, Höss claimed that Himmler had made the decision to transform Auschwitz into an extermination camp for Jews in the summer of   1941.462 There is no independent corroboration of Höss's account of his conversation with           Himmler, and so one can only come to tentative conclusions as to the value of Höss's account of the decision to make Auschwitz into a final destination for European Jewry. What is, however, fully corroborated by many other witnesses --both Germans such as Broad and Aumeier as well as others--is the bulk of Höss's testimony. First experimentation with the use of Zyklon B as a killing agent occurred in the Fall of 1941. Initially rooms in the basement of Block 11 were used as primitive gas chambers. As it was difficult to ventilate these spaces, the morgue of crematorium 1 was adapted for the purpose. "The doors were made airtight, and we knocked some holes in he ceiling through which we could throw in the gas crystals."463 Finally Höss ordered the transformation of some peasant cottages into gas chambers.
I am unable to recall when the destruction of the Jews began--probably in September 1941, or perhaps not until January 1942.At first we dealt with the Jews from Upper Silesia. These Jews were arrested by the Gestapo from Katowice and ttransported via the Auschwitz-Dziediez railroad and unloaded there. As far as I can recall, these transports never numbered more than a thousand persons.
A detachment of SS from the camp took charge of them at the railroad ramp,464 and the officer in charge marched them to the bunker in two groups. This is what we called the extermination installation.
Their luggage remained on the ramp and was later brought between the   DAW [German Armaments Works] and the railroad station.465
The Jews had to undress at the bunker and were told that they would have to go into the delousing rooms. All of the rooms--there were five of them--were filled at the same time. The airtight doors were screwed tight, and the contents of the gas crystal canisters emptied into the rooms through special hatches.
After half an hour the doors were opened and the bodies were pulled out. Each room had two doors. They were then moved using small carts on special tracks to the ditches. The clothing was brought by trucks to the sorting place. All of the work was done by a special contingent of Jews.466 They had to help those who were about to die with the undressing, the filling up of the bunkers, the clearing of the bunkers, removal of the bodies, as well as digging the mass graves and, finally, covering the graves with earth. These Jews were housed separately from the other prisoners and, according to Eichmann's orders, they themselves were to be killed after each large extermination action.467
As Höss mentioned, initially the corpses of those murdered were buried. Then In the summer of 1942 a decision was taken to change the manner of corpse disposal. The   occasion was the well-documented two-day visit by Himmler.
During his visit in the summer of 1942, Himmler very carefully observed the entire process of annihilation. He began with the unloading at the ramps and completed the inspection as Bunker 2 was being cleared of bodies. At that time there were no open-pit burnings. He did not complain about anything, but he didn't say anything about it either. Accompanying him were District Leader Bracht and SS General Schmauser. Shortly after Himmler's visit, SS Colonel Blobel from Eichmann's office arrived and brought Himmler's order, which stated that all the mass graves were to be opened and all the bodies cremated. It further stated that all the ashes were to be disposed of in such a way that later on there would be no way to determine the number of those cremated.
Blobel had already conducted various experiments in Kulmhof [Chelmno], which tried to burn the bodies in various ways. He was ordered by Eichmann to show me the installations. I drove with Hössler to Chelmno for an inspection.468
As Höss was to explain elsewhere, the most important reason for the change in corpse disposal was the fact that the enormous mass graves putrified the water supply at the camp and the surrounding area.
As late as the summer of 1942 the corpses were still buried in mass graves. Not until the end of the summer did we start burning them. At first we put two thousand bodies on a large pile of wood. Then we opened up the mass graves and burned the new bodies on top of the old ones from the earlier burials. At first we poured waste oil over the bodies. Later on we used methanol. The burning went on continuously--all day and all night. By the end of November all the mass   graves were cleared. The number of buried bodies in the mass graves was 107,000. This number contains not only the first Jewish transports which were gassed when we started the burnings, but also the bodies of the prisoners who died in the main Auschwitz camp during the winter of 1941-42 because the crematory was out of order. The prisoners who died at Birkenau are included in that number.469
The open-air cremations attracted attention to the killings, and therefore Höss did everything to get the four new crematoria completed.
The two large crematories were built in the winter of 1942-43 and brought into service in the spring of 1943. Each had five ovens with three doors per oven and could cremate about two thousand bodies in less than twenty-four hours. Technical difficulties made it impossible to increase the capacity. Attempts to do this caused severe damage to the installations and on several occasions they were unable to function. Crematories [2 and 3] both had underground undressing rooms and underground gas chambers in which the air could be completely ventilated. The bodies were taken to the ovens on the floor above by an elevator. The [two] gas chambers could hold three thousand people, but this number was never achieved, since the individual transports were never that large.
The two smaller crematories [4 and 5] were capable of burning about 1,500 bodies in twenty-four hours, according to the calculations made by the construction company called Topf of Erfurt. Because of the wartime shortage of materials, the builders were forced to economize during the construction of crematories [4 and 5]. They were built above ground and the ovens were not as solidly constructed.470
Höss gave a detailed description of the killing procedure in which he expanded   considerably on the information that he had given in his Nuremberg affidavit.
The extermination process in Auschwitz took place as follows: Jews selected for gassing were taken as quietly as possible to the crematories. The men were already separated from the women. In the undressing chamber, prisoners of the Sonderkommandos, who were specially chosen for this purpose, would tell them in their own language that they were going to be bathed and deloused, and that they must leave their clothing neatly together, and, above all, remember where they put them, so that they would be able to find them quickly after the delousing. The Sonderkommando had the greatest interest in seeing that the operation proceeded smoothly and quickly. After undressing, the Jews went into the gas chamber, which was furnished with showers and water pipes and gave a realistic impression of a bath house.
The women went in first with their children, followed by the men, who were always fewer in number.471 This part of the operation nearly always went smoothly since the Sonderkommando would always calm those who showed any anxiety or perhaps who had even some clue as to their fate. As an additional precaution, the Sonderkommando and an SS soldier always stayed in the chamber until the very last moment.
The door would be screwed shut and the waiting disinfection squads would immediately pour the gas [crystals] into the vents in the ceiling of the gas chamber down an air shaft which went to the floor. This ensured the rapid distribution of the gas. The process could be observed through the peep hole in the door. Those who were standing next to the air shaft were killed immediately. I can state that about one-third died immediately. The remainder staggered about and began to scream and struggle for air. The screaming, however, soon changed to gasping and in a few moments everyone lay still. After twenty minutes   at most no movement could be detected. The time required for the gas to take effect varied according to weather conditions and depended on whether it was damp or dry, cold or warm. It also depended on the quality of the gas, which was never exactly the same, and on the composition of the transports, which might contain a higher proportion of healthy Jews, or the old and the sick, or children. The victims became unconscious after a few minutes, according to the distance from the air shaft. Those who screamed and those who were old, sick or weak, or the small children died quicker than those who were healthy and young.
The door was opened half an hour after the gas was thrown in and the ventilation system was turned on. Work was immediately started to remove the corpses. There was no noticeable change in the bodies and no sign of convulsions or discoloration. Only after the bodies had been left lying for some time--several hours--did the usual death stains appear where they were laid. Seldom did it occur that they were soiled with faeces. There were no signs of wounds of any kind. The faces were not contorted.
The Sonderkommando now set about removing the gold teeth and cutting the hair from the women. After this, the bodies were taken up by an elevator and laid in front of the ovens, which had meanwhile been fired up. Depending on the size of the bodies, up to three corpses could be put in through one oven door at the same time. The time required for cremation also depended on the number of bodies in each retort, but on average it took twenty minutes. As previously stated, Crematories 2 and 3 could cremate two thousand bodies in twenty-four hours, but a higher number was not possible without causing damage to the installations. Crematories 4 and 5 should have been able to cremate 1,500 bodies in twenty-four hours, but as far as I know this figure was never reached.472
As the crematoria ovens failed at times, Höss ordered that the possibility of open-air cremations should remain available. During the Hungarian Action, when the daily number of gassed Jews far exceeded the official incineration capacity of the crematoria,   open-air pyres took care of the excess.
The highest total figure of people gassed and cremated in twenty-four hours was slightly more than nine thousand. This figure was reached in the summer of 1944, during the action in Hungary, using all installations except Crematory [4]. On that day five trains arrived because of delays on the rail lines, instead of three, as was expected, and in addition the railroad cars were more crowded than usual.473
The killing frenzy that characterized the Hungarian Action marked the nadir in the history of Auschwitz. At other times there were few killings. As a result, one could not calculate the total number of victims using the Soviet method of using the total incineration capacity of Auschwitz over its history as a point of departure--a method that had led the Soviet State Extraordinary Commission for the Investigation of Fascist and Nazi Crimes to speculate the more than 4 million people had been murdered in Auschwitz. Höss explicitly rejected the Soviet number, and also the figure of 2.5 million victims which he had initially mentioned during his Nuremberg interrogations. Questioned by Sehn, he confirmed that the number of victims had been most likely less than 1.2 million persons--a conclusion he had first reached in the consideration on the technology of the Final Solution, drawn up in April on request of Gilbert.
During my earlier interrogations I gave the number of 2.5 million Jews who arrived at Auschwitz to be exterminated. This figure was given to me by Eichmann, who had given this figure to my superior, SS General Glücks, when Eichmann was ordered to make a report to Himmler shortly before Berlin was surrounded. Eichmann and his deputy, Günther, were the only ones who had the necessary information to calculate the total number of Jews annihilated....I myself never knew the total number, and I have nothing to help me arrive at an estimate. I can only remember the figures involved in the larger actions, which   were repeated to me by Eichmann or his deputies.
From Upper Silesia and the General Government 250,000
Germany and Theresienstadt 100,000
Holland 95,000
Belgium 20,000
France 110,000
Greece 65,000
Hungary 400,000
Slovakia 90,000
I can no longer remember the figures for the smaller actions, but they were insignificant by comparison with the numbers given above. I regard the number of 2.5 million as far too high. Even Auschwitz had limits to its destructive capabilities.474
Höss completed his essay on the use of Auschwitz as a killing installation for Jews in November 1946. In the month that followed, he wrote on invitation of Sehn 32 shorter essays on various aspects of the SS and its men.In some of the biographical essays he touched on various aspects of the killing operations at Auschwitz. For example, in his portrait of Dr. Gravits, the Surgeon-General of the SS, Höss discussed the role of the SS Hygiene Institute and its leader Dr. Mugrowski in obtaining the cyanide used in the gas chambers.
If I remember correctly, the Cyclon B gas was manufactured by the Tesch and Stabenow firm until 1942 in Hamburg. This was the gas used for disinfection and also for the extermination of the Jews. It was procured by the administration from Tesch and Stabenow. From 1942, all poison gas was purchased for the SS by   a central authority. Mugrowski was in charge of the Hygienic Department and he alone was responsible for the shipments of the gas. So he was the one who continually had to get the gas for the extermination of the Jews. Tesch and Stabenow was able to deliver the needed amounts of gas by railroad on time until 1943. But after 1943 the increasing Allied air raids made this impossible. Consequently, Auschwitz was forced a few times to use trucks to get the gas from the manufacturing plant in Dessau.475
A number of the permission slips to dispatch a truck from Auschwitz to Dessau, signed by Höss's adjudant Mulka, survived the war, and were submitted as evidence in the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial(1963-64). During Mulka's cross-examination, the presiding judge asked him about these slips.
[Chairman]: "Accused Mulka, have you signed permissions for trips to Dessau?"
[Mulka]: "I only remember one occasion. A permission was signed by Glücks and at the left bottom counter-signed by me. It concerned a disinfection means."
Q.: "Here it reads 'For the Resettlement of the Jews' and 'In confirmation of the copy Mulka.' You knew what the resettlement of the Jews meant?"
A.: "Yes, that was known to me."
Q.: "And what were those materials for the resettlement of the Jews?"
A.(silently): "Yes, raw materials."
Q.: "All right then. That was thus Zyklon-B."
A.(even more silently): "Yes, Zyklon-B."476
Let us return to Höss's essay on the SS Hygienic Institute. In this same account,   Höss remarked on the use of the ambulances to transport the gas to the gas chambers.
The ambulances were for use by the garrison doctor, and he was authorized to issue orders for their use. Because there was a constant shortage of trucks in Auschwitz, the garrison doctor had no choice but to use the ambulances for shipments to other camps. It gradually became the custom that all necessary trips for the garrison doctor were carried out with the ambulances. So, not only the sick were driven from camp to camp, but the dead also. Medicines, bandages, and surgical equipment were all transported in the same ambulances. The doctors and the medics drove them to their duties on the ramp and to the gas chambers. The Jews who could not walk were driven from the ramp to the gas chambers in ambulances. If no trucks were available, the standby ambulances were used. Because the medics were the ones who threw the gas into the gas chambers, they would be driven with their cans of gas to the gas chambers using the ambulances when no other trucks were available. They just hitchhiked a ride with the doctors who were going there anyway.
As time went by the ambulances were used for all kinds of purposes because no other trucks were available. No one ever gave a thought that they were profaning the symbol of the Red Cross when the ambulances drove to the gas chambers loaded with those who were to be gassed and the gas itself. No doctor ever objected to this. Even the ever-sensitive Dr. Wirths never brought the subject up with me, and I myself never gave it a thought either.477
In a separate report on the institutional structure of Auschwitz, Höss once again discussed the role of Dr. Wirths and his colleagues in the Holocaust.
Aside from the customary medical duties, the SS doctors of Auschwitz pursued the following activities:
1. According to Himmler's guidelines, they had to select males and females from the incoming transports of Jews who were able to work.
2. The doctors had to be present during the extermination process in the gas chambers to supervise the prescribed application of the poison gas Cyclon B by using the disinfection fixtures. Furthermore they had to make certain after the gas chambers were opened that the extermination process had been completely carried out.
3. The dentists continuously had to conduct spot checks to make certain that the prisoner dentists of the Sonderkommando pulled all the gold teeth from the gassed and dropped them into a special security container. Furthermore they had to supervise the melting of the gold teeth and their safekeeping until delivery to the proper SS branch was made.478
In a long essay on Heinrich Himmler and his role in the development of Auschwitz, Höss provided much detail about Himmler's crucial two-day visit to Auschwitz of July 17 and 18. Höss recorded that the Reichsführer-SS was briefed on the progress of the design of the settlement and the I.G. Farben complex, that he visited the Stammlager, Birkenau, and the various agricultural and industrial operations in the camp's Zone of Interests. As a special treat he witnessed the first day the complete extermination process of a transport of Dutch Jews which had just arrived. "He also looked on for a while during a selection of those who would work and those who would die without any complaint on his part. Himmler made no comment about the extermination process. He just looked in total silence."479 Höss noted that he desperately tried to focus Himmler's attention on all the various unresolved issues, which included the problem of the waste water treatment which continued to be an irritant between the camp and the province, but Himmler shrewdly managed the situation in such a way that Höss had no opportunity to   complain. He decided not to stay the night in Höss's house, where he would have been subject to his subaltern's petitions, but in the official Kattowitz residence of the Gauleiter Bracht of Upper Silesia. Politesse demanded that he invited Höss for dinner, but to ensure that neither the Kommandant nor the Gauleiter would have any opportunity to raise difficult issues, Himmler insisted that the respective spouses would join them. According to Höss it was a pleasant gathering.
He was in a very good mood that evening; charming and very talkative, especially with the two ladies, the wife of the Gauleiter and my wife. He discussed every topic that came up in the conversation: the raising of children, new houses, paintings and books. He told about his experiences with the Waffen SS divisions at the front lines and about his front line inspection tours with Hitler. He carefully avoided mentioning, even with a single word, anything that he had seen during the day or any matters concerning official business. Any attempt by the Gauleiter to bring business into the conversation was ignored by Himmler. We broke up quite late. Himmler, who usually drank very little alcohol, that evening had a few glasses of red wine and smoked, which was another thing he didn't usually do. Everyone was captivated by his lively stories and cheerfulness.480
The next morning Himmler had a private discussion with Bracht about some questions concerning the resettlement program in Upper Silesia, and after that was picked up by Höss for the second part of his visit to Auschwitz. A man with a great sense of chivalry, Himmler had a special interest in the treatment of women prisoners. Thus he watched the beating of a woman prisoner ("a professional criminal and prostitute")and pardoned some Polish women who had been imprisoned for minor offenses. Just before he stepped in the car Himmler instructed Höss to increase the capacity of Auschwitz-Birkenau from 100,000 to 200,000 inmates. Acknowledging Höss's difficulties he said that "I cannot change a thing about it. You will have to see how you can cope with it. We are in the   middle of a war and accordingly have to learn to think in terms of that war." And he added to this another instruction.
Eichmann's program will continue and will be accelerated every month from now on. See to it that you move ahead with the completion of Birkenau. The Gypsies are to be exterminated. With the same relentlessness you will exterminate those Jews who are unable to work. In the near future the work camps near the industrial factories will take the first of the large numbers of able-bodied Jews; then you will have room to breathe again here. Also, in Auschwitz you will complete the war production facilities. Prepare yourself for this. Kammler will do his very best to fully support you concerning the construction program. The agricultural experiments will be pushed ahead intensively, as I have the greatest need for the results. I saw your work and your accomplishments. I am satisfied with them and I thank you. I hereby promote you to lieutenant-colonel.481
Despite his promotion, Höss was less than happy with the visit.
As he was completing his essays, Höss faced justice. On January 11,1947, Höss testified in Cracow before Judge Jan Sehn and Edward Pechalski, Vice Prosecutor of the Court of Appeal in Cracow, about the structure and operation of concentration camps in general, and Auschwitz in particular.
The only German camps possessing the full rights of a concentration camp [Konzentrationslager or KL] were those with a political department [Politische Abteilung] headed by an officer of the Reich Security Main Office [RSHA]. Such camps were admission camps [Einweisungslager], that is camps that could admit prisoners directed by RSHA and its regional posts, release prisoners in accordance with RSHA decisions and transfer prisoners to other camps. Most of these proper camps had many branches satellite camps in the area. For these branches, usually called labour camps [Arbeitslager or A.L], the concentration camp functioned as the main camp [Stammlager]. Administratively the prisoners of these labour camps were counted as part of the main camp. Each main camp served its   surrounding region as an admission camp. As such, the concentration camp in Auschwitz served the General Government and Silesia, until the camp in Gross-Rosen became independent. From that time Auschwitz only served Upper Silesia and the Sudeten.482
After a lengthy description about the way the camps operated as an instrument of political terror within Germany, Höss stated that after the war began the role of the camps expanded to include political opponents from the conquered countries.
All of them were treated as enemies of the German State. Accordingly, the camps were organised so that most of these enemies were to die in them. Neither Himmler nor any of his helpers ever said it clearly. Yet they used to create such living conditions for prisoners in the camps that this order, unspoken officially, was practically fully executed in the camps. The proof that it was his and the Reich leadership intention is a fact that in the cases where some prisoner groups, whose life he cared for, were an issue, he was doing everything so that they were not destroyed in concentration camps. This applies, for example, to the Aryan prisoners from North-European countries, that is Norway and Denmark.483
Höss testified that, above and beyond the normal task to imprison political opponents, Auschwitz had been given an extra function: "it became the place of mass destruction of Jews of all nationalities and from all countries conquered by the Third Reich."
This second role of the Auschwitz camp I have described in details in my essay where I call the camp a place of destruction [Vernichtungsanstalt] in connection with its function within the action to exterminate the Jews [Judenvernichtungsaktion]. During the war waged by the Third Reich this   extermination action expanded according to the following stages. In the first period of the war Einsatzkommandos consisting of RSHA officers and police members followed German armies. These Einsatzkommandos were commanded by SS-Brigadeführer Ohlendorf and were to clean occupied area from hostile elements. Therefore their first victims were Jews, who were gathered into groups and exterminated on the spot. The next stage were actions carried out by in Poznan by the Higher SS and Police Leader von Alvensleben and in Lublin and, after the war with Russia began, in the adjacent eastern districts by the SS and Police Commander Globocnik. Both Alvensleben and Globocnik set up extermination places for Jews that were subordinated to them: Alvensleben in Chelmno (Kulmhof)and in Grudziaz, and Globocnik in Sobibor, Belzec, Treblinka, and Lublin.484
According to Höss, an important advantage of these extermination camps over the shootings by the Einsatzgruppen was the possibility to recover and exploit the personal property of the victims. "He used to deliver valuables looted in the progress of the action to Himmler." Yet the camps operated by von Alvensleben and Globocnik had no excess capacity to deal with the Jews from countries other than Poland, "Himmler summoned me in the summer of 1941 and ordered me to prepare in Oswiecim instruments of destruction that could be used in this action."
I took up this task, details of my activities in this field I have described in my essay I have submitted and in the essay about Eichmann's activity. I request to enclose this essay to the current report. The second function, conducting the action of extermination of Jews in the Auschwitz camp, I fulfilled in this camp on the basis of Himmler's verbal order, at the same time fulfilling officially functions of the SS Garrison Commander and the Commandant of the camp in Auschwitz. I held these positions since May 1940 till the end of November 1943.
On the 1st of December 1943 I was transferred from Auschwitz to the post of the chief of the DI office at the Main Economic-Administrative Office of the SS [SS-WVHA] in Berlin-Oranienburg. It was the political department of the   SS-WVHA. As the chief of the department I took care of all matters concerning the concentration camps of interest to the RSHA. After I left the commandant's post in Auschwitz, the extermination of the Jews continued to be carried out in that camp. It was directed by my successor on the post of the garrison chief and camp commandant, SS-Obersturmbannführer Arthur Liebehenschel, who held this position until the beginning of June 1944. Under his management the liquidation of Jews coming in transports proceeded inefficiently. Therefore, in the beginning of June 1944, Pohl sent me to Auschwitz to improve the action and adjust it to the plan set by RSHA. In 1944 I directed this action in June, July and August. In this period of time, because of seniority I was officially the garrison chief in Auschwitz. Baer was already the commandant of Auschwitz I, Kramer of Auschwitz II, and Schwartz of Auschwitz III. I finally left Auschwitz at the end of August 1944. Kramer, as the commandant of the camp Auschwitz II where instruments of destruction were concentrated, co-operated with me in the June to August period in the action of exterminating the Jews. After my final departure Kramer continued the action until November 1944, when Himmler forbade further extermination of Jews. He issued this ban as a result of negotiations with the Jewish representatives, among them were envoys of the Zionists leader Weissmann. Becher in Budapest, in Switzerland and Turkey carried out the negotiations. They were based on the idea the Jews were to deliver various goods in exchange for Jews Germans kept. Because foreign Jews representatives demanded immediate stop to the destruction actions, German side prolonged the negotiations as much as possible to win some time and annihilate as many Jews as possible. Only in November 1944, Himmler finally acceded to the condition given by the Jewish representatives, that is to immediate stop the action, only in November 1944.485
In his testimony, Höss addressed the question concerning the number of victims.
One man- Eichmann, had all notes concerning the number of Jews destroyed in the action I have described. I cannot give figures for Auschwitz because I did not use to record them. I was acting in accordance with Himmler's order. Just before   the breakdown of the Reich in April 1945, I was present when Eichmann gave a report to Glücks on the number of Jews destroyed and killed. I remember precisely that Eichmann gave a figure of 2 1 /2 million for Auschwitz. In the same report he said to Glücks that in the course of anti-Jewish action in Auschwitz, some 25 -- 30% of all newcomers were selected as fit for work, and were not annihilated immediately. I stress that all arriving Jews selected as fit for work, and kept in the camp, were registered and included in camp evidential number series. However I cannot explain if they were numbered only in A and B series or in the general male and female series as well. As I recall, Jewish numbering series A and B were introduced only in 1943. I suppose Jews who came previously were numbered in the general series. Hungarian Jews, Polish Jews from Upper Silesia and the General Government, French Jews, German Jews and Jews from Theresienstadt, Dutch, Slovakian, and Greek Jews, and smaller groups of Jews of various other nationalities such as Yugoslavia and Russia were annihilated in mass actions in Auschwitz. I mentioned the nationalities in order of number of victims. The largest quota of registered prisoners who were imprisoned in the camp, and not brought to the camp for extermination, were Aryan Poles. Reich Germans and Czechs were the next largest categories. There were smaller numbers of Yugoslavs, French, Belgians, Germans, Italians, Latvians, Russians, Lithuanians and Spanish in the Auschwitz camp. Moreover there was a number of Jews with fake passports issued to them by representatives of various South American and other countries from all over the world. I can give neither the general number of prisoners numbered in all series nor the highest figures in each series. I cannot give the figure of victims from among numbered prisoners.486
Höss testified that he has done all he had confessed out of a sense of duty towards his superiors. Yet he confessed that he often had felt doubts.
Many times in the course of action of mass destruction of Jews I wondered if some Providence exists and if yes, how it is possible such things may happen. Nevertheless I was present everywhere, both at the coming transports reception   and at gassing in gas chambers and corpses cremation, trying to set an example to my subordinates and avoid accusation of requiring something I run away from myself.487
At the end of his testimony, Höss summarized his activities in life and his activities in point form.
I admit the following facts:
1. Since November 1922 until Germany's downfall in 1945, I was a member of the National Socialist German Workers Party.
2. Since June 1933 until the downfall of the Third Reich in 1945, I was a member of the SS, reaching at the end the rank of SS-Obersturmbannführer.
3. From May 1940 until the end of November 1943, I fulfilled the functions of commandant of the concentration camp in Auschwitz, and SS-garrison commander.
4. From December,1,1943 until the downfall of the Reich, I fulfilled functions of chief of DI office in the Main Economic-Administrative Office of the SS.
5. Since the summer of 1941 I prepared, and since January 1942 I directed the action of mass killing of Jews in extermination installations of the concentration camp in Auschwitz.
6. During my activity in Auschwitz millions of people died there, and I am unable to establish their exact number.
7. In Auschwitz, these victims were robbed of their possessions, the value of which I am even now not able to estimate approximately.
8. According to the rules in force, as the commandant of the camp I was solely and fully responsible for everything that took place in the camp. All issues not mentioned in the deposition and discussed in essays I drew up, I consider essential supplement to the content of this deposition and I ask to enclose these essays to the depositions of this interrogation.488
  Höss had testified in German, which had been translated in Polish. The Polish text was retranslated into German, and approved by Höss. "The whole content of the protocol before me has been translated into German. The record presents my deposition both literally as well as to its meaning. In endorsement, I personally sign the protocol."489
Cross-examined during his trial, Höss went into greater detail about many of the issues he had discussed in his deposition on the Final Solution.
Höss: "On the basis of those reports, Reichsführer-SS Himmler ordered that I was to personally carry out this action in Auschwitz. In his program Eichmann had envisioned a schedule of four trains every day. This was, however, not feasible despite the development of all existing installations. For that reason, I personally travelled to Eichmann in Budapest to annul this order. We solved the matter as follows: one day two trains, and the next day three trains were to leave for Auschwitz. I remember precisely that the schedule, negotiated with the railway authorities in Budapest, anticipated a total of 111 of such trains. Nevertheless, when the first transports arrived in Auschwitz, Eichmann came also in order to find out if it wouldn't be possible to send more trains: the Reichsführer-SS demanded that the Hungarian action was to be accelerated."
Prosecutor Siewierski: "Let the defendant explain it more clearly: after your return to Auschwitz, did you give any orders of technical nature to speed up the gassing and incineration of Jews?"
A.: "I remember that we accelerated the expansion of the railway station inside the camp with its siding consisting of three tracks. Furthermore we reactivated the open-air cremation site known as installation 5. We also reinforced the squads who were to sort the luggage of the deportees. It took between four and five hours to unload a train--people and all their luggage--and there was no way to do it faster. People could be dealt with within this time, but the luggage was accumulating in such quantities that this forced us to abandon the idea to increase the number of transports. Even as we added another 1,000 additional inmates to the squads sorting the luggage, there was no way to speed up the action. We had   not enough space to store all these things, and this is why we failed in our effort to faster send out of the camp all the clothing and belongings these people had brought to Auschwitz. No improvements could be made to the crematoria. After eight to ten hours of operation the crematoria were unfit for further use. It was impossible to operate them continuously. As Eichmann had mentioned that we should expect by the end of the year 1944 and in 1945 more transports, we planned a larger crematorium. It was to be a huge, circular brick furnace, to be built underground. Due to lack of time, it was never designed."
Q.: "When the defendant came to supervise the action, did you consider Moll--the chief of the crematoria--to be the right man in the right place, or did the defendant have to give further orders?"
A..: "When I came to Auschwitz, Moll worked in some satellite camp. I withdrew him from that camp, and assigned him to the cremating kommando--the one burning prisoners in the open air. The previous chief could not handle it."
Q.: "And Moll could?"
A.: "Yes. He proved capable."490
Given Höss's full confession, it was no surprise that the court convicted him for mass murder. Remarkably, however, the court did not accept the number of four million victims mentioned in the Soviet Report, and assumed in the indictment. In its judgement, the court stated that Höss had participated in the murder of "an indeterminate number [of victims], but certainly no less than 2,500,000, mostly Jews, brought in transports from various European countries for the purpose of immediate extermination, and therefore not officially registered."491
Waiting for his execution, Höss wrote a 224-page long and detailed autobiography that expanded on his earlier statements made. Höss described how systematic mass killing in the camp began in the summer of 1941, with the arrival in Auschwitz for execution of Soviet prisoners-of war identified as political commissars. The first experiments with hydrogen cyanide as a killing agent were done on these people. Höss recalled that he   instructed Lagerführer Karl Fritsch, who was responsible for the liquidation of the Soviets and was also in charge of the fumigation of the camp and the disinfection process in the extant gas chambers in Blocks 3 and 26, to carry out a pilot experiment. Fritsch obliged with a transport of Soviet prisoners-of-war whom he took to Block 11 and locked into a basement cell. Fritsch threw Zyklon-B crystals into the room and all the men died.
Encouraged by his success, ritsch conducted the first mass execution with Zyklon-B on 3 September.
I viewed the killings wearing a gas mask for protection. Death occurred in the crammed full cells immediately after the gas was thrown in. Only a brief choking outcry and it was all over. This first gassing of people [which Höss witnessed] did not really sink into my mind. Perhaps I was much too impressed by the whole procedure.492
Höss recorded that, shortly thereafter, they transformed the morgue of crematorium 1 into a gas chamber. Fritsch's men punched three square portholes through the morgue roof and covered them with tightly-fitting wooden lids. The murder of 900 Soviets inaugurated the new gas chamber. "The entire transport fit exactly in the room," Höss recalled. "The doors were closed and the gas poured in through the opening in the roof. How long the process lasted, I don't know, but for quite some time sounds could be heard. As the gas was thrown in some of them yelled 'Gas!' and a tremendous screaming and shoving started toward both doors, but the doors were able to withstand all the force." A few hours later the fans were turned on and the doors opened. "I really didn't waste any thoughts about the killing of the Russian prisoners of war," Höss confessed. "It was ordered; I had to carry it out. But I must admit openly that the gassings had a calming effect on me, since in the near future the mass annihilation of the Jews was to begin."493
I could go on quoting from Höss's autobiography, but as it substantially confirms   everything he had said in his essay on the Final Solution, I will stop here.
This brings to an end Part Two of my report. It will be clear that, by early 1947, there was a massive amount of evidence of the use of the camp as a site for mass extermination. This evidence had become slowly available during the war as the result of reports by escaped inmates, had become more substantial through the eye-witness accounts by former Auschwitz inmates immediately after their liberation in Auschwitz and other concentration camps, and was confirmed in the Polish forensic investigations undertaken in 1945 and 1946. Finally, this evidence was corroborated by confessions of leading German personnel employed at Auschwitz during its years of operation.
It is, in other words, highly implausible that knowledge about Auschwitz was a war-time fabrication by British propagandists. Instead, the material brought together in Part Two shows that knowledge about Auschwitz emerged cumulatively from a convergence of independent accounts, acquiring an epistemological status located somewhere in the realm framed on the one hand by a judgement that knows a fact "beyond reasonable doubt," and on the other hand by the always receding horizon that promises unqualified certainty. In short, it has become possible, on the basis of the material presented and discussed sofar, to assert as "moral certainty" the statement that Auschwitz was an extermination camp where the Germans killed around one million people with the help of gas chambers.


367. Henry Saint John, 1st Viscount of Bolingbroke, "The substance of some letters written originally in French, about the year 1720, to M. De Pouilly," The Works of Lord Bolingbroke, 4 vols.(London: Henry G.Bohn,1844), vol.2, 490f..
368. Johann Paul Kremer, "Diary," in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS: Rudolf Höss, Pery Broad, Johann Paul Kremer, transl. Constantine FitzGibbon and KrystynaMichalik (Warsaw: Interpress, 1991), 161f.
369. Testimony by Kremer, 18 August 1947, in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 162
370. Kremer, "Diary," in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 162f.
371. Testimony by Kremer, 17 July 1947, in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 163.
372. Kremer, "Diary," in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 163
373. Ibid., 167.
374. Testimony by Kremer, 30 July 1947, in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 167.
375. Kremer, "Diary," in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 168.
376. Testimony by Kremer, 18 July 1947, in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 168.
377. Kremer, "Diary," in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 169.
378. Testimony by Kremer, 18 July 1947, in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 169.
379. Hermann Langbein, Der Auschwitz Prozeß: Eine Dokumentation 2 vols. (Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Neue Kritik,1 995), vol.1, 538.
380. Ibid., 537.
381. Ibid., 538f.
382. Pery Broad, "Reminiscences," in Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS, 128ff.
383. Ibid., 134.
384. Ibid., 135.
385. Ibid., 136.
386. Ibid.
387. Ibid., 142.
388. As quoted in H. L. Silets, "Facts Written in Blood: The Zyklon B Trial of Bruno Tesch," Shelly Shapiro, ed., Truth Prevails: Demolishing Holocaust Denial: the end of "The Leuchter Report"(New York: The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1990), 98.
389. Ibid., 100ff.
390. Ibid., 100ff.
391. Letter Irving to Tom Marcellus, June 4,1992, Irving's Further Discovery. Irving suppressed his discovery, only to mention it briefly in his 1996 book on Nuremberg. He only posted the Aumeier evidence on his web-site in 1999 after the Aumeier file had been consulted by others.
392. Irving tries to discredit Aumeier's statement from the very outset. "Aumeier was initially as incoherent as Höss under interrogation by the British in Norway and England. The memoirs and manuscripts which he pencilled in the Kensington interrogation center commanded by Lieut.-Col. Scotland also displayed an increasing precision with each week that passed. The final manuscript (or fair copy) signed by Aumeier was pencilled in British Army style with all proper names in block letters." David Irving, Nuremberg: The Last Battle (London: Focal Point,1996), 353f. It is clear that Irving seeks to suggest that British officers had a hand in writing his confessions.
393. Höss wrote in November 1946 an account of Aumeier in which he described him as a man with narrow views, without much foresight, and without initiative. Overseeing a period of rapid growth of the camp, he could not cope with it. "In the meantime the camp grew quickly: there was the woman's camp, there was Birkenau, and added to this was the program for exterminating the Jews. This was much too vast for Aumeier's mental range. He became nervous and more and more careless. He began to smoke and drink more and more. He became increasingly irresponsible and was literally 'bowled over' by this complex operation. He could not control this huge operation anymore. He tried to swim, but he was carried along by the current of events." Rudolf Höss, Death dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz ed. Steven Paskuly, transl. Andrew Pollinger (Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books, 1992), 231.
394. Statement Hans Aumeier June 29, 1945, PRO WO 208/4661, 3ff.
395. Aumeier is confused on this oint. All the evidence points to the commencement of gassings in crematorium 1 a year earlier.
396. The Aumeier document has become something of an embarrassment to Irving. He discovered it, and it refutes his often-repeated assertion that "more women died on the back seat of Senator Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz." (Tape 190, David Irving's Lecture in Milton, Ontario, October 5, 1991.) When he found out that researchers for Mishcon de Reya had discovered the Aumeier files, Irving posted them on his web-site. An unknown author whom Irving has accommodated on his site, and who writes under the pseudonym "Samuel Crowell," has tried to neutralize the Aumeier statement as follows: I find this one of the more credible narratives of gassings that I have seen. The reason I find it credible is that Aumeier discusses the introduction of gassings more or less ad hoc as a strategy for controlling epidemics and second restricts it to those incapable of working or effecting a speedy recovery. This is much better than those accounts that insists that gassing was introduced as part of the "Final Solution" and that it was applied immediately to all Jewish internees." (http:/ "Crowell" attempt to create confusion where the historical record shows clarity. No-one has ever suggested that upon the decision to enact the so-called "Final Solution" all Jewish intenees were immediately gassed. Furthermore he ignores Aumeier's statement that "[f]rom that moment onwards the camp doctors sorted at the arriving transports immediately the inmates, and those who were destined to be gassed. They had instructions to select for gassing those crippled by illness, those over 55 years of age who could not work, and children up to 11 or 12 years." If these selections were not part of the "Final Solution," what were they part of? Finally it is important to observe that Crowell does not try to deny gassings as such--and in doing so flatly contradicts Irving's thesis that no gassings ever took place in Auschwitz.
397. Aumeier refers here to crematorium 2, but is confused when he thinks that it contained eight ovens. Crematoria 4 and 5 were equipped with double-four-muffle ovens (which adds up to eight muffle ovens; crematoria 2 and 3 had five triple muffle ovens. He is, however correct in his description of the underground gas chamber, and the presence of the undressing hut, which was in operation in the Spring of 1943 before morgue 2 had been completed as an undressing room.
398. Throughout his account, Aumeier assumes a rather long interval between the gassing and the opening of the doors. Other eyewitness described much a much shorter time.
399. Aumeier refers here to crematorium 4, which came into operation shortly after crematorium 2 but before crematorium 3.He is confused as to the number of ovens. Crematorium 4 had one double-four-muffle oven, while crematorium 2 had five triple-muffle ovens--in other words, he seems to have switched their oven arrangement in his memory. But he is right on in his description of the aboveground gas chambers of crematorium 4, with the openings with the gas-tight shutters through which the Zyklon was inseretd into the gas chambers.
400. This is crematorium 3.And it was indeed planned on the same model as crematorium 2. In conclusion, considering Aumeier's numbers, it is clear that when he mentions crematorium I, the first to be completed, he uses the terminology that described the crematoria of Birkenau as I, II, III, and IV. When he mentions the second crematorium to be completed, he labels it for that reason crematorium II, but its official designation was actually crematorium 4 (or III in the alternate classification). When he mentions crematorium III, the number he assigns it can either find its source in the fact that it was indeed the third crematorium to be completed (following Aumeier's habit established before to label them in the order of completion),or because this crematorium was officially known as crematorium 3. His idiosyncratic numbering system is obviously the result form the fact that he left the camp in the middle of 1943,and never got used to the official system.
401. Handwritten account by Hans Aumeier, July 25, 1945, 3ff., Public Record Office WO 208/4661.
402. Aussiedlung der Juden," typed account by Hans Aumeier dated Oslo, October 8, 1845, Public Record Office, WO 208/4661, 10.
403. Undated account by Hans Aumeier, Public Record Office WO 208/6441, 43.
404. As quoted in Raymond Phillips, ed., Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty-Four Others (The Belsen Trial) (London: Edinburgh and Glasgow: William Hodge and Company, 1949), 17.
405. Ibid.,66.
406. Ibid..
407. Dr. Bimko's statement, or its translation in the official court proceedings, is at this point less than precise: if she meant that there were five brock buildings only she would be wrong: there were many brick buildings in Birkenau--most barracks in the women's camp were constructed in brick. Yet if she meant that the crematoria were constructed in brick, not precluding the possibility that there were more brick buildings in the camp, she would be right. It is not easy to understand why she mentioned five brick buildings known as crematoria. In fact, there were four crematoria in Birkenau. Did she include also Bunker 2, which functioned as a killing station, or perhaps to the Central Sauna--the main delousing facility of Birkenau? The latter building, located between crematoria 2 and 3, was equipped with chimneys and was sometimes mistaken as a crematorium.
408. As quoted in Phillips, ed., Trial of Josef Kramer, 741.
409. Ibid., 68.
410. Ibid., 131f.
411. Ibid., 134.
412. Ibid., 731.
413. Ibid., 738.
414. Ibid., 157.
415. Ibid., 173f.
416. Ibid., 157f.
417. Ibid., 183.
418. Ibid., 717.
419. Ibid., 184.
420. Ibid.
421. As quoted in Phillips, ed., Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty-Four Others, 714f.
422. Ibid., 196.
423. Ibid., 156.
424. Ibid., 148.
425. Ibid.,149; in the official published version of Winwood's opening speech, he limited himself to stating that "[t]he type of internee who came to these concentration camps was low, and had very little idea of doing what they were told." It seems, however, that Winwood used slightly different words during his actual submission. "The concentration camps of Germany came to contain the dregs of the ghettoes of central Europe--people who had very little idea how to behave in ordinary life or of doing what they were told." This statement led to of formal protest by the Executive of the Board of Deputies, which noted that Winwood's statement "besmirches the memory of millions of men, women and children who died amid unspeakable horrors or were murdered for no fault but that they were Jews." See "The Belsen Trial: Defence Counsel's Astounding Statement," The Jewish Chronicle, vol.104 (October 12, 1945), 9.
426. Phillips, ed., Trial of Josef Kramer., 538f.
427. Ibid., 244.
. Ibid., 494.
429. Ibid., 505.
430. "A Spectator's Notebook," The Spectator, vol. 175 (October 5, 1945), 304.
431. Norman Bentwich, "Nuremberg Issues," The Spectator, vol. 175 (November 16, 1945), 450.
432. The clause "[i]t is freely admitted that there were in the camp Birkenau five gas chambers attached to the crematoria" is not very precise. Dependant on the moment one chooses, and the way one counts, there were in Birkenau a minimum of seven gas chambers attached to crematoria (crematorium 2: 1; crematorium 3: 1; crematorium 4: 2; crematorium 5: 2) and a maximum of nine or ten (crematorium 2: 2; crematorium 3: 1; crematorium 4: 3; crematorium 5: 2 or 3). Added to this were, during the Hungarian Action, the four gas chambers of Bunker 2, so that we now obtain a range of between nine and thirteen or fourteen. It is possible that when Backhouse made his statement, he either meant to say that it is freely admitted that all five crematoria (of which four stood in Birkenau and one in the Stammlager had gas chambers attached to them, or that he referred to the number Dr. Bimko had used in her testimony. The fact that
433. As quoted in Phillips, ed., Trial of Josef Kramer, 595f.
434. Ibid., 599.
435. Ibid., 632.
436. Ibid., 632f.
437. Ibid., 640f.
438. Ibid., xlv.
439. Holocaust deniers (unjustly)credit the trial as the occasion that the allies transformed a lie into truth. "It was at this British Military Tribunal that much of the 'Holocaust' dogma and wartime tales of German bestiality were chiselled into the United Nations 'Behistan Rock' to justify forever the United Nations acts vis-a-vis Germany, "William B. Lindsey wrote in The Journal of Historical Review. "This was done by parading before the Tribunal a nondescript chorus of Yiddish voices, each chorus member seeking to gain for himself, for varied reasons, the prestigious role of a latter-day Judith or Esther, a Samson or Mordecai, and each seeking to outdo his predecessor on the witness stand with a horror tale of abuse and privation--naturally all unsubstantiated. It was here that the first United Nations prosecutor sought to establish legal credence and respectability for the earlier rumors of German bestiality and particularly the unsubstantiated allegations that 4,000,000 Jews had been killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It was here that physicians Ada Bimko and Charles Bendel made their bows on the front pages of the world's newspapers before figuring in the tribunal trying Dr. Tesch and Herr Weinbacher--and after that disappearing, but leaving behind a legacy of falsehood and confusion which became, nevertheless, a part of the unquestioned, unchallengeable litany of the 'Holocaust' credo. "William B.Lindsey, "Zyklon B, Auschwitz, and the Trial of Dr. Bruno Tesch," The Journal of Historical Review, vol 4 (19**), 264. The venom that the Belsen Trial generates in negationist circles is deserved, because it brought indeed Auschwitz into the public domain. The publication of the Soviet report in May had, in the end, little impact because it was, after all, just another report. In the Belsen Trial, the reality of Auschwitz was for the first time given a face. Kramer, presented in the press as the "Beast of Belsen," was depicted in caricatures as a shambling gorilla thirsty for blood.
440. "Belsen and Nuremberg" The Spectator vol.175 (November 23, 1945), 478.
441. Phillips, Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty-Four Others, 599.
442. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol.4, 364f.
443. Ibid., 365.
444. Ibid., 369.
445. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals , 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol.5,**.
446. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol.6, 214ff.
447. As quoted in Telford Taylor, The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials: A Personal Memoir (New York: Knopf, 1992), 306.
448. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols.(Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol.8, 319f.
449. Gustave M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary (New York: Farrar, Straus and Company, 1947), 174f.
450. Höss Trial, p.122, as quoted in State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol.3, 1310.
451. "Testimony of Rudolf Hoess Taken at Nurnberg, on 1 April 1946, 1430 to 1730," in The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes eds. John Mendelsohn and Donald S. Detwiler, 18 vols.(New York and London: Garland, 982), vol. 12, 72.
452. Probably Höss referred with "Wolzek" to Sobibor, the third Operation Reinhard extermination camp.
453. Document 3868-PS, "Affidavit of Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess," in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal,1947-49), vol. 33, 275ff.
454. Proceedings of Monday, 15 April 1946 in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol.11, 402.
455. Ibid., 414.
456. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, 266.
457. Höss's six gas chambers include the big gas chambers of crematoria 2 and 3, and the small gas chambers of crematoria 4 and 5. The latter buildings each had three rooms that could be used as gas chambers, but in practice only two were used, as the third one served as a vestibule to the other two. Höss somewhat over-estimated the capacity of the gas chambers of crematoria 2 and 3: assuming a density of eight people per square metre (which is the official allowed density of standing passengers in German streetcars), the capacity of the gas chambers of crematoria 2 and 3, which were about 200 m² each, was about 1,600 people. Höss correctly remembered the capacity of the two larger gas chambers of crematoria 4 and 5. At 95m² each could hold 760 people, and thus both crematoria 4 and 5 had each a killing capacity of slightly over 1,500 people per gassing.
458. Ibid., 249f.
459. Höss refers here to bunker 2, which had been taken out of commission after the completion of the crematoria in the spring of 1943, but brought back into operation in 1944 during the Hungarian Action.
460. State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols.(Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol. 3, 1005f.
461. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, 260.
462. As Debórah Dwork and I observed in our Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present Höss's account of Himmler's decision is not without its problems, and has led to many different interpretations. Many historians feel that Höss was somewhat confused about the date mentioned--some go even as far as to suggest that when he wrote "June 1941" he meant "June 1942." For the record, here is our contribution to the debate about what must be regarded as the single most controversial piece of Höss's post-war statements.
"According to Rudolf Höss, Himmler discussed the transformation of Auschwitz into an extermination site as early as June 1941. Is he correct? Did he have a conversation with Himmler in June 1941? If so, did they talk about the construction of killing installations at Auschwitz? And if they did, did Himmler mean, in June 1941, that this murder machinery was to be used to kill Jews?
Höss's statements about Himmler's decision to designate Auschwitz as a death camp are our sole source of direct information about this issue. After pursuing him for almost a year, the British captured Höss on 11 March 1946 in northern Germany. They brought him to Nuremberg where he spoke at great length for three consecutive days to an American interrogator, Whitney R. Harris. In the affidavit Harris then drafted and Höss read, corrected, and signed, Höss claimed: 'I was ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941.' At least 2.5 million people 'were executed and exterminated [in Auschwitz] by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease making a total dead of about 3,000,000.'
Gustave M. Gilbert, the prison psychologist at the Nuremberg Trial, examined Höss. 'He readily confirmed that approximately 2.5 million Jews had been exterminated under his direction,' Gilbert wrote in his diary. In response to Gilbert's question as to how Höss had reacted to the order to become a mass-murderer, he amplified his earlier statements.' In the summer of 1941, Himmler called for me and explained: "The Führer has ordered the Endlösung [Final Solution] of the Jewish question--and we have to carry out this task. For reasons of transport and isolation, I have picked Auschwitz for this. You now have the hard job of carrying this out." As a reason for this he said that it would have to be done at this time, because if it was not done now, then the Jew would later exterminate the German people, or words to that effect. For this reason one had to ignore all human considerations and consider only the task--or words to that effect.' And Höss explained to Gilbert, 'I had nothing to say; I could only say Jawohl!
On the witness stand Höss repeated his account of the origin of Auschwitz as the central site of the Holocaust. 'In the summer of 1941 I was summoned to Berlin to Reichsführer-SS Himmler to receive personal orders. He told me something to the effect--I do not remember the exact words--that the Führer had given the order for a final solution of the Jewish question. We, the SS, must carry out that order. If it is not carried out now then the Jews will later on destroy the German people.'According to Höss, Himmler had chosen Auschwitz because it was easily accessible by rail and because the extensive concentration camp grounds ensured isolation. This was a secret matter; the 'conference concerned the two of us only and I was to observe the strictest secrecy.'
Höss's Nuremberg confessions seemed to close the case concerning the origins of Auschwitz as a death camp. But internal inconsistencies in his statements, as well as additional indirect but pertinent evidence, suggest that Höss re-interpreted events that indeed had occurred in light of the ultimate outcome. Probably, he had a conversation with Himmler in June 1941. Probably, they spoke about the construction of extermination facilities at Auschwitz. But probably, in June 1941 those installations were not intended for the mass murder of Europe's Jews.
Let us look at Höss's statements more closely. In his affidavit that he 'was ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941,' he also explained that 'at that time, there were already three other extermination camps: Belzek, Treblinka and Wolzek [Sobibor]. 'These camps, however, only came into operation in 1942. In a detailed account of the role of Auschwitz in the genocide of the Jews Höss wrote later that year, he again related Auschwitz to the other killing sites and again made the same mistake about the dates. 'Himmler greeted me with the following: "The Führer has ordered the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. We the SS have to carry out this order. The existing extermination sites in the East are not in a position to carry out these intended operations on a large scale. I have, therefore, chosen Auschwitz for this purpose."' In June 1941 there were no 'existing extermination sites in the East.'
As Höss insisted on various occasions that the conversation took place in 1941, although acknowledging that he may have been confused about the exact words, it would seem plausible that there was a meeting in June 1941,and that he was ordered 'to establish extermination facilities.' But how large were these meant to be, and for whom? As we have seen in Chapter Seven, Höss visited SS headquarters in Berlin in mid-June to discuss the new masterplan of the camp, created in the euphoria of the IG Farben support. Himmler too was in town, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of his appointment as Chief of the German Police. Given his personal interest in the future of Auschwitz, ii seems likely that the completion of the first masterplan was an occasion for him to chat with Höss. It is not likely, however, that they conferred about a decision to liquidate European Jewry; most historians of the Holocaust agree that such a policy crystallized later that summer. But just because they did not discuss a planned genocide of the Jews does not mean that they did not discuss building some kind of extermination facility at in Auschwitz. Again as we have seen in Chapter Seven, the building department of the SS was involved with the development of standard designs for 'provisional and permanent crematoria, incinerating sites and execution grounds of various kinds' in 1941, and it is quite possible that Himmler's instruction related to a specific design issue that came up in the examination of the new masterplan, or to a general policy to equip concentration camps with killing installations that could handle larger groups of victims.
Scrutiny of the masterplan under review reveals a design decision that very well may have raised questions. The architects had chosen a far corner of the compound, behind the camp prison with its execution yard in the centre, and relatively close to the hospital, for a new crematorium. If everyone who died in the camp were an inmate, this arrangement would have made sense. But Auschwitz also served the Kattowitz Gestapo as an execution ground, and according to the plan, the condemned would have had to traverse the whole camp. Someone disapproved of this arrangement: in the next masterplan the new crematorium is right next to the old one, conveniently close to the backgate of the camp. That 'someone' may have been Himmler.
The extant killing facilities themselves may have prompted discussion of more sophisticated capabilities. At Himmler's request, the T4 program had been extended to the concentration camps, and at the end of May a medical team had arrived in Auschwitz to select sick inmates. According to the new 14f13 (14f referred to the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps, and 13 to 'the special treatment of sick and frail prisoners') program guidelines, mentally ill, chronically sick, and invalid inmates who were Jewish were automatically selected for 'special treatment,' while the other cases were referred to the headquarters at Tiergartenstrasse 4 for a final decision. Ultimately, 575 prisoners were approved for death. It was impossible to liquidate the prisoners within the camp without causing great commotion, so the 575 men were loaded on a train and transported hundreds of miles to the T4 gas chamber at Sonnenstein. [This gas chamber was installed in May 1940 in the asylum in Sonnenstein near Dresden. It used bottled carbon monoxide manufactured by BASF as the killing agent.. It was in operation, killing (mentally) handicapped people until the late Summer of 1941.] Höss's visit to Berlin occurred after the selection had taken place but before the transport had been organized, and the camp's inability to handle the institutionalized mass-murder of the 14f13 program must have been a topic of discussion, especially as he and Himmler knew that these selections were to be a regular element of camp life.
Finally, in June 1941 the Germans had another reason to equip a concentration camp with a more sophisticated facility for mass-extermination. Operation Barbarossa was to begin on 22 June and the war was to become a global conflict. The memory of the 'stab in the back' of the First World War loomed large and was taken seriously.Hitler was absolutely convinced,as he wrote in Mein Kampf that 'if at the beginning of the War and during the War twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers in the field, the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain. On the contrary: twelve thousand scoundrels eliminated in time might have saved the lives of millions real Germans, valuable for the future.'
After the German army had begun its attack on the Soviet Union, Hitler confided to his inner clique that everything would be done to prevent a repetition of 1918. The soldiers at the eastern front did not have to worry. The stab in the back which had defeated the armies in 1918 would not recur. 'I've ordered Himmler,' Hitler assured his audience, 'in the event of there some day being reason to fear troubles back at home, to liquidate everything he finds in the concentration camps. Thus at a stroke the revolution would be deprived of its leaders.' Hitler expanded on this idea on at least one other occasion: not only all the camp inmates, but rioters, opposition leaders and Soviet prisoners- of-war should be killed also if a 'stab in the back' were attempted. 'As for the justification of these summary executions, I've only to think of the German idealists who are risking their lives in front of the enemy.'
When Himmler met with Höss in Berlin, Heydrich was already preparing the mass murder of potential instigators of a revolution among the Soviet prisoners-of-war. Himmler had detailed Heydrich to negotiate with the High Command of the Armed Forces to permit his Security Police to canvas the prisoner-of-war camps to select and liquidate 'Bolshevik driving forces.' They reached an agreement later that month. These 'special measures,' the High Command claimed, were justified by the 'special situation' in the east. 'While so far the regulations and orders concerning prisoners-of-war have been based solely on military considerations, now a political objective must be attained, which is to protect the German nation from Bolshevik inciters and forthwith take the occupied territory strictly in hand.'
Himmler's instruction to Höss was, we believe, a result of Hitler's instruction to Himmler. Hitler had made it clear that, if revolution were attempted during this war as had been the case at the close of the last war, the participants and camp inmates were to be killed in extermination installations in the concentration camps. Himmler, anticipating Hitler's wishes, was not going to wait for trouble. The Soviet prisoners-of-war were the first group to be targeted, and Heydrich was already busy with that problem. The question was: where were they going to be killed. Auschwitz was a good choice. The agricultural estate gave Himmler control over a 15-square-mile area in which he could do anything he pleased in secrecy, while none of the other major camps available to him at that time offered him this space. Then too, Auschwitz was located in a community in flux. Because of the ethnic cleansing programme in the region, it was easier to do unsavory things in Auschwitz than, for example, in Dachau which was close to Munich, or Sachsenhausen near Berlin. Furthermore, in June 1941 Auschwitz was one of the few camps which was designated for rapid expansion, and which seemed to have financial, institutional and corporate support. Himmler expected millions of marks and abundant building materials to become available for use in Auschwitz, and he may well have thought that it would be possible to include some kind of extermination installation in the IG Farbensponsored programme.
The fear of stab-in-the-back opposition never materialized, but the idea of using concentration camps as execution grounds for undesirables whose very existence threatened the state bore fruit. A few hundred Soviet prisoners-of-war arrived in Auschwitz on 18 July. They were locked into Block 11. As no extermination facility had been built yet, liquidation followed the established pattern. 'They were shot in the gravel pits...or in the courtyard of Block 11,' Höss recalled. Following the arrival of the first Soviet transport and the departure of inmates to be killed under the aegis of the 14f13 programme, the camp physicians began to experiment with more clinical methods of murder. Prisoners were injected with phenol, gasoline perhydrol, aether, and other substances, and after a number of trials phenol injections in the heart were found to be the most efficient." Dwork and van Pelt, Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present, 277ff.
463. Rudolf Höss, "The Final Solution," in Höss, Death Dealer, 30.
464. Höss refers here to the so-called Judenrampe at the western edge of the Auschwitz marshalling yards. For Jews this was the main point of access to the camp until the spring of 1944.
465. Höss refers here to the compound known as Canada 1. Later a second compound for the sorting and temporary storage of the deportees' belongings was created at the western edge of Birkenau, between crematoria 3 and 4. This was known as Canada 2.
466. These are the so-called Sonderkommando, and included men such as Stanislaw Jankowski, Szlama Dragon, and Henryk Tauber.
467. Ibid., 31. While the procedure of the killing process which Höss describes in this passage has been corroborated by others, there is the likelihood that he was confused about the location of the killing. Broad mentioned crematorium 1 as the location. I believe Broad to be right, especially as Höss mentioned in the passage immediately following the beginnings of the Holocaust in Auschwitz the transformation of the peasant cottages into bunkers 1 and 2. It is certainly true that his occasional confusion is troublesome, but it does not detract from the general credibility of his account.
468. Höss, "The Final Solution," in Höss, Death Dealer, 32f.. Höss's trip to Chelmno is well documented. Not only did the original order for the trip survive, but also the third man who attended the inspection, Untersturmführer Walther Dejaco, gave a detailed testimony during his trial in 1971.
469. Höss, "The Final Solution," in Höss, Death Dealer, 32.
470. Ibid., 36.
471. The reason for this is simple: the Germans did not want to separate mothers from their children, and as the latter were automatically condemned to the gas chambers, the former were too, even if they would have been considered "fit for work."
472. Höss, "The Final Solution," in Höss, Death Dealer, 43ff.
473. Ibid., 37.
474. Ibid., 38f.
475. Höss, "Gravits," in Höss, Death dealer, 264.
476. Hermann Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozeß: Eine Dokumentation, 2 vols.(Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Neue Kritik, 1995), vol.1, 211.
477. Höss, "Gravits," in Höss, Death dealer, 264f.
478. Höss, "Rules and Regulations for Concentration Camps," in Höss, Death dealer, 223f.
479. Höss, "Himmler," in Höss, Death dealer, 287.
480. Ibid., 289.
481. Ibid., 290.
482. Höss Testimony, given in Cracow on January 11, 1947, Höss Trial, volume 21g, 151, Archive Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim.
483. Ibid., 152f.
484. Ibid., 153.
485. Ibid., 154ff.
486. IBid., 156f.
487. Ibid., 157.
488. Ibid., 158.
489. Ibid., 159.
490. Höss Trial, volume 26b, 168ff, Archive Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim.
491. Judgement, Höss Trial, Volume 32, 6, Archive Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim.
492. Höss, "[My Life]," in Höss, Death dealer, 156.
493. Ibid.
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