Thies Christophersen

Excerpt from M. Weber's obituary about T. Christophersen:

Born in 1918, Christophersen worked as a farmer in Schleswig, northern Germany, until the outbreak of war in Europe. Called to military service, he was badly wounded in 1940 while serving in the western campaign. After recuperating and undergoing some specialized agricultural training, he was assigned to a research center in German-occupied Ukraine which experimentally cultivated a variety of dandelion (kok saghyz) as an alternative source of natural rubber, to be produced from the plant’s latex.

In the face of Soviet military advances, and the withdrawal of German forces from Ukraine, the center was transferred to the labor camp of Raisko, a satellite of Auschwitz. During the period he lived and worked there – January to December 1944 – Christophersen was responsible for the daily work of inmate laborers. The young second lieutenant supervised about 300 workers, many of them Jewish, of whom 200 were women from the Raisko camp, and 100 were men from the nearby Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. On a number of occasions he visited Birkenau where, it is alleged, hundreds of thousands of Jews were systematically gassed to death in May-July 1944. Although he knew of Birkenau’s crematories, it wasn’t until after the war that he first heard anything of “gas chamber” killings or mass exterminations.

In a memoir first published in Germany in 1973, he related his wartime experiences as a German army officer in the Auschwitz camp complex. “During the time I was in Auschwitz, I did not notice the slightest evidence of mass gassings,” he wrote in Die Auschwitz-Lüge (“The Auschwitz Lie”). As one of the first important works squarely to confront the Auschwitz extermination legend, Christophersen’s first-hand account was a major factor in the growth and development of Holocaust revisionism.

In March 1988 he testified in the “Holocaust trial” in Toronto of German-Canadian Ernst Zündel. Under oath, he detailed his wartime experiences at Auschwitz, and answered numerous pointed questions by the prosecuting attorney.

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