Contribution to the History of the Family Camp at Birkenau

Published: 2012-07-31
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1. Installation of Familienlager BIIb and the Alleged Homicidal Gassings.

On September 6, 1943, two transports of 2,479 and 2,528 Jews, altogether 5,007 persons, left the Theresienstadt ghetto for Auschwitz.[1] At Birkenau, on September 8, 5,006 persons arrived:[2] 2,293 men and boys, registered under ID numbers 146,694 – 148,986, and 2,713 women and girls who were given the numbers 58,471 – 61,183.[3] At Birkenau, the detainees were housed at camp BIIb which, for that reason, was given the designation Familienlager (family camp).

In December of 1943, another two transports of Jews from Theresienstadt were sent to the Familienlager, the first arriving on the 16th with 2,491 persons, among them 981 men and boys who received the ID numbers 168,154 – 169,134, and 1,510 women and girls who were assigned the numbers 70,513 – 72,019 and 72,028 – 72,030.[4] The second transport, counting 2,473 persons, arrived on December 20: its 1,137 men and boys received the numbers 169,969 -171,105, the 1,336 women and girls the numbers 72,435 – 73,700.[5]

In May of 1944, the Familienlager took in another three transports of Jews from Theresienstadt. The 2,503 persons of the first transport arrived on the 16th; its 767 men and boys received the numbers A-76 to A-842, the 1,736 women and girls the numbers A-15 to A-999 and A-2,000 to A-2,750.[6]

The second transport arrived on the 17th with 2,447 persons on board, 576 men and boys being registered as A-843 to A-1418, and 1,871 women and girls as A-1,000 to A-1,999 and A-2,751 to A-3,621.[7]

The third transport, of 2,499 persons, reached the camp on the 19th of May, with 1,062 men and boys being registered as A-1,445 to A-2,506, and 1,437 women and girls as A-3,642 to A-5,878.[8]

In Table 1, I have summarized the data regarding the transports of Jews that were housed in the Familienlager at Birkenau.

It is reported that the SS of Auschwitz had assigned to these transports of September and December of 1943 a quarantine of six months with “SB,” i.e. with final “gassing,” according to the arbitrary meaning which the official historiography has given to the term Sonderbehandlung.[9] At the end of the six months, these transports are said to have been “gassed.”

Under the date of March 8, 1944, D. Czech writes:[10]

“In the early morning, 3,791 Jewish detainees from Theresienstadt – men, women and children – were killed in Crematoria II and III.”

On July 2, 1944, Dr. Mengele selected 3,080[11] detainees fit for work in Camp Section BIIb: 2,000 women for the Stutthof and Hamburg camps, 1,000 men for KL Sachsenhausen, as well as 80 boys. In her note, D. Czech writes:[12]

“At present, Section BIIb houses about 10,000 detainees, because on May 11, 1944 3,256 detainees that had come with the transports of December 16 and 20, 1943 were still alive, and another 7,449 persons were brought in on May16, 17 and 19 and assigned to Section BIIb. A total of 6,231 female detainees were counted on June 10,[13] 1944; 5,799 women and 432 girls below 14 years of age.”

The remaining Jews, some 7,000 unfit for work, are said to have all been gassed: on July 10, 1944, “3,000 women and children into the crematorium,”[14] and on July 11, “4,000 Jewish women and men into the gas chambers.” ,”[14]

2. The Sources

These two alleged horrendous massacres of registered detainees are not confirmed by any documentary proof; they are based solely on two witness statements.

The first, cited also by Miroslav Kárný in a long article on the Famlienlager[15] (but not by D. Czech who uses it without attribution), is the well-known report drawn up by Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler after their escape from Birkenau on April 7, 1944. In one of the first versions of this report, which was handed over by Dr. Jaromir Kopecky to Richard Lichtenstein, the representative of the Jewish Agency at Geneva, one can read in this regard:[16]

“Some 148,000 – 152,000.[17]

In the week following September 7, 1943, transports of Jewish families arrived from Theresienstadt. It was quite astonishing for us that these transports enjoyed a special status unheard of so far. Families were not separated, none of them was gassed, which otherwise was the normal procedure. They were not even shorn and were housed, as they had arrived, men, women and children, in a separate camp section and were even allowed to retain their baggage. The men did not have to work; a school, directed by Freddy Hirsch (Makabi Prague) was authorized, and they were allowed an unrestricted correspondence. They only suffered under the extreme brutality of Arno Böhm, ID number 8, a professional criminal from the Reich, their ‘Lagerältester’ [chief Kapo]. Our astonishment grew further when we got to see, some time later, the official roster of these transports which was labelled: ‘SB – Transport tschechische Juden mit 6 monatlicher Quarantäne’ [SB-Transport Czech Jews with 6 months quarantine].

We knew quite well what ‘SB (Sonderbehandlung)’ really meant, but could not understand this kind of treatment over such a long period of time, as the longest quarantine period, according to our limited experience, had never exceeded 3 weeks. We became suspicious. The closer the end of this 6-months quarantine period approached, the more we became convinced that these Jews, too, would end up in a gas chamber. We searched for a way of getting in touch with the leaders of this group. We made clear to them how matters stood. Some of them, in particular Freddy Hirsch who seemed to have the confidence of his companions, told us that they would organize a resistance should our fears materialize. The men from the ‘Sonderkommando’ promised us that they would join the Czech Jews in that case. Some of them believed that a general revolt in the camp could be organized in this way.

On March 6, 1944, we learned that the crematoria were being prepared for the reception of the Czech Jews. I hurried to see Freddy Hirsch and implored him to act, as they had nothing more to lose. He answered, saying that he knew what his duty was. Before curfew, I sneaked back to the Czech camp only to learn that Freddy Hirsch was dying. He had poisoned himself with Luminal.

The next day, March 7, 1944, unconscious, he was taken to the crematoria by truck, together with his 3,791 companions who had arrived at Birkenau on September 7, 1943, and gassed. The young people went to their death singing. To our great disappointment, there had been no resistance. The men of the Sonderkommando, ready to go along, had waited in vain.

Some 500 elderly persons died during the quarantine period. Only 11 pairs of twins were allowed to survive; various medical experiments are being practiced on them at Auschwitz. When we left Birkenau, they were still alive. Among those gassed, there was also Rozsi Fürst from Sered in Slovakia.

One week before the gassings, i.e. on March 1, 1944, all camp inmates had to write to their relatives abroad telling them that they were well. The letters had to bear the dates of March 23-25, 1944. They were told to ask for parcels to be sent by their relatives abroad.”

The report then launched a disquieting remark concerning the fate of the two transports of December 1943:[18]

“On December 23, 1943, another 3,000 Jews arrived from Theresienstadt. The transport roster bears the same title as for those who had arrived on September 7: ‘SB-transport, Czech Jews with 6 months quarantine.’ […] their quarantine period runs out on June 20.”

The second testimonial, also mentioned by D. Czech, comes from the former detainee Otto Wolken, a witness at the Höss trial:[19]

“Next to our section, separated from us only by an electrified wire, was Section BIIb. Initially, it was a family camp and was opened up on September 9 with a transport of 8,000 men, women and children from the Theresienstadt ghetto. In December 1943, there was another arrival of 5,000 and in January a third, numbering 5,000 as well. The inmates of this camp were privileged with respect to the other detainees. They were allowed to keep their belongings, were not shorn, were staying together with their wives and children, were allowed to write home every two weeks and to receive food parcels. A kindergarten had been set up for the children and the children received special rations, even milk. Still, the poor housing conditions and infectious diseases caused many deaths to occur, especially among the elderly.

On March 8, 1944, all men, women and children of the first transport (September 1943) were called out, the men were separated from the women, and all were led, in groups of 500, into our camp where they occupied Blocks 2 – 12 that had been vacated. It was rumored that they would be transported to Heidebreck [sic]. No food was brought in for them, and when armed SS troops arrived later and were posted around the Theresienstadt blocks, we became worried. However, nothing happened during the night, the guards were removed the next morning and the people were allowed to move freely in our camp.

During the day, 40 of them were taken away. At noon, food was brought for them and they also received their rations at night. The afternoon roll-call took place in a perfectly normal way and everything seemed to be all right. Then, suddenly, around 8 o’clock at night (I happened to be in a block where there were a number of Viennese women) all blocks were closed and when I stepped out, I could see the lights of a long column of trucks coming in from the station. The trucks, 18 altogether, moved into our section, and a strong detachment of SS appeared, reinforced by Polish and Reich-German Kapos who were posted as guards in front of the blocks.

In the blocks that were not occupied by the people from Theresienstadt, everyone had to get into their bunks and it was lights out. The BIIb section leader, SS-Oscha [Sergeant] Pollaczek checked our blocks and threatened to shoot us – we were in the infirmary – because there were still some lights and not all of us were in bed. Then the Theresienstadt blocks were evacuated one by one, people were loaded onto trucks, 80 at a time, and were taken to the crematorium (Crematorium 3). This went on for most of the night, as there were 3,752 people altogether, all in perfectly good health, men women and children.”

Otto Wolken then testified also on the subject of the alleged “liquidation” of the Familienlager (the quarantine camp BIIa) in July of 1944:[20]

“At the end of June, the remainder of the Theresienstadt camp was liquidated. At first, the infirmary was cleaned out and the women taken to the gas. I was able to see for myself how women, stark naked and sick, were taken by their hands and feet and swung aboard the trucks, regardless of how they would come down, one on top of the other.

Over the next few days, all men and women who were fully fit for work were selected and the women sent on to Hanover, Hamburg and Stutthof. The able-bodied men came into our section, waiting to be taken away to other camps. Old men and women remained behind, as well as the weak and women with children. It was suggested to these women that they give up their children and join a transport, but only very few did, although they were told that the children would be housed in a children’s block of their own under good conditions. On July 8, 50 tall and strong boys were taken out of this camp and assigned to BIIb as queens for the camp aristocracy.

Two days later, in the early afternoon, the remainder of the men from Theresienstadt left our camp for Blechhammer. At night, the mothers were called out with their children, they were told that they would be moved to the gypsy camp BIIe but that they had to pass through the sauna (bathing establishment) first, as was always the case when people were moved from one camp to another. What was surprising, though, was the fact that this occurred at night, at a time when the guard towers were already manned and the gypsy camp office was already closed. And, in fact, we were not wrong; they all went into the gas.

The next day, trucks arrived to take away the men and women who were still left, and some 4,000 were taken from the camp into the gas. They had to use trucks, and a large detachment of SS, because it had become known that the mothers with their children were not in the gypsy camp but in heaven.”

The figure of 3,752 allegedly gassed persons was a simple typing error, because in a report entitled “Lager-Bilder” (camp images), Otto Wolken writes that on March 9, 1944, there were gassed “3,792 men, women and children from Theresienstadt who were in our camp and enjoyed perfectly good health,” and that the rest of the people from Theresienstadt – some 4,000 persons – were gassed on July 28, 1944 (sic).[21] These figures – 3,792 and 4,000 – were confirmed by the witness in the report “Frauen- und Kinderschicksale” (“Fates of Women and Children”).[22] Furthermore, D. Czech quotes another three books,[23] but they appeared later and are less significant.

3. The Headcount of Camp BIIb

Some documents, for the most part unknown to D. Czech and to other specialists of the history of KL Auschwitz, allow us to estimate, at least to some extent, the headcount of camp BIIb. They belong to the series of reports designated “Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der Häftlinge des Konzentrationslagers Auschwitz II” (“Survey of Number and Use of Detainees at the Auschwitz II Concentration Camp”) and to the well-known series “K.L. Auschwitz II, Arbeitseinsatz” (“K.L. Auschwitz II, Work Record”) for the men’s camp at Birkenau, and to the series “Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der weiblichen Häftlinge des Konzentrationslager Auschwitz O/S” (“Survey of Number and Use of Female Detainees at the Auschwitz Upper Silesia Concentration Camp”) for the women’s camp.

The “Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der Häftlinge des Konzentrationslagers Auschwitz II” of January 15, 1944[24] presents numerical data explained in great detail by pencil notes in the margin. The column “nicht arbeits- und nicht einsatzfähige Häftlinge” (“detainees unfit for work or for other uses”) includes 6,292 detainees among whom 1,960 Jews are designated as follows:

  • stationäre Kranke” (bedridden patients): 1,061
  • Invaliden” (invalids): 560;
  • Jugendl. unter 14. J.” (juveniles under age 14): 339.

The column “unbeschäftigte Häftlinge” (“unemployed detainees”) contains 5,233 detainees, 3,690 of whom are “in quarantine.” Among these, we have 2,315 Jews subdivided as follows:

  • 800 “kaum arbeistfähig” (“hardly fit for work”)
  • 300 “10.2.(44?)”[25] (probably the date of the end of the quarantine period)
  • 1,215 “Theresienstadt”

As we shall see below, on February 15, 1944 there were a total of 2,978 Jews from Theresienstadt in the men’s section, hence it is impossible that on January 15, they numbered 1,215. Obviously, they were included in the various categories mentioned above. Furthermore, as there were only 339 Jewish children counted in the group of “Jugendliche unter 14 Jahre,” we must assume that the minimum remainder, i.e. (638 – 339 =) 299 children present on January 31 were counted with their mothers in the women’s camp.

On April 20, 1944, Camp BIIb counted 210 “Therslg. Knaben bis 14. J. H.” and 1.268 “Therslg. Erwachsen H.[26]; on May 3, the children were unchanged at 210 whereas the adults stood at 1,250.[27] On May 11, the two categories totalled, respectively, 210 and 1,242 detainees,[28] on May 14, 210 and 1,238,[29] and on May 15, 210 and 1,235 detainees.[30] On the next report that has survived, dated July 28, 1944,[31] Camp BIIb no longer exists, because it had become exclusively a women’s camp.

Let us now consider the number of female detainees. On April 3, 1944, Camp BIIb contained 215 “Jugendliche aus Theresienstadt” and 1,685 “Juden aus Theresienstadt.[32] On May 15, the two columns numbered 210 and 1,589 female detainees,[33] on June 5, 215 and 6,422 female detainees,[34] on June 19, 895 and 5,514,[35] and on June 30, 432 and 5,799.[36] This is the last report we have.

The increase in strength from 1,589 to 6,637 female detainees in the report of June 5 is due to the arrival of (1,736 + 1871 + 1,437 =) 5,044 female Jewish detainees from Theresienstadt with the transports of May 16, 17 and 19, 1944, which caused the headcount of the women’s camp to grow, in fact, to (1,589 + 5,044 =) 6,633 female detainees plus another four of unknown origin, possibly babies born in camp BIIb.

In the report of June 19, 1944, the “juveniles under age 14” of the three transports mentioned above were counted separately under the special category which thus rose from 215 to 895 detainees. This means that the new arrivals numbered (895 – 215 =) 680. The column “Jews from Theresienstadt” went down from 6,422 to 5,514, i.e. by 908 detainees, this figure includes the 680 juveniles and (908 – 680 =) 228 female detainees whose fates we will examine below.

Hence, the size of the BIIb camp, as it can be reconstructed on the basis of available documents is as shown in Table 2. As we shall see in Section 8, these figures do not include the detainees of the Familienlager who were employed in the various work details.

4. The Transports of September and December 1943

For the alleged gassing of March 8, 1944, D. Czech – as we have already noted – furnishes the figure of 2,791 victims, adding as a note:[37]

“According to the computation of the author, 3,791, according to Dr. Otto Wolken’s statement 3,792 persons.” (my emphasis)

In the first German edition of her Kalendarium, the Polish author writes that out of the two transports of Jews of September 8, 1944, with a total of 5,006 persons, some 1,140 had died of natural causes up to March 1944, 3,791 were gassed and 70 were allowed to live.[38] However, with such figures, the account does not change: 5,006 – 1,140 – 70 = 3,796, not 3,791.

In a subsequent article, D. Czech corrects the error stating that 1,145 Jews from the Familienlager had died of natural causes, 70 were allowed to live and 3,791 were “gassed.”[39]

But this final figure is not the result of any “computation:” D. Czech has simply taken it from the Vrba-Wetzler report without even saying so! The figure of those having died of natural causes – 1,145 – is, anyway, in contradiction with the one given by Vrba and Wetzler – “etwa 500” (some 500) – whereas the figure of detainees allowed to live – 70 – is in contradiction both with the one given by Vrba and Wetzler – “11 Zwillingspaare” (11 pairs of twins) = 22 persons – and the one mentioned by O. Wolken – 40 persons. Ota Kraus and Erich Kulka furnish yet another figure for those allowed to live: 40 initially, then another 62 (nine physicians, one pharmacist, 12 nurses and 40 patients),[40] altogether 102 detainees. It is not clear from what source D. Czech took her figure of 70 detainees, which is in contrast with all the major testimonies, on the other hand, it is perfectly clear in what way she had computed her number of persons having died of natural causes: 5,006 – 3,791 – 70 = 1,145! This figure is, however, purely arbitrary and not based on any fact.

Let us now look at the figure of 3,791 victims. As we have seen, it stems from the Vrba-Wetzler report but, in that document, it referred only to male detainees. The two authors, in fact, stated that some 4,000 male inmates coming from Theresienstadt had been registered at Birkenau under the numbers 148000 - 152000 and that about 500 had died during their six months of quarantine and 22 had been allowed to live, resulting in an assumed figure of 3,480 for the number gassed. As far as Otto Wolken is concerned, he quotes 3,792, practically the same figure. However, he himself, in the column “Anmerkungen” (remarks) of his daily reports on the variations in headcount of the quarantine camp BIIa, dated March 8, 1944, notes without any explanation “3,762,”[41] a figure which obviously referred to the detainees in the Familienlager who, on that day, were temporarily moved to Camp BIIa.

As we have ascertained in the preceding paragraph, on January 31, 1944 there were 2,978 detainees from Theresienstadt in the men’s sector of Camp BIIb, 638 juveniles and 2,340 adults. These figures refer either to the two transports that had arrived on September 8, 1943 or to the transports that arrived on December 16 and 20, 1943. As a total of 4,411 male detainees had been registered from all of these transports, on January 31, 1944 there were missing (4,411 – 2,978 =) 1,433 detainees. What had become of them?

An original German document, little known and even less used by historians, the “Nummernbuch 150 000 to 200 000,” helps shed light on these questions.

The “Nummernbuch[42] is a register of the variations in strength of the men’s camp in which the ID numbers of 50,000 detainees have been recorded; the numbers went from 150,000 (number assigned on September 10, 1943) to 200,000 (number assigned between October 28 and November 7, 1944). The numbers are entered in 4 columns and 25 lines per page, and next to each number there is an abbreviation referring to the variation due to the detainee concerned but without an indication of a date.

As Kazimierz Smolen testified in a sworn statement dated December 16, 1947,[43] the register employs 36 abbreviations, none of which has any suspicious overtones such as “SB” (Sonderbehandlung) or “GU” (“gesondert untergebracht” (separately housed) or other assumed encryptions of homicidal “gassings.” Among the most common abbreviations, we find: “üb” (“überstellt,” transferred), “+” (“gestorben,” deceased), “gefloh,” (“geflohen,” fled), “ent.” (“entlassen,” released), “II. Üb” (“nach Birkenau überstellt;” transferred to Birkenau), “KB” (““Krankenbau,” infirmary), “Buna” (transferred to the Monowitz camp), “Blechh,” (transferred to the Blechhammer outside camp) as well as abbreviations for the other 23 Auschwitz sub-camps.

From this document, the fate of the two transports mentioned above can be reconstructed in the following way.

Transport of December 16, 1943:

  • 120 detainees were sent to the subcamps of Auschwitz, among them 112 who went to Blechhammer
  • 60 died at Birkenau
  • 148 were transferred to other KL camps

Transport of December 20, 1943

  • 136 detainees were sent to the Auschwitz sub-camps, among them 121 who went to Blechhammer[44]
  • 85 died at Birkenau
  • 371 were transferred to other KL camps.
  • The variations thus concern 971 detainees of whom
  • 256 were sent to the Auschwitz sub-camps
  • 196 died at Birkenau or in its sub-camps
  • 519 were transferred to other KL camps.

For the remaining 1,147 detainees, the Nummernbuch gives no disposition, which means that they remained at Birkenau. They were probably part of the 1,201 Jews who were still at Birkenau on September 2, 1944[45] and were partially evacuated in January of 1945. The Nummernbuch was, in fact, kept until January 18, 1945.[46] Moreover, K. Smolen, who, in his capacity of Schreiber (clerk) at the Politische Abteilung (political department), had access to the Nummernbuch, in his sworn statement of December 16, 1947 gave no indication of any irregularity or falsification in respect of the keeping of the register – we may therefore assume that its contents are in conformity with reality.

According to M. Karn, the Sterbebücher (death books) for the period between December 19 and 31, 1943 register the deaths of 119 male and female detainees of the Familienlager.[47] In the memorial of the deportation of Czech Jews.[1] we find, however, the names of 62 inmates of the Familienlager who died at Auschwitz, subdivided as follows:

  • Transport of September 8, 1943: 16 deaths (14 female, 2 male detainees)
  • Transport of December 16, 1943: 39 deaths (35 female, 4 male detainees)
  • Transport of December 20, 1943: 7 deaths (4 female and 3 male detainees)

On the other hand, the Sterbebücher of Auschwitz have been entirely preserved for the period of October 7 through December 31, 1943, but M. Karn says nothing in this respect, and the memorial for the deportation of the Czech Jews notes that, chronologically, the first death at Auschwitz among the deportees of the transports of September and December 1943 is that of Ruzena Hojdova, deported on September 8, 1943 who died on November 22, 1943 (Sterbebuch number 34711). We must, therefore, retain that the number of deaths mentioned by M. Karn concerns the entire period of October 7 through December 31, 1943. Hence, for the period between September 8 and October 6, 1943, not covered by Sterbebücher preserved, we may assume at the most several tens of deaths among the persons having arrived on the transports mentioned above. This is consistent with the deaths registered in the Nummernbuch.

On April 20, 1944, after the alleged gassings of March 8, there were still 1,478 persons in the male sector of the Familienlager who had come with the transports of December. Hence, (2,118 – 1,478 = ) 640 are missing, some 20% of whom can be assumed to have died and 80% transferred.[48]

On April 3, the women’s sector counted 1,900 detainees having arrived with the December transports, hence they had diminished by (2,846 – 1,900 =) 946 persons. This loss in headcount cannot simply be attributed to mortality; by analogy with the male sector one may conclude that the 946 missing were, for the most part, moved elsewhere.

Let us now consider the September transports. The figure of 1,145 dead, given by D. Czech, is absolutely unreliable. As we have already seen, the mortality of this group of detainees, between October 7 and December 31, 1943, was 16 deaths out of the 62 registered at the Czech memorial for the deported Jews. Even if we accept the total number of 119 deaths announced by M. Karn the order of magnitude does not change. The number of deaths among the detainees from the September transports would amount to a few dozen altogether. Therefore, in rounded figures, out of the 1,145 dead, some 1,100 would have died between January 1 and March 7, 1944. Furthermore, as the headcount of the male sector, between February 15 and April 20, 1944, went down by 1,500 detainees belonging to the September transports, the total reduction would have amounted to (2,293 – 1,500 = ) 793 detainees, a figure which would correspond to an impossible mortality rate of over 23% per month.

According to H. Langbein, the ex-detainee who had access to the monthly reports on mortality drawn up by the SS-Standortarzt (SS camp physician), the mortality in January of 1944 was 13.2% of the detainees, 6.1% in February and 10% in March.[49] The maximum mortality indicated by Langbein, the one for January, is not only much lower than the hypothetical one that was mentioned above, but is also somewhat doubtful. Actually, in the male camp at Birkenau, between 10 and 15 January there were 386 deaths[50]; another 257 occurred between January 28 and 31.[51] Thus, over these eleven days, there were 643 deaths for a total of some 21,000 detainees of this camp. Extrapolated, this amounts to 8.6% as a monthly rate.

We therefore have to conclude that the major portion of the missing detainees – probably 80%, as was the case for the detainees stemming from the December 1943 transports – were transferred elsewhere, and this also goes for the female detainees.

M. Karný publishes two documents concerning two female detainees (one Dutch, one Czech) from the transports of 8 September 1943 (as can be deduced from the respective ID numbers) with the following remark:[52]

“Two surviving work cards of female inmates of the Theresienstadt family camp with entries noting their deaths on 8 March 1944. On 8 and 9 March 1944, 3,791 Jews from Theresienstadt – men, women and children – were murdered in the gas chambers of Crematoria II and III. Originals in the center for storage of historical and documentary collections, Moscow. Copies in the archives of the national museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau.”

The Czech historian therefore presents these documents as proof of the reality of the alleged gassings of March 8, 1944. He does not, however, mention the total number of “Arbeitskarten” showing March 8, 1944 as the date of death. The memorial of the deportation of Czech Jews mentions only three detainees as having died on that day[53] and we can thus be certain that the number of deaths documented for March 8, 1944 is in perfect agreement with the daily mortality.

5: The “Gassing” of the Jews of the Familienlager – a Reasonable Historical Thesis?

The Familienlager at Birkenau, according to M. Karn, was set up because Himmler intended to show it to a delegation of the International Red Cross. This visit was to take place in parallel with the one to the Theresienstadt ghetto, which Himmler had authorized in May, 1944, and which actually did take place on June 23.[54] However, this possibility was not taken advantage of by the Red Cross, which did not make the slightest move in this direction; therefore, “‘das Arbeitslager Birkenau’ in der Form des Theresienstädter Familienlagers” (“the Birkenau work camp in the form of the Theresienstadt family camp”) became useless and was liquidated.[55]

This hypothesis, not supported by any documentation, explains the origins of the Familienlager but not its end. Actually, it would have made no sense to assign to the transports of September or to those of December 1943 a quarantine of six months followed by Sonderbehandlung while the negotiations in respect of a visit to Theresienstadt between Himmler and the Red Cross were still going on, because it would have been necessary to leave the Familienlager intact up to the date of such a visit, which was unknown.

The alleged gassing of the detainees belonging to the transport of September 8, 1943 is even more nonsensical.

As we have seen above, according to the official theses, 3,791 out of 3,861 Jews who had stayed alive until then were gassed on March 8, 1944, and 70, fit for work, survived, i.e. 1.8% of them. The two transports included 933 persons aged 60 and over, as well as 256 children under age 15,[56] thus 1,189 persons, or 23.7% of the total who were without a doubt unfit for work. But the two transports of December 1943 contained 1,504 persons older than 65, and 615 children aged 15 or less,[57] altogether 2,119 persons unfit for work out of 5,007[58] deportees, or 42.3% of the total. Furthermore, from these transports, 775 male detainees were transferred to other camps, as well as some 1,000 women 426 of whom – according to the memorial for the deportation of the Czech Jews – survived their deportation.[59]

Therefore, even if the transports of September and December 1943 shared the common fate of Sonderbehandlung after six months of quarantine, the survivors of the September transport are said to have all been gassed except for 70 fit for work, whereas from among those of the December transport at least (775 + 466 =) 1,241 detainees were spared because they were fit for work. The matter is all the more incredible insofar as the September transport contained 3,270 detainees fit for work (between 16 and 55 years of age)[60] whereas the December transport had 1,760 persons “voll arbeitsfähig” (fully fit for work) to whom we have to add another 1126[61] for a total of 2,886. Thus, in the first case, the SS would have spared 2.1% of the total of 3,270 able-bodied detainees, as against 43% out of 2,886 in the second case!

Besides, among the 40 survivors registered in the memorial of the deportation of the Czech Jews, we have Hana Heitlerova, born January 16, 1930, and Otto Deutelbaum, born April 16, 1933. Among the 426 survivors of the December transports, there are 15 children born in 1930, six in 1931, three in 1932, and two twins born in 1933, as well as another two born in 1939.

6. The Cremation of the Corpses of the “Gassing” of March 8, 1944

Whereas D. Czech affirms that the 3,791 survivors of the transport of September 8, 1943 were gassed and cremated in Crematoria II and III, Otto Wolken mentions only Crematorium III. According to a secret message sent by J. Cyrankiewicz, a member of the Auschwitz resistance, “all chimneys of the crematoria, a day later (i.e. the day after the alleged gassing), sent out black smoke.”[62] Actually, the chimneys of crematoria II and III would have had to operate continually for another five days in order to burn the bodies of all the alleged victims. But what was their operational state at the time?

On February 24, the SS-Standortverwaltung (SS local administration) addressed a letter to the Zentralbauleitung (Central Construction Office) concerning “Krematorien Birkenau” demanding “20 bags of Monolith, 200 pieces of refractory brick and 200 pieces of refractory wedge brick against bill of lading – for urgent repairs to the crematoria” .[63] The letter was received by the Zentralbauleitung on February 29, as shown by the respective “in” stamp. The Zentralbauleitung, in turn, had to request the material from the Topf company, which would have required a few weeks, and more weeks for it to arrive at Auschwitz.

On March 25, Bauleiter (chief site engineer) Jothann, referring to a note of March 10, in a letter on the subject of “KGL Auschwitz, Kremat. Ausnützung der Abgase[64] (KGL Auschwitz, cremat., use of exhaust gases) indicated to the Topf Co. “Crematoria II and III, possibly IV and V as well to be considered.”[65] In a letter dated May 4, 1944 Jothann requests permission from the Birkenau commandant for access to the crematoria by civilian employee Jährling as the latter had been “ordered to assume the supervision of the repair work in the crematoria,”[66] which means that the repairs concerned also – or above all – Crematoria II and III. On May 9 a similar request was made on behalf of the Koehler Co. (builder of the flue gas ducts and chimneys of the crematoria) “because the Koehler Co. has been entrusted with urgent repair work on the crematoria.”[67]

Knowing the bureaucratic delays in the relations between the Zentralbauleitung and the Topf Co.,[68] one can be certain that the “urgent repair work on the crematoria” ordered on February 24, 1944 was not initiated before the second week of May. In such a situation, the cremation of nearly 3,800 corpses on March 8, 1944 is not absolutely credible.

7. The Transport to Heydebreck

As we have already seen, O. Wolken relates that the SS had spread the word that the survivors of the two September transports had been moved to the Heydebreck camp, the German name for the town of Kendzierzyn. At Kendzierzyn-Kožle, a place some 40 km west of Gliwice/Gleiwitz, there was the “Juden-Zwangsarbeiterlager Blechhammer” (Jewish forced labor camp Blechhammer). According to the “central commission for the investigation of the Hitler crimes against Poland,” about 29,000 Jews “from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, with women and children among them”[69] passed through that camp.

The transfer of the Jews from Theresienstadt unfit for work, to this camp has, therefore, nothing unusual about it. Blechhammer was a habitual destination for the Jews from the Familienlager: not only were the 233 detainees from the December 1943 transports, mentioned in the Nummernbuch, moved here, but also many Jews from later transports. In August of 1944, detainees at the Blechhammer camp numbered around 4,000, 99% of whom were Jews.[70] At the end of the war, at least 143 Czech Jews were liberated here, 6 of whom had been deported to Lodz in October of 1941 and later to Auschwitz, 29 came from transports of December 1943, and 112 from later transports.[71] This means that no less than 345 Czech Jews were sent to that camp.

At the end of the war, the surviving Jews were dispersed in over 120 places, which are listed here in alphabetical order:

Allach, Altenburg, Argenau, Arnstadt, Augsburg, Auschwitz, Bart, Beehndorf, Bergen-Belsen, Berlin, Bilroda, Birnbäumel, Bismarckhütte, Bissingen, Blechhammer, Braunschweig, Brnenec, Brodnica, Bromberg, Buchenwald, Chrastava, Christianstadt, Dachau, Deutsch Eylau, Dora, Dorbeck, Ebensee, Eichmannsdorf, Feldafing, Flossenbürg, Freiberg, Friedland, Fürstengrube, Ganacker, Gdansk, Georgental, Glebe, Gleiwitz, Glewe, Golleschau, Görlitz, Gross-Rosen, Grünburg, Gunskirchen, Gusen, Gutovo, Guttau, Halberstadt, Haselbek, Haselhorst, Hersching, Heydebreck, Hirschburg, Holzhausen, Horni, Slezsko, Jamlitz, Janina, Jaworzno, Judowa, Katowice, Kaufering, Kochstadt, Korben, Kudova, Kurzbach, Landsberg, Landshut, Langenstein, Lenzing, Lipsko, Litomerice, Lovosice, Magdeburg, Malchow, Mauthausen, Melk, Mercin, Mersenburg, Merzdorf, Meuselwitz, Monowitz, Moorburg, Mühldorf, Neuengamme, Neustrelitz, Niederorschel, Nikolai, Nova Role, Oederan, Ohrdruf, Oranienburg, Parsnice, Plattning, Plavno, Praust, Raguhn, Ravensbrück, Remsdorf, Retzow, Sachsenhausen, Salzwedel, Scharfenstein, Schlesiersee, Schwerin, Schwarzheide, Sosnowiec, Steinort, Stutthof, Theresienstadt,[72] Taucha, Trachenberg, Trebisov, Türkheim, Vöcklerbruck, Vratislav, Waldenburg, Warsaw, Weisswasser, Wels, Willischthal, Wöbelling, Zatec, Zelle.

Some of these places were situated in the region of Blechhammer. For example, Merzdorf (Mierzyce), with 44 survivors, Friedland (Mieroszów), with 60 survivors, Gleiwitz (Gliwice), with 83 survivors. One survivor was liberated at Heydebreck itself: Mayer, Jan, born in 1925 and deported to Auschwitz from Theresienstadt on September 28, 1944.

Furthermore, the detainees who were to be transferred from Birkenau would first be moved to Quarantänelager BIIa, where they stayed “in Vorbereitung zum Transport” (in preparation for transport), as shown by the daily “Arbeitseinsatz” reports. Otto Wolken himself declared that on July 10, 1944, the men fit for work who had, two days earlier, been moved to Camp BIIa, were actually sent to Blechhammer. And M. Kárný writes in this respect:[73]

“At that time, at the latest up to July 10, 1944, more men from Theresienstadt were despatched for work, to Blechhammer to be exact. They went by truck. Along the way, they saw the infamous name of Heydebreck”

8. The Liquidation of the Familienlager (July 1944)

On June 30, 1944, as we have already seen, the female sector of the Familienlager counted 6,231 Jewesses, 432 of whom were below 15 years of age. On the male side, there were 1,445 Jews on May 15, 1944, with 210 below 15 years of age. The loss in headcount between April 20 and May 15 – due almost entirely to mortality – amounted to 33 persons which corresponds to a daily mortality rate of one person. In the female sector, the headcount dropped by 96 persons between April 3 and May 15, i.e. at an average rate of about two persons by day.

However, between June 5 and 30, the number of the female group went down by 406 persons, from 6,637 to 6,232. The decrease amounted to 178 persons in the period June 19 through 30, from 6,409 to 6,231. The report of the series “Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der weiblichen Häftlinge des Konzentrationslagers Auschwitz O/S” covers the period June 20 through 30 and allows us to follow in detail the changes in the number of the women’s camp. It is certain that those 178 detainees did not all die, because within the time span considered, in the women’s camp, there were 126 deaths of detainees altogether, nor were they “gassed” or executed,[74] or released or transferred – but then where did they end up?

In my opinion, the explanation is as follows:

The report mentioned above splits the (female) detainees into two large categories: “arbeitsfähig” (fit for work) (19,220 detainees) and “arbeitsunfähig” (unfit for work) (11,678 detainees). The second category, labelled “nicht arbeits- und nicht einsatzfähige Häftlinge” (detainees unfit for work or other use) is subdivided into six parts two of which refer to the “Famlienlager:” (“Jugendl. a(us). Theresienstadt” and “Juden a(us). Theresienstadt” (juveniles from Theresienstadt and Jews from Theresienstadt)). It is, however, well known that both the male and the female detainees of the Familienlager normally worked in various details (Kommandos): weaving, transport carts, potato peeling, delousing, road building, stone carrying, sewer cleaning, infirmary, surveying.[75] The detainees assigned to these Kommandos were obviously considered “arbeitsfähig” and were entered into the particular category. Therefore, although being housed in the Familienlager, they were not counted as part of its headcount which was noted in the column “arbeitsunfähig.” The above loss of 178 detainees thus resulted, for the most part, from an assignment to a “Kommando” and from the corresponding administrative change, and this goes for most of the 406 detainees mentioned.

With the transports of May 1944, the strength of the men’s sector in the Familienlager went up by 2,345 detainees, which brought the total strength up from a presence of 1,445 on 15 May to a final figure of 3,790 inmates. Thus, by June 30, the overall headcount of the Familienlager must have been around 10,000 persons.

According to Kraus and Kulka, on July 1, 1,000 able-bodied detainees were selected and sent to Schwarzheide via Sachsenhausen “and only 220 have survived Schwarzheide.” Another 500 were transferred to Germany, and 80 juveniles between 14 and 16 years of age were selected as “Lehrlinge für die Fabriken im Reich” (apprentices for factories in the Reich). A further 2,000 able-bodied women were sent to Hamburg and to Stutthof.[76] Hence, the alleged number of persons gassed would be around 6,400 and not 7,000 as has been stated by D. Czech.

The presumed gassing of the Jews unfit for work on July 10 and 11, 1944 is even more doubtful than that of March 8. The essential source for D. Czech is the statement by O. Wolken mentioned above and, in a minor way, the book by Kraus and Kulka from which the (incomplete) information of the transfer of able-bodied detainees was taken. The uncertainty of the author of the Kalendarium shows through also in the terminology which she uses: the victims were sent “in das Krematorium” (into the crematorium) (but which?) and “in die Gaskammern” (into the gas chambers) (but of which crematorium?).

The secret resistance movement at Auschwitz, which may have sent out a coded message about the alleged gassing of March 8, 1944 (such as the one by J. Cyrankiewicz cited above) keeps quiet about this allegedly even more terrible event. This is surprising, to say the least, because, as M. Kárný has shown, by the middle of June 1944 the Vrba-Wetzler report had been widely circulated, not only in the Allied and the neutral press, but above all among the representatives of the Czech government in London. This group, fearing that the Jews of the December transport would be gassed as mentioned in the report, at the end of their six-month quarantine period, i.e. on June 20, launched warnings and threats at the German government.[77] On June 16, 1944, the German Funk-Abhördienst (radio monitoring service) wrote a report on a radio broadcast from London the previous day which had said:[78]

“London has learned that an order has been given out by the German authorities to murder 3,000 Czechoslovak Jews in gas chambers at Birkenau. These 3,000 Jews were sent to Birkenau from the concentration camp at Theresienstadt on the Elbe in December of last year. On 7 March, 4,000 Jews who had been moved to Birkenau from Theresienstadt in December [sic] of 1943 were murdered in the gas chambers.”

After so much publicity it is clear that Himmler (if we assume the existence of homicidal gas chambers) would have felt an urgent need to disprove the predictions of Vrba and Wetzler by allowing the Jews of the Familienlager to survive. There was actually still a chance that the Red Cross, alarmed by such news, would ask Himmler to visit the Jews in the Familienlager. Furthermore, the Auschwitz camp resistance movement would have had great interest to send to London a detailed report on the gassing of the Familienlager, which would have confirmed the predictions of the Vrba-Wetzler report. Even so, it is a fact that Himmler, against all logic, is reported by the official historiography to have ordered the gassing of the Familienlager, whereas the camp resistance did not come out with any report on this alleged crime.

Miklos Nyiszli is perhaps the only self-styled detainee from the crematorium personnel (inappropriately called “Sonderkommando”) to have told the story of the alleged end of the Familienlager. He tells us:[79]

“Their number has gone down to [sic] 12,000 within a short period of time. Today, the day of its liquidation, some 1,500 men and women, still fit for work, as well as 8 physicians have been selected; the others will go into the Crematoria III and IV. The next day, the Czech camp, after having been active for two years, stands deserted. In the crematoria, too, everything is quiet again. I see a truck loaded with ash, leaving the yard of the crematorium and heading for the Vistula River. At a stroke, the number of detainees in the camp has dropped by 10,000 human beings and, on the other hand, the archive of the KZ will grow by one sheet of paper.” (Translator’s note: variation of tenses in the original.)

Leaving aside the chronological error (the Familienlager was set up ten months – not two years – previously) and a numerical one (the headcount of the camp had been 10,000 and not 12,000 detainees and those fit for work numbered 3,500 and not 1,500), Nyiszli asserts that 10,000 persons were gassed and cremated in crematoria III and IV within the span of one single day. Such a statement is not the result of direct experience; it stems from a simple computation because for Nyiszli each crematorium had a capacity of 5,000 corpses per day[80] (thus, Crematoria IV and V, which contained 8 muffles each, had the same capacity as Crematoria II and III with their 15 muffles!) and it was therefore clear if 10,000 corpses were burned in two crematoria it would take only one day to accomplish!

Actually, the cremation of 10,000 bodies (or 7,000 according to D. Czech) would have required respectively 18 or 13 days of continuous operation of the crematoria!

Nyiszli’s tale contains, moreover, a major element in contradiction with the official version: in spite of pretending to have spoken with Dr. Heller,[81] the camp physician of the Familienlager,[82] he knows nothing of the presumed six months of quarantine followed by Sonderbehandlung, although, according to M. Kárný, after the alleged gassing of March 8, all detainees of the Familienlager were now well informed.[83]

Nyiszli, for his part, affirms that Dr. Mengele decided on the gassing of the Jews of Camp BIIb because at that time many transports of Hungarian Jews arrived and “the old people, the younger ones, exhausted after two years spent in the KZ, and the children, only skin and bones, from the Czech camp portion” had to leave their quarters to make room “for the new and able-bodied arrivals.”[84]

After the liquidation of the Auschwitz Familienlager, there should have been left only 80 boys aged 14 to 16, and a few pairs of twins, from the transports arrived between September 1943 and May 1944. However, according to the camp resistance movement, there were still 1,398 Czech Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau on September 2, 1944, distributed as follows: Auschwitz I, 289 detainees, Auschwitz II, 175 detainees, and Auschwitz III, 737 male and 195 female detainees.

It is true that Jews from Theresienstadt were moved to Auschwitz even before September 8, 1943, but from all transports (October 28, 1942 through February 2, 1943) 1,105 male detainees were registered whereas on 2 September there were 1,201 of them. In spite of the evacuation of the camp, at the moment of liberation there were still 147 detainees from the transports of September 1943 through May 1944, and a good 80 of them were born between 1927 and 1886, who thus, at the “liquidation” of the Familienlager were between 17 and 58 years old. It is therefore not overly bold to say that the major portion of the 1,201 detainees mentioned above belonged to the transports of the period discussed. In fact, out of the 147 detainees just mentioned more than 80 had arrived in December 1943 and ten in September.

The reason why Camp BIIb was vacated is no doubt linked to the arrival of the Hungarian Jews. In fact, as I have explained above, this camp was removed from the administration of the male camp and became the women’s sector of the “Durchgangslager” (transit camp) of Birkenau where the Hungarian Jewesses (and those from the Lodz ghetto) were housed for some time without being registered, pending their transfer to other camps.[85]

9. The Dead and the Survivors

In the memorial of the deportation of the Czech Jews the names of the detainees who survived the deportation are recorded. For the transports of September 8 there are 40 names, 14 men and 26 women. From the transport of December 16, 1943, 266 detainees remained, 106 men and 160 women, from that of December 20, 469 detainees, 203 men and 266 women.[86]

It is necessary, though, to underline the fact that the memorial of the deportation of the Czech Jews actually records only the names of Czech Jews deported to Theresienstadt and from there to Auschwitz (and other places). It does not contain the names of Jews of other nationalities deported to Theresienstadt and then to Auschwitz. The transports of September included, in fact, 127 German Jews, 92 Austrians, and 11 Dutch.[87] In the transports of May 1944, Czech Jews numbered only 2,543 out of 7,503, the remaining 4,960 consisted of 3,125 German Jews, 1,276 Austrian Jews and 559 Jews from Holland.[88]

Besides, the lists of survivors are incomplete. Even so, my limited possibilities of research have resulted in the identification of some fifty Czech Jews transferred to Dachau which the Memorial regards as having died (read: “gassed”) at Auschwitz. Of these, four belonged to the transport of December 15, 1943 and five to that of December 18.[89]

The Memorial mentions 366 detainees liberated at Bergen-Belsen, mostly women, but a list of survivors drawn up by the Czechoslovak Jewish Committee and published in the New York Bulletin in May/June 1945 contains 610 names of Czech Jewesses.[90]

In Section 5 I have already spoken of children among the survivors, but here are other no less surprising cases:

Ruth Elias (Huppertova), deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz on December 20, 1943 (ID number 73,643) was liberated at Taucha at the end of the war. She is the author of a book of memoirs in which she explains by what ingenious method she managed to escape the “selection” for the “liquidation” of the Familienlager even though she was “a woman in the eighth month of pregnancy” and had to pass naked in front of Dr. Mengele. She walked behind a group of younger and healthy companions, Mengele did not have an eye for her and sent her along with the group of those fit for work! But there is more. The able-bodied detainees selected for work were transferred to the “Frauenlager” where they were received by old Polish and Slovak women who were so cruel that they sent back (i.e. to be “gassed”) a certain Frau Braun who had hidden her baby in a basket. But when the selected detainees were subjected to a “gynecological” search for valuables that “might have been hidden in the vagina” and it was realized that Ruth Elias was in her eighth month, there was no problem![91]

This painful story was invented by the author in order to avoid having to admit that a pregnant woman could be transferred from Auschwitz without any problems and would not end up, without fail, in the “gas chambers.”

Sara Weissova, born on April 8, 1876, was deported to Zamosc on April 28, 1942 and then, at an unknown time, to Auschwitz where she was registered in spite of her 66 or 67 years of age and where she died on December 27, 1943.[92]

Even more extraordinary is the case of Minna Grossova, born September 20, 1874, who was deported to Treblinka on October 19, 1942 but who died at Auschwitz on December 30, 1943. She thus survived a first “selection” on her arrival at Treblinka and another one at Auschwitz![93]

Dinah Gottliebova,[94] born January 21, 1923, was deported to Auschwitz on September 8, 1943. Being a painter, she became the assistant of Dr. Mengele for whom she did anatomical drawings. Although she knew about the unspeakable secrets of Dr. Mengele, Dinah Gottliebova was neither “gassed” not “liquidated” in some other way but was quietly evacuated, in January of 1945, to Ravensbrück and then to the subcamp at Neustadt Gleve where she was liberated in May 1945. After her liberation she went to Paris and, in 1947, to the United States. In the memorial of the deportation of the Czech Jews her name is not even mentioned!

The small number of survivors of the transport of September 1943 calls for some additional comment.

This is the official figure which was to create the impression that the alleged “gassing” of March 8, 1944 was real. But how many survivors of those transports did not present themselves to the cognizant authorities to certify that they were still alive? How many preferred to immigrate to the United States (like Dinah Gottliebova) or to other countries, eventually to land in Israel? And how many died in that terrible spring of 1945?

There is no doubt that the general mortality of the detainees who had been transferred to Auschwitz from the Theresienstadt ghetto was very high indeed. The memorial of the deportation of the Czech Jews, besides the deceased at Auschwitz we have already covered, registers about 520 deaths, of which some 500 occurred at Dachau (3 at Kaufering, 1 at Holzhausen, the remainder at unknown locations) but speaks of only 77 survivors for this camp. In Section 7 we have already noted that the Czech Jewish deportees ended up in more than 120 different locations, including those where, in early 1945, extremely high rates of mortality were registered such as Stutthof, Mauthausen, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, to say nothing of Bergen-Belsen where there were still 610 Jewesses in 1945 – but how many of them died in the terrible epidemic of spotted typhoid fever which devastated the camp? And how many Jews from Theresienstadt died in the other 120 camps listed above? By a terrible irony of fate, an unknown number of survivors died at Theresienstadt itself.

There is no doubt that neither the official historiography nor the International Red Cross, those keepers of the Holocaust doctrine, is particularly eager to do research on the missing persons, because the results would disprove the story of the alleged gassings at Auschwitz.

10. The Transport of October 7, 1943

I shall conclude with another alleged gassing of a transport of Jews from Theresienstadt which is said to have taken place on October 7, 1943. Under that date, D. Czech writes:[95]

“A transport of the RSHA arrived from Theresienstadt with 1,260 Jewish children and their 53 supervisors. They are killed in the gas chambers that very day”

These children (1,200) with their 20 supervisors had come to Theresienstadt from Bialystok on August 24, 1943.[96] According to the manifest “Dn/a,”[97] on October 5, 1943 1,195 children and 53 supervisors were transferred away from Theresienstadt, however nothing proves that this transport did go to Auschwitz: there is no proof, not even a vague reference in the above-mentioned report by Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, nor in any other report of the secret resistance movement at the camp. As Bronka Klibanski tells us, the only trace of this transport is the list “Dn/a” of October 5, 1943 itself and:[98]

“it was learned only after the war that all were transported to Auschwitz and were killed there immediately in the gas chambers”

but this statement is based upon a source not only unique but more than doubtful: a testimony given after the war by a certain Noah Zabludowitsch and preserved in the Yad Vashem archive at Jerusalem! To strengthen her case, B. Klibanski adds another source, D. Czech’s Kalendarium where, however, the source of the arrival of the transport at Auschwitz is the very list “Dn/a”! This is a fine example of inconsistent and circularly referential sources!


AGK Archiwum Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu Instytutu Pamieci Narodowej (Archive of the central commission of investigation for the crimes against the Polish nation – national memorial), Warsaw
AMS Archiwum Muzeum Stutthof (Archive of the Museum of Stutthof)
APMO Archiwum Państwowego Muzeum w Oświęcimiu (Archive of the National Museum of Auschwitz)
GARF Gosudarstvenni Archiv Rossiskoi Federatsii (State Archive of the Russian Federation), Moscow
RGVA Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennii Vojennii Archiv (Russian State War Archive), Moscow.


Translated By Henry Gardner.

[1]Terezínská pamĕtní kniha, Terezínská Iniciativa, Melantrich 1995, vol. I, p. 70.
[2]The missing person probably died during the journey.
[3]D. Czech, Kalendarium der Ereignisse im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau 1939-1945, Rowohlt-Verlag, Reinbek 1989, p. 600.
[4]Ibid., p. 680.
[5]Ibid., p. 684.
[6]Ibid., p. 776.
[7]Ibid., pp. 776f.
[8]Ibid., p. 778.
[9]In my study Special Treatment in Auschwitz (Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2004) I demonstrated that this term had a vast array of meanings, none of which referred to assassinations.
[10]D. Czech, op. cit., (note 3), pp. 736f.
[11]According to Kraus and Kulka, Czech’s source, 3,580 detainees. See below, section 8. !!!???
[12]D. Czech, op. cit., (note 3), p. 811.
[13]Recte: June 30. Vedi paragrafo seguente.
[14]Ibid., p. 820.
[15]M. Kárný, “Das Theresienstädter Familienlager (BIIb) in Birkenau (September 1943-Juli 1944),” in: Hefte von Auschwitz, Verlag Staatliches Auschwitz-Museum, 1997, pp. 177-181.
[16]APMO, RO, vol. XXa, pp. 30f.
[17]The register numbers actually assigned in the period indicated were 146694-148986.
[18]Ibid., pp. 32f.
[19]AGK, NTN, 88 (Höss Trial, vol. 6b), pp. 247f.
[20]Ibid., p. 250.
[21]Ibid., p. 44.
[22]Ibid., p. 51.
[23]H.G. Adler, Theresienstadt 1941-1945, Tübingen 1955; O. Kraus, E. Kulka, Tovarna na smrt, Praga 1957, and R. Gert, Trzeba głęboko oddychach, Kominy, Oświęcim 1940-1945, Warsaw 1962.
[24]GARF, 7021-108-33, p. 124.
[26]“K.L. Auschwitz II. Arbeitseinsatz für den 20. April 1944.” APMO, D-AuI-3a/1a, Nr. inw. 425/1, p. 3.
[27]“K.L. Auschwitz II. Arbeitseinsatz für den 3. Mai 1944.” APMO, D-AuI-3a/1a, p.325.
[28]“K.L. Auschwitz II. Arbeitseinsatz für den 11. Mai 1944, in: N. Blumental, Dokumenty i materiały. Lodz 1946, p. 105.
[29]“K.L. Auschwitz II. Arbeitseinsatz für den 14. Mai 1944.” APMO, D-AuI-3a/1a, p.333.
[30]“K.L. Auschwitz II. Arbeitseinsatz für den 15. Mai 1944.” APMO, D-AuI-3a/1a, p.334.
[31]“K.L. Auschwitz II. Arbeitseinsatz für den 28. Juli 1944.” APMO, D-AuI-3a/1a, p. 18.
[32]“Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der weiblichen Häftlinge des Konzentrationslager Auschwitz O/S. 3.4.1944.” GARF, 7021-108-33, p.162.
[33]“Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der weiblichen Häftlinge des Konzentrationslager Auschwitz O/S. 15.5.1944.” GARF, 7021-108-33, p. 147.
[34]“Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der weiblichen Häftlinge des Konzentrationslager Auschwitz O/S. 5.6.1944.” GARF, 7021-108-33, p.151.
[35]“Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der weiblichen Häftlinge des Konzentrationslager Auschwitz O/S. 19.6.1944.” GARF, 7021-108-33, p. 155.
[36]“Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der weiblichen Häftlinge des Konzentrationslager Auschwitz O/S. 30.6.1944.” GARF, 7021-108-33, p. 159.
[37]D. Czech, op. cit. (note 3), p. 737.
[38]D. Czech, “Kalendarium der Ereignisse im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau,” in: Hefte von Auschwitz, Wydawnictwo Państwowego Muzeum w Oświęcimiu, no. 4, 1961, p. 82.
[39]D. Czech, “Les événements les plus importants dans le camp de concentration Auschwitz-Birkenau,” in: Contribution à l’histoire du KL-Auschwitz, Edition du Musée d’Etat à Oświęcim, 1968, p. 203.
[40]O. Kraus, E. Kulka, Die Todesfabrik, Kongress-Verlag, Berlin 1958, p. 144 and 146.
[41]APMO, DauII-5/1, “Belegstärke del Quarantänelager BIIa,” p. 14.
[42]APMO, D-AuI-3/1,2.
[43]NOKW-2824, pp. 12-14.
[44]Acc. to F. Piper, 112 detainees of the transportation from December 16, 1943, had been transferred to Blechhammer (register numbers 168156-169120) and 123 detainees of the transportation from December 20, 1943 (169974-171042). “Das Nebenlager Blechhammer,” in: Hefte von Auschwitz, Wydawnictwo Państwowego Muzeum w Oświęcimiu, 10. 1967, p. 27.
[45]See below, Section 8.
[46]NOKW-2824, pp. 13f.
[47]M. Kárný, op. cit. (note 15), p. 174.
[48]Percentages resulting from the records of the “Nummernbuch.”
[49]H. Langein, Der Auschwitz-Prozeß. Eine Dokumentation, Europa Verlag, Vienna-Frankfurt-Zürich 1965, p. 101.
[50]“Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der Häftlinge des Konzentrationslagers Auschwitz II. 15.1.1944.” GARF, 7021-108-33, p. 137.
[51]“Übersicht über Anzahl und Einsatz der Häftlinge des Konzentrationslagers Auschwitz II. 31.1.1944.” GARF, 7021-108-33, p. 125.
[52]M. Kárný, op. cit. (note 15), pp. 188f.
[53]See table 8.
[54]M. Kárný, op. cit. (note 15), pp. 213, 228.
[55]Ibid., pp. 236f.
[56]Ibid., p. 150.
[57]M. Kryl, “Die Deportationen aus Theresienstadt nach dem Osten im Spiegel des Tagebuchs Willy Mahlers,” in: Theresienstädter Studien und Dokumente, 1995, p. 74.
[58]4,964 inmates were registered at Auschwitz; the missing 43 probably either died or fled during transport.
[59]See tables 3 and 4.
[60]M. Kryl, op. cit. (note 57), p. 73.
[61]Ibid., p. 74. Therein it says that of the 5,005 deported inmates 1,504 were older than 65 years, 615 younger than 15 years (of whom 115 were younger than 5 years) and 1,760 were “voll arbeitsfähig” (fully fit for work). It is clear that the remaining 1,126 inmates were in the age range of those “fit for work.”
[62]Photocopy of this message in: M. Kárný, op. cit. (note 15), p. 149.
[63]RGVA, 502-1-313, p. 13.
[64]The purpose was to heat water for a shower.
[65]RGVA, 502-1-313, p. 11.
[66]RGVA, 502-1-83, p. 380.
[67]RGVA, 502-1-83, p. 377.
[68]According to bureaucratic procedures, Topf answered the request of the Zentralbauleitung with a cost estimate (Kosten­anschlag); the Zentralbauleitung in turn had to confirm in wiritng the order and send the bill of lading (Frachtbriefe) to Topf with the relevant shipping coins (Speer-Marke) for the railroad shipping of the material. In the case refractory material had been ordered, which was not produced by Topf, Topf turned to another firm, like the Collmener Schamottewerke GmbH of Colditz, that then sent the material to Auschwitz on the account of Topf.
[69]Główna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce Rada Ochrony Pomników Walki i Męczeństwa, Obozy hitlerowskie na ziemach polskich 1939-1945, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Varsavia 1979, p. 225.
[70]AGK, NTN, 155, p. 96, secret report on the strength of the Auschwitz camp.
[71]Data deduced from Terezínská pamĕtní kniha, op. cit. (note 1).
[72]On April 20, 1945, 12,000 to 14,000 inmates had been transferred from various evacuated concentration camps.
[73]M. Kárný, op. cit. (note 15), pp. 221f.
[74]The Übersicht (overview) mentioned above contains a column “S.B.” in the section “Abgänge” (deductions), which includes the total figure of 225 inmates. D. Czech knows nothing about it, and no witness ever reported about gassings or executions of small groups of Jews from the Familienlager. I will address this question in a separate study, which will complement the one already published on this issue (Special Treatment in Auschwitz, op. cit. (note 9)).
[75]M. Kárný, op. cit. (note 15), pp. 159f.
[76]O. Kraus, E. Kulka, op. cit. (note 40), p. 148.
[77]M. Kárný, op. cit. (note 15), pp. 229-233.
[78]Ibid., p. 231.
[79]M. Nyiszli, Im Jenseits der Menschlichkeit. Ein Gerichtmediziner in Auschwitz, Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1992, pp. 63-66.
[80]Ibid., p. 39.
[81]Dr. Otto Heller, deported to Auschwitz on Sept. 6, 1943, with registration no. 146703, who, although he had escaped the two alleged gassings of the Familienlager, is listed with no explanation in the Memorial of the deportations of Czech Jews as died at Auschwitz (read: “gassed”): Terezínská pamĕtní kniha, op. cit. (note 1), p. 1211.
[82]M. Nyiszli, op. cit. (note 79), p. 66.
[83]M. Kárný, op. cit. (note 15), p. 183.
[84]M. Nyiszli, op. cit. (note 79), p. 62.
[85]See in this regard my articles “Die Deportation der ungarischer Juden von Mai bis Juli 1944. Eine provisorische Bilanz,” Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, 5(4) (2001), pp. 381-395, and “Das Ghetto von Lodz in der Holocaust-Propaganda,” Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, 7(1) (2003), pp. 30-36.
[86]See tables 3 and 4.
[87]M. Kárný, op. cit. (note 15), p. 133.
[88]Ibid., p. 215. The number of foreign Jews is not given for the transports of December 1943.
[89]See tables 5, 6 and 7.
[90]See the website
[91]R. Elias, Die Hoffnung erhielt mich am Leben. Mein Weg von Theresienstadt und Auschwitz nach Israel, Piper Verlag, Munich 1988, pp. 156-161.
[92]Terezínská pamĕtní kniha, op. cit. (note 1), vol. I, p. 315.
[93]Ibid., p. 393.
[94]See his brief biography at the website
[95]Ibid., p. 623.
[96]B. Klibanski, “Kinder aus dem Ghetto Bialystok in Theresienstadt,” in: Theresienstädter Studien und Dokumente, Edition Theresienstädter Initiative Academia, 1995, p.93.
[97]“Abtransport Dn/a. ‘Besondere Dienstleistungen’ aus Theresienstadt abgereist am 5. Oktober 1943.” Ibid., pp. 102f. The list was published on the website
[98]Ibid., p. 94.

Additional information about this document

Author(s) Carlo Mattogno
Title Contribution to the History of the Family Camp at Birkenau
Sources The Revisionist 3(2) (2005), pp. 146-163
  • Henry Gardner: translation
Dates published: 2012-07-31, first posted on CODOH: July 30, 2012, 7 p.m., last revision: n/a
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