On April 6, 1958, an arrest warrant was issued against Klaus Dylewski for his alleged involvment in the selection of inmates for gassings at Auschwitz (p. 988). During his subsequent interrogation, Dylewski stated that, during his wartime presence at Auschwitz, he was responsible for issues dealing with escapes. According to him, escapes and attempts at escape were at that time punished with the death penalty. In this context he stated that his then superior Grabner had at times acted prematurely in anticipation of execution orders from Berlin, if the detention cells in Block 11 had been overcrowded (p. 990). Dylewski claims that he was not present during the executions as such, although he was present during selections of arriving inmates, but only as an observer, since these activities were run by the leadership of the Protective Custody Camp without the Political Department having any authority to act. He was only responsible for securing the periometer around the transports as well as for searching the railway carts for hiding inmates. He says he was unaware at the time that the selections were conducted in an arbitrary manner. According to Dylewski, only slappings in the face occurred during interrogations, but no more severe mistreatments (p. 990R).
In a lengthy brief, Dylewski’s defense lawyer argued that his client had acted under orders and threat of punishment (p. 1002). He moreover adduced as an exonerating circumstance that Dylewski, together with his colleague Wilhelm Boger, had testified as a witness during penal proceedings of the SS initiated against Grabner for the latter’s unlawful activities (p. 1004).
Exonerating Witness for the Prosecution
Due to his former membership with the German Communist Party, Wilhelm Dibowski was taken into “protective custody” in May 1939 “for the length of the war,” even though there was no war at that time yet. In January 1941 he arrived at the Auschwitz main Camp, and from the winter of 1941/1942 up to February 1943 he was at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he had to unload construction material of the Huta Company at the Auschwitz railway station (p. 1007). On May 5, 1943, he was released from Auschwitz, and until the end of the war he worked as a mine worker in Salzgitter (p. 1008). During his interrogation on April 25, 1959, Dibowski stated that he knew Grabner and Boger by their names, but that he could not report any specifics.
On homicidal gassings in the Main Camp he stated the following (p. 1009):
“When the first Russian PoWs arrived at the camp – maybe the numbered about 10,000 – I saw one day during the late fall of 1942 how Boger and Palitsch, wearing gas masks, came back from Block 18 – the building of the penal department. The inmates talked amongst one another afterwards that some 800 Russian PoWs had been gassed in the basement of this block. […] During the Russian PoWs’ roll call of the day preceding this gassing, it had been announced that nobody must show up at the window and that non-compliance would be met with immediate rifle fire. I want to correct myself; this announcement was made during the evening roll call of the day when I had seen Boger and Palitsch with the gas mask. I nevertheless managed to observe from Block 9 how a detail of inmates – I have counted some 15 men – drove the corpses of the gassed Russians on a cart with rubber tires to the small crematorium. This detail was busy all night long. This inmate detail must have consisted of inmates from the hospital building, because they wore white uniforms. Later on it was said that this detail had been shot.”
This is a typical statement from hearsay – “The inmates talked amongst one another afterwards,” “Later on it was said” – enriched with personal impressions meant to support thr rumor: the gas masks – which could have originated from any delousing activity – the cart with the corpses – whose cause of death could hardly be determined at night and from the distance – and the threat during the preceding roll call, which might have been made for a broad range of reasons.
The problems of this story start with the details. The orthodox narrative assumes that this event labelled “the first gassing” occurred in the late summer of 1941 rather than in the late fall; that it was conducted in the basement oft he “Bunker” Block 11 rather than in Block 18; that the direct path from Block 18 to the crematorium did not lead past Block 9, from where the witness claims to have seen the corpse cart (see. Ill. 1).
Ill. 1: Map of Auschwitz I/Main Camp (concentration camp), according to the information brochure of the Auschwitz State Museum in 1991.
|Block 1-28: inmate barracks
a: commandant’s house
b: main guard station
c: camp commandant’s office
d: administration building
e: SS hospital
f,g: political division
|h: crematorium I with ‘gas chamber’|
i: guard station near camp entrance gate (block leader room)
j: camp kitchen
k: inmate registration building
l: camp warehouse, theatre building
m: new laundry
Furthermore even logic accuses the witness of lying, because if the SS had wanted to keep a mass murder like this a secret, they certainly would not have committed it under the eyes of the inmates, and they most certainly wouldn’t have drawn the inmates’ attention to it with this dramatic but apparently empty threat. How could such a threat have been enforced with thousands of inmates present in the living quarters? Would the SS, during the night, have fired like a berserk, drunken Wild West gang at all the dark windows, if seeing but the mere shadow of an inmate face?
In fact, the basic pattern of Dibowski’s looks like this: “I don’t know from my own experience,” “I have heard,” “did not see myself,” “I don’t know” “he is said to have bragged” (p. 1010), “It had become known […] by Polish inmates,” “Thos two […] have told me,” “I can’t say anything about the selections […]. I also know only from hearsay,” “I don’t know anyone,” “I know the name Mengele from a book,” “but I don’t know,” “doesn’t tell me anything” … (p. 1011) “It was known in the camp […]. I cannot impart any more details about this, however,” “I know […]. But here as well I cannot give any particulars” (p. 1012).
But one thing he knows with certainty (p. 1011):
“I cannot say anything about the large-scale gassing at Birkenau, because in my view these were conducted only after my time at Auschwitz.”
This witness was in Birkenau from winter 1941/1942 to February 1943, hence exactly during that time span when tens of thousands of Jews are said to have been gassed in the so-called Bunkers. This witness was moreover involved in constructing the Birkenau camp, hence knew very well what was going on there. But he knows with certainty that there were no “large-scale gassings” going on at that time. Hallelujah!
How terrible the SS at Auschwitz was can be gleaned from the following passages (pp. 1012f.):
“I knew the Oscha. Bischof, who was at the [Auschwitz] Construction Office. […] After 1945 Bischof lived in Essen, and I visited him myself once in his appartment in Essen. I visited him in 1950, and back then he lived in Essen, Klappstrasse 78. Later he moved to Essen-Steele. […] I have a neighbor who was a member of the SS guards at the Auschwitz concentration camp. […] I cannot say anything bad about him, quite to the contrary, I can say only good things about him.”
The former inmate Anton Glinski, who was also interrogated on April 25, 1959, reports in a similar way based on mere hearsay. He states for example that the SS man Fritsch was “a terrible man,” but he “cannot give any particulars,” which is probably this witness’s most frequently used expressions, apart from his stereotypical “It was generally known in the camp” (cf. p. 1016).
Another stereotype is Glinski’s opinion that at Auschwitz only Poles had been the victims of the raging Gestapo (“only Polish political inmates,” were shot, p. 1018), and that on Nov. 11 of each year, the Polish national holiday, the Gestapo had committed a bloodbath among the Polish inmates (pp. 1918-1020, 1028f.), a claim unsupported by any evidence. Glinski grew up in Poland and moved to Germany after the war, yet never became a German citizen. It is obvious that Glinski’s Polish patriotism has blurred his view on reality.
The following passage reveals the degree to which Glinski’s statements have the character of mere fairy tales (p. 1019):
“Another case I can remember well. The block secretary of Block 16 had to go to the PA (political department), as far as I remember in the summer of 1943. From there he was led to Block 11 and to the ‘Black Wall.’ When his name was called out – he had already undressed – his hair suddenly turned white. Then, when his number was called out, it turned out that there had been a mix-up. He was not shot, but instead the inmate with the same name but with the correct number was taken from his labor detail and executed. I cannot recall their names, though. This event was repoted to me by the very inmate who had not been shot.”
This may serve as an example how any honorable man whose hair has turned grey can come up with some fantastic story in order to excuse the lack of hair pigment at his advanced age!
On the same page Odysseus continues:
“From those affected by an escape [=caught escapees] I know to report that they had to dress up as clowns, had to beat a drum and had to walk past the lined-up inmates saying: ‘Hurray, I’m back again.’”
Hence there were not only a theater, concerts, a kindergarten, Sport fields, a swimming pool, saunas and so on at Auschwitz, but even circus presentations! Or maybe that’s called a Punch-and-Judy show?
Glinski even claims that in the fall of 1941 he himself had to participate in a selection, after which the 20-30 selected inmates were allegedly gassed, because afterwards he has “never again seen” those selected inmates (p. 1021). Too bad, though, that in the fall of 1941, even if we follow the orthodox lore, there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz yet. And the transfer of several inmates from the camp hospital of the main Camp to Birkenau in January 1942, which Glinski had witnessed himself, is categorized under “gassings” in his view as well: “at that moment we all were aware that these inmates were destined to be gassed” – but how could they and why? – and “as I learned later with certainty,” – by whom or what? – “they were brought to Birkenau by truck.” Even according to the orthodox narrative, there was no operating homicidal gas chamber at Birkenau in Januar 1942. At that time, only the morgue of the old crematorium in the Main Camp is said to have been retrofitted for gassings, if at all.
Glinski reports the following about Wilhelm Boger:
“This inmate was utterly exhausted. Boger drove by his side on his bicycle and prodded him on by kicking him with his feet.”
That, too, resembles a circus act, because while riding a bicycle it is hardly possible to abuse someone with kicking feet without losing one’s balance and falling flat on one’s nose.
Anton Glinski’s testimony is one of the most pathetic in the Auschwitz investigation files. His mixture of uncontrolled hearsay and freely invented fairy tales makes his statements utterly worthless.
Hermann Hagerhoff and Walter Otto, both interrogated on April 27, 1959, were both camp guards at Auschwitz. Both say that during the war they had no knowledge about gassings from their own experiences. While Hagerhoff stated to have learned about atrocities at Auschwitz only from post-war media items (pp. 1039f.), Otto claimed that is was “generally known” that gassings ware going on at Birkenau (p. 1047). Shortly before that, though, Otto mentions in passing that he had learned about atrocities at Auschwitz during an Allied tribunal staged in 1947 at Lüneburg where he had been present as a defendant (p. 1046). Hence it is likely that Otto’s “general knowledge” has its roots not in wartime experiences but rather in the time after the war.
The three former SS men Fritz Frenzel (camp guard, pp. 1107-1117), Theodor Grewe and Ernst Romeikat (administration of inmate property, pp. 1118-1124 and pp. 1138-1144, respectively) claim to have no knowledge of any wrongdoings.
A Professional Criminal as a Martyr
The former Auschwitz inmate Gerhard Grande loses his credibility right at the beginning of his testimony given on April 28, 1959. There he recounts how he was persecuted as the son of a Jewish father and how he was finally incarcerated in concentration camps (pp. 1049f.). But from the entries in his police records it results that Grande was a professional criminal who, between 1932 and 1939, had been convicted ten times for document forgery, repeated fraud, embezzlement, theft and attempted blackmail.
That did not prevent Grande, however, to become the managing director of some unnamed inmate committee and to have been responsible for former inmate affairs at the city administration of Hannover and later even in the Ministry of the Interior of Lower Saxony – if one is inclined to believe the liar and fraudster Grande. This was followed by a position with the security services of the State of Israel, from where he returned to Germany in 1953 (p. 1051).
From early 1941 to spring 1944, Grande was employed as a secretary at Auschwitz III (Monowitz; p. 1058). In that context he writes about the local head of the Protective Custody Camp Schöttl:
“I personally cannot say anything unfavorable about him, and I also haven’t heard anything unfavorable about him.”
His uninterrupted presence at the Monowitz camp during those years becomes his undoing, when he wants to contribute something about the atrocities allegedly committed at Birkenau. For example, he reports about something he claims to have witnessed at Birkenau in 1943, although he wasn’t even in Birkenau at that time (p. 1058):
“Within the men’s section of the Main Camp, there was a children’s section in Block 18 […]. Now, H o f m a n n was annoyed by these children, and I myself accidentally listened to an exchange between Hofmann and Schwarz, as both talked about this issue. […] I myself had to get something done in the kitchen and was also on the camp road. […]
What Hofmann responded to it I could not hear anymore, as I could of course not keep standing there. But I know for a fact that after this exchange, that is after at most two months but maybe less than that, [the children] were gassed in Birkenau following an order given by Hofmann.
The reason I know this so accurately is because I myself had worked on the lists of these children. I received the so-called transport lists. If these lists were marked with ‘B II F,’ this meant that the individuals on that list were tagged for gassing. B II F means: Birkenau II, fire place. This marking was the official acronym for gassings, and it was also reported as such to Berlin.”
In fact, however, B II F was the abbreviation for the camp hospital located in construction section II of the Birkenau camp.
Since Grande was an inmate secretary at the Monowitz camp, he most certainly did not receive any documents of the Main Camp or from Birkenau, and it is also unlikely that he has ever been able to listen to an exchange of the claimed nature between SS leaders in another camp. It is indicative, though, that Grande considered the relocation of inmates to the camp hospital to be a camouflage for gassings, because many of the sick inmates selected at Monowitz for relocation may indeed have been tagged with the destiny “BIIF” – camp hospital. Hence Grande has erroneously (?) melded a true fact from his recollection based on his wartime activity with wartime and postwar rumors, namely that selections equated gassings.
Just like Wilhelm Boger, Pery Broad was also employed at the Political Department at Auschwitz, where he worked on civil matters. It can therefore not surprise that Broad was accused of the same misdeeds which Boger had been accused of by numerous inmates. During his interrogations on April 30 and May 1, 1959, Broad was therefore confronted with a host of inmates who incriminated him severely as a torturer and mass murderer (pp. 1079-1086, 1092). Broad’s reaction to this is the perfect defense strategy: He did not deny that the misdeeds attested to by the witnesses happened, but stated that he could no longer remember any such events, or he claimed that he was mistaken for another person. He gives himself the image of an inactive observer who has never shot, never beaten, never selected, never gassed anyone – “that I, on my own […] have never committed crimes against inmates” (p. 1082) – that he was even internally opposed to the misdeeds (“because at least since 1943 I emotionally recognized the measures as criminal,” ibid.).
Pery Broad is one of the most frequently quoted witnesses for homicidal gassings at Auschwitz. His written report compiled after the war for the British saved him from the gallows and turned him into a welcome witness for the prosecution during the U.S.-conducted Nuremberg trials. While Broad’s immediate postwar testimony is rather voluminous and detailed – its dramatic anti-German, fanatic style exposes it as a propaganda text – his deposition in front of an investigative judge 24 years later is rather terse.
First it has to be acknowledged that Broad admits openly to report only from hearsay. Starting at his arrival at Auschwitz in April 1942 to June 1942 Broad, at that time a lance corporal, was deployed at a guard unit. He stated in this regard (pp. 1080a, 1081):
“In this context I would like to explain that the fact that gassings were conducted at a larger extent and later also within the Main Camp I was kept strictly secret from the rank and file members of the SS as well as especially from the members of the guard units. It was prohibitted to ever talk about it. Especially the members oft he guard units can have learned about it only by way of rumors.”
Here Broad talkes about himself because initially he was a mere guard, and later he did not rise beyond the rank of a simple lance corporal either (Rottenführer). In other words, Broad constructs an alibi for himself: everything he says, he can know only based upon rumors, because nobody ever told him, the little lance corporal, anything.
About the gassings in the old crematorium of the Main Camp he subsequently states the following, basing himself indeed on rumors (p. 1085):
“From conversations – I don’t know anymore with whom – I found out that gassings had been conducted in the sm.[all] crema.[torium] already in the fall of 1941. For this [purpose] a room of the crema had been prepared, with especially tight doors and according to my memory with 6 induction holes in the ceiling which had been equipped with lids. These gassings were mainly carried out with Russians.”
While these are merely rumors, Broad actually knows to report something from the time after June 1942 (p. 1086):
“I myself never participated in gassings in the sm. crema at Auschwitz. Only once could I observe a gassing procedure through a window of the upper floor of the SS camp hospital, which was located opposite the sm. crema. But I can only remember to have seen 2 SS men with gas masks standing on the gassing room’s flat roof. I saw how these two first hammered open the cans with Zyclon B and then poured the poison into the opening. I also want to mention that everything was sealed off hermetically during gassings, so that not even SS members who were not involved could get close. I moreover didn’t hear anything, because I could imagine that the inmates, after they had been in the gassing room, screamed in mortal agnoy, because on the road in front of the SS hospital was a truck whose engine was running at full speed. I associated it with the gassings, in order that one could not hear potential screams or rifle shots.”
In his declaration right after the war, this story read as follows:
“From the first company of the SS Totenkopfsturmbann, stationed in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, SS-Hauptscharführer Vaupel selected six particularly trustworthy men. He preferred men who had been members of the Black General SS for years. They had to report to SS-Hauptscharführer Hössler. He receives them and cautions them to maintain absolute silence toward everyone 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 an area near the Auschwitz crematorium. Nobody should be allowed to pass there, regardless of rank. The offices in the buildings from which the crematorium can be seen have to be evacuated. In the SS garrison hospital, which is located on the first upper floor of a house close to the crematorium, nobody must get to the window, because from there one can look onto the roof of the nearby crematorium and the yard of that gloomy place. […]
The first lines entered the mortuary through the hall. Everything is extremely tidy. But the special smell makes some of them uneasy. They look in vain for showers or water pipes fixed to the ceiling. The hall meanwhile is filling up. Several SS men enter with them, full of jokes and small talk. They inconspicuously keep their eyes on the entrance. As soon as the last person has entered, they disappear without much ado. Suddenly the door, equipped with rubber sealings and iron fittings, slams shut, and those inside hear the heavy levers fall. It is made air-tight with screws. A deadly paralysing terror spreads among them all. They beat upon the door, in helpless rage and despair they hammer on it with their fists. Derisive laughter is the reply. Somebody shouts through the door, ‘Don’t get burnt, while you make your bath.’ Some notice that the covers had been removed from the six holes in the ceiling. They utter a loud cry of terror when they see a head in a gas mask at one opening. The ‘disinfectors’ are at work. One of them is SS Unterscharführer Euer, decorated with the Cross of War Merit. With a circular chisel and a hammer they open a few innocuous looking cans. Their labels read: ‘Zyklon, for Pest Control. Caution, poison! To be opened by trained personnel only.’ The cans are filled to the brim with blue granules the size of peas. Swiftly after opening the cans, their contents are poured into the holes. The lid is quickly put back onto the opening. Meanwhile Grabner has given a sign to a truck which had stopped next to the crematorium. The driver has started the engine and its deafening noise drowns out the death cries of the hundreds of people being gassed to death. Grabner observes with scientific interest the second hand of his watch. Zyklon acts swiftly; it consists of hydrogen cyanide in absobed form. When a can is opened, the prussic acid escaped from the granules. One of the participants in this bestial enterprise cannot refrain from lifting for the fraction of a second the cover of one of the induction openings and from spitting into the hall. Some two minutes later the screams become less loud and change to a humming groan. Most have already lost consciousness. After two more minutes Grabner lowrs his watch. All is over.[…] Some time later, when the ventilators have extracted the gas, the inmate commando working in the crematorium opens the door to the mortuary. The sagging corpses, their mouths wide open, are 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 are working like robots, apathetically and without a trace of emotion. It is difficult to tug the corpses from the mortuary, as their twisted limbs have grown stiff due to the gas. Thick smoke clouds pour from the chimney. This was how it began in 1942!”
If Pery Broad said the truth in front of the German investigating judge in 1959 that he had only seen, in passing while looking out of a window of the SS hospital, how two SS men with gas masks donned opened Zyklon B cans and poured them into holes in the ceiling, how could he have known back in 1945,
- that SS Hauptscharführer Vaupel was looking for which number of SS men?
- What kind of SS men SS Hauptscharführer Vaupel preferred?
- That they had to report to SS Hauptscharführer Hössler?
- What Hössler cautioned the SS men about?
- That they were under a threat of capital punishment?
- What order Hössler gave to these SS men?
- That everything was spic and span in the crematorium?
- that only the special (which?) smell made the victims uneasy?
- That and why they were looking in vain for shower heads and water pipes?
- That the SS men were chatting humorously?
- That the SS men inconspicuously kept their eyes on the entrance?
- That they went out with any ado after the last victim had entered?
- That subsequently the door, equipped with rubber sealings and iron fittings, slamed shut, and that those inside heard the heavy levers fall?
I spare the reader the remaining possible entries to this list. Fact is that Broad could have reported about these things only, if he himself was one of those men who is said to have been picked by SS Hauptscharführer Vaupel, who then allegedly received orders from Hössler and who executed them, including the gassing itself. But that was not the case, as Broad claims.
In his more detailed criticism of Broad’s immediate postwar testimony, Jürgen Graf has pointed out a number of impossibilities in Broad’s 1945 account, starting with the fact that he exaggerates the capacity of the gas chambers and cremation ovens, and including Broad’s false claim that the crematorium chimneys emitted a bestial stench, thick smoke and jets of flames.
Decisive for my present paper is that Broad clearly expressed with his statement of 1959 that his account from 1945 is nothing more than a theatric rendering of a legend, about which Broad “knew” only from hearsay and rumors.
Or as the Treblinka liar Rachel Auerbach expressed it so succinctly:
“Se non è vero, è ben trovato”
“Even if it’s not true, it’s well invented.”
Regarding the credibility of Broad’s testimony of 1959, the same applies as for the one of 1945:
If planning to keep the mass murder secret even from the SS men not directly involved in them, it is inconceivable to commit them in the crematorium of the Main Camp.
If, on the other hand, such an attempt would have been made anyway, the SS hospital would most certainly have been the first building which would have been evacuated and cordoned off, as it was frequented almost exclusively by SS men who had nothing to do with the claimed mass murder.
On the other hand, right next to the crematorium were the office buildings of the Political Department, which is the very department of the camp in charge of executions, and since June 1942 Pery Broad was working in that building every single workday. How, then, is it possible that he allegedly saw such a gassing only once by coincidence, and then merely from the SS hospital, when if fact they are said to have occurred almost daily right in front of his nose? This mystery can be solved only by assuming that Broad’s entire story is untrue.
One could try to explain this away by claiming that the administrative buildings of the Political Department were also evacuated when gassings were scheduled to happen in the crematorium – but what exactly was to be kept secret from the members of the Political Department? And if that was nevertheless the case, then Broad could not have been at the SS hospital at that time, which would also have had to be evacuated.
I want to mention in passing only that the massive use of Zyklon B in the crematorium would indeed have required the evacuation of its vicinity, but not for reasons of secrecy – such an evacuation tends to attract attention and thus would have been counter-productive – but for security and health reasons. Hence it is actually possible that surrounding buildings were evacuated during disinfestations with Zyklon B of the crematorium, the SS hospital or the office buildings of the Political Department.
How little Pery Broad really knows about the atrocities generally claimed about Auschwitz is highlighted by his meagre statements when confronted with the names of other SS men. Not even the name of the “Auschwitz Angel of Death” Dr. Josef Mengele moves him to say anything (p. 1089). He even fails to identify him on a portrait (p. 1092).
Pery Broad was arrested on May 30, 1959, and remained in custody during the entire trial proceedings due to an alleged danger of absconding. On August 20, 1965, he was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment by the Frankfurt Jury Court for his claimed involvement in executions and inmate selections, that is to say: for aiding and abbetting, together with others, in 22 murder cases. His term was considered spent due to his pre-trial detention. Hence he left the court room as a free man.
Internal Contradictions Reveal the Truth
The former communist Hans Röhrig, who was interrogated on May 4, 1959, had been incarcerated in various prisons and camps for high treason since 1936. In August 1940 he was transferred to Auschwitz. In February 1942 he was relocated to Birkenau “to construct the camp.” Starting in the summer of 1942, he spent one year at the poulty farm Harmense (p. 1126), and after that at an air force recovery plant. Röhrig reports how at one point a guard at Auschwitz who had killed an inmate without any reason, was arrested and marhed off by the SS (p. 1127). Hence arbitrary killings were indeed prosecuted!
Shortly therafter he reports how he managed to prevent the gassing of 30 Russians by simply intervening with the camp commander Schwarzhuber, seeing to it “that this issue gets sorted out.” That shows how easy it was to rescue inmates from certain perceived death! (p. 1129; although a gassing of these Russians was probably never intended to begin with.)
Röhrig knows only from “camp talk” – that is to say: from rumors – about torture, the infamous “Boger swing” and executions (p. 1130).
Completely worthless is the evidence adduced by him for his claim that “old people, women with children as well as children were gassed” (p. 1132):
“That these persons were indeed gassed, I could see from the fact that those destined to be gassed had to walk past us when the cremas I and II were already full.”
On the gassings themselves Röhrig relates the following episode (p. 1133):
“I can remember how, in the summer months of the year 1942, I partly became a witness of a gassing. At that time I was working with my commando right at Crema II. That is when I saw 2 SS men, namely an Uscha.[Unterscharführer] and a Rttf.[Rottenführer] – I cannot remember the names of the two SS men – as they approached the crema.[torium] and opened the lids of the induction sites located at the walls and how they poured something into the slits out of tin cans some 30 cm [12”] high. They quickly closed the lids again and went away. There were altogether 2 induction sites each on the two frontal sides and two on the gable side, each 50 x 30 cm large. Immediately, as the SS men poured the poison gas into the openings, I heard a teriible screaming from the inside of the cremas. This screaming lasted some 8 minutes and slowly faded away. Then the Jewish commando came, consisting of some 30 Jewish inmates, and they opened the door from the side of the gable. I could see that there were a large number of gassed people in the crema. They lay every which way and were at times terribly disfigured. I also saw a woman who during the gassing had given birth to a child which was still lying right in front of her. The overall impression was so horrible that I had to throw up. The SS Oscha involved in the gassing saw this and hence asked me: ‘What are you doing?’ When I replied that I had become nauseous, he said: ‘Then you’re not a man.’ I learned from the members of this Sonderkommando that the gassing vicitims’ hair was cut off and that on occasion any golden teeth or fillings were removed or broken out.”
The witness had stated before that he had been deployed in the construction of the Birkenau camp between February and summer 1942. At that time, however, no crematoria had been planned for the Birkenau camp, let alone constructed. In addition, Röhrig’s description roughly matches the features of the Crematoria IV & V, but not those of Crematorium II, whose alleged gas chamber was underground and is said to have had induction stacks on its flat roof. (The Crematoria IV & V had three small openings with wooden shutters on their side walls and one on the gable wall).
In June 1942 Röhrig became unfit for work due to a typhus infection. As a result, he was selected and sent to – no, not to the gas chamber, but to the hospital of the Main Camp, where he was allowed to completely cure his desease with the medical assistance of the SS until August 1942. Needless to say that this did not prevent him from claiming that during that time inmates present in the hospital who were unfit for work were given lethal injections. As proof for this he claims that he has seen how a truck was being loaded with corpses in front of the hospital (p. 1134). Since the typhus epidemic in Auschwitz reached its first catastropic peak in July/August 1942 – with several hundred victims every day – it would have been strange if Röhrig had not seen a truck loaded with corpses. But if inmates unfit for work were really killed with lethal injections, then Röhrig would have been among the victims. After all, who would have wanted to drag along as ballast inmates who were bedridden for three months and who could infect hundreds of healthy people with their potentially lethal desease? Apparently the SS wanted to burden themselves with such ballast, because they did not kill Röhrig – and probably thousands of his co-sufferers – but brought them back to perfect physical health.
In this respect one can, with a good conscience, relegate Röhrig’s fairy tales about the mass murder to where they probably have their origin: to the land of typhus-induced nightmares.
|||Unless stated otherwise, all volume and page numbers refer to: Public Prosecution at the District Court of Frankfurt (Main), “Strafsache beim Schwurgericht Frankfurt (Main) gegen Baer und Andere wegen Mordes,” Ref. 4 Js 444/59; vol. VII, pp. 987-1144.|
|||Cf. part 6 of this series, TR 2(3) (2004), p. 329; files, vol. V, p. 825.|
|||Although the available evidence is extremely contradictory in this regard; cf. C. Mattogno, Auschwitz: The First Gassing, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2005.|
|||“According to a a camp slogan,” p. 1021; “but it was generally known,” p. 1026; “From camp talk it could be learned,” p. 1028; “it was subsequently also known to everyone,” “I also knew from camp talk,” p. 1029; “I know only from general camp talk,” p. 1030; “as I found out later,” p. 1031.|
|||Romeikat reports about investigations by SS judge Konrad Morgen regarding embezzlement of inmate property, pp. 1142f.|
|||Just as the witness Jakob Lewinski, cf. vol. 3, pp. 305, 305R.; cf. G. Rudolf, “From the Records of the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, Part 3,” TR 1(3) (2003), pp. 352-358, here pp. 356f.|
|||Pery Broad, “Erinnerungen,” in: Auschwitz in den Augen der SS, Krajowa Agencja Wydawniczna, Katowice, 1981, pp. 154-195.|
|||Pery Broad, “Erinnerungen,” ibid., pp. 170-173.|
|||Jürgen Graf, Auschwitz: Tätergeständnisse und Augenzeugen des Holocaust, Neue Visionen, Würenlos 1994, pp. 168-176.|
|||Rachel Auerbach, “In the fields of Treblinka,” in: A. Donat, The Death Camp Treblinka, Holocaust Library, New York 1979, p. 48.|
|||Cf. Otto Humm, “Typhus – The Phantom Disease,” TR 2(1) (2004), pp. 84-88.|