Auschwitz: The First Report!

Published: 1998-06-01
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On February 2, 1945 Pravda, organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, published an article briefly describing what Red Army troops had found on overrunning the Nazi slave labor camp at Auschwitz. The article, the first public revelation of the site's existence, is surprising for what it does not mention.

[Translated and annotated by “Samuel Crowell” (nom-de-plume), May 8, 1998]

THE ARGUMENT between revisionists and nonrevisionists is that the record of Nazi atrocities, though no doubt based in fact, contains significant amounts of fiction. Whether fact or fiction, any atrocity claim should be placed in its proper historical context so that the researcher can understand either how the facts came to be known or how the fiction evolved in the popular mind.

The first press reporting on the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp is therefore bound to be of interest to historians, regardless of how they regard the Auschwitz claims. The following article, by Boris Polevoi, was originally published on Friday, February 2, 1945, in the Soviet national paper Pravda, less than a week after the camp had been liberated (January 27, 1945), and a full three months before the official Soviet report on Auschwitz (May 6, 1945), known by the Exhibit-Number assigned to it at the International Military Tribunal (IMT) as USSR-08.

What is most striking about this press report is that it is totally at variance with the version of Auschwitz that we have come to know, substituting the traditional atrocity record with another, completely imaginary one. That the first non-anonymous observer at the Auschwitz camp could be so far from the current narrative speaks not only to the inaccuracy of this initial report, but also to the artifice of all subsequent ones.

(A photocopy of the Pravda article in translation as it appears on David Irving’s Website, together with comments and footnotes by Samuel Crowell, is available for your donation. 6pp. [offer no longer valid; ed.])

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Author(s) Bradley R. Smith
Title Auschwitz: The First Report!
Sources Smith's Report, no. 55, June 1998, p. 7
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Dates published: 1998-06-01, first posted on CODOH: Oct. 28, 2015, 4:16 a.m., last revision: n/a
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