I would like to begin this essay by posing three preliminary questions:
- Did Dr. Nyiszli exist?
- Was Dr. Nyiszli ever a prisoner at Auschwitz?
A: He claims he was.
- If he was a prisoner at Auschwitz, did he tell the truth about his experiences in the camp?
A: Let's examine the case in detail by referring to his memoirs. The final decision will be left to the reader.
I will be referring to the 1961 paperback edition of his book which was published just prior to the commencement of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. A man's photo adorns the cover of the book. Is it Nyiszli? No. It is Eichmann. Why would the publisher's place Eichmann's photo on the cover of Nyiszli's book rather than the alleged author of the memoirs? The answer, of course, is that the publishers chose to place Eichmann's photo on the cover for propaganda purposes alone, as Eichmann had to be condemned in the media before he ever sat in the witness box in Jerusalem. In fact, there are no photos available of Nyiszli in ANY edition of his book, which was first published in 1951. Furthermore, Adolf Eichmann personally had nothing to do with whatever ordeals the doctor claims to have endured in the camp, so the decision to use his picture to adorn the cover was simply incitement of the public by the use of inflammatory and subliminally provocative images. Be that as it may, let us proceed to examine the actual statements in the book, beginning with the introduction, which was written by Bruno Bettelheim. We need not examine the introduction in detail, but a couple of points are at least worthy of mention.
It appears that Mr. Bettelheim is engaging in a struggle between his reason and his will to believe. Much of the introduction merely consists of Mr. Bettelheim posing rhetorical and philosophical questions, as he struggles with the Dr.'s numerous and often shocking claims. For instance, on page V he writes:
"Dr. Nyiszli devotes much space to the men of the 12th Sonderkommando working in the gas chambers… its fate raises even more acutely the question of why only one of the 14 such commandos fought back. Why did all the others march themselves to their death? Why did millions of other prisoners do the same?… Why did they throw their lives away instead of making things hard for the enemy? Why did they make a present of their very being to the SS instead of to their families, their friends or even to fellow prisoners; this is the haunting question."
But rather than address the questions in a logical, systematic manner, Bettelheim chooses to remain haunted. Thus, the examination of Nyiszli's claims are deferred to the realm of the mystical and unexplained phenomena within the universe, and the author speaks with due reverence and piety of that which he fails to explain or examine with reason. Clearly, for Bettelheim, unquestioning belief in Nyiszli's book is an item of faith.
Yet, paradoxically, Bettelheim also writes:
"In its clues to an answer lies the importance of this book. It is an unbelievable story, but we all know it is true. We wish to forget it. It just does not fit into our system of value and thought. And rather than to reshape them, we wish to dismiss the story of the German extermination camps. If we could, we would prefer to think it never happened."
If we replace the plural "we" with "I" and "our" with "my" we will be faced with the real essence of Bettelheim's thought process, which he chose to suppress entirely, rather than face the ultimate consequences of what his own reason sought to impose upon his offended intellect.
Now let's proceed to examine the memoirs which provoked his "Dark Night of the Soul."
The book begins with a written declaration by Dr. Nyiszli, which was claimed to have been given at Oradea-Nagyvarad in March, 1946-one year after the doctor's liberation. Only a few points are of interest. Nyiszli writes:
"I, the undersigned, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, physician, former prisoner of the German concentration camps, declares that this work, which relates the darkest days in the history of mankind, was drawn up by me in strict accordance with reality, and without the slightest exaggeration, in my capacity as an eyewitness and involuntary participant in the work of the Auschwitz crematoriums, into whose fires millions of fathers, mothers and children disappeared… I sent… documents by mail, counter-signed by my superior, Dr. Mengele, to the Berlin-Dahlem address of the , one of the most qualified medical centers in the Third Reich. It should still be possible to find them today in the archives of this Research Institute."
The statement was duly signed by Dr. Nyiszli, but does it reflect the truth? Did he indeed tell the truth "in strict accordance with reality," and "without the slightest exaggeration?" Let us see… He states that he was an "involuntary participant in the work of the Auschwitz crematoriums," but we know that this statement is false because he agreed to collaborate with his alleged tormentors. He could have refused at any time, but he didn't. As an "eyewitness," was he indeed telling the truth when he wrote that in the fires of the crematoriums "millions of fathers, mothers and children disappeared?" The answer is obvious, for we know today that millions of people did not perish in the fires of the Auschwitz crematoriums. As far as the documents and reports he claimed to have written and signed along with Dr. Mengele, has even one of these alleged reports ever been published as confirmation of his claims? Again, the answer is no. So, one might ask, why should we proceed to examine the claims at all? And the answer is that the truth must be told without favor, fear, or prejudice. With this thought in mind, let's move along to the text of the book itself.
Nyiszli was sent to Auschwitz at the end of May, 1944. Thus, he was most likely on one of transports which carried a number of survivors with whom revisionists are well acquainted, such as Gisella Perl and Olga Lengyel. Cutting to the quick, it does not take Nysizli long before he offends the intellect of the reader by writing on page 23:
"One object immediately caught my eye: an immense square chimney, built of red bricks, tapering towards the summit. It towered above a two-story building and looked like a strange factory chimney. I was especially struck by the enormous tongues of flame rising between the lightning rods, which were set at angles on the square tops of the chimney. I tried to imagine what hellish cooking would require such a tremendous fire. Suddenly I realized that we were in Germany, the land of the crematory ovens. I had spent ten years in this country, first as a student, later as a doctor, and knew that even the smallest city had its crematorium. So the 'factory' was a crematorium. A little farther on I saw a second building with its chimney; then, almost hidden in a thicket, a third, whose chimneys were spewing the same flames. A faint wind brought the smoke towards me. My nose, then my throat, were filled with the nauseating odor of burning flesh and scorched hair.—Plenty of food for thought there."
Indeed there is plenty of food for thought here. In the first place, Nyiszli was not in Germany, but in Poland. Secondly, his description of the chimneys of the crematoria belching flames is totally incorrect. Crematorium chimneys do not belch fire, nor do any existing photos, aerial or otherwise, taken at the time by either the allies or the Germans indicate otherwise. Third, his comment about every German city possessing a crematorium is also false, and Germany can hardly be described with justice as "the land of crematory ovens." He compounds his errors by writing of other chimneys in the camp also spewing mythical fires. Finally, his comment referring to the smell of burning hair is a contradiction, for as we shall see, he maintains consistently throughout his book that the hair was shorn completely off of all victims designated for the crematoriums. His nose may have been full of something, but it was certainly not anything which he describes here. Moving along, he writes on page 24:
"Those too sick to walk, the aged and insane, were loaded into red Cross vans."
Though this is a minor point, it should be noted that other witnesses and camp personnel have stated that the elderly were driven off in simple trucks and/or brown vans. Moving on to chapter 3, the doctor relates the first information he received about the alleged purpose of the camp:
"I listened carefully to the barracks chief's every word. He knew the complete organization of the KZ, the names of the SS commanders in each camp section, as well as those of the prisoners who occupied important posts. I learned that the Auschwitz KZ was not a work camp, but the largest extermination camp in the Third Reich."
This is a bizarre statement considering the circumstances at the time. How, it may be asked, did the barracks chief possibly know that Auschwitz was the "largest extermination camp in the Third Reich?" Upon what did that lowly minion base this information and what was he using as a source for comparison? In fact, this section sounds suspiciously like the contents of USSR Prosecution document 08, submitted at Nuremberg by the so-called "Soviet Extraordinary Committee," which we will be referring to on a number of occasions throughout this treatise.
On page 29, Nyiszli writes: "In the Auschwitz KZ the healthiest individual was given three or four weeks to collapse from hunger, filth, blows and inhuman labor." I will now ask the reader's indulgence for a moment and point out one of many more contradictions to come in Nyiszli's memoirs. Jumping along to pages 82, 83, Nyiszli writes about three of his fellow inmates. One of them had been a prisoner at Auschwitz for 5 years; another was a prisoner for three. Later he mentions a Greek Jew who was likewise incarcerated for three years. If one checks through the Auschwitz Chronicle by Danuta Czech, one can readily see numerous individuals who had been incarcerated for years at Auschwitz and survived, some of them since the inception of the camp in 1940! On page 29 of his book, even Nyiszli treats us to one of these individuals: Dr. Epstein, professor at the University of Prague, "a pediatrician of world renown, a KZ prisoner since 1940."
This is simply another exaggeration among many in Nyiszli's memoirs. In fact, the healthiest inmates were selected to work precisely because they were healthy and their work was needed for the German war effort. It was for this reason that Auschwitz underwent expansion on numerous occasions, as the healthy prisoners were valued as laborers at the recently constructed Krupp industries. To imply otherwise flys in the face of reality.
Proceeding to chapter 4, Nyiszli sheds some light on the occupants of the Gypsy camp, as well as the Theresienstadt compound. He writes: "There were 4,500 of them in all (Gypsies). They did no work, but were assigned the job of policing the neighboring Jewish camps and barracks, where they exercised their authority with unimaginable cruelty." By his description, it may be seen that Nyiszli was not particularly enamored of Gypsies, but on the following page he does describe many of the horrible afflictions which troubled these despised individuals. He writes of their susceptibility to a rare disease called NOMA, the symptoms of which shocked and repulsed even hardened SS doctors:
"This terrible disease is exceptionally rare; in ordinary practice you scarcely ever come across it, but here in the Gypsy Camp it was fairly common among both children and adolescents. And so, because of its prevalence, research had been gradually facilitated and considerable progress made towards finding an effective method of treating it. According to established medical concepts, 'dry gangrene of the face' generally appears in conjunction with measles, scarlet fever and typhoid fever. But these diseases, plus the camps deplorable sanitary conditions, seemed to be the factors which favored its development, since it also existed in the Czech, Polish and Jewish camps. But it was especially prevalent among Gypsy children, and from this it had been deduced that its presence must be directly related to hereditary syphilis, for the syphilis rate in the Gypsy camp was extremely high. From these observations a new treatment, consisting of a combination of malaria injections and doses of a drug whose name is 'Novarsenobenozol,' had been developed with most promising results. Dr. Mengele paid daily visits to the experimental barracks and participated actively in all phases of the research."
Now, what does the above tell us? We are familiar with the oft told tales that those too ill to work were gassed on the spot and that selections were undertaken daily to hunt these individuals down in order to send them to the gas chambers, as they had become "useless eaters," yet here we have the doctor conceding that both the Gypsies and (later) the Theresienstadt Jews were not expected to work and had been maintained for some 2 years in this manner without sending any of them to the alleged gas chambers. Furthermore, since NOMA was so rare, and hardly a threat to German public health or even the health of the Germans stationed at the camp, why bother to work so hard to discover a cure?
In chapter six, Nyiszli provides one of his first descriptions of the men working in the Sonderkommando. According to the doctor:
"They were well fed and given civilian clothes. They were never permitted to leave the grounds of the crematorium, and every four months, when they had learned too much about the place for their own good, they were liquidated. Till now such had been the fate of every Sonderkommando since the founding of the KZ; this explains why no one had ever escaped to tell the world what had been taking place inside these grim walls for the past several years."
Nyiszli claims that a fellow prisoner supplied him with all the details related above. There are, however, numerous inexplicable problems with this description. For instance, did not Nyiszli himself write on page 27, previously referred to, that his barracks chief knew all along about what was allegedly going on in the camp? And if the barracks chief knew and told Nyiszli, then it is reasonable to assume that it was common knowledge—and indeed, this observation is confirmed in both the testimonies of numerous other survivors like Filip Mueller, Olga Lengyel, Gisella Perl, Ada Bimko and scores more. Furthermore, Nyiszli implies that this alleged extermination had been ongoing since the inception of the camp in 1940! There arises too the question of why it took four months for the Sonderkommando to "learn too much about the place for their own good"? Would they not know all they needed to know after one day of the horrendous work which has been ascribed to them? It is for these reasons that the writer of this essay submits that the real work of the Sonderkommando consisted in burning the bodies of those who had died as a result of disease, old age, and other natural causes. Indeed, if what Nyiszli writes is true, how do we explain the survival of numerous self-described Sonderkommados, such as Bomba and Mueller? It seems that a large number of the Sonderkommandos survived the war, with the exception of those who were killed during the Auschwitz revolt, a subject which will be addressed in detail later.
Dr. Nyiszli's explanations of why no one escaped to tell the world about the alleged horrors are simply incredible, for not only were there numerous successful escapes from the camp, thousands had been transferred and hundreds were formally released, according to the details supplied by the Auschwitz Chronicle!
Within a brief time, Nyiszli was examined and selected by Dr. Mengele to work as a pathologist in Krema II, due to his expertise and experience in this field of medicine. In effect, Nyiszli, according to his own account, was selected to conduct autopsies on the deceased, both Germans and inmates alike. Contrary to what most of the literature says about the poor medical facilities available within the camp, Nyiszli writes on page 37 that his office in Krema II was of the highest caliber. He says:
"The room in question was freshly whitewashed and well lighted by a large window, which, however, was barred. The furnishings, after those of the barracks, surprised me: a white bed; a closet, also white; a large tablecloth… We then passed through another corridor until we reached another room, with two windows. The floor was of red concrete; in the center of the room, mounted on a concrete base, stood a dissecting table of polished marble, equipped with several drainage channels. At the edge of the table a basin with nickel taps had been installed; against the wall, three porcelain sinks. The walls were painted a bright green, and large barred windows were covered with green metal screens to keep out flies and mosquitoes. We left the dissecting room for the next room: the work room. Here there were fancy chairs and paintings; in the middle of the room, a large table covered with a green cloth; all about comfortable armchairs. I counted three microscopes on the table. In one corner there was a well stocked library, which contained the most recent editions. In another corner a closet, in which were stowed white smocks, aprons, towels, and rubber gloves. In short, the exact replica of any large city's institute of pathology."
Was not Auschwitz a large city in itself? According to some estimates, its population numbered at times up to 200,000 people. Certainly 140,000 would not be an exaggeration and was referred to by Hoess himself. What is of the utmost significance above is the fact that the Krema was supplied with such fine equipment, which contradicts the descriptions of many other doctors incarcerated at Auschwitz at the time. As the coroner of the camp, it is clear that Nyiszli was provided not only with comfortable accommodations, but was equipped with the best materials for his duties at the time. The question which ought to be asked at this point is: Were other doctors similarly ensconced in Krema III? If examined and viewed from this context, we can readily see how the basement areas of the Kremas were initially designed as morgues, due to the high mortality rates within the camp. The lifts were used to haul the deceased up to the ovens as well as to other examination rooms for special autopsies. There is nothing mysterious or sinister about any of these procedures or facilities. The powerful ventilators installed in the underground morgues and disinfestation areas were used to ventilate the areas involved for obvious sanitary reasons. Similarly, the columns and circular wire nets allegedly installed in these areas may indeed have been utilized to introduce the fumigant-disinfectant Zyklon into contaminated areas, if these wire nets existed at all. Thus they served as a simple safety precaution.
Let us now examine Nyiszli's description of the Sonderkommando's living quarters in the same building. On pages 40-41, we can quote some representative samples:
"I followed them up the stairs to the second story of the crematorium where the prisoners worked; an enormous room, with comfortable bunks lining both walls. The bunks were made of unpainted wood, but on each one silk coverlets and embroidered pillows shone… There were plenty of books to be had, for we Jews are a people who like to read. Each prisoner had brought some books with him, the number and type depending upon his level of intelligence and education… Seated around the table were the Kapo-in-chief, the engineer, the head chauffeur, the kommando leader, the "tooth-pullers" and the head of the gold smelters. Their welcome was most cordial. They offered me all they had, and there was an abundance of everything, for the Hungarian convoys continued to arrive at an ever increasing rate and they brought a great deal of food with them… The cigarettes we were smoking had also been 'imported from Hungary.' In the camp proper a single cigarette was worth a ration of bread; here on the table lay hundreds of packages… Countless thousands had since climbed down from the box cars and crossed the threshold of the crematoriums. The present Sonderkommando was the 12th to bear the name. I learned the history of each preceding Sonderkommando, when it 'reigned' and who its heroes were, and I was reminded of a fact I already knew: that the Sonderkommando's life span was only a few months at the most."
Not according to A. Bomba and Filip Mueller, among others. As can be seen above, the accommodations provided for the Sonderkommandos were quite comfortable and they lived better than any other inmates in the camp. It is true that their tasks were loathsome, for it appears that they were responsible for loading the diseased corpses of unfortunate inmates onto the lifts and dragging them to the crematoriums or to the autopsy rooms or morgues. It seems clear that they were also responsible for maintaining these areas, and perhaps part of their unenviable duties consisted of removing gold fillings from the mouths of the deceased, a practice which was recently reported and exposed in a crematorium facility in Pasadena, California. Nysizli's reference to the Sonderkommandos as heroes does not seem to be particularly apt, especially if one were to accept the story that they assisted in the mass gassing of millions of fellow Jews, including their own family members, all for a few months of sleeping on beds with silk sheets and pillows, eating the food of the condemned, reading their books, smoking and selling their cigarettes for profit, and cheating their fellow inmates. Such antics can hardly qualify as heroic behavior. Because they are so far removed from normal human behavior, the author of this essay reiterates his belief that the duties of the Sonderkommandos never involved participation in the mass murder of millions or the disposal of their alleged remains.
End of Part One
Part two begins with Nyiszli's description of alleged homicidal gassings. In chapter seven of his book, Dr. Nyiszli provides his audience with rather detailed descriptions of the alleged gas chambers as well as the alleged mass murder of millions. It is therefore one of the most important chapters in the entire book, and for this reason, we shall subject his claims to even closer study.
On pages 42-43 he announces the arrival of a new convoy from Hungary. Here is his description:
"Orders rang out, and the sounds of rapid footsteps reached my room. The sounds came from the furnace rooms of the crematorium: they were preparing to welcome the new convoy. The throb of motors began. They had just set the enormous ventilators going to fan the flames, in order to obtain the desired degree in the ovens. Fifteen ventilators were going simultaneously, one beside each oven. The incinerator room was about 500 feet long: it was a bright, whitewashed room with a concrete floor and barred windows. Each of these 15 ovens was housed in a red brick structure. Immense iron doors, well-polished and gleaming, ominously lined the length of the wall. In 5 or 6 minutes the convoy reached the gate, whose swing doors opened inwards. Five abreast, the group entered the courtyard; it was the moment about which the outside world knew nothing, for anyone who might have known something about it, after having traveled the path of his destiny-the 300 yards separating that spot from the ramp-had never returned to tell the tale."
But it is known that a number of people have claimed to have entered these nefarious chambers and walked out alive, such as Filip Mueller, Ada Bimko, and many, many others. Certainly Nyiszli is familiar with the German marching orders whereby prisoners were ordered to form in lines of five abreast, but the photos from the Auschwitz album shows that the new arrivals were not marched 5 abreast. This alignment appears to have taken place only after admission into the camp proper. Nyiszli continues:
"It was one of the crematoriums which awaited those who had been selected for the left-hand column. And not, as the German lie had made the right-hand column suppose in order to allay their anxiety, a camp for the sick and children, where the infirm cared for the little ones."
Here Nyiszli informs us that those who were selected for the "gas" were sent to the left. However, Arnold Friedman, also an Auschwitz survivor, tells us a different story. On page 19 of his book, Death was our Destiny, he writes:
"They looked us over and asked our ages. There were two ways to be sent. To the right was for people who were to be sent to the gas chambers-to the left was for the ones to be sent to various concentration camps."
These two testimony appear to be completely at odds with one another. Furthermore, if Nyiszli's account is true, how can we comprehend the behavior of people who would simply resign themselves to the fact that their entire families were to be murdered right before their eyes? In a camp of 140,000 inmates, what are we to think of people who simply accepted these alleged murders without a murmur or protest? This scenario is, in fact, so contrary to human nature that it is nearly impossible not to be skeptical of its veracity.
Returning to Nyiszli's account, on page 44, he writes:
"they advanced for about 100 yards along a cinder path edged with green grass to an iron ramp, from which 10 or 12 concrete steps led underground to an enormous room dominated by a large sign in German, French, Greek, and Hungarian: "Baths and Disinfecting Room." The sign was reassuring and allayed the misgivings or fears of even the most suspicious among them. They went down the stairs almost gaily."
Those who have visited Auschwitz or have closely examined photos of the area in question would tend to be a bit skeptical of the doctor's description of these events. It is clear from examining the original blueprints of these areas, which Nyiszli describes as a gas chamber, that the rooms in question were designated as morgues equipped with a ventilation system to extract putrid, contaminated air from those areas where corpses of those who had died of disease or other means were stored.
It is also clear that Nyiszli himself was not a personal eyewitness to the scenario he describes in his book, as his job precluded participation in any other work than that to which he was assigned—performing autopsies. In fact, Nyiszli himself writes that even SS personnel were prohibited from entering these areas, no doubt due to the danger of contamination. On page 43 he writes:
"The SS guards remained before the crematorium doors, where a poster announced, "Entrance is Strictly Forbidden to All Who Have No Business Here, Including SS."
This is in itself quite telling. What could the "business" described consist of, other than restrictions for all unauthorized personnel except those who were responsible for transporting corpses to and from the morgue, for either autopsy or cremation? As a qualified pathologist, Nyiszli's job was to perform autopsies on deceased inmates. He certainly had no business prying and snooping about in restricted areas.
For the skeptic, it might be even more convincing to examine the excellent scale drawing of Krema II on page 270 of Jan Van Pelt's book, Auschwitz - 1270 to the Present. Here one can see the exact layout of the areas under discussion. The morgues are understandably located below ground. Ventilators were installed to extract foul air from the morgues. Photographs of these areas show fixtures for light bulbs but none for showers, as is often alleged in the literature. There are also no drains to be seen along the concrete floor, as has been maintained by "eyewitnesses."
However, for skilled propagandists, one can readily see how these areas might be twisted and distorted into a bizarre and fantastic scenario where they are suddenly transformed into deadly homicidal "gas chambers."
Returning to van Pelt's scale drawing, we can see the two areas above ground (Marked 4 and 5) where Nyiszli performed his autopsies. These two areas are located directly adjacent to the lift which brought the corpses up from the underground morgue. Directly adjacent to Nyiszli's pathology department are the Crematorium ovens, to which corpses selected for dissection were quickly dispatched after examination. Thus, there is nothing suspicious or criminal about any of this.
Nyiszli continues his description of an alleged gassing:
"The room into which the convoy proceeded was about 200 yards long: its walls were whitewashed and it was brightly lit. In the middle of the room, rows of columns. Around the columns, as well as along the walls, benches. Above the benches, numbered coat hangers. Numerous signs in several languages drew everyone's attention to the necessity of tying his clothes and shoes together. Especially that he not forget the number of his coat hanger, in order to avoid all useless confusion upon his return from the bath… There were 3,000 people in the room: men, women, and children. … Making his way through the crowd, an SS opened the swing-doors of the large oaken gate at the end of the room. The crowd flowed through it into another, equally well-lighted room. This second room was the same size as the first, but neither benches nor pegs were to be seen. In the center of the rooms, at 30 yard intervals, columns rose from the concrete floor to the ceiling. They were not supporting columns, but square sheet-iron pipes, the sides of which contained numerous perforations, like a wire lattice. Everyone was inside… At that very instant the sound of a car was heard: a deluxe model, furnished by the International Red Cross. An SS officer and a SDG stepped out of the car. The deputy health officer held 4 green sheet-iron canisters. He advanced across the grass, where, every 20 yards, short concrete pipes jutted up from the ground. Having donned his mask, he lifted the lid of the pipe, which was also made of concrete. He opened one of the cans and poured the contents-a mauve granulated material-into the opening."
Nyiszli describes the color of the Zyklon crystals as "mauve." According to Webster's Dictionary, "mauve" is a "soft lilac or purple color." However, Filip Mueller, a former Sonderkommando who allegedly worked in this facility, describes the color of Zyklon in this manner on page 13 of his book, Eyewitness Auschwitz:
"I noticed that there were some small greenish-blue crystals lying on the concrete floor at the back of the room."
Lilac? Greenish-blue? Whom should we believe? To compound matters further, Mueller has yet another description of Zyklon in the film, Shoah. On page 59 of the Shoah transcript we read:
"Piled with the corpses were suit cases, bundles and, scattered everywhere, strange, bluish purple crystals. I couldn't understand any of it."
Neither can I. Which if any of these testimonies is correct: Mueller, Nyiszli, or Mueller?
Returning to Nyiszli, he writes:
"The granulated substance fell in a lump to the bottom."
This , however, once again conflicts with Mueller's description which states that granules were scattered all over the floor-even at the end of an alleged gassing.
"The gas it produced escaped through the perforations, and within a few seconds filled the room in which the deportees were stacked. Within 5 minutes everybody was dead. For every convoy it was the same story. Red Cross cars brought the gas from the outside. There was never a stock of it in the crematorium. The precaution was scandalous, but still more scandalous was the fact that the gas was brought in a car bearing the insignia of the International Red Cross."
What this author finds to be even more scandalous is the allegation made at the Belsen trial that doctors were required to accompany the SDG to the site of gassing in order to comply with "Wehrmacht Directives!" Also, in the book by Giles Playfair and Derrick Sington, entitled The Offenders, we read on page 205:
"Finally the guards succeeded in locking the doors, hearing cries, shrieks, fighting and knocking on the wall. This went on for 2 minutes and then there was silence… "
This testimony allegedly came from yet another Jewish survivor who testified at the Belsen Trial. Two minutes? Or Five minutes? Whom should we believe? Or perhaps it was 15 minutes-as other alleged "eyewitnesses" have testified.
It should be noted that Nyiszli refrains from making a statement as to exactly how long it took to allegedly gas 3,000 people, but 5 minutes is implied, for he writes:
"In order to be certain of their business the 2 gas-butchers waited another 5 minutes."
"Twenty minutes later the electric ventilators were set going in order to evacuate the gas. The doors opened, the trucks arrived, and a Sonderkommando squad loaded the clothing and the shoes separately. They were going to disinfect them. This time it was a case of real disinfection. The ventilators, patented "Exahotr" system, quickly evacuated the gas from the room, but in the crannies between the dead and the cracks of the doors small pockets of it always remained. Even 2 hours later it caused a suffocating cough. For that reason the Sonderkommando group which first moved into the room was equipped with gas masks. Once again the room was powerfully lighted, revealing a horrible spectacle. The bodies were not lying here and there throughout the room, but piled in a mass to the ceiling. The reason for this was that the gas first inundated the lower layers of air and rose but slowly towards the ceiling. This forced the victims to trample one another in a frantic effort to escape the gas. Yet a few feet higher up the gas reached them… Nevertheless it was a matter of 2 or 3 minutes respite. If they had been able to think about what they were doing, they would have realized they were trampling their own children, their wives, their relatives. But they couldn't think."
I will save the reader further descriptions for the sake of brevity, but will note that Nyiszli's statement above indicates that it was only men who clawed, trampled, pushed, and crushed the women, children, and elderly. Nyiszli makes a rather curious point when he mentions that the gas first hit the lower layers and then rose toward the ceiling. This would seemingly explain why children were found on the bottom layers, as the gas supposedly struck them first. However, this contradicts yet other claims that children were allegedly often found alive by members of the Sonderkommando after an alleged gassing! The curious explanation offered for this puzzling denouement is that the children must have had greater "resistance" to the gas!
The rest of Nyiszli's account more or less confirms this description. Perhaps dreading where angels fear to tread, Nyiszli makes the following statement as to why and how he happened to investigate the interior of the "gas chamber." He writes:
"I had no reason to be here, and yet I had come down among the dead. I felt it my duty to my people and to the entire world to be able to give an accurate account of what I had seen if ever, by some miraculous whim of fate, I should escape."
Indeed, if we are to believe Nyiszli's story it was certainly more than miraculous that he should have lived to tell his tales. He concludes:
"The Sonderkommando squad, outfitted with large rubber boots, lined up around the hill of bodies and flooded it with powerful jets of water. This was necessary because the final act of those who die by drowning or by gas is an involuntary defecation. Each body was befouled, and had to be washed. Once the "bathing" of the dead was finished-a job the Sonderkommando carried out by a voluntary act of impersonalization and in a state of profound distress-the separation of the welter of bodies began… The bodies lay in close ranks: the old, the young, the children. blood oozed from their noses and mouths, as well as from their skin-abraded by the rubbing-and mixed with the water running in the gutters set in the concrete floor."
So concludes Nyiszli's account of an alleged homicidal gassing. The author of this essay has viewed a number of photographs of these areas under discussion and was unable to find any evidence of either shower spigots, drains, or spigot attachments for hoses to rinse out the areas under discussion, which, if 3,000 people defecated at once, as Nyiszli describes, would be the equivalent of cleaning out the Augean stables—a task more suited to Hercules than the Sonderkommando.
End of Part Two
The examination of Nyiszli's claims by other authors will form the basis for part three of this article.
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Joseph P. Bellinger|
|Title:||The Amazing Claims of Miklos Nyiszli|
|First posted on CODOH:||Sept. 15, 2000, 7 p.m.|