Confessions of SS Men who were at Auschwitz
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Some SS men have confessed that there were some "gas chambers" at Auschwitz or at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The three most important confessions are those of Rudolf Höss, of Pery Broad and, finally, of Professor Doctor Johann Paul Kremer. For a long time the Exterminationists have especially counted on the first of these confessions: that of Rudolf Höss, which appeared under the title Commandant of Auschwitz. I think that I noticed, on the occasion of a recent historical debate in France, that the Exterminationists seem less sure of the value of this strange testimony. On the other hand, the testimony of Johann Paul Kremer has been very useful to them. Personally, I think that the argument furnished by Kremer is in fact, from their point of view, a more valuable weapon than the absurd confession of Rudolf Höss. I must say that first the British and then the Poles made Höss speak in such a way that it is easy to destroy his testimony by simply comparing Commandant of Auschwitz with his numerous previous statements, among which I particularly recommend that of 14 March 1946 (Documents NO-1210 and D-749).
I will limit myself therefore to studying what the Exterminationists themselves today seem to consider as the best of their weapons in respect to the existence and the use at Auschwitz of homicidal "gas chambers." If I add this adjective "homicidal," it is because there are, as you know, nonhomicidal gas chambers which it is impossible to use to kill men as it is said that the Germans did. All of the armies of the world have some buildings, hastily equipped, for training their recruits in the wearing of gas masks. In France, these buildings bear the name "chambre à gaz" ("gas chamber"); in Germany, they are called "Gaskammer" or "Gasraum" ("Gas Chamber" or "gas room"). There are also gas chambers for the disinfecting of clothes, for treating fruit, and the like.
I will therefore speak to you at some length of the testimony of Johann Paul Kremer. You will see how, at first sight, it is troubling, and then how, if you analyze it with a little care, it constitutes a terrible fiasco for the Exterminationists. I prize the Kremer case very much. It shows how fragile are the proofs that people offer to us, to what extent they allow themselves to be easily deceived by appearances, how much the official historians have misused the texts and how it is necessary to work if you wish, in the study of texts, to distinguish between the true and the false, between the real meaning and the misinterpretation. This is what is called text and document criticism. It happens that it is my professional specialty. I am therefore going to inflict upon you, to my great regret, a course in "text and document criticism." I ask you to pardon me for the strictness of the demonstration that I am going to try to carry out in front of you.
Before entering into the heart of the subject, I would like to share with you two remarks. The first comes to us from Dr. Butz. I remember that, in a letter of 18 November 1979 addressed to a British weekly (New Statesman) about a long article by Gitta Sereny (2 November 1979) he made the observation that it is quite strange to claim to base a historical thesis like that of the formidable massacres of millions of human beings on ... confessions. That claim is still harder to defend when you know that those confessions came from persons who had been conquered and that the ones who obtained those confessions were the conquerors.
My second remark is to recall that, in the cases from Ravensbrück where people now know that there never was any "gassing," the British and French courts obtained confessions which were particularly detailed on the alleged 11 gassings." People speak to us about the three principal confessions of Auschwitz, but they no longer speak to us at all about the three principal confessions of Ravensbrück: that of the camp commandant, Suhren, that of his adjutant Schwarzhuber and that of the camp physician, Dr. Treite. Do you know what was the size of that "gas chamber" that never existed? Answer: nine meters by four and one half meters. Do you know where it was located? Answer: five meters away from the two crematory ovens. Do you know how many persons were gassed there? Of what nationality? On what precise dates? Do you wish to know on whose orders all of that was done, from the top to the bottom of the German military and political hierarchy? Are you interested in learning how they used a "gas capsule" (sic)? You will find the answers to these questions and to many others while reading, for example, the historian Germaine Tillion. That French woman had been interned at Ravensbrück. After returning to France, she became an official specialist in the history of the deportation. She worked at that same famous CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) in Paris where Léon Poliakov also worked. Germaine Tillion enjoys in France, for reasons of which I am unaware, considerable moral credit. Her honesty is a sort of established fact. Nevertheless, several years after the war, she went before the courts to overwhelm the persons responsible for Ravensbrück with her stories about the "gas chambers." Even more than her book about the camp (Ravensbrück, Paris, Le Seuil, 1973 reprinting, 284 pages), one must read her "Reflections on the Study of the Deportation" ("Reflexions sur 1'étude de la d6portation," in the Revue d'Histoire de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale, July to September 1954, pp. 3-38).
Germaine Tillion begins by making some remarks regarding false testimony about the deportation. She says that she has "known of numerous mentally damaged persons, halfcrooks, half-fools, exploiting an imaginary deportation." She adds that she had known of other persons who were "authentic deportees, whose sick minds had striven to go even beyond the monstrous things that they had seen or about which people had spoken to them and which had reached them." She wrote further: "There were even some publishers to print certain of these fabrications, and some more or less official compilations to use them, but these publishers and editors absolutely cannot be excused, since the most elementary inquiry would have been sufficient for them to expose the deception."
While reading those lines which already date from 26 years ago, we realize that the publishers and the editors of that kind have only increased in number and that the Martin Grays and the Filip Miillers still have a good future before them. Two of the three persons who confessed at Ravensbrück were hanged, and Dr. Treite committed suicide. What is horrible is that without this he about the "gas chambers" they would perhaps have saved their lives. In regard to Suhren, Germaine Tillion wrote, on page 16, that he began by displaying a "stubborn bad faith" in the course of his two trials (one at Hamburg, by the British and one at Rastatt, by the French); she adds this terrible sentence: "But, without that gas chamber created by him, on his own initiative, two months before the collapse, he could perhaps have saved his life." In note 2 on page 17, she wrote in regard to Schwarhuber, who confessed immediately, these still more terrible lines, each word of which I ask you to ponder:
According to the English investigators, from the first moment he had coolly faced his position, he judged himself lost and either to have peace (and the small privileges to which the prisoners who do not deceive the examing magistrates have a right, or else due to lassitude, indifference or to quite another reason) he took his course and held to it, without regard for himself or for his accomplices. He was not a brute (like Binder or Pflaum.); he had an intelligent expression, the appearance and behavior of a psychologically normal man.
Let us leave Ravensbrück and the confession of Schwarzhuber for Auschwitz and the confession of Kremer, the other SS man who had "an intelligent expression" as well as "the appearance and the behavior of a psychologically normal man." To begin with, let us look at some extracts from his private diary written during his short stay at Auschwitz, and then at the explanations that he gave to those extracts, after the war, to his Polish jailers, explanations that he held to later on in 1960 at his trial which took place at Münster (Westphalia) and at the trial of the Auschwitz guards, in 1964, at Frankfurt-on-Main. The name of Professor Doctor Kremer should not be confused with that of Josef Kramer. The latter had high positions successively at the camp of Struthof-Natzweiler (Alsace), then at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and finally at Bergen-Belsen. In his case also there were various confessions. All are interesting to study. On the alleged homicidal "gas chamber" at Struthof, I would like to point out that the French did not wring out of him, as I until recently still believed, only a single confession but, as I have recently discovered, two totally absurd and wonderfully contradictory confessions. Of the one people sometimes speak, while the other was carefully kept hidden. I will some day speak about it, as well as about the two reports of the French Military Courts on that "gas chamber" at Struthof: the one, really childish, which concludes on the existence of "gassings"; and another one, which has disappeared from the archives of the military courts, which reaches the opposite conclusion: this report, dated 1 December 1945, was done by the eminent toxicologist, Professor Rene Fabre.
1. Extracts from the Diary of Dr. Johann Paul Kremer (Doctor at Auschwitz during the Summer of 1942), Selected and Presented by the Official Historians (Léon Poliakov, Georges Wellers, Serge Klarsfeld,…)
2 September 1942: This morning, at three o'clock, I was present for the first time at a Sonderaktion. Compared to that, Dante's Inferno appears to be a comedy. It is not without reason that Auschwitz is called extermination camp. (the version of Georges Wellers, in Le Monde, 29 December 1978, p8; the author explains beforehand that a Sonderaktion is a "selection for the gas chambers.")
At three o'clock in the morning, I was present for the first time at a "special action" (thus did they refer to the selection and murder in the gas chambers). In comparison with the Inferno of Dante that seemed to me almost a comedy. It is not without reason that they call Auschwitz an extermination camp.
(the version of Serge Klarsfeld, in Le Mémorial de ]a Déportation des Juifs de France [Memorial to the Deportation of the Jews from France,] 1978, p. 245; the author has obviously reproduced page 48 of a book (not dated) published in Poland by the International Auschwitz Committee under the title KL Auschwitz; Arbeit Macht Frei (Concentration Camp Auschwitz / Work Makes You Free), 96 pages.)
This morning at three o'clock, I was present for the first time at a "special action." In comparison, Dante's inferno appeared to me a comedy. It is not for nothing that Auschwitz is called an extermination camp.
(Léon Poliakov's version, in Auschwitz, Collection Archives Gallimard/Julliard, 1973, p. 40).
For this first date of 2 September, I have cited three versions. For the following dates, I will content myself with citing a single version: the official version of the State Museum of Oświecim (Auschwitz), such as it appeared in Auschwitz vu par les SS (Auschwitz Seen by the SS), French translation, 1974. I will confine myself intentionally only to what the official historians have the habit of citing in their works and only to what, in the eyes of the authorities of the State Museum of Auschwitz, would tend to prove that Dr. Kremer had participated in the "gassings" of human beings.
5 September 1942: This noon was present at a special action in the women's camp ("Moslems") – the most horrible of all horrors. Hscf. Thilo, military surgeon, is right when he said today to me we were located here in "anus mundi" [anus of the world]. In the evening at about 8p.m. another special action with a draft from Holland. Men compete to take part in such actions as they get additional rations then-1/5 litre vodka, 5 cigarettes, 100 grammes of sausage and bread. Today and tomorrow (Sunday) on duty.
On the next day, Dr. Kremer said that he had had an excellent lunch. On numerous occasions, his diary contains in that way some remarks about food. Historians often cite these remarks to show the cynicism of the doctor; they say that the atrocities of the "gas chambers" do not hurt his appetite. Dr. Kremer mentions a special action of Sunday, 6 September at 8 o'clock in the evening, then on the evening of 9 September, then on the morning of 10 September, then in the night of the 23rd and on that of the 30th. He writes then:
7 October 1942: Present at the 9th special action (new arrivals and women "Moslems") [ ... ]
12 October 1942: [ ... ] was present at night at another special action with a draft from Holland (1600 persons).
Horrible scene in front of the last bunker! This was the loth special action.
18 October 1942: In wet and cold weather was on this Sunday morning present at the 11th special action (from Holland). Terrible scenes when 3 women begged to have their bare lives spared.
8 November 1942: This night took part in 2 special actions in rainy and murky weather (12th and 13th) [ ... ] Another special action in the afternoon, the 14th so far, in which I had participated [ ... ]
Dr. Kremer is wrong in his counting. He has forgotten that on 5 September there had been not one but two special actions, which made a total of 15 special actions for his stay at Auschwitz. This stay listed for 81 days, of which only 76 were on duty (because of a five day leave).
The notes in the Polish edition say that the dates of these special actions coincide with the dates of the arrival of the convoys of deportees.
2. Extracts from the Spontaneous Confessions of Johann Paul Kremer in the Polish Court, in 1947, Selected and Presented by the Polish Court
Here is what one can read in KL Auschwitz seen by the SS, p. 214, note 50:
In the official record of the interrogatory of 18 August 1947, Cracow, Kremer stated as follows: "On 2 September 1942, at 3 a.m. I was already assigned to take part in the action of gassing people. These mass murders took place in small cottages situated outside the Birkenau camp in a wood. These cottages were called 'bunkers' (Bunker) in the SS men's slang. All SS surgeons, on duty in the camp, took turns to participate in the gassings, which were called 'Sonderaktion' (special action-Editor's note). My part as surgeon at the gassing consisted in remaining in readiness near the bunker. I was brought there in a car. I sat in front with the driver and an SS hospital orderly (SDG) sat in the back of the car with an oxygen apparatus to revive SS men, employed in the gassing, in case any of them should succumb to the poisonous fumes. When the transport with people, who were destined for gassing, arrived at the railway ramp the SS officers selected from among the arrivals persons fit to work and the rest- old people, all children, women with children in arms and other persons not deemed fit to work-were loaded upon lorries and driven to the gas-chambers. I used to follow behind the transport till we reached the bunker [Faurisson note: the word is in the singular]. Here people. were first driven to barracks where the victims undressed and then went naked to the gas-chambers. Very often no incidents occurred, as the SS men kept people quiet, maintaining that they were to bathe and be deloused. After driving all of them into the gas-chamber the door was closed and an SS man in a gasmask threw the contents of a Cyklon tin through an opening in the side wall. Shouting and screaming of the victims could be heard through that opening and it was clear that they fought for their lives [Lebenskampf]. These shouts were heard for a very short time. I should say for some minutes but I am unable to give the exact span of time."
On page 215 of KL Auschwitz seen by the SS, note 51 gives another extract from the same interrogation transcript. Here is how Dr. Kremer is supposed to have explained his entry on 5 September 1942 about the "Moslem" women and the anus mundi:
Particularly unpleasant had been the action of gassing emaciated women from the women's camp. Such individuals were generally called "Muselmänner" ("Moslems"). I remember taking part in the gassing of such women in daylight. I am unable to state how numerous that group had been. When I came to the bunker [Faurisson note: "bunker" is in the singular] they sat clothed on the ground. As the clothes were in fact worn out camp clothes they were not let into the barracks but undressed in the open. I could deduce from the behavior of these women that they realized what was awaiting them. They begged the SS men to be allowed to live, they wept, but all of them were driven to the gas chamber and gassed. Being an anatomist I had seen many horrors, had to do with corpses, but what I then saw was not to be compared with anything seen ever before. It was under the influence of these impressions that I had noted in my diary, under the date of 5 September 1942: "The most horrible of all horrors. Hauptsturmführer Thilo – was right saying today to me that we were located here in 'anus mundi'. I had used this expression because I could not imagine anything more sickening and more horrible."
On the date of 12 October 1942, Dr. Kremer had mentioned a special action concerning 1600 persons who had come from the Netherlands: in the margin next to that mention he had written the name of Hössler, who at that time was one of the SS men responsible for the camp at Birkenau. Here is how Dr. Kremer is supposed to have explained that entry of 12 October (see page 224, note 77):
In connection with the gassing action, described by me in my diary under the date 12 October 1942. 1 have to explain that circa 1600 Dutchman were then gassed. This is an approximate number which I had put down after hearing it mentioned by others. This action was conducted by SS officer Hössler. I remember how he had tried to drive the whole group into one bunker. He was successful except for one man whom it was not by any means possible to squeeze inside the bunker. This man was killed by Hössler with a pistol shot. I therefore wrote in my diary about horrible scenes in front of the last bunker and I mentioned Hössler's name in connection with this incident.
For his entry of 18 October 1942, Dr. Kremer is supposed to have furnished the following explanation (see 226, note 83):
During the special action, described by me in my diary under the date of 18 October 1942, three women from Holland refused to enter the gas-chamber and begged for their lives. They were young and healthy women, but their begging was of no avail. The SS men, taking part in the action, shot them on the spot.
3. In 1960, at His Trial in Münster, Dr. Kremer Persisted in these Claims
The University of Amsterdam in 1977 published its 17th volume of Justiz und NS-Verbrechen (justice and the Nazi Crimes). There we find the text of the decision rendered against Dr. Kremer on 29 November 1960. On pages 19 and 20, the court sought to describe the operation of "gassing" as well as the part that the accused was supposed to have taken personally in that operation. The court speaks of a single "gas chamber." It is a question of a farm near the Birkenau camp made up of several separate parts. An SS medical orderly went up on the roof and dumped some Zyklon through some specially fitted shafts ("durch Einwurfschächte"). He wore a gas mask. The doors of the "gas chamber" were all air tight. From outside they heard the victims cry out. And the court continued:
When no more sign of life was shown, the defendant was taken back to his lodging by the Health Service car. The gas chambers were opened a short moment afterwards. (Faurisson note: I ask that you note well that the opening was made A SHORT MOMENT AFTER the death of the victims). The bodies were removed by some prisoners and were destroyed by cremation. During the events described above (Faurisson note: The court here alludes to his description of the arrival of the victims, their disrobing, etc.) the accused was seated in the Health Service car, which was stopped in the immediate vicinity of the gas chambers. Whether he had left his car and whether he had taken an active part in the murderous action could not be proved. The accused kept himself however in the car, in accordance with the mission that had been given to him, prepared for a case where something would happen to the SS man certified by the Health Service who was handling the Zyk1on B poison; he would bring him immediate help with the oxygen inhalator. He [the accused] had himself admitted that in all good faith. But that accident in reality never happened.
4. In 1964, at the Frankfurt Trial, Dr. Kremer Persists Still in His Claims
On June 1964, Dr. Kremer, then 80 years old, appeared at the bar of the court in Frankfurt as a witness for the prosecution against the former Auschwitz guards. In order to know exactly what he said on that day, we are reduced to pages 72-73 of Hermann Langbein's book Der AuschwitzProzess / Eine Dokumentation (The Auschwitz Trial / A Documentation), Vienna, Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1965, 1027 pages). What is unfortunate is that Hermann Langbein is the Secretary of the International Concentration Camp Committee and that his works all show a biased and partisan spirit. The book by Bernd Naumann says almost nothing on the deposition of Dr. Kremer (Auschwitz, Frankfurt, Athenäum Verlag, 1965, 552 pages). Therefore, here is how, according to Hermann Langbein, the deposition of Dr. Kremer went on the question of the "gas chambers"; I am reproducing the text in its entirety:
Judge: Where did the gassings take place?
Kremer: Some old farms had been transformed into a bunker (Faurisson note: the German text indeed gives the singular: Alte Bauernhäuser waren als Bunker ausgebaut) and provided with a sliding door for secure closing. Upstairs was located a dormer window. The people were brought in undressed. They entered quietly; only some of them balked; they were taken aside and shot. The gas was released by an SS soldier. For that he went up on a ladder.
Judge: And there were some special rewards for those who participated in such an action?
Kremer: Yes, that was the custom; a little schnaps and some cigarettes. They all wanted them. They allotted the goods. I myself also received such goods – this was quite automatic.
Representative of Co-Plaintiff Ormond: You wrote in your diary that the SS soldiers strove with each other for service on the ramp [for the arrival of the convoys].
Kremer: That is humanly quite understandable. This was war was it not, and the cigarettes and schnaps were rare. When someone was eager for cigarettes ... They collected the goods and then they took themselves to the canteen with their bottles.
The testimony of Dr. Kremer on the "gassings" at Auschwitz is limited to these few questions and answers. Here, in conclusion, is the commentary of Langbein:
The man who described the process of gassing with these bland and indifferent words is the former university professor Dr. Johann Paul Kremer of Mfinster. He had already been condemned in Poland and in Germany for his participation in mass murders. At Frankfurt he left the. witness stand smiling softly.
5. Extracts from the Diary: My Explanations and My Commentaries
I note first that these extracts contain neither the word "gassing" nor the expression "gas chamber."
The diary of Dr. Kremer was a private diary. The doctor expressed himself freely there. He frankly expressed his horror of the camp. He does not mince words. He compares what he sees to a vision from Dante. One can therefore think that, if he had seen those virtual human slaughterhouses which the "gas chambers" would have been, he would have mentioned that absolute horror. Wouldn't Dr. Kremer, as a scientist, at least have noted some precise physical details about these slaughterhouses which, in the history of science, would have been an amazing invention?
But let us begin at the beginning. Did Dr. Kremer in fact write what they say that he wrote? The answer to that question is no, absolutely not. His text has been gravely distorted. This is even the work of a forger. As an example I am going to reproduce the text in the version given by Georges Wellers but I am going to insert in it, in capital letters in italic, what he has omitted and I am going to insert in place of Sonderaktion and of extermination, which are misinterpretations, the two words which fit; I will also put them in capital letters. Therefore, here is the text translated from the original German (see document NO-3408 in the National Archives):
2 September 1942: This morning, at 3 o'clock, I was present OUTSIDE for the first time at a SPECIAL ACTION. Compared to that, Dante's Inferno appears TO ME ALMOST LIKE a comedy. It is not without reason that Auschwitz is called THE camp of THE ANNIHILATION!
Every text must be scrupulously respected, especially when the text is supposed to serve as the basis for a shocking demonstration and for a terrible accusation. The concealing of the word OUTSIDE is very serious. Why, after having given us the indication of the time, has the indication of the place been concealed? The German text says: DRAUSSEN. Dr. Kremer was not in a closed place as a gas chamber would have been. He was "outside," "on the outside." Without doubt that detail is not very clear, and perhaps it meant "out of the camp itself," but one must not conceal that possibility.
For Sonderaktion, Wellers has kept the German word; in appearance, this is evidence of scrupulousness and care; in reality, it is a clever trick. As a matter of fact, this word, at least for a French reader, has a sound that is disturbing, Germanic, barbaric, and can only conceal horrible things. But there is even more: just before citing that entry by Dr. Kremer, Wellers, in his article in Le Monde, wrote: "[Kremer] had participated in the selection for the gas chambers (Sonderaktion)." In other words, Wellers imposes on his reader the following lie: in his diary, Dr. Kremer said in so many words: "this morning at 3 o' clock I was present at a selection for the gas chambers."
We see very well now that it was nothing of the kind. Dr. Kremer was contented to speak of a "special action." What is one to understand by that expression? To some people who, like me, doubt the existence of the homicidal "gas chambers" it is absurd to answer, as does Wellers, by positing their existence at once as an accepted fact. Suppose that someone does not believe in the existence of flying saucers. To such a person one could not retort that those saucers exist since, in such and such a report by the police, it is written: "A witness declares that he saw something special in the sky" – "Some witnesses noted in the sky some unusual phenomena." Therefore, for the time being, the only honest – if not very clear – translation of Sonderaktion could only be "special action." I will later come back to the probable meaning of this word about which, for the moment, we have no right to speculate.
Dr. Kremer did not write next: "Compared to that, Dante's Inferno seemed to be a comedy" but: "Compared to that, Dante's Inferno seemed TO ME ALMOST LIKE a comedy." Here, the concealing of three words by Wellers is perhaps not very important, but it contributes in its modest way to doing violence to the meaning of the text, always with a view to producing the same effect. There is a shade of difference between "seemed like," in which one senses a softening, and "seemed to be," which is more affirmative. Dr. Kremer has not transformed an impression which was personal to him into an impression common to a whole human group. In some sense, he did not state: "Dante's Inferno appeared here to everyone around me like a comedy"; if he had stated that, one could suppose that he was present at an unquestionably Dantesque scene. In reality, he contented himself with a confidence of a personal kind and in effect he wrote: "Dante's Inferno here appeared TO ME, who had just arrived (that impression is personal to me, yet others can perhaps share it) ALMOST LIKE a comedy." In other words, the scene is certainly horrible for this doctor who has just arrived for the first time in his life in a concentration camp, but all the same not to the point of decreeing that Dante's Inferno is obviously a comedy to everybody in comparison with this scene.
But there is something very much more serious that Georges Wellers has made the Kremer text undergo. Kremer did not say that Auschwitz was "called an extermination camp," which, in the original German, would have been: "genannt Vernichtungslager."
In reality, we read in the original German:
"genannt DAS Lager DER Vernichtung" ("called THE camp of THE annihilation").
If Wellers had respected the presence of the two articles and if he had given to "Vernichtung" the meaning of "extermination" which is indispensible to his exterminationist thesis, he would have gotten the following phrase: "It is not without reason that Auschwitz is called the camp of the extermination." Thus constructed, the phrase sounds bizarre both in German and in French. That has to be for us the sign that a word of the text undoubtedly has been badly translated. That word, as will be seen later on, is "Vernichtung." The context will reveal to us that that word is not to be translated as "extermination" (a meaning that it can very well have in other contexts) but by "annihilation."
There is here no extermination, murder, assassination, killing, nor massacre; there are not the results of an act, an action, or a will; there is nothing here about a "camp where they exterminate," there is here no "extermination camp" (an expression invented by the victors, some years after 1942, to designate camps allegedly endowed with "gas chambers"). What there is here in reality is an annihilation; men and women are reduced to wasting away; they are annihilated, reduced to nothing by the epidemics and notably by that illness whose name "typhus" (in Greek tupos) signifies precisely: torpor, stupor, a kind of lethargy, a rapid destruction of the faculties, sometimes up to the point of death. Auschwitz is not "an extermination camp" (an anachronistic expression, and we know that anachronism is one of the most reliable signs of the presence of a falsehood) but the camp, yes, indeed, the camp par excellence of general annihilation. Without doubt, just as the moment of taking his post at Auschwitz, this newcomer, Dr. Kremer, had heard his colleagues say: "You know, this camp, they call it the camp of annihilation. Look out for typhus! You yourself also take the risk of contracting it and dying from it."
And, at the end of his entry for 2 September 1942, Dr. Kremer puts an exclamation point. That point indicates the doctor's emotion. If one conceals it, as does Wellers, the phrase takes on another tone: one would perhaps believe that the doctor is cruel and cynical. One would perhaps believe that Dr. Kremer coldly thought: "The Auschwitz camp is called an 'extermination camp.' So it is. It is indeed. Let us take things as they are." In reality, he is overwhelmed.
Due to lack of time, I cannot devote myself to the criticism of the texts given by Léon Poliakov, by Serge Klarsfeld, by the authorities of the State Museum of Oswiecim, by the official translation of document NO-3408, etc. I would only like to point out an especially serious fact. It concerns the German courts. The court at Münster which, in 1960 tried Dr. Kremer, quite simply skipped over the word Draussen when it reproduced the entry of 2 September 1942. It piled up other serious dishonesties. Here is an example of them: to overpower Dr. Kremer, the tribunal appealed to the "Calendar of Events at Auschwitz" as it was drawn up by the Communist authorities in Poland. It is already strange that a court in the western world thus shows confidence in a document drawn up by Stalinists. But there is more. The courts have established that, for most of the convoys that arrived in the camp, the Polish in their "Calendar" indicated with extraordinary precision the number of persons "gassed." Since we know that, according to the Exterminationist standard literature the people "gassed" were not the object of any accounting, of any counting, an honest man could only be astonished to read in this "Calendar" that, from the time when Dr. Kremer was at Auschwitz, they had, on such and such a day, "gassed" 981 persons and, on another day, 1594 other persons. Also, the court at Münster cynically used a subterfuge. It reproduced in its text numerous citations of the "Calendar" and while making it clear that it was a question of this "Calendar," but ... each time that the "Calendar" uses the word "vergast" ("gassed"), the court itself substituted for that clumsy word the word "umgebracht" ("killed"). Thus the reader of the judgement at Münster is deceived. Whoever might find it suspect that they can talk to him about "981 gassed" or about "1594 gassed", easily lets them talk to him about "981 dead" or about "1594 dead."
Finally, two remarks about the entries other than that of 2 September: (1) The expression anus mundi would not be appropriate, it seems to me, to scenes of "gassings" but rather to a repugnant and nauseating scene of groups of people fallen prey to disgusting diseases, to dysentery, etc. (2) When Dr. Kremer says that he was present at a special action in rainy, cold weather or in grey and rainy autumn weather, it is probable that those actions took place outside in the open air, and not in a gas chamber.
6. The Truth of the Texts: Auschwitz as Prey to Epidemics during the Summer of 1942.
It is sufficient to read the diary with a minimum of good faith in order to see the evidence. Here is the complementary information that this diary gives us. I will summarize it. Dr. Kremer came to Auschwitz to replace a sick doctor there. Typhus had ravaged not only the camp, but also the German-Polish city of Auschwitz. Not only the internees struck, but also the German troops. There was typhus, malaria, dysentery, tropical heat, innumerable flies, and dust. The water was dangerous to drink. Diarrhea, vomiting, stomach aches made the atmosphere stink. The scene of people reduced to nothing by typhus was demoralizing. In that hell, Dr. Kremer himself contracted what he called "the sickness of Auschwitz." However, he underwent several vaccinations, at first against exanthematic typhus, then against abdominal typhus (a name which, in itself, would explain very well the term anus mundi). The principal bearer of typhus is the louse. On 1 September 1942, he wrote: "In the afternoon was present at the gassing of a block with Zyklon B against lice." Zyklon B is stabilized hydrocyanic acid. That product is still used today throughout the entire world. Many documents prove to us that that disinfection operation was delicate and could demand the presence of a doctor to bring help, should the occasion arise, to certified personnel charged with carrying out the gassing of a barrack and, 21 hours after the beginning of the airing out of such a barrack, testing for the disappearance of the hydrocyanic acid before permitting people to return to live in their barracks. On 10 October 1942, the situation was so serious that, for everyone, there was a quarantine of the camp. The wife of the Obersturmführer or Sturmbannführer Cäsar died of typhus. All of the city of Auschwitz was in bed, etc. It is sufficient to refer to the text of the diary. For more details of that epidemic of the year 1942, one can also consult the calendar of the Hefte von Auschwitz (year 1942). In the Anthology of the International Auschwitz Committee, Volume I, second part, page 196 (in the French edition), we read that the SS physician Dr. Popiersch, head doctor of the garrison and of the camp, had died of typhus on 24 April 1942 (four months before the arrival of Dr. Kremer). In Volume II, first part, published also in 1969, we read on page 129 and in note 14 on page 209 that the Polish physician Dr. Marian Ciepielowski of Warsaw also died of typhus while caring for the Soviet prisoners of war.
The work of Dr. Kremer at Auschwitz seems to have been principally to devote himself to laboratory research, to dissections, to anatomical studies. But it was also necessary for him to be present at some corporal punishments and some executions. He was not present at the very arrival of the convoys, but, once the division between those fit for work and those not fit for work had been made, he arrived, in a car with driver, from his hotel room in Auschwitz (room #26 at the Train Station Hotel). What took place then? Did he lead people into some "gas chambers" or to disinfection? Let us see below what they claim that he said first in 1947 to the Polish communists; secondly, in 1960 to the court at Miinster; and thirdly, in 1964 to the court at Frankfurt.
7. The Truth of the Texts: No"Gassing."
We recall that, in his diary, on the date of 12 October 1942, Dr. Kremer wrote:
[…] Was present at night at another special action with a draft from Holland (1600 persons). Horrible scene in front of the last bunker! This was the 10th special action.
In the same manner, on 18 October he wrote:
In wet and cold weather was on this Sunday morning present at the 11th special action (from Holland). Terrible scenes when 3 women begged to have their bare lives spared.
These two texts are easy to interpret. The "last bunker" could only be the bunker of barracks #11; it was located at the end of the camp of Auschwitz (the original camp) and not at Birkenau or near Birkenau which is 3 km away. The executions took place in what they called the courtyard of block 11. It is there that is located the "black wall." It happened usually that persons condemned to death were transported into a concentration camp to be executed there. Such was probably the case with the three women who came from the Netherlands. I suppose that it would be easy to find their names and the motives for their condemnation either in the archives at Auschwitz or in those of the Historical Institute in Amsterdam. In either case, these three women were shot.
The Polish have been terribly embarrassed by this reference to the "last bunker." By a sleight of hand they have converted this bunker which is in the singular into ... peasant farms allegedly transformed into "gas chambers" and located near Birkenau. And there the absurdities pile up. What is the doctor supposed to have done? NOTHING. He remained seated in his car, at a distance. And what did he see of a "gassing" of human beings? NOTHING. What can he tell us about what took place after the alleged "gassing"? NOTHING, since he left by car with his driver (and the medical orderly?). He is not able to talk either about the installation, nor about the processing of putting to death, nor about the personnel employed in this putting to death, nor of the precautions taken to enter into an incredibly dangerous place. It is not Dr. Kremer who will tell us how some men would be able to enter into this terrible place "A SHORT MOMENT" after the alleged victims finished crying out. It is not he who will be able to let us know by what secret means they were able to pull out some thousands of bodies saturated with cyanide lying amidst vapors of hydrocynanic acid, and all that done with bare hands (although that acid poisons by contact with the skin), without gas masks (although this gas is overwhelming), while eating and smoking (although this gas is inflammable and explosive). It is Rudolf Höss, in his spontaneous confessions to the same Polish court, who recounted all of those astonishing things. Let's be decent about this. Let us suppose that the members of the Sonderkommando (Special Detachment) nevertheless did possess some gas masks, provided with the particularly strong filter, the J filter, against hydrocyanic acid. I am afraid that we are no further ahead. I have in fact here, in front of me, a text from a technical manual of the American army, translated from the text of an American manual dating from 1943 (The Gas Mask, technical manual No. 3-205, War Department, Washington, 9 October 1941, a manual prepared under the direction of the Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service, U.S. Printing Office, 1941, 144 pages.) Here is what is written on page 55 (I write the most important words in CAPITALS):
It should also be remembered that a man may be overcome by the absorption of hydrocyanic gas through the skin; a concentration of 2 percent hydrocyanic acid gas being sufficient to thus overcome a man in about 10 minutes. Therefore, EVEN IF ONE WEARS A GAS MASK, exposure to concentrations of hydrocyanic gas of 1 percent by volume or greater should be made only in case of necessity and then FOR A PERIOD NO LONGER THAN 1 MINUTE AT A TIME. In general, places containing this gas should be well ventilated with fresh air before the wearer of the mask enters, thus reducing the concentration of hydrocyanic gas to low fractional percentages.
The spontaneous confessions of Dr. Kremer with those closures "provided with a sliding door for secure closing" make us laugh. The total airtightness demanded by a homicidal gas chamber using hydrocyanic acid would be impossible to achieve with a sliding door. But how could Dr. Kremer, who had never left his car, describe that door as if he had seen it? And the SS man who released the gas – how did he do it? Did he release "the contents of a box of Zyklon through an opening in the wall" (version of the confession of 1947)? Or "by some shafts (Einwurfschächte)" (version of 1960)? Or indeed through a "dormer window" that he reached "above" while going up "by a ladder" (version of 1964)? Everything in these confessions is empty and vague. One can simply deduce from them with certainty two things which are quite probable:
- Dr. Kremer convoyed some people who were led into some barracks in order to undress (and without doubt they next went to disinfection or to the showers);
- Dr. Kremer was present at some gassings of buildings or of barracks for their disinfection by Zyklon B.
It was while helping himself by the combining of these two real experiences that he constructed for his accusers or his accusers constructed for him the poor and absurd account of the "gas chambers." A very characteristic point of the false testimonies regarding the homicidal "gassings" is the following: the accused says that he was at a certain distance from the place of the crime; the most that one can find is a defendant who said that he had been forced to release the Zyklon through a hole in the roof of the "gas chamber" or even one who "had helped push" the victims into the "gas chamber." That ought to remind us of the unfortunates who in the Middle Ages were accused of having met the devil on such and such a day, at such and such an hour, in such and such a place. They would have been able to deny it fiercely. They would have been able to go so far as to say: "You know very well that I could not have met with the devil for one excellent reason, which is that the devil does not exist." The unfortunates would have condemned themselves by such responses. They had only one way out: to play the game of their accusers, to admit that the devil was there without doubt, but ... at the top of the hill, while they themselves, located below, heard the horrible noise (sobs, groans, cries, racket) made by the victims of the devil. It is shameful that in the middle of the 20th century there are found so many judges and also so many lawyers who will admit as evidence the bewildering confessions of so many accused persons without having ever had the least curiosity to ask them what they had really seen, seen with their own eyes, without posing to them some technical questions, without going on to some comparisons between the most obviously contradictory explanations. Unfortunately I must say in their defense that even some intelligent technicians and even some wellinformed chemists imagine that almost any small place can easily be transformed into a homicidal "gas chamber." None of those people has had the chance to visit an American gas chamber. They would understand the enormity of their error. The first Americans who thought about executing a condemned man by gas also imagined that it would be easy. It was when they tried to actually do it that they understood that they risked gassing not only the condemned man but also the governor and the employees of the penitentiary. They needed many years to perfect a nearly reliable gas chamber.
As to the "special actions" of Dr. Kremer, they are easy to understand. It is simply a question of what, in the vocabulary of the French Army, is called by the pompous name of "missions extraordinaires." I believe that the American equivalent is "special assignment." A "special assignment" does not imply necessarily that there is a moving of the person. It is a question of a sudden assignment which comes to break the habitual unfolding of his duties. Dr. Kremer, for example, worked especially in the laboratory but, from time to time, he was required for extra work: reception of a convoy to be led to disinfection, sorting out the contagious or the sick in the hospital, etc. It is thus that as a good military man and as an orderly man he noted in his diary each of those tasks which were, probably, each time worth a supplementary allowance to him, as to the SS volunteers who cleaned the railroad cars at the arrival of each convoy. In any case, if Auschwitz appeared to him like a hell, it was not at all because of frightful crimes like the executions of crowds of human beings in the enclosures allegedly turned into "gas chambers," but because of the typhus, malaria, dysentery, the infernal heat, the flies, the lice, the dust. One can determine that by a slightly attentive reading of the very text of his diary. That is what I, for my part, did first. And then, one day, I fell by chance upon the proof, the material proof, that such was indeed the correct interpretation.
8. Textual Confirmation of the Correctness of the Revisionist Intrepretation of the Diary of Dr. Kremer
On page 42 of Justiz und NS-Verbrechen we learn that in the trial at Münster, in 1960, Dr. Kremer had had someone appear as a witness for his defense. That witness was a woman whose name began with G1a. (German law authorizes that, in a public document, certain names may be revealed only in abridged form.) That name was very probably that of Miss Glaser, the daughter of Dr. Kremer's housekeeper; one about whom he speaks on several occasions in his diary. The witness brought to the court some post cards and some letters that the doctor had sent to her at the time of his stay in Auschwitz. The witness said that the doctor "had not been in agreement with what took place at Auschwitz" and that he had hurried to leave the camp. Miss Gla[ser] then put into evidence a letter of 21 October 1942 that Dr. Kremer had sent to her. The content of it is of extreme importance, which apparently eluded the tribunal. It proves that, when Dr. Kremer spoke of the Auschwitz camp as a hell, it was indeed as I have said, because of the typhus and the other epidemics. Here are the very words used by the doctor in his letter:
I don't really know for certain, but I expect, however, that I'll be able to be in Münster before 1 December, and thus finally turn my back on this hell of Auschwitz where, in addition to the typhoid, and so on, typhus has once again broken out strongly…
Here is therefore that "Dante's Inferno" from the entry of 2 September 1942! Professor of Medicine Johann Paul Kremer had seen the horrors of a formidable epidemic at Auschwitz wiping out internees and guards; he had not seen monstrous "gassing" operations, exterminating crowds of human beings.
9. The Human Character of Dr. Kremer
In considering his fife and reading his diary, we perceive that Dr. Kremer was absolutely not a brute, or a fanatic or a cynical human being. He was human, too human; he was a free spirit but perhaps without great courage. He had quickly become a sort of "old boy" attached above all to his profession. In the first pages of Volume XVII of Justiz und NS-Verbrechen his biography is sketched out. Johann Paul Kremer was born in 1883 near Cologne of a father who, after having been a miller, became a peasant. He did his advanced studies at the Universities of Heidelberg, Strasbourg and Berlin. He obtained a doctorate in philosophy and a doctorate in medicine. He worked in succession at the Charit6 Hospital in Berlin, at the hospital of Berlin-Neuköln, at the surgical clinic of the University of Bonn, at the anatomical institute of the same university; finally, he became a deputy lecturer at the University of Münster; he gave courses there up until 1945 (when he was 62 years old). Those courses dealt with the doctrine of heredity, sports medicine, X-rays, and especially anatomy. In 1932, at the age of 48, he joined the National-Socialist Party. In 1936, at the age of 52, he was made SS-Sturmmann (soldier of the first class). In 1941, at the age of 57, he was promoted to Untersturmführer (second lieutenant) in the Waffen-SS. He served his active duty. He was in the service only at the time of university vacations. In 1942 he spent two months at Dachau as a doctor attached to the SS hospital; he had not contact with the camp of the internees. In 1941, at the age of 57, he published a paper on heredity which seems to have brought him some worries in regard to the official authorities. In August of 1942, he was serving at the SS hospital in Prague when, suddenly, he received an assignment for Auschwitz to replace a doctor who had fallen ill there. He stayed at Auschwitz from 30 August to 18 November 1942, and then he resumed his activity at the anatomical institute of the city of Münster. He was 58 years old. He served as the president of the Discipline Commission of North Westphalia of the Union of National Socialist Doctors. In 1943, he was named Lieutenant in the reserves of the Waffen-SS. Here is how he was judged:
Calm personality, correct; sure of himself, energetic; above the average in general culture; excellent understanding of his specialty. Lengthy education as surgeon and anatomist; since 1936, deputy lecturer at the Univeristy of Münster.
On 12 August 1945, he was arrested at his home in Münster by the British occupying forces (the "automatic arrest" of former SS men). They seized his diary at his home. He was interned at Neuengamme, then turned over to the Poles. He was imprisoned at Stettin, then in succession in fourteen Polish prisons, then finally in the prison at Cracow. The preliminary investigation of the case was carried out by the famous judge Jan Sehn, the same one to whom we owe the interrogations of Rudolf Höss and the confession, "spontaneous" no doubt, of Rudolf Höss. In 1947, at the age of nearly 64 years, he was freed for good conduct, because of his advanced age and since he was ill. He returned to his home, at Münster. He was arrested on the order of the German court, then freed on bail. At the time he was receiving a pension of DM 70 per week. He had married in 1920, at the age of 37, but he was separated from his wife at the end of two months since she suffered from schizophrenia. He had not been able to obtain a divorce until twenty years later, in 1942. Dr. Kremer did not have any children. A housekeeper took care of him. Unless I am mistaken, he was never at the front nor did he ever fire a shot, except, without doubt, in training. He kept his diary beginning at the age of 151/2. 1 have not read the part of his diary prior to the Second World War. On 29 November 1960 Dr. Kremer, age 76, was condemned to ten years in prison but those ten years were considered as purged. In consideration of his advanced age, his civil rights were only cancelled for five years. He was condemned to pay the court costs, he was deprived of his responsibility as course attach6, deprived of his title of professor and deprived, I believe, of his two doctorates. On 4 June 1964 he came to the witness stand in the "Frankfurt Trial" to testify against the "Auschwitz guards." I doubt that this old man of 80 years thus came spontaneously to make charges against his compatriots in the hysterical atmosphere of this famous witch trial. His "spontaneous confessions" to the Polish communists were thus, to the end of his existence, to cling to his skin like the tunic of Nessus. It was thus that beginning in 1945 the existence of this professor had become a drama. Here therefore is a man who had devoted his life to relieving the sufferings of his fellow men: the drama of a war lost and then he was made officially a sort of monster who had, it seemed, suddenly devoted two and one-half months of his life to gigantic massacres of human beings according to a truly Satanical industrial method.
The diary of Dr. Kremer is dull in style (at least that part that I have read) but when one considers what was the destiny of that diary and of its author, one cannot prevent oneself from thinking of it as a work which, very much more than some highly valued historical or literary testimonies, is profoundly upsetting. I think often of that old man. I think sometimes also of his tormentors. I do not know what became of Dr. Kremer. If he were still alive today, he would be 97 years old. I hope that one day a student will write a biography of this man and that to do so he will visit the city of Münster (Westphalia) where there certainly still five some people who knew-permit me to return to him his titles -Professor Doctor Johann Paul Kremer.
Dr. Kremer certainly did not have National Socialist convictions. On 13 January 1943 he wrote in his diary: "There is no Aryan, Negroid, Mongoloid or Jewish science, only a true or a false one." On the same date, he furthermore wrote this:
[ ... ] I had never even dreamed there existed anything like "a gagged science." By such manoeuvres, science has received a mortal blow and has been banished from the -country! The situation in Germany today is not any better than in the times when Galileo had been forced to recant and when science had been threatened by tortures and the stake. Where, for Heaven's sake, is that situation going to lead us to in the twentieth century!!! I could almost feel ashamed to be a German. And so shall I have to end my days as the victim of science and the fanatic of truth.
In reality, he was to end his days as the victim of the political lie and as a poor man obliged to lie.
At the date of 1 March 1943, we read in his diary:
Went today to shoemaker Grevsmühl to be registered and saw there a leaflet sent him from Kattowitz by the Socialist Party of Germany. The leaflet informed that we had already liquidated 2 million Jews, by shooting or gassing.
The Exterminationist historians do not use the argument that this passage of the diary seems to furnish them. On reflection, that is understandable. Every one knows well that a thousand rumors of German atrocities circulated during the war. The socialist opposition made use of them, as did all of the opponents of Hitler. In this type of tract one says anything and everything. That is the rule for that type of work. Dr. Kremer made no commentary on that pamphlet. Perhaps he believed in what the author of the tract stated. It is even probable since he took the trouble to note it. That is precisely what is interesting about this incident. Dr. Kremer must certainly not have been a very good Nazi, or otherwise his shoemaker would not have run the risk of making him read a secret pamphlet, and especially a pamphlet "which had been addressed to him." This last detail indeed proves that Dr. Kremer did not fear to confide to his diary very delicate information.
On 26 July 1945, or about two and one half months after the German surrender, Dr. Kremer witnessed the distress of his fellow countrymen. That distress wrung from him nearly the same words as did the horrors of Auschwitz. I present in italic type those words in the quotation that follows:
The weather is still very hot and dry. The corn ripens before its time, gnats are pestering us more and more, the foreigners* are still greatly worrying the starving, needy and homeless inhabitants. People are crowded into goods trains like cattle pushed hither and thither, while at night they try to find shelter in the stench of dirty and verminous bunkers. Quite indescribable is the fate of these poor refugees, driven into uncertainty by death, hunger and despair.
*(The Polish authorities here have altered the original German text, which spoke not of "foreigners" but of "Russians, Poles and Italians.")
The fact that immediately after this passage Dr. Kremer spoke about the gathering of berries does not mean that he was insensitive to the suffering of his fellow countrymen. Anyone who keeps a diary passes in this way, without transition, from the serious to the trifling. After the death of a person dear to him, Goethe noted something to the effect: "Death of Christiane!! I slept well. I feel better." And this "better" referred to health – his own health – which up until then had given him some concern. As to Kafka, I believe that I recall that on that day he had gone to the swimming pool. I am not sure of these quotations and I propose to verify them one day.
10. Forced Confessions
We all know that forced confessions are common coinage, especially in time of war. The GIs in Korea, as in Vietnam, did not fail to confess "spontaneously" to the worst absurdities. People often believe that "spontaneous confessions" are a speciality of the Communist world. That ignores the fact that the French, British and Americans made great use of torture towards, for example, the conquered of the last war. As regards what the French did, I have carried out an investigation of an almost surgical precision on the summary executions in a whole small region of France at the time of the Liberation in 1944. It is absolutely impossible to have my manuscript published, given the scandal that it would cause and that would have repercussions, I can tell you, right up to the Presidency of the Republic, which is opposed (imagine it!) to the exhumation of people who were executed by units of the Maquis. Those people were sometimes tortured. But experience has also taught me that it is necessary to distrust some tales of physical torture. There are some perverted persons who take a real pleasure in inventing all sorts of stories of that kind. In The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, on pages 188-192, Dr. Butz presents a profound and suggestive analysis of forced confessions and torture. His brilliant intelligence, not to say his genius, dictates to him sometimes, as you well know, observations of such great pertinence that one is astonished and is ashamed not to have made them oneself. Here is an example of that, dealing with physical torture; it is not lacking in humor:
Finally we should observe that almost none of us, certainly not this author, has ever experienced torture at the hands of professionals bent on a specific goal, and thus we might suspect, to put it quite directly, that we simply do not know what we are talking about when we discuss the possibilities of torture. (page 192)
It is, I think, easy to obtain forced confessions from a man whom one holds at his mercy. Physical torture is not absolutely necessary. I mean to say that it is not absolutely necessary to strike the victim. It is sufficient sometimes to shout and to threaten. A seclusion and a prolonged isolation, as was the case with Aldo Moro, can create a feeling of panic and lead to a sort of madness. One will be prepared to sign any kind of declaration in order to get out of there. If an officer refuses a confession, he can be threatened with losing his men, and vice versa. They will threaten him with losing his wife and his children. I am sure that all physical or mental resistance can be wiped out by very simple means. For example, they will offer a prisoner conditions of lodging worthy of a decent hotel and will give him as much as he wishes to eat, but ... they will give him nothing to drink. Or indeed he will have enough to eat and to drink, but they will light his cell day and night with such power (see the example of Nürnberg) that he will no longer be able to sleep. Very quickly he will become a human rag prepared to mutter any kind of confession.
One fearful effect of torture is to bring the victim closer to his torturer. The panting victim detaches himself in thought from those whom he ought to love in order to attach himself to the one whom he ought to fear and hate. He no longer wishes to have anything in common with those whose ideas he shares: he comes to hate those ideas and those people because those ideas, finally, have cost him too much suffering and those people-his friends-appear to him as a living reproach. To the contrary, there is everything to expect from the torturer. He is in possession of power, which always, in spite of everything, enjoys a certain prestige. The gods are on his side. It is he who possesses the solution to all your sufferings. The torturer is going to propose to you this solution when, if he wished, he could kill you on the spot or torture you without respite. That torturer, who proposes that you sign a simple sheet of paper on which some words are written, he is good. How can you resist him when you feel yourself to be so weak and so alone? That torturer becomes irresistible when, in place of demanding from you a confession that is precise and totally contrary to the truth, he proposes to you a sort of compromise: a vague confession based on a partial truth. In 19631965, at the Frankfurt trial, the judge of the tribunal had as his first concern not the truth, since he thought that the truth had already been completely found, but the measuring of THE DEGREE OF REPENTANCE of each of the accused! On page 512 of the book by Hermann Langbein, cited above, we see the judge show his preoccupation with discerning to what degree the accused Pery Broad had a feeling of Evil: he declared in all candor: "You see, an awarness of wrong doing plays a large part in this proceeding." How many times must the German defendants have heard that remark from the mouths of their jailers, their investigating magistrates, and especially from their lawyers! After that, how would an intelligent and sensible. man like Pery Broad refuse to tell the stupid story about an anonymous SS man whom he is supposed to have noticed one day, from a distance, in the process of releasing a mysterious liquid through the opening of the ceiling of ... the "gas chamber" of Auschwitz (the original camp)? Pery Broad probably knew that no one would come to ask him, among other questions:
But how could you know that that was the ceiling of a "gas chamber" and not of a morgue? Did you enter into the place? If you did, can you tell us how it was arranged? Is it not mad on the part of the Germans to have placed a "gas chamber" just under the windows of that SS hospital and under the windows of the administrative building where you found yourself on that day? The evacuation of vapor from the hydrocyanic gas would therefore have been directed toward the SS men of the hospital or the SS men of the administration? Isn't that so?
Such are the questions that the tribunal did not ask Pery Broad.
It would be inhuman to reproach Pery Broad, Dr. Kremer, Rudolf Höss, and some SS men again for their absurd forced confessions. One must be astonished at the laughable number of those confessions when one thinks of the hundreds of SS men from the concentration camps who were imprisoned by the Allies. Among all those who were hanged or shot or who committed suicide, how many left confessions? A handful regarding the subject of the alleged "gas chambers." In regard to other subjects, perhaps there are more numerous confessions. I am led to believe that the Polish and the Soviets must have obtained a crowd of confessions; the SS men had to charge each other as all the men of the same lost-cause were more or less obliged to do. If there were very few confessions from the SS men concerning the "gas chambers," it was not thanks to the courage of the SS men-since, once again, it seems to me that no one can truly resist a torturer who is something of a psychologist -but quite simply because, on this subject, their torturers did not know very well what to make them state precisely. Not having any material reality on which to construct their lies about the "gas chambers" -those slaughterhouses which in fact never existed-the torturers were reduced to inventing some poor things and some stereotypes that they attributed to people like Rudolf Höss, Pery Broad and Johann Paul Kremer.
11. A Practical Conclusion
In conclusion, if, in your presence, an Exterminationist should base his thesis about the reality of the "gas chambers" of Auschwitz or of any other camp on the argument of some confessions, here, in my opinion, is the conduct to follow:
- Ask if he will first enumerate those confessions one by one;
- Ask him to point out the confession which, in his opinion, is the most convincing;
- Agree to read that one confession in the language (accessible for you) and in the form that, again, your questioner will freely choose;
- Compare the supposedly original text of that confession with the text that your questioner will have furnished to you;
- Decipher that text line by line and word by word, without making it say either more or less than it does say; note carefully what the author of the confession alleges that he personally saw, heard or did; a traditional trick of the German courts has consisted, as was the case for the judgement of Johann Paul Kremer at Münster in 1960, in slipping a weak confession that the accused made into a very long presentation about "gassing" in such a way that the reader believes that the whole report comes from the accused; the reader imagines that the accused made a detailed report of the events; it is nothing of the kind; it is necessary to "scour" from the text all of the contributions of the judge in order to make the judgement that the testimony is nearly as inconsistent as it is brief and vague.
- See if the confession stands up, if it is coherent, if it does not break any law of physics or of elementary chemistry; be very materialistic, as if you had to study a miracle from Lourdes; try to see the places where the action is said to have taken place; see what remains of it; some ruins can be very instructive; seek out the plans of the places or of the buildings;
- See, possibly, if the text of the confession is in the handwriting of the man who confessed; see if this text is in his mother tongue or in another language; the Allies usually made the Germans sign texts drawn up in French (Josef Kramer) or in English (Rudolf Höss) and they added in all peace of conscience that they guaranteed that this text had been translated to the accused in his own language, very faithfully (and that besides in the absence of any lawyer);
- Seek to know who obtained that confession, when and how; ask yourself the question: upon whom did the man who confessed depend for drinking, for eating and for sleeping?
I do not think that I need to add other recommendations (for example, as to the material or documentary authenticity of the text to be studied). You understood that I am setting out a method of investigation that is elementary and not at all original. It is a routine method that one would apply automatically if it were a question of ordinary criminal matters which are exceptional by their supposed nature, very far from redoubling prudence and making appeal to a proven method, they display an incredible lightness. The good method always consists when it is a question of an inquest, of an analysis or of whatever work, of "beginning with the beginning." In fact, experience has taught me that often nothing is more difficult and less spontaneous than "to begin with the beginning." It is only after some years of research on the "gas chambers" and after having pronounced those words "gas chambers" perhaps several thousands of times that one fine day I woke up with the following question: "But in fact, what indeed can those words signify? To what material reality can they indeed relate?" To ask those questions was to very quickly find in them an answer. That answer you know: it is that the homicidal "gas chambers" of the Germans were only born in sick minds. It is time that the entire world wakes up and realizes this. Germany, in particular, ought to wake up from this frightful nightmare. It is time that a truthful history of the Second World War be written.
I reproduce here the text of the entry of 2 September 1942 (Diary of Johann Paul Kremer) after the photocopy of the original as it is found in the National Archives in Washington (Doc. #NO-3408). Some Exterminationist works reproduce the photograph of this entry among other entries from the diary. But the reader has little chance to go about deciphering each word of the German handwriting of Dr. Kremer. He will be inclined to have confidence in the printed reproduction that they will propose to him, for example, in the margin; that is the case with KL Auschwitz, Arbeit Macht Frei, edited by the International Auschwitz Committee, 96 pages (not dated). On page 48 there appears a photograph of a manuscript page of the diary on which are found three entries relating to five dates (1 through 5 September 1942). In the margin, you discover the alleged printed reproduction of the single entry of 2 September. That reproduction appears in French, English and German. In French and English the text is outrageously distorted. In German, it was very difficult to distort the text in a similar way since the photocopy of the manuscript is available to the reader. But we must have unlimited confidence that the Exterminationists will falsify texts that embarrass them. The International Auschwitz Committee has found a solution thanks to a typographical trick. After the word Sonderaktion the authors of the book have printed in the same typeface the following parenthesis, as if it were from Dr. Kremer: "So wurde die Selektion und das Vergasen genannt" ("Thus did they refer to selection and gassing"). Either the reader, as is highly probable, will not notice the difference between the manuscript text and the printed text and then will believe it to be a confidence imparted by Dr. Kremer, which will appear to him to be all the more normal since, according to an Exterminationist myth, the Nazis spent their time inventing a coded language in order to cover up their crimes; or else the reader will see the difference between the texts and then the authors will plead a simple and innocent typographical error. Serge Klarsfeld, as I said above, has used this fallacious page in his Memorial of the Deportation of the Jews from France. It is thus that historical tricks are spread and perpetuated. Here is the original manuscript text in its authentic form:
Zum 1. Male draussen um 3 Uhr früh bei einer Sonderaktion zugegen. Im Vergleich hierzu erscheint mir das Dante' sche Inferno fast wie eine Komödie. Umsonst wird Auschwitz nicht das Lager der Vernichtung genannt!
Finally, here is the text of the passage from the letter of 21 October 1942 addressed to Miss Gla[serl:
[ ... ]Definitiven Bescheid habe ich allerdings noch nicht erwarte jedoch, dass ich vor dem 1. Dezember wieder in Münster sein kann and so endgultig dieser Hölle Auschwitz den Rükken gekehrt habe, wo ausser Fleck usw. sich nunmehr auch der Typhus mächtig bemerkbar macht...
I reproduce the text with its errors in punctuation and spelling.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Confessions of SS Men who were at Auschwitz|
|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 2, no. 2 (summer 1981), pp. 103-136|
|First posted on CODOH:||Nov. 7, 2012, 6 p.m.|