From the Records of the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, Part 2
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As described in Part 1 of this series in the last issue, the investigation of crimes allegedly committed at concentration camp Auschwitz was initiated by charges filed by criminal convict Adolf Rögner, whom Stuttgart public prosecutor Weber described several times as a "contradictory and psychopathic professional criminal", (p. 106r, p. 85r).
During their investigations against Wilhelm Boger, who Rögner had accused of torture and murder in Auschwitz as a member of the Gestapo, the public prosecutor's office at first had little information to rely on. Even the Central Council of Jews in Germany had no knowledge of Boger, but they offered to circulate a letter to the Jewish community if the prosecutor's office would provide them with particulars (letter dated Aug. 25, 1958, p. 46). This letter was answered by public prosecutor Weber on Aug. 29, 1958, with details about the accusations against Boger and other SS men (p. 58). In letters to other public prosecutors and police offices, Weber had emphasized that all witnesses should be thoroughly examined before any names are made public (see pp. 73f., 78-83, 109, 117f.). But with respect to the Central Council of Jews in Germany, he conveniently ignored his warning-a violation of proper prosecutorial conduct, since possible witnesses should provide information on their own memory and not be influenced by detailed descriptions from third parties.
The subsequent appeal put out by the Central Council of Jews in Germany with details about the alleged crimes Wilhelm Boger was accused of having committed is not in the records. However, it may be assumed that it contained the information provided by Weber-and therefore would have constituted an early suggestive influencing of possible future witnesses.
Another interesting aspect of the personality and biography of the initial accuser Rögner is his involvement in the famous-infamous show trials that the Americans held in Dachau in 1946. In a handwritten letter dated Match 30, 1958, to the public prosecution at the District Court Stuttgart, he mentioned these show trials (p. 53r):
"During the 3 years of my working for various military courts and for the CIC as an identifier and informer etc., I made discoveries that struck me, for example: Camp 29-Dachau, the so-called 'professional witnesses' who lived year-round in the camp, received housing, first-rate American rations, cigarettes and 20 Reichsmark from the Americans and 10 from then-president Auerbach the '[illegible] Munich'; they were mainly Slavic Jews (Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Yugoslavs, etc.); they committed perjuries again and again, were all full of hate and bent on revenge (besides, they were also work-shy). [?Every] day they committed perjury and signed affidavits full of lies, made false identifications, etc."
Rögner himself was interrogated intensively on Aug. 20, 1958. Among other things, he stated (p. 48r):
"On June 20, 1945, I was taken by the Americans in Laufen and put into Automatic Arrest because I had worked as a Kapo [supervising inmate] in various concentration camps."
From uncounted witness statements of various camps it can be seen that the Kapos-prisoners with leadership functions-were guilty of committing many crimes against their fellow prisoners. This was especially true of those Kapos who were professional criminals. Rögner was one of these Kapos. Perhaps he thought he faced the choice of either ending up as a defendant at the Dachau show trial or of serving the Americans in some way. In any case, he was subsequently released from Automatic Arrest and then worked for the CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps of the US Army) as "identifier and informer" during the Dachau and later during the Nuremberg trials. He also admitted that he performed this work for pay (expenses, housing, rations) until 1948 (p. 48r). What Rögner criticized others for in his handwritten letter, that is, denouncing others for money and food, that was actually what he himself had done for three whole years. Rögner was therefore not only a professional criminal, but also one of those professional denouncers and professional witnesses who helped the Americans at the Dachau lynch trials. During his interrogation, he confirmed that the material he used in 1958 to bring about the Auschwitz trial mostly derived from those show trials (p. 49):
"During this time [his work for the CIC], I collected records and documents on the former concentration camps for purposes of my respective evaluation work."
However, he later corrected this (p. 49):
"I want to say that in the documents I have written down and commented only my very own observations and have not written down anything that I have not seen myself."
It is not clear from what time frame Rögner's "original observations" come, whether 1940-1945 or from 1946-1948. In any case, it is almost impossible that during his imprisonment in Auschwitz he was in a position to collect records on SS personnel on duty amounting to over 100 pounds (his own words, p. 55r). One must conclude therefore that he collected his material in Dachau, Nuremberg, and thereafter. In one case, he mentioned that he possessed the "Allied War Crimes lists" and the "Polish original charge records from Auschwitz I and II" (p. 55rf.).
Both during his interrogation and in his written declarations, Rögner provided long lists of alleged wrongdoers as well as former concentration camp comrades and possible witnesses on Auschwitz, with many personal details (pp. 49r-50r, 55-56r, 87-101). In his handwritten letters, most of the alleged SS criminals were "mass-murderers of the worst sort". These stereotypical denunciations suggest that his information came from a stereotypical source, such as the Dachau show trials.
In his summary of the interrogation of Rögner, investigating police detective Brunk wrote (p. 51b):
"The accuser Adolf Rögner has a record here. Up to 1935, he had been sentenced fourteen times altogether for theft, fraud, falsification of records with fraud [...] with a total sentence time of 5 years in prison. Also he was sent to a concentration camp as a preventive measure, where he soon advanced to Kapo."
Brunk was also skeptical with respect to Rögner's assurance that all his statements were based on first-hand experience (p. 51b):
"It must be assumed that he acquired extensive knowledge from the trials, which he sometimes participated in as a witness. It must also be assumed that the material that he is putting to use against the persons he has named has come from that source."
That Rögner had other – at times perhaps more important – motives for his actions than his political opinions is shown by his words in a handwritten letter to the public prosecution at District Court Stuttgart dated Aug. 31, 1958. In it, he tied the delivery of his documents to the prosecutor to a condition, namely, his transfer from the prison at Bruchsal to a prison in Stuttgart (p. 67r):
"It is now up to you, chief prosecutor of Stuttgart, I must either now be given humane accommodations, not these 'dirty, stinking transport cells which are teeming with vermin'! I must be present at the analysis and evaluation of the lists, because there are thousands of names, and so on. I can not do that here in Bruchsal, because here I have the greatest trouble with the warden [...]"
The rest of his letter showed clearly that Rögner was ready to do anything that would get him out of Bruchsal: serving as a witness in a trial in Munich for several days, evaluating documents in Stuttgart for several weeks, and so on.
Rögner stated repeatedly that he wished to emigrate to eastern, Soviet occupied communist Europe as soon as he was released from imprisonment (p. 25):
"I am 100% east-oriented and will go to Cracow right after my release, which will be my permanent residence."
For exactly this reason, public prosecutor Weber felt compelled to temporarily confiscate the records that Rögner had accumulated in his cell, since Rögner might not be willing to surrender them out of fear of losing them (pp. 67r., 106r):
"I remark that the confiscation should be done because there is danger in hesitation, in that the accuser Rögner, a contradictory and psychopathic professional criminal, has threatened to send his documents to the eastern zone [communist East Germany]."
In a letter to the prosecution at District Court Stuttgart dated Aug. 30, 1958, the Comité International d'Auschwitz, directed chiefly by former political concentration camp prisoners-that is, Communists-enclosed a brochure that had been "sent by the international resistance organization in the concentration camp Auschwitz to Cracow" on Sept. 16, 1944 (p. 59).
It is well known that many communists and socialists were held prisoner in concentration camps during the National Socialist era. It must be considered a certainty that these persons set up their own Organizations within the camps and worked together with underground groups outside the camps. One such communist prisoner involved in these activities was Bruno Baum. After the war he freely admitted his propaganda activity in books and journal articles in the communist German Democratic Republic. In addition to Baum, other communist camp partisans were Hermann Langbein, later president of the Auschwitz Committee, and such well known authors, 'Holocaust survivors,' and professional witnesses as Ota Kraus, Erich Schön-Kulka, Rudolf Vrba and Rudolf Wetzler, Fillip Müller, Stanislaw Jankoswki, Ella Lingens-Reiner, and Kazimierz Smolen, the director of the Auschwitz Museum for many years. Bruno Baum wrote:
"The whole propaganda which started about Auschwitz abroad was initiated by us with the help of our Polish comrades."
"It is no exaggeration when I say that the majority of all Auschwitz propaganda, which was spread at that time all over the world, was written by ourselves in the camp."
"We carried out this propaganda in [for] the world public until our very last day of presence in Auschwitz."
With this background, and in view of the massive propaganda campaign against Germany begun by the Soviets in August 1944 when the Lublin-Majdanek camp was occupied, it must be asked what value a brochure could have, which was produced by the above-named propagandists on the concentration camp Auschwitz in September 1944? The translation of this Polish publication included in the trial records is crawling with descriptions of supposed barbarities. Two examples will show blatantly how much they are worth (p. 69):
"In his personal behavior, he [camp commandant Rudolf Höß] got carried away by with women in the bunker, whereby several became pregnant, which inmate physicians were forced to interrupt [sic]." (emphasis in original)
Höß has been accused of many immoralities, but this is not mentioned anywhere in the literature. But it gets worse (p. 65):
"In interrogations, [...]-used torture by crucifixion, stabbing the testicles with steel needles and burning tampons in the vagina."
To my knowledge, these kinds of perversities can not be found anywhere else in the literature and have never been mentioned by any witness. In view of such flaming nonsense, it should not be surprising that public prosecutor Dr. Bech, concerning some Czechian printed matter sent by Langbein to the prosecutor's office of Stuttgart, thought that these "publications from the Soviet" may be a "danger to national security" (p. 71). But the reader appreciative of Dr. Bech's conceptual ability would be disappointed, since right afterward, concerning this publication written in a language he did not understand, he asked,
"if it was only a description of Nazi crimes or if the publication also contained propaganda."
Why for? From 1933 onward both have gone hand-in-hand! Dr. Bech thereupon made it quite clear that he was not concerned to suppress propaganda which might be a threat to national security:
"If this mailing is regarded as one of the usual mass mailings, an investigation should formally be started against Hermann Langbein and subsequently quashed on a technicality."
This is the German censor going by the book! How pleasant it would be if German public prosecutors would respond to Revisionist mass mailings with just a formal investigation and then quash it on a technicality!
Interest from Higher Quarters
At the very beginning of the investigation in Stuttgart, the public prosecution in Stuttgart was aware that the case had attracted attention from the highest quarters. For example, in an addendum of Aug. 30, 1958, to the statement filed with the public prosecution at District Court Stuttgart on Sept. 29, 1958, Hermann Langbein mentioned (p. 62):
"Due to a letter dated Aug. 7, 1958, from the Minister of Justice of Baden-Württemberg, I amplify this statement [...]."
Public prosecutor Weber was evidently not pleased with Mr. Langbein, because in a note in the records dated Sept. 11, 1959, he wrote (p. 76):
"Langbein makes an unsubstantiated complaint about the methods used in the investigation, which I specifically deny. Apparently he has also made complaints to the Ministry."
This means that Weber was worried about Langbein's complaint to the Ministry of Justice. Two days later Weber wrote (p. 102r):
"Because it concerns an important investigation case, in which the Ministry of Justice is very interested, [...]."
The Ministry of Justice of Baden-Württemberg was then in the hands of the conservative CDU (Christian Democratic Union) government. It may therefore be assumed that their interest in this investigation case was due not to sympathy for Langbein's communist front organization, but rather came from higher quarters located elsewhere.
The Second Witness Statement
Several of the witnesses named by Rögner could not remember anything of what he claimed about the supposed barbarities of Wilhelm Boger (pp. 110, 116, 119). But on Sept. 24, 1958, Paul Leo Scheidel gave the investigators what they were looking for. During his interrogation, Scheidel reported that it had been his task during executions at the "black wall" in the main camp at Auschwitz to see to it that his fellow prisoners stayed in rooms whose windows did not permit a view of the events in the court with the said "black wall," so that there would be no witnesses to the executions. However, he himself had gotten to a window from which he could observe the executions allegedly carried out by Wilhelm Boger (p. 111f.). How he could have kept his fellow prisoners from looking on with him remains a mystery. However, there is another fact, which proves that Scheidel was not telling the truth: There is no doubt that there many executions in Auschwitz, and they were either by shooting or by hanging. The SS regularly sent dispatches of same to Berlin which were intercepted by the British. Auschwitz served as an execution site also for death sentences for criminals who were not camp inmates. It is false to think the camp headquarters could have done anything to keep executions in the camp a secret. Moreover, these death sentences were decided by the legal standards of the Third Reich and served as deterrence for other potential miscreants. Had it been desired to carry out the sentences in secrecy, the executions would have taken place in some remote forest, as done by the Soviets at Katyn, and not in the middle of a camp. Scheidel's report that it was his duty to keep his fellow prisoners from being witnesses to the proceedings is therefore false.
Shortly thereafter, Scheidel reports about the later famous, but never clearly described "Boger swing," with which Wilhelm Boger supposedly tortured numerous prisoners (p. 112):
"After a long time Boger [...] had me tied up and hung on the Boger swing (it looks like a gymnastic horizontal bar), which everybody in the camp knew and feared. Boger invented this swing himself; that's why it is called the Boger swing. Both hands were tied together tightly and pulled over my knees. The crossbar of the so-called swing ran through between my lower arms and knee-joints (knee-hollows)."
The torture supposedly consisted in Boger abusing with a stick the naked behind of the prisoner thus strung up head downward. It has been shown that one can actually tie someone up to a horizontal bar that way, so that he can not free himself. However, it requires a securely anchored crossbar as well as the cooperation of the prisoner. That is, one can only tie someone up to a horizontal bar if he hangs on the bars with his knee-hollows, pulls his body up, and grabs his knees from beneath the bars-certainly an athletic feat-at which time he could be bound. Scheidel's report that he was first tied up and then hung on the bar could not work. It also would not be reasonable for the Gestapo to have installed an anchored horizontal bar-the beating of a prisoner bent upon a horizontal bar would have required a firmly secured horizontal bar as well as stay cables which gymnastic bars also have. And in any case, one could have beaten up a prisoner with a stick without such a complicated construction, so why bother? As will be seen in a later installment of this analysis, Scheidels description of the so-called "Boger swing" is not quite accurate, which is an indication that his account is from hearsay rather than from his own recollection.
Later Scheidel added the following touch (p. 113):
"I had to sit with my tailbone on the edge of a chair, so that one half of the butt was on the chair and the other hung down. I had to stretch both arms and legs in the air and keep my balance by using all my strength. I felt hellish pain in my tailbone. I begged Boger to let me stand up."
This is yet another scene where the evil Gestapo man tortures the prisoner by virtue of acrobatic acts. Scheidel had an active imagination, but to believe that a Gestapo man bent on torture would have depended on the athletic cooperation of his victim is comic.
Scheidel got typhus in 1943 and was, like all other Auschwitz prisoners unfit to work-not gassed or "selected" by Boger for execution, as Scheidel and others of his frame of mind never fail to claim-but placed in the sick camp at Birkenau and cared for until he got well (his statement, p. 113). Such are Scheidel's fairy tales on the torture and annihilation camp Auschwitz.
In other words, Paul Leo Scheidel, after Adolf Rögner the second former Auschwitz inmate ready to testify, is a liar.
First published in German in Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung 6(4) (2000), pp. 473-47; translated by Michael Humphrey. A few pages of the documents mentioned were reproduced in the German version of this article.
|||Rögner had been encouraged to do this by the Comité International d'Auschwitz (Langbein) and had been supported by the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the State Museum of Auschwitz, see op. cit. (note 2), p. 49, 53r, 57.|
|||All page numbers in the text refer to: Staatsanwaltschaft beim LG Frankfurt (Main), Strafsache beim Schwurgericht Frankfurt (Main) gegen Baer und Andere wegen Mordes, ref. 4 Js 444/59, vol. I.|
|||Cf. the summary by Manfred Köhler, "The Value of Testimony and Confessions Concerning the Holocaust", in E. Gauss (ed.), Dissecting the Holocaust, Theses and Dissertations Press, Capshaw, AL, pp. 85-132.|
|||Rögner mentions also that witnesses testifying at allied trials were prohibited to say anything exonerating about the defendants until Feb. 7, 1947, p. 54.|
|||The most reliable source for this is probably Paul Rassiniers, Die Lüge des Odysseus sein, K.-H. Priester, Wiesbaden 1959.|
|||E.g.: Bruno Baum, Widerstand in Auschwitz, Kongress-Verlag, Berlin 1957; unpublished works of Langbeins in the Documentation Center of the Austrian Resistance (Dokumentationsarchiv des Österreichischen Widerstandes, DÖW), Vienna: unpublished manuscript of B. Baum, "Bericht über die Tätigkeit der KP im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz" from June 1945; B. Baum "Wir funken aus der Hölle" in Deutsche Volkszeitung - Zentralorgan der KPD, Berlin 31.7.1945.|
|||Ota Kraus, Erich Schön-Kulka, Továrna na Smrt, Cin, Prague 1946, pp. 121f.|
|||Authors of the famous War Refugee Board Report, see "German Extermination Camps - Auschwitz and Birkenau" in David P. Wyman (ed.), America and the Holocaust, Vol. 12, Garland, New York/London 1990. Cf. also R. Vrba, I Cannot Forgive, Bantam Books, Toronto 1964.|
|||Filip Müller, Sonderbehandlung, Steinhausen, 1979.|
|||Hefte von Auschwitz, special issue 1, "Handschriften von Mitgliedern des Sonderkommandos", State Museum Auschwitz, 1972, pp. 42ff.|
|||Ella Lingens, Eine Frau im Konzentrationslager, Europa Verl., Wien-Frankfurt-Zürich 1966; H. G. Adler, H. Langbein, E. Lingens-Reiner(ed.), Auschwitz, 3rd ed., Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Köln, 1984.|
|||He was director of the Auschwitz Museum until the collapse of the Soviet Union; see Bruno Baum, Widerstand in Auschwitz, Kongress-Verlag, East Berlin 1957, chapter "Erfolg der Propaganda", p. 97; cf. Kazimierz Smolen, Auschwitz 1940 - 1945, State Museum, Auschwitz 1961.|
|||"Wir funken aus der Hölle", Deutsche Volkszeitung July 31, 1945.|
|||Bruno Baum, Widerstand in Auschwitz, op. cit. (note 12), 1949, p. 34.|
|||Ibid., p. 35.|
|||F.H. Hinsley, British Intelligence in the Second World War, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 2nd ed., London 1990, Vol. 2, p. 673.|
Additional information about this document
|Title:||From the Records of the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, Part 2|
|Sources:||The Revisionist 1(2) (2003), pp. 235-238|
|First posted on CODOH:||June 15, 2012, 7 p.m.|
|Comments:||First published in German in "Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung," 6(4) (2000), pp. 473-47. A few pages of the documents mentioned were reproduced in the German version of this article.|