The origins of “The Holocaust” or “How the Holocaust was born”.
Allan Welsh Dulles was stationed in Switzerland from November 1942 to the end of WWII, as OSS chief to co-ordinate the activities of the German opposition (OSS=Office of Strategic Services, US intelligence agency formed during WWII). He wrote a book about his experiences, titled “Germany’s Underground. The Anti-Nazi Resistance”. Even though he was in contact with most of the leading opponents of Hitler, including Bernd Gisevius who stated at the IMT that the Abwehr knew what was happening in the concentration camps, we find not one word about the alleged mass murder of Jews in his book. Peter Hoffmann, who wrote the Introduction, tells us that Dulles was also informed by a leading German industrialist, Dr. Eduard Schulte, about “The Holocaust”, referring to a book by Walter Laqueur and Richard Breitman, “Breaking the Silence”(Simon and Schuster, New York, 1986). Here is their story.
In 1925 Eduard Schulte was appointed chief executive officer of Giesche, one of Germany's leading mining firms, headquartered in Breslau. Before WWI, the companies worth had been estimated at more that $100 million. Following the war, part of it became Polish, the German part concentrating on mining, smelting and refining zinc (p.28). In the 1930s the company was once again one of the bigger concerns and Schulte, as its CEO, an influential person. There was an American angle to all of this, as the majority of the shares of the Polish half of Giesche had been sold to Harriman and Company and Anaconda Copper, who formed the Silesian-American Corporation of Wilmington, Delaware (p.44).
For Eduard Schulte June 17,1942 started like any other day. He began it at the desk in his Breslau (Wroclaw) office, studying the newspapers, when the director of production, Otto Fitzner, entered his office, and:
“Lowering his voice, Fitzner said that a very important visitor was expected later that day. "Who is it?" Schulte asked. "Himmler." Schulte was startled and apprehensive until Fitzner assured him that the leader of the SS and chief of all German police forces had no intention of inspecting the Giesche works. He had some important business in the vicinity, apparently in Auschwitz. Fitzner could not tell Schulte more at the moment.”(p.12)
This then the well known visit of Himmler to Auschwitz of June 17-18,1942. Question is, what had Himmler’s visit to Auschwitz, more than 200km away, to do with Schulte in Breslau and why would Schulte be apprehensive? We have Himmler’s Dienstkalender (itinerary), from which we know that he arrived in Kattowitz (Katowice) at 15:15 and was taken from there to Auschwitz, going nowhere near Breslau. Then an p.13 we read:
“There was a concentration camp in Auschwitz, consisting mainly of old Austrian army barracks, but even this camp was not particularly distinguished. There were dozens of such camps in Greater Germany, and until 1942 some were considerably bigger. Himmler, furthermore, had never shown particular interest in inspecting them. In fact, he regarded this as the least pleasant part of his duties, and usually avoided it.
Schulte's curiosity grew when he was told the following day that Himmler's was not a short inspection tour of an hour or two; the head of the SS was staying on. The visit, as Schulte saw it, did not make sense.
News in the Upper Silesian mining region traveled fast. On the evening of July 17 Schulte already knew a little more about the visit, for on that evening, Himmler attended a dinner party given by Bracht, the Nazi Gauleiter, or party chief, of Upper Silesia. After dinner in Auschwitz the party moved on to the Gauleiters villa in a forest near Kattowitz. The villa happened to belong to the Company of which Schulte was general manager.”
The Bracht dinner is recorded in the itinerary, so the only news here is that the villa Bracht lived in belonged to Giesche. What of it? It is good business practice to get cosy with the higher ups and Schulte was no exception. Himmler arrived at 3:15 in the afternoon and Schulte claims to have known “a little more” about his visit on the same evening. Fact is, Schulte did not meet Himmler, and here is when the make believe starts:
“Within a week and a half after Himmler's second visit to Auschwitz, Schulte became aware of the purpose of all this activity. He found out that an important decision had been made by Hitler and was about to be executed. Schulte, unlike his deputy Fitzner, was not a Nazi. In fact, unknown to all but those closest to him, he was consumed by a passionate hatred of Nazism. He was utterly convinced that the Nazis would bring about the ruin of Germany. He thought the Nazi leadership capable of committing any conceivable crime or folly. But the secret Nazi plans for Auschwitz and other camps that became known to a few people during the last week of July were so horrendous that even Schulte, who in his circle of close friends would refer to Hitler as "that madman," hesitated for a moment. Surely, they would not dare . . .
The news Schulte learned shed new and ghastly light on the true fate of the Jews. He had listened, like everyone else, to the speeches in which Hitler had promised that he would eliminate European Jewry. But the term "elimination" could be interpreted in various ways. It could mean, for instance, resettling them in Madagascar, as some had proposed. Almost no one, not even a committed anti-Nazi like Schulte, believed that "elimination" should be understood literally”(p.15).
Schulte “found out”, but was not present himself when said decision was made. The authors do not inform us as to who told him and what he was told. According to this the decision to murder the Jews was made in Summer 1942, contradicting historians who give a variety of dates but none as late as that (It is alleged that Himmler witnesses a gassing of Jews on that visit, but that would of course not fit into the Laqueur/Breitman tale since according to them the decision to murder the Jews had just been made). What we do know about this visit is that Himmler ordered the camp to be expanded to eventually hold 200 000 inmates. Thus indeed, a decision had been made. The last part is interesting, however. This is plainly about the word “ausrotten”, translated as “elimination”. Schulte admits that the word had different meanings, “it could mean, for instance, resettling…”. Which is absolutely true. The question is how Schulte found out that now the word meant physical elimination, murder. The authors skip over this essential issue and on pp.15-16 continue:
“No one had seen a written order. Instructions were passed on by word of mouth on the basis of the "need-to-know" principle, which now, more than forty years later, makes it difficult to establish with absolute certainty who learned what from whom and at what date. All we do know for certain is that among those who learned the secret one exceptionally courageous man took the next train to Zurich to warn the Jews and the rest of the world that measures must be taken to prevent the mass murder. Why did Eduard Schulte act as he did, risking his life, when all others kept silent?” (Interviews with Dr. Albrecht Jung, Bad Homburg; Dr. Arthur Burkhardt, Stuttgart; and Dr. Wilhelm Grünfeld, Zurich. Also Eduard Schulte’s notarized affidavit in Zurich, 25 July 1945, NA RG #84, Zurich Confidential File 1945, Box 2386, 800. Hoess, Autobiography, 195-97)[…]”
If the sources listed provide information on how Schulte was informed, by whom and what exactly he was told, the authors would certainly have pointed this out. But they didn’t, which leaves me to suspect that this is all about irrelevant issues. No one has seen an order right up to today. But if mass murder had been decided upon, only those who needed to know were informed, and surely Schulte was not one of them. Himmler’s visit took him nowhere near Breslau and Giesche’s interests in Auschwitz, i.e., Monowitz, if any, were strictly of an economic nature. Also, the “next train to Zurich” is a bit of a stretch.
On July 29,1942, almost two weeks later, Schulte boarded a train in Breslau, destination Zurich. He had been a frequent traveler to Switzerland, for two reasons. The first was business interests, the other Doris, a lady friend he was to marry after his wife’s death. Doris was Jewish. On the way to Zurich Schulte had time to reflect some:
“He had been concerned about the fate of the Jews of Breslau. Once there had been a flourishing Jewish community, among it wealthy merchants, physicians, and scientists of national and international renown. The majority, however, were neither rich nor famous, eking out a living for themselves and their families not without difficulty. Their contribution to the economic and cultural life of the city was quite disproportionate to their number.
Then Hitler came to power, and within six years their number fell from twenty thousand to ten thousand. Many emigrated, some committed suicide. Even during the first year of the war some succeeded in getting out, via Italy and the Soviet Union, both then still neutral. By late 1941 only 8,100 were left; only the Gestapo knew exactly how many (On the Jews of Breslau as of 15 November 1941, see NA RG 242, T-81, R 676/5485696).
Then they too began to disappear, quietly, without attracting any attention. First they were concentrated in certain streets and buildings, and then, after a few months, they were "evacuated" to some villages not far from Breslau. They were temporarily housed in buildings that had once belonged to Cistercian monks, but after a few weeks they were again removed, this time to an unknown destination. According to rumor, they were "resettled" in Poland, a version that Schulte found difficult to believe, for his firm was operating in Poland and had a wide network of informants there; surely he would have heard details if this resettlement had indeed taken place. Now he knew the real meaning of resettlement[…]”(pp.117-118)
Lets forget about the “eking out a living part”, what is interesting here is that Schulte knew that Jews were able to escape during the first year of the war “via Italy and the Soviet Union”. Also, his firm “had a wide network of informants”, yet still, since they did not inform him that resettlement meant murder, he found out about it in Summer of 1942, we still don’t know how exactly, but, “Now he knew the real meaning of resettlement”. All of this is not convincing, the most important part is missing: the who, when and what.
Schulte knew people in Zurich of course. From pp.120/21:
“Schulte had decided that his information about the impending tragedy must be passed on to the leading Jewish institutions in America. Only they had sufficient influence to sound the tocsin and to induce the American and the British governments to take some action. (Schulte, like many non-Jews, tended to overrate the influence of "World Jewry.") Who could be trusted to pass on this desperately important information, to be discreet and at the same time give it the necessary emphasis? Schulte went to the phone and asked to be connected with IKAP in Basel.
The person Eduard Schulte wanted so urgently to speak to at IKAP (Internationale Kapital Anlage Gesellschaft) was Isidor Koppelmann, Jacques Rosenstein's right hand man,[…]” (Rosenstein was the owner of IKAP and in America at that time)
Here we again have this “What, we Jews have influence?” nonsense, but we have to remember that both Laqueur and Breitman are Jews. Schulte met Koppelmann, told him about the pending fate of Jews in Europe and that his information needed to be transmitted, immediately, “to leading Jewish organisations in America” (p.123). Koppelmann agreed that Schulte's information was important and decided to contact Sagalowitz:
“[K]oppelmann said that Sagalowitz knew everyone of consequence, that he was one of the leading experts on Nazi Germany in Switzerland[…]Before Rosenstein had left for America, he had impressed on Koppelmann that if ever he needed political advise on Jewish affairs, his former classmate Sagalowitz was the man to consult (p,124)[…]Sagalowitz was a native of Russia. His father, Hersch, had been a wealthy merchant in Vitebsk(p.126)[…]He had obtained his first regular job not long before the outbreak of war: the Association of Swiss Jewish Communities made him head of their information bureau (JUNA, or Jüdische Nachrichtenstelle)(p.127)”
Sagalowitz had entered a chess tournament in Lausanne, but agreed to come to Zurich. Schulte did not want to meet him at this time, he had to return to Berlin for an important conference and returned to Germany “a little later”(p.125). The authors do not mention dates very often, but this must by now be July 30/31. From p.129:
“On a late July afternoon Benno Sagalowitz now had to face his own crisis—not a personal crisis but one confronting an entire people. Koppelmann arrived a few minutes early. He said that the German industrialist of whom Sagalowitz had heard from Rosenstein had been in town and wanted to convey an urgent message to Sagalowitz. He took a piece of paper from his pocket on which he had made notes and began to read: "I have received information from absolutely trustworthy sources that Hitler's headquarters is considering a plan to kill all remaining European Jews." It was no longer a question of a few thousand Jews here and there; the Nazis were talking of three to four million who were to be transported to the east and gassed with prussic acid. An enormous crematorium had been built. About the date of the Operation the industrialist had been a little vague: it was not clear whether the plan was in the last stages of preparation or whether the mass murder had already started.
The whole affair was kept in great secrecy by the Nazis. But even if the mass executions had not yet started, it was only a matter of days or weeks. Unless the Allies took action at once, it would be too late. The industrialist had also made it clear that by "action" he did not refer merely to protest or warnings. End of message. Koppelmann also said that the man thought that he, Sagalowitz, was the best person to convey this message to the world Jewish institutions and the Allies. Sagalowitz thought for a few moments. "Did he give his source?"
"He would not tell me."
"May I quote him when I pass it on?"
"Under no circumstances; in fact, he wanted your word of honor that his name will be kept out." Koppelmann went on to say that the man was personally unafraid, but there were others involved and he owed it to his family. The industrialist had also said that he would be in Zürich again in a few weeks, very likely with more information. But they should not wait for his next visit[…]” (Schulte’s name was never revealed, the authors had an extremely hard time finally identifying him)
This plan was “kept in great secrecy by the Nazis”, but Schulte knew of it, how he would not tell. He knew that 3 to 4 million Jews were to be killed with prussic acid and burned in an enormous crematoria which had been constructed. But, at that time, Krema II was perhaps in the planning stage. Bischoff mentions in a letter of August 3,1942, that the location for the new crematoria had been decided upon (VffG, Heft 3&4, Dezember 2003, p.360). Also, we are told that the Auschwitz bunkers were in operation then and this news would have spread like wildfire. Schulte would then have known about it long ago, because of his many contacts. Yet, Schulte makes it sound as if this mass murder was about to happen, he had just found out. But, would he not have revealed how he came to know? Throughout the book there is not even a hint that he ever mentioned how he was made aware of this alleged extermination program.
Sagalowitz had to decide whom to contact or who to pass this message on to. He considered some Swiss Jewish leaders, but dismissed this idea: “No, this was not an assignment for Swiss Jewry. The message should reach Roosevelt as quickly as possible. Who had the ear of the U.S. President?” (p.132). He finally picked Gerhart Rieger who lived in Geneva “…a young man to be sure, but earnest, eager, and reliable, who reported directly to the leaders of the World Jewish Congress in New York”(p.133). The authors go on by telling us how un-influential the World Jewish Congress really was:
“It had no power, no apparatus, no substantial budget of its own; it had small offices in New York and London, a few correspondents in various other centers. Its real center was whichever hotel room Nahum Goldmann, its peripatetic general secretary, happened to be in at the time[…]But with all its shortcomings, the Congress had a direct channel from Switzerland to America. Through its president, Rabbi Stephen Wise, a man of great renown in the Jewish world and an unofficial Jewish spokesman to non-Jews, it was in a position to make its voice heard in New York and Washington. And so Sagalowitz concluded that Riegner was his best chance (pp.133/34).”
Sagalowitz telephoned Riegner and asked to meet him in Lausanne. Riegner was by now dealing with problems he was not prepared for, because “Geneva suddenly became one of the most important listening posts in Nazi-occupied Europe, as the seat of the International Red Cross, the one organization that maintained some form of liaison among the combatants”(p.137). Sagalowitz informed Riegner about this message, Riegner wanted to know more about The Mysterious Messenger (title of chapter 5), but Sagalowitz replied “that he was not at liberty to divulge it”(p.137). Riegner then tried to fit this new information in with what he already knew: “Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Jews had been killed during the German invasion of Poland and in the months after[…]By the end of 1941 some 500,000 Jews in the German-occupied Soviet territories had been murdered[…]and in January 1942, Reinhard Heydrich convened a Conference in Wannsee, a Berlin suburb, to plan and coordinate the so-called "Final Solution" of the Jewish question[…]The Wannsee Conference was still a well-kept secret. There were no certainties, but there was reason to fear the worst[…]”(p.138).
Riegner and Sagalowitz had some doubts about this message. Should they wait? “Murder on such gigantic scale could not possibly be hidden for long”(p.140), but Riegner eventually contacted Paul Guggenheim by letter, Guggenheim legal advisor to the World Jewish Congress:
“He summarized what he had learned from Sagalowitz and Koppelmann and added his own Interpretation: "At first sight the affair sounds totally fantastic. But one cannot exclude the consideration that these measures are rooted in the inner logic of the regime and that these people have no scruples whatsoever." Riegner quoted Hitler's speech of January 30, 1939, prophesying that European Jewry would perish in the war and reviewed the news about deportations that had been received within the past month”(pp.145/46).
(Prof. Kulischer wrote about the deportations in his “The Displacement of Population in Europe”, providing data to the middle of 1943. Alas, not one word about mass murder of Jews, and Kulischer was a Jew.)
Guggenheim advised Riegner to contact the British and American consulates in Geneva. The American’s, as well as the British, promised to forward Riegner’s message but cautioned that without the name of the messenger chances of this getting anywhere are slim. “In a summary sent to the Office of Strategic Services, State Department officials in Washington termed the legation's message a "wild rumor inspired by Jewish fears."(p.149)
Riegner tried to get the message to Steven Wise, but “Wise was a major nuisance as far as some State Department bureaucrats were concerned”(p.150). On the same page we read:
“Paul Gulbertson of the Division of European Affairs at the State Department noted that Rabbi Wise might "kick up a fuss" if he found out that the State Department had withheld Riegner's message. But in an internal memorandum his colleague Elbridge Durbrow bluntly stated the case for shelving the message:
“It does not appear advisable in view of the Legation's comments, the fantastic nature of the allegation, and the impossibility of our being of any assistance if such action were taken, to transmit the information to Dr. Stephen Wise as suggested”.
A draft instruction to Harrison continued:
“The Department feels that it would be unfair to the American public if stories of this kind are given publicity unless careful efforts by our officers abroad have been made to obtain confirmation at least tending to support them. It is suggested, therefore, that in the future the Legation refrain from accepting information of this kind for possible transmission to third parties unless, after thorough investigation, there is reason to believe that such a fantastic report has in the opinion of the Legation some foundation or unless the report involves definite American interests (p.151).”
The Americans had agents in Europe-, had information passed on to them by the German opposition, many of whom in positions to known if Jews were murdered en masse, but they knew nothing, dismissed Schulte’s/Riegner’s story as rumors. The British were a little more sympathetic because the British representative to the World Jewish Congress, Sidney Silverman, was a member of Parliament and he received, with some delay, the message from Riegner. Silverman send it on to Wise by telegram via Western Union, but not until August 28 did the message arrive.
“August 28, the day the Riegner-Silverman telegram arrived in New York, was a Friday. Rabbi Wise was preparing for Sabbath Services”(p.152). The following week, after conferring with officials of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, it was decided, on September 2, that Wise contact Sumner Welles, to have him forward the Riegner Telegram, as it became known, to Roosevelt. But Wells also had to follow procedure and the information the State Department had was “that the deported Jews would be put to work, like Poles and Russian prisoners of war, on behalf of the German war machine”(p.153). The message was eventually forwarded to Roosevelt. In the meantime:
“Wise, however, had not been idle while waiting for Welles. On September 28, one month after receiving the Riegner telegram via London, Wise spoke at a rally against Nazi atrocities held at Madison Square Garden. But the government and the American public in general paid little attention. On November 24, after having received confirmation from Welles, Wise arranged for press Conferences in Washington and New York and made public what he knew. The Associated Press carried the story, which appeared in the New York Herald Tribune under the headline: "Wise Says Hitler Has Ordered 4,000,000 Jews Slain in 1942." The publicity was far greater than anything generated previously(p.160)
“Wise also obtained an appointment for himself and four other Jewish leaders at the White House on December 8. The Jewish officials gave the President a memorandum entitled "Blue Print [sic] for Extermination" drawn from the Riegner-Lichtheim memorandum to Harrison and from other sources. It included a special section on Hitler's extermination order, which quoted sections of Riegner's telegram[…]the report correctly noted the essential point: for most Jews, deportation was just a euphemism for death”(p.161)[…]The State Department dragged its feet up to the last moment, but in the end the United States and eleven other nations joined the British government in mid-December in a joint declaration on Nazi killings of Jews.
Rabbi Wise proclaimed that this historic statement "will bring solace to, and hearten Jewish people throughout the world as a reaffirmation of the determination of the free peoples that Axis murderers cannot . . . destroy any race or faith of people."
It had been four and a half months since Eduard Schulte had brought the horrifying news of the Final Solution to Zürich, and three and a half months since Wise had received Riegner's telegram. Schulte had wanted the Allies to attack the death camps; instead they issued a tardy denunciation of Nazi killings. Schulte had to wait until the creation of the United States War Refugee Board in January 1944 to see that his message was not entirely in vain. By that time most of the Jews in Europe were dead(p.163).”
And thus “The Holocaust” was born, based on rumors. As already pointed out, we have not one word about Schulte’s source of information, nothing substantial throughout the book. Also, when taken the official version into consideration, the timing is wrong. For we are told that Hitler had decided to kill the Jews either in the summer of 1941 (Höß), December of 1941 (Gerlach) or early 1942, take your pick, but never as late as summer 1942. Perhaps this is why Schulte disappeared, was/is seldom, if ever, mentioned. He never received a metal for being a “Righteous Gentile”. But the rumors, Greulpropaganda, spread by Wise et al, based in large part on Schulte's report, as well as other unsubstantiated allegations reaching Washington, started to take off. No doubt the Christmas message by Pope Pius XII was also influenced by this, but that will be a separate issue. Finally the War Refugees Board was established in January 1944 and this is when these same rumors were turned into “facts”. No investigation, by experts in the field of forensic-criminal investigations, have ever been undertaken to substantiate any of the rumors. To this day all we have is reports, as that from Schulte, with not one shred of substantial evidence to back those reports/witness testimonies.
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|Title:||The origins of “The Holocaust” or “How the Holocaust was born”.|
|First posted on CODOH:||June 22, 2009, 12:04 p.m.|