Appearing in German wartime documents in the context of the “Holocaust,” terms like “special treatment,” “special action,” and others have usually been interpreted as code words that signify homicides. While certainly the term “special treatment” in many such documents meant at times execution, the term need not always have had that meaning in German records. This is especially true when it comes to the infamous Auschwitz camp.
In Special Treatment in Auschwitz, Carlo Mattogno has provided the most thorough study of this textual problem to date. By publishing and interpreting numerous such documents about Auschwitz – many of them hitherto unknown – Mattogno is able to show that, while “special” had many different meanings in these documents, not a single one meant “execution.”
Keying off the German root word “sonder,” an adjective signifying any of a wide range of distinctive qualities, the study examines a group of related terms such as gesonderte Unterkunft, which translates roughly to “separate accommodations.” The entire work highlights the potency of a traditional tool of the unscrupulous propagandist: (mis-)translation, a perfidious practice of which Marie Antoinette (“Let them eat cake.”) is perhaps but the most-famous and most-unfortunate example.
This important study demonstrates also the insidious allegation of the use of a “code language” by the National Socialists of Germany, imputing homicidal meanings to completely harmless documents.