Veritas Team Opening Statement 4/2/04

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Veritas Team Opening Statement 4/2/04

Post by Roberto »

"Resolved, at Auschwitz/Birkenau between 1941 and 1944, a) people were killed in homicidal gas chambers employing Zyklon B, and b) this killing claimed hundreds of thousands of victims."

This is the question with which this forum is confronted. Since the question is being addressed by two sides with radically different approaches to the assessment of historical evidence, one might phrase the contest in a somewhat different manner: how can we best determine what happened at Auschwitz/Birkenau between 1941 and 1944?

It is the position of the Veritas team that any rational approach to the available evidence will yield the conclusion that homicidal gas chambers were employed at Auschwitz-Birkenau using Zyklon B against hundreds of thousands of people (at a minimum), and therefore that there can be no reasonable doubt as to this conclusion.

The Negationist Team, our opponent in this debate, represents a line of thought known as “Revisionism” to its proponents and as “Holocaust denial” to its opponents. The term “Holocaust” is generally understood as the attempt by Nazi Germany, led by Hitler, to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe, which succeeded to the point of murdering between 5 - 6 million Jews in a variety of ways, including mass gassings in camps built for that purpose. It follows then that a Holocaust denier is someone who, for one reason or another or for a combination of reasons, rejects that the above correctly describes what was done to European Jews by the Nazis during World War 2. The views expressed by Holocaust deniers, who call themselves “Revisionists” and will hereafter be designated by this term, include the following:

(i) that Jews were not killed in gas chambers or at least not on any significant scale;
(ii) that the Nazis had no policy and made no systematic attempt to exterminate European Jewry and that such deaths as did occur were the consequence of individual excesses unauthorised at any senior level;
(iii) that the number of Jews murdered did not run into millions and that the true death toll was far lower;
(iv) that the Holocaust is largely or entirely a myth invented during the war by Allied propagandists and sustained after the war by Jews in order to obtain political and financial support for the newly-created state of Israel.

Our team, the Veritas Team, consists of amateur researchers of history who have for some time studied the historical record of and evidence for the Holocaust, and who consider it necessary and useful, for the sake of historical truth and other values guiding democratic societies, to challenge the politically motivated falsification of history that Revisionists seek to propagate. We consider “Revisionism” to be a condemnable attempt to whitewash and rehabilitate one of the most criminal regimes in history, and an insult to the memory of the millions of defenseless, innocent people who fell victim to that regime’s racist policies of extermination. All of us have for some time debated Revisionists on Usenet and on various Internet discussion forums, and all of us can claim to have successfully exposed many Revisionist falsehoods for what they are, stimulating awareness of and skepticism with regard to Revisionist propaganda. All of us do this on a voluntary basis in the spare time afforded by our professions and private lives, for no other reason than our personal conviction that Revisionism is a harmful intellectual perversion which should not be allowed to spread unchallenged.


In their opening statement, the Negationist team appears to take an approach to historical methodology that we have found typical of Revisionism, whereby they demand that evidence of a particular, isolated category be provided that, in itself, should conclusively prove the case. Further, rather than constructing a case of their own based on the available evidence, their whole argument consists solely of conditions which they demand our evidence must meet, resting on the implication that our presumed failure to produce evidence that lives up to their self-serving standards will be cause to conclude their position vindicated by default.

The object of the debate is an historical event the occurrence of which one side of the debate – the Affirmative, represented by the Veritas Team – considers to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt by conclusive evidence, whereas the other side of the debate – the Negative, represented by the Negationist Team – holds that no such proof has been provided and that there are strong reasons to doubt that the event in question did in fact occur. These being the opposing positions, the opening statement of each party should consist of that party's presenting its case, ie. the Affirmative should present the evidence on which its position rests and explain how that evidence leads to its conclusion that the occurrence of the event in question cannot reasonably be doubted, whereas the Negative should present the reasons for its professed doubts regarding this same event. But far from presenting its case, the Negationist Team’s opening statement tries unilaterally to establish what rules will govern the debate, namely what evidence may be presented and how that evidence will be assessed.

It is not for the Negationist team to “await” evidence, assuming the role of an expectant jury in the very debate to which it is one of the opposing parties, and thus it is certainly not for them to establish a priori what it will "hear" as evidence and what not, or what of the evidence it is graciously prepared to "hear" it will be likely to dismiss ("adopt a highly skeptical outlook on", in the Negationist Team's parlance). The standards for assessing evidence should be not those that either of the teams would like to see applied, but those mandated by logic and common sense and accepted by scholarly historiography and by criminal justice following proper defendant-friendly procedural rules such as are applied in the democratic countries of Europe and North America. Therefore the Negationist team’s opening statement can only be understood as a proposal to the opposing team on rules of evidence to be applied, which is subject to the opposing team's acceptance.

The Veritas team does not accept the Negationist team’s conditions, which are unprecedented in either historiography or jurisprudence. Contrary to its pious claims, it is our position that the Negationist Team is not following any accepted standards on the assessment of evidence, but establishing standards of its own aimed at nothing other than protecting and strengthening its position by making its opponent’s case logically impossible to prove. There is no historical event - or legal case, for that matter - that can be proven by means of a single category of evidence alone, nor does the concept of “best material evidence” have any real meaning in a serious search for truth.

The Negationist team has elevated what they call “scientific-technical” evidence above all other forms. Surely they must realize that even the best pieces of “scientific-technical” evidence can serve to prove only a limited number of points, which are inevitably open to a variety of interpretations if taken out of context (indeed, the Negationist team has already stipulated to one of the few matters over which scientific evidence would be of primary probative value in this case – namely, the suitability of Zyklon B as an instrument of mass murder). Take, for example, DNA evidence in rape trials – a sort of “scientific-technical” evidence that has proven immensely valuable towards establishing facts, yet taken in isolation it can prove only that sexual intercourse has occurred between two people in cases where such a point of fact is in contention. It tells us nothing, in itself, about the circumstances under which it occurred. If prosecutors were required to rely solely on such evidence, in absence of any other, conviction would be impossible. Thus to say, as the Negationist team does, that eyewitness evidence must always be “subservient” to the scientific-technical is misleading. Each type of evidence is superior towards proving different aspects of the overall case. “Scientific-technical evidence”, by its nature, can only confirm or contradict a theory. It cannot tell a story for itself, and if we were of a suspicious nature we might suggest that the reason the Negationist team has conducted their side of the argument merely with an attempt to limit the discussion to such evidence followed by the turning of the burden over to us is that they know it is impossible to construct a conclusive case under any circumstances with such evidence alone.

Even the “best” individual pieces of evidence in the case of the Holocaust – as with any historical event – will leave unanswered questions if taken in isolation. It is for this reason that Revisionists try their best to isolate evidence, rationalizing it away piece-by-piece by highlighting its flaws, concentrating only what each piece doesn’t tell us rather than what it does, and suggesting that the possibility of alternative interpretations renders that evidence worthless rather than exploring whether other pieces or forms of evidence can serve to address those flaws and omissions, answer those questions, or disqualify those alternatives. Revisionists destroy the historical discipline by narrowing it like that. Any historical event must be taken as a puzzle, a tapestry, whereby different sources are weaved together - the strengths of one source addressing the weaknesses of another - to produce an overall picture. Therefore, the Veritas team has no intention of wowing this debate with our “best evidence". What we will present is the convergence of evidence, and if the Negationist team wishes to convincingly challenge our argument, it will have to address not only the individual items in isolation but the manner in which these items connect, corroborate and support each other.

We fully trust the Negationist team’s ability to come up with individual post hoc rationalizations for each single piece of evidence we produce. Witnesses may have lied or misremembered, perpetrators may have been coerced, documents may have been forged, physical evidence may have alternate interpretations, something else might conceivably have happened to the Jewish population of Hungary and other countries from which deportations to Auschwitz were extensive. But only if they are able to come up with a supported alternative explanation for the sum total of the evidence, as well as the scope of the evidence, will they have an argument comparable in weight to ours.

How do we go about determining what happened at Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1941 and 1944? The first step is to establish a working theory that can be tested against the material evidence. Assuming we are starting from scratch, how then does one go about establishing a theory? The best way to start is to ask those who were there at the time to give us their first-hand impressions of what they saw and experienced.


We begin with the eyewitnesses, not because they are the “best” evidence – for, as we said, when one is dealing honestly with evidence there is no "best" or "worst", just as there is no best or worst piece of a jigsaw puzzle. No, we start with the witnesses out of respect for the desire of the Negationist team to keep this debate to the standards of Western jurisprudence. In a court trial, the witness is the primary unit of evidence. An accusation cannot even be brought to trial without a witness, nor can a piece of physical or documentary evidence be entered as an exhibit unless accompanied by viva voce testimony. We grant that witnesses may be affected by human error and bias, which is why their statements must ultimately be tested against whatever physical evidence is available. We also recognize that witnesses are rarely in a position testify definitively to intricate technical details or to confidently assess the numbers and scope involved in such a large event as the one we are debating. The immense value afforded to eyewitnesses in both historiography and jurisprudence lies, rather, in the unique capacity of this manner of evidence to provide a context, to both corroborate fragmentary evidence and to tie it together from the perspective of an individual experiencing a series of events over a given period of time and therefore filling in the empty spaces between one isolated fact and another, enabling us to recognize a pattern and a process that otherwise would be impossible to discern.

The following picture is corroborated by the testimonies of all known eyewitnesses who were in a position to see the various elements: The first documented gassing experiments took place at Auschwitz in the second half of 1941 - probably the first days of September – in the cellar of a building called “Block 11” of the Auschwitz main camp. Later a room of the main camp’s crematorium was adapted as a gas chamber. In 1942 two abandoned peasant houses in a forest in the area of Birkenau were converted into gas chambers. These houses were known as the “bunkers” of Birkenau. In the spring of 1943 four crematoria were built in the area of Birkenau, each of which had a disrobing cellar for the victims, a gas chamber and a room with cremation ovens. The killing and cremation of the victims was then carried out in these buildings, one of the “bunkers” still being used, however, when the number of people to be killed was too high for the gas chambers in the crematoria to cope with. Dead bodies in excess of what the crematoria could handle were incinerated in the open. Most of the people killed in the gas chambers were killed shortly upon arrival, usually after a selection in which those deemed able to work were sorted, taken into the camp and registered. There were also regular selections among the registered inmates, after which those considered no longer able to work were killed, either by phenol injections or by gassing. The removal of the dead bodies from the gas chambers and their cremation or incineration in the open were carried out by special detachments (Sonderkommandos) of able-bodied Jewish inmates under the supervision of SS guards. On 7 October 1944, one of the crematoria of Birkenau was disabled during a revolt of these special detachments. The remaining crematoria were blown up by the SS in January 1945, before the Birkenau complex was evacuated in the face of the approaching Soviet troops.

Of the Jewish survivors of Auschwitz most witnessed only the first phase of the extermination process, namely the selection upon leaving the train. A smaller number of inmates, however, witnessed the operation of the gas chambers or were well-informed about them due to their function or position inside the camp. These include:

i) four inmates who escaped from Birkenau and whose reports were published in November 1944 in the United States: Rudolf Vrba and Fred Wetzler, who escaped from Birkenau on 7 April 1944, Czeslaw Mordowicz and Arnost Rosin, who escaped on 27 May 1944;

ii) three members of the Sonderkommando who died in Birkenau but left written accounts, which they buried nearby their workplace, where they were found during excavations after the war: Chaim Herman, Salmen Gradowski and Salmen Lewenthal;

iii) three members of the Sonderkommando who independently of each other made depositions before Polish authorities in 1945: Stanislaw Jankowski (whose true name was Alter Feinsilber), Szlama Dragon and Henryk Tauber;

iv) two French physicians, André Lettich and Sigismund Paul Bendel, both of whom were at different times attached to the Sonderkommando as inmate doctors;

v) Further survivors of the Sonderkommando who made depositions on various occasions after the war (including the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial: Milton Buki, Filip and Dov Paisikovic, Filip Müller, Avram Dragon, Szyja Rosenblum and Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, among others;

vi) the Polish mechanic Michael Kula, who worked as a locksmith at Auschwitz I and later Auschwitz II, where he got into contact with members of the Sonderkommando because his workshop made tools and performed diverse repairs for the crematoria.


Revisionists might well rationalize that the victims of the Nazis could have motive to lie. Confronted with so many witness testimonies that corroborate on all key points, the notion that they all chose to tell the same lie in precisely the same way appears less and less plausible in absence of any evidence of coordination or conspiracy. But nonetheless, the next logical step in assessing our working theory would be is to confront the accused with the accusation. Anticipating the Revisionist objection, we of the Veritas team recognize that the confessions of captured Nazis can be problematic, though problematic does not mean worthless if the evidence is approached with the problems well in mind. The oft-repeated revisionist accusation that the Nazis were tortured specifically to produce false confessions of mass murder can be dismissed as self-referential in absence of any direct evidence linking physical mistreatment with such confessions, however we recognize nonetheless that Nazis in Allied captivity were motivated to some degree to tell their captors what they wanted to hear, while fudging the truth in order to minimize their personal responsibility. However, the fact cannot be ignored that no Nazi placed on trial for crimes against humanity ever attempted to defend himself by claiming that the atrocities for which he was accused had not been committed. Nor does the Veritas team know any instance out of the hundreds of perpetrator accounts in which a captured Nazi who provided testimony regarding the Holocaust later recanted and claimed that the confession was coerced, as those who are coerced into providing false confessions usually do. Meanwhile, the problematic element of Nazi confessions can often be countered by documentary records produced by these same perpetrators while the event was taking place - before the end of the war and their captivity - which serve to provide effective corroboration and perhaps even a more accurate picture.

The key organizer of the mass killing at Auschwitz, and one of the key witnesses, was SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-Colonel) Rudolf Ferdinand Höss, who commanded the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex from 1940 until his transfer to a higher post in November 1943 and was recalled some months later to supervise the most intensive mass killing operation, that of the Hungarian Jews in the summer of 1944. After the war he was captured on 11 March 1946 in Schleswig-Holstein, where he lived under a false name. He was brought to Minden, where on 14 March 1946 he gave an affidavit. He was later brought before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, where on 5 April 1946 he gave another affidavit. Thereafter he was interrogated as a defense witness at the public session on 15 April 1946. From Nuremberg he was transferred to Poland. At a trial conducted in Warsaw between 11 March and 2 April 1946 he was sentenced to death and executed by hanging on 16 April 1947 on the area of the former Auschwitz I camp. During his imprisonment in Poland, while his case was being investigated, he wrote an autobiography 228 pages long, at his own request. This autobiography, which contains a considerable amount of data about the Auschwitz camp, was released by the Polish government in 1958 and has since been translated into various languages from the German original.

Another key witness from the ranks of the SS was Rottenführer (Corporal) Pery Broad. Transferred to Auschwitz in 1942 and placed in the camp’s “Political Section” in June of that year, he remained there until the camp’s evacuation in January 1945. On 6 May of that year he was arrested in the British zone of occupation. A Brazilian citizen speaking very good English, he became an interpreter with the British authorities. In 1945 he wrote a long memorandum about the Auschwitz camp in German and handed it to the British Intelligence Service on 13 July 1945. On 14 December 1945 he gave an affidavit, also in German, which was a sort of “summary” of his memorandum. None of these was made available to the public at the time, but the affidavit was presented when in the last quarter of 1947 the American Military Tribunal opened criminal investigations against responsible persons of German industrial companies who had supplied huge amounts of the lethal gas “Zyklon B” to the Auschwitz camp. Therefore Broad’s declaration of 14 November 1945 was translated into English only on 29 September 1947, i.e. almost two years after it had been issued. On 20 October 1947 Broad issued another declaration at Nuremberg, which on 20 November of that year was translated into English. In all these depositions and declarations Broad described the mass killing procedure in the Auschwitz gas chambers in greater or lesser detail. Broad was released by the British in 1947, but at the great Auschwitz Trial in Frankfurt between 20 December 1963 and 20 August 1965 he was among the accused. In the course of this trial his own memorandum of 1945 was presented to him. He admitted to being its author, but was obviously surprised and embarrassed, for in the memorandum he had completely omitted his own role while incriminating his former colleagues, who now stood on trial together with him. Broad’s memorandum was completely independent from Höss, as it was written eight months before the latter’s arrest. The memorandum and Broad’s depositions in 1947, in turn, were not known to either the Polish court trying Höss nor to Höss himself.

Yet another SS witness deserving special mention was SS Hauptsturmführer Dr. Johann Paul Kremer, who as a doctor and professor of medicine at Münster University had been detached to the Auschwitz camp from 29 August to 18 November 1942. During this time Kremer took part in fifteen “special actions” or “selections” of people – mostly recent arrivals – to be sent to the gas chambers. Kremer had a private diary in which he every day took down all sorts of events, including the “special actions” to which he had assisted. In August 1945 he was arrested by British authorities and his diary was confiscated. He was handed to the Polish high tribunal at Krakow in order to be judged in the country where he had committed his crimes. Convicted in Poland in 1947, Kremer was pardoned in 1958. In 1960 he appeared before the Münster tribunal as a defendant, and in the Frankfurt trial against 20 defendants from the Auschwitz complex from 1963 to 1965 he testified as a witness.

Besides these three key witnesses, whose accounts came into being during the war (Kremer’s diary) or shortly thereafter, there were the former members of the Auschwitz staff who stood on trial before the Frankfurt court, supported by 22 defense attorneys, Eight former members of the SS admitted to having seen the Birkenau gas chambers in operation with their own eyes: Richard Böck, Gerhard Hess, Karl Hölblinger, Dr. Johann Kremer, Dr. Konrad Morgen, Henry Storch, Franz Hofmann and Dr. Gerhard Wiebeck, seven of then as witnesses, Hofmann as defendant. Of the other former SS-members interrogated at the trial not a single one denied the existence of the gas chambers and their homicidal use or even uttered the slightest doubt in this respect.

Two cases are typical in this respect: Richard Baer, the last commandant of the Auschwitz I main camp, who died during pre-trial investigations for the Auschwitz Trial in Frankfurt, stated the following on 22 December 1960: "I was only camp commandant of Auschwitz I. With the camp segments where gassings took place I had nothing to do. I also had no influence upon the gassings themselves. The gassings took place in Camp II Birkenau. This camp was not under my command."

Similarly Walter Dejaco of the Auschwitz Construction Office, the builder of the Birkenau crematoria, declared on 3 April 1960 before the examining judge in Reutte that he had only got to know about the purpose of the Birkenau gas chambers after they were put into operation.

In total there are the depositions of forty SS-members sentenced in Poland in 1947, those of Höss and those of 19 SS-members sentenced or acquitted in the German Federal Republic between 1963 and 1965, the depositions of Baer and Dejaco and of a further seven SS-members testifying as witnesses who admitted to having seen the Auschwitz gas chambers with their own eyes. A total of 69 witnesses who had belonged to the SS.


The depositions of the above-mentioned and other victim and perpetrator witnesses were provided independently of each other and coincide in the essential details of their description of the systematic mass murder by gassing at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. In light of this, the Veritas team would submit that a powerful case with no convincing and supported alternative exists. However, regardless of the depth and breadth of eyewitness corroboration, we feel it necessary, as per the Negationist team’s request, to test the eyewitness evidence against the available documentary and physical evidence. Whatever alternative explanations revisionists might hypothesize for each individual item of physical and documentary evidence, the point which cannot be avoided is that such evidence nonetheless exists to corroborate eyewitness statements at every key point, and that no such evidence exists which serves to call the theory constructed through the eyewitness accounts into serious question. This will be illustrated in the following overview of the killing installations and their operation throughout the camp’s history:


A) The First Gassings

A detailed description of the first mass killings by gas at Auschwitz is contained in the above-mentioned autobiography of Rudolf Höss (which in the following will be quoted after Constantine FitzGibbon’s translation published by Phoenix Press, London):
[…]Before the mass extermination of the Jews began, the Russian politruks and political commissars were liquidated in almost all the concentration camps during 1941 and 1942.
In accordance with a secret order issued by Hitler, these Russian politruks and political commissars were combed out of all the prisoner-of-war camps by special detachments from the Gestapo. When identified, they were transferred to the nearest concentration camp for liquidation. It was made known that these measures were taken because the Russians had been killing all German soldiers who were party members or belonged to special sections of the NSDAP, especially members of the SS, and also because the political officials of the Red Army had been ordered, if taken prisoner, to create every kind of disturbance in the prisoner-of-war camps and their places of employment and to carry out sabotage wherever possible.
The political officials of the Red Army thus identified were brought to Auschwitz for liquidation. The first, smaller transports of them were executed by firing squads.
While I was away on duty, my deputy, Fritsch, the commander of the protective custody camp, first tried gas for these killings. It was a preparation of prussic acid, called Cyclon B, which was used in the camp as an insecticide and of which there was always a stock on hand. On my return, Fritzsch reported this to me, and the gas was used again for the next transport.
The gassing was carried out in the detention cells of Block 11. Protected by a gas mask, I watched the killing myself. In the crowded cells death came instantaneously the moment the Cyclon B was thrown in. A short, almost smothered cry, and it was all over. During this first experience of gassing people, I did not fully realize what was happening, perhaps because I was too impressed by the whole procedure. I have a clearer recollection of the gassing of nine hundred Russians which took place shortly afterwards in the old crematorium, since the use of Block 11 for this purpose caused too much trouble. While the transport was detraining, holes were pierced in the earth and concrete ceiling of the mortuary. The Russians were ordered to undress in an anteroom; they then quietly entered the mortuary, for they had been told they were to be deloused. The whole transport exactly filled the mortuary to capacity. The doors were then sealed and the gas shaken down through the holes in the roof. I do not know how long this killing took. For a little while a humming sound could be heard. When the powder was thrown in, there were cries of ‘Gas!’, then a great bellowing, and the trapped prisoners hurled themselves against both the doors. But the doors held. They were opened several hours later, so that the place might be aired. It was then that I saw, for the first time, gassed bodies in the mass.
It made me feel uncomfortable and I shuddered, although I had imagined that death by gassing would be worse than it was. I had always thought that the victims would experience a terrible choking sensation. But the bodies, without exception, showed no signs of convulsion. The doctors explained to me that the prussic acid had a paralyzing effect on the lungs, but its action was so quick and strong that death came before the convulsions set in, and in this its effects differed from those produced by carbon monoxide or by general oxygen deficiency.
The killing of Russian prisoners-of-war did not cause me much concern at the time. The order had been given, and I had to carry it out. I must even admit that this gassing set my mind at rest, for the mass extermination of the Jews was to start soon and at that time neither Eichmann nor I was certain how these mass killings were to be carried out. It would be by gas, but we did not know which gas or how it was to be used. Now we had the gas, and we had established a procedure. I always shuddered at the prospect of carrying out exterminations by shooting, when I thought of the vast numbers concerned, and of the women and children. The shooting of hostages, and the group executions ordered by the Reichsführer SS or by the Reich Security Head Office had been enough for me. I was therefore relieved to think that we were to be spared all these blood baths, and that the victims too would be spared suffering until their last moment came. It was precisely this which had caused me the greatest concern when I had heard Eichmann’s description of Jews being mown down by the Special Squads armed with machine-guns and machine pistols. Many gruesome scenes are said to have taken place, people running away after being shot, the finishing off of the wounded and particularly of the women and children. Many members of the Einsatzkommandos, unable to endure wading through blood any longer, had committed suicide. Some had even gone mad. Most of the members of these Kommandos had to rely on alcohol when carrying out their horrible work. According to Höfle’s description, the men employed at Globocnik’s extermination centers consumed amazing quantities of alcohol.[…]

The gas chamber in the “morgue” of the crematorium of the Auschwitz main camp was also described by Pery Broad, while Stanislaw Jankowski described a gassing operation that he had been partially able to observe there. The substance called “Cyclon B” by Höss, with which his deputy Fritsch had successfully experimented, was a strong prussic-acid-based pest killer which had first been marketed in 1923 under the brand name “Zyklon B” and used as a standard product for eliminating pests ever since. One of its characteristics was that is was much more toxic for warm-blooded animals than for insects and could kill the former in much lesser quantities and time than the latter. These properties, and the strict safety measures for handling the substance accordingly required, were described, for instance, in a manual called “Directives for the Use of Prussic Acid (Zyklon) for the Destruction of Vermin (Disinfestation)”, issued by the Health Institution of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia in Prague. The translation of these directives for the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, where it was introduced as Document NI-9912, includes the following information and instructions:
[…]I. Properties of prussic acid (hydrocyanic acid)
Prussic acid is a gas which is generated by evaporation
Boiling point: 25 degree centigrade [correct transcription of German original accordingly]
Freezing point: - 15 degrees centigrade
Specific gravity: 0.69 [correct transcription of German original accordingly]
Steam density: 0.97 (Air = 1.0)
The liquid evaporates easily.
Liquid: transparent, colourless.
Smell: Peculiar, repulsively sweet
Toxic effects on warm-blooded animals
Since prussic acid has practically no indicative irritant effect, it is highly toxic and very dangerous. Prussic acid is one of the most powerful poisons. 1 mg per kg of body weight is sufficient to kill a human being. Women and children are generally more susceptible than men. Very small amounts of prussic acid do not harm the human body, even if breathed continuously. Birds and fishes are particularly susceptible to prussic acid.
Toxic effects on insects
The effects of prussic acid on insects do not depend on the temperature to the same extent as that of other gasses, that is, it is also effective in low temperatures (even at 5 degrees Cent.). The eggs of many insects, such as bugs and lice, are more susceptible than the full-grown insects.
II. Method of using prussic acid
ZYKLON is the absorption of a mixture of prussic acid and an irritant by a carrier. Wood fibre discs, a reddish brown granular mess (Digresses - Die gravel) or small brown cubes (Erco) are used as carriers.
Apart from serving its purpose as indicator, this irritant also has the advantage of stimulating the respiration of insects. Prussic acid and the irritant are generated through simple evaporation. Zyklon will keep for 3 months. Use damaged cans first. The contents of a can must be used up at once. […]The toxicity of the prussic acid remains unchanged by the addition of the irritant; the danger connected with it is however considerably decreased.
III. Possible poisoning
2. Severe poisoning
The affected person will collapse suddenly and faint. First aid: fresh air, remove gas mask, loosen clothing, apply artificial respiration. Lobolin, intramuscular 0.01 g. Do not give camphor injections.
VI. Equipment
Team member must at all times carry with him:
1. His own gas mask.
2. At least two special filter inserts against Zyklon prussic acid.
3. The leaflet “First aid for prussic acid poisoning.”
4. Work order.
5. Authorization certificate.
Each disinfestation squad must at all times carry:
1. At least 3 special inserts as extra stock.
2. 1 gas detector.
3. 1 instrument for injecting Lobolin.
4. Lobolin 0.01 g ampoules.
5. Cardiazol, Variazol tablets.
6. 1 lever or pickhammer for opening the cans of Zyklon.
7. Warning signs as per regulation.
8. Material for scaling.
9. Sheets of paper to serve as pads.
10. Flashlight
All equipment is to be kept clean and in good order at all times. Damage to equipment is to be repaired at once.
Time needed to take effect: 16 hours, unless there are special circumstances such as closed-in type of building, which requires less time. If the weather is warm it is possible to reduce this to a minimum of 6 hours.
The period is to be extended to at least 32 hours if the temperature is below 5 deg. Cent.
The strength and time as above are to be applied in the case of: bugs, lies, fleas etc., with egg, larves and chrysalia.
For clothes-moths: temperature above 10 deg. Cent. 16 g per cbm and 24 hours to take effect.
For flour-moths: same as for bugs.[…]

B) The Birkenau “Bunkers”

The two peasant houses at Birkenau converted into gas chambers started operating in 1942, one at the beginning of that year and the other in the summer. They were known as “Bunker 1” and “Bunker 2”. The former was torn down at the end of 1942, while the new Birkenau crematoria were being built. The latter, later designated “Bunker V”, was used until the autumn of 1944 and kept as a standby when breakdowns occurred at the Birkenau crematoria.

The killings at the Birkenau bunkers were described in some detail in Höss’ autobiography:
[…]In the spring of 1942 the first transports of Jews, all earmarked for extermination, arrived from Upper Silesia.
They were taken from the detraining platform to the 'Cottage' – to Bunker I – across the meadows where later Building Site II was located. The transport was conducted by Aumeier and Palitzsch and some of the block leaders. They talked with the Jews about general topics, inquired about their qualifications and trades, with a view to misleading them. On arrival at the 'Cottage', they were told to undress. At first they went calmly into the rooms where they were supposed to be disinfected. But some of them showed signs of alarm, and spoke of death by suffocation and of annihilation. A sort of panic set in at once. Immediately all the Jews still outside were pushed into the chambers, and the doors were screwed shut. With subsequent transports the difficult individuals were picked out early on and most carefully supervised. At the first signs of unrest, those responsible were unobtrusively led behind the building and killed with a small-calibre gun, that was inaudible to the others. The presence and calm behaviour of the Special Detachment served to reassure those who were worried or who suspected what was about to happen. A further calming effect was obtained by members of the Special Detachment accompanying them into the rooms and remaining with them until the last moment, while an SS-man also stood in the doorway until the end.
It was most important that the whole business of arriving and undressing should take place in an atmosphere of the greatest possible calm. People reluctant to take off their clothes had to be helped by those of their companions who had already undressed, or by men of the Special Detachment.
The refractory ones were calmed down and encouraged to undress. The prisoners of the Special Detachment also saw to it that the process of undressing was carried out quickly, so that the victims would have little time to wonder what was happening.
The eager help given by the Special Detachment in encouraging them to undress and in conducting them into the gas-chambers was most remarkable. I have never known, nor heard, of any of its members giving these people who were about to be gassed the slightest hint of what lay ahead of them. On the contrary, they did everything in their power to deceive them and particularly to pacify the suspicious ones. Though they might refuse to believe the SS-men, they had complete faith in these members of their own race, and to reassure them and keep them calm the Special Detachments therefore always consisted of Jews who themselves came from the same districts as did the people on whom a particular action was to be carried out.
They would talk about life in the camp, and most of them asked for news of friends who had arrived in earlier transports. It was interesting to hear the lies that the Special Detachment told them with such conviction, and to see the emphatic gestures with which they underlined them.
Many of the women hid their babies among the piles of clothing. The men of the Special Detachment were particularly on the look-out for this, and would speak words of encouragement to the woman until they had persuaded her to take the child with her. The women believed that the disinfectant might be bad for their smaller children, hence their efforts to conceal them.
The smaller children usually cried because of the strangeness of being undressed in this fashion, but when their mothers or members of the Special Detachment comforted them, they became calm and entered the gas chambers, playing or joking with one another and carrying their toys.
I noticed that the women who either guessed or knew what awaited them nevertheless found the courage to joke with the children to encourage them, despite the mortal terror visible in their own eyes.
One woman approached me as she walked past and, pointing to her four children who were manfully helping the smallest ones over the rough ground, whispered:
‘How can you bring yourself to kill such beautiful, darling children? Have you no heart at all?’
One old man, as he passed by me, hissed:
‘Germany will pay a heavy penance for this mass murder of the Jews.’
His eyes glowed with hatred as he said this. Nevertheless he walked calmly into the gas chamber, without worrying about the others.
One young woman caught my attention particularly as she ran busily hither and thither, helping the smallest children and the old women to undress. During the selection she had had two small children with her, and her agitated behaviour had brought her to my notice at once. She did not look in the least like a Jewess. Now her children were no longer with her. She waited until the end, helping the women who were not undressed and who had several children with them, encouraging them and calming the children. She went with the very last ones into the gas-chamber. Standing in the doorway, she said:
'I knew all the time that we were being brought to Auschwitz to be gassed. When the selection took place I avoided being put with the able-bodied ones, as I wished to look after the children. I wanted to go through it all, fully conscious of what was happening. I hope that it will be quick. Goodbye!'
From time to time women would suddenly give the most terrible shrieks while undressing, or tear their hair, or scream like maniac. They were immediately led away behind the building and shot in the back of the neck with a small-calibre weapon.
It sometimes happened that, as the men of the Special Detachment left the gas chamber, the women would suddenly realize what was happening, and would call down every imaginable curse upon our heads.
I remember, too, a woman who tried to throw her children out of the gas chamber, just as the door was closing. Weeping she called out:
'At least let my precious children live.'
There were many such shattering scenes, which affected all who witnessed them.
During the spring of 1942 hundreds of vigorous men and women walked all unsuspecting to their death in the gas chambers, under the blossom-laden fruit trees of the 'Cottage' orchard. This picture of death in the midst of life remains with me to this day.
The process of selection, which tool place on the unloading platforms, was itself rich in incident.
The breaking up of families, and the separation of the men from the women and children, caused much agitation and spread anxiety throughout the whole transport. This was increased by the further separation from the others of those capable of work. Families wished at all costs to remain together. Those who had been selected ran back to rejoin their relations. Mothers with children tried to join their husbands, or old people attempted to find those of their children who had been selected for work, and who had been led away.
Often the confusion was so great that the selections had to be begun all over again. The limited area of standing-room did not permit better sorting arrangements. All attempts to pacify these agitated mobs were useless. It was often necessary to use force to restore order.[…]
Both installations were used very often in 1942, and many persons could watch the gassings that went on there. Among other descriptions besides the one quoted above, there are those of Pery Broad, Szlama Dragon and Johann Paul Kremer, who provided the following description during his trial in Krakow:
[…]Already at three o’clock in the morning on 2 September I was ordered to take part in a gassing of human beings. This mass murder was carried out in small houses located in the forest outside Birkenau camp. These houses the SS-men called “bunkers” in their jargon.[…] My participation as a physician at these gassings, which were called “special actions”, consisted in standing at ready at a place near the bunker. To this place I was taken with a car, where I sat next to the chauffeur while an SS medical orderly sat in the back with an oxygen device for saving the SS men in charge of the gassing in case one of them should suffer poisoning.[…] I rode behind such a transport up to bunker. There the prisoners were first driven with cars to the barracks where the victims undressed, and then they went already naked into the gas chambers. Most of the time all this happened quietly, as the SS-men calmed down the people by telling them that they were going to be bathed and deloused. After all had been pushed inside a gas chamber the door war locked and an SS-man with a gas mask threw the contents of a Zyklon – can through an opening in the side wall. Through this opening the screams and lamentations of the victims came out of the gas chamber, one heard these people in their death struggle. The screams were only heard for a short time, however. I designate this time as a few minutes, but I cannot indicate it exactly.[…]

The chauffeur who sat next to Kremer in the car was Karl Hölblinger, who at the Frankfurt trial was interrogated as a witness about what he had seen sitting in the car. His deposition in all points confirmed the description provided by Kremer in Poland 17 years before, which he himself repeated before the Frankfurt Court before Hölblinger was interrogated as a witness. Another SS-man, Richard Böck, once drove in a car to the gas chamber like Hölblinger, and his deposition before the same court coincides with that of Hölblinger. The Birkenau bunkers were often mentioned in the course of the Frankfurt Trial, especially by former inmates Franciszek Gulba, Henryk Porebski, Milton Buki, Dov Paisikovic and by former SS-members Oswald Kaduk, Dr. Gerhard Wiebeck and others.

Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

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Re: Veritas Team Opening Statement 4/2/04

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C) The Birkenau Crematoria

In 1943 four new buildings were commissioned at Birkenau under the name “crematoria”. There were numbered I to IV or II to V, depending on whether one included the Auschwitz I main camp’s crematorium in the counting. In the following they shall always be numbered II to V, except where a citation contains the other numbering.

Of the various eyewitnesses to the operation of the Birkenau crematoria and their gas chambers, the following three shall be quoted:

i) Rudolf Höss, after notes which resulted from the pre-trial inquiries carried out by the Polish examining judge Dr. Jan Sehn (“The final solution of the Jewish question in Auschwitz concentration camp”, Appendix One to Höss’ autobiography);

ii) Pery Broad, after his memorandum written prior to the capture of Höss;

iii) Henryk Tauber, after his deposition before Judge Sehn on 24 May 1945.

Rudolf Höss
[…]The provisional structure number I was demolished when work was started on building section III of Birkenau. Crematorium II, later designated bunker V, was used up to the last and was also kept as a stand-by when breakdowns occurred in crematoria I to IV. When larger numbers of transports were being received, gassing was carried out by day in number V and numbers I to IV were used for those transports which arrived during the night.

Jews selected for gassing were taken as quietly as possible to the crematoria, the men being separated from the women. In the undressing room, prisoners of the special detachment, detailed for this purpose, would tell them in their own language that they were going to be bathed and deloused, that they must leave their clothes neatly together and above all remember where they had put them, so that they would be able to find them again quickly after delousing. The prisoners of the special detachment had the greatest interest in seeing that the operation proceeded smoothly and quickly. After undressing, the Jews went into the gas-chambers, which were furnished with showers and water pipes and gave a realistic impression of a bath house. The women went in first with their children, followed by the men who were always the fewer in number. This part of the operation nearly always went smoothly, for the prisoners of the special detachment would calm those who betrayed any anxiety or who perhaps had some inkling of their fate. As an additional precaution these men of the special detachment and an SS man always remained in the chamber until the last moment.
The door would now be quickly screwed up and the gas immediately discharged by the waiting disinfectors through vents in the ceilings of the gas chambers, down a shaft that led to the floor. This ensured the rapid distribution of the gas. It could be observed through the peep-hole in the door that those who were standing nearest to the induction vents were killed at once. It can be said that about one-third died straight away. The remainder staggered about and began to scream and struggle for air. The screaming, however, soon changed to the death rattle and in a few minutes all lay still. After twenty minutes at the latest no movement could be discerned. The time required for the gas to have effect varied according to the weather, and depended on whether it was damp or dry, cold or warm. It also depended on the quality of the gas, which was never exactly the same, and on the composition of the transports which might contain a high proportion of healthy Jews, or old and sick, or children. The victims became unconscious after a few minutes, according to their distance from the intake shaft. Those who screamed and those who were old or sick or weak, or the small children, died quicker than those who were healthy and young.
The door was opened half an hour after the induction of the gas, and the ventilation switched on. Work was immediately begun on removing the corpses. […]

Pery Broad
[…]The construction of the four new crematoria at Birkenau was forced by all means. Two of then had underground gas chambers. To the two other, somewhat smaller crematoria two three-part gas chambers below ground had been added by construction. Furthermore each of these murder factories had an enormous hall, where the “resettled” had to undress themselves. In Crematorium One and Two these halls were also underground. Stone stairs about two meters wide led down to them … The crematoria one and two each had fifteen ovens for about four to five corpses at a time.[…]

Henryk Tauber
[…]On 4th March 1943, we were taken under SS guard to Krematorium II. The construction of this crematorium was explained to us by Capo August, who had just arrived from Buchenwald where he had also been working in the crematorium. Krematorium II had a basement where there was an undressing room and a bunker, or in other words a gas chamber. To go from one cellar to the other, there was a corridor in which there came from the exterior a stairway and a slide for throwing the bodies that were brought to the camp to be incinerated in the crematorium. People went through the door of the undressing room into the corridor, then from there through a door on the right into the gas chamber. A second stairway running from the grounds of the crematorium gave access to the corridor. To the left of this stairway, in the corner, there was a little room where hair, spectacles and other effects were stored. On the right there was another small room used as a store for cans of Zyklon-B. In the right corner of the corridor, on the wall facing the door from the undressing room, there was a lift to transport the corpses. People went from the crematorium yard to the undressing room via a stairway, surrounded by iron rails. Over the door there was a sign with the inscription "Zum Baden und Desinfektion" (to bath and disinfection), written in several languages. I remember the word "banya" [Russian for steam bath] was there too. From the corridor they went through the door on the right into the gas chamber. It was a wooden door, made of two layers of short pieces of wood arranged like parquet. Between these layers there was a single sheet of material sealing the edges of the door and the rabbets of the frame were also fitted with sealing strips of felt. At about head height for an average man this door had a round glass peephole. On the other side of the door, i.e. on the gas chamber side, this opening was protected by a hemispherical grid. This grid was fitted because the people in the gas chamber, feeling they were going to die, used to break the glass of the peep-hole. But the grid still did not provide sufficient protection and similar incidents recurred. The opening was blocked with a piece of metal or wood. The people going to be gassed and those in the gas chamber damaged the electrical installations, tearing the cables out and damaging the ventilation equipment. The door was closed hermetically from the corridor side by means of iron bars which were screwed tight. The roof of the gas chamber was supported by concrete pillars running down the middle of its length. On either side of these pillars there were four others, two on each side. The sides of these pillars, which went up through the roof, were of heavy wire mesh. Inside this grid, there was another of finer mesh and inside that a third of very fine mesh. Inside this last mesh cage there was a removable can that was pulled out with a wire to recover the pellets from which the gas had evaporated.

Besides that, in the gas chamber there were electric wires running along the two sides of the main beam supported by the central concrete pillars. The ventilation was installed in the walls of the gas chamber. Communication between the room and the ventilation installation proper was through small holes along the top and bottom of the side walls. The lower openings were protected by a kind of muzzle, the upper ones by whitewashed perforated metal plates.

The ventilation system of the gas chamber was coupled to the ventilation ducts installed in the undressing room. This ventilation system, which also served the dissection room, was driven by electric motors in the roof space of the crematorium.

The gas chamber had no water supply of its own. The water tap was in the corridor and a rubber hose was run from it to wash the floor of the gas chamber. At the end of 1943, the gas chamber was divided in two by a brick wall to make it possible to gas smaller transports. In the dividing wall there was a door identical to that between the corridor and the original gas chamber. Small transports were gassed in the chamber furthest from the entrance from the corridor.

The undressing room and the gas chamber were covered first with a concrete slab then a layer of soil sown with grass. There were four small chimneys, the openings through which the gas was thrown in, that rose above the gas chamber. These openings were closed by concrete covers with two handles.

Over the undressing room, the ground was higher than the level of the yard and perfectly flat. The ventilation ducts let to the [air extraction] pipes and the chimneys located in the part of the building above the corridor and undressing room. I would point out that at first the undressing room had neither benches nor clothes hooks and there were no showers in the gas chamber. These fittings were not installed until autumn 1943 in order to camouflage the undressing room and gas chamber as a bathing and disinfestation facility. The showers were fitted to small blocks of wood sealed into the concrete roof of the gas chamber. There were no pipes connected to these showers, from which no water ever flowed.[…]
As can be easily seen, these depositions, completely independent of each other, coincide regarding the key features of the gas chambers and the gassing process: the existence of an undressing room and a gas chamber, the underground location of both in Crematoria II and III, the stairs leading to the undressing room, the trappings inside the gas chamber to fool the victims, namely the false showers, the introduction of the Zyklon B through vents in the ceilings of the gas chambers, down a shaft that led to the floor, the screwing-tight of the gas chamber door. Tauber’s detailed description also explains the utility of the grid fitted around the peephole of the gas chamber door, mentioned in the letter to the DAW of 31 March 1943 (cited below): the grid was there “because the people in the gas chamber, feeling they were going to die, used to break the glass of the peep-hole”. The induction vents/shafts referred to by Höss and Tauber are also mentioned by other witnesses, including the locksmith Michal Kula, who stated in a deposition he made on 11 June 1945: ”[…]In the metalworking shop, among other things, we made fake showers for the gas chambers as well as latticed pipes for throwing the contents of the gas cans into the gas chambers. These were rectangular pipes about three meters high and 70 cm in cross-section…”

A photograph taken on 25 August 1944 by a reconnaissance plane of the US Air Force shows four columns on the flat roof of the gas chamber of Crematorium II – clearly these same induction vents/shafts. Three of these columns can also be seen in a ground photograph probably taken in February 1943, more than one month before the commissioning of Crematorium II. The transfer deed of 31 March 1943 includes an inventory which was unknown to either Tauber or Kula and where there were listed, among other items, 4 units of “Drahtnetzeinschiebevorrichtung” (“wire mesh introduction device”) and four “Holzblenden” (wooden covers) as belonging to the equipment of one of the “corpse cellars”. Why would a corpse cellar need wire mesh introduction devices with wooden covers? The only reasonable explanation is that these were the very same devices described, in very similar terms, by Höss, Tauber and Kula.

Regarding these crematoria there is a lot of documentary evidence, because – unlike “Block 11”, the “morgue” of the main camp’s crematorium and the Birkenau bunkers – their erection was not an adaptation of existing buildings that could be done by the SS itself, but required the involvement of specialized companies outside the camp. Drawings, blueprints and correspondence with civilian industrial companies survived the war and show that the four crematoria were built according to two types: in crematoria II and III the incineration room – i.e. the crematorium proper – was at ground level while the other rooms were in underground basements, while in crematoria IV and V, which had no basement, all rooms were above ground. Apart from minor differences, crematoria II and III were identical with each other, and so were crematoria IV and V. The transfer deeds of these crematoria are dated 31 March 1943 (Crematorium II) 25 June 1943 (Crematorium III), 22 March 1943 (Crematorium IV) and 4 April 1943 (Crematorium V).

No other of the Nazis’ numerous concentration camps had a cremation capacity comparable to that of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Originally this camp – like most concentration camps – had had a single crematorium with two double-muffle coke-fired furnaces. And additional double muffle-oven was added in the spring of 1942, giving the camp complex a total of six cremation ovens. Crematoria II and III had 15 ovens each, while each of Crematoria IV and V had 8 ovens, making for an additional 46 ovens. According to a letter that SS-Sturmbannführer (Major) Karl Bischoff, head of the Central Construction Office (Zentralbauleitung) of the SS at Auschwitz, sent to his superior on 28 June 1943, these additional 46 ovens meant a 14-fold increase of the installed cremation capacity of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex: while Crematorium I in the main camp could incinerate 340 corpses within 24 hours, each of Crematoria II and III could handle 1,440 bodies within the same period, while Crematoria IV and V could take care of 768 bodies each – a total of 4,756 bodes within 24 hours. This meant that within a month a number of people well in excess of the population of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex could be incinerated.

The contrast towards other concentration camps is illustrated in a letter written on 10 January 1940 by the head of construction of Buchenwald concentration camps: ”Due to the high mortality at Buchenwald concentration camp it is necessary to build an emergency crematorium with oil-heated incineration ovens (double muffle ovens). For this an room of 6 x 9 meters and 4 meters height is required …”

While for this “emergency crematorium” 54 square meters of area were sufficient, the five crematoria of Auschwitz-Birkenau had a total area almost 42 times greater - 2,254.84 square meters.

Besides the company Topf und Söhne in Erfurt, which specialized in incineration ovens and had already erected such installations at several concentration camps (including the Auschwitz I main camp), the construction of the Birkenau crematoria involved a number of other contractors. A part of the correspondence with these companies survives and includes highly instructive exhibits. On 29 January 1943, the already mentioned Karl Bischoff reported the following to his superior in Berlin, SS-Brigadeführer (Brigadier-General) Kammler:
[…]Crematorium II has been completed but for minor details, using all available forces working day and night despite enormous difficulties und frost weather. The furnaces have been lit in the area of Head Engineer Prüfer from the executing company Topf u. Söhne, Erfurt, and work impeccably. Because of frost, it has not yet been possible to remove the formwork from the ceiling of the corpse cellar. This is of no consequence, however, as the gassing cellar ([Vergasungskeller) can be used to this end.[…]

While on the surviving plans of Crematorium II the two major rooms located in the basement are referred to as “Corpse Cellar (Leichenkeller) 1” and “Corpse Cellar 2”, this letter expressly mentions one “corpse cellar” and one “gassing cellar”, i.e. a cellar where gassing is to take place. In a report by the mentioned Head Engineer Prüfer of the same date, on the other hand, the following is stated: ”Crematorium II – This building complex had been completed but for minor details (formwork from the ceiling of Corpse Cellar 2 cannot be removed due to frost)…”

This communication, on which Bischoff’s letter was obviously based, makes clear that what is called “Corpse Cellar 1” in the construction drawings is the very room Bischoff referred to as the “gassing cellar”. This express identification of the room as the place where homicidal gassing was carried out is corroborated by indications in several other documents, including:

- an inventory list for Crematorium III, the “twin” of Crematorium II, which mentioned “14 showers” and one “gas tight door” among the equipment of that crematorium’s “Corpse Cellar 1” – rather odd items for a corpse cellar, the former however being useful for fooling incoming victims about their impending fate (i.e. making them believe they would be showered, a ruse described by several eyewitnesses), while the latter was a must for a room where lethal gas was being used;
- this except from a letter to the Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke (DAW) of 31 March 1943: ”[…]On this occasion we remind you of another order of 6.3.43 about the supply of a gas door 100/192 for Corpse Cellar I of Crematorium III … which must be of the same type and measurements as the cellar door of the opposite Crematorium II, with a peephole made of double 8 mm glass with a rubber sealing and a grid [Beschlag]. This order is to be considered especially urgent.[…]”

Incriminating documentary evidence regarding the “special actions” is not limited to construction documents and correspondence with suppliers and contractors, however. No less instructive are documents like a report dated 8 October 1944 on the strength of the Birkenau women’s camp, which lists the following:
Strength on 7.10.1944 38,792 inmates

Gains on 7.10.1944
Internments 7
Transfers 1 [total] 8

Losses on 7.10.1944
Natural death 7
S.B. 1,229
Releases 8
Transfers 1,150 [total] 2,394

Balance: 36,406 inmates
If “S.B.” was neither “natural death”, nor release, nor transfer, what could it possibly mean? “S.B.” stood for “Sonderbehandlung”, which meant “special treatment” and was a standard Nazi euphemism for murder. Other euphemisms used in circulated documents included “Umsiedlung” (“resettlement”) and “gesonderte Unterbringung” (“special accommodation”). For instance, on 26 July 1942, the Wirtschaftsverwaltungshauptamt (WVHA), the Main Economic Administration Office of the SS, which controlled the economic affairs of the camp, issued a radio message to Auschwitz concentration camp authorizing the sending of 5 ton truck to Dessau in order to get ”… gas for the gassing of the camp in order to fight the epidemics that have sprung up…”

At Dessau there were the “Dessauer Werke für Zucker und chemische Industrie A.G.”, which on behalf of the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung m.b.H” supplied Zyklon B for disinfestations to the concentration camps. On 26 August 1942 the WVHA sent the camp another authorization to get Zyklon B at Dessau, but this time for another purpose: ”Permission is herewith granted for a truck to drive to Dessau and get material for special treatment…”

In another message from the same entity of 2 October 1942 the reason for the transport permit was given as follows: ”Permission is herewith granted for a 5 ton truck with trailer to drive to Dessau and back in order to get material for the resettlement of the Jews.”

The poison used to kill thousands upon thousands of people at the Birkenau crematoria left its traces not only in Nazi bureaucracy, but also in the buildings themselves and in parts of the victims or artifacts belonging to them that had come into contact with Zyklon B. The Polish judicial authorities who investigated the camp after the end of war obtained three chemical expert reports in order to establish if traces of the poison could be detected on the following objects which had been in contact with the substance:

i) hair cut off the corpses of gassed women, which was found stored in paper sacks when Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945;
ii) hair needles, braids and a metal spectacle holder found inside the hair;
iii) zinc plates from the ventilation openings of “Corpse Cellar I” in Crematoria II and mortar from one of the walls of the same building.

The expert reports, issued on 15 December 1945, 13 August 1946 and 27 March 1947, concluded that in all objects examined the presence of prussic acid residues could be detected. The fact that Polish criminal justice authorities ordered three separate investigations shows how careful they were in assessing the physical evidence corroborating the eyewitness depositions to which they had access.

D) Body Disposal

The many corpses produced by the mass killing, in addition to those resulting from the camp’s “normal” mortality due to malnutrition, disease, overwork and brutal treatment, posed one of the camp staff’s greatest problems. How they coped with it before the Birkenau crematoria were finished was described by camp commandant Höss, in the above-mentioned document “The final solution of the Jewish question in Auschwitz concentration camp”:
[…]During the summer of 1942 the bodies were still being placed in the mass graves. Towards the end of the summer, however, we started to burn them; at first on wood pyres bearing some 2,000 corpses, and later in pits together with bodies previously buried. In the early days oil refuse was poured on the bodies, but later methanol was used. Bodies were burnt in pits, day and night, continuously.
By the end of November all the mass graves had been emptied. The number of corpses in the mass graves amounted to 107,000. This figure not only included the transports of Jews gassed up to the time when cremation was first employed, but also the bodies of those prisoners in Auschwitz who died during the winter of 1941-2, when the crematorium near the hospital building was out of action for a considerable time. It also included all the prisoners who died in the Birkenau camp.[…]
This was not a satisfactory solution, as Höss explains further on:
[…]It became apparent during the first cremations in the open air that in the long run it would not be possible to continue in that manner. During bad weather or when a strong wind was blowing, the stench of burning flesh was carried for many miles and caused the whole neighborhood to talk about the burning of Jews, despite official counter-propaganda. It is true that all members of the SS detailed for the extermination were bound to the strictest secrecy over the whole operation, but, as later SS legal proceedings showed, this was not always observed. Even the most severe punishment was not able to stop their love of gossip.
Moreover the air defense protested against the fires which could be seen from a great distance at night. Nevertheless, burnings had to go on, even at night, unless further transports were to be refused. The schedule of individual operations, fixed at a conference by the Ministry of Communications, had to be rigidly adhered to in order to avoid, for military reasons, obfuscation and confusion on the railways concerned. These reasons led to the energetic planning and eventual construction of two large crematoria, and in 1943 to the building of two further smaller installations.[…]
The body disposal problems in the summer of 1942, described by Höss, were also addressed by Pery Broad:
[…]Himmler had become dissatisfied with the Auschwitz extermination methods. The main problem was that things were going much too slow. On the other hand the huge pyres emanated such a stench that the whole area in the surroundings was befouled for many kilometers. Without the enormous pyres it would have been unthinkable, after all, to dispose of the innumerable dead who had died in the camp and the corpses from the gas chambers. The chimney of the Auschwitz crematorium had got dangerous fissures from over-heating anyway. Although talkative guards were subject draconian punishment and blamed for the veil of the secret not being tight, it could not be avoided that the unmistakable sweetish smell and the nightly reflection of the flames carried the news of what was going on at the Auschwitz death camp at least to the nearer surroundings.[…]
The Birkenau crematoria, once completed solved these problems as long as the camp had no more than its “normal” influx of transports, as Höss described in his deposition before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg on 15.04.1946: ”… During the whole period up until 1944 certain operations were carried out at irregular intervals in the different countries, so that one cannot speak of a continuous flow of incoming transports. It was always a matter of 4 to 6 weeks. During those 4 to 6 weeks two to three trains, containing about 2,000 persons each, arrived daily…”

The performance of the crematoria was not to satisfaction, however. Höss’ assessment of these installations and their functioning is recorded as follows in “The final solution of the Jewish question in Auschwitz concentration camp”:
[…]The two large crematoria I and II were built in the winter of 1942-3 and brought into use in the spring of 1943. They had five three-retort ovens and could cremate about 2,000 bodies in less than twenty-four hours. Technical difficulties made it impossible to increase their capacity. Attempts to do this caused severe damage to the installations, and on several occasions put them out of action altogether. Crematoria I and II both had underground undressing rooms and gas-chambers in which the air could be completely changed. The bodies were taken to the ovens on the floor above by means of a lift. The gas chambers could hold about 3,000 people, but this number was never reached, since the individual transports were never as large as that.
The two smaller crematoria III and IV were capable, according to calculations made by the constructional firm of Topf of Erfurt, of burning about 1,500 bodies within twenty-four hours. Owing to the war-time shortage of materials the builders were compelled to economize during the construction of crematoria III and IV and they were therefore built above ground and the ovens were of a less solid construction. It soon became apparent, however, that the flimsy build of these four-retort ovens did not come up to the requirements. Number III failed completely after a short time and later ceased to be used altogether. Number IV had to be repeatedly shut down, since after its fires had been burning from four to six weeks, the ovens or the chimneys burned out. The gassed bodies were mostly burned in pits behind crematorium IV.[…]
As previously stated, crematoria I and II could cremate about 2,000 bodies in twenty-four hours, but a higher number was not possible without causing damage to the installations. Numbers III and IV should have been able to cremate 1,500 bodies in twenty-four hours, but, as far as I know, these figures were never attained.
During the period when the fires were kept burning continuously, without a break, the ashes fell through the grates and were constantly removed and crushed to powder. The ashes were taken in lorries to the Vistula, where they immediately drifted away and dissolved. The ashes taken from the burning puts near bunker II and crematorium IV were dealt with in the same way.[…]

The crematoria that Höss refers to as “I” to “IV” are referred to as “II” to “V” in other evidence, e.g. Bischoff’s above-mentioned letter to Kammler of 28 June 1943. The difference in nomenclature results from the fact that, unlike the other source, Höss was not counting the old crematorium in the Auschwitz main camp as “I”.

The removal of the ashes in lorries to the Vistula, described by Höss, was also mentioned by former camp inmate Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, an Hungarian Jew. In his memoirs, written in March 1946 and published in Budapest in 1947, Nyiszli wrote: ”…The ash is driven with lorries to the Vistula, two kilometers away, and thrown into the water. After so much misery and horror not even the dead found a quiet resting place…”

Between 15 May and 9 July 1944, well over 400,000 Hungarian Jews were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and the greater part of them killed there. The number of dead bodies to be handled every day became so huge that the crematoria could no longer cope with them alone. From the report of Czeslaw Mordowicz and Arnost Rosin, who escaped from Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27 May 1944: “…On 15 May the mass transports from Hungary started arriving. […] A branch line of the railway led through the camp and ended at the crematoria, which had been completed in a hurry. […] Only about 10 per cent of the contingents of these transports were taken into the camp, the rest was immediately gassed and incinerated. […] Three incinerators were in operation day and night. At that time the fourth was in repair, and as the capacity of the ovens was not sufficient, again huge pits measuring thirty by fifteen meters were dug in the birch-wood forest (like at the time when there had been no ovens yet), where the corpses were burned day and night…”

Pery Broad described this phase as follows:
“…In the spring of 1944 Auschwitz had its climax. Long railway trains went back and forth between the Birkenau sub-camp and Hungary. […] A three-track railway installation leading up to the new crematoria made it possible that one train was unloaded while the next was already coming in. The percentage of those sent to “special accommodation” – the term that had recently come into use instead of “special treatment” was especially high with these transports. […] All four crematoria worked under maximum pressure. But soon the chimneys were burnt through from the incessant maximum performance, and only Crematorium Three was still smoking […] The Sonderkommandos had been reinforced and worked feverishly emptying the gas chambers again and again. Also one of the white peasant houses was again taken into operation. It was called Bunker V […] Hardly had the last corpse been taken out of the chambers and dragged across the corpse-strewn square to the burning pit, when in the hall the next were already being undressed for gassing…”

Rudolf Höss, as above:
”…The provisional structure number I was demolished when work was started on building section III of Birkenau. Crematorium II, later designated bunker V, was used up to the last and was also kept as a stand-by when breakdowns occurred in crematoria I to IV. When larger numbers of transports were being received, gassing was carried out by day in number V and numbers I to IV were used for those transports which arrived during the night. The capacity of number V was practically unlimited, so long as cremations could be carried out both by day and by night. Because of enemy air attacks, no further cremations were permitted during the night after 1944. The highest total of people gassed and cremated within twenty-four hours was rather more than 9,000. This figure was attained in the summer of 1944, during the action in Hungary, using all installations except number III. On that day, owing to delays on the line, five trains arrived, instead of three, as expected, and in addition the carriages were more crowded than usual…”

1. These and other corroborating depositions about the camp’s most intensive killing phase are further supported by other types of evidence, such as:

i) an aerial photo taken of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex on 31 May 1944, which shows smoke rising from an area behind Crematorium V;
ii) an aerial photo of the Birkenau area taken on June 26, 1944, which shows ground scarrings behind Crematoriums IV and V consistent with pits;
iii) a set of well-known photos taken clandestinely inside the camp, showing naked women on their way to the gas chambers and naked bodies being burned at Birkenau in the open, the landscape background of the latter photos and other features thereof shows that these incinerations were taking place behind Crematorium V;
iv) geological tests carried out in 1965 by a chemical mining enterprise based in Krakow on behalf Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which turned up traces of human ashes, bones, and hair in 42 sites in the Birkenau area.


The total number of those who were murdered in the Auschwitz gas chambers can only be estimated. These, however, were the overwhelming majority of the camp’s victims. Commandant Rudolf Höss confirms this: ”In accordance with orders given by the Reichsführer SS, after every large action all evidence in Auschwitz on which a calculation of the number of victims might be based had to be burnt. As head of Department DI I personally destroyed every bit of evidence which could be found in my office. The heads of other offices did the same.”

Nevertheless reliable estimates are possible, for the number of Jews deported to Auschwitz was recorded in some countries, and extensive transportation records exist documenting their delivery. From Auschwitz, in turn, it is known how many deportees were classified as "able to work" at the ramp and thus joined the ranks of the inmates. In such cases the difference between these numbers shows how many were immediately escorted to a gas chamber.

Anticipating the Revisionist objection – yes, we know that the mere fact that people are unaccounted for between their delivery to Auschwitz and registration does not, in itself, mean they were killed, any more than the massive demographic decline in the Jewish population of places from which Jews were deported necessarily proves mass murder either. But this argument would only be pertinent if these were the only facts being presented. If all we had were deportation records and demographic decline, we would be left with a puzzle to be solved: what happened to these people? However, such deportation records and demographic losses must be seen in the context of witnesses who can tell us what happened to people once they got off the trains, corroborated by confessions, corroborated by physical and documentary evidence, and so on. Viewed in light of this context, such evidence provides a vital piece to the puzzle that eyewitnesses, physical traces, memos and construction documents – by their nature – cannot: answering the question of scope and scale.

Out of 69,025 Jews deported to Auschwitz from France, 27,220 received an inmate number; thus 41,805, or 60.5 percent, had to immediately die in a gas chamber. Among the deportees from Belgium the percentage was higher – 16,825 out of a total of 25,260, i.e. 66.6 per cent. Similarly high was the number Jews from Holland selected as "unable to work" upon arrival: 38,305 or 67.7 per cent of the 56,575 deportees. Among the deportees from Greece the number of those considered able to work by the selecting SS doctor was lowest: 12,760 out of a total of 55,655, which means that 77.1 per cent were immediately killed, without records about them having been produced at any of the camp's offices.

These percentages coincide with the statements of Höss recorded in "The final solution of the Jewish question in Auschwitz concentration camp": ”…Taking an average of all the transports, between twenty-five and thirty per cent were found fit for work, but this figure fluctuated considerably. The figure for Greek Jews, for example, was only fifteen per cent, whereas there were transports from Slovakia with a fitness rate of a hundred per cent…”

The same document also contains Höss’ revised statements as to the order of magnitude of the killing:
[…]I myself never knew the total number and I have nothing to help me make an estimate of it. I can only remember the figure involved in the larger actions, which were repeated to me by Eichmann or his deputies.
From Upper Silesia and Polish territory under German rule … 250,000
Germany and Theresienstadt … 100,000
Holland … 95,000
Belgium … 20,000
France … 110,000
Greece … 65,000
Hungary … 400,000
Slovakia … 90,000
I can no longer remember the figures for the smaller actions, but they were insignificant in comparison with the numbers given above. I regard a total of two and a half millions as far too high. Even Auschwitz had limits to its destructive possibilities.
Figures given by former prisoners are figments of the imagination and lack any foundation.[…]

The figures given by Höss add up to 1,130,000. This total, though not all items of its breakdown by countries of origin, is in line with most subsequent estimates by historians, for instance:

- Dr Josef Kermisz, from the Jewish Historical Commission in Poland, wrote in 1949 that this Commission had evaluated the number of victims of Auschwitz at 1 500 000;

- Gerald Reitlinger in 1953 estimated at 800 000 to 900 000 the number of Jewish victims of Auschwitz;

- Raul Hilberg, in The Destruction of European Jews, 1961, estimated the number of Jewish victims of Auschwitz at 1 million and the total number of victims of Auschwitz at 1.1 million.

- Helmut Krausnick declared in 1964, at the trial against former members of the Auschwitz staff in Frankfurt, that the total number of victims of Auschwitz was between on million and one and a half million;

- Georges Wellers in 1983 provided an estimate of 1.3 million Jewish victims at Auschwitz and a total of 1.5 million victims of the camp;

- Franciszek Piper, in a study that started in 1980 and the results of which were presented in 1991 and 1994, gave as the total number of victims of Auschwitz a minimum of 1.1 million and a maximum of 1.5 million.

In his 1991 study, Piper gave the following breakdown of the number of Jewish deportees to Auschwitz by countries of origin:

Country Number deported
Hungary 438.000
Poland 300.000
France 69.000
Netherlands 60.000
Greece 55.000
Bohemia-Moravia 46.000
Slovakia 27.000
Belgium 25.000
Germany and Austria 23.000
Yugoslavia 10.000
Italy 7.500
Norway 700
Various camps and others 34.000
Total deported 1.095.200

As can be seen in the above breakdown, the greatest contingent of Jewish deportees to Auschwitz-Birkenau came from Hungary. This order of magnitude becomes apparent from several sources independent of each other, including the following:

i) Progress reports on the deportation of the Hungarian Jews, sent by the German embassy in Budapest. In one of the last of these reports, on July 11, 1944, ambassador Veesenmayer reported that 437,402 Jews had been deported from five concentration zones until 9 July.

ii) A list of deportations during the same period kept by Laszlo Ferenczy, the Hungarian official in charge of Jewish ghettoes and concentration of Jews for deportation, which added up to 434,351 deportees.

iii) Counts of the transports bound for Auschwitz-Birkenau at the Slovakian border station Košice (Kassa, in Hungarian) on the Hungarian-Slovakian border, where the trains were handed over by the Hungarians to the SS.

How many of these Hungarian Jews were killed? The above-quoted sources (Czeslaw Mordowicz and Arnost Rosin, Pery Broad) suggest that the percentage submitted to "special accommodation" or "special treatment" among these transports was higher than the average rate mentioned by Höss; according to Mordowicz and Rosin, it would even have been higher than in the case of the Greek Jews, of whom 77.1 % are shown by the records to have been immediately killed. On the other hand, the Counselor of the German Legation in Hungary, von Thadden, had on 25 May 1944 written that he expected about one third of the deportees from Hungary to be fit for work. If this ratio was complied with, this would mean that 146,000 of the Hungarian deportees were selected as able to work and 292,000 (out of a total of 438,000) were gassed.

If the Negationist team wishes to propose a significantly lower number of victims than those offered by the experts cited above, they are free to do so. I should only hope they will be as thorough as we have been in describing the evidence on which that number is based and the methodology by which the evidence has been approached.


While not necessary for a conviction in a criminal trial, demonstrating motive certainly helps the prosecution's case. It is not hard to prove that Jews played a role in Nazi ideology such that one who firmly believed in that ideology would have a powerful reason to engage in their systematic mass murder. It would be incorrect to say that the Nazi party had an anti-Semitic plank in its platform. In fact, anti-Semitism was the central plank of the Nazi party's platform. All of the problems of Germany, Europe, and, in fact, humanity, were – in some way or another - placed on the shoulders of the Jews. Even further than that, if one reads the works of ideological Nazis who were inclined towards the cultic aspects of the movement, the Jews are not simply identified as evil on a political level, but on a metaphysical level as well. They are, in fact, defined as the living embodiment of a satanic principle - destroyers by their very nature. One cannot compromise with such an entity, particularly when one combines this belief with the social-Darwinistic ethos of race-struggle that was also central to Nazi ideology: one must either destroy the destroyer, or else be destroyed. Such a belief system is evident in the writings and statements of those accused of being at the forefront of the effort to exterminate the Jews at Auschwitz.

The statements of Rudolf Höss with regard to the killers’ motivations, recorded in “The final solution of the Jewish question in Auschwitz concentration camp”, were as follows:
[…]In the summer of 1941, I cannot remember the exact date, I was suddenly summoned to the Reichsführer Ss, directly by his adjutant’s office. Contrary to his usual custom, Himmler received me without his adjutant being present and said in effect: ‘The Führer has ordered that the Jewish question be solved once and for all and that we, the SS, are to implement that order.
‘The Jews are the sworn enemies of the German people and must be eradicated. Every Jew that we can lay our hands on is to be destroyed now during the war, without exception. If we cannot now obliterate the biological basis of Jewry, the Jews will one day destroy the German people.’[…]

Höss may have got the date wrong – recent research by German historian Christian Gerlach, suggests that the Führer’s order was not so much an order as Hitler’s overall approval to the programs and initiatives from various sides to wipe out as many Jews as possible, and that it was issued on 12 December 1941, at a time when systematic mass killing of Jews had already been going on for some time in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union – but the statements on which he quotes Himmler are in line with the records of the man’s utterances on several occasions, such as

- at a speech in Posen on 6 October 1943:
I ask you that what I tell you in this circle you will really only hear and never talk about it. The question came up to us: What do to with the women and children? – I decided to find a very clear solution also in this respect. This because I didn’t consider myself entitled to exterminate the men – that is, to kill them or to have them killed – and to let the children grow up as avengers against our sons and grandsons. The difficult decision had to be taken to make this people disappear from the earth. For the organization that had to carry out the task if was the most difficult we had so far.

- in May 1944, before the beginning of the deportation of the Hungarian Jews:
The Jewish questions has been solved in Germany and generally in the countries occupied by Germany. According to the survival struggle of our people, where the existence of our blood is at issue, it was carried out uncompromisingly.

- in June 1944, at the height of the deportations from Hungary:
It was the most terrible task and the most terrible order that could be given to an organization: the order to solve the Jewish question. In this circle I may again say it with all openness in a few words: it is good that we had the toughness to exterminate the Jews in our area.

Similar statements were also made by other high-ranking Nazi officials, not for public consumption but for insider audience or in their own private diaries. In a speech to members of his staff on 16 December 1941, Hans Frank, the Nazi governor of the part of occupied Poland not annexed to the Reich, stated the following:
"As far as the Jews are concerned, I want to tell you quite frankly, that they must be done away with in one way or another. The Fuehrer said once: should united Jewry again succeed in provoking a world war, the blood of not only the nations which have been forced into the war by them, will be shed, but the Jew will have found his end in Europe.
"Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourselves of all feeling of pity. We must annihilate the Jews, wherever we find them and wherever it is possible, in order to maintain here the structure of the Reich as a whole. This will, naturally, be achieved by other methods than those pointed out by Bureau Chief Dr. Hummel. Nor can the judges of the Special Courts be made responsible for it, because of the limitations of the framework of the legal procedure. Such outdated views cannot be applied to such gigantic and unique events. We must find at any rate, a way which leads to the goal, and my thoughts are working in that direction.
"The Jews represent for us also extraordinarily malignant gluttons. We have now approximately 2,500,000 of them in the General Government, perhaps with the Jewish mixtures and everything that goes with it, 3,500,000 Jews. We cannot shoot or poison those 3,500,000 Jews, but we shall nevertheless be able to take measures, which will lead, somehow, to their annihilation, and this in connection with the gigantic measures to be determined in discussions from the Reich. The General Government must become free of Jews, the same as the Reich. Where and how this is to be achieved is a matter for the offices which we must appoint and create here. Their activities will be brought to your attention in due course."

In his diary entry of 27 March 1942, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels wrote the following:
Beginning with Lublin, the Jews in the General Government are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is a pretty barbaric one and not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews. On the whole it can be said that about 60 per cent of them will have to be liquidated whereas only about 40 per cent can be used for forced labor.

The former Gauleiter of Vienna, who is to carry this measure through, is doing it with considerable circumspection and according to a method that does not attract too much attention. A judgment is being visited upon the Jews that, while barbaric, is fully deserved by them. The prophesy which the Fuehrer made about them for having brought on a new world war is beginning to come true in a most terrible manner. One must not be sentimental in these matters. If we did not fight the Jews, they would destroy us. It's a life-and-death struggle between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus. No other government and no other regime would have the strength for such a global solution of this question. Here, too, the Fuehrer is the undismayed champion of a radical solution necessitated by conditions and therefore inexorable. Fortunately a whole series of possibilities presents itself for us in wartime that would be denied us in peacetime. We shall have to profit by this.

The ghettoes that will be emptied in the cities of the General Government now will be refilled with Jews thrown out of the Reich. This process is to be repeated from time to time. There is nothing funny in it for the Jews, and the fact that Jewry's representatives in England and America are today organizing and sponsoring the war against Germany must be paid for dearly by its representatives in Europe - and that's only right.

As can easily be seen, the two features that all quoted speeches have in common are:

i) the belief that Jews are both harmful parasites and dangerous enemies and must therefore be wiped out root and branch for the benefit of the German people;

ii) the reference to an order in this sense issued by Adolf Hitler.

Independently of what the exact content of this order was, there can be no doubt that it was the German leader himself who created the environment in which such murderous utterances and programs could flourish by making paranoid racist and anti-Semitic views, which had roamed Germany since the 19th Century, into the reason of state and the solving of the “Jewish Question” into a primordial political task. Hitler’s obsession with getting rid of the malignant Jewish “bacillus” shows in numerous utterances of his, a few of which are quoted hereafter,

In a talk before a gathering of National Socialists in Salzburg on 7 August 1920 he said: ”Don't think that one can fight against disease without killing the cause, without exterminating the germ; and don't think that one can fight against racial tuberculosis without taking care that the peoples be freed of the germ of racial tuberculosis. The effect of Judaism will never disappear and the poisoning of the people will not end unless the cause - the Jews - are removed from our presence.”

In his speech before the Reichstag on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the take-over of power, on 30 January 1939, he expressed himself in unmistakable terms:
In my life I have often been a prophet and was generally laughed at. During my struggle for power it was mostly the Jewish people who laughed at my prophecies that I would some day assume the leadership of the state and thereby of the entire Volk and then, among many other things, achieve a solution of the Jewish problem. I believe that in the meantime the then resounding laughter of Jewry in Germany is now choking in their throats.

Today I will be a prophet again: If international Jewry within Europe and abroad should succeed once more in plunging the peoples into a world war, then the consequence will be not the Bolshevisation of the world and therewith a victory of Jewry, but on the contrary, the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.

The same he did again three years later, in a speech on January 30, 1942 (monitored by the Allied monitoring service): ”We see clearly that this war could only end with the extermination of the Germanic peoples, or that Jewry must disappear from Europe. I already said it on September 1, 1939 in the German Reichstag...that this war will not end the way the Jews have foreseen it, namely that the European Aryan peoples will be exterminated; rather the result of this war will be the annihilation of Jewry. For once all the others will not bleed to death alone; for once the ancient Jewish law will come into play: an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.”

In his testament of 29 April 1945, Hitler once again, in what was literally his last written words, made clear who he saw as his primordial enemy, how that enemy had been and would be dealt with and what he considered the foremost task of any German state leadership to be:
But I have also never left open any doubt about the fact that if the peoples of Europe were once again to be regarded only as packages of shares of these international monetary and financial conspirators, then that people would be held responsible, which is the true culprit behind the murderous struggle: Jewry! I have also not left anybody in the dark about the fact that this time it would not only be millions of children of Europeans from the Aryan nations who will die of hunger, not only millions of grown men who will suffer death, and not only hundreds of thousands of women and children who will burn to death in the cities and be permitted to be bombarded to death, without holding the true culprit responsible for this crime, even though it may be by more humane methods.

Above all I pledge the leadership of the nation and its followers to the scrupulous observation of the racial laws and to an implacable opposition against the universal poisoner of all peoples, international Jewry.

We of the Veritas team anticipate, further to our past experience debating Revisionists, that the response of the Negationist team to this opening statement will be to ignore the bulk of our argument, instead zeroing in on two or three items of evidence that we have cited and highlighting the problems with those items in the belief that our entire case will be seen as discredited if they are able to cast doubt on their reliability with hypothetical possibilities or alternatives. If this is the case, it will only demonstrate how woefully they misunderstand our argument, and, indeed, the whole manner in which the study of history is conducted.

The Negationists may well say that Hoess was tortured or coerced into writing his memoir (1). We doubt they will support it, but they may well say it. Regardless, can they say the same about Broad (2), Dejaco (3), Baer (4), and the other 65 SS witnesses to gas chambers at Auschwitz (5-69)? All 69 of these individuals coerced to provide the same false testimony, yet no evidence available of such a systematic effort of coercion and not a single coerced witness ever claiming coercion or changing his story.

Even if one were credulous enough to believe this possibility without proof, are we to also assume that Tauber (70) was lying? Perhaps, he might have made up stories to condemn his hated captors, but shall we then assume that the very same of Vrba (71), Wetzler (72), Mordowicz (73), and Rosin (74), believing as well that these lies just happen to corroborate with the buried accounts of Herman (75), Gradowski (76) and Lewenthal (77), not to mention the depositions of Jankowski (78) and Dragon (79), Lettich (80) and Bendel (81), Buki (82), Filip and Dov Paisikovic (83,84), Müller (85), Avram Dragon (86), Szyja Rosenblum (87) and Dr. Miklos Nyiszli (88), as well as the Polish mechanic Michael Kula (89) among others? All of them telling the same untruth, corroborating all of the same particulars, yet with no evidence of co-ordination or conspiracy?

Let’s say this is still plausible. We have Bischoff’s memo (90). Perhaps, as Revisionists sometimes argue, “Vergasungskeller” means something totally different and innocuous. Is it mere coincidence, then, that this term was used in reference to the very room where all of the above witnesses - unaware of this document - concur that gassings took place? Maybe there is another, innocuous explanation for the gas tight door with the peep hole (91) or the induction shafts ordered in the manifests and seen in aerial photos and ground photos (92), than those which the witnesses mention. Regardless, it is clear that the witness statements pass when tested in comparison to the “scientific-technical” data on hand. Maybe there is a reasonable explanation for the excessive cremation capacity relative to other camps (93), and the various aerial and ground photos of massive cremations (94) might simply be recording isolated instances of high mortality that only happen to coincide with the periods when both victim and perpetrator witnessess concur that the killing was at its height. Maybe the traces of Zyklon B in incriminating places consistent with witness testimony (95) is due only to fumigation that, coincidentally and for some unknown reason, was performed in the rooms identified by witnesses as gas chambers more frequently than in others. It could all be just a great big misunderstanding, in which case something else - we don't know what - happened to the people who are documented as having been delivered to Auschwitz and not registered (96) and there must be some other, unknown, undocumented explanation for the decimation of Europe's Jewish population (97). Surely, the bloodthirsty declarations of Himmler (98), Hitler (99), Goebbels (100) and Hans Frank (101) towards the Jews - citing them as an evil principle that must be and were being destroyed - were all just talk, and shed no light whatsoever on the plausibility of all that has just been described.

101 items of evidence, and this is only a sample of what has been presented even in this post, let alone of what’s out there. And in order for the Negationist position to stand, all must be lies, all coerced, all coincidence, each and every one subject to a different alternative interpretation.

The principle of Occam's Razor can be summarized as follows: the simplest explanation (that is, the one that requires the fewest additional assumptions) that takes all of the evidence into account must be taken as correct.

This accurately describes our explanation for the above evidence. All of the above evidence is explained by the theory that gas chambers were used for the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews at Auschwitz. No unsupported assumptions are required to maintain this theory, and no other theory has yet been proposed that takes all of the evidence into account.

On the other hand, the revisionist alternative - in light of only the sample of evidence we have presented - requires at least 101 additional rationalizations. 69 SS perpetrators, each successfully coerced into falsely confessing to the same story without ever recanting, 18 victim accounts all fabricated to coincide without any evidence of conspiracy, multiple items of documentary and physical evidence each of which must have some other possible explanation and just happen randomly to coincide with the witnesses’ stories. And in the end, this alternative still leaves unanswered the basic questions with which we are confronted: How can we best determine what happened at Auschwitz? What happened to Europe’s Jews, particularly those documented as having been delivered to Auschwitz who were never registered and who never returned?

The Veritas team submits that when all of the evidence cited above is taken into account, the existence and use of gas chambers for the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of people stands proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

We turn the floor to our opponents.
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).


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