A Derelict Convergence

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 24 Apr 2002 06:34

I think Pressac has offered the best explanation for the exaggerated figures (death toll and cremation capacity): they were passed on to him by his guides in Auschwitz-Birkenau.


I do not see why Hoess or whoever guided Franke-Gricksch around Birkenau would have given him such outrageously exaggerated figures. After all, Himmler had been highly critical of the dodgy statistics being fed to him, which is why he employed Korherr to write his famous report.

By the time Franke-Gricksch visited Birkenau in May 1943, Korherr's report had been handed in, and everybody in the SS must have been aware that Himmler demanded accuracy. There would have been nothing to gain by giving Franke-Gricksch figures that were so obviously false.

Furthermore, Hoess testified post-war that he was instructed not to keep a record of the numbers exterminated. No figure was supposed to exist. Therefore I think it hardly likely that Franke-Gricksch would have asked for a figure of numbers exterminated, or have been given one, or that he would have included a figure in a report.

Where do you know that Höß gave him the figures? Where do you know that Franke-Gricksch wrote a report for people in Berlin who could check the true figure? Where do you know that his guide in Auschwitz knew that Franke-Gricksch was writing a report for people in Berlin who could check the true figure? Where do you know that they knew that Franke-Gricksch was writing a report?


If you or anyone else has reliable information on the background to Franke-Gricksch's report, why he went to Auschwitz, who he was reporting to, what the purpose of his report was. etc, I would be very interested to see it. I might even revise my opinion.

We've already gone through this, Michael. There was in fact a spur line leading into Birkenau just behind crematorium II, which Franke-Gricksch presumably visited in 1943. He saw this spur line and he concluded that the Jews were directly shipped infront of the crematorium's back-entrance. (note the homicidal gas chamber and the little chimnies, through which the poison gas was thrown into the gas-chambers, in the background)


The track shown in the picture is apparently a temporary one laid for transporting construction materials. It appears to be a narrow-gauge light track, and could not have been connected to the main railway running past Birkenau camp. I do not think that anyone who saw that track (it it was still there in May 1943; it does not appear on maps of the camp) could have assumed that it could have carried full-sized trains on which Jews arrived.

What I think is certain is that there is not a shred of evidence or hint that this document was manipulated. It is of course possible that the last two lines about the death toll and cremation capacity were simply added after the war, but I see absolutely no reason why the investigators for the Nuremberg trials should have done this, after all the report was never introduced as evidence nor would the exaggerated figures have helped the prosecution.


I think you are quite right that this document would not have helped the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials. That may well be the reason why it was never introduced as evidence; the prosecutors probably looked at it and concluded that it was "too good to be true". It seems to have been filed away, only to be discovered years later by undiscriminating historians.

It is possible that an original report, which surely would have observed the discretion about killings of non-working prisoners that is typical of the correspondence of the Auschwitz administration, was "massaged" by an over-enthusiastic investigator in order to turn it into something that said explicitly what was being heard from survivor witnesses.

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Post by Snafu » 24 Apr 2002 10:57

By the way Hans,

if you possess a link to the SHMERSH inquiry, I wouldn't mind you posting it. I'd like to get full access to the document myself.

This was my source:
http://www.russgranata.com/Risposta-new-eng.html

It's a kind of heated debate, but as you can see, the respected Mr Zimmermann showed no scrouples in cutting the document short himself, whenever it suited him.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 24 Apr 2002 13:08

Snafu wrote:By the way Hans,

if you possess a link to the SHMERSH inquiry, I wouldn't mind you posting it. I'd like to get full access to the document myself.

This was my source:
http://www.russgranata.com/Risposta-new-eng.html

It's a kind of heated debate, but as you can see, the respected Mr Zimmermann showed no scrouples in cutting the document short himself, whenever it suited him.


Mattogno:

Zimmerman writes on p.19 of Body Disposal:

«Kurt Prüfer, builder of the ovens, was asked why the brick linings of the ovens were damaged so quickly. He replied that the damage resulting after six months was "because the strain on the furnaces was enormous." He recounted how he had told Topf's chief engineer in charge of crematoria, Fritz Sanders, about the strain on the furnaces of so many corpses waiting to be incinerated as a result of the gassing. Sanders stated that he had been told by Prüfer and another Topf engineer that the "capacity of the furnaces was so great because three [gassed] corpses were incinerated [in one oven] simultaneously.»

He adds:

"Prufer said that two bodies were simultaneously incinerated in his presence" (note 122).

The reference is to the interrogations of the Topf engineers on the part of a Soviet inquiry of SMERSH between 1946 and 1948. The records were published by Gerald Fleming,7 from which Zimmerman takes his citations (notes 121 and 122).

In reality Kurt Prüfer stated the very opposite of what Zimmerman attributed to him by means of a despicable manipulation.

On page 200 of the cited work, this is how Fleming summarizes part of the interrogation which K.Prüfer underwent on 5 March 1946:

"Normal crematoria 8 work with prewarmed air 9 so that the corpse burns quickly and without smoke. As the crematoria in the concentration camps were constructed differently, this procedure could not be used.10 The corpses burned more slowly and created more smoke, necessitating ventilation.
Question: How many corpses were incinerated in Auschwitz per hour?
Answer: In a crematorium with five furnaces and fifteen muffles, fifteen corpses were burned." [my emphasis]

During the interrogation of 19 March, K.Prüfer declared:

"I spoke about the enormous strain on the overused furnaces. I told Chief Engineer Sander: I am worried whether the furnaces can stand the excessive usage. In my presence two cadavers were pushed into one muffle instead of one cadaver. The furnaces could not stand the strain." 11 [my italics]


Source of quote:

Carlos Mattogno, Supplementary Response to John C. Zimmerman on his "BODY DISPOSAL AT AUSCHWITZ"
http://www.russgranata.com/Risposta-new-eng.html

Zimmerman:

The issue of oven overuse surfaced in the recently discovered post war interrogations of three Topf engineers by the Soviets. Kurt Prüfer, builder of the ovens, was asked why the brick linings of the ovens were damaged so quickly. He replied that the damage resulting after six months was "because the strain on the furnaces was enormous." He recounted how he had told Topf's chief engineer in charge of crematoria, Fritz Sanders, about the strain on the furnaces because of so many corpses waiting to be incinerated as a result of the gassings. [121] Sanders stated that he had been told by Prüfer and another Topf engineer that the "capacity of the furnaces was so great because three [gassed] corpses were incinerated [in one oven] simultaneously." [122] A Sonderkommando, one who worked in the crematoria during this period of time, wrote that cracks in the brickwork of the ovens were filled with a special fireclay paste in order to keep the ovens running. [123]

[Footnote 121]
Transcript in Gerald Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution (Berkeley:1994, 2nd ed), 202,206,207. Note that the earlier edition of this work does not contain these transcripts. Predictably, deniers have attempted to discredit these transcripts on the basis that the Soviets forced the Topf engineers to say what they did. But in fact, a close reading of these transcripts suggests that the opposite is true. The engineers were directly contradicting a report filed by the Soviet authorities with the War Crimes Tribunal which claimed that these ovens could burn 9000 per day, which is twice the Bauleitung estimate of June 28, 1943. The Soviets never acknowledged any limitations on the on the ovens as the engineers did. This may account for the fact as to why these transcripts were not released until the period of Glasnost (openness) in the Soviet Union in 1989. Soviet report USSR-008 in German in International Military Tribunal, Trials of Major War Criminals (Washington D.C, 1947), Vol. 39, 241-261. See p. 261 for the part of the report that alleges that the ovens could burn 279,000 per month.

[Footnote 122]
Ibid. , 205. Prufer said that two bodies were simultaneously incinerated in his presence.p. 207.

[Footnote 123]
Filip Muller, Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (NY:1979), 124


Source of quote:

John C. Zimmerman, Body Disposal at Auschwitz: The End of Holocaust Denial
http://www.holocaust-history.org/auschw ... -disposal/

In his book Holocaust Denial, which contains a revised version of his online article on Body Disposal at Auschwitz, Zimmerman wrote the following:

It is interesting to note that the instructions for both the Gusen and Auschwitz ovens suggest that continued use at an even temperature will actually prolong the useful life of the ovens. Two Topf engineers stated that the Topf double muffle furnace could incinerate 30 to 36 bodies (15 to 18 per muffle) in a 10 hour period. This means that about 60 to 72 bodies could be cremated in a 20 hour period in a double muffle oven. [Footnote 84: Pressac, “Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz", 189-190. The date was July 14, 1941. The letter is also cited in Mattogno and Deana, 16. The actual number – which is correctly cited by Pressac and Mattogno – is 30 to 36, not 10 to 35. See the discussion in note 81 herein.]
Kurt Prüfer, the Topf engineer who built the 46 Birkenau ovens, stated in a letter on November 15, 1942 that the ovens he installed in the Buchenwald concentration camp had a one third greater output than had previously been thought. [Footnote 85: Text of the letter he wrote on November 15, 1942 in Pressac, Auschwitz, 99] Unfortunately, he does not say what number the one third is greater than or what is meant by “output”. However, extrapolating from other cremation data cited in the previous paragraph – 60 to 72 bodies in a 20 hour period – Prüfer’s five triple muffle furnaces, 15 ovens, have been interpreted to be able to incinerate 800 corpses in 24 hours, or about 53 per muffle. [Footnote 86: Pressac, “Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz”, 212] Reducing the time to 20 hours leaves about 660 a day, or about 44 per muffle.


Interesting calculations. Each muffle of the Gusen ovens could incinerate 30 to 36 bodies in a 20 hour period back in July 1941. If the Birkenau ovens commissioned until the end of June 1943 were no better than those installed at Gusen two years earlier (Prüfer apparently tried to convince the SMERSH folks that they were worse, which would have made his one of the very rare technologies to develop backwards), Crematorium II could handle 15 * 30 = 450 to 15 * 36 = 540 dead bodies per day, or 256,500 to 307,800 dead within the ca. 19 months (April 1943 to October 1944) that it was in operation. Crematorium III had the same number of muffles as Crematorium II, and Crematorium V had 8 muffles. All three crematoria together were in operation from the beginning of July 1943 to the end of October 1944, i.e. for 16 months, during which they could take care of 38 * 30 = 1,140 to 38 * 36 = 1,368 dead bodies per day or between 547,200 and 656,640 during the whole period, to which we would have to add 40,500 to 48,600 dead bodies disposed of in Crematorium II alone between April and June 1943, for a total of 587,700 to 705,240 dead bodies. Now let’s assume that cremation efficiency of the Topf ovens had increased by one-third by the end of 1942, as Prüfer’s letter of 15 November suggests. This would mean a capacity of 40 to 48 dead bodies per muffle within 20 hours, i.e. 600 to 720 dead bodies in an average 20-hour working day of each Crematorium II and Crematorium III and 320 to 384 in an equally long working day of Crematorium V, 54,000 to 64,800 cremated bodies for the first three months of operation of Crematorium II and 16 * 30 * 1,520 = 729,600 to 16 * 30 * 1,824 = 875,520 bodies for the 16 months during which all three crematoria were in operation, a total of 54,000 + 729,600 = 783,600 to 64,800 + 875,520 = 940,320 dead bodies that could be cremated in all three crematoria between April 1943 and October 1944.

While they may have considered the possibility of introducing into the muffle one cremation load (i.e. normally, but not necessarily, one dead body) before the previous one had been fully cremated, Topf’s figures of July 1941 and Prüfer’s statement of November 1942 obviously didn’t taken into consideration the possibility of burning several bodies at a time, which the engineers would not have adviced for obvious reasons: If the cremation load was a weight load of 100 kg and the bodies of two adult males weighing 70 to 80 kg each were fed in, the capacity of the muffle would be exceeded by 40 - 60 % and this would put serious strain on the oven, which is what Prüfer is likely to have referred to at his SMERSH interrogation. As Pressac pointed out in his book on the crematoria of Auschwitz, however, the picture at the Birkenau crematoria was an altogether different one due to the fact that a large part if not the majority of those gassed were women and children as well as elderly and/or emaciated males. This made it possible to constitute cremation loads that consisted e.g. of one well-fed adult male (70 to 80 kg) and one child (20 to 30 kg), i.e. two bodies, or one woman (50 to 60 kg) and two children (20 to 30 kg), i.e. three bodies. This way the capacity of the crematoria according to the above calculations could be stretched without putting and excessive strain on the furnaces. Eyewitness testimonials quoted by Zimmerman in his online article on Body Disposal at Auschwitz show that this is exactly what was done by the members of the Sonderkommando:

The process of using body fat in an oven was also described by Sonderkommando Filip Müller, who noted that the authorities had found ways to place the bodies in the ovens to maximize fuel efficiency.

In the course of these experiments corpses were selected according to different criteria and then cremated. Thus, the corpses of two Mussulmans [camp slang for emaciated prisoners] were cremated together with those of two children or the bodies of two well nourished men together with that of an emaciated woman, each load consisting of three, or sometimes four, bodies. Members of these groups [SS men and civilian visitors to the crematoria] were especially interested in the amount of coke required to burn corpses of any particular category...

Afterwards all corpses were divided into the above mentioned four categories, the criterion being the amount of coke needed to reduce them to ashes. Thus it was decreed that the most economical and fuel saving procedure would be to burn the bodies of a well-nourished man and an emaciated woman, or vice versa, together with that of a child, because, as the experiments had established, in this combination, once they had caught fire, the dead would continue to burn without further coke being required." [174]


Source of quote:

http://www.holocaust-history.org/auschw ... -disposal/

It is for this reason that Pressac, if I well remember, considered Jährling’s figures in the Bauleitung memorandum of 28 June 1943 to be dishonest propaganda figures (Jährling may have tried to keep the news on the actual cremation capacity from being to much of a shock for superiors who had previously believed they would be able to incinerate 10,000 bodies a day), but nevertheless accurate.

Any comments, Mr. Mattogno?

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 24 Apr 2002 22:06

I do not see why Hoess or whoever guided Franke-Gricksch around Birkenau would have given him such outrageously exaggerated figures.


Assuming that whoever gave Franke-Gricksch the figures or the data on the basis of which he established those figures considered them to be exaggerated/unrealistic at the time, one and a half months before the issue of Jährling’s memorandum on the capacity of the crematoria.

After all, Himmler had been highly critical of the dodgy statistics being fed to him, which is why he employed Korherr to write his famous report.


Who said that Franke-Gricksch was at Auschwitz-Birkenau in a reporting function on behalf of Himmler or another authority interested in exact data?

By the time Franke-Gricksch visited Birkenau in May 1943, Korherr's report had been handed in, and everybody in the SS must have been aware that Himmler demanded accuracy.


See above.

There would have been nothing to gain by giving Franke-Gricksch figures that were so obviously false.


Assuming that Franke-Gricksch was there in a reporting function and that whoever gave him the figures realized at the time that they were “obviously” false.

Furthermore, Hoess testified post-war that he was instructed not to keep a record of the numbers exterminated. No figure was supposed to exist.


Who said Franke-Gricksch’s figures were based on any records? Everything indicates that they were but educated estimates, probably his own.

Therefore I think it hardly likely that Franke-Gricksch would have asked for a figure of numbers exterminated, or have been given one, or that he would have included a figure in a report.


Why, is Franke-Gricksch supposed to have lacked the curiosity to ask for information about what he was being shown, or bereft of the professionalism of recording his impressions in a travel report?

Quote:
We've already gone through this, Michael. There was in fact a spur line leading into Birkenau just behind crematorium II, which Franke-Gricksch presumably visited in 1943. He saw this spur line and he concluded that the Jews were directly shipped infront of the crematorium's back-entrance. (note the homicidal gas chamber and the little chimnies, through which the poison gas was thrown into the gas-chambers, in the background)

The track shown in the picture is apparently a temporary one laid for transporting construction materials. It appears to be a narrow-gauge light track, and could not have been connected to the main railway running past Birkenau camp. I do not think that anyone who saw that track (it it was still there in May 1943; it does not appear on maps of the camp) could have assumed that it could have carried full-sized trains on which Jews arrived.


The statement in this respect in Franke-Gricksch’s report was the following:

Die Juden kommen in Sonderzügen (Güterwagen) gegen Abend and und werden auf besonderen Gleisen in eignes dafür abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers gefahren.


Translation:

The Jews arrive in special trains (freight cars) toward evening and are taken by a special rail track into an area of the camp specifically set aside for this purpose.


That description would fit a ramp at the edge of the camp which was situated at the end of a spur line leading away from the marshalling yard in the direction of the camp, as it would a track from Auschwitz I to Birkenau, i.e. an inner-camp track as opposed to the later special spur from the Vienna-Cracow line that headed directly into Birkenau.

Quote:
What I think is certain is that there is not a shred of evidence or hint that this document was manipulated. It is of course possible that the last two lines about the death toll and cremation capacity were simply added after the war, but I see absolutely no reason why the investigators for the Nuremberg trials should have done this, after all the report was never introduced as evidence nor would the exaggerated figures have helped the prosecution.

I think you are quite right that this document would not have helped the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials. That may well be the reason why it was never introduced as evidence; the prosecutors probably looked at it and concluded that it was "too good to be true".


I don’t see what could have been “too good to be true” about it for the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials, considering the still comparatively limited information it had available about Auschwitz-Birkenau at the time. Regarding daily cremation capacity, no data other than those from the Soviet report of 6 May 1945 were available when the Nuremberg trials were held, if I’m not mistaken. Besides, how do we know that the document even got into the hands of the Nuremberg prosecution?

It is possible that an original report, which surely would have observed the discretion about killings of non-working prisoners that is typical of the correspondence of the Auschwitz administration, was "massaged" by an over-enthusiastic investigator in order to turn it into something that said explicitly what was being heard from survivor witnesses.


That “over-enthusiastic investigator” would have been a US officer by the name of Eric M. Lipman, who according to his own statement transcribed the document from the original and certified in writing that the transcription was a true copy of the original report. What is known about Mr. Lipman’s forgery-prone “over-enthusiasm” and his familiarity with “what was being heard from survivor witnesses”?

The assumption regarding the "discretion about killings of non-working prisoners that is typical of the correspondence of the Auschwitz administration" seems to be based on the surviving documents of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Bauleitung, some of which are nevertheless telling enough. How do we know that in the internal documentation that was destroyed before the camp was evacuated, which did not involve external contractors and other "outsiders", the same degree of discretion was observed?

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Post by michael mills » 25 Apr 2002 05:23

The statement in this respect in Franke-Gricksch’s report was the following:

Quote:
Die Juden kommen in Sonderzügen (Güterwagen) gegen Abend and und werden auf besonderen Gleisen in eignes dafür abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers gefahren.


Translation:

Quote:
The Jews arrive in special trains (freight cars) toward evening and are taken by a special rail track into an area of the camp specifically set aside for this purpose.


That description would fit a ramp at the edge of the camp which was situated at the end of a spur line leading away from the marshalling yard in the direction of the camp, as it would a track from Auschwitz I to Birkenau, i.e. an inner-camp track as opposed to the later special spur from the Vienna-Cracow line that headed directly into Birkenau.



I consider that the clue lies in the word "abgegrenzt". My Langenscheidt's gives for "abgrenzen" "mark off; delimit; divide by boundaries; demarcate". Therefore, "dafuer abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers" means "precincts of the camp divided off for that purpose".

Note that "Bezirk" does not simply mean an "area", but implies an administrative unit of area, ie a district or precinct.

Now, it is known the area containing Crematoria II and III, into which the spur-line ran after May 1944, was a "Sperrgebiet", divided off from the rest of Birkenau Camp, and which no unauthorised person could enter. Furthermore, it had its own administration, being run from Auschwitz Stammlager rather than being under the administration of Birkenau Camp (or Auschwitz-II as it became at the end of 1943); thus it was a "Bezirke" on its own. Nevertheless, it was "des Lagers", a part "of the camp", and not physically outside it.

The only reasonable interpretation of the words "Die Juden.....werden auf besonderen Gleisen in eignes dafür abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers gefahren" is that the trains moved along the spur-line leading into Birkenau Camp into the "Sperrgebiet" containing Crematoria II and III.

The airphotos reproduced in "Holocaust Denial" by Professor John C Zimmerman show that the "Rampe" at which arriving Jews were unloaded before May 1944 (ie where they were unloaded at the time of Franke-Gricksch's visit in May 1943) was situated at the extreme edge of the Auschwitz Station marshalling yards, on the outermost track constituting the yards. In other words, it was situated on the Vienna-Krakow mainline, and not on a special line. Nor is there any apparent demarcation of the area containing the "Rampe" from the rest of the marshalling yards.

The description of the Jews arriving in trains which proceeded on special lines into a bordered-off part of Birkenau camp, where the Jews disembarked and underwent selection before SS officers suggests the situation in the summer of 1944, rather than of 1943. At that time, any selection of arriving Jews was carried out on the "Rampe" in the Auschwitz marshalling yards, not in the "Sperrgebiet" inside Birkenau Camp.

On the other hand, the statement that the transports of Jew arrived mainly at night suggests 1942.

The only part of the opening paragraph that is clearly within the context of May 1943 is the statement that "The basic principle is: Conserve all manpower for work. The earlier "resettlement action" policy is now completely rejected, because no one can afford to systematically destroy valuable labor energy." That is totally consistent with the policy adopted from late November 1942 on, when Himmler ordered large numbers of prisoners to be sent to Auschwitz for labour related to the war-effort, and cemented in April 1943 when, in exasperation at the failure of the camp authorities to substantially increase the labour force, he ordered that from then on only genuinely mentally ill prisoners were to be killed, and other sick prisoners were to be restored to fitness for work to the greatest extent possible.

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10,000 per day?

Post by michael mills » 25 Apr 2002 05:31

It is for this reason that Pressac, if I well remember, considered Jährling’s figures in the Bauleitung memorandum of 28 June 1943 to be dishonest propaganda figures (Jährling may have tried to keep the news on the actual cremation capacity from being to much of a shock for superiors who had previously believed they would be able to incinerate 10,000 bodies a day), but nevertheless accurate.


What evidence is there that Jaehrling's superiors EVER believed that they would be able to incinerate 10,000 bodies a day (apart from post-war statements by surviving prisoners and the Franke-Gricksch report itself)?

If there is any hard evidence of such a belief, can we see it please.

If you are merely making a supposition, why not indicate that fact by preceding your statment with "I believe that...", or "I consider that...".

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 25 Apr 2002 20:52

Quote:
It is for this reason that Pressac, if I well remember, considered Jährling’s figures in the Bauleitung memorandum of 28 June 1943 to be dishonest propaganda figures (Jährling may have tried to keep the news on the actual cremation capacity from being to much of a shock for superiors who had previously believed they would be able to incinerate 10,000 bodies a day), but nevertheless accurate.

What evidence is there that Jaehrling's superiors EVER believed that they would be able to incinerate 10,000 bodies a day (apart from post-war statements by surviving prisoners and the Franke-Gricksch report itself)?

If there is any hard evidence of such a belief, can we see it please.


My supposition is based on the following passage of Hans’ post of Sun Apr 21, 2002 1:00 pm on this thread:

The only two sources for the 10.000 claim that remain are Filip Müller and Franke-Gricksch. It is not difficult to determine where this figure comes from. According to Müller the Sonderkommando had to introduce 3 corpses into each oven every 20 min. This makes 9 per hour or 216 in 24 hours per oven. Now, Auschwitz-Birkenau had 46 crematoria ovens. 46 x 216 makes 9936. This calculation is without doubt the source for the figure 10.000 in Müller's and perhaps also Franke-Gricksch's account. Since the crematoria were usually not operational at the same time and since the ovens of crematorium IV and V were of poor quality, it is clear that this cacluation is theoretical and does not reflect the real cremation capacity of Auschwitz-Birkenau.


The above mentioned account by Sonderkommando Filip Müller suggests that the staff of Auschwitz-Birkenau may have been considering the possibility of achieving ca. 10,000 cremations per day by introducing 3 corpses into each oven every 20 minutes.

If you are merely making a supposition, why not indicate that fact by preceding your statment with "I believe that...", or "I consider that..."


I wrote the following:

Jährling may have tried to keep the news on the actual cremation capacity from being to much of a shock for superiors who had previously believed they would be able to incinerate 10,000 bodies a day


which means that Jährling may have seen a reason to make his figures not too pessimistic if he had known about over-optimistic expectations on the part of his superiors. I’ll leave it to our audience to decide whether I failed to make clear enough that this was just a supposition of mine or Mr. Mills is again engaging in one of his customary hair-splitting exercises.

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Post by Roberto » 25 Apr 2002 22:30

Quote:
The statement in this respect in Franke-Gricksch’s report was the following:

Quote:
Die Juden kommen in Sonderzügen (Güterwagen) gegen Abend and und werden auf besonderen Gleisen in eignes dafür abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers gefahren.

Translation:

Quote:
The Jews arrive in special trains (freight cars) toward evening and are taken by a special rail track into an area of the camp specifically set aside for this purpose.

That description would fit a ramp at the edge of the camp which was situated at the end of a spur line leading away from the marshalling yard in the direction of the camp, as it would a track from Auschwitz I to Birkenau, i.e. an inner-camp track as opposed to the later special spur from the Vienna-Cracow line that headed directly into Birkenau.

I consider that the clue lies in the word "abgegrenzt". My Langenscheidt's gives for "abgrenzen" "mark off; delimit; divide by boundaries; demarcate". Therefore, "dafuer abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers" means "precincts of the camp divided off for that purpose".


Birkenau was such a “precinct”, wasn’t it?

Note that "Bezirk" does not simply mean an "area", but implies an administrative unit of area, ie a district or precinct.


Birkenau had its own administration, for all I know, even its own commander.

Now, it is known the area containing Crematoria II and III, into which the spur-line ran after May 1944, was a "Sperrgebiet", divided off from the rest of Birkenau Camp, and which no unauthorised person could enter. Furthermore, it had its own administration, being run from Auschwitz Stammlager rather than being under the administration of Birkenau Camp (or Auschwitz-II as it became at the end of 1943); thus it was a "Bezirke" on its own.


An enclave of the Auschwitz main camp in Birkenau, so to say. But how does this match with the following declaration by Auschwitz main camp commander Richard Baer during a pre-trial interrogation on 22 December 1960:

Ich bin nur Lagerkommandant von Auschwitz I gewesen. Mit den Teillagern, in denen Vergasungen stattfanden, hatte ich nichts zu tun. Ich habe auch keinen Einfluß auf die Vergasungen selbst gehabt. Die Vergasungen fanden im Lager II-Birkenau statt. Dieses Lager unterstand nicht mir.


Source of quote:

Kogon/Langbein/Rückerl et al, Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen durch Giftgas, page 199.

Translation (my own):

I was only commander of Auschwitz I camp. I had nothing to do with the sub-camps in which gassings took place. I also had no influence on the gassings themselves. The gassings took place in camp II – Birkenau. This camp was not under my command.


Nevertheless, it was "des Lagers", a part "of the camp", and not physically outside it.


If by “Lager” Franke-Gricksch meant the whole Auschwitz-Birkenau camp complex and not only Birkenau, the term “area of the camp specifically set aside” is more likely to have referred to Birkenau as a whole.

The only reasonable interpretation of the words "Die Juden.....werden auf besonderen Gleisen in eignes dafür abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers gefahren" is that the trains moved along the spur-line leading into Birkenau Camp into the "Sperrgebiet" containing Crematoria II and III.


No, the interpretation that it was a spur line leading away from the Auschwitz marshalling yard in the direction of Birkenau, or an inner-camp line between Auschwitz I and Birkenau, is just as reasonable, especially if you assume that – as his mention of the “Lager Auschwitz” suggests – Franke-Grichsch was referring to the whole Auschwitz-Birkenau complex as the “Lager”.

The airphotos reproduced in "Holocaust Denial" by Professor John C Zimmerman show that the "Rampe" at which arriving Jews were unloaded before May 1944 (ie where they were unloaded at the time of Franke-Gricksch's visit in May 1943) was situated at the extreme edge of the Auschwitz Station marshalling yards, on the outermost track constituting the yards. In other words, it was situated on the Vienna-Krakow mainline, and not on a special line. Nor is there any apparent demarcation of the area containing the "Rampe" from the rest of the marshalling yards.


This is compatible with the first of the possibilities I suggested – a spur line leading away from the main line that entered the Auschwitz marshalling yard in the direction of the Birkenau camp. Could Mr. Mills show us the photograph, by the way? We must have two different editions of Zimmerman’s Holocaust Denial, because mine (University Press of America, 2000) contains no photographs.

The description of the Jews arriving in trains which proceeded on special lines into a bordered-off part of Birkenau camp, where the Jews disembarked and underwent selection before SS officers suggests the situation in the summer of 1944, rather than of 1943.


The only clue in this direction is Franke-Gricksch’s mention of a “special” line, which may be an inaccuracy or hyperbole if the line is seen as not having been a “special” one.

At that time, any selection of arriving Jews was carried out on the "Rampe" in the Auschwitz marshalling yards, not in the "Sperrgebiet" inside Birkenau Camp.


If so, the line still led away from the marshalling yard in the direction of the Birkenau part of the camp complex, didn’t it? This means that Franke-Gricksch may have referred to taking the Jews into a segregated area of the “Lager” – i.e. into the Birkenau camp – via the selection ramp at the extreme edge of the marshalling yard, which was reached on a spur line leading away from the line on which the train had entered the yard. A little inaccuracy in the description, such as the simplification of merging two ensuing procedures into one, seems far more likely than any sinister tampering with the document in question.

On the other hand, the statement that the transports of Jew arrived mainly at night suggests 1942.


Why, did transports generally arrive during the daytime in 1943?

The only part of the opening paragraph that is clearly within the context of May 1943 is the statement that "The basic principle is: Conserve all manpower for work. The earlier "resettlement action" policy is now completely rejected, because no one can afford to systematically destroy valuable labor energy." That is totally consistent with the policy adopted from late November 1942 on, when Himmler ordered large numbers of prisoners to be sent to Auschwitz for labour related to the war-effort, and cemented in April 1943 when, in exasperation at the failure of the camp authorities to substantially increase the labour force, he ordered that from then on only genuinely mentally ill prisoners were to be killed, and other sick prisoners were to be restored to fitness for work to the greatest extent possible.


Interesting. A policy that obviously benefited only those who had already been selected as fit to work and taken into the camp, not the ones rejected during the selection process upon arrival who were killed immediately thereafter. What exactly was the text of Himmler’s directive calling for the “economical” use of the Auschwitz-Birkenau labor force, by the way?

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Post by Hans » 26 Apr 2002 08:38

By the way Hans,

if you possess a link to the SHMERSH inquiry, I wouldn't mind you posting it. I'd like to get full access to the document myself.

This was my source:
http://www.russgranata.com/Risposta-new-eng.html

It's a kind of heated debate, but as you can see, the respected Mr Zimmermann showed no scrouples in cutting the document short himself, whenever it suited him.


As stated, my source for the Interrogations of Topf Engineers as part of a Soviet Inquiry of SMERSH, 5 March 1946, was DER SPIEGEL Nr. 40 / 47. Jahrgang, page 158.

Well, either Zimmerman believed that Prüfer said

I told Chief Engineer Sander: "I am worried whether the furnaces can stand the excessive usage." In my presence two cadavers were pushed into one muffle instead of one cadaver. The furnaces could not stand the strain.

and showed no scrouples in cutting the document short or he shared my observation that Prüfer stated

I told Chief Engineer Sander: "I am worried whether the furnaces can stand the excessive usage. In my presence two cadavers were pushed into one muffle instead of one cadaver."

and was therefore fully justified to skip Prüfer's last comment since it was irrelevant for his argument. We don't know what Zimmerman thought, do we?
However, what is certain is that he who looks like a fool now is none other than Carlo Mattogno.

regards, Hans
Last edited by Hans on 26 Apr 2002 11:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Hans » 26 Apr 2002 10:50

I consider that the clue lies in the word "abgegrenzt".


Michael,

I think that your linguistic considerations are not very helpfull. You assume that Franke-Gricksch was a very accurate observer and that he had good knowledge of the administration of the Auschwitz camps. However, Franke-Gricksch's description of the things he saw in Birkenau are not very accurate and he had certainly little knowledge about Auschwitz. He made no mention of the crematorium nor of other killing facilities, he got the number of ovens wrong, the number of gas introduction columns, he did not mention Zyklon-B, he got the number of steps wrong which lead into the undressing room, and he did not mention Birkenau. It seems to me that he wrote his report just from his memory. He made apparently no serious notes during the trip and forgot information given to him by his guide and/or he was not provided with all information.

What I think what Franke-Gricksch simply meant when he was talking about the Jews "werden auf besonderen Gleisen in eignes dafür abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers gefahren." is that the trains were not unloaded at the main station of Auschwitz, where his train (?) stopped, but that these special trains were sent to special a ramp outside the station and that the Jews were sent to a special camp outside the main camp Auschwitz (and perhaps he further added to his description his observation of the narrow - and so "special" - spur line behind crematorium II)

It is one thing to add a short comment about cremation capacity and a death toll at the bottom of the document, but it is something completely different to manipulate a whole sentence within the document. What did the forger expect from this sentence? Why didn't he add that the gas was Zyklon-B and that the Jews were killed in crematoria. These manipulations would make much more sense than:

"Die Juden kommen in Sonderzügen (Güterwagen) gegen Abend and[sic] und werden auf besonderen Gleisen in eignes dafür abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers gefahren."

I don't understand why an investigator for the Nuremberg trials should have manipulated the cremation capacity in a document which was anyhow heavy incriminating, but I understand even less why he should have manipulated or add this sentence.

The sentence in question belongs to the paragraph about the general policy towards Jews, which seems to be authentic as you confirm me. This paragraph was written in einem Rutsch and from one and the same author: The initial sentence is the statement in question. The second sentence takes reference to the initial sentence. The third sentence takes reference to the second etc. The statements in this paragraph are all connected to each other, they describe one event of "Jewish resettlement" after the other. The whole paragraph sounds conclusive and logical.
That's why it is of May 1943 origin IMO.

Your second point was the death toll of 500.000. But what was the source of the forger?
The War Refugee Board report says that 1.765.000 were exterminated in Auschwitz between April 1942 - April 1942, which is about 1 Million until May 1943.
Rudolf Höß stated in his Nuremberg Affidavit that 3 Million died until 1944, which is about 2 Million until May 1943.
The Soviet Commission stated that 4 Million died (or were killed?) in Auschwitz, which is about 2 Million until May 1943.

Apparently, his possible sources are much higher than the figure in Franke-Gricksch's report. In contrast, according to your calculation about 330.000 Jews were shipped into Birkenau until May 1943. This figure is much closer to Franke-Gricksch's 500.000. The reality is much closer to his figure than post war estimations.
I think that the figure could have been calculated for Franke-Gricksch on the basis of the number of registered prisoners. According to your calculations, about 90.000 were registered in Auschwitz until May 1943. The SS officer who made this estimation for Franke-Gricksch could have assumed that 20% or 15% were selected for labour, the rest was sent for extermination. According to this calculation, they could have estimated that 450.000 or 510.000 Jews became victims of the "resettlement of the Jews" in Auschwitz. This figure was then passed on to the visitor.
As stated and as I think I have shown, there is no neccesity to believe that certain details of the report are not of May 1943 origin.
Consequently, there is no evidence that the document was manipulated by anybody.

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Re: A Derelict Convergence

Post by Sergey Romanov » 01 Oct 2016 21:04

Roberto and Hans convincingly addressed most of the objections as to the content of the report.
I think it's most probable that the report is hearsay - i.e. what FG was told on his visit in Auschwitz, and maybe wrote down from memory. This explains/is demanded by the inaccuracies in details.

There are further objections that deniers raise against the report.

Brian Renk, for example, complains in an article in JHR (google if you're interested) about FG telling of the killing agent introduced through hollow columns and says that the columns were actually concrete. This is of course a laughable argument showing that Renk hadn't even read Pressac's book attentively enough: the columns mentioned in the report are of course the wire-mesh introduction columns. With this alone Renk has discredited himself.

Renk's further argument, which he bases on FG's son's dubious claims, is that the name used in the official documents should have been simply "Franke". Had this hapless denier "researcher" actually done any research, he might have found documents like:

http://web.archive.org/web/200305291021 ... 104z2.html
http://web.archive.org/web/200311131357 ... 138z3.html
http://images.yuku.com.s3.amazonaws.com ... f3f6a2.gif
(used to be at http://motlc.specialcol.wiesenthal.com/ ... 205z1.html )

-------------

Of course, it is also necessary to discuss not only why FGR's mistakes do not necessarily indicate a forgery, but what positive evidence there is that indicates that the excerpt is authentic.

One of the questions raised about the report was why it was written and to whom it was addressed.
Around 2005 other extracts from FG's report were found at PRO.
You can read the text here:
http://web.archive.org/web/200505271337 ... cksch.html
Note that although the website is not very reliable, the report can indeed be found at PRO (Nick Terry examined it and has photos; David Irving has a whole page with documents that throw some light on how the longer excerpts were obtained. Note that Irving, as a Nazi apologist, is a "hostile witness").

Note that just like in the Auschwitz excerpt the dates of the trip are given as 4-16.5.43.
We thus know that FG did travel to Auschwitz on 4.5.43 and that he did write a report about his whole trip (of which only excerpts are available now).
The questions above thus cannot be used to cast doubt on the Auschwitz excerpt because they would also apply to the other excerpts, which are, without doubt, authentic.
One interesting thing about the longer excerpt is that in the Auschwitz section there doesn't seem to be any hint of the Jewish resettlement action, which is counter-intuitive. It is thus indirect evidence that FG described the action in another section of the report - the one published by Fleming.

Nevertheless, what was von Herff's and FG's mission?

This is explained in FG's note "From the diary of a fallen SS-Führer", which was handed to the German authorities by FG's widow Liselotte. It was dictated to her by FG in 1948.

http://www.ifz-muenchen.de/archiv/zs/zs-1931.pdf

Contrary to deniers' evidence-free claims there is no reason to suspect that this document is not what it is claimed to be.
Further sources:

http://auschwitz-prozess.de/index.php?s ... -Liselotte
http://www.zeit.de/1965/26/sie-nannten- ... el/seite-3

Acc. to FG he and his boss von Herff were summoned to Himmler and given the task to travel to certain camps in the East basically to evaluate SS leaders (Himmler also told them about the extermination of Jews) and to report both in written and oral form. Von Herff then told FG to write down everything they would experience on the trip. This was then the origin of the report.

In one paragraph vH offers Himmler to write memos about individual SS leaders and to insert them into their "personal papers", i.e. files.

And indeed, such memos exist:

Globocnik:
http://207.232.26.150/documentation2/6/ ... /00023.JPG

Hoess:
http://viewer.yadvashem.org/viewer/remo ... ?width=700

Both reports are entitled "Beurteilungsnotiz anlässlich der Dienstreise des SS-Gruf. von Herff durch das Generalgouvernement im Mai 1943". This supports the general accuracy of FG's 1948 note, which in turn supports the authenticity of the FG excerpt.

To sum up: we know that vH and FG did travel to Auschwitz in the specified time frame and that they had to report to Himmler.
The Auschwitz excerpt was found by an American, Eric M. Lipman, the other excepts (or the whole report, albeit likely without the Au. section?) - by the British in vH's possession.

If one assumes that the Au. excerpt is a forgery by Lipman, Lipman would have had to know that FG did make a trip to Au., the specific timeframe of the trip and the fact that FG wrote a report about it. Notably, the British documents with the corresponding information became available only recently.

The available evidence thus tends to support the authenticity of the Auschwitz excerpt. But what happened to the original of the excerpt? Sydnor thinks it's among the unindexed Nuremberg materials. Quite possible. Since we know that the British captured a version of the report with von Herff, it could also be somewhere in the British archives. Curiously, David Irving, a hostile witness, makes a very interesting claim, that goes against his interest:
Working in the Berlin Document Center twenty years or more ago I came across two ring-binders of selected documents on the Judenfrage, numbered 238-I and 238-II I think, and there was an unsigned, anonymous two-page account of the liquidation procedures, written on a different typwriter, \and perhaps even a postwar one to judge from the type face, and it had (from memory) the same content. Again, the copy I made is in my seized archives.
This supports the guess that there are still other copies (maybe even the original ones) of the FGR in archives.

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Re: A Derelict Convergence

Post by Sergey Romanov » 02 Oct 2016 22:30

Addition: von Herff's charecterization of Katzmann: http://web.archive.org/web/200010120827 ... z86z2.html

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Re: A Derelict Convergence

Post by michael mills » 03 Oct 2016 06:14

Acc. to FG he and his boss von Herff were summoned to Himmler and given the task to travel to certain camps in the East basically to evaluate SS leaders (Himmler also told them about the extermination of Jews) and to report both in written and oral form. Von Herff then told FG to write down everything they would experience on the trip. This was then the origin of the report.
Not entirely correct.

If you read the document handed over by the widow of Franke-Gricksch to the German legal authorities in 1965, in the context of the trial of former Treblinka staff, and stated to be based on material dictated by F-G in 1948, you will see that the main purpose of the mission given to Herff and F-G by Himmler in April 1943 was to tell the 200 staff-members of the various extermination camps in the East that they would not be allowed to transfer from them to front-line duty, and that they would have stay on duty in the camps until they had finished their unpleasant but necessary task there.

The document is a strange one, and obviously represent a post-war attempt to exculpate the staff of the extermination camps by presenting them as acting under orders that they did not really want to carry out but were forced to by Himmler. It is noteworthy that its use at the Treblinka Trial had been requested by the Defence, in order to support the claim of "Befehlsnotstand" to which the defendants had allegedly been subjected.

The document claims the meeting of Herff and F-G with Himmler occurred in the context of a situation where large numbers of SS-men involved in the extermination of Jews were requesting their transfer to the front, and some had even committed suicide because they found their work of mass-killing unbearable. It suggests that Herff and F-G had previously presented a report to Himmler describing the situation, and recommending that camp staff who found their work unbearable and wanted to transfer to the front should be allowed to do so. Herff is shown as presenting a list of officers who wanted to transfer out of the camps, and another list of officers who could replace them.

Himmler is presented as adamantly refusing to allow members of the camp staff to transfer to the front, on the grounds that to do so would mean spreading more widely the task of carrying out the unpleasant but necessary exterminatory task, thereby causing the same distress to even more SS-men. He is presented as stating that he sympathised with the 200 SS-men serving the camps, and realised that they did not like their exterminatory task, but that it was their duty to be hard and to accept the burden imposed upon them.

It is quite clear that the purpose of this post-war document, whether composed in 1948 or later, was to exculpate the men of the SS by presenting them as honourable soldiers who did not really want to kill civilians but would rather be risking their lives in combat at the front. Even Himmler is presented as a man who would prefer to be leading a unit on the Russian Front rather than carrying out the horrible task of mass-extermination assigned to him by Hitler.

Even Hitler himself is presented as not really wanting to kill lots of Jews but as reluctantly deciding to do so, after much consideration, because he was forced by circumstances to do so as a defensive measure to protect the "White race".

The document contains another strange claim. The meeting of Herff and F-G with Himmler obviously took place in April 1943, since a letter from Herff to Krueger, the HSSPF of the Generalgouvernement, asking him to facilitate the study tour of that region by himself and F-G, is dated toward the end of that month. According to the document, Himmler described to Herff and F-G a meeting he had had with Hitler "a short time before", at which Hitler advised him of his decision, "reached after long contemplation", to exterminate the biological basis of Jewry for defensive reasons.

That would mean that Hitler made his decision on extermination only in the early months of 1943, which seems illogical, since the extermination camps had been in operation since early 1942. That is one detail that casts doubt on the document.

So what are we to make of this document composed after the end of the war, allegedly in 1948 but perhaps later?

Quite clearly Herff and Franke-Gricksch did make a study tour of the Auschwitz and other camps in the East, since their report on that tour is extant. Quite clearly they did have a meeting with Himmler in April 1943 at which they were given the task of carrying out that study tour. However, the document in question cannot be accepted as an absolutely true account of what Himmler said at that meeting, or what the exact purpose of their study-tour was. It seems unlikely that the issue that prompted the mission given to them by Himmler was one of distressed SS-men committing suicide because they did not like killing Jews.

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Re: A Derelict Convergence

Post by Sergey Romanov » 03 Oct 2016 11:27

That it contains exculpatory elements is obvious, FG was a non-repentant Nazi who founded the "Brotherhood". He was probably afraid his report would be found so he did a CYA and played around with the dating of the Führerbefehl (unless one assumes that it was Himmler who did this, and vH and FG had not, indeed, been aware of extermination up to that point - which seems unlikely). Mills' insistence on accepting only an "absolutely true account" is not how historians work. FG's 1948 note should be seen as a perpetrator testimony (a better kind at that, with no discernible possibility of coercion).

The important point is that it supports (albeit not proves) the authenticity of FG's report since it shows that vH and FG had to travel to the camps on Himmler's order specifically in connection with the extermination of Jews that was taking place there, that FG had to compose a report and describe everything. This makes the section about Umsiedlungsaktion in Auschwitz a natural fit, whereas otherwise one might wonder what it is doing there.

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Re: A Derelict Convergence

Post by The Black Rabbit of Inlé » 27 Feb 2017 20:45

Sergey Romanov wrote:If one assumes that the Au. excerpt is a forgery by Lipman, Lipman would have had to know that FG did make a trip to Au., the specific timeframe of the trip and the fact that FG wrote a report about it. Notably, the British documents with the corresponding information became available only recently.
The "corresponding information" [i.e. WO 309/2241] didn't become available until 2007, but the date FG visited Auschwitz isn't even mentioned in that file. The file containing the FG report [WO 309/374] has been available to consult at the TNA [formerly: PRO] for over thirty years [since 20.02.1986].

Irving has transcriptions of all four letter found in WO 309/2241 and I've really got photos. Here's what we know from them:

- The General Staff Intelligence Branch were given the original after it was found with von Herff.
- The GS made a full copy of the report in German
- On 10.06.45 that copy was sent to the 21 Army Group HQ with a request that it be returned
- On 15.06.45 the copy was forwarded to Captain Saville M. Stewart at the JAG (War Crimes Section) along with an offer to help translate it [if required], and a request that it be returned because the GS wanted it back.

So, not only is the whereabouts of the original unknown, the whereabouts of the GS copy is also unknown.

Captain Saville M. Stewart was one of the junior prosecutors at the Belsen trial, he also took the 22.05.45 *I don't know nuffin about no gas chambers* confession from Josef Kramer [WO 307/17].

One thing that stands out for me after reading the English translation of the FG report is that he had very little to say about Jews following his afternoon in Auschwitz. He simply mentions that Jews made up the prisoners in Birkenau along with Gypsies, Poles and women; that the most of the Jews living in the town of Auschwitz had left, and finally, that Jews keep their lice wrapped in paper during their forced showers so they could put them into their clean clothes.

Compare that to what he wrote after spending two days with Globocnik in Lublin:

either this generation of ours succeeds in clearing up the Jewish problem completely and to its last consequences or, if their liquidation is not completely achieved, the Jewish people will rise again after this wave of oppression. Some individual cases may appear hard or even brutal but seeing these people in large masses and knowing how dangerous their passive attitude is to the life of the nations, one comes to the conclusion that this problem has to be cleared up completely to free the world once and for all of this pestilence.

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