We remain quite far apart on this.
michael mills wrote:I suggest you look at this book:
"Die Endlösung der Judenfrage in Frankreich : deutsche Dokumente 1941-1944", edited by Serge Klarsfeld, published by the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, 1977.
The memorandum by Dannecker to his subordinates at the Paris branch office of IV B 4 is published in that book.
I don't read French - I've been unable to find such a March document in Klarsfeld's book, perhaps because of language, or anywhere else. Do you, in the meantime, have a document number / archive location? Or could you simply point me by reference to this link http://www.phdn.org/histgen/dokfran/index.html
to where in the book the March order can be found?
michael mills wrote:
Your argument seems to be that in March there was not an extermination program brewing (but only a labor program) but that by mid-July the Nazis reversed plans for Jews sent from France to Auschwitz - recalling the Final Solution only at that time.
Yes, except that the plan covered Jews sent from all of occupied Western Europe, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Of course, as I wrote in my post, the June plan embraced France, Belgium and the Netherlands. This is why I urged more consideration of the full context, with the view that the planning for deportations from these three countries be taken more into account.
I will be interested to see the evidence for the mid-July reversal of plans you envision, especially given that the second of the regular transports in July underwent selection and since the June-July documentation points to expulsion of Jews from the country in order to “free France from the Jews” (Dannecker/Eichmann, 1 July), not for labor, and since the March transport was about reprisals, not about labor at all.
michael mills wrote:
“‘Ten percent of Jews unfit for labor may be included in these convoys.’ This sentence shows that the purpose of this deportation was not merely to procure labor, even if it involved labor to be exterminated by work.”
Presumably that was to allow each convoy to be filled to the maximum in situations where there were insufficient numbers of Jews available fitting the criteria (fit for labour, aged between 16 and 40) at the scheduled time of a particular convoy.
Your argument here is hardly persuasive. Why would a transport for labor be filled out in any event with people not useful for work? What was to become of these people? Faure's point stands. The criteria, more on this below, had other purposes than fulfilling Himmler's January order. In addition, as documents cited show, the German goal from the outset of the formally decided program (11 June 1942 conference) was to deport all French Jews; the composition of the transports through the summer was a fallback position agreed to by Oberg in a meeting of 2 June (covered in Lozowick, p 196 and Jackson, The Dark Years
, p 218).
michael mills wrote:In other words, Eichmann was making it easier for his subordinates to fill the deportation quotas assigned to them.
This is not the approach Eichmann took with Röthke in mid-July when there was a cancellation of a train; his approach was to insist that quotas be met and to dress the new man down. Additionally, the German authorities were to press the French for an expansion of deportation eligible categories, not only including children, always without reference to labor capability. Why would that be so for an ostensible labor program?
michael mills wrote:Looking at that statement from the other side, it meant that it was compulsory for a MINIMUM of 90% of the transportees in each convoy to fit the criteria laid down in Dannecker's memorandum.
Of course. To maintain, at the outset, as in the Netherlands, the impression of RSHA Jewish transports leaving solely for labor in the East. Eichmann's calculation in acceding to Dannecker's request had to do with to what degree variance to the cover story could be tolerated without losing the benefit of the cover story. That is also why Dannecker on 6 July proposed deporting the children but not at the very outset (“starting on the 16th convoy of deportees”) - to get things rolling and then escalate. Such a strategy is not unusual.
michael mills wrote:Presumably the labour assignment office at Auschwitz would complain if too many of the arriving deportees were unusable for labour.
Sources? Were the camp authorities then pleased to “care for” initially 4,000 children and then more?
Damaging to your argument, too, is that many work-capable German Jews were being sent, not to the KLs, but to other places in the East (see below); the 25 January order, thus, can be seen as not governing here , then, in part because it did not guide the early 1942 deportations from Germany, when it could have.
michael mills wrote:Bear in mind that the Auschwitz staff were under the WVHA whereas Eichmann's personnel who put the transports together and despatched them were part of the RSHA, and had different priorities; the WVHA wanted prisoners whose physical labour could be exploited to the maximum to fulfil various assignments, even if they died of exhaustion in the process, whereas the RSHA was concerned only to meet the quota of deportees, and did not particularly care whether those deportees were fit for labour or not.
The Auschwitz authorities under the WVHA built and operated gas chambers at the camp - not Eichmann, despite the best efforts of Less and others to include him in that charge.
michael mills wrote:
Czech, of course, has Upper Silesian Jews gassed in March
The little red and little white bunkers - for gassing - were, of course, built in spring 1942
I suggest you read the book by Van Pelt and Dwork, "Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present".
I have, of course, read this book and was making a rather different point - apparently not the one you think I was making. The Upper Silesian selections, as Van Pelt says, took place at the labor sites - and the wholesale gassing at Birkenau of those selected now gave Auschwitz an exterminatory purpose. My point, though, was
the question is what was on Heydrich’s mind in May – and you seemed to say that an extermination program in the East could not be, despite its being underway and despite significant German discussion of, well, significant deportations from France to Auschwitz and (below) explicit German discussion of how these deportations were to fit into the Final Solution.
In the case of Auschwitz, as you quote van Pelt, Jews not "usable for labour" were being gassed - and from France Eichmann was sending to Auschwitz some Jews not capable of labor.
But other extermination efforts, encompassing Jews capable of labor as well as the unfit and utilizing gas chambers, were underway elsewhere in the East, e.g., Chelmno, Bełzec (Sobibór under construction since March). Just’s note of June 1942 summarizes, for example, the use of gas vans since December 1941 to “process” 97,000, including at “Kulmhof.” The increasing use of poison gas to murder Jews, in different situations, not the history of Auschwitz, is the context I feel you minimized or omitted. It was in this diverse context, along with making arrangements to clear France of Jews, that Heydrich came to Paris in May 1942, meeting with Bousquet, in fact, on 6 May on the deportations and "eligibility" criteria. However these actions began, by spring 1942 they constituted a growing gassing / extermination program. In fact, this is how Gerwarth summarizes what Bargatzky wrote:
. . . Heydrich reported on the progress that had been made in solving the Jewish question. After a briefing on the results of the Wannsee Conference, he mentioned the use of gassing vans in the East, a procedure which - much to his 'regret' - had proven 'technically insufficient' to deliver the desired results. Instead, Heydrich added confidently, 'bigger, more perfect and numerically more productive solutions' had been developed. . . .
This comment with reference to developments like gas vans fits the context pretty well, in fact.
michael mills wrote:
Van Pelt's view is that the Jews from East Upper Silesia gassed in Crematorium I in the spring of 1942 were from the Schmelt labour camps, selected for "euthanasia" because they were no longer usable for labour due to having become too sick or weak to work. From page 301 onward he writes:
While negotiations were carried on between the German Foreign Office and the Slovak government [about the despatch of Jewish labourers from Slovakia], Auschwitz had already become the destination for one particular group of Jews residing on Reich territory: those considered unfit for work in the so-called Schmelt program. A high-ranking SS officer and senior civil servant in the provincial administration [of East Upper Silesia], Albrecht Schmelt had established a special organisation in 1941 to monopolise the forced labour of Jews left in Upper Silesia after the deportations to the Government-General had been halted. Schmelt employed some 50,000 Jews, and he felt that his program was burdened by too many mouths to feed. He knew about the Gestapo Summary Court executions in Auschwitz, and in mid-February he shipped some 400 older Jews to the camp.
The morgue of the crematorium in the main camp had been transformed in September 1941 into an effective gas chamber which could hold 900 people, so there was plenty of room to kill the elderly Jews with ease. Shortly before their arrival, the SS closed off the roads and emptied the offices that had a view of the crematorium. "A sad procession walked along the streets of the camp", Pery Broad remembered after the war. "All of them had large, yellow Jewish starts on their miserable clothes. Their worn faces showed that they had suffered many a hardship".
The Slovaks, in the, in the meantime, realised that when the 20,000 young Jews they had got the Germans to take left home, many families would have no breadwinner and would become a burden on the Slovak economy. Eichmann initially refused even to discuss the matter but, after the successful "special treatment" of the elderly Upper Silesia Jews, concluded that the same solution could be applied to Slovak Jews unable to work.
Van Pelt goes on to describe how an abandoned cottage previously belonging to a Polish peasant named Wiechuja and known as "the little red house", was converted into two gas chambers within a few weeks, and was put into operation on 20 March as "Bunker I", the first group of victims being another transport of Schmelt Jews unfit for work.
In addition, at the end of February 1942, the plans for the large crematorium with five triple-muffle incinterators originally designated for the main camp; were changed; the crematorium was now to be located in the northwestern corner of the POW camp b eing constructed at Birkenau, adjacent to the cottage that became Bunker I.
Van Pelt continues on page303:
There is no doubt that Kammler's visit led to the Germans' reversal of their decision about the mass deportation of Slovak Jewry. Once Kammler had organised the construction of the crematorium at Birkenau, the Reich Security Main Office permitted the German Foreign Office to negotiate seriously. On 3 March Tuka announced in the Slovak State Council that, pending certain financial arrangements, the Germans had agreed to take the remaining 70,000 Jews. the Germans were doing them a favour and were to be compensated at the rate of 500 marks for every Jew deported. For this sum, however, the Slovak government was guaranteed that "the Jews accepted as part of the de-Judaisation of Slovakia will remain permanently in the Eastern territories and will not be offered any possibility of re-immigrating into Slovakia". The state was free to seize Jewish property left behind.
Throughout May and June, no Slovak Jews were killed in Bunker I in Birkenau: all the victims were Upper Silesian Jews. With the destruction of these Jews, mass murder became a fixture of life in Auschwitz, but it was not yet the camp's primary purpose. The history of Bunker I was rooted in the well-established function of the camp as an execution ground for people convicted by the Gestapo court in Kattowitz. The deportation of Schmelt Jews to Auschwitz was independent of the massive deportations overseen by Eichmann. It was, and remained, a local affair.
Bunker I was also used to kill sick inmates, and here too its murder function developed from earlier practices: the 14f13 program. Once Bunker I was operational, it was unnecessary to transport victims hundreds of miles to gas them; a short truck ride to Birkenau sufficed. Regularly replenished with new arrivals from the main camp, the "isolation station" created on 13 March became a much used holding pen. Selections of inmates in the isolation station were introduced on 4 May, and an unknown number of sick prisoners were loaded onto trucks, brought to Bunker I, and killed. From that date on, periodic selections in the isolation station harvested up to 90 percent of its inmates for death in the gas chambers.
Van Pelt goes on to describe the construction of Bunker 2 in June 1942, due to the fact that Bunker 1 was not very efficient. He writes that the first gassing in Bunker 2 was perpetrated on 4 July, when for the first time a transport of Jews from Slovakia, the 11th, was subjected to selection, with only 372 of the transportees being registered and the remainder killed.
If Van Pelt's interpretation is correct, the gassings of Jews at Auschwitz in the spring and early summer of 1942 were not part of a comprehensive extermination program decided in Berlin, but local actions applied to specific groups of Jews, namely those from the Schmelt camps who had become unfit for work and those from Slovakia who were not part of the 20,000 requested by Germany for the labour program, but who had been deported at the insistence of the Slovak government.
Again, my point had to do with the overall escalatory framework in which, during this time, various efforts (including logistical and preparatory work) were being undertaken - 1000s of Lublin Jews were deported. e.g., to Bełzec for extermination, gas chambers at Auschwitz were carrying out "sporadic" exterminations, Jews not needed for labor in Lodz and the surrounding area were being gassed at Chelmno. Again, my point concerned what would be likely, or possibly, on Heydrich's mind at this time and during this context.
As we shall see below, it is rather a stretch for the Germans to be shipping German Jews to various places in the East during the first half of 1942 (including of course camps and ghettos in Poland not all under WVHA control) but for you to stick to the notion that the deportations were "pursuant" to a January order involving labor for the KLs. Why didn’t the deportation of German Jews, if Himmler's January order was all that was in play, see them sent mainly to, e.g., Auschwitz and the Buna works? Why were Jews, under the January 1942 labor order, deported to so many other places, as you yourself write below, in contravention of Himmler's order? Why, if only a labor program were in progress, did the Germans send Jews capable of labor, not to the production centers like the IG Farben works, but to Minsk or to transit ghettos, etc?
Further, my point was not that labor played no part in the FS - but that extermination did, too. A point your references seem to be support.
michael mills wrote:The labour of the prisoners was exploited to the absolute maximum, in very harsh conditions and with minimal food and shelter. When the prisoners, as a result of that maximum exploitation, became to sick and weak to go on working, they fell victim to the "euthanasia" program 14f13. From a purely utilitarian point of view, it does not matter if 45% of the labourers die over a short period of time, provided that they get some work done before they die and there is a nearly inexhaustible pool of labourers to replace them.
Nearly half those deported in the “labor-program-only” that you believe to have been underway at this time died within a month and a half of their arrival at Auschwitz. The second regular French transport underwent selection for gassing. Let's be clear and let’s be inclusive of the variety of evidence.
michael mills wrote:With regard to (a) (b) and (c), the program of sending 150,000 Jews to the concentration camps was delayed, because not enough German Jews fit for labour could be found.
Except that your neat tally is not so neat after all, and the explanation given e.g. by Dannecker and Knochen for the deportations from France, based on a June Himmler order, is not for performing labor but ridding France of Jews and definitively solving the Jewish question.
michael mills wrote: That was because the remaining Jewish population of Germany consisted largely of older people, since most of the younger Jews had emigrated.
Put another way: by spring 1942 the January order you cite was no longer guiding decisions and many other factors had intervened, as I wrote before and as you've more or less confirmed.
michael mills wrote: That fact is made clear in Dannecker's memorandum to which I have referred.
Dannecker makes such a reference in June 1942 as well, but there are, as I've explained, other factors involved by this time, other than labor supply. (It would really support discussion better for you to be specific about the document you refer to - document number, summary of contents, etc.) The deportations planned in June are no longer connected to reprisals, like those of March, but to the Final Solution (“definitive solution” as I quoted in my previous post).
michael mills wrote:No German Jews were sent to Auschwitz in the context of the labour program ordered by Himmler at the end of January 1942.
Of course not. Which underscores the point I made about this - Himmler's order specified German Jews and basically the month of February. Already it was not realistic . . . by February. You write as though nothing had happened in Judenpolitik between basically the time of the Wannsee meeting and spring 1942.
michael mills wrote:the first convoy of Jews from Germany arrived on 1 November 1942. Very few of the transportees in that or the subsequent convoys were registered in the camp, which is not surprising since, as stated, most of the Jews sent from Germany were fit for labour, being mainly aged over 40.
I believe you mean unfit for labor. Jews who were fit for labor were of course being sent before this to places like Lodz (and mostly languishing there before being sent to Chelmno, starting in May, for extermination) or to Izbica and thence to places like Bełzec and Sobibór. I think that Mark Roseman's book A Past in Hiding
covers a case study for this quite nicely. I will be more considerate with this than you have been with regard to Dannecker's March 1942 order: the book details the deportation of Ernst Krombach, a young, healthy man, from Essen on 21 April 1942 to Izbica, from whence he disappeared (presumably to either Bełzec or Sobibór) around the end of 1942; in the meantime, Krombach would write letters to his fiancee describing how he did gardening for an SS man in Izbica, which was not a work camp but a Durchgangsghetto, from where Jews were cycled to both labor sites and death camps.
None of this remotely supports your reliance on Himmler's 25 January note to Glücks for understanding the deportations carried out through the first part of 1942.
michael mills wrote:According to my figures extracted from the "Auschwitz Chronicle", a total of 36,573 Jews arrived at Auschwitz from Germany, of which only 11,138 were registered. In fact, of all the Jews deported from Germany (117,879 according to "Dimension des Voelkermords"), only a minority were sent to Auschwitz.
Of course, a fact which further supports the point I am making about the deportations not being "pursuant" to Himmler's January order to take Jews from Germany to WVHA camps for labor.
michael mills wrote:With regard to (d), you may choose to think that the deportation of Jews from Western Europe was not result of Himmler's order of January 1942, and it is your right to do so.
I don't "choose" to think this because of my "right" to think what I wish; I've cited relevant documents (along with secondary sources) that make layering in further developments in Jewish policy necessary. The standard here is not our mutual rights to think what we want but to provide evidence, and account for the range of evidence, for what to think.
michael mills wrote:However, I think otherwise, and I base myself largely on Dannecker's memorandum, which states specifically that Jews from Germany are unavailable, and therefore the Jews required for labour will have to come from Western Europe, and goes on to give figures that add up to 130,000, which when added to the 20,000 being sent in March 1942 from Slovakia yield the 150,000 demanded by Himmler in his January order.
This sounds very much like Dannecker's note from June, not March. (As I said, in March I can find him discussing about 6,000 deportations, not the broad program at first setting a 100,000 quota for France.) He may have written the same thing twice, I don't know. The Nuremberg document number for the note I am referring to is, as explained, RF-1217.
RF-1217, however, is not the only note in the evidentiary chain. It would seem that you think otherwise by selective valorization of some evidence and omission of other evidence. For example, as I've told you, a subsequent note (RF-1223, 1 July 1942) ties the deportations from France to
- "a 'definite solution' of the Jewish question in France," not to labor provision
- a Himmler order of 23 June 1942 that "all Jews residing in France," not only labor capable Jews, "must be deported as soon as possible"
- the need to pressure Vichy to achieve the German goal
- the intent to render French Jews stateless in order to support their deportation
- the need to step up the pace of the deportations of Jews from France
Surely this has some bearing on this issue. As does RF-1234, which, as noted, anticipated a second phase of deportations, comprising all French Jews, after the Germans compromised with Bousquet in July on the first phase - focusing at that time on foreign and stateless Jews). Again, labor considerations here are overlain - and overshadowed - by other considerations.
michael mills wrote:If the guidelines for selection of deportees from Western Europe were simply a cover for a an extermination program, then there seems to be n o logical reason for having guidelines at all. After all, Dannecker's memorandum specifying the guidleines were directed to his own subordinates, no to some outside agency that it was necessary to deceive.
This is a quite empty argument: the guidelines were needed to reinforce the labor cover story. You can't have a cover story if there's no shred of factual basis for it. and it is thus implausible Thus, you need guideliines.
Here is what Julian Jackson has to say about this, adding to the concern I’ve mentioned an account of how the French authorities tried making sure they'd got the story straight:
Laval told the cabinet that the Jews were apparently being sent to a Jewish state in Eastern Europe. On 2 September Laval informed Oberg that he was telling foreign diplomats that the Jews were being sent to Poland. He asked whether this was the right answer, explaining that his concern was to avoid discrepancies between what the Germans and French were saying. . . . When the Protestant leader Pastor Boegner saw Laval on 9 September, he was fed the official line that the Jews were building an agricultural colony in the East. Boegner remarked after the war: ‘I talked to him about murder, he answered me with gardening.’
(The Dark Years
, p 219; Marrus & Paxton make much the same argument about lining up talking points, pp 353-354, adding in the Germans’ use of Umsiedlung as an additional talking point)
michael mills wrote:The most logical explanation for the guidelines specifying that the deportees were to be fit for labour and aged between 16 and 40 is that they really were being sent to Auschwitz as part of a labour exploitation program.
Well, the evidence doesn't support this logic. I will add that in the Netherlands the cover story in part, very early on, had Dutch Jews being taken to Germany for labor (for example, Bob Moore cites a note from Asscher and Cohen from late June following on discussion with Aus der Funten, "It was expressly stipulated that the camps had to be in Germany . . ."). Germany is not where the Dutch transports went. The most logical explanation for all the evidence, including such contradictory explanations offered by the Germans, is that by spring-summer 1942 the presentation of the deportations as exclusively for labor in the East was one cover story used by the Germans for a program that had different purposes.
michael mills wrote:It was foreseeable that many of the deportees aged between 16 and 40, both male and female, would have young children. The original German intention was that those children would be left behind in France, to be looked after by the French State. However, the French Government objected, not wanting to be burdened with the responsibility for looking after the children, and insisted that the children be deported along with their parents. Eichmann then referred the matter to Berlin for a determination of whether the French demand would be acceded to. the German Government must have agreed, since later Eichmann informed his subordinates that children were to be included in the deportations after all, contrary to the original intention.
While what you write is true, it doesn't answer why children were being deported to Auschwitz in the end (the end being, well, August). It was not for labor, nor pursuant to Himmler's January order, but part of a more complex, broader, and different program, one balancing many of the factors I’ve introduced here.
michael mills wrote:Indeed, the quota for deportations from France was reduced from 100,000 to 40,000, most probably because among the foreign Jews living in France, the only ones the German were allowed to deport initially, a sufficient number fulfilling the guidelines for fitness for labour could not be found. However, the quota for the Netherlands was raised to 40,000, making a total of 90,000 from western Europe, somewhat short of the original 130,000, but better than nothing.
130,000? Himmler's note, and your earlier comment, put the target at 150,000.
michael mills wrote:When it is stated in the Auschwitz Chronicle that a specific number were "killed in the gas chambers", that number is not derived from any German record, but is a calculation based on the extant records of the numbers included in each transport and the extant records of the number of deportees registered from each transport.
The assumption is made that the deportees not recorded as registered were all killed in the gas chambers, an assumption supported by testimony from surviving prisoners and post-war interrogations of camp staff. The number from each transport stated as killed is found by subtracting from the recorded total number of deportees in that transport the number recorded as having been registered.
However, such calculations cannot be regarded as absolutely accurate, since it is known that an unknown number of deportees were neither registered nor killed on arrival, but kept unregistered in the camp as "depot prisoners", before being sent to other destinations.
I full well understand that but Czech stated a clear view, based on the evidence available, not only the suggestions from transport records; I was inquiring of you what your view is of what actually happened.
michael mills wrote:For the text of the letter from Dr Siegert of the accounting department of the RSHA, recommending that Jews being deported from France should be sent to a camp in Western Germany instead of all the way to Auschwitz, in order to save transportation costs, see this book:
"Auschwitz war fuer mich nur ein Bahnhof : Franz Novak, der Transportoffizier Adolf Eichmanns", by Kurt Paetzold and Erika Schwarz.
See also the book by Serge Klarsfeld, "Vichy-Auschwitz : le rôle de Vichy dans la solution finale de la question juive en France, 1942", for the instructions given to Heinz Roethke, who was to attend a meeting at Eichmann's office in Berlin in September 1942, to obtain further details about the collection camp for Jewish deportees that was to be established near Duesseldorf.
The report by Roethke on the results of the above meeting can be found in the book "Die Ermordung der europaischen Juden : eine umfassende Dokumentation des Holocaust 1941-1945", edited by Peter Longerich and Dieter Pohl. In that report, Roethke informs the Paris office that Eichmann told the meeting that the camp was to be built in Russia (!), and that each transport leaving The Hague would carry construction materials for it.
That camp is obviously the one at Duesseldorf about which Roethke was instructed to obtain information. His statement that it was to be constructed in Russia was presumably a mistake; maybe he misheard what Eichmann said, or the stenographer misheard.
By September, by your own incorrect time line, selections of French Jews were well underway at Birkenau; your now offering this correspondence strikes me as grasping at straws - but for what?
You did not respond to the corrections made to your phasing of deportations from France and, more importantly, to your time line for selections of French Jews at Birkenau, which further undermines your argument. We've gotten far afield here, the point being what topics were under consideration or underway during May 1942 and thus what Heydrich may have had on his mind during his visit to Paris.
And, most important, you continue to ignore the developments I've discussed that do not support your case, including specific documents explicitly tying the deportations not to labor but to the Final Solution and German urgency to rid France (and western Europe by implication) of Jews, whether or not they offered labor capability in the East.
In this regard, I will restate a point you in part ignore and in part have wrong: Within about a week of the regular deportations of Jews starting from France - the plan decided 11 June (not in March) - the Germans (without being under Eichmann’s instructions) were selecting and gassing Jews arriving to Auschwitz from the internment camps in France.
michael mills wrote:I will gladly answer any further questions you may have, but I decline to get involved in a fight.
But I was neither seeking information nor picking a fight: I was only explaining why I disagree with you that Bargatzky's recollections are "unlikely," given two sources for Heydrich’s comments (not the one you say) and the other reasons stated.