Dr. Miklos Nyiszli - An eyewitness from Auschwitz

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
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Post by Dan » 09 Apr 2004 17:44

Regarding the Nyiszli quotation: It does seem a bit far fetched. Exposure to HCN gas usually will result in respiratory arrest or coma (though not necessarily cardiac arrest) depending on the exposure. Given this, it would seem unlikely that those clearing the gas chamber would have been able to distinguish this individual from the other dead unless they were somehow able to detect a heartbeat.
That's true, I talked to a retired chemist from Degesch who knew Dr. Drohsin, the one who got aquitted at the Brit Zyklon MT. He said you're out before you hit the ground. There are naturally files which describe the effects of Zykon on humans during accidental exposure. The fresh air is what revives you.

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Post by xcalibur » 09 Apr 2004 18:16

Dan, you wouldn't happen to have, or know where to find a materials handling data sheet (or similar) from Degesch for Zyklon B? It would be interesting to know what emergency medical procedures (if any) they would have suggested in the event of an accidental exposure back then.

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Post by David Thompson » 09 Apr 2004 18:52

Erich Muehsfeldt and Georg Kurt Mussfeld are two different people. I'm aware of both; here's what I have on Muehsfeldt (photo courtesy of WojtekK):

Muehsfeldt (Mühsfeldt), Erich (?-28.1.1948) [SS-Hauptscharführer] -- service, concentration camp (Konzentrationslager - KL) Flossenbuerg (Flossenbürg); service, KL Auschwitz {arrested and put on trial 12 Jun 1946 with 45 other officials and functionaries of the KL Flossenbuerg administration (the "Flossenbuerg trial") by an American military tribunal at Dachau on charges of participating in the mistreatment and murder of allied nationals at KL Flossenbuerg; convicted 22 Jan 1947; sentenced to life imprisonment (Marcus Wendel and Dean Robson, "Third Reich Factbook - Flossenburg Trial," http://www.skalman.nu/third-reich/warcr ... enburg.htm); extradited to Poland; put on trial 24 Nov 1947 by the Polish Supreme People's Court at Cracow ("the Oswiecim trial") along with 41 other members of the KL Auschwitz staff and administration on charges of mistreatment and mass murder of allied nationals; convicted 22 Dec 1947 and sentenced to death by hanging; executed 28 Jan 1948 (Marcus Wendel and Dean Robson "Third Reich Factbook - Auschwitz Trial", http://www.skalman.nu/third-reich/warcr ... chwitz.htm; Marcus Wendel and Dean Robson, "Third Reich Factbook - SS personnel serving at Auschwitz", http://www.skalman.nu/third-reich/ss-camp-auschwitz.htm).}
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Post by Dan » 09 Apr 2004 19:29

xcalibur wrote:Dan, you wouldn't happen to have, or know where to find a materials handling data sheet (or similar) from Degesch for Zyklon B? It would be interesting to know what emergency medical procedures (if any) they would have suggested in the event of an accidental exposure back then.
No, the DEGESCH ended up war booty and they still have a company based more in your area of the States called Degesch. I asked for and recieved a bunch of literature from them, and have uploaded a couple pics to this site a few years ago. Then I contacted this guy and got lots of personal recollections, including the statement that none of the fumigation chemists of his generation except some Jewish ones believed the Germans used the stuff homicidally, and that included the German leadership of the company. Then I called him back about a week later, and he had changed 100% and in a scared sounding voice retracted many of the things he said in the first conversation, and showed no interest in persuing the subject with me further. Because of this I haven't giving out his contact information.

The EPA banned the stuff some years ago, but I don't know what the reasons were. It must have been an awful way to die, though. This man took some home to get rid of gophers once, and told me than when he poured some pellets into their hole, the death spasms were so intense that he felt them on the surface of the soil.

Perhaps one of the Germans here could get the relevent information. It will be very compresensive. I know because I was involved in geting a grandfather exemption for the continued use of Chloropicrin (a WW1 war gas and the oderent for Zyklon) in California, and a German institute who's name I forgot sent me all the material I asked for, including the lenght of the drool of test animals at different concentrations.

Sorry I can't help you, except to pass on the immediate step of getting the person fresh air, which from what I was told was usually effective just by itself.

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Post by David Thompson » 09 Apr 2004 19:29

The materials handling data sheet from Degesch for Zyklon B, taken from Pressac, Jean-Claude, Auschwitz: Technique and operation of the gas chambers, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, New York: 1989, pp. 18-20 -- Part 1:
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Post by David Thompson » 09 Apr 2004 19:34

Part 2:
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Post by Dan » 09 Apr 2004 20:24

That was fast!

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Post by David Thompson » 09 Apr 2004 21:01

Dan -- I try.

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Post by xcalibur » 09 Apr 2004 21:11

David Thompson wrote:Dan -- I try.
DT, You're too modest. Thanks for the info, both of you.

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Post by michael mills » 10 Apr 2004 03:20

Concerning Erich Muehsfeldt and Kurt Georg Mussfeld.

All references that I have ever seen suggest that the person called Muehsfeldt or Mussfeld who was in charge of Crematorium II at Birkenau was the same individual as the Muehsfeldt or Mussfeld who participated in the "Erntefest" massacre at Lublin Concentration Camp on 3 November 1943.

The only web reference to Erich Mussfeldt (in that spelling) which I was able to find was a "revisionist" site
which stated the following:
In June 1942, the 'old crematorium' was set in operation. It consisted of two mobile Kori ovens which were heated with oil and had been brought to Majdanek from Sachsenhausen. SS-Oberscharführer Erich Mussfeldt, who was in charge of this crematorium, stated in Polish captivity that the two ovens were put out of operation already in November 1943 owing to a serious fuel shortage. According to Mussfeldt, the corpses of the inmates who had died in the camp between November 1942 and January 1944 where first buried and later dug out and burned in a nearby forest (43).
The source of Mussfeldt's statement in Polish captivity is given as:
43) Anna Zmijewska-Wisniewska, 'Zeznania szefa krematorium Ericha Muhsfeldta na temat bylego obozu koncentracyjnego w Lublinie (Majdanek)', in: Zesyty Majdanka I, 1965.
Whatever one may think of "revisionist" sites in general, there is no reason to believe that this particular piece of information is false. Note that in the Polish work referenced, the spelling "Muhsfeldt" is used.

Accordingly, it appears that there was an SS-Oberscharfuehrer Erich Mussfeldt, who at one time was in charge of a crematorium at Concentration Camp Lublin (popularly referred to as Majdanek), and who after the war was in Polish captivity.

I think he was probably the same person as the Erich Muehsfeldt referred to by David Thompson as having been in service at Auschwitz, and after the war extradited to Poland for trial.

Nyiszli was a Hungarian Jew who must have been deported to Auschwitz in the Summer of 1944, between mid-May and early July of that year.

Lublin Concentration Camp was captured by the Soviet forces in July 1944, after the German staff had fled.

Accordingly, it is chronologically possible that an Erich Mussfeldt or Muehsfeldt had been in charge of a crematorium at Lublin Concentration Camp, had participated in the massacre of Jewish inmates on 3 November 1943, had then been transferred to Auschwitz and put in charge of a crematorium there, where Nyiszli came across him some time after mid-1944.

Here is another "revisionist" website which presumes that "Obersharfuehrer Mussfeld" and Erich Muhsfeldt are the same person.
In the witness statement quoted on that site, the alternative spelling Mohl for Moll is used, as well as the alternative spelling Mussfeld for Muhsfeldt.

The bottom line is that there was an SS-Oberscharfuehrer Erich Muhsfeldt, whose surname is sometimes rendered as Mussfeld or Mussfeldt, and who was a crematorium supervisor at both KL Lublin and KGL Birkenau, and was extradited to Poland after the war, where he made statements about his activities at KL Lublin.

Elkins has obviously confused that person with a Lt Kurt Georg Mussfeld, who, whoever he was, was not the person who played a major role in the "Erntefest" massacre on 3 November 1943.

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Post by David Thompson » 12 Oct 2004 05:22

Here is a more lengthy portion of Nyiszli's account, with comments from Jean-Claude Pressac, taken from Auschwitz: Technique and operation of the gas chambers, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, New York: 1989, pp. 473-75, 479.

The extensive emphases of the original text have been omitted. The page numbers appear at the bottom of the text.


I have taken from Dr Nyiszli's book only Chapter Seven, describing the gassing of a convoy at Krematorium II, this being one of the best-known accounts. Many details can easily be verified using contemporary documents. The description is entirely accurate, EXCEPT for certain FIGURES which are very WRONG indeed.

I must admit that the stark contrast between the general precision of the account and enormous errors that it contains led me to think at first that the translator [into French], Mr Tibere KREMER, must be at fault.

Through the intermediary of Serge Klarsfeld, the Yad Vashem provided me with a photocopy of the first Hungarian edition of 1946, apparently published by the author. I checked in the original text to make sure the figures were correct. This enabled me to see that the translator was definitely not at fault. The fact remains, however, that certain figures in the original are quite wrong. Unless and until any further information comes to light, we can but attribute these errors to Dr Nyiszli.
Extract from Dr Miklos Nyiszli's book:
<<Auschwitz: a Doctor's eyewitness account>>, Translated by Tibere Kremer and Richard Seaver, London: Granada Books, 1973.


The strident whistle of a train was heard coming from the direction of the unloading platform. It was still very early. I approached my window [1] , from which I had a direct view onto the tracks, and saw a very long train. A few seconds later the doors slid open and the box cars spilled out thousands upon thousands of the chosen people of Israel. Line up and selection took scarcely half an hour [2]. The left-hand [3] column moved slowly away.

Orders rang out, and the sound of rapid footsteps reached my room. The sounds came from the furnace rooms of the crematorium: they were preparing to welcome the new convoy. The throb of motors began. They had just set the enormous ventilators going to fan the flames, in order to obtain the desired degree in the ovens. Fifteen ventilators were going simultaneously. one beside each oven [4]. The incineration room was about 500 feet long [5]: it was a bright, whitewashed room with a concrete floor and barred windows. Each of these fifteen ovens was housed in a red brick structure [6]. Immense iron doors, well-polished and gleaming, ominously lined the length of the wall. In five or six minutes the convoy reached the gate, whose swing-doors [7] opened inwards. Five abreast [8] , the group entered the courtyard; it was the moment about which the outside world knew nothing, for anyone who might have known something about it, after having travelled the path of his destiny - the 300 yards [9] separating that spot from the ramp - had never returned to tell the tale. It was one of the crematoriums which awaited those who had been selected for the left-hand column. And not, as the German lie had made the right-hand column suppose in order to allay their anxiety, a camp for the sick and children, where the infirm cared for the little ones.

They advanced with slow, weary steps. The children's eyes were heavy with sleep and they clung to their mothers' clothes. For the most part the babies were carried in their fathers' arms, or else wheeled in their carriages. The SS guards remained before the crematorium doors, where a poster announced: <<Entrance is strictly forbidden to all who have no business here, including the SS>>.

The deportees were quick to notice the water faucets [10), used for sprinkling the grass, that were arranged about the courtyard. They began to take pots and pans from their luggage, and broke ranks, pushing and shoving in an effort to get near the faucets and fill their containers. That they were impatient was not astonishing: for the past five days they had had nothing to drink. If ever they had found a little water, it had been stagnant and had not quenched their thirst. The SS guards who received the convoys were used to the scene. They waited patiently till each had quenched his thirst and filled his container. In any case, the guards knew that as long as they had not drunk there would be no getting them back into line. Slowly they began to re-form their ranks. Then they advanced for about 100 yards [11] along a cinder path edged with green grass [12] to an iron ramp [13] from which 10 or 12 concrete steps (14] led underground to an enormous room dominated by a large sign in German, French, Greek and Hungarian: <<Baths and Disinfecting Room>>. The sign was reassuring, and allayed the misgivings or fears of even the most suspicious among them. They went down the stairs almost gaily.

The room into which the convoy proceeded was about 200 yards long [161: its walls were whitewashed and it was brightly lit. In the middle of the room, rows of columns [16]. Around the columns, as well as along the walls, benches. Above the benches, numbered coat hangers. Numerous signs in several languages drew everyone's attention to the necessity of tying his clothes and shoes together. Especially that he not forget the number of his coat hanger, in order to avoid all useless confusion upon his return from the bath.

<<That's a really German order,>> commented those who had long been inclined to admire the Germans.

They were right. As a matter of fact, it was for the sake of order that these measures had been taken, so that the thousands of pairs of good shoes sorely needed by the Third Reich would not get mixed up. The same for the clothes, so that the population of bombed cities could easily make use of them.

There were 3.000 people [17] in the room: men, women and children. Some of the soldiers arrived and announced that everyone must be completely undressed within ten minutes [18]. The aged, grandfathers and grandmothers; the children; wives and husbands; all were struck dumb with surprise. Modest women and girls looked at each other questioningly. Perhaps they had not exactly understood the German words. They did not have long to think about it, however, for the order resounded again, this time in a louder, more menacing tone. They were uneasy; their dignity rebelled; but, with the resignation peculiar to their race, having learned that anything went as far as they were concerned, they slowly began to undress. The aged, the paralyzed, the mad were helped by a Sonderkommando squad sent for that purpose. In ten minutes all were completely naked, their clothes hung on the pegs, their shoes attached together by the laces. As f or the number of each clothes hanger, it had been carefully noted.

Making his way through the crowd, an SS opened the swing doors of the large oaken gate at the end of the room.[19] The crowd flowed through it, into another [20], equally well-lighted room. This second room was the same size as the first 121], but neither benches nor pegs were to be seen. In the centre of the room, at thirty-yard intervals [22], columns rose from the concrete floor to the ceiling. They were not supporting columns, but square sheet-iron pipes [22], the sides of which contained numerous perforations, like a wire lattice.

Everyone was inside. A hoarse command rang out: <<SS and Sonderkommando leave the room.>> They obeyed and counted off. The doors swung shut and from without the lights were switched off.

At that very instant the sound of a car was heard: a deluxe model [23] , furnished by the International Red Cross. An SS officer and a SDG (Sanitätsdienstgefreiter [24]: Deputy Health Service Officer) stepped out of the car. The Deputy Health Officer held four [25] green sheet-iron cannisters. He advanced across the grass [28], where, every thirty yards [27], short concrete pipes [28] jutted up from the ground. Having donned his gas mask, he lifted the lid of the pipe, which was also made of concrete [29]. He opened one of the cans and poured the contents - a mauve granulated material [30] - into the opening. [The following sentence, present in the Hungarian and French, is missing from the English translation: «The substance poured in is Cyclon or Chlorine [31] in granulated form, which gives off a gas immediately on contact with air. „] The granulated substance fell in a lump to the bottom. The gas it produced escaped through the perforations, and within a few seconds filled the room in which the deportees were stacked. Within five minutes every-body was dead.

For every convoy it was the same story. Red Cross cars brought the gas from the outside. There was never a stock [32] of it in the crematorium. The precaution was scandalous, but still more scandalous was the fact that the gas was brought in a car bearing the insignia of the International Red Cross.

In order to be certain of their business, the two gas-butchers waited another five minutes. Then they lighted cigarettes and drove off in their car. They had just killed 3.000 innocents [33]

Twenty minutes later, the electric ventilators were set going [34] in order to evacuate the gas. The doors opened, the trucks arrived, and a Sonderkommando squad loaded the clothing and the shoes separately. They were going to disinfect [35] them. This time it was a case of real disinfection. Later they would transport them by rail to various parts of the country.

The ventilators, patented <<Exhator>>[36] system quickly evacuated the gas from the room, but in the crannies between the dead and the cracks of the doors small pockets of it always remained. Even two hours later it caused a suffocating cough. For that reason the Sonderkommando group which first moved into the room was equipped with gas masks [37]. Once again the room was powerfully lighted, revealing a horrible spectacle.

The bodies were not lying here and there throughout the room, but piled in a mass to the ceiling. The reason for this was that the gas first inundated the lower layers of air and rose but slowly towards the ceiling. This forced the victims to trample one another in a frantic effort to escape the gas. Yet a few feet higher up the gas reached them. What a struggle for life there must have been! Nevertheless it was merely a matter of two or three minutes' respite. If they had been able to think about what they were doing, they would have realised they were trampling their own children, their wives, their relatives. But they couldn't think. Their gestures were no more than the reflexes of the instinct of self-preservation. I noticed that the bodies of the women, the children and the aged were at the bottom of the pile; at the top, the strongest. Their bodies, which were covered with scratches and bruises from the struggle which had set them against each other, were often interlaced. Blood oozed from their noses and mouths; their faces, bloated and blue, were so deformed as to be almost unrecognizable. Nevertheless, some of the Sonderkommando often did recognize their kin. The encounter was not easy, and / dreaded it for myself. l had no reason to be here, and yet I had come down among the dead. I felt it my duty to my people and to the entire world to be able to give an accurate account of what I had seen if ever, by some miraculous whim of fate, I should escape.

The Sonderkommando squad, outfitted with large rubber boots, lined up round the hill of bodies and flooded it with powerful jets of water [38]. This was necessary because the final act of those who die by drowning or by gas in an involuntary defecation. Each body was befouled and had to be washed. Once the <<bathing>> of the dead was finished - a job the Sonderkommando carried out by a voluntary act of impersonalization and in a state of profound distress - the separation of the welter of bodies began. It was a difficult job. They knotted thongs around the wrists [39], which were clench in a vice-like grip, and with these thongs they dragged the slippery bodies to the elevators [40] in the next room. Four [41] good- sized elevators were functioning. They loaded twenty to twenty-five corpses to an elevator [42]. The ring of a bell was the signal that the load was ready to ascend. The elevator stopped at the crematorium's incineration room [43], where large sliding doors opened automatically [44]. The kommando who operated the trailers [The French translation is better here: <<the towing squad>>] was ready and waiting. Again straps were fixed to the wrists of the dead, and they were dragged out onto specially constructed chutes which unloaded them in front of the furnaces [45.

The bodies lay in close ranks: the old, the young, the children. Blood oozed from their noses and mouths, as well as from their skin - abraded by the rubbing - and mixed with the water running in the gutters set in the concrete floor.

Then a new phase of the exploitation and utilization of Jewish bodies took place. The Third Reich had already taken their clothes and shoes. Hair [46] was also a precious material, due to the fact that it expands and contracts uniformly, no matter what the humidity of the air. Human hair was often used in delayed action bombs [47], where its particular qualities made it highly useful for detonating purposes. So they shaved the dead.

But that was not all. According to the slogans [48] the Germans paraded and shouted to everyone at home and abroad, the Third Reich was not based on the <<gold standard>>, but on the .work standard. [The following sentence appears to be in the English version only] Maybe they meant they had to work harder for their gold than most countries did. At any rate, the dead were next sent to the <<tooth-pulling>> kommando. which was stationed in front of the ovens [49]. Consisting of eight men, this kommando equipped its members with two tools, or, if your like, two instruments. In one hand a lever, and in the other a pair of pliers f or extracting the teeth. The dead lay on their backs; the kommando pried open the contracted jaw with his lever; then, with his pliers, he extracted, or broke off, all gold teeth, as well as any gold bridgework and fillings. All members of the kommando were fine stomatologists and dental surgeons. When Dr Mengele had called for candidates capable of performing the delicate work of stomatology and dental surgery, they had volunteered in good faith, firmly believing they would be allowed to exercise their profession in the camp. Exactly as I had done.

The gold teeth were collected in buckets filled with an acid which burned off


all pieces of bone and flesh. Other valuables worn by the dead, such as necklaces. pearls. wedding bands and rings [50], were taken and dropped through a slot in the lid of a strongbox. Gold is a heavy metal, and I would judge that from 18 to 20 pounds [51] of it were collected daily in each crematorium. It varied, to be sure, from one convoy to the next, for some convoys were comparatively wealthy, while others, from rural districts, were naturally poorer.

The Hungarian convoys arrived already stripped. But the Dutch, Czech, and Polish convoys, even after several years in the ghettos, had managed to keep and bring their jewelry, their gold and their dollars with them. In this way the Germans amassed considerable treasures.

When the last gold tooth had been removed, the bodies went to the incineration kommando. There they were laid by threes on a kind of pushcart made of sheet metal[52] . The heavy doors of the ovens opened automatically [53]; the pushcart moved into a furnace heated to incandescence.

The bodies were cremated in twenty minutes [54]. Each crematorium worked with fifteen ovens, and there were four crematoriums. This meant that several thousand people could be cremated in a single day [55]. [The Hungarian and French versions give the figure of 20,000 rather than <<several thousand>>.] Thus for weeks and months - even years - several thousand people passed each day through the gas chambers and from there to the incineration ovens. Nothing but a pile of ashes remained in the crematory ovens. Trucks took the ashes to the Vistula, a mile away, and dumped them into the raging waters of the river.

After so much suffering and horror there was still no peace, even for the dead.

* * *
Comments on Doctor Miklos Nyiszli's account

[1] Window:
Although from Nyiszli's book it is difficult to establish where he was housed, it is certain that he slept in the <<Aufenthaltsraum/ [prisoners'] rest room>> on the ground floor of Krematorium II. From its double window he would indeed have had a direct view of the <<ramp> .

[2] Half an hour:
Often longer, an hour.

[3] Left-hand:
This does not correspond to the position of the observer. These people were on the <<Hauptstrasse/main road>>, leading to Krematorien II and III. To see them <<on the left>> it was necessary to be in the middle of the ramp and looking west. But they could also go <<to the right>> and take the <<Lagerstrasse A/camp road A>>, which led them via the <<Ringstrasse/ring road>> to Krematorien IV and V.

[4] Fifteen ventilators were going simultaneously, one beside each oven:
WRONG. There were in fact five, one fan being mounted on the right hand side of each of the five 3-muffle furnaces, which Nyiszli implicitly admits. [Ref BW 30/41, page 33. The five fans were installed by Messing, a civilian employee of Messrs Topf & Sons, on 1st February 1943].
(multiplier to be applied to the facts to reach what is written: 3)

[5] 500 feet long:
WRONG. Drawing 933, confirmed by the ruins, indicates a length of 30 metres, or roughly 100 feet.
(Multiplier: 5)

[6] Each of these fifteen ovens was housed in a red brick structure:
Poorly observed. The fifteen cremation ovens were in fact made up of five 3-muffle furnaces.

[7] swing-doors:
Perhaps not swing-doors, but certainly double doors, still in place today.

[8] five abreast:
The photographs in the Album d'Auschwitz confirm that they were in a column five abreast, at least the men, as this rule did not apply to women with children.

[9] 300 yards:
FAIRLY PRECISE. There were 420 metres between Nyiszli's window and the centre of the ramp where the selection was made. Taking into account that the head of the <<left hand>> column advanced about a hundred metres down the main road to make room for those following, before turning towards Krematorien II and III, the distance is accurately estimated.

[10] Water faucets:
Confirmed by all the overall plans of the Birkenau POW camp. There was a tap 10 metres to the east of the waste incinerator wing.

[11] 100 yards:
CORRECT. The path from the entrance to the Krematorium yard to the steps leading down to the undressing room may vary a little, but it is almost exactly 100 metres. From the water tap to the undressing room steps is also a little under 100 metres.

[12] a cinder path edged with green grass:
The aerial photographs of Krematorium II taken by the Americans clearly show its under-ground undressing room, bordered by a path - of cinders according to Nyiszli - with a grass-covered space between it and the northern barbed wire fence.

[13] iron ramp:
Correct. These iron railings were found in the <<Bauhof>> (yard for building materials) when the camp was liberated [PMO neg. no. 897]. The holes where they fitted on the right and left hand sides of the access stairway are still visible in the ruins.

[14] 10 or 12 concrete steps:
Correct. Ten in fact.

[151 200 yards long:
WRONG. The length of Leichenkeller 2 according to drawing 932 and the ruins is 50 metres.
(Multiplier: 4)

[16] rows of columns:
Wrong. ONE row of eleven supporting pillars down the centre of the room.

[17] 3,000 people:
Exaggerated figure. The true figure was certainly lower, probably 1000 to 1500 [see my comments on Dr Bendel's testimony concerning this subject].
(Multiplier: 2.5)

[18] within ten minutes:
Much longer. During an interview with David Olere, he told me that filling the gas chamber [of Krematorium III], including the time taken to undress, <<took hours>>.

[19] swing doors of the large oaken gate at the end of the room:
Perhaps not swing doors, but broad double doors confirmed by the drawings.

[20] The crowd flowed through it, into another:
Not directly. The people passed through a <<Vorraum/vestibule>> before entering the gas chamber.

[21] This second room was the same size as the first:
WRONG. Drawing 932 and the ruins prove that Leichenkeller 1, the gas chamber, was 30 metres long.
(Multiplier: 6.7)

[22] Thirty yard intervals/supporting columns/square sheet-iron pipes:
This passage as Dr Nyiszli SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN IT is as follows:

Down the centre of the room, about every 3 or 4 metres [distance between centres 3.80mn, space between pillars 3.40m according to drawing 932] seven [central] pillars rose from the concrete floor to the ceiling. These were the supporting pillars. But on the left, between these pillars and the east wall, four others could be seen, 7 or 8 metres apart, also of square section, the corners being angle iron and the faces of wire grid. (Multiplier for distance between gas introduction columns: 4. Furthermore, 4 pillars separated by 30 metres gives a total length of 120 to 150 m, or 50 to 80 metres less that Nyiszli's earlier estimate)

[23] a deluxe model:
Subjective remark. David Olere has drawn a Red Cross van bringing the Zyclon-B.

[24] SDG/Sanitätsdienstgefreiter:
Incorrect. SDG is an abbreviation for Sanitatsdienstgrade or SS medical orderly NCO. Gefreiter was the equivalent of corporal in the Wehrmacht, not in the SS where this rank was Sturmmann. Hoess refers to these men as <<trained disinfectors>> [<<Commandant of Auschwitz>>, page 211].


[25] Four:
Probably correct, if they are 1.5 kg cans, as this corresponds to the figure of 6 kg cited by Hoess.

[26] Grass.
Correct. Visible on PMO photo neg. no. 20995/460.

[27] thirty yards:
WRONG. Every 7 or 8 metres. Repetition of an error already pointed out.
(Multiplier: 4)

[28] short concrete pipes:
Correct. Though perhaps <<chimneys>> gives a better picture. They were about 40-50 cm high and three of the four are clearly visible under construction on PMO photo neg. no. 20995/504.

[29] concrete:
Henryk Tauber confirms that the covers were of concrete with two handles, but an inventory drawn up when Krematorium II was handed over to the camp administration on 31st March 1943 indicates <<4 Holzblenden/4 WOODEN>> covers.

[30] A mauve granular substance:
Actually pale blue-green.

[31] Chlorine [not in the English version of the book]:
WRONG. The poison was hydrocyanic (prussic) acid.

[32] never a stock:
Questionable. Henryk Tauber relates that the Zyclon-B was stored in a small basement room.

[33] 3,000 innocents:
See the comment on <<3,000 people>> above.

[34] Twenty minutes later, the electric ventilators were set going:
Correct. The sequence of operations is well-described. Twenty minutes after the introduction of the gas the extraction fans were switched on and then the door was opened afterwards. In the description by Hoess, this order is reversed:
<<The door was opened half an hour after the introduction of the gas, and the ventilation switched on. Work was immediately begun on removing the corpses.>> [<<Commandant of Auschwitz>>, page 224]
This inversion by Hoess is of little importance and no consequence. He was first and foremost the Camp Commandant and he had other things to worry about than the precise sequence of events during a gassing operation in an unidentified gas chamber, one of the seven locations where homicidal gassings were carried out, a sequence that any SS NCO in Krematorium I, II, or III would know perfectly well.
I would point out that the first <<shock>> argument used by R Faurisson in his <<Memoire en Defense, La Vieille Taupe>>, pages 158 and 159 on <<The material impossibility of the Auschwitz gas chambers (documents)>> is based on this <<contradiction>>. A true indication of the trivial nature of his argument!

[35] disinfect:
More accurately disinfest. This was done in a gas chamber, again using Zyclon-B, in Kanada

[36] <<Exhator>> [<<exhaustor>> in the Hungarian and French versions]: Dr Nyiszli is the only one to give this name. It is not confirmed in any surviving document.

[37] it caused a suffocating cough... gas masks:
This cough was provoked by the warning agent in the Zyclon-B, a lacrymogenic and sternutatory <<Bromessigester/ bromacetic ester>>. This observation by Nyiszli means that the Zyclon-B WITHOUT A WARNING AGENT delivered and invoiced by Degesch in March 1944 to the SS Ustuf Kurt Gerstein was not generally used in Auschwitz, otherwise the Sonderkommando members would not have coughed.

38] powerful jets of water:
The tap or taps were outside the gas chamber according to the testimony of survivors, but the inventory drawings of Krematorien II and III show three taps inside. Even if their initial location was inside they would soon have been damaged by the desperate victims, which explains their new location.

[39] thongs around the wrists:
A technique for transporting bodies that had spread to all the extermination points.

[40] elevators:
There was ONE lift. A 300 kg goods hoist was provisionally installed in Krematorium II on 13th March 1943, and was later replaced by a 1500 kg DEMAG electric lift [BW 30/34, pages 69 and 70, letter of 28th February 1943]

[41] Four:
WRONG AND DELIBERATELY MISLEADING. All the Bauleitung drawings and the ruins prove that there was only ONE lift in the type II/III Krematorium. Whom is Dr Miklos Nyiszli trying to mislead and why?
(Multiplier: 4)

[42] Twenty to twenty-five corpses to an elevator:
With the <<to an>>, Nyiszli confirms his claim that there was more than one lift. 20 to 25 corpses is reasonable, as with an average of 60 kg this would give a load of 1200 to 1500 kg, the latter being the maximum capacity of the Demag lift.

[43] at the crematorium's incineration room:
More correctly <<at one end of>>. There is no indication here of more than one lift.

[44] large sliding doors opened automatically:
We have no details on these doors apart from the sketch of the furnace room by David Olère.

[45] chutes which unloaded them in front of the furnaces:
No doubt a mistranslation due to lack of familiarity with the premises. There were no chutes here and only way the bodies were made to <<slide>> to a position before the furnaces was to drag them along a broad trough in the floor that was kept full of water.

[46] Hair:
This was collected throughout Europe during the war. This practice had nothing macabre about it except in Auschwitz, where people were killed before being shorn.

[47] delayed action bombs:
More commonly known as time bombs: a «war story>> pure and simple. The hair was transformed into industrial felt and even into cloth to make slippers for submarine crews and felt stockings for Reichsbahn railwaymen. [Letter of 6th August 1942. Doc. URSS-511, in: «Le IIIeme Reich et les Juifs» by L Poliakov and J Wulf, NRF Gallimard, 1959, pages 67 and 68]

[481 slogans:
Quite correct. The proclamations about the value of work in the Third Reich and the morbid pillage of gold in the Krematorien make a sickening contrast.

[49] the «tooth-pulling kommando», which was stationed in front of the ovens:
A sketch by David Olère shows the «dentists» and <<barbers>> at work IN THE GAS CHAMBER of Krematorium III. Both methods of working were no doubt used.

[50] necklaces, pearls, wedding bands and rings:
Gold teeth and fillings were not the main source of gold, but rather rings, as Dr Nyiszli honestly says, unlike others who keep silent on this point.

[51] from 18 to 20 pounds:
Impossible to verify at present, without the consignment notes or Reichsbank receipts.

[52] laid by threes on a kind of pushcart made of sheet metal:
For charging the bodies into the furnace there was in front of each muffle a set of rails for a charging trolley of the type now visible in the <<Old Krematorium>> [Krematorium I] of the main camp. This technique, considered too complicated, was abandoned in favour of charging by means of a metal stretcher whose two edges fitted on to a pair of rollers located in front of the furnace door. There was just one pair of rollers for a 3-muffle furnace. They slid along and could be placed before each of the three openings. A David Olère's sketch shows charging by this method.

[53] Automatically:
Pure invention. The were operated by hand.

[54] Twenty minutes:
Rather short - more like half an hour.

[55] several thousand people could be cremated in a single day:
Even assuming that 3 corpses per muffle could be incinerated in 20 minutes, the 15 muffles of Krematorium II could take only 3240 corpses in 24 hours. If all the Krematorien were identical, this would give a total for the 4 Krematorien of 12,960 rather than the 20,000 claimed in the Hungarian and French versions. These results obtained on the basis of Nyiszli's data are first of all inconsistent with his own figures and in any event exaggerated, since the «throughput» of a type II/III Krematorium was between 1000 and 1500 in 24 hours and of type IV/V 500 in 24 hours.
The legend of 20,000 to 25,000 victims a day was transmitted by the members of the Sonderkommando.
(Multiplier for Krematorium II: 2 to 3)


The average of the different multipliers almost exactly 4. If we apply this to the official total of 4 million victims we arrive at a figure much closer to reality: 1 million. This calculation is by no means scientific or rigorous, but it shows that DOCTOR NYISZLI, a respectable ACADEMIC, TRAINED IN GERMANY, multiplied the figures by FOUR when describing the interior of Krematorium II and when speaking of the number of persons or victims.



Comments on Paul Rassinier's texts

I have presented above the four successive texts written by Paul Rassinier to demolish «Medecin a Auschwitz» by Dr Miklos Nyiszli. translated into French from the Hungarian by Mr Tibère Kremer. The reasoning is valid, but the references are archaic and superficial. Paul Rassinier could not or would not visit Auschwitz in <<communist>> Poland, the main reason being perhaps his ill-health. All his criticisms are tainted by this deficiency, though it must be pointed out that in the course of time his attacks became more precise and detailed. From a refusal to argue <<with such an individual>>, written in 1961, he comes round three years later to throwing the blame - as I did at first - on Tibère Kremer, who is not at fault, and thinking that the account was not by an authentic former prisoner of Birkenau.

Although some of his criticisms remain valid, Rassinier's rancorous verbiage no longer has any place. Dr Miklos Nyiszli was an authentic witness, which can easily be proved. But the mystery of the <<multiplier>> still remains complete.

* * *


The testimonies of doctors BENDEL and NYISZLI are, of course, precious. Certain events or details that they describe cannot have been invented. They must have been there, in Birkenau and in 1944.

Bendel asserts, contrary to all that we knew, that there were two gas chambers in the basement of Krematorium II, and he turns out to be right. Each had two columns for the introduction of Zyclon-B, and he gives the approximate dimensions in his deposition. I believed for a long time - and I was not the only one - that he was assimilating Leichenkeller 2, the undressing room, to a gas chamber, an opinion reinforced by the description of the entrance as being a <<double door of solid oak>>, a description applying above all to the double door for access to the undressing room from inside the building. Henryk TAUBER, the only witness to make a 95% reliable declaration, confirms the division of Leichenkeller 1, the gas chamber, into two in order to be able to <<treat>> small groups, which implies that in the light of experience, the 210m' of Leichenkeller 1 were found to be too big for the number of victims received. In the case of a normal convoy, and depending on the selection, 600 to 1,200 people were destined to be exterminated by gas. Mixing up the undressing room and the gas chamber would be a serious blunder for somebody who claimed to have been an authentic deportee attached as doctor to the Sonderkommando, and could have completely discredited his testimony and writings. His credibility, established through cross-checking with Tauber for the arrangement of the premises of Krematorium II, which he seems to have visited but rarely, is not valid for the other Krematorien and is no longer acceptable as regards the figures. Here the exaggeration is
manifest and sounds like the rehashing of stories developed in their own closed world by members of the Sonderkommando.

Dr Bendel, prisoner number 167.460, was wrong not to have better described his experiences after the war. I reproach him for having used his medical qualifications and his status as one who had miraculously escaped from the Auschwitz death camp in order to have his statements accepted as the absolute truth and to declare himself infallible. His motives are to be found in the pride of his personality, his intransigent attitude and a desire for vengeance without pity for all SS men - and who could blame him for that? But not all were criminals. And another reason for being so categorical was surely the desire not to dwell on his past as a medical experimentor in the laboratory hut of the Gypsy camp. This attitude led him to put forward and maintain statements that I now consider, with present knowledge and in the light of contemporary documents, to be untrue.

The case of Dr Miklos NYISZLI's book is baffling. In my opinion, it contains the most impressive evocation of the <<demential nightmare>> experienced by the thousand men of the Sonderkommando. Located at the very centre of the madness of the Krematorien, Nyiszli plunged into it even more than his companions as one of the pathologists working for Dr Mengele.

It was inevitable that some mad medical man should <<take advantage>> of the unprecedented opportunities opened up by the death camps. Mengele was the man who thrived in this criminal environment. Nyiszli, badly shaken after the Sonderkommando revolt of 6th October 1944, suggested to Mengele: <<Herr Obersturmfuehrer, this environment is unsuitable for scientific research. Wouldn't it be possible to transfer the dissecting room to a better place?>> Mengele's only reply was <<What's wrong? Getting sentimental?>> Nyiszli had not understood anything. Mengele, notorious for his crimes against humanity, has now become the symbol of the unscrupulous medical man.

Nyiszli's has a disdainful appreciation of the SS <<pseudo-science>> and of the <<research into the causes of the phenomenon of twin births>> undertaken by Mengele, studies associated with the race war that most people reject with horror and disgust. However, politicians can sometimes overcome this feeling when they are interested in this work for some reason.

At the other end of the world, up to 1945, others were using the same corrupt practices as Mengele, but in a specific field: biological warfare. Those of <<Unit 731>> succeeded. The Japanese military surgeon Shiro ISHII was able to negotiate with the Americans over the only known results <<concerning experiments carried out under scientific control demonstrating the direct effects of agents of biological warfare on human beings>>. [<<La Guerre chimique et biologique>> by Daniel Riche, Editions Pierre Belfond, Paris 1982, pages 153 to 162]. Mengele's <<research>> has never been of interest to anybody and it is now easy to obtain the results (multiple births) he wanted to achieve.

Nyiszli follows traditional morality in judging Mengele, which is all the easier for him in that he received a traditional German university education from 1927 to 1930 in the Forensic Institute of Breslau [Wroclaw since 1945], ending with an <<Inaugural Dissertation>> thesis entitled <<Selbstmordarten auf Grund des Sektionsmaterials des Breslauer Gerichtsarztlichen Instituts von Juni 1927 - May 1930>> [Categories of suicide according to the dissection material of the Breslau Forensic Institute from June 1927 to May 1930]. Undoubtedly a scientist, having also spent time in America, Dr Miklos Nyiszli was in the habit of writing PRECISE reports where errors had to be avoided. However, in reporting the history of the Krematorien he is mistaken, though of good faith, when he reports what he has been told without being able to verify the facts [pages 44 and 45]:

<<From the conversation I learned the history of the crematoriums. Tens of thousands of prisoners had built them of stone and concrete, finishing them in the middle of an extremely rigorous winter. Every stone was stained with their blood. They had worked day and night, often without food or drink, dressed in mere tatters, so that these infernal death factories, whose first victims they became, might be finished in time.

Since then four years had passed. Countless thousands had since climbed down from the box cars and crossed the thresholds of the crematoriums.>>

Bendel repeats the legend in a similar fashion. But when Nyiszli writes [p. 84]:

<<Glancing upward, I noticed that the four lightning rods placed at the corners of the crematorium chimney were twisted and bent, the result of the previous night's high temperatures.>>

It suffices to compare this with David Olere's sketch [see document 89, P; [Part II, Chapter 5] of Krematorium III to see a faithful illustration of the text. But both commit a slight error.

Photograph PMO neg. no. 20995/507 shows the south side and west end of Krematorium III with, rising 2 metres above the chimney, four lightning conductors that are not <<at the four corners>> but in the centre of each of the four sides of the chimney. Scarcely visible at a distance of 100 metres - the distance at which the photograph was taken - they become totally invisible beyond 200 metres. Only prisoners working within the precincts Krematorien II and III could see and remember them. This, admittedly minor, detail could not be dreamed up.

Nyiszli described the Sonderkommando revolt rather poorly, because he did not participate in it. His account is second hand: he is repeating words of an SS man. When he claims to have seen (page 116):

<<the red-tiled roof and supporting beams of number three crematorium [Kr IV] blow off, followed by an immense spiral of flame and black smoke>>

he is inventing, not having been able to directly see the start of the fire because there was a distance of 700 metres between Krematorien II and IV and he could not see through Krematorium III, a wood, and sewage treatment station II. What is more, the roof of Krematorium IV was not of RED FILES, like those of Krematorien II and III, but of BLACK ROOFING FELT, which explains how it caught fire so easily [photographic proof: PMO neg. nos. 20995/509 and /465].

The problem of the completely false figures in Chapter Seven still remains, however. An author such as Rassinier can easily, without knowing Birkenau, see that the text contains errors and contradictions, and with the aid of his documentation he can see that the figures are incompatible with reality. The not very serious criticisms by Rassinier, who was short of referee material, are now obsolete. Thanks to the original Bauleitung drawings and the remaining ruins, a more detailed analysis reveals that on average the figures have been multiplied by FOUR. But not ALL the figures. The distances outside Krematorium II are correct, well estimated, but as soon as Nyiszli enters the Krematorium building and starts talking about the <cellars>>, everything goes wrong. I consider it to be quite impossible that these wrong figures could simply be <<careless>>, since they are in such stark contrast to the precision and truth of other passages in the book. As far as information goes at present, responsibility for these data remains with Dr Nyiszli, who does not appear to be an irresponsible man, but on contrary an authentic, lucid and intelligent witness, in possession of all faculties.

I judge both these men severely, because I have a university training myself and exercise a profession where I have to be precise and avoid error at all costs. It is impardonable that they should have <<spoil>> the testimonies, which ought to have been of the very best in view of the training, impardonable that through their accounts doubts were raised that led to the creation of revisionism, whose very existence - and this is perfect understandable - <<shocks>> surviving deportees who are unable to understand how it is that certain people can cast doubt on the reality of their suffering and the loss of their loved ones through denying the existence of homicidal gas chambers and presenting the concentration camps as <<Club Mediterraranee>> holiday villages.

The historical methodology that consists of relying on raw testimony considered to be <<sacrosanct>>, such as the accounts of Bendel and Nyiszli lopping off the parts that seem <<dubious>> or that <<don't fit>> is a faulty methodology that necessarily leads to imprecision [for example, in <<Les chambres a gaz ont existe>> by G Welters, p. 113, Bendel's account is without any indication that this has been done (lines 9 and 10) and in «Les chambres a gaz, Secret d'Etat», p. 205, the phrase concerning the presence of Himmler, considered unlikely, disappears]. Not authenticated by original documents, these early, precious, indispensable testimonies are full of imprecisions, errors and non sequiturs, even though on some points they correspond. They can be used only after historical verification and with explanations. This is how the historians of the Oswiecim Museum proceeded producing their book <<Auschwitz vu par les SS>>. Those who use testimony without taking such precautions cause the careful and log reader to spontaneously reject the material. The <<shaky>> parts of accounts, of low or zero credibility, often systematically <<forgotten>> are put forward BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE by the revisionist authors.


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Post by szuwar » 18 Aug 2005 14:18

michael mills wrote:Concerning Erich Muehsfeldt and Kurt Georg Mussfeld.
Having come across this thread, here's what I can add.
An account written by a prisoner, "485 days at Majdanek", makes a reference to the crematorium chief Mussfeld being transferred to Auschwitz. According to this brief reference Mussfeld was transfered upon a request (?) from A. Thuman who went to Auschwitz from Majdanek earlier. No dates are provided.
Some confusion exists as to the spelling of the name. One reference available to me actually gives two versions of the name "Mussfeld" and "Muhsfeld".

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