Soap

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
little grey rabbit
Member
Posts: 745
Joined: 12 Mar 2010 04:26

Re: Soap made from human corpses at Gdańsk/Danzig

Post by little grey rabbit » 11 Feb 2011 00:03

David Thompson wrote:little grey rabbit -- You wrote:
Repeated attempts by me to get an answer from the Hague as to whether they have an archival holding of soap has never resulted in a single reply, apart from "Your email has been passed on to the responsible department." If anyone, anyone can give me the email address of someone in the archives there who will answer and confirm or deny they have a holding of soap, I would be immensely grateful.
Generally, archivists have a lot of work to do, and deal with many inquiries every day, so they may not have given your requests the priority you think they merit.
In the job of the archivist is to assist the public in using the archives. I would not say the archives that I have visited that the employees are exactly worked off their feet. They should try working in a hospital if they want to know what constantly busy means.

Using a variety of aliases and a variety of back stories I was unable to once get an answer - and this is over a period of 4 years. The most recent attempt was four months ago. I believe I am an imaginative person. I believe I can frame a question that I appear the most respectful Soap believing person on Planet Earth.

Tis of no consequence - the archive remains mute.
However, Carlos Whitlock Porter claimed to have seen and sniffed the soap exhibit there, some time prior to 2003. See http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 88#p217488

See also lukeo's 2003 post refering to a similar exhibit in Poland at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 40#p284640
Porter's claims (and his claim there is not very specific or detailed) need to be taken with a grain of salt. He had rather strange ideas of what was supposed to be on the Hague archives and believed because they could not show him original documents that they were all photo-manipulations. In fact, as I pointed out in most cases the original documents were returned to the various authorities that supplied them.

Perhaps Soap was an exception to this rule? As for lukeo's claim of a Soap exhibit, I would defer to Dr Neander's opinion on that, having put the hard leg work into the slippery work of Soap chasing.

I am happy to believe that there is Soap sitting in a Hague basement. I just point out as a fact that I can not get confirmation of this from the Hague. I don't want to see the soap, I don't want to smell the soap or test the soap. I just want to do the very basics of fact checking and get a confirmation from the Hague they have a holding of Soap, its (cyrillic apparantly) reference signatur and a confirmation that it was sampled in 2006.

I am thinking of offering a reward.

This would still leave gapping holes in the chain of custody as, according to Dr Neander, they tested two samples, one from private collection. One of these samples using an unpublished and unrevealed discrimination of lipid profile was found to be undisputably human fat-derived, the other could not be determined if it was human or pig.

Perhaps if they published in a journal we would be better placed, I am sure plenty of scientific journals would be only too happy to run such study (if properly done) on a point of historic interest.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23720
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Re: Soap made from human corpses at Gdańsk/Danzig

Post by David Thompson » 11 Feb 2011 00:46

little grey rabbit -- You wrote:
I am happy to believe that there is Soap sitting in a Hague basement. I just point out as a fact that I can not get confirmation of this from the Hague. I don't want to see the soap, I don't want to smell the soap or test the soap. I just want to do the very basics of fact checking and get a confirmation from the Hague they have a holding of Soap, its (cyrillic apparantly) reference signatur and a confirmation that it was sampled in 2006.
What is the name of the organization you contacted in the Hague, which supposedly has the soap exhibit?

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 8740
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Soap made from human corpses at Gdańsk/Danzig

Post by wm » 11 Feb 2011 01:23

little grey rabbit, the man you want is Philippe Couvreur, a registrar at the International Court of Justice. http://www.icj-cij.org/court/index.php? ... p2=2&p3=1,
As I understand it without him, nothing happens.

Below are photos taken in Hague on January, 2006.
On the left is CCCP-393, on the right USSR-393.
Image

USSR-393, inside:
Image

from a book by Monika Tomkiewicz i Piotra Semkow, "Profesor Rudolf Spanner 1895-1960 Naukowiec w III Rzeszy", ISBN 978-83-62012-01-5

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8988
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Soap

Post by michael mills » 11 Feb 2011 23:08

The letters survived and are held in Polish archives.
All well and good, but as I wrote, the fact that Spanner asked the Conradstein Mental Hospital to send cadavers to him does not of itself demonstrate conclusively that inmates of that hospital were being killed in order to provide "material" to him.

Spanner obviously knew that deaths were occurring at Conradstein, and he wanted the corpses of the deceased to be made available to him for the production of anatomical specimens, rather than being disposed of by burial or cremation.

But that says nothing definite about the cause of death of the inmates. We need to have more infomration about those inmates, eg were they primarily aged persons, with a correspondingly high death rate?

We know that juvenile inmates were being killed at Conradstein, as part of the child euthanasia program that was practised at a number of mental hospitals in Germany until the very end of the war. But it appears that the great majority of the corpses sent to the Danzig Anatomical Institute were adult males. it also appears that most of the remains of juvenile victims of euthanasia at Conradstein were not sent to the Danzig Institute.
From 1942 to 1944 about 500 children with disabilities were killed with overdoses of Luminal in pavilions XB and XIB of Kocborowo hospital ... In the years 1940-1944 the death rate was as high as 568 per year, 2843 in total.
I presume the above is a translation of excerpts from the Polish book referred to. But it is not enough, in that it provides no context.

For example, it says nothing about the cause of death of the adult inmates of Conradstein mental hospital. As I have written, if the majority of the inmates were aged persons suffering from various sicknesses, then 2843 deaths over five years might not be abnormal.

More information is required to establish whether adult euthansasia was being practised at Conradstein, and in particular whether inmates were being actively killed in order to provide "material" to Spanner.
But Hitler's obsession with "racial hygiene" did't stop in 1941 and I suppose his henchmen knew this very well.
This shows a basic misunderstanding of the driving force behind the "euthanasia".

Obviously Hitler was not at all concerned about the "racial hygiene" of Poles and Russians. So how can the slaughter of inmates of Polish hospitals in 139-40, and of Soviet hospitals in 1941-2, be explained?

The real driving force was the imperative to conserve scarce resources by not "wasting" them on incurable mental patients who could not contribute to the German war effort, and also to make the hospital space occupied by them available for German war casualties, both military and civilian.

In Germany there were two separate "euthanasia" programs run by T4. The juvenile program continued throughout the war, at a number of hospitals, but took only a relatively small number of victims, fewer than ten thousand if I remember correctly.

The adult program was selective, and run in four hospitals to which the victims were sent. The aim was to reduce the total adult inmate population by a specific number set in advance; once that total was reached, about 70,000, the adult program was discontinued, and replaced by 14f13, the euthanasia of concentration camp inmates.

Thus there is no observable reason reason why adult euthanasia would still have been continuing at Conradstein in 1944.

Von Schadewald
Member
Posts: 2065
Joined: 16 Nov 2004 23:17
Location: Israel

"Reines Juden Fett" - pure Jewish body soap

Post by Von Schadewald » 12 Feb 2011 19:31

What is the informed opinion of "RIF" soap made from human bodies during the Holocaust, as per this article?


Image

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 8740
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Soap

Post by wm » 12 Feb 2011 23:01

michael mills wrote:
The letters survived and are held in Polish archives.
All well and good, but as I wrote, the fact that Spanner asked the Conradstein Mental Hospital to send cadavers to him does not of itself demonstrate conclusively that inmates of that hospital were being killed in order to provide "material" to him.
I think you are right, here. It's highly unlikely and my sources agree with you.
michael mills wrote: Spanner obviously knew that deaths were occurring at Conradstein, and he wanted the corpses of the deceased to be made available to him for the production of anatomical specimens, rather than being disposed of by burial or cremation.
But that says nothing definite about the cause of death of the inmates. We need to have more infomration about those inmates, eg were they primarily aged persons, with a correspondingly high death rate?
We know that juvenile inmates were being killed at Conradstein, as part of the child euthanasia program that was practised at a number of mental hospitals in Germany until the very end of the war. But it appears that the great majority of the corpses sent to the Danzig Anatomical Institute were adult males. it also appears that most of the remains of juvenile victims of euthanasia at Conradstein were not sent to the Danzig Institute.
I agree. They were mass murdered and buried. I suppose they were not sent because Spanner and his colleagues would easily guess what had happened to them. But after 1941 the death rate was way too high for a mental hospital so It's possible euthanasia took place and the corpses were sent because the murders were random and there were no need for caution.
michael mills wrote:
From 1942 to 1944 about 500 children with disabilities were killed with overdoses of Luminal in pavilions XB and XIB of Kocborowo hospital ... In the years 1940-1944 the death rate was as high as 568 per year, 2843 in total.
I presume the above is a translation of excerpts from the Polish book referred to. But it is not enough, in that it provides no context.
It's from the link directly above. I have found a main source of this information, it's the IPN. But there is nothing more, it's just a list of crimes committed on the mentally ill in German occupied Poland.
michael mills wrote: For example, it says nothing about the cause of death of the adult inmates of Conradstein mental hospital. As I have written, if the majority of the inmates were aged persons suffering from various sicknesses, then 2843 deaths over five years might not be abnormal.

More information is required to establish whether adult euthansasia was being practised at Conradstein, and in particular whether inmates were being actively killed in order to provide "material" to Spanner.
But Hitler's obsession with "racial hygiene" did't stop in 1941 and I suppose his henchmen knew this very well.
This shows a basic misunderstanding of the driving force behind the "euthanasia".

Obviously Hitler was not at all concerned about the "racial hygiene" of Poles and Russians. So how can the slaughter of inmates of Polish hospitals in 139-40, and of Soviet hospitals in 1941-2, be explained?

The real driving force was the imperative to conserve scarce resources by not "wasting" them on incurable mental patients who could not contribute to the German war effort, and also to make the hospital space occupied by them available for German war casualties, both military and civilian.

In Germany there were two separate "euthanasia" programs run by T4. The juvenile program continued throughout the war, at a number of hospitals, but took only a relatively small number of victims, fewer than ten thousand if I remember correctly.

The adult program was selective, and run in four hospitals to which the victims were sent. The aim was to reduce the total adult inmate population by a specific number set in advance; once that total was reached, about 70,000, the adult program was discontinued, and replaced by 14f13, the euthanasia of concentration camp inmates.

Thus there is no observable reason reason why adult euthanasia would still have been continuing at Conradstein in 1944.
I suppose I meant "racial hygiene" as "workforce quality" so no argument here either. I had a problem with the numbers after 1941 and this sentence
"Once the facilities were being used by ethnic Germans, there was no need for the "euthanasia" to continue."
but seems my quoting skills were not at my best.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 8740
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: "Reines Juden Fett" - pure Jewish body soap

Post by wm » 13 Feb 2011 01:19

Von Schadewald wrote:What is the informed opinion of "RIF" soap made from human bodies during the Holocaust, as per this article?
Image
"Stylyhwo declared his study proves the soap was made between 1945 and 1946 under the direction of Professor Spanner"

That's one devious professor, he was making soap not only for Nazis but for Communists, too. :) But even 1945 is wrong because he left Danzig and his "soap factory" on January 1945.
Stolyhwo found the RIF soap was made from the fish fats, in the case of Spanner's soap (and he tested two different samples) he's reasonably sure it's was made from human fats.

little grey rabbit
Member
Posts: 745
Joined: 12 Mar 2010 04:26

Re: Soap made from human corpses at Gdańsk/Danzig

Post by little grey rabbit » 13 Feb 2011 13:55

uberjude wrote:I'm not at all interested in soap in the Hague, because its absence doesn't prove or disprove anything. You have taken the all too typical approach adopted by deniers and fellow travelers. You've made assertions which you haven't supported even when asked, and you've asked for evidence which, when presented, you've ignored, and you've offered new arguments which only distract, but don't prove or disprove anything.
Well Uberjude you do have a tendency to ask quite complex evidence for rather uncomplicated assertions. Re Spanner giving evidence under either explicit or implicit thread of extradition. Making soap from human bodies is a crime, it is unlikely it is a crime that could be tried in Hamburg at the time as the materials were held in Poland and the crime took place in now Poland. So I think if you believe Spanner went and visited the police to have a nice cup of tea and some scones and jam, then I think the onus is on you.

The onus is certainly on me to show the affidavits lack credibility. Mazur who was the chief and most self-incriminating witness we know from the British POWs to have been threatened by Spanner with the Gestapo and supposedly a member of the Polish resistance. Hence has a grudge and an extremely unlikely person to be entrusted with such an unlikely secret, let alone to be someone who would innocently offer to make soap for the Soviets.

Lets look at one of the British POWs, John Witton. This is his description of the Soap making
Owing to the preservative mixture in which they were stored this tissue came away from the bones very easily. The tissue was then put into a boiler about the size of a small kitchen table. this boiler was a very elaborate affair and was installed as far as I remember, about Christmas 1943. After boiling the liquid was put into white trays about twice the size of a sheet of foolscap and about 3" deep. These trays were then put out into the sun to allow the contents to dry. Approximately 3 to 4 trayfulls per day were obtained from the machine. Only a few students were allowed to use the machine. After that the contents of the trays were taken away and I do not know what happened to it. The students told me that it was being used for soap and that a chemical had to be added to it to get rid of its bad smell.
Here are some homemade soap recipes.
http://www.millersoap.com/pennwaltetc.html
To make 9 pounds of pure, hard, smooth soap suitable for toilet, laundry or soap flakes, follow this simple recipe:

* One 13 ounce can of lye (the way it was packaged at the time)
* 2 1/2 pints ( 5 cups) cold water (this will become very hot after you stir in the lye... you must start with cold water)
* 6 pounds clean fat (tallow or lard or some combination of tallow and lard) Note: (Six pounds of fat is about 6 3/4 pints or 13 1/2 standard cups of liquid fat.)
So 9 pounds soap contains 6 pounds fat ideally and 3/4 pound lye and 2 or so pound water.
If you take tissue off a human and put it into a boiler - how much of that tissue is going to be fat? What you will get if you do what Witton described is make Human Soup not Human Soap. There is no possible way you could get anywhere near the correct concentrations of lye and water versuses the amount of fat interspersed in human flesh - which itself is 60% water or something.. Let alone your soap would be full of bits of human tissue and fluid extracts.

You might read the handy tips on types of fat to be used
Fats or Grease to Use

You must have fat or grease to make soap; it cannot be made from lean meat scraps. Tallow and lard make the best soap. Fats that have no cooking value, such as meat fryings, cracklings, meat trimmings and other refuse fat can be used. Certain vegetable oils are sometimes used. (*More about vegetable soaps on the All-Vegetable Page.) Mineral oil or mineral grease will not make soap.


Preparing Fat

Good soap requires fats that are free from dirt, rancidity, lean meat, salt and other impurities. Fats may be grouped in three classes:

1. Fat rendered from tallows, meat trimmings, rinds and other meat scraps. This fat is ready for soap.

2. Meat fryings and other refuse fats. This class of fat should be washed as follows: Add an equal amount of water and bring it to the boiling point. Remove from fire, stir, add cold water (1 qt. to 1 gal. of the hot liquid). The cold water precipitates foreign substances. The clean fat comes to the top. Remove the fat when firm. Note: Some fats require a second washing. Wash a very rancid fat at least twice.

3. Cracklings. For pressed cracklings remove fat as follows: To every four pounds or one gallon of pressed cracklings, add one level tablespoon of lye, and water to twice the depth of the cracklings. Cover and boil one hour. Remove from fire and when it stops boiling pour cold water over it and proceed as in 2 above. Treat unpressed cracklings the same as pressed cracklings, except use one level teaspoon of lye instead of one tablespoon to four pounds of cracklings. Note: Sixteen pounds of cracklings - (approximately four gallons) can be boiled at one time. Remove fat from the cracklings after butchering and store until ready.
As I said before, to make soap you need to purify the fat version or it won't just be disgusting, it won't be soap. Witton's affidavit does not describe a process that would make anything .

That is a chemical fact. Why he gave such an affidavit since he wasn't, as you point out, afraid of the NKVD probably comes down to evolutionary psychology. But the fact is affidavit is not even close scientifically, is simply fact.

uberjude
Member
Posts: 678
Joined: 19 Oct 2009 02:51

Re: Soap

Post by uberjude » 13 Feb 2011 17:21

Nice distraction--There are, of course,several giant problems with your assertions regarding the alleged threat of extradition to Poland.

1. During this period, crimes committed outside of Germany were certainly being tried in Germany. So there's no more reason to presume that Spanner would be sent abroad than any of the number of other Germans being tried in Germany for crimes that were committed elsewhere.
2. While the "crime" (if indeed there was one) was committed in Danzig, then while it may have been Poland in 1947, it certainly wasn't Poland in 1944-45 (or 1939, for that matter). Since the crime (if there was one) was committed in Germany, not Poland, and since there doesn't seem to be any evidence that any corpses used were Polish nationals, why would the trial be held in Poland? Because they had the soap? It would have been a lot easier to send the soap Germany than to send Spanner to Poland. It doesn't seem that Poland had any more witnesses than were available in the British Zone of Occupation, either.
3. It is unclear that Spanner actually broke any laws--at the very least, committed any felonies. It was not a crime to produce anatomic models for medical schools from corpses. I don't know if it's a crime to use a soapy by-product of that as a cleansing agent. There is no evidence that anyone was killed specifically for that purpose.
4. In fact, the Polish authorities apparently concluded that there was no crime, or at least not one worth trying him for (and again, it's unclear to me if they would have even had jurisdiction). And when all is said and done, unless people were killed specifically to produce the corpses for him, I don't know that he actually broke any laws (or at least any which, in the context of what kind of crimes were committed during the war, worth trying). There were no shortage of mass murderers to try; what Spanner did was creepy, but not genocidal.

So no, I don't think they were asking him for tea and scones; I think that in 1947, at a time where crimes committed during the war were being investigated, the police quite reasonably interrogated a German national, living in Germany, about crimes allegedly committed on German soil, that involved the corpses of German nationals. There's no evidence that Poland wanted to try him, there's no evidence that Poland sought his extradition, there's no evidence that the German police threatened him with extradition, and there's no evidence that he felt himself threatened. He was questioned, he answered the questions.

Assertions without any basis in fact are always uncomplicated; it's only when you need to actually support your assertions that things get tricky. That's why actual works of history tend to take considerable research, follow certain standards, and pass through peer review before publication. As I tell my students, there's a reason why they aren't allowed to use random websites as sources.

As for the British POWS, classic denier tactic. Nobody offers Witton and Neely as evidence of the recipe of the soap, only for it's existence. I can tell you what machinery is available in my place of work, even if I don' t know how it all works. And Neander notes that they testified about the soaps use from the beginning; their more elaborate explanations only came later.

So in other words everybody involved testifies to the soaps creation and use; you have no evidence to the contrary, and your theory that the whole thing was simultaneously a fraud designed to demonize the Germans, but one which only rose to the level of a misdemeanor, is absurd.

But perhaps you could explain why exactly the NKVD would go to all the trouble of staging this elaborate ruse, lining up all these witnesses for this shocking accusation of a possible misdemeanor, and then not actually charge Spanner with a crime?
Last edited by uberjude on 13 Feb 2011 20:24, edited 3 times in total.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23720
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Re: Soap

Post by David Thompson » 13 Feb 2011 17:56

little grey rabbit -- You skipped over my question:
What is the name of the organization you contacted in the Hague, which supposedly has the soap exhibit?
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 2#p1557912

Please answer it.

Your posts to this thread have raised an inference of impropriety or lack of diligence in the institution holding the "human soap" exhibit. For our readers to evaluate your suspicion, it is necessary to find out (1) if your enquiries were directed to the proper institution at "the Hague;" and (2) whether such exhibits or holdings at the institution are open to the public at large. If the answer to either question is no, we can discard this portion of your argument and move on to your other suspicions, inferences and speculations addressed by uberjude.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 8740
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Soap

Post by wm » 14 Feb 2011 00:26

little grey rabbit wrote: The onus is certainly on me to show the affidavits lack credibility. Mazur who was the chief and most self-incriminating witness we know from the British POWs to have been threatened by Spanner with the Gestapo and supposedly a member of the Polish resistance.
During the war these kind of threats were frequently made. In the paranoid atmosphere of wartime Germany If something went wrong all you heard were sabotage, gestapo, a saboutour.
little grey rabbit wrote: Hence has a grudge and an extremely unlikely person to be entrusted with such an unlikely secret, let alone to be someone who would innocently offer to make soap for the Soviets.
It was not a secret and for him making soap was just a job like any other. According to Piotr Artwich (he and two others members of The Ministry of Public Security of Poland arrested Mazur on May, 6 1945) during arrest Mazur was very calm and thought they were going to discuss his offer to continue production of soap. The Anatomical Institute was devastated and the soap production was probably the only possibility for nice and easy work. I suppose rubble removal or Gneisenau re-floating were not high on his list of desirable jobs.

Mazur didn't invent the story. The facts were known before his arrest.
On April, 6 1945 the Polish Police was informed that at the end of the war suspicious looking packages were delivered to the Anatomical Institute.
On April, 17 1945 Stanislaw Byczkowski, a toxicologist inspecting the premises of the Institute notified authorities of his discovery of pieces of whitish mass. According to former employees of the Anatomical Institute it was soap made from human fat.
On May 4, 1945 the first Investigation Commission inspected the premises. Aleksy Opinski, a former employee of the neighboring Hygenic Institute, testified that soap was made from human fat under the direction of Spanner.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8988
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Soap

Post by michael mills » 14 Feb 2011 00:45

I would like to ask whether any members of the Forum or of the Forum staff believe that human corpses were delivered to the Danzig Anatomical Institute specifically for the purpose of producing soap from their fat content, and that Professor Spanner was specifically pursuing that purpose.

If there are any who hold such a belief, I would like to ask them what they think of the following conclusions of Joachim Neander;

- that the purpose of the delivery of human corpses to the Danzig Anatomical Institute was to prepare anatomical specimens from them for normal use in teaching surgical techniques,

- that the so-called soap was "maceration grease", a by-product of the process of melting down the corpses in order to obtain bones and cartilage for the preparation of the anatomical specimens,

- and that the maceration grease was officially used as a lubricant for the anatomical specimens and also perhaps unofficially for cleaning purposes within the Institute.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23720
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Re: Soap

Post by David Thompson » 14 Feb 2011 01:38

Michael -- You asked:
I would like to ask whether any members of the Forum or of the Forum staff believe that human corpses were delivered to the Danzig Anatomical Institute specifically for the purpose of producing soap from their fat content, and that Professor Spanner was specifically pursuing that purpose.
Let's break this compound question down into its sub-parts:

(1)
human corpses were delivered to the Danzig Anatomical Institute specifically for the purpose of producing soap from their fat content
So far, there's nothing to indicate what the delivery-men thought the purpose was for delivering the corpses, or even why they were delivered to the Anatomical Institute at all. Presumably, there's some correspondence to that effect, but if it survived the war, I haven't seen it. It's also not clear whether the Danzig Anatomical Institute had a corpse shortage (how many corpses does an anatomical institute need, anyway?).

(2)
and that Professor Spanner was specifically pursuing that purpose.
All we can tell from what we've seen so far is that it happened. Why it happened is an open question, although Prof. Spanner apparently knew about it it.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8988
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Soap

Post by michael mills » 14 Feb 2011 02:12

So far, there's nothing to indicate what the deliverymen thought the purpose was for the corpse deliveries.
The issue is not was in the minds of the deliverymen.

The issue is what was in the mind of Professor Spanner. Did he want human corpses for the purpose of making soap out of them? Or did he want them for the purpose of prodcing anatomical specimens for teaching purposes?
All we can tell from what we've seen so far is that it happened.
That statement is an over-simplification that can be misleading. In making a statement such as "it happened", it is crucial to be absolutely precise about what the "it" actually is.

If "it happened" means that the process of boiling down the corpses to obtain anatomical specimens left a residue that had some of the qualities of soap, then the statement is correct.

Presumably, the maceration process used by Professor Spanner leaves a soaplike residue wherever and whenever it was and is used. It would be misleading to say that that maceration process has the purpose of producing a substance having some of the qualities of soap and being able to used as a lubricant or a cleansing agent.

If "it happened" means that human corpses were boiled down and soap was made from the product of the maceration process, then the statement is potentially misleading, as it could be interpreted as implying that the purpose of boiling down the corpses was to obtain the soap.
Why it happened is an open question, although Prof. Spanner apparently knew about it it.
Obviously Professor Spanner knew that human corpses (and at least one non-human corpse) were being boiled down at the Danzig Institute under his control, and he knew that the maceration process he was using resulted in the formation of a residue having soaplike qualities. But given that there was a clear legitimate purpose for boiling down those corpses, namely to obtain material for preparing anatomical specimens for teaching purposes, and a clear legitimate use of the soaplike residue, namely as a lubricant for the specimens, an impartial assessment of the evidence should lead to the conclusion that that legitimate purpose was indeed what was being pursued by Professor Spanner, unless there is conclusive and unbiassed evidence for a more sinister intention.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8988
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Soap

Post by michael mills » 14 Feb 2011 02:23

In fact, the Polish authorities apparently concluded that there was no crime, or at least not one worth trying him for (and again, it's unclear to me if they would have even had jurisdiction). And when all is said and done, unless people were killed specifically to produce the corpses for him, I don't know that he actually broke any laws (or at least any which, in the context of what kind of crimes were committed during the war, worth trying).
The essential issue is that the activities of Professor Spanner at the Danzig Anatomical Institute in 1944-45 are being exploited today in Poland for anti-German political propaganda, represented by some of the Polish publications that have been quoted on this thread.

The Polish authorities back in 1945-46 may not have considered it worth trying Spanner, but clearly there are elements in the Poland of today that are trying to promote the view that some sort of atrocity against the Polish people was perpetrated at the Danzig Anatomical Institute.

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”