Adolf Hitler, The Long Shadow of Evil, ordered the Holocaust. Germany’s failure to prosecute more criminals; Allies dithered. Apr 1945
Auschwitz, PBS


Bank employee testifies to the “76 deliveries of valuables” taken from victims of “Action or Operation Reinhard” camps, mainly Jews – including gold teeth. 36 million Reichsmarks’ worth of valuables taken.

In the 1990s, when it became known that gold looted by the Nazis could still be found in Switzerland, an investigation was launched. The investigation revealed that the registry of the Melmer deliveries, the so-called Melmer Notebooks, had apparently been destroyed during the 1970s in the Federal Republic. The investigation also revealed that most of the melted-down gold from crowns and filings had not in fact been sent to Switzerland but sold by two German banks, Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank.­­_pdf/MicrosoftWord40­28.pdf

Majdanek : partially burned down.
Fire at death camp destroys shoes of Nazi victims

if Hitler’s policy regarding Jewry up to 1941 aimed only at the elimination of the Jews from Germany by emigration, and later by evacuation, it became increasingly harsh after America’s entry into the war. In April 1941 Hitler ordered the “final solution of the Jewish question,” that is, the physical extermination, the murder, of the Jews. The proceedings have shown in how terrible a manner this order was carried out. The tool which was used by Hitler and Himmler -for the carrying out of that order was SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Adolf Eichmann who with his department was attached to the organization of Amt IV of the RSHA; however, he actually had an entirely independent and autonomous position,’ which above all was wholly independent of the Gestapo. The preparation and carrying out of the order for the murder of the Jews was kept strictly secret. Only a few persons knew the order to its full extent.
(near the end of the page)

further: The Kommando which was set up by Wirth himself for the purpose of exterminating Jews was known as “Aktion Reinhard,” and was extremely small.

Hitler’s order vis a vis the Soviet Union: Commissar’s Order. Himmler wrote that Jews would be ‘exterminated as partisans’ in his notes.

Adolf Hitler gave strict orders regarding the evacuation of concentration camps, following the American capture of Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, which were later described by SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Rudolf Franz Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz:

“After Buchenwald had been occupied, it was reported to the Fuehrer that internees had armed themselves and were carrying out plunderings in the town of Weimar. This caused the Fuehrer to give the strictest order to Himmler to the effect that in the future no more camps were to fall into the hands of the enemy, and that no internees capable of marching would be left behind in any camp.” (Tyranny on Trial 346)
SHOULD we take Holocaust denial seriously?

Holocaust deniers ignore the fact that there were German-led trials of Nazi doctors and other camp personnel; and there were German-led trials of the executives of IG Farben, which produced this gas. For a strong read, look up “Pery Broad,** a German witness to the Holocaust in Auschwitz, who testified on the existence of the gas chambers. The Holocaust is not a ‘story’ but a proven fact of history.

In Eastern Europe, where Hitler’s Final Solution was actually implemented, Lithuania — which continues denying its own shameful chapter of bloody collaboration with Nazi mass murder — is leading a campaign to have the world eliminate International Holocaust Memorial Day and meld it into a joint memorial with victims of communism.

• In India, Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is a runaway bestseller, successfully marketed to business students looking for a template for a highly organized and disciplined mind. The image of this “strong leader” from Europe and his Nazi regalia are regularly featured in marketing campaigns and restaurant decor in Asia.

• In the Arab and Muslim world, Third Reich trendiness takes on an ideological edge with Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Farsi translations of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and “Mein Kampf” adorning airport bookstores and pro-terrorist websites. Iran is the leading state sponsor of Holocaust denial.
SW Ctr.


HEART site is excellent:
Glucks [Gluecks] was head of the camp system. He was Waffen SS.
Also important to the Holocaust historical event was Gestapo Chief Müller who ‘ signed the circulating order requiring the immediate delivery to Auschwitz by 31 January 1943 of 45,000 Jews for extermination, and countless other documents of a similar nature, which reveal his zeal in carrying out orders.’
Source: Heart.

Gestapo Chief Mueller is the principal Nazi for whom no evidence exists regarding his ‘final days’ or ‘flight through the ratline’. After him, the disappearance or death of Hans Kammler would be the most important case.

‘In the summer of 1943, he was sent to Rome to pressurise the Italians, who were proving somewhat apathetic in arresting Jews. Until the end of the war, Heinrich Müller continued his remorseless prodding of subordinates to greater efforts in sending Jews to Auschwitz.’

this site contains good quotes on the Holocaust from the Nazis, including :

Michael Shermer; Alex Grobman (2002). “The Gas Chamber at Mauthausen”. Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It?. University of California Press. pp. 168–175. ISBN 0-520-23469-3.

We shall then emphasize again that we were forced to occupy, administer and secure a certain area; it was in the interest of the inhabitants that we should provide order, food, traffic, etc., hence our measures. It should not be recognizable that thereby a final settlement is being initiated! We can nevertheless take all necessary measures—shooting, resettling, etc.—and we shall take them.

Bormann’s minutes on a talk by Hitler

All these favorable circumstances will no longer prevail in two or three year’s time. No one knows how much longer I shall live. Therefore, better a conflict now.

Hitler’s Speech to the Commanders in Chief (August 22, 1939)

On May 23, 1939, just a day after signing the “Pact of Steel”, Hitler told his generals that a German invasion of Poland was now inevitable. The conflict over Danzig and the Polish corridor was mere pretext. Germany could simply no longer do without Eastern European “living space” [Lebensraum] and the attendant raw materials. Hitler therefore declared his willingness to accept the possibility of a declaration of war by England and France.

In this secret speech to military commanders on February 10, 1939, Hitler explained that all of the diplomatic and military maneuvering of the previous years was part of his long-established plan for expansion and rearmament. When speaking to the outside world, assertions about the peaceful intentions of his regime were a successful component of his dual-track foreign policy. Here, however, his listeners were left with no doubt that his goal was preparing Germany for war.
In the 1990s, when it became known that gold looted by the Nazis could still be found in Switzerland, an investigation was launched. The investigation revealed that the registry of the Melmer deliveries, the so-called Melmer Notebooks, had apparently been destroyed during the 1970s in the Federal Republic. The investigation also revealed that most of the melted-down gold from crowns and filings had not in fact been sent to Switzerland but sold by two German banks, Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank.


Bank employee testifies to the “76 deliveries of valuables” taken from victims of “Action or Operation Reinhard” camps, mainly Jews – including gold teeth. 36 million Reichsmarks’ worth of valuables taken.
” He said: “Well, they’re to be shot in accordance with the FÜHRER’s orders. I said: “FÜHRER’s orders?” “Yes”, whereupon he showed me his orders. This happened at SKIOTAWA(?), 8 km. from RIGA, between SIAULAI and JELGAVA, where 5000 BERLIN Jews were suddenly taken off the train and shot.

“Rape of Europa”, book and film document Hitler’s art thieving

“Everyone seemed to believe that they had been killed in experiments where they had taken the place of guinea-pigs in order to try the effect of poison gas. These rumors were corroborated by the evidence of the nurses and doctors of the institution who told of the same story that they had received the clothes in which the patients had left in, turned inside out, e.g. that means the vest or shirt outside, the coat or dress inside, as if these clothes had been taken over the head of the person in a hurry. All the clothes had a very disagreeable, sweet smell of gas.
Primo Levi’s book Survival at Auschwitz
from furtherglory’s blog:
Sorry, but the Dachau crematorium chimney was completed in the Spring of 1943 and never destroyed, so it never had to be “rebuilt.” After the war some of the German internees held by the US Army claimed that it was built after the war, but that is an outright falsehood.

I do not know about Maidanek, but I do know that the Auschwitz I crematorium was reconstructed (note: RE-constructed) after having been partially demolished by the fleeing camp staff, using parts from the Auschwitz II-Birkenau crematoria, which has also been partially dismantled and demolished. I do teach about that.

A typical strategy used by Holocaust deniers is to take partial truths and misconceptions about one place and generalize them to apply to other or all places. (This is also common for anyone learning about any complex event in history, and historians work hard to debunk such misconceptions.)

Comment by Harold Marcuse — July 22, 2010 @ 9:41 am

more in comments section

Why did the Nazi war criminals go free?
DN 8 / 2 2000 transl from Swensk

In connection with the Holocaust Conference in Stockholm, has crept up to it in many countries are still living suspected war criminals who were never convicted and ransacked. Why is that? How did that happen?

There is a long history that goes back not just to World War II without a period after the first.

Two years after the First World War the allies asked Germany to extradite Emperor, Field Marshal Hindenburg and Ludendorff were 893 and other Germans to stand trial for alleged war crimes in six countries.

The Germans refused. The Allies were forced to remove the Emperor and the Marshal are from the list and reduce it to 45 people. Although the requirement of extradition states – the Germans would be free to examine and condemn the accused.

The trials began in Leipzig 1921st First in the dock were two submarine torpedo captains who led the British hospital ship, then shot in the lifeboats sank. The two captains were proud of what they did, confidently challenging appeared and refused to answer questions. Both were sentenced to four years imprisonment for “shared responsibility”. Six months later they were released.

And so it continued. Killers were acquitted, the systematic mistreatment of prisoners of war could lead to a few months in prison. Only 13 Germans convicted of war crimes and all managed with the jailer Arnas inclined assistance to flee within a few months. The German press hailed as the heroes.

The British Foreign Office, Foreign Office, had the humiliation of a good memory. When the next war came, they wanted to avoid at all costs to the Government committing to the impossible task of punishing war crimes.

These criminals had already begun on the first day of the war. The Germans began the systematic eradication of Poland’s leading film and the Jewish section of its population. The British had cracked the German code and police radio reconnaissance was carried out in detail informed about murdering the nature and extent. But the Foreign Office preferred to ignore. The most severe they wanted to go was a formal protest against “crimes committed against the Polish people”. The Jews were not even mentioned.

When the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941 was mass murder into a new phase. Behind the German special police units operated groups systematically killed Jews and communists. Foreign Office turned a blind eye even harder. But when the Japanese were taken by Singapore in 1942 and it was the British war prisoners who were beaten and murdered, it became politically impossible to be silent.

Churchill threatened in June 1942 with “the allies justice courts”. Representatives from nine of the Germans occupied nations agreed on a draft declaration ally against war crimes, where it was called: “those responsible for such crimes, whether they have ordered them, committing them or participated in them, will be punished by the courts.” The wording terrified Foreign Office, which was anxious to minimize the British commitment.

In July 1942 was a question in the House if there was no list of Nazi war criminals who should be held responsible for the war. Foreign Minister Eden said that the question was premature. Foreign Office came to its feet for another year before in July 1943 agreed to set up a “United Nations War Crimes Commission”. While reassuring the British wrote to his colleagues in the State Department that it probably would take before it actually came about.

Churchill drove on. In the autumn of 1943 he wrote a stern draft of the joint declaration on the punishment of war crimes. Officially, this statement became the cornerstone of the Allied policy. In practice, other considerations had to prevail. When the U.S. invaded Algeria is captured Italian officers who had been accused of torture and other war crimes in Yugoslavia. They were not in court because it feared that the Germans would respond by asking captured allied airmen on trial for bombing civilians in German cities.

The Russians, however began judging murdering members of the German groups, so-called “action commands”, to death with reference to the joint Allied declaration. The first appeal fell on Little Christmas Eve 1943rd State Department ran in panic and immediately sent word to the German government that the U.S. would not follow Russian example.

Retired lawyer Cecil Hurt, 73, was appointed British representative in war crimes trials UNWCC. He asked to see the evidence. Reference was made then to another retired officer, Peter Kent, who in 1944 had collected 12 names on a list of suspected war criminals. War Ministry was found to have a different list that included 43 cases in which British prisoners of war murdered. But the list did not contain any information on the suspects guilty. Foreign Office finally had a staff member who collected the names of suspected war criminals by studying the German press. None of these three people knew about the others’ work. They first met in mid-May 1944 and agreed on a list of 33 suspected war criminals.

That there were more names due to the Foreign Office demanded that only those persons against whom there were complete, legally binding evidence, would be included in the list of accused. As long as the war lasted, it was only rarely possible to find such evidence. And after the invasion, when requested to nominate representatives who accompanied the allied troops to secure evidence against war criminals, flatly rejected this proposal by the Foreign Office.

It should, according to Foreign Office, only engage in crimes committed in allied countries against Allied nationals. Above all, diplomats insisted that the crime committed against stateless former citizens of Germany, Austria and Romania would be defined out of mandate from the Commission.

************** Murder of Jews were thus entirely excluded, because the Jews have been deprived of their citizenship before they were murdered.

With all these restrictions, the Commission was the last in August 1944 only managed to collect 184 names of suspected war criminals. Hurts when resigned in protest. Churchill ordered the Foreign Office to immediately produce a list of 500 names. He had five: Hitler, Himmler, Goering, Goebbels and Ribbentrop.

This would have required a large international police force, legally competent, language skills and with adequate powers. Just to question the hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war who were now in Europe was an enormous task. The U.S. Army’s legal unit felt that they needed at least 2500 German-speaking American lawyers to deal with the problem. They were simply not. So you just called 125 and got 29th

Foreign Office continued to put the lid on. When British troops liberated Belsen had no press visits to occur. The film was not released. Although war Commission refused access to the camp.

It is the British journalist Tom Bower who has presented this material in his book ***********
[trans from Swedish]
Blind Eye to Murder, Britain, America, the purging of Nazi Germany – A Pledge Betrayed (1981, new edition 1995). His anger at the British and U.S. foreign ministries’ behavior is highly understandable.

And officials of the Foreign Office – how can we understand them? The suspicion of covert anti-Semitism is close at hand. The fear that once again be ridiculed as it has become by the failure of the trials after World War I, was another factor. The responsible officials considered it his duty to look beyond short-sighted politicians, who could be swept away in next elections. Presumably they realized far in advance the enormous apparatus that would be required to bring all war criminals to justice and how long it would have taken. They feared that such trials would poison relations with the defeated Germany and maybe create fertile ground for new wars.

They foresaw the coming conflict with the Soviet Union and the dependence of the Western powers would be a strong ally of Germany in the Cold War. Surely they were also aware that the Allies committed war crimes – Russians on land and the British from the air. Why would the one war criminal judge the other, why at all, wasting energy on the punishments that could easily be in the nature of revenge rather than justice? ; It was important to create a new Europe in which such crimes could no longer be committed.

So one can interpret the reason for delaying tactics in the leading Western countries. In France and other occupied countries were added to the fact that many government officials as more or less voluntarily cooperated with the Germans, had their own sins to hide. The result was that only a vanishing small number of war criminals were ever punished.

Of all the hundreds of Germans who participated in the deportation of French Jews to Auschwitz, only 196 were identified. 30 of them after the war, was sentenced in absentia. Only ****two serving their sentences. Another three were sentenced 38 years later for abetting. The low and only by chance selected offenders were punished for a crime committed so many, was that justice appeared to be arbitrary.

Of the perhaps one quarter of a million Germans who in various items included in the Nazi genocide machine was sentenced about 10,000 of the courts in the west and 25,000 in the East. After 1949, the number of cases drastically was reduced. The new democratic Germany was dependent on technicians, entrepreneurs and government officials who had key positions even in Hitler’s Germany.

Prosecutors were forbidden to get help from other countries to obtain evidence against the German war criminals and it became increasingly difficult to get a German criminal police to find evidence, when the former Nazis was reinstated as ***** police chiefs in Cologne, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and many other German cities.

How could it be done? Of the thousands of Germans who served in the extermination camp Majdanek was identified after the 1300. The West German police investigated 387 of them. In 29 cases we suspect that the crime was committed. Eight of the suspects put on trial (along with eight other accused). A solo prosecutors worked for nine years with the preparation for trial. Evidence collected from over a thousand victims. Of these, 260 had with my own eyes have seen one or more of the accused to commit murder. ***********German courts require witnesses in each case.

The trial began in November 1975. A year later, only 16 of the 260 witnesses heard. According to the accused could not be included that the corpses were burned in crematoria Majdanek. Each witness was subjected to detailed, often mocking hearing about how they were able to distinguish the smell of burnt animal from the smell of burnt people. ********** The court also allowed the defense to call lines of neo-Nazi “scientists” who deny the Holocaust occurred at all.

When the appeal finally fell in the summer of 1981 had already been acquitted seven accused – eye-witnesses to the documents they had had time to die, or they themselves had become too ill to be punished. A deputy director of the camp, Hermann Hackman [d. 1994], who in 1947 was sentenced to death for their murders in the Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald, but pardoned, but now ten years in prison for “aiding and abetting” the murder in Majdanek. Only one of the accused got life for murder. [ Over 100,000 people died at Majdanek}

Thousands of others lived in prosperity around the world, often with a ****full pension as former German government officials, often in Germany and even in Britain, without being brought to justice – as long as they themselves requested it. It was a known torturer from Auschwitz, Wladyslaw Dering. He sued the writer Leon Uris for the claim that thousands of murders committed Dering. Because “only” just under 200 murders were subject to court – won Dering goal. No one questioned how he could get an entry visa to Britain, or why he had to live undisturbed with their proven 200 murders until he himself drew the matter to court.


The Liberators, America’s Witnesses to the Holocaust” by Michael Hirsh, published this year. In it the author interviews front-line American soldiers, 19 to 25 years old at the time, just regular grunts, who were involved in liberating the concentration camps. Even now, 65 years later, some can barely talk about it.

Aktion Reinhard camps:Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor. Majdanek is not included here in this report from Yad Vashem Museum. Note: this is very disturbing reading, but provides a few pages of overview and evidence about what went on in these camps. The German led postwar trials all included testimony as to the existence of gas chambers in these abysmal camps.
cf: yad vashem site
Good video interview with Survivor.
interrogation in post-war Poland shows Nazi methods of murdering women and children.­ticle.php?ModuleId=10005539
Thousands of prisoners were taken from Neuengamme and murdered at sea, as the British arrived: proving that the Nazis did NOT merely intend to hand over prisoners to the Allies.­2010/07/20/auschwitz-survivor-­recall_n_652521.html
Schmaltzy story, but true­/programme/
Hitler’s NSDAP points

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5 Responses to “Adolf Hitler, The Long Shadow of Evil, ordered the Holocaust. Germany’s failure to prosecute more criminals; Allies dithered.”

  1. paolosilv Says:

    Work cited: Nazi Mass Murder – A Documentary History of the Use of Poison Gas (YUP, 1993).

    With Mauthausen, we begin to deal with the type of concentration camp (Konzentrationslager) that was not specifically designed as an extermination center (Vernichtungslager) as well (as Auschwitz and Maidanek were). Among such camps Mauthausen is a special case: more prisoners were killed by gas there than in any of the others. Some victims were gassed in the main camp; some in Gusen, its largest annex; and some in the gas van that shuttled between Mauthausen and Gusen.

    In the main camp, set up in August 1938 east of Linz, work on a gas chamber was started in the autumn of 1941. It was in the cellar of the bunker that served as a prison, near which the crematoria were also located. It was a windowless room, 3.8 meters long by 3.5 wide, disguised as a shower room. A ventilating system had been installed. The walls were partly tiled, and the two doors could be hermetically sealed. All the switches and faucets for lighting, ventilation, water, and heat were outside the room. From a neighboring room, called “the gas cell,” the gas was directed into the room through an enameled pipe, which had a slot in it about a meter long on the side nearest the wall (in other words, on the side invisible from the room). The remains of this gassing facility can still be seen today.

    When the SS men evacuated Mauthausen, they considered it necessary to kill the prisoners who had been obliged to work in the crematorium and gas chambers until the end, because these men knew too many secrets. Three of them, however – Johann Kanduth, Wilhelm Ornstein, and David Zimet – managed to hide while the others were shot on 2 May 1945.

    Less than a week later the war in Europe was over, and before a month was out those concentration camp officials that had been captured began having to answer for their crimes. On 23 May the commandant of Mauthausen, SS-Standartenfiihrer Franz Ziereis, stated that the gassing facility had been built on the basis of arrangements made by SS-Gruppenfiihrer Richard Glucks, then inspector of concentration camps, and under the supervision of the garrisor doctor, SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Eduard Krebsbach. But Krebsbach, brought before the court, put the blame on a pharmacist, SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Erich Wasitzky, although Krebsbach did admit to having taken part personally in the selection of “about two thousand prisoners of all nationalities sent to their death in the gas chamber,” and in the gassing of “about two to three hundred prisoners.” Of the SS leaders who after the liberation were accused of sharing responsibility for what happened at Mauthausen, none tried to deny the existence of a gas chamber there.

    It was a court at Hagen in Westphalia that studied the gassings at Mauthausen in the greatest detail. The accused, former SS-Hauptscharfiihrer Martin Roth, had been the SS leader of the work detail in charge of the crematorium from early May 1940 until the camp was liberated. He admitted that between March 1942 and the end of April 1945 he had taken part in the murder by Zyklon B of 1,692 prisoners, and in other executions as well.

    The reasons given for his conviction were based on testimony given by numerous witnesses, as well as on documents that the SS had not had time to destroy. These documents consisted of the death registers (the “books of the dead” ) that were kept in the various sections of the camp; an “execution book”: and a book of “cases of unnatural death” kept by the political division. Other documents cited were “reports on changes in strength” (Verdnderungsmeldungen) that, under the heading “Departures,” gave the names of the prisoners who had been executed.

    Among the depositions cited in the sentence are those by members of the political division who had belonged to the special work detail, assigned to the crematorium. Of particular interest are the statements made by Kanduth, leader of the work detail, and his fellow-prisoner Ornstein. From 18 or 19 August 1944 to 2 May 1945 Ornstein had been the secretary of this work detail, and he turned over to the court the notes he had made in that capacity.

    In the judgment rendered against Roth, the gassing process is described as follows:

    If a gassing was to take place, . . . Roth gave orders to one of the prisoners of the crematorium work detail, who were his subordinates, usually to the witness Kanduth, to heat a brick in the crematory oven. Roth took the burning-hot brick in a shovel and placed it in the apparatus for admitting the gas. The apparatus consisted of a metal chest with a removable cover, which could be hermetically sealed by means of wing screws and airtight packing. By giving off heat, the brick led to the quick release of the poison gas, which was fixed to shreds of paper.

    Meanwhile, the victims . . . had been led to the cloakroom, where they were to undress. Then they went into the neighboring room, where there were several SS noncommissioned officers, dressed in white coats. . . . These latter stuck a wooden spatula into the victims’ mouths to see if they had any gold teeth. If so, the prisoner was marked with a colored cross on the chest or the back. Then the victims were taken . . . into the tiled gas chamber that had shower fixtures. . . .

    Barely fifteen minutes after the gas had began streaming into the room, the accused, Roth, saw through the peephole in one of the two doors that none of the victims was still moving, and he turned on the fan . . . that sucked up the gas into a chimney and expelled it outside. . . . After checking – by means of colored paper prepared for the purpose – that there was no more gas inside, Roth then opened both doors of the gas chamber and ordered the prisoners under his command to carry the corpses to the crema­torium morgue. . . .

    Before cremation, . . . the female victims’ long hair was cut and the SS dentists extracted the gold teeth from the victims marked with a cross. The witness Tiefenbacher, who belonged to the corpse carriers’ detail, also had to do this work several times. Roth took the gold teeth in little bags to a camp office designated for the purpose; from there, what was known as “dental gold” was sent to the Reich Security Main Office.

    Among the firms that furnished Zyklon B to the camp was Slupetzky, a supplier of disinfectants located in Linz. Its owner, Anton Slupetzky, was an Obersturmbannfuhrer in the Sturmabteilungen, commonly known as the SA – ­the brown-shirted “storm troopers.” He personally participated in gassings at Mauthausen and Gusen. In addition, he attended the well-known “prussic-acid congress” held in Frankfurt-am-Main on 27 and 28 January 1944. It was there that the SS leadership informed the representatives of the production and distri­bution firms, such as Degesch (Frankfurt), Tesch and Stabenow (Hamburg), Heerdt-Lingler (Frankfurt), the Dessau Works, and I. G. Farbenindustrie, of further plans to use Zyklon B.

    In the verdict of the Hagen Court, a “special action” (gassing) is described in detail, using depositions and documents:

    On 24 October 1942, by order of the Reich Security Main Office, 261 Czech prisoners were executed, including at least 130 women and children. They were asphyxiated in the gas chamber, in successive groups, the men and women separately, according to the process alreadv described. This operation was very probably carried out as a consequence of the shooting on 29 May 1942 of SS-Gruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reich Security Main Office, who died as a result on 4 June 1942.

    The Czechs had arrived a few days earlier at the Mauthausen camp. They were wearing their city clothes, and most of them – especially the women, some of whom were pregnant – were housed in the bunker. The day of the execution, when they were taken in groups to the cloakroom, then to the vestibule of the gas chamber, where they were examined by the SS men in white coats looking for gold teeth, they suspected nothing. . . .

    When they entered the gas chamber, some of them were even laughing, and all were expecting to take a shower. Only a group of men . . . understood, at the very last moment, when the door to the gas chamber was closed, why they had really been taken there. They expressed their realization by yelling “Heinous Murderers!” and banging desperately against the doors of the room. The whole operation took more than twenty-four hours. . . .

    Although the gassings were supposed to be carried out in strict secrecy, this order naturally did not mean that they were kept secret from the National Socialist leaders. Kanduth, the former prisoner who had worked at the crematorium, remembered the leaders he had seen: “I myself saw Obersturmfuhrer Karl Schulze, in the company of Kaltenbrunner, Eigruber, Ziereis . . . tour the gas chamber in 1942 or 1943; I don’t remember the date exactly. On that occasion the prisoners, men and women, were led from the bunker and executed. Three methods were used: hanging, a bullet in the nape of the neck, and gassing. After the execution session, the SS leaders present came out of the gas chamber, laughing, and went into the courtyard of the bunker.”

    Ernst Kaltenbrunner had succeeded Heydrich as head of the Reich Security Main Office; August Eigruber was the Reichsstatthalter (governor) as well as the Gauleiter (district party leader) of Upper Austria, then known as Oberdonau, or the Upper Danube.

    Murders continued to take place in the gas chambers of the main camp until just before Mauthausen was liberated. During the last weeks, the camp administration tried feverishly to eliminate the sick, whose numbers kept increasing. Vratislav Busek, a Czech prisoner who was the sick-camp secretary in the Mauthausen base-camp sector, noted that between 21 and 25 April 1945, 1.411 sick prisoners were taken from the “sick-camp” to the gas chamber. The number of victims would have been still higher if the prisoners belonging to the camp staff had not succeeded in saving several hundred. In the final days, many Austrian antifascists who had been deported to Mauthausen were murdered in the gas chamber. The last gassing took place on 28 April. It was ordered for reasons quite different from the earlier ones: Eigruber indicated that “the Allies must not find in the Alpine provinces any elements who would be inclined to collaborate in reconstruction.”

    During the following days, the SS men removed the technical equipment and walled up the opening between the gas chamber and the little adjoining room from which the gassing operations were controlled. The pipe through which gas was introduced into the gas chamber was also removed.

    It is impossible to say exactly how many victims were claimed by the gas chamber in the main camp. The files that have been preserved give information on “cases of unnatural death,” but there were other means besides the gas chamber of inflicting “unnatural death” on a prisoner. On the basis of research carried out by the courts, which never accepted anything but reliable minimum figures, the total has been estimated at 3,455 dead.
    In the annex camp, Gusen, incontrovertible proof has been found of two gassings. On 2 March 1942, a number of sick Soviet prisoners of war were murdered with Zyklon B. The Polish prisoner Jerzy Osuchowski, who was secretary of the block where these prisoners were housed, later stated that 164 men were gassed on that day.

    A still larger gassing operation took place in Gusen on 21 and 22 April 1945, when the camp command decided to free Gusen from the burden of the sick and those unable to work, in order to make space for expected new arrivals. Some German prisoners – block leaders and heads of work details (kapos) – who were assigned to this job dared to show that they were against it. The; were told that if they refused to obey they would never get out of the camp alive. The gassing took place in two sessions, because there were too many victims to be killed all at once. Among the 684 prisoners whose names were written that day in “the book of the dead,” at least two were in perfect health: Wladyslaw Wozniak and Piotr Grzelak, young Poles who had been surprised by an SS man marking the changing contours of the front on a map I

    The prisoners employed in the camp hospital, and in particular the two Polish doctors, Anton Goscinski and Adam Konieczny, tried to oppose the gassing of the sick and of the two young men who had been condemned to death. All they could do for these two was to put them to sleep with a shot of Evipan before they were transferred to block 31, where the gassings were to take place. Because he had been unable to prevent the mass murder of his patients, Dr. Konieczny committed suicide on the afternoon of 24 April by taking drugs himself.

    There are indications that other gassings also took place at Gusen, but con­crete evidence is lacking.

    Many statements made after the war by SS members and prisoners who had taken part in the operations show that gassing at Mauthausen and Gusen was done not only in a gas chamber and in barracks temporarily equipped for the purpose but also in gas vans. When it took place in the vans, the gassing was usually done during the journey between Mauthausen and Gusen, a distance of about five kilometers. In 1961 a former inmate named Joseph Schoeps was tried for his role as prisoner leader of the quarantine camp (blocks 16 to 20) from the autumn of 1941 to the autumn of 1942. The grounds for the verdict of acquittal included the following testimony: “The gas van was an airtight closed truck into which exhaust fumes, and possibly other gases, were directed. Sometimes the van shuttled between Mauthausen and Gusen: in each of the camps prisoners, most of them sick, were loaded into the van, and their bodies were unloaded at the other end. Sometimes it drove around inside the Mauthausen camp until its human load was no longer alive, and then took the load to the crematorium. . . . It was the SS men, and in particular the garrison physician, Dr. Krebsbach, who chose the victims. ”

    The execution of Soviet war prisoners in a gas van was confirmed by another former prisoner, Hans Kammerer, the prisoner leader of block 17: “The Russian war prisoners were taken to Gusen in the gas van, and they died, asphyxiated, during the journey. In this operation, which I personally knew about, more than a hundred Russians were killed.”

    A letter from SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Walter Rauff, dated 26 March 1942, reveals that the garrison doctor had ordered a “special vehicle” of the type used by Rauff’s own services in occupied parts of the Soviet Union (see chapter 4). Rauff begins by describing the delays in fitting out the vans. As soon as the work is finished, he continues, “I shall be ready to put one of these special vans at the disposal of the Mauthausen concentration camp for a given length of time. . . . However, as I suppose that the camp cannot wait indefinitely for it to be deliv­ered, I am requesting the delivery of steel bottles of carbon monoxide or other auxiliary means necessary for execution.”

    The vehicle was delivered. The camp commandant, Ziereis, admitted that he had driven such a vehicle himself several times. The prisoners who were locked in the van at Mauthausen and killed during the trip were unloaded at Gusen and their bodies burned there, and vice versa. But it cannot be said with certainty how many times the van was used. One witness talks about fifteen trips; another thinks he remembers at least twenty; a third is sure he counted forty-seven round trips. If we assume that about thirty prisoners, most of them sick, were killed during each trip, and if we remember that each instance included two trips, we may conclude that between nine hundred and twenty-eight hundred prisoners were killed under these circumstances.

    Former SS-Hauptscharfuhrer Johann Haider, who ran the camp secretariat, later explained how gassings were camouflaged: “For gassings that took place in the gas chamber inside the Mauthausen camp, not `gassing’ but, most of the time, ‘execution’ was indicated as the cause of death.”

    Furthermore, the cause of death was not indicated in the same way in the various places where the death was registered – the lists of “departures” or “changes in strength” that were prepared by the secretaries of the political division, of the prison, or of various offices. In the garrison physician’s “book of the dead,” for example, in the column indicating the place of death, we find under the dates of 22, 24, and 25 April 1945 the word “gaz,” not capitalized, after the notation “in the prison.” The word was written by the secretary, Josef Ulbrecht, a prisoner of Czech nationality. Not knowing how to spell “gas” in German, he wrote it phonetically, with a z instead of an s.

    The register known as the “operations book” of the Gusen hospital was really a death register; parts of the original are preserved in Vienna. The last volume lists all the deaths chronologically, beginning with no. 13,651 (12 April 1943) and continuing through 1 May 1945. For the final days (2 to 5 May 1945), typewritten lists were added.

    From all the documents and indications available, it is clear that between March 1942 and 28 April 1945, gassings claimed more than five thousand victims at Mauthausen (see note 39). Most of them were Soviet citizens, but there were many Czechs, Slovaks, and Poles as well, and, in the last period of the murders, mostly members of the Austrian resistance, though also Germans, Italians, Yugoslavs, Frenchmen, and citizens of other countries.

    Martin Roth (SS) , wikipedia

    (born 11 August 1914, the date of death unknown) – was a Nazi, a member of the crew of the German concentration camp Mauthausen-Gusen and SS Hauptscharführer.

    From May 1940 to April 1945 he was head of the crematorium in the main camp of Mauthausen. From May 1940 to April 1945 he was head of the crematorium in the main camp of Mauthausen. From March 1942 he also participated in mass murders of prisoners with Zyklon B gas chambers in the camp, resulting in almost 1,700 killed prisoners and Soviet prisoners of war. Since March 1942 Also he participated in Mass Murders of Prisoners with Zyklon B gas chambers in the camp, with the result That Nearly Killed 1.700 Prisoners and Prisoners of the Soviet. Roth also attended executions by firing squad and hanging. July 24, 1970 has been sentenced for these crimes to the penalty of seven years imprisonment by a West German court in Hagen. Also Attended Executions by firing squad and hanging. 24 July 1970 was of These crimes Convicted, Sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a West German court in Hagen. … hausen.JPG

  2. paolosilv Says:

    Alan Heath on 29 Aug 2007, 08:52

    Hello Michael! As you may recall from our correspondence in 2001, I have done a lot of researrch on this area and I know it very well. I have also spoken to many people in the village of Belzec and the surrounding area, I have even posted a couple of interviews on my own website Furthermore Michael Tregenza who is the leading authoriity on the Belzec camp is a very good friend of mine and is writing a history of the death camp.

    There were three camps in the Belzec area for forced labour. They were to house slave labourers on the construction of the trench along the border which as I pointed out earlier had no military value whatsoever but did allow the local SS to stake a claim to the right to Jewish slave labour.

    The camp you refer to is probably the location which is today a warehouse for soft drinks. I have a film somewhere which I will publish on the internet. From this film can be compared photographs taken in 1940 as the structure is the same. I suspect that this building – located at around 5 km from the station is the same although it could have been one of the other two labour camps or even another as the location is not clear.

    That there were transit camps to hold people crossing the line at this area is very tenuous. Soviet authorities did not allow people to cross the line and would send them back although there is no doubt that help was afforded by some soldiers in the Red Army. It was local Nazi practice to force Jews to leave and herd them over the border, I have never heard of camps being set up to await for official permission to cross the border.

    Construction of the Belzec death camp commenced in November 1941 – I have spoken to two people involved in the construction who confirmed this. Furthermore it is borne out by every other witness. Then we have Eichmann’s statements about how the camp location was chosen and that it was winter.

    The location of the death camp alongside a main railway line between Lublin and Lwów and with a good connection to Kraków, Rzeszów and Przemyśl is clearly the reason for this death camp, although some of the slave labour camps could have been used.

    As you point out the initial gas chamber was ‘jerry built’ – not much more than a double lined garden shed but no-one who came in, came out. This was a transit camp but only from this world to the next.

    The first gassings took place at the beginning of March 1942. It was decommissioned in December 1942 leaving only a Sonderkommando to dispose of the bodies which took another seven or eight months.

    We have plenty of evidence claiming that Jews were deported to Belzec, but no evidence of people leaving the camp.

  3. paolosilv Says:

    Misha Glenny’s book The Balkans: Nationalism, War & the Great Powers, 1804-1999 includes a chapter called “The City of the Dead” with a subsection titled “Genocide- the Balkan Camps: Romania, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia” Here are some quotes:

    p. 486:

    “…The Ustase turned their territory into one great slaughterhouse…In Croatia, the terror unleashed by the Ustase against the Serbian villages of Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina drove Serbs into the arms of the Chetniks and the Partisans.”


    …The terror in Croatia (which now included Bosnia and Hercegovina) was directed against the usual targets of a fascist party – Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and political opponents of the Ustase. But Pavelic was also determined to ‘solve’ the Serb question in Croatia: a third of the two million Serbs in the NDH would be expelled; a third would be assimilated through conversion from Orthodoxy to Catholicism; and a third would be killed. With such a range of potential victims, the Ustase leadership tried to simplify its policy of mass extermination wherever possible. As early as 17 April 1941, the Legal Decree for the Defense of the People and State was published. The first clause proclaimed ‘Whosoever in whatever manner offends or has offended against the honor and vital interests of the Croat nation, or in whatever manner threatens the existence of the Independent State of Croatia or the state authorities, whether in deed or in mere intent, this person has committed the crime of high treason.’ (footnote 25) The decree allowed for retroactive persecution and made no attempt to define the ‘honor’ or ‘vital interests’ of the Croats; it was a formula that allowed the Ustase to fashion a case of high treason against anyone.

    Footnote 25 cites Bogdan Krizman’s Pavelic izmedju Hitlera i Mussolinija Zagreb, 1980 p.117.

    the passage continues

    “The Ustase has more difficulty defining Serbs, who were indistinguishable from Croats in racial terms. Serbs were stigmatized instead on the grounds of culture and confession. They were defined as ‘Eastern Greek’ in the Decree on Conversion from One Faith to Another which came into force on 3 May 1941…The leadership wanted to ensure that Serbs with money and education did not survive the planned genocide. The the Jews and Gypsies, Croatia’s Serbs were denied citizenship in the NDH, a measure designed to speed up the sequestration of the victim’s assets. The proceeds were used in party to pay for the physical liquidation of the original owner.”

    Page 501 gives a brief synopsis of the Jasenovac camp, the salient points of which have already been mention on various AHF threads to date.

    Another book that touches upon the planned, genocidal policies of the NDH is Richard West’s Tito and the Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia (Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1995). For example, in the chapter “The Ustase Terror”:


    …Two months before he met the bishops, Pavelic had begun to put into action his plan to wipe out the two million Orthodox Christians, Jews and Gypsies within the NDH. In April 1941 the government issued decrees forbidding the use of Cyrillic script, closing the Orthodox schools and making the Serbs wear blue armbands, with the letter ‘P’ for ‘Pravoslav’ (Orthodox). In May and June the government passed laws depriving the Jews of the right to property or marriage with Gentiles.”

    West discusses the NDH policy of forced conversion of Serbs on subsequent pages, which includes this passage on p.93:

    …The Ustase newspaper Hrvatska Krajina carried a long report on the visit by Victor Gutic to the Franciscan monastery at Pertricevac, where he delivered a rousing address:

    ‘Like an angel with a fiery sword, Prefect Dr. Gutic raised his voice which had been muted until now, declaring emphatically: ‘Each and every Croat who takes the side of our enemy of yesterday [the Serbs] is not only not a good Croat but an opponent and hinderer of our previously thought-out and calculated plan for the cleansing of our Croatia of unwanted elements. Let us call on the mercy of God if that patriotic labor sometimes oversteps the usual bounds of religious morals and ethics, knowing that Almighty God, the most stern but also the most good and charitable, will approve the struggle to guard the independence of the long-suffering but God-loving Croatian people. (footnote 31)

    Gutic was one of the first on record to use the term ‘cleansing’ (in Serbo-Croat ‘ciscenje’, pronounced cheesh-chen-ye) to mean the elimination of Serbs or Orthodox Christians from the NDH. It later became the semi-official euphemism, occurring constantly in the documents of the administration.

    Footnote 31 cites Viktor Novak’s Magum Crimen p.705 (Zagreb, 1948)

    For those interested in the historiography of the NDH regime, West specifically mentions in his footnotes section that there is little written in any language that gives a comprehensive history of the WWII Croatian state

  4. paolosilv Says:

    THE BUSINESS OF GENOCIDE; The SS, Slave Labor, and the Concentration Camps by Michael Thad Allen

    Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

    “A study of the Nazi Business Administration Main Office of the SS and how, with a comparatively small staff of nor more than 200 managers and engineers, it worked closely with German business and industry during WWII to supply slave labor, and also how this overall operation was linked to ideology and genocide. 2002: 448 [pages, softcover. (North Carolina Press)”

    The book is very well researched, and not only provides an overview of the SS-WVHA and the SS economic activities in general but discusses various academic viewpoints concerning the significance of SS economic activities in the context of the Third Reich.

    There is a lot of information here about Eicke’s early efforts to use KZ prisoners for slave labor; the SS Construction Corps, DESt, the garment manufacturing, soft drink and bottled water enterprises, the Allach porcelain factory, Kammler and the V-2 programme, and the relationship to economics czar Albert Speer’s organization.

    Although some forum members may find the book academic and in parts focused on economic theory and corporate management practices, it is overall IMHO an excellent and detailed introduction into the sordid economic activities of the SS superstate.

    German led trials against Nazis

  5. anti money laundering compliance Says:

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