Institute for Historical Review
One of the most curious incidents of testimony concerning the alleged deliberate extermination of the Jews was provided by the memoranda of Kurt Gerstein. He was employed as a disinfection expert by the SS from 1942 until his capture in April 1945. Gerstein joined the National Socialist Party in 1933. He was expelled in 1936 for eccentric conduct which included distributing through the mails 8,500 pamphlets criticizing National Socialism. During his later 1941 SS training in Holland, he worked with the Dutch underground movement. He claimed to have provided gas for execution purposes, and to have been a witness of mass gas executions on a grandiose scale on numerous occasions.
In his personal conversations and answers, Gerstein contended that be knew that no less than forty million concentration camp prisoners has been gassed. In his first signed memorandum on the subject of April 26, 1945, he reduced the number to twenty-five million. He added that only four or five other persons had seen what he had witnessed, and they were Nazis. Even this was rather too extreme for his interrogators and he was induced to draw up a second memorandum at Rottweil on May 4, 1945 which was in closer conformity to the legend of the alleged extermination of six million Jewish victims.
It is interesting to note that Hans Rothfels, "Augenzeugenbericht zu den Massenvergasungen (Eye-Witness Report of Mass Gassings)" in Vierteliahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, April, 1953, made a special point of stating that Evangelical Bishop Wilhelm Dibelius of Berlin denounced the Gerstein memoranda as "Untrustworthy." Two years later, however, in 1955, the Bonn Federal Center for Local Services issued an edition of the second Gerstein memorandum for distribution in all German schools (Dokumentation zur Massen-Vergasung, Bonn, 1955). The editors in their introduction stated that the Gerstein memoranda were valid "beyond any doubt," and they add that Dibelius has expressed his special confidence in Gerstein.
The second Gerstein memorandum is very emphatic in describing a visit by Hitler to a concentration camp in Poland on June 6, 1942, which in point of fact never took place. Unfortunately, the West German Government of Konrad Adenauer has actually discouraged the exposure of this defamation of wartime Germany. It finds a vested interest of its own in perpetuating wartime falsehoods. In this sense it is truly a puppet government and no genuine German Government at all. The government of the Weimar Republic bad taken a leading part in exposing the exaggerations and falsifications in the chargesof German atrocities in the first World War, such as those embodied in the famous Bryce Report and the writings of Arnold Toynbee.
Gerstein was sent to Cherche Midi prison in Paris after his two "confessions." He is reported to have died on July 25, 1945. The manner of his death and the place of his grave are unknown. His death is no less mysterious than the alleged suicide of Heinrich Himmler in British military captivity. The work of the prosecution at Nuremberg would have been far more difficult had Himmler been allowed to testify. It is quite likely that Gerstein, who was in good health when sent to Paris, was considered to have outlived his usefulness before the Nuremberg trials commenced.