Institute for Historical Review

Institute for Historical Review

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The Myth of the Six Million

18. Myths and Realities Concerning Auschwitz and other Death Camps

Höss "confessed" on various occasions that 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 people had been gassed at the single camp of Auschwitz. It has always been claimed that most of these alleged victims were Jews, and therefore this would account for nearly half of the supposed six million Jewish victims in the period from 1941 to 1945. It is important to note that the alleged end of this supposed death program in October 1944 does not terminate the chronicle of Jewish victims who met death from hunger, bombing, and disease at the camps or in the camp evacuations during the last hectic months of the war. Therefore, one is expected to believe that nearly two-thirds of the deaths in the total alleged deliberate extermination program took place at one camp.

The destruction or hiding of German statistics about the details of Auschwitz by the supporters of the extermination legend, and the refusal of the Russians to give out any accurate statistics in regard to the Jews in Russia just before 1941 or after 1945 makes it impossible to state with exactness just bow many Jews were ever interned at Auschwitz, but it is certain that the number of Jews who got there during ,the war was only a smallest fraction of those alleged to have been exterminated there. The Jewish statistician, Reitlinger, who is rather more careful with his figures than most Jews who have reported on the subject, states in his The SS: the Alibi of a Nation, pp. 268ff., that the total of all internees registered at Auschwitz from February 1940 to January 1945 was only 363,000 and by no means all of these were Jews. Moreover, during the war many of those originally sent to Auschwitz were released or transferred elsewhere, and at least 80,000 were evacuated westward in January 1945. The wild, erratic and irresponsible nature of the statements about the number of Jews exterminated at Auschwitz can be gleaned from the fact that the figures which have been offered by the supporters of the extermination legend have run from around 200,000 to, over six millions.

Benedikt Kautsky, Teufel und Verdammte (Devil and Damned, Zürich, 1946, p. 275) claimed that "at least 3,500,000 persons were gassed at Auschwitz." This was a remarkable statement from a man, who by his own admission, never saw any gas chambers there (Ibid., pp. 272-3).

Kautsky explained that he was sent as a Jewish political prisoner from Buchenwald in October, 1942, to work at Auschwitz-Buna. The victims of liquidation were supposedly gassed more than a mile distant at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Kautsky heard rumors to this effect.

Kautsky did witness several executions at Auschwitz. He cited a case in which two Polish inmates were executed for killing two Jewish inmates. He dedicated his book to his mother who died at eighty years of age on December 8, 1944. Like all Jews of whatever age who died during this period in German-occupied territory, she is considered to be a victim of the Nazis. Kautsky returned to Buchenwald in January, 1945, when Auschwitz was abandoned by Germany. He described how the final months of Germany's collapse in 1945 produced the worst conditions of hunger and disease that Buchenwald, which is rarely claimed any longer as an extermination camp, had ever seen. Kautsky stressed the fact that the use of inmates in war industry was a major feature of German concentration camp policy to the very end. He failed to reconcile this with the alleged attempt to massacre all Jews.

Paul Rassinier, Le Mensonge d'Ulysso (The Lies of Odysseus, Paris, 1955, pp. 209ff.) demonstrated conclusively that there were no gas chambers at Buchenwald. Rassinier is a French professor who spent most of the war as an inmate at Buchenwald. He made short work of the extravagant claims about Buchenwald gas chambers in David Rousset, The Other Kingdom (N.Y., 1947; French ed., L'Univers Concentrationnaire, Paris, 1946). He also investigated Denise Dufournier, Ravensbrueck: the Women's Camp of Death (London, 1948), and he found that the heroine had no other evidence for gas chambers than the vague rumors described by Margarete Buber. Similar investigations were made of such books as Filip Friedman, This Was Oswiecim (Auschwitz): the Story of a Murder Camp (N.Y., 1946), and Eugen Kogon, The Theory and Practice of Hell (N.Y., 1950). Rassinier did mention Kogon's claim that a deceased former inmate, Janda Weiss, had said to Kogon alone that she had been a witness of the gas chambers in operation at Auschwitz. Rassinier noted that there were of course rumors about gas chambers at Dachau too, but fortunately they were merely rumors. Indeed, one could trace them as far back as the sensational book by the German Communist, Hans Beimler, Four Weeks in the Hands of Hitler's Hell-Hounds: the Nazi Murder Camp of Dachau (N.Y., 1933).

Rassinier entitled his book The Lies of Odysseus in commemoration of the immemorial fact that travelers return bearing tall tales. Rassinier asked Abbé Jean-Paul Renard, who had also been at Buchenwald, how he could possibly have testified that gas chambers had been in operation there. Renard replied that others had told him of their existence, and hence he had been willing to pose as a witness of things that he had never seen (Ibid., pp. 209ff.).

Rassinier has toured Europe for years, like Diogenes seeking an honest man, more specifically somebody who was an actual eyewitness, of any person, Jew or Gentile, who had ever been deliberately exterminated in a gas oven by Germans during the course of World War II, but be has never found even one such person. He found that not one of the authors of the many books charging that the Germans had exterminated millions of Jews during the war had ever seen a gas oven built for such purposes, much less seen one in operation, nor had one of these authors ever been able to produce a live, authentic eyewitness who had done so. In an extensive lecture tour in the main cities of West Germany in the spring of 1960, Professor Rassinier vigorously emphasized to his German audiences that it was high time for a new spirit of inquiry and a rebirth of truth. He suggested that it would be very fitting for the Germans to start work along this line with respect to the extermination legend, which remains a main but wholly unjustified and unnecessary blot on Germany in the eyes of the world.

Ernst Kaltenbrunner no doubt had the problem of truth in mind when be complained about the success of the Nuremberg prosecution in coercing German witnesses to make extravagant statements in support of the myth of the six million. Many of the key witnesses who did not have since been executed, but not all of them. Willi Frischauer, Himmler: the Evil Genius of the Third Reich (London, 1953, pp. 148ff.) makes much of the incriminating testimony of SS General Erich von den Bach-Zelewski against Himmler at the main Nuremberg trial. Himmler was supposed to have spoken to Bach-Zelewski in grandiose terms about the liquidation of people in Eastern Europe, but Göring, in the Nuremberg courtroom, condemned Bach-Zelewski to his face for this testimony.

Bach-Zelewski in April, 1959, publicly repudiated his Nuremberg testimony before a West German court, and be admitted with great courage that his earlier statements, which had no foundation in fact, had been made for reasons of expediency and survival. This was one of two types of false German testimony at Nuremberg. The other was that of testimony by those Germans opposed to the National Socialist regime who played fast and loose with the facts. Charles Bewley, Herman Göring (Göttingen, 1956, pp. 296ff.) has done an admirable piece of work in illustrating this in the case of the Gestapo official and member of the German underground, Hans Bernd Gisevius. The testimony of Kurt Gerstein would also fall into this category.

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