This is a very good thread. I must admit, the idea it contains never occurred to me.
Namely, I always tell people that since, while given the choice, many inmates choose to go with the Germans, rather than stay behind to be 'liberated' by the Soviets, pretty much refutes there being an extermination policy at Auschwitz.
But, it is not even necessary to add that many choose to go with the Germans. The fact that they were offered a choice at all implies there was no extermination plan at Auschwitz. For one, if they wanted them killed, why let them stay behind, and two, why leave so many witnesses?
As to why the Germans took many with them, at the risk of being called naive, I must say, I think it is because the Evil Nazis actually felt the prisoners' welfare was their responsibility. (So I guess I agree with Turpitz and Hannover.) Maybe I am incorrect, but, before some of you pooh-pooh this, let's consider. If the Germans had a practical reason for towing along the prisoners, why then, did children go along, and why were (relatively)healthy adults allowed to stay behind? (I just noticed Turpitz just posted this opinion. He beat me to it but it's worth repeating!) Since the Germans gave them a choice, is it possible EVERYONE of them could have stayed behind? Now, I do not KNOW the answer to that question, but if 'yes', then there simply could not have been a selfish reason for the Germans to take along the prisoners. They must have only done so because they felt an obligation.
You know, Butz talks about how simple this whole topic (The Big H) is. That tons of analysis is not needed. He gives his 8 (I think it was
simple reasons for the non-existence of the H in one of the supplements to his book. This thread gives another very simple reason. Much more convincing than 'holes', properties of Zyklon B, etc. And, it is so much easier to understand.