the interrogator Goldman, who also claims to have been an inmate at Auschwitz, states that there was "a great mountain of ash" at Auschwitz, taken from the crematoria, which was used in the winter to spread on the ice and snow in order to safeguard the Nazi officers from slipping. Has anyone else reported this alleged mountain of ash? It seems strange at first glance that only Nazi officers would have benefited from this measure, unless the ash was spread only in areas restricted to Nazi officers, or unless Nazi officers wore shoes or boots with particularly slippery soles.Would ash from crematoria even be suitable for the purpose? There surely would have been piles of coke around from the coal-fired furnaces, which would have been more suitable for spreading on ice and snow. I have read allegations that ashes from the crematoria were spread as fertilizer over nearby fields, but this is the first time I read of this particular use being made of them. The purpose of the allegation is evidently to stress a total disrespect for the dead on the part of the camp administration. That such a purpose can be discerned does not of course mean that the story is untrue, however unlikely it may appear to be. Has anything of the sort been reported by any other source?
A further novel allegation (to me at least) made by Goldman is that Eichmann at Auschwitz had demanded that every Jew be put to death because any who survived might one day seek revenge. Would Goldman, when at Auschwitz, have been in a position to know of such an order or demand being issued by Eichmann? Is it likely that Eichmann would have issued an order phrased in such defeatist terms? Defeatism was subject to strict punishments during the war. That the justification for the order appears unlikely does not yet mean that such an order was never issued by Eichmann. However if it was issued, it was certainly not carried out, as we know of numerous Jewish inmates being evacuated from Auschwitz in January 1945 ahead of the Red Army's advance and brought to camps in Germany. Is there any independent evidence of such a demand? In the story the allegation is used to justify Goldman's revenge against Eichmann, i.e., it works as a literary device. Eichmann expected revenge and he got it. The theme of revenge is characteristic of many other Holocaust narratives and may hark back to the Book of Esther and similar writings that glorify revenge. It is indicative of a mindset in which revenge is a duty and the Christian concept of forgiveness unthinkable or forbidden (cf. the title of Rudolf Vrba's book: "I Cannot Forgive". This can be read in the sense "I cannot bring myself to" or "I am not permitted to" -- the latter being the more likely interpretation). It is in any event remarkable that an official at the trial thinks in terms of revenge rather than justice. He seems unable to distinguish between the two concepts. That the allegation works as a literary device in this case does not mean that it is false, which is why I am asking whether any independent evidence of such a demand by Eichmann exists.
What I am concerned about is that these two elements in the BBC story appear to be new and are suggestive of a trend of embroidering the narrative in a way that today's readers would be likely to accept, given the general perception of what went on at Auschwitz in the last years of WWII. This would of course not be the case if they can be independently corroborated.
Here is the passage under discussion:
On 30 May, 1962, the only civil execution in Israel's history took place.
Prime Minister David Ben Gurion thought the trial would unite people
Interrogator Michael Goldman Gilad, was there.
He recalled that Eichmann at Auschwitz had demanded that every Jew be put to death because any who survived might one day seek revenge.
"Well, he was right," he told me, grimly.
After the execution, he was told to supervise the burning of the body and the scattering of Eichmann's ashes at sea, so there could be no neo-Nazi memorial.
Goldman Gilad explained that Eichmann's ashes were just enough to fill a two-litre container.
He was shocked, because in the extermination camps one of the jobs he had been forced to do was to spread ashes from the crematoria on the ice and snow, so that Nazi officers did not slip.
The mounds from the dead had formed "a great mountain of ash", so much more than the handful from Eichmann's body.