RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

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RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby nathan » 9 years 7 months ago (Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:13 am)

Red Cross officials were not allowed into concentration camps until the final collapse. Part III of the ICRC wartime volumes deals with 1945, although its first report is about an earlier reconnoitre around Auschwitz. This was made partly to “penetrate the mystery” surrounding that place but mainly to gain names of detainees and reassurance they were receiving due parcels.

Part III of the Documents, about sixty pages, is online in French.

http://www.vho.org/F/b/CICR/3.html

To anyone who can read French, these pages will of great general interest, carrying interviews with Kaltenbrunner, Schellenberg, Eichmann, Hoess, Muller and lesser fry. But I could find only four references to gas chambers. Excerpts follow. For the underlined bits I have offered rough translations which anyone is free to improve.

I Visite au Commandant du camp d'Auschwitz d'un délégué du CICR (septembre 1944)

[note by nathan: This is headed as a visit to the Commandant of Auschwitz, and the delegate says he hopes to gain information about persons and parcels. But there is no evidence here that the Red Cross “inspected” any of the Auschwitz camps, as is sometimes claimed. The Red Cross was of course allowed into POW camps. Teschen was the hub of a complex of POW labour camps/coal mines a few miles to the north of Auschwitz. Inmate kommandos from the Auschwitz complex were sent there. Each nationality in all camps, including the Jews, had a trustee prisoner or Homme de Confiance who was trusted by the Red Cross and by the Germans to deal with Red Cross business. The British POWs at Teschen are I think a different lot from those imaginative British POWs from Monowitz who at Nuremberg offered their own sightings of gas chambers ]
......Nous espérons pouvoir vous faire parvenir bientôt des noms, prénoms et numéros de détenus d'Auschwitz ainsi que leur nationalité. En effet, un Kommando de prisonniers de guerre britanniques travaille dans une mine à Auschwitz en contact avec ces gens. Nous avons prié l'homme de confiance principal de Teschen de faire son possible pour obtenir de l'homme de confiance du Kommando d'Auschwitz tous les renseignements utiles.
Spontanément, l'homme de confiance principal britannique de Teschen nous a demandé si nous étions au courant au sujet de la « salle de douches ». Le bruit court en effet qu'il existe au camp une salle de douches très moderne où les détenus seraient gazés en série. L'homme de confiance britannique a, par l'intermédiaire de son Kommando d'Auschwitz, essayé d'obtenir confirmation de ce fait. Ce fut impossible de rien prouver. Les détenus eux-mêmes n'en ont pas parlé.
Une fois de plus, en sortant d'Auschwitz nous avons l'impression que le mystère reste bien gardé.
Nous emportons pourtant la certitude que des envois sont à faire, la plus grande quantité possible et le plus vite possible. Une fois encore, disons que nous croyons que ce qui est envoyé est remis intégralement aux détenus.


"Spontaneously, the main spokesman/representative for the British prisoners (l’homme de confiance principale britannique) of Teschen asked of us whether we knew anything about the "shower-room". The rumour is that there exists within the camp a very modern shower-room where the prisoners are gassed in batches. The British representative (L’homme de confiance britannique) has, via the work Kommando from Auschwitz, tried to obtain confirmation of this fact. It was impossible to prove anything. The prisoners themselves said nothing of it

Once again, on leaving Auschwitz we retain the impression that the mystery remains well preserved.......

[what is certain, however, he added, getting down to business, is that parcels are urgently needed and they are getting through - nathan]



..........III. - Rapport d'un délégué du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge sur le rapatriement des détenues de Ravensbrück

[Note by nathan: On the 5th April 300 French Ravensbruck prisoners were evacuated to Switzerland by the International Red Cross. As in many other western camps there was in the final days a widespread terror among prisoners of gas chambers and last-minute massacres. Among Ravensbruck prisoners, other sources show, there were mixed opinions as to where the gas chambers might be and how many there were. Later, British prosecutors obtained three SS confessions that the gas chamber was a converted shed next to the Crematorium just outside the main camp.]
......Le 5 avril 1945, à 6 h. du matin, je me rends au camp et demande à voir le Commandant pour assister à l'appel des 300 femmes qui doivent m'accompagner en Suisse. Il est déjà parti; personne ne sait que je dois faire un transport; personne ne veut me laisser entrer ni me conduire auprès du Commandant. Un sous-officier me confie qu'un ordre rigoureux est parvenu à tous les hommes de troupe, que les femmes devaient être traitées avec aménité et dirigées vers les camions sur la route principale, mais que personne ne devait pénétrer dans le camp. A 7 h. paraissent les cent premières femmes. Vision d'horreur et de misère, que celle de ces pauvres créatures souffrant de famine, négligées, apeurées, méfiantes, vêtues de méchants vêtements étrangers. Elles ne peuvent croire qu'elles vont enfin s'éloigner de leurs bourreaux et être libres; elles me prennent pour un agent à la solde des SS qui va les conduire dans la chambre à gaz. Elles peuvent à peine comprendre qu'elles vont partir pour la Suisse; celles qui s'en laissent persuader me supplient alors d'emmener aussi leurs camarades. Beaucoup d'entre elles sont incapables de monter dans les camions sans aide. La plupart avaient des œdèmes de la faim, les chevilles et les ventres enflés, l'œdème des paupières. Chacune avait reçu des provisions pour trois jours; mais à peine en voiture, elles se jettent dessus avec avidité; en cinq minutes le saucisson, le beurre et le fromage ont disparu ainsi que la moitié de leur pain............

"What a vision of horror and wretchedness are these poor creatures, starving, neglected, frightened, dressed in the shabby clothes of others. They cannot believe that they are at last going to escape their torturers and be free. They take me for some hireling of the SS who is taking them to the gas chamber. They can hardly understand that they are going to Switzerland.
[/quote]


IV. - Rapport d'un délégué du CICR sur sa visite au camp de concentration de Ravensbrück pour tenter d'en empêcher l'évacuation, et sur les évacués d'Oranienburg

[Note by nathan: On 23 April a delegate was at last allowed inside Ravensbruck, hoping to persuade Suhren to call off the evacuation on foot of thousands of Slavic women. The commander here gives the delegate a tour of the camp. He is is surprised by the excellence of the facilities. He is sceptical when prisoners and SS are called over to stage the necessary parody of happiness]
Suhrens me fit tout visiter, les baraques, la cuisine, l'infirmerie, les installations hygiéniques, la buanderie, les cellules pour les délinquantes et d'autres bâtiments encore. En regardant de plus près, j'ai pu constater que les baraques contenaient des lits à trois étages et que le cube d'air était nettement insuffisant. La cuisine est une installation moderne telle que l'on en voit dans les usines et dans certains camps de prisonniers de guerre. A l'infirmerie, ce sont les détenues qui travaillent comme infirmières; elles sont toutes vêtues de blanc. L'infirmerie elle-même comprend plusieurs vastes salles toutes très bien aménagées (salle d'opération, de pansement, etc.). La bibliothèque contient plusieurs milliers de volumes, la plus grande partie en langue allemande. L'« Arrestlokal » est un bâtiment en pierre à deux étages, avec cour intérieure couverte. Plusieurs cellules furent ouvertes et je fus étonné de constater la parfaite installation de ces cellules et la propreté qui y régnait. Chaque cellule contient un lit métallique avec deux couvertures, une chaise, un lavabo avec eau courante et un miroir, une cuvette WC avec chasse d'eau. Le camp ne possède pas de chapelle. A l'est du camp se trouvent plusieurs bâtiments dont l'accès ne me fut pas permis. Le « Sturmbannführer » Suhrens me confia qu'il s'agissait de fabriques de textiles travaillant pour la Wehrmacht.
Au hasard (était-ce vraiment un hasard ?) Suhrens interpellait une femme, lui demandait si elle était mal traitée, combien de fois par jour elle était battue et si elle avait à se plaindre de quoi que ce soit. Naturellement, personne ne se plaignait. Au contraire, ce n'étaient que des louanges adressées surtout au Commandant du camp. Et à chaque réponse, Suhrens se tournait vers moi et me disait avec gravité : « Bitte » 1. Les femmes SS elles aussi étaient interrogées. Suhrens leur demandait si elles maltraitaient les détenues. Elles répondaient toutes d'un air offensé « aber das ist uns doch verboten » 1. « Et si vous les battez ? » continuait d'interroger Suhrens. « Dann werden wir bestraft » 2 était la réponse.
......En quittant le camp, j'étais sur le point de demander à Suhrens de me montrer la chambre à gaz et le crématoire. Je ne l'ai cependant pas fait. Quelque temps plus tard - c'était dans le courant du mois de mai, j'ai rencontré dans une rue de Berlin une femme habillée de haillons. Dans le dos elle portait la marque des camps de concentration, le grand X. Elle me déclara qu'elle revenait de Ravensbrück à pied (environ 100 km.) et que le camp avait été délivré par les Russes. C'était une Autrichienne qui avait été amenée au camp pour le seul fait, disait-elle, d'avoir un Juif pour mari. Comme elle vitupérait « ces cochons de SS », je lui demandai où se trouvaient le crématoire et la chambre à gaz. « Sous la grande place », me répondit-elle. C'était donc sous cette grande place, cette place sur laquelle régnait une grande animation lorsque je m'y trouvais un mois auparavant. A ce moment-là, j'étais loin de me douter que c'était sous mes pieds que des centaines, peut-être des milliers de malheureuses avaient été gazées et incinérées. Je lui demandai également ce qu'elle pensait du Sturmbannführer Suhrens. « Ein Gauner wie die anderen »3.



"On leaving the camp I was on the point of asking Suhren to show me the gas chamber and the crematorium. However, I did not do so. Some time later, it was during May, I met in a Berlin street a women dressed in tatters. On her back she wore a big X, the sign of a concentration camp inmate. She told me she had returned from Ravensbruck on foot (about 100 km) and that the camp had been liberated by the Russians. She was an Austrian who had been put in the camp, she said, just because, she had a Jewish husband. As she cursed the “SS Pigs.” I asked the whereabouts of the crematorium and the gas chamber. “Underneath the big square” she replied. So it had been there right under that big square on which there had been such a great to-and-fro when I was there a month before. At that moment I had been far from suspecting that it was beneath my very feet that thousands of unfortunates had been gassed and burned. I asked her was well what she thought of Sturmbannfuher Suhrens. “A Gauner [scoundrel] like the rest”


[ note by nathan: This delegate could not bring himself to ask Suhren about gas chambers because Suhren had already spoken with derision about the “Gruelpropaganda surrounding the camps. The delegate could not have seriously entertained that the Crematorium had been located beneath the parade ground on which he had seen thousands mustering for evacuation. The Crematoriaum was a visible building with a tall chimney, not far outside the main gate. On the 5th of April visit the delegate had noted that its chimney was not smoking.- nathan]


XII. - Rapport d'un délégué du CICR sur son activité à Dachau, du 27 avril au 2 mai 1945......

........Mardi 1er mai 1945, nous reçûmes la visite de deux membres de notre légation qui vinrent faire une courte visite et nous visitâmes alors la prison, le crématoire où nous vîmes dans une grande chambre des centaines de cadavres empilés les uns sur les autres et tous nus. Nous visitâmes également la chambre du bourreau, la chambre à gaz, les fours crématoires, etc. Je passai le reste de ce jour avec les officiers américains et les hommes de confiance.

.
......"Tuesday first May 1945, we were joined on a short visit by two members of our legation and we then visited the prison and the crematorium, where we saw hundreds of corpses piled up in a large room. We also visited the torture chamber, the gas chamber, the cremation ovens etc. I spend t he rest of the day with Amerian officers and hommes de confiance

[note by nathan: This too was part of an official tour. This Dachau “gas chamber” is no doubt the one shown in the famous propaganda photograph.]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As regards gas chambers, the delegates’ tone, both sympathetic and sardonic, is only explicable if they thought that gas chambers were probably rumours born of suffering and fear.

(In the full reports, by contrast, the delegates show real anger over real crimes – notably over the chaotic evacuations on foot of able-bodied detainees, as ordered by Himmler in April - one of the major atrocities of the war. The Red Cross was unable to prevent these horrors. To the end, the Nazis were marching detainees over what was left of Germany and begrudging the least concession of sovereignty. It is hindsight that makes this behaviour seems delusional. Nazi bureacrats knew that Germany had utterly lost the war, of course, but they did not know, and would not have allowed themselves think, that complete and unconditional surrender was only days away; or that any major bargain was impossible; or that men like Kaltenbrunner were likely to hanged as war criminals. We know that all this was the case, so we expect them to have known it too. )

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby jnovitz » 9 years 7 months ago (Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:43 am)

The report of the visit to Auschwitz has been available for sometime, the Ravensbruck quotes are new to me.

To the end, the Nazis were marching detainees over what was left of Germany and begrudging the least concession of sovereignty. It is hindsight that makes this behaviour seems delusional. Nazi bureacrats knew that Germany had utterly lost the war, of course, but they did not know, and would not have allowed themselves think, that complete and unconditional surrender was only days away; or that any major bargain was impossible; or that men like Kaltenbrunner were likely to hanged as war criminals. We know that all this was the case, so we expect them to have known it too. )


Without any particular wish to justify it, not all camps were evacuated with death marches (if you leave aside Auschwitz). Belsen, Dachau and Buchenwald were allowed to be liberated. If we believe Hoess's testimony at Nuremberg (and I have seen this testimony corroborated in at least one other interrogation), Himmler ordered the evacuation of all camps in face of the enemy after inmates from Buchenwald went on the rampage through Weimar.

Something that finds surprising confirmation in Lazar Wiesel's book, but not in Elie Wiesel's version.

Seidman supports her thesis that the Yiddish and French versions are two books written for different audiences by comparing the parts of the text that survived the editing process, and pointing out what she sees as significant differences. For example, in the Yiddish, Wiesel writes that, after liberation, some of the camp survivors, the "Jewish boys," run off to "fargvaldikn daytshe shikses" ("rape German shiksas"), whereas in the French, they are just "young men" who go "coucher avec les filles" ("to sleep with girls"). Seidman argues that the Yiddish version is for the Jewish readers, who want to hear about Jewish boys taking revenge by raping German non-Jews. For the rest of the world—the largely Christian readership—the anger is removed, and they are simply young men sleeping with girls.


My guess if there was one thing completely calculated to see Himmler refuse future peaceful handovers, it would be the idea of German women being raped by Jewish inmates. With many many consequences, including the thousands of deaths aboard the Cap Arcona.

As I understand the commandant of Mauthausen refused to evacuate the camp despite Himmler's order, that didnt prevent him being fatally shot in the stomach and forced to sign an affadavit of making human skin lampshades.

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby nathan » 9 years 7 months ago (Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:54 pm)

Every crime has its motive, every atrocity its excuse. But the safety of German womanhood would not have been compromised by placing the female prisoners at Ravensbruck under Red Cross administration. I take a less idealised view of Himmler’s motives. Reporting a conversation of 21h April, Norbert Masur wrote:

“Himmler said that the surrender to the Allies of the concentration camps at Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald had been ill-rewarded by reports in the press of conditions in these camps which he describe as “Greuelmaerchen”. This made him doubtful as to whether it was advisable to continue with the course that he had adopted. I told him frankly that it could not be denied that gross misdeeds had had been committed and that the press in a free land, like its government, could not be silenced. It is possible that these reports may stimulate Himmler and his associates to eliminate all traces by evacuating or exterminating whole camps instead of handing them over to to the Allies. On Saturday we saw columns of prisoners from the concentration camp at Oranienburg marching northwards”


The evacuation or Oranienburg is described in the linked Rapport V in horrible detail. I find it entirely convincing, both for its internal likelihood and because it is corroborated elsewhere. I have no doubt that that Kaindl was under orders to shoot stragglers lest they fall into enemy hands. (Not all the anonymous Red Cross reports are equally impressive. The self-glorifying author of Rapport X, which deals with the last days of Mauthausen, inspires less confidence.)


At Buchenwald Himmler refrained from evacuating the able-bodied prisoners and destroying installations, as had been done at Auschwitz. He could in that sense claim to have handed the camp over. The clamorous “liberation” of Buchenwald on the 11th must have incensed him even before the Belsen handover had been completed, and even aside from any newspaper Greuelpropaganda. Though in March he had placed the camp under his own “protection” Himmler obviously had no real grasp of conditions at Belsen, a fact which in no way reduces his share of responsibility for them. Almost until doomsday he was dreaming of being treated by the western powers as a serious negotiator, preferably without the knowledge of Hitler. An orderly transition in the camps was to prefigure an orderly transition of government. But he found himself reduced to dealing with middle-ranking representatives of non-governmental organisations who could “reward” his concessions with nothing. Perhaps he ordered the evacuations of mid-April only in obedience to Hitler, as Schellenberg claimed; or perhaps he did it from anger to show the Powers who had snubbed him that he was still a player, still able to move his human pieces about the board

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby joachim neander » 9 years 7 months ago (Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:13 pm)

jnovitz wrote:
Without any particular wish to justify it, not all camps were evacuated with death marches (if you leave aside Auschwitz). Belsen, Dachau and Buchenwald were allowed to be liberated.


Please let me correct you (sorry, the camp liquidations are my specialty):
From Belsen, two trains of Jewish victims were evacuated, one arrived at Theresienstadt, the other stranded in Central Germany and was liberated by U.S. troops.
From Buchenwald, the majority of the Jewish inmates (most of them having arrived a few weeks earlier from Auschwitz) were marched off resp. loaded on trains. The infamous train with dead prisoners which the Americans found on liberation at Dachau, as well as the train with several hundred dead prisoners which stranded at Nammering, were from Buchenwald.
From Dachau, about one half of the prisoners were evacuated on foot in the direction of the Alps. Dead bodies marked the way. There are extant photos taken by the locals from places where the death marches passed.

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby Mojo » 9 years 7 months ago (Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:52 pm)

joachim neander wrote:jnovitz wrote:
Without any particular wish to justify it, not all camps were evacuated with death marches (if you leave aside Auschwitz). Belsen, Dachau and Buchenwald were allowed to be liberated.


Please let me correct you (sorry, the camp liquidations are my specialty):
From Belsen, two trains of Jewish victims were evacuated, one arrived at Theresienstadt, the other stranded in Central Germany and was liberated by U.S. troops.
From Buchenwald, the majority of the Jewish inmates (most of them having arrived a few weeks earlier from Auschwitz) were marched off resp. loaded on trains. The infamous train with dead prisoners which the Americans found on liberation at Dachau, as well as the train with several hundred dead prisoners which stranded at Nammering, were from Buchenwald.
From Dachau, about one half of the prisoners were evacuated on foot in the direction of the Alps. Dead bodies marked the way. There are extant photos taken by the locals from places where the death marches passed.


If indeed there were only two trains from Belsen, how could that possibly be considered a liquidation? How were trains full of jews getting out of Belsen but the Germans couldn't get food, water and medical supplies in to the camp?

The jews at Buchenwald that were mostly from Auschwitz, are these the same jews that chose to leave with the Germans in lieu of waiting to be liberated by the Soviets?

Much like the whole gassing and burning of 6 million jews while fighting a massive war on two fronts with highly formidable adversaries on both sides. These so called Death Marches are yet another thing that defies logic. Why not line them up in front of an MG42 and let it rip? Hell, why bother to line them up? Just send a mounted MG to strafe the barracks at midnight. 1,200 rounds a minute, not to mention the double and triple kills when shooting en masse is liquidation.

The Germans may have been moving some jews around but, I don't buy into the premise that this supports liquidation.

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby Friedrich Paul Berg » 9 years 7 months ago (Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:15 pm)

It is important to know by whom any dead prisoners were killed on the so-called "death marches." My belief is that most of them were killed by Allied strafing and bombing. Dr. Chas. P. Larson was one of the doctors who showed that many bodies of prisoners found dead had been killed with 50 caliber machine gun fire. That caliber was unique to American and British fighter planes. The real mass murderers were the Anglo-American pilots for whom anyone alive on German territory was a legitimate target--and all the easier and safer to kill if they were defenseless civilians on trains or on foot. German soldiers had a tendency to shoot back so it was better to avoid them.

The misnomer "death march" suggests the prisoners were simply marched to be killed by either marching to exhaustion, or along the way somehow. It is just more of the usual hoakum. I suspect that many of the prisoners on these marches were still under quarantine and had to be kept away from ordinary civilians.

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The Holocaust story is a hoax because 1) no one was killed by the Nazis in gas chambers, 2) the total number of Jews who died in Nazi captivity is miniscule compared to what is alleged.

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby Trude » 9 years 7 months ago (Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:33 pm)

joachim neander wrote:From Dachau, about one half of the prisoners were evacuated on foot in the direction of the Alps. Dead bodies marked the way. There are extant photos taken by the locals from places where the death marches passed.


I think Joachim Neander is exaggerating to say that one-half of the prisoners were evacuated on foot from Dachau. He needs to supply some reliable evidence.

On April 26th, 1945 Commandant Weiter left with a transport of prisoners bound for Schloss Itter subcamp in Austria, number unknown. On that same day, 6,887 other prisoners, half of whom were Jews, half Russian POWs, began on a march south to the mountains of South Tyrol. These particular prisoners were removed from the camp because they were the ones most likely to go to the town of Dachau and get revenge on the townspeople. Liberated prisoners from Buchenwald had already terrorized the townspeople of Weimar, so the authorities were taking precautions to prevent that in Dachau.

After the camp was liberated, some of the other prisoners went to the town and protected the civilians from being attacked by the Jews and Russian POWs. Many of the prisoners had worked in the town and they liked the townspeople.

Separately, 137 so-called VIP prisoners were marched to the South Tyrol for their own protection.

1759 Jewish prisoners were put on a train that was bound for southern Germany.

Does this add up to one-half the inmates at Dachau? How many prisoners were at Dachau when it was liberated?

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby Trude » 9 years 7 months ago (Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:46 pm)

joachim neander wrote:From Buchenwald, the majority of the Jewish inmates (most of them having arrived a few weeks earlier from Auschwitz) were marched off resp. loaded on trains. The infamous train with dead prisoners which the Americans found on liberation at Dachau, as well as the train with several hundred dead prisoners which stranded at Nammering, were from Buchenwald.


Again, Jewish prisoners and Russian POWs were sent from Buchenwald to Dachau (probably for the same reason: to prevent them from attacking the townspeople of Weimar). One of these transports was the "death train" that was found with dead bodies on it by the American liberators. There were two trains that arrived at Dachau and one of them was empty when the liberators arrived.
The "death train" stopped at Nammering before going on to Dachau. What train was it that was stranded at Nammering? What happened to it? Can Joachim Neander clear this up?

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby nathan » 9 years 7 months ago (Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:44 am)

Since Red Cross gas chambers are lost beyond recall, I record surprise that a much quoted telegram has not been mentioned in the new topic. Does anyone know what standing this telegram has? Was it introduced into any trial?

Die Ubergabe kommt nicht in Frage. Das Lager ist sofort zu evakuieren. Kein Häftling darf lebend in die Hände des Feindes fallen. Die Häftlinge haben sich grauenhaft gegen die Zivilbevölkerung in Buchenwald benommen. Gezeichnet: Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer SS.«


"A handover is out of the question. The camp must be evacuated immediately. No prisoner must be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy alive. The prisoners have behaved horribly to the civilian population of Buchenwald." April 14th 1945.


Apparently this was a handwritten instruction for a telegram.


Dr Neander is an expert on Mittelbau. Nearly all the camps, apart from those “handed over” carry a general legend of a last-minute plan to massacre all the inhabitants, plus another legend, sometimes involving heroic intervention, to explain why this massacre did not occur. I have collected many of these legend. Does such a legend surround Mitteltbau?

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby joachim neander » 9 years 7 months ago (Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:59 am)

Yes, there are such legends. I studied them in great detail in my PhD thesis, and I showed that they all are urban legends. I demonstrated, however, how they originated, which necessities they served. I also showed, using a model from decision theory, that evacuation of the camps was the method of choice for the SS. The study of this topic covers chapters 1.4, 3.1 to 3.6, and 5.3, altogether 142 pages. My dissertation is, of course, written in German, and as I did not find a sponsor, I had it published by a small publishing house. Major libraries do have a copy, however, and it should be able for interested people to get it via interlibrary loan.

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby jnovitz » 9 years 7 months ago (Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:48 am)

nathan wrote:Every crime has its motive, every atrocity its excuse. But the safety of German womanhood would not have been compromised by placing the female prisoners at Ravensbruck under Red Cross administration. I take a less idealised view of Himmler’s motives.


I really don't have an opinion one way or the other, I was attempting to give the context of German decision making. If the "safety of German womanhood" is matter of some flippancy for you that is fair enough, it just probably wasn't to the German leaders and they were the ones making the decisions.
It doesn't really surprise me that the German leadership refused to put Ravensbruck under Red Cross administration, although ostensibly neutral, the ICRC was by this stage implacably opposed to Nazi Germany. Indeed, as far back as 1942 its President, Jacob Burckhardt had secretly informed the Allies that he had seen the Führerbefehl ordering the murder of all European Jews, a document that has eluded historians ever since.

In the end, the biggest issue for the concentration camps was the decision by the Allies to use hunger as a weapon and to use their air superiority to disrupt transportation. Doubtless an excellent move in a strategic sense, but it was going to have collateral damage. And any nation would prioritize: 1. its soldiers, 2. its women and children, 3. its labour force. If you use hunger as a weapon if you have to expect malnutrition and increased decease susceptibility and what the Germans did was no different from what any other country would do. We know Britain would do the same because she did, she moved not a muscle to avert famine in Bengal because it wasnt in the priorities list of Churchill, in fact in the early stages they kept exporting rice, I believe.

In short, if the Red Cross wanted to help the inmates of Ravensbruck they could have offered food relief across a wide cross section population and entered into negotiations.
Reporting a conversation of 21h April, Norbert Masur wrote:

“Himmler said that the surrender to the Allies of the concentration camps at Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald had been ill-rewarded by reports in the press of conditions in these camps which he describe as “Greuelmaerchen”. This made him doubtful as to whether it was advisable to continue with the course that he had adopted. I told him frankly that it could not be denied that gross misdeeds had had been committed and that the press in a free land, like its government, could not be silenced. It is possible that these reports may stimulate Himmler and his associates to eliminate all traces by evacuating or exterminating whole camps instead of handing them over to to the Allies. On Saturday we saw columns of prisoners from the concentration camp at Oranienburg marching northwards”


I am not sure of the exact time frame of atrocity reports actually appearing in the media and in what form that was available to the German leadership and what effect. I don't dismiss what Norbert Masur had to say, but as the chosen representative of the WJC, he is not without innate biases and he had only very limited and superficial access to the German decision making process. His suggestion that Greuelmarchen might have an effect is clearly stated to be simply speculation of his part and not the result of any conversation of Masur (as you seem to be suggesting)

Whereas Hoess, by now psychologically broken but previously as the Inspector of the Concentration Camps should be a position to know stated this:

Originally there was an order from the Reichsfáhrer, according to which camps, in the event of the approach of the enemy or in case of air attacks, were to be surrendered to the enemy. Later on, due to the case of Buchenwald, which had been reported to the Fáhrer, there was--no, at the beginning of 1945, when various camps came within the operational sphere of the enemy, this order was withdrawn. The Reichsfáhrer ordered the Higher SS and Police Leaders, who in an emergency case were responsible for the security and safety of the camps, to decide themselves whether an evacuation or a surrender was appropriate.
Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen were evacuated. Buchenwald was also to be evacuated, but then the order from the Reichsfáhrer came through to the effect that on principle no more camps were to be evacuated. Only prominent inmates and inmates who were not to fall into Allied hands under any circumstances were to be taken away to other camps. This also happened in the case of Buchenwald. After Buchenwald had been occupied, it was reported to the Fáhrer that internees had armed themselves and were carrying out plunderings in the town of Weimar. This caused the Fáhrer 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.
This was shortly before the end of the war, and shortly before northern and southern Germany were cut. I shall speak about the Sachsenhausen camp. The Gestapo chief, Gruppenfáhrer Máller, called me in the evening and told me that the Reichsfáhrer had ordered that the camp at Sachsenhausen was to be evacuated at once. I pointed out to Gruppenfáhrer Máller what that would mean. Sachsenhausen could no longer fall back on any other camp except perhaps on a few labor camps attached to the armament works that were almost filled up anyway. Most of the internees would have to be sheltered in the woods somewhere. This would mean countless thousands of deaths and, above all it would be impossible to feed these masses of people. He promised me that he would again discuss these measures with the Reichsfáhrer He called me back and told me that the Reichsfáhrer had refused and was demanding that the commanders carry out his orders immediately.
At the same time Ravensbráck was also to be evacuated in the same manner but it could no longer be done. I do not know to what extent camps in southern Germany were cleared, since we, the Inspectorate, no longer had any connections with southern Germany.


I have seen at least one other testimony saying the situation in Weimar was the cause for the change of policy.

Incidentally not just concentration camp inmates suffered from death marches. 10 000s of civilians are claimed to have died during the death marches out of Breslau and there plenty of refugee ships that were sunk full of civilians. I am sure Germans of a certain generation would know many more examples

Mojo
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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby Mojo » 9 years 7 months ago (Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:27 pm)

Mojo wrote:
joachim neander wrote:jnovitz wrote:
Without any particular wish to justify it, not all camps were evacuated with death marches (if you leave aside Auschwitz). Belsen, Dachau and Buchenwald were allowed to be liberated.


Please let me correct you (sorry, the camp liquidations are my specialty):
From Belsen, two trains of Jewish victims were evacuated, one arrived at Theresienstadt, the other stranded in Central Germany and was liberated by U.S. troops.
From Buchenwald, the majority of the Jewish inmates (most of them having arrived a few weeks earlier from Auschwitz) were marched off resp. loaded on trains. The infamous train with dead prisoners which the Americans found on liberation at Dachau, as well as the train with several hundred dead prisoners which stranded at Nammering, were from Buchenwald.
From Dachau, about one half of the prisoners were evacuated on foot in the direction of the Alps. Dead bodies marked the way. There are extant photos taken by the locals from places where the death marches passed.


If indeed there were only two trains from Belsen, how could that possibly be considered a liquidation? How were trains full of jews getting out of Belsen but the Germans couldn't get food, water and medical supplies in to the camp?

The jews at Buchenwald that were mostly from Auschwitz, are these the same jews that chose to leave with the Germans in lieu of waiting to be liberated by the Soviets?

Much like the whole gassing and burning of 6 million jews while fighting a massive war on two fronts with highly formidable adversaries on both sides. These so called Death Marches are yet another thing that defies logic. Why not line them up in front of an MG42 and let it rip? Hell, why bother to line them up? Just send a mounted MG to strafe the barracks at midnight. 1,200 rounds a minute, not to mention the double and triple kills when shooting en masse is liquidation.

The Germans may have been moving some jews around but, I don't buy into the premise that this supports liquidation.


You plan on answering any of these questions?

joachim neander
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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby joachim neander » 9 years 7 months ago (Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:06 pm)

They all are answered in my PhD dissertation:
Joachim Neander, Das Konzentrationslager Mittelbau in der Endphase der NS-Diktatur, Clausthal-Zellerfeld: Papierflieger, 1997.
I do not have the time to translate over 100 pages of my dissertation into English.

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby Trude » 9 years 7 months ago (Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:05 pm)

joachim neander wrote:They all are answered in my PhD dissertation:
Joachim Neander, Das Konzentrationslager Mittelbau in der Endphase der NS-Diktatur, Clausthal-Zellerfeld: Papierflieger, 1997.
I do not have the time to translate over 100 pages of my dissertation into English.



Does Joachim Neander need to translate his PhD dissertation in order to report the following information:

According to the official report by the US Army, there were 31,432
survivors in the main camp, including 2,539 Jews who had been
brought to the camp from the sub-camps just a few weeks before the
liberators arrived.

On April 26, 1945, three days before the liberation, the last roll
call showed that there were (still) 30,442 prisoners in the main camp and
37,223 in the sub-camps. Prisoners who had been evacuated from
other camps continued to arrive at the main camp in the next two
days, including around 2,000 prisoners who had been marched to
Dachau from the Flossenbürg camp. Between 1100 and 2500 prisoners
from the Buchenwald camp, who had been evacuated on the "death
train" almost three weeks earlier, finally entered the camp on
April 27, 1945.

This can be found at
http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScr ... onDay.html

Considering the numbers of those evacuated that were given in my posts above, how do these numbers tally with your statement that half of the Dachau prisoners were evacuated on foot toward the Alps?

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Re: RED CROSS GAS CHAMBERS

Postby Mojo » 9 years 7 months ago (Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:47 pm)

joachim neander wrote:.
I do not have the time to translate over 100 pages of my dissertation into English.


Then why are you debating on an English speaking forum?


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