[The following is a revised and corrected version of a 1980 conference paper whose publication seems useful in that it illustrates the classic and revisionist method of examination of texts, and also because it shows how and why a man on the vanquished side may be led to “confess” to his conquerors. – author’s note of June 23, 2015]Some SS men confessed that there were “gas chambers” at Auschwitz or at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The three most important confessions are those of Rudolf Höss, Pery Broad and, finally, Professor Doctor Johann Paul Kremer. For a long time the exterminationists relied especially on the first of these confessions, that of Rudolf Höss, which has appeared in English under the title Commandant of Auschwitz. I believe I have noticed, on the occasion of a recent historical debate in France, that the exterminationists seem less sure of the value of this strange testimony. On the other hand, the testimony of Johann Paul Kremer has been very useful to them. Personally, I think the argument supplied by Kremer’s text is in fact, from their point of view, a more valuable weapon than the absurd confession of Rudolf Höss. I must say that first the British and then the Poles made Höss speak in such a way that it is easy to destroy his testimony by simply comparing Commandant of Auschwitz with his numerous previous statements, among which I particularly recommend that of 14 March 1946 (IMT Documents NO-1210 and D-749).
I shall limit myself therefore to studying what the exterminationists themselves today seem to consider their best weapons for supporting the allegation of the existence and use at Auschwitz of homicidal “gas chambers.” If I add this adjective “homicidal” it is because there are, as you know, non-homicidal gas chambers which it is impossible to use to kill people in the way in which it is said the Germans did. All the armies of the world have buildings, hastily equipped, for training their recruits in the use of gas masks. In France, these buildings bear the name chambre à gaz (“gas chamber”); in Germany, they are called Gaskammer or Gasraum (“gas chamber” or “gas room”). There are also gas chambers for the disinfecting of clothes, for treating fruit, and the like.
Thus I will speak to you at some length of the testimony of Johann Paul Kremer. You will see how, at first sight, it is troubling, and then how, if you analyze it with a little care, it constitutes a terrible fiasco for the exterminationists. I prize the Kremer case very much. It shows how fragile the evidence that we are offered is; to what extent people allow themselves to be easily deceived by appearances; how much the official historians have misused the texts and how necessary it is to work if you wish, in the study of texts, to distinguish between the true and the false, between the real meaning and the misinterpretation. This is what is called “text and document appraisal”. It so happens that it is my professional speciality. I am therefore going to inflict upon you, to my great regret, a lecture on “text and document appraisal.” I ask you to forgive me for the strictness of the demonstration I am going to try to carry out here.
Before entering into the heart of the matter, I would like to share two remarks. The first comes to us from Dr. Butz. I recall that, in a letter of 18 November 1979 to a British weekly, the New Statesman, about a long article by Gitta Sereny (2 November 1979), he made the observation that it is quite strange to claim to base a historical thesis like that of the formidable massacres of millions of human beings on... confessions. That claim is even harder to defend when you know that such confessions come from persons who had been conquered, and that the ones who obtained the confessions were the conquerors.
My second remark is to recall that, in the cases dealing with Ravensbrück, where it is now known that there was never any “gassing,” the British and French courts obtained very detailed confessions on the eleven alleged gassings. We are told of the three principal confessions of Auschwitz, but we no longer hear anything about the three principal confessions of Ravensbrück: that of the camp commandant, Suhren, that of his adjutant Schwarzhuber and that of the camp physician, Dr. Treite. Do you know what the size of that nonexistent “gas chamber” was? Answer: nine meters by four and a half meters. Do you know where it was located? Answer: five meters away from the two crematory ovens. Do you know how many persons were gassed there? Of what nationality? On what precise dates? Do you wish to know on whose orders all of that was done, from the top to the bottom of the German military and political hierarchy? Are you interested in learning how they used a “gas capsule” [sic]? You will find the answers to these questions and many others in reading, for example, the historian Germaine Tillion. That Frenchwoman had been interned at Ravensbrück. After returning to France, she became an official specialist in the history of the deportation. She worked at the same famous CNRS (“National Center for Scientific Research”) in Paris at which Léon Poliakov worked. For reasons of which I am unaware, Germaine Tillion enjoys considerable moral credit in France. Her honesty is something of an officially established fact. Nevertheless, several years after the war, she went before the courts to incriminate overwhelmingly the ex-chiefs of Ravensbrück with her stories about the “gas chambers.” Even more than her book about the camp (Ravensbrück [Paris, Le Seuil, 1973], reprint, 284 p.), one must read her “Reflections on the study of the deportation” (“Réflexions sur l’étude de la déportation,” in the Revue d’Histoire de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale (July-September, 1954), p. 3-38).
Germaine Tillion begins with some remarks on false testimony about the deportation. She says that she has “known of numerous mentally damaged persons, half-crooks, half-fools, exploiting an imaginary deportation.” She adds that she has known of other persons who were “authentic deportees, whose sick minds had striven to go beyond even the monstrous things that they had seen or of which people had spoken, saying that they had happened to them.” She writes further: “There were even publishers for certain of these fabrications, and more or less official compilations to present them, but there is no excuse whatsoever for publishers and editors, since the most elementary inquiry would have sufficed to expose the deception.”
While reading these lines, which date from twenty-six years ago, we realize that publishers and editors of that kind have only increased in number, and that the Martin Grays and the Filip Müllers still have a good future ahead of them. Two of the three accused who confessed at Ravensbrück were hanged, and Dr. Treite committed suicide. What is awful is that without this testimony about the “gas chambers” their lives might well have been spared. In regard to Suhren, Germaine Tillion writes, on page 16, that he began by displaying a “stubborn bad faith” in the course of his two trials (one at Hamburg, by the British, and one at Rastatt, by the French); she adds this terrible sentence: “But, without that gas chamber that he created, on his own initiative, two months before the collapse, he could perhaps have saved his life.” In note 2 on page 17 she writes of Schwarzhuber, who confessed immediately, some even more dreadful lines, each word of which I ask you to ponder:
According to the English investigators, from the first moment he had coolly faced his position, considering himself doomed and, either to have peace (and the small privileges to which prisoners who do not deceive their examining magistrates have a right), or else due to lassitude, indifference or for some other reason, he took his course and held to it, without regard for himself or for his accomplices. He was not a brute (like Binder or Pflaum); he had an intelligent expression, the appearance and behavior of a psychologically normal man.
Let us leave Ravensbrück and the Schwarzhuber confession for Auschwitz and the confession of Kremer, the other SS man who had “an intelligent expression” as well as “the appearance and the behavior of a psychologically normal man.” To begin with, let us look at some extracts from his private diary written during his short stay at Auschwitz, and then at the explanations he gave for those extracts, after the war, to his Polish jailers, explanations to which he stuck later on, at his trial 1960, which took place at Münster (Westphalia), and at the trial of the Auschwitz guards in 1964 at Frankfurt-on-Main. The name of Professor Doctor Kremer should not be confused with that of Josef Kramer. The latter held high positions at the camp of Struthof-Natzweiler (Alsace), then at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and finally at Bergen-Belsen. He, too, made various confessions. All are interesting to study. On the alleged homicidal “gas chamber” at Struthof, I would like to point out that the French did not, as I believed until recently, wring just one confession out of Kramer, but, as I have discovered, two totally absurd and astonishingly contradictory confessions. People sometimes refer to one of these, but the other has been kept carefully hidden. One day I shall deal with it, as well as with the two reports of the French military courts on the “gas chamber” at Struthof: the one report, really childish, concludes that there were “gassings”; the other has disappeared from the military court archives, and reaches the opposite conclusion. This report, dated 1 December 1945, was made by the eminent toxicologist Professor René Fabre.
1. EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF DR. JOHANN PAUL KREMER, PHYSICIAN AT AUSCHWITZ, OF SUMMER 1942, SELECTED AND PRESENTED BY THE OFFICIAL HISTORIANS (LEON POLIAKOV, GEORGES WELLERS, SERGE KLARSFELD)
– 2 September 1942: This morning, at three o’clock, I was present for the first time at a Sonderaktion. Compared with that, Dante’s Inferno appears to be a comedy. It is not without reason that Auschwitz is called an extermination camp. (sources?) (Georges Wellers’s version, in Le Monde, 29 December 1978, p. 8; the author explains beforehand that a Sonderaktion is a “selection for the gas chambers.”)
– At three o’clock in the morning, I was present for the first time at a “special action” (thus did they refer to the selection and murder in the gas chambers). In comparison with the Inferno of Dante that seemed to me almost a comedy. It is not without reason that they call Auschwitz an extermination camp (Serge Klarsfeld’s version, in Le Mémorial de la Déportation des Juifs de France, 1978, p. 245; the author obviously reproduced page 48 of a book (not dated) published in Poland by the International Auschwitz Committee under the title KL Auschwitz: Arbeit Macht Frei (Concentration Camp Auschwitz: work makes one free), 96 p.).
– This morning at three o’clock, I was present for the first time at a “special action.” In comparison, Dante’s inferno appeared to me a comedy. It is not for nothing that Auschwitz is called an extermination camp (Léon Poliakov’s version, in Auschwitz, Paris: Collection Archives Gallimard/Julliard, 1973, p. 40).
For this first entry, 2 September, I have cited three versions. For the following dates, I shall content myself with citing a single version: the official version of the State Museum of Oswiecim (Auschwitz), as it appeared in Auschwitz vu par les SS (Auschwitz seen by the SS). I intentionally confine myself only to what the official historians habitually cite in their works and only to what, in the eyes of the authorities of the State Museum of Auschwitz, would tend to prove that Dr. Kremer had participated in the “gassings” of human beings.
– 5 September 1942: This noon was present at a special action in the women’s camp (“Moslems”) – the most horrible of all horrors. Hscf. Thilo, military surgeon, is right when he said today to me we were located here in “anus mundi” [anus of the world]. In the evening at about 8 p.m. another special action from Holland. Men compete to take part in such actions as they get additional rations then – 1/5 litre vodka, 5 cigarettes, 100 grams of sausage and bread. Today and tomorrow (Sunday) on duty.
On the next day, Dr. Kremer said that he had had an excellent lunch. On numerous occasions, his diary contains like remarks about food. Historians often cite these remarks to show the cynicism of the doctor; they say that the atrocities of the “gas chambers” did not hurt his appetite. Dr. Kremer mentions a special action of Sunday, 6 September at 8 in the evening, then on the evening of 9 September, then on the morning of 10 September, then in the nights of the 23rd and the 30th. He then writes:
– 7 October 1942: Present at the 9th special action (new arrivals and women “Moslems”) [...]
– 12 October 1942: [ ... ] was present at night at another special action with a draft from Holland (1600 persons). Horrible scene in front of the last bunker! This was the 10th special action.
– 18 October 1942: In wet and cold weather was on this Sunday morning present at the 11th special action (from Holland). Terrible scenes when 3 women begged to have their poor lives spared. 8 November 1942: This night took part in 2 special actions in rainy and murky weather (12th and 13th) [...] Another special action in the afternoon, the 14th so far, in which I had participated [...]
Dr. Kremer is wrong in his reckoning. He has forgotten that on 5 September there had been not one but two special actions, which made a total of 15 special actions for his stay at Auschwitz. This stay lasted 81 days, on only 76 of which was he on duty (because of a five-day leave).
The notes in the Polish edition say that the dates of these special actions coincided with the dates of the arrival of transports of deportees.
2. EXTRACTS FROM THE SPONTANEOUS CONFESSIONS OF JOHANN PAUL KREMER IN THE POLISH COURT IN 1947, SELECTED AND PRESENTED BY THAT COURT
Here is what one can read in KL Auschwitz vu par the SS, p. 214, note 50:
In the official record of his questioning of 18 August 1947 at Cracow, Kremer stated as follows: “On 2 September 1942, at 3 a.m. I was already assigned to take part in the action of gassing people. These mass murders took place in small cottages situated outside the Birkenau camp in a wood. These cottages were called ‘bunkers’ (Bunker) in the SS men’s slang. All SS surgeons on duty in the camp took turns participating in the gassings, which were called ‘Sonderaktion.’ My part as surgeon at the gassing consisted in remaining in readiness near the bunker. I was brought there in a car. I sat in front with the driver and an SS hospital orderly (SDG) sat in the back of the car with an oxygen apparatus to revive SS men employed in the gassing, in case any of them should succumb to the poisonous fumes. When the transport with people who were destined for gassing arrived at the railway ramp, the SS officers selected from among the arrivals persons fit to work and the rest – old people, all children, women with children in arms and other persons not deemed fit to work – were loaded upon lorries and driven to the gas-chambers. I used to follow behind the transport till we reached the bunker [Faurisson note: the word is in the singular]. Here people were first driven to barracks where the victims undressed and then went naked to the chambers. Very often no incidents occurred, as the SS men kept people quiet, maintaining that they were to bathe and be deloused. After driving all of them into the gas chamber the door was closed and an SS man in a gas mask threw the contents of a Cyklon tin through an opening in the side wall. The victims’ shouting and screaming could be heard through that opening and it was clear that they fought for their lives [Lebenskampf]. These shouts were heard for a very short time. I should say for some minutes but I am unable to give the exact span of time.”
Note 51 on page 215 of KL Auschwitz vu par les SS gives another extract from the same interrogation transcript. Here is how Dr. Kremer is supposed to have explained his entry of 5 September 1942 about the “Moslem” women and the anus mundi:
Particularly unpleasant had been the action of gassing emaciated women from the women’s camp. Such individuals were generally called “Muselmänner” (“Moslems”). I remember taking part in the gassing of such women in daylight. I am unable to state how numerous that group had been. When I came to the bunker [Faurisson note: “bunker” is in the singular] they sat clothed on the ground. As the clothes were in fact worn out camp clothes they were not let into the barracks but undressed in the open. I could deduce from the behavior of these women that they realized what was awaiting them. They begged the SS men to be allowed to live, they wept, but all of them were driven to the gas chamber and gassed. Being an anatomist I had seen many horrors, had to deal with corpses, but what I then saw was not to be compared with anything seen ever before. It was under the influence of these impressions that I had noted in my diary, under the date of 5 September 1942: “The most horrible of all horrors. Hauptsturmführer Thilo was right when he said to me today that we were located here in ‘anus mundi.’ I had used this expression because I could not imagine anything more sickening and more horrible.”
In his entry for 12 October 1942, Dr. Kremer mentioned a special action concerning 1600 persons who had come from the Netherlands: in the margin next to that mention he wrote the name of Hössler, who at that time was one of the SS men responsible for the camp at Birkenau. Here is how Dr. Kremer is supposed to have explained his entry for 12 October (see p. 224, note 77):
In connection with the gassing action described by me in my diary under the date 12 October 1942. I have to explain that about 1600 Dutchmen were gassed then. This is an approximate number which I had put down after hearing it mentioned by others. This action was conducted by SS officer Hössler. I remember how he had tried to drive the whole group into one bunker. He was successful except for one man whom it was not possible to squeeze inside the bunker by any means. This man was killed by Hössler with a pistol shot. I therefore wrote in my diary about horrible scenes in front of the last bunker and I mentioned Hössler’s name in connection with this incident.
For his entry of 18 October 1942 Dr. Kremer is supposed to have furnished the following explanation (see p. 226, note 83):
During the special action described by me in my diary under the date of 18 October 1942, three women from Holland refused to enter the gas chamber and begged for their lives. They were young and healthy women, but their begging was of no avail. The SS men taking part in the action shot them on the spot.
3. DR. KREMER PERSISTED IN THESE CLAIMS AT HIS TRIAL IN MÜNSTER IN 1960
In 1977 the University of Amsterdam published its seventeenth volume of Justiz und NS- Verbrechen (Justice and Nazi crimes). There we find the text of the decision rendered against Dr. Kremer on 29 November 1960. On pages 19 and 20, the court sought to describe the operation of “gassing,” as well as the part that the accused was supposed to have personally played in that operation. The court speaks of a single “gas chamber.” It involved a farm comprising several separate structures near the Birkenau camp. An SS medical orderly went up on the roof and dumped some Zyklon through several specially fitted shafts (“durch Einwurfschächte”). He wore a gas mask. The doors of the “gas chamber” were all airtight. From outside, they heard the victims cry out. The court continued:
When there was no more sign of life, the defendant was taken back to his lodging by the Health Service car. The gas chambers were opened a short moment afterwards. [Faurisson note: Please note here that this opening is said to have been done a short moment after the death of the victims]. The bodies were removed by prisoners and were destroyed by cremation. During the events described above [Faurisson note: The court here alludes to Kremer’s description of the arrival of the victims, their disrobing, etc.] the accused was seated in the Health Service car, which was standing in the immediate vicinity of the gas chambers. Whether he had left his car and whether he had taken an active part in the murderous action could not be proved. The accused was in the car, however, in accordance with the mission that he had been assigned, ready for any accident involving the SS man certified by the Health Service who was handling the Zyklon B poison; he would help him immediately with the oxygen inhalator. He [the accused] himself admitted that in all good faith. But in fact no accident ever happened.
4. IN 1964 AT THE FRANKFURT TRIAL DR. KREMER AGAIN PERSISTED IN HIS CLAIMS
On June 1964, Dr. Kremer, then eighty years old, took the stand in Frankfurt as a witness for the prosecution against the former Auschwitz guards. In order to try to know exactly what he said on that day, we must rely on pages 72-73 of Hermann Langbein’s book Der Auschwitz Prozess: Eine Dokumentation [The Auschwitz Trial: A Documentation] [Vienna: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1965], 1027 p.). Unfortunately Hermann Langbein is the secretary of the International Concentration Camp Committee and his works all show a biased and partisan spirit. Bernd Naumann’s book says almost nothing on the deposition of Dr. Kremer (Auschwitz [Frankfurt: Athenäum, 1965], 552 p.). Thus, here is Hermann Langbein’s version of how Dr. Kremer’s deposition on the question of the “gas chambers” went; I reproduce the text in its entirety:
Judge: Where did the gassings take place?
Kremer: Some old farms had been transformed into a bunker [Faurisson note: The German text indeed gives the singular: Alte Bauernhäuser waren als Bunker ausgebaut] and provided with a sliding door for secure closing. Upstairs was located a dormer window. The people were brought in undressed. They entered quietly; only some of them balked; they were taken aside and shot. The gas was released by an SS soldier. For that he went up on a ladder.
Judge: And there were some special rewards for those who participated in such an action?
Kremer: Yes, that was the custom; a little schnaps and some cigarettes. They all wanted them. They were allotted the goods. I myself also received such goods – this was quite automatic.
Co-Plaintiff’s Counsel Ormond: You wrote in your diary that the SS soldiers strove with each other for service on the ramp [for the arrival of the convoys].
Kremer: That is humanly quite understandable. This was war, was it not, and the cigarettes and schnaps were rare. When someone was eager for cigarettes... They collected the goods and then they went off to the canteen with their bottles.
Dr. Kremer’s testimony on the “gassings” at Auschwitz is limited to these few questions and answers. Here, in conclusion, is Langbein’s commentary:
The man who described the process of gassing with these bland and indifferent words is the former university professor Dr. Johann Paul Kremer of Münster. He had already been convicted in Poland and in Germany for his participation in mass murders. At Frankfurt he left the witness stand smiling softly.
5. EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY: MY EXPLANATIONS AND MY COMMENTARIES
I note first that these extracts contain neither the word “gassing” nor the expression “gas chamber.”
Dr. Kremer’s diary was a private one. The doctor expressed himself freely in it. He frankly expressed his horror of the camp. He does not mince words. He compares what he sees to a vision from Dante. One can therefore think that, had he seen the virtual human slaughterhouses that the “gas chambers” would have been, he would have mentioned that absolute horror. Wouldn’t Dr. Kremer, being a scientist, at least have noted some precise physical details about these abattoirs, which, in the history of science, would have been an amazing invention? But let us begin at the beginning. Did Dr. Kremer in fact write what they say he wrote? The answer to that question is no, absolutely not. His text has been gravely distorted. This is indeed the work of a forger. As an example I am going to reproduce the text of Georges Wellers’s version, but I am going to insert in it, in capital letters in italics, what he has omitted, and I am going to insert in place of Sonderaktion and of extermination, which are misinterpretations, the two words that are appropriate; I will also put them in capital letters. Here, then, is the text translated from the original German (see document NO-3408 in the National Archives, Washington):
– 2 September 1942: This morning, at 3 o’clock, I was present OUTSIDE for the first time at a SPECIAL ACTION. Compared to that, Dante’s Inferno appears TO ME ALMOST LIKE a comedy. It is not without reason that Auschwitz is called THE camp of THE ANNIHILATION!
Every text must be scrupulously respected, especially a text supposed to serve as the basis for a shocking demonstration and for a terrible accusation. The deletion of the word OUTSIDE is very serious. Why, after the time has been specified, has the indication of the place been concealed? The German text says: DRAUSSEN. Dr. Kremer was not in a closed place, as a gas chamber would have been. He was “outside,” “on the outside.” Undoubtedly that detail is not very clear, and perhaps it meant “outside of the camp proper,” but that possibility must not be concealed. For Sonderaktion, Wellers has kept the German word; in appearance, this is evidence of scrupulousness and care; in reality, it is a clever trick. As a matter of fact, this word, at least for a French reader, has a sound that is disturbing, Germanic, barbaric, and can only conceal horrible things. But there is even more: just before citing that entry by Dr. Kremer, Wellers, in his article in Le Monde, wrote: “[Kremer] had participated in the selection for the gas chambers (Sonderaktion).” In other words, Wellers pushes on his reader the following lie: In his diary, Dr. Kremer said in so many words: “This morning, at three o’clock, I was present at a selection for the gas chambers.”
We see very clearly now that it was nothing of the kind. Dr. Kremer was content to speak of a “special action.” What is one to understand by this expression? To some people who, like me, doubt the existence of the homicidal “gas chambers,” it is absurd to answer, as Wellers does, by immediately positing their existence as an accepted fact. Suppose someone does not believe in the existence of flying saucers. To such a person one cannot rightly retort that such things exist because, in some police report, it is stated: “A witness declares that he saw something strange in the sky” – “Witnesses noted some unusual phenomena in the sky.” Thus, for the time being, the only honest – if not very clear – translation of Sonderaktion can only be “special action.” I shall return later to the probable meaning of this word about which, for the moment, we have no right to speculate.
Dr. Kremer did not write next: “Compared to that, Dante’s Inferno seemed to be a comedy,” but: “Compared to that, Dante’s Inferno seemed TO ME ALMOST LIKE a comedy.” Here, Wellers’s suppression of three words is perhaps not all that important, but it helps in its modest way to do violence to the meaning of the text, always with a view to producing the same effect. There is a shade of difference between “seemed like,” where one senses a softening, and “seemed to be,” which is more affirmative. Dr. Kremer did not transform an impression personal to him into an impression common to a whole group of people. In other words, he did not state: “Dante’s Inferno appeared here to everyone around me like a comedy”; if he had, one might suppose that he had been present at an unquestionably Dantesque scene. In reality, he contented himself with a personal confidence, writing in effect: “Dante’s Inferno here appeared TO ME, who had just arrived (that impression is personal to me, yet others can perhaps share it) ALMOST LIKE a comedy.” In other words, the scene is certainly horrible for this doctor, who has just, for the first time in his life, arrived in a concentration camp, but, all the same, not horrible to the point for him to decree that, in comparison with this scene, those of Dante’s Inferno are obviously a comedy to everybody.
But Georges Wellers has subjected the Kremer text to something far more serious. Kremer did not say that Auschwitz was “called an extermination camp,” which, in the original German, would have been: “genannt Vernichtungslager.” In reality, we read in the original German: “genannt DAS Lager DER Vernichtung” (“called THE camp of THE annihilation”). Had Wellers respected the presence of the two articles and had he assigned to “Vernichtung” the meaning of “extermination,” which is indispensable to his exterminationist thesis, he would have obtained the following sentence: “It is not without reason that Auschwitz is called the camp of the extermination.” Thus constructed, the sentence sounds bizarre both in German and in French. To us, this fact must signify that a word in the text has without doubt been badly translated. That word, as will be seen later on, is “Vernichtung.” The context will reveal to us that this word is not to be translated here as “extermination” (a meaning it can very well have in other contexts), but as “annihilation.” There is here no extermination, murder, assassination, killing or massacre; there are not the results of an act, an action or a will; there is nothing here about a “camp where they exterminate,” there is no “extermination camp” (an expression invented by the victors, some years after 1942, to designate camps allegedly endowed with “gas chambers”). What there is here, in reality, is an annihilation; men and women are reduced to wasting away; they are annihilated, reduced to nothing by the epidemics and notably by that illness the name of which, “typhus” (in Greek τῦφος) signifies precisely: torpor, stupor, a kind of lethargy, a rapid destruction of the faculties, sometimes to the point of death. Auschwitz is not “an extermination camp” (an anachronistic expression, and we know that anachronism is one of the most reliable signs of the presence of a falsehood), but the camp, yes, indeed, the camp par excellence of general annihilation. Without doubt, the moment he assumed his post at Auschwitz, this newcomer, Dr. Kremer, had heard his colleagues say: “You know, this camp, they call it the camp of annihilation. Watch out for typhus! You yourself are at risk of contracting it and dying from it.”
And at the end of his entry for 2 September 1942, Dr. Kremer puts an exclamation point. That punctuation indicates the doctor’s emotion. If one conceals it, as does Wellers, the phrase takes on another tone: one might believe that the doctor was cruel and cynical. One could perhaps believe that Dr. Kremer thought coldly: “The Auschwitz camp is called an ‘extermination camp.’ So it is. It is indeed. Let us take things as they are.” In reality, he was overwhelmed.
Due to lack of time, I cannot devote myself to the criticism of the texts given by Léon Poliakov, by Serge Klarsfeld, by the authorities of the Auschwitz State Museum, by the official translation of document NO-3408, etc. I would merely like to point out an especially serious fact. It concerns the German courts. The court at Münster, which tried Dr. Kremer in 1960, quite simply skipped over the word draussen when it reproduced the entry of 2 September 1942. It accumulated other serious dishonesties. Here is an example: to incriminate Dr. Kremer overwhelmingly, it had recourse to the “Calendar of Events at Auschwitz” as compiled by the communist authorities in Poland. It is strange enough for a court in the Western world to show confidence in a document drawn up by Stalinists. But there is more. The courts established that, for most of the convoys that arrived in the camp, the Poles in their “Calendar” indicated with extraordinary precision the number of persons “gassed.” Since we know that, according to the standard exterminationist literature those who were “gassed” were not the subject of any accounting, any tallying, an honest man could only read with astonishment in the “Calendar” that, from the time when Dr. Kremer arrived at Auschwitz, they had, on such and such a day, “gassed” 981 persons and, on another day, 1594 other persons. Also, the court at Münster used a cynical subterfuge. It reproduced numerous citations of the “Calendar” in its record and, while making clear that the “Calendar” was its source, each time the “Calendar” used the word “vergast” (“gassed”), the court substituted for that clumsy word the word “umgebracht” (“killed”). Thus readers of the verdict at Münster are deceived. Someone who might find the mention of “981 gassed” or “1594 gassed” suspicious will easily accept a of “981 dead” or “1594 dead.”
Finally, two remarks about the entries other than that of 2 September: (1) The expression anus mundi would not be appropriate, it seems to me, to scenes of “gassings,” but rather to a repugnant and nauseating scene of groups of those fallen prey to disgusting diseases, to dysentery, etc. (2) When Dr. Kremer says that he was present at a special action in rainy, cold weather or in gray and rainy autumn weather, it is probable that those actions took place outside in the open air, and not in a gas chamber.
6. THE TRUTH OF THE TEXTS: AUSCHWITZ AS PREY TO EPIDEMICS DURING THE SUMMER OF 1942
It is sufficient to read the diary with a certain minimum of good faith in order to see the evidence. Here is, in summary, the complementary information that the diary provides: Dr. Kremer came to Auschwitz to replace a sick physician there. Typhus had ravaged not only the camp, but also the German-Polish city of Auschwitz. The German troops as well as the internees were stricken. There were typhus, malaria, dysentery, subtropical heat, swarms of flies and dust in the air. The water was dangerous to drink. Diarrhea, vomiting, stomach aches made the atmosphere stink. The sight of people reduced to nearly nothing by typhus was demoralizing. In that hell, Dr. Kremer himself contracted what he called “the Auschwitz disease.” However, he underwent several vaccinations, at first against exanthematic typhus, then against abdominal typhus (a name which, in itself, would suggest a rather good explanation of the term anus mundi).
The principal bearer of typhus is the louse. On 1 September 1942 Kremer wrote: “In the afternoon was present at the gassing of a block with Zyklon B against lice.” Zyklon B is stabilized hydrocyanic acid. This product is still used throughout the entire world today. Many documents prove to us that the disinfection procedure was a delicate one and could require the presence of a physician for providing medical help, should the need arise, to the qualified personnel in charge of carrying out the gassing of barracks and, when the places had been ventilated for twenty-one hours, with testing to verify the disappearance of the cyanide before the occupants were allowed to re-enter. On 10 October 1942, the situation was so serious that there was a general quarantine of the camp. The wife of Obersturmführer (or Sturmbannführer) Cäsar died of typhus. The entire city of Auschwitz was laid up, etc. It suffices to refer to the text of the diary. For more details of that epidemic of 1942 one can also consult the calendar of the Hefte von Auschwitz. In the Anthology of the International Auschwitz Committee, Volume I, part two, page 196 (in the French edition), we read that the SS Dr. Popiersch, head physician of the garrison and of the camp, died of typhus on 24 April 1942 (four months before Dr. Kremer’s arrival). In volume II, part one, published in 1969, we read on pages 129 and 209 (note 14) that the Polish physician Dr. Marian Ciepielowski, of Warsaw, also died of typhus while caring for the Soviet prisoners of war.
Dr. Kremer’s work at Auschwitz seems to have been principally devoted to laboratory research, to dissections, to anatomical studies. But it was sometimes necessary for him to be present at corporal punishments and executions. He was not present at the arrival of the convoys but, once those fit for work had been separated from those unfit for work, he would arrive, by car with a driver, from his hotel in town (room 26 at the Station Hotel). What happened next? Did he lead people to “gas chambers” or to disinfection? Below we shall see what he is purported to have said, first in 1947 to the Polish communists, second, to the court at Münster in 1960 and third, to the court at Frankfurt in 1964.
7. THE TRUTH OF THE TEXTS: NO “GASSING”
We shall recall that, for 12 October 1942, Dr. Kremer wrote in his diary:
[...] Was present at night at another special action with a draft from Holland (1600 persons). Horrible scene in front of the last bunker! This was the 10th special action.
Likewise, for 18 October he wrote:
In wet and cold weather was on this Sunday morning present at the 11th special action (from Holland). Terrible scenes when 3 women begged to have their poor lives spared.
These two texts are easy to interpret. The “last bunker” could only be the bunker of barracks number 11; it was located at the end of the Auschwitz camp (the original camp), and not at or near Birkenau, which was 3 km away. The executions took place in what was called the courtyard of block 11. It is there that the “black wall” is located. Usually, persons who had been condemned to death were transported to a concentration camp for execution. That was probably the case with the three women who had arrived from the Netherlands. I suppose it would be easy to find their names and the reasons for their conviction, either in the archives at Auschwitz or in those of the Historical Institute in Amsterdam. In either case, these three women were shot.
The Poles have been terribly embarrassed by this reference to the “last bunker.” By a sleight of hand they have converted this bunker, which in the diary is in the singular, into... peasant farmhouses that had allegedly been transformed into “gas chambers” and were situated near Birkenau. Here the absurdities pile up. What is the doctor supposed to have done? Nothing. He remained seated in his car, at a distance. And what did he see of a “gassing” of human beings? Nothing. What can he tell us about what took place after the alleged “gassing”? Nothing, since he left by car with his driver (and the medical orderly?). He has nothing to say about either the installation, or the killing procedure, or the personnel employed in the killing, or of the precautions taken by them in entering an incredibly dangerous place. It is not Dr. Kremer who will tell us how people could enter this dreadful place “a short moment” after the alleged victims had stopped crying out. Nor will Dr. Kremer be able to inform us by what secret means some thousands of bodies, saturated with cyanide, lying amidst vapors of hydrocyanic acid, could be dragged out, with bare hands (although hydrocyanic acid poisons by contact with skin), without gas masks (although the gas is overwhelmingly toxic), while eating and smoking (although the gas is inflammable and explosive). It is Rudolf Höss, in his voluntary confessions to the same Polish court, who recounted all those astonishing things. Let’s be fair about this. Let’s suppose that the members of the Sonderkommando (“special detachment”) in fact did possess gas masks, fitted with a particularly strong filter, the J filter, against hydrocyanic acid. I’m afraid we have got no further ahead. I have here, in front of me, the translation of a passage from a U.S. Army technical manual dating from 1941 (The Gas Mask, Technical Manual No. 3-205, War Department, 9 October 1941, prepared under the direction of the chief of the Chemical Warfare Service, [Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1941], 144 p.) The following appears on page 55 (I have put the most important words in capitals):
It should also be remembered that a man may be overcome by the absorption of hydrocyanic gas through the skin; a concentration of 2 percent hydrocyanic acid gas being sufficient to thus overcome a man in about 10 minutes. Therefore, EVEN IF ONE WEARS A GAS MASK, exposure to concentrations of hydrocyanic gas of 1 percent by volume or greater should be made only in case of necessity and then FOR A PERIOD NO LONGER THAN 1 MINUTE AT A TIME. In general, places containing this gas should be well ventilated with fresh air before the wearer of the mask enters, thus reducing the concentration of hydrocyanic gas to low fractional percentages.
Dr. Kremer’s voluntary confessions, with the closing of the gas chambers done “with a sliding door for secure closing” make us laugh. The requirement that a homicidal gas chamber using hydrocyanic acid be totally airtight would have been impossible to satisfy with a sliding door. But how could Dr. Kremer, who never left his car, describe that door as if he had seen it? And the SS man who released the gas – how did he do it? Did he release “the contents of a box of Zyklon through an opening in the wall” (version of the confession of 1947)? Or “by some shafts (Einwurfschächte)” (version of 1960)? Or even through a “dormer window” that he reached “above” while climbing “by a ladder” (1964 version)? Everything in these confessions is empty and vague. One can simply deduce from them with certainty two quite probable things:
– Dr. Kremer convoyed persons who were led into certain barracks in order to undress (and undoubtedly they next went on to disinfection or to the showers);
– Dr. Kremer was present at some gassings of buildings or of barracks in order to disinfect them with Zyklon B.
In the course of defending himself by combining these two actual experiences, he constructed for his accusers, or his accusers constructed for him, the shabby and absurd account of the “gas chambers.” A very characteristic point of false testimonies on the homicidal “gassings” is the following: the accused says that he was at a certain distance from the place of the crime; the best that can be found is that of a defendant who says that he had been forced to release the Zyklon through a hole in the roof of the “gas chamber,” or even one who “had helped push” the victims into the “gas chamber.”
That ought to remind us of those unfortunates who in the Middle Ages were accused of having met the devil on such and such a day, at such and such an hour, in such and such a place. They would have been able to deny that fiercely. They might even have gone so far as to say: “You know very well that I could not have met the devil for one excellent reason, namely, that the devil does not exist.” They would have condemned themselves with such responses. There was only one way out: to play their accusers’ game, to admit that the devil was incontestably there, but... at the top of the hill, while they themselves, down below, heard the horrible noise (sobs, groans, cries, din) of the devil’s victims. It is shameful that, in the middle of the twentieth century, there are so many judges and lawyers who will admit as evidence the bewildering confessions of so many defendants without ever having had the least curiosity to ask them what they had actually seen, with their own eyes; without posing them technical questions; without going on to compare the most obviously contradictory explanations. In the defense of the legal profession, I must unfortunately note that even intelligent technicians and well-informed chemists as well can imagine that almost any small place may easily be transformed into a homicidal “gas chamber.” None of those people has had the opportunity of visiting an American gas chamber, or they would grasp the enormity of their error. The first Americans who thought about executing a man by gas also imagined it would be easy. It was when they actually tried to do it that they found out they risked gassing not only the condemned prisoner but also the governor and employees of the penitentiary. It took many years to perfect a reliable gas chamber.
As for Dr. Kremer’s “special actions,” they are easy to understand. These were simply what, in the vocabulary of the French army, are designated by the pompous name “missions extraordinaires.” I believe the American equivalent is “special assignments.” A “special assignment” does not necessarily imply a transfer of personnel. It denotes a sudden task that interrupts the habitual course of duties. Dr. Kremer, for example, worked chiefly in the laboratory but, from time to time, he was needed for other duties: reception of a transport to be led to disinfection, triage in the hospital of the sick, of those with contagious conditions, etc. Like a good soldier and a methodical man, he noted each of those duties in his diary; probably he earned a supplementary allowance each time he performed them, as did the SS volunteers who cleaned the railway cars at the arrival of each convoy. In any case, if Auschwitz appeared like a hell to him, it was not at all because of frightful crimes like the executions of crowds of human beings in the enclosures allegedly turned into “gas chambers,” but due to the typhus, malaria, dysentery, the infernal heat, the flies, the lice, the dust. One can determine as much by even a slightly attentive reading of the text of his diary. Which is what I, for my part, did first. And then one day I came by chance upon the proof, the material proof, that this was indeed the correct interpretation.
8. TEXTUAL CONFIRMATION OF THE CORRECTNESS OF THE REVISIONIST INTERPRETATION OF DR. KREMER’S DIARY
On page 42 of Justiz und NS-Verbrechen we learn that in the trial at Münster, in 1960, Dr. Kremer had called a witness in his defense. That witness was a woman whose name began with Gla (German law authorizes that, in a public document, certain names be revealed only in abbreviated form.) The name was very probably that of Miss Glaser, the daughter of Dr. Kremer’s housekeeper, of whom he speaks several times in the diary. The witness brought to court several postcards and letters that the doctor had sent her during his stay at Auschwitz. She said that the doctor “had not been in agreement with what took place at Auschwitz” and that he had been eager to leave the camp. Miss Gla[ser] then put into evidence a letter that Dr. Kremer had sent her, dated 21 October 1942. Its content is of extreme importance, which apparently eluded the tribunal. This letter proves that, when Dr. Kremer spoke of the Auschwitz camp as a hell, it was because of typhus and the other epidemics, just as I have said above. Here are Dr. Kremer’s words in the letter:
I don’t really know for certain, but I expect, however, that I’ll be able to be in Münster before 1 December, and thus finally turn my back on this hell of Auschwitz where, in addition to the typhoid, and so on, typhus has once again broken out strongly...
Here, therefore, is that “Dante’s Inferno” of the entry of 2 September 1942! Professor of medicine Johann Paul Kremer had seen the horrors of a formidable epidemic wiping out internees and guards at Auschwitz; he had seen no monstrous “gassing” operations exterminating crowds of human beings.
9. THE HUMAN CHARACTER OF DR. KREMER
In considering his life and reading his diary, we perceive that Dr. Kremer was not at all a brute, or a fanatic, or a cynical man. He was human, too human; he was a free spirit but perhaps with no great courage. He had early on become something of a “confirmed bachelor,” attached above all to his profession. His biography is sketched in the first pages of Volume 16 of Justiz und NS-Verbrechen. Johann Paul Kremer was born in 1883 near Cologne of a father who, having been a miller, became a farmer. He did his advanced studies at the Universities of Heidelberg, Strasbourg and Berlin. He earned a doctorate in philosophy and a doctorate in medicine. Kremer worked in succession at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, at the hospital of Berlin-Neukölln, at the surgical clinic of the University of Bonn, at the anatomical institute of the same university; finally, he became associate lecturer at the University of Münster, where he taught courses up until 1945 (when he was 62 years old). Those courses dealt with the doctrine of heredity, sports medicine, X-rays and, above all, anatomy. In 1932, at the age of 48, he joined the National Socialist German Workers Party. In 1936, at the age of 52, he was made SS-Sturmmann (roughly, private first class). In 1941, at the age of 57, he was promoted to Untersturmführer (second lieutenant) in the Waffen-SS. He served his active duty only during university vacations. In 1942 he spent two months at Dachau as a physician attached to the SS hospital; he had no contact with the camp internees. In 1941 he published a paper on heredity which seems to have brought him some worries with regard to the official authorities. In August 1942 he was serving at the SS hospital in Prague when, suddenly, he received an assignment to Auschwitz to replace a doctor who had fallen ill. Kremer was at Auschwitz from 30 August to 18 November 1942, after which time he resumed his activity at the anatomical institute of the city of Münster. At the time he was 58 years old. He served as president of the Disciplinary Commission of North Westphalia of the Union of National Socialist Doctors. In 1943 he was named lieutenant in the reserves of the Waffen-SS. Here is how he was evaluated: “Calm personality, correct; sure of himself, energetic; above average in general culture; excellent understanding of his speciality. Lengthy education as surgeon and anatomist; since 1936, associate lecturer at the University of Münster.”
On 12 August 1945, Kremer was arrested at his home in Münster by the British occupying forces (the “automatic arrest” of former SS men). During the arrest they seized his diary. He was interned at Neuengamme, then handed over to the Poles. Kremer was imprisoned at Stettin, then in fourteen Polish prisons in succession, and finally in Cracow prison. The preliminary investigation of the case was carried out by the famous judge Jan Sehn, to whom we owe the interrogations of Rudolf Höss and the latter’s (no doubt “voluntary”) confession. In 1947, at the age of nearly 64, Kremer was freed for good conduct and because of his advanced age and poor health. He returned to his home in Münster, where he was arrested by order of a German court, then freed on bail. At the time he was receiving a pension of DM 70 per week. He had married in 1920, at the age of 37, but he separated from his wife after two months, since she suffered from schizophrenia. He was to obtain a divorce only in 1942, twenty years later. Dr. Kremer had no children. A housekeeper looked after him. Unless I am mistaken, he was never at the front and never fired a shot except, doubtless, in training. From the age of fifteen and a half he kept a diary. I have not read the part of his diary that predates the Second World War.
On 29 November 1960, Dr. Kremer, aged 76, was sentenced to ten years in prison, but the ten years were considered as served. In consideration of his advanced age, his civil rights were suspended for only five years. He was ordered to pay court costs, stripped of his post as lecturer, his title of professor and, I believe, of his two doctorates. On 4 June 1964 Kremer took the witness stand in the “Frankfurt Trial” to testify against the “Auschwitz guards.” I doubt that this old man of eighty testified willingly against his compatriots in the hysterical atmosphere of that famous witch trial. His “voluntary confessions” to the Polish communists were thus, to the end of his life, to cling to his skin like the tunic of Nessus. So it was that, beginning in 1945, this professor’s existence had become an ordeal. Here is a man who had devoted his life to relieving the sufferings of his fellow men: after the ordeal of a lost war he was officially made into a sort of monster who had, it seemed, all of a sudden devoted two and a half months of his life to great massacres of human beings in line with a truly satanic industrial method. Dr. Kremer’s diary is dull in style (at least the part of it that I have read), but when one considers the destiny of that diary and its author, one cannot help but think of it as a work which, far more than certain other highly valued historical or literary testimonies, is profoundly disquieting. I think often of that old man. I think sometimes also of his tormentors. I do not know what became of Dr. Kremer. If he were still alive today he would be ninety-seven years old. I hope that one day a scholar will write a biography of this man, and that to do so he will visit the city of Münster (Westphalia) where there are certainly still a few people who knew – allow me to restore him his titles – Professor Doctor Johann Paul Kremer.
Dr. Kremer certainly did not have National Socialist convictions. On 13 January 1943 he wrote in his diary: “There is no Aryan, Negroid, Mongoloid or Jewish science, only a true or a false one.” On the same date, he wrote this as well:
[...] I had never even dreamed there existed anything like “a gagged science.” By such maneuvers, science has received a mortal blow and has been banished from the country! The situation in Germany today is no better than in the days when Galileo was forced to recant and when science was menaced by tortures and the stake. Where, for Heaven’s sake, is this situation going to lead us to in the twentieth century!!! I could almost feel ashamed to be a German. And so I shall have to end my days as a victim of science and a fanatic for truth.
In reality, he was to end his days as a victim of the political lie and as a poor man forced to lie.
For 1 March 1943, we read in his diary:
Went today to shoemaker Grevsmühl to be registered and saw there a leaflet sent to him from Kattowitz by the Socialist Party of Germany. The leaflet said that we had already liquidated 2 million Jews, by shooting or gassing.
The exterminationist historians do not use the argument that this entry seems to offer them. On reflection, that is understandable. Everyone knows quite well that a thousand rumors of German atrocities circulated during the war. The socialist opposition made use of them, as did all of Hitler’s opponents. In this kind of leaflet one says anything and everything. That is the rule for this type of literature. Dr. Kremer made no comment on the leaflet. Perhaps he believed what its author stated. That is even probable, since he took the trouble to note it. That is precisely what is interesting about this incident. Dr. Kremer must certainly not have been a very good Nazi, or otherwise his shoemaker would not have run the risk of letting him read a secret leaflet, especially one “sent to him from Kattowitz”. This last detail proves that Dr. Kremer was not afraid of confiding very delicate information to his diary.
On 26 July 1945, or about two and a half months after the German surrender, Dr. Kremer witnessed the distress of his countrymen. Their distress wrung from him nearly the same words as had the horrors of Auschwitz. I present in italics those words in the quotation that follows:
The weather is still very hot and dry. The corn ripens before its time, gnats are pestering us more and more, the foreigners* are still greatly worrying the starving, needy and homeless inhabitants. People are crowded into goods trains like cattle pushed hither and thither, while at night they try to find shelter in the stench of dirty and verminous bunkers. Quite indescribable is the fate of these poor refugees, driven into uncertainty by death, hunger and despair.
* (The Polish authorities here have altered the original German text, which spoke not of “foreigners” but of “Russians, Poles and Italians.”)
The fact that immediately after this passage Dr. Kremer spoke of the gathering of berries does not mean that he was insensitive to the suffering of his countrymen. Anyone who keeps a diary passes in this way, without transition, from the serious to the trifling. After the death of a person dear to him Goethe noted something to the effect: “Death of Christiane!! I slept well. I feel better.” And this “better” referred to health – his own health – which up until then had caused him some concern. As for Kafka, I believe I recall that on the very day of a similarly trying event he had gone to the swimming pool. I am not quite sure of these details and I propose to verify them some day.
10. FORCED CONFESSIONS
We all know that forced confessions are common coin, especially in time of war. GI’s in Korea, as in Vietnam, did not fail to confess “voluntarily” to the worst absurdities. People often believe that “voluntary confessions” are a speciality of the Communist world. This ignores the fact that the French, British and Americans made great use of torture towards, for example, the vanquished of the last war. As regards what the French did, I have carried out an investigation of an almost surgical precision on the summary executions in a whole small region of France at the time of the Liberation in 1944. It is absolutely impossible to have my manuscript published, given the scandal that it would cause, which would have repercussions, I can assure you, right up to the Presidency of the Republic, which is opposed (imagine it!) to the exhumation of persons who were executed by units of the Maquis. Those people were sometimes tortured. But experience has also taught me that it is necessary to distrust some tales of physical torture. There are perverted people who take real pleasure in inventing all sorts of such stories.
In The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, on pages 233-236 [2003 edition], Dr. Butz presents a profound and evocative analysis of forced confessions and torture. His brilliant intelligence, not to say his genius, dictates to him sometimes, as you well know, observations of such great pertinence that one is astonished and ashamed not to have made them oneself. Here is an example, dealing with physical torture; it is not lacking in humor:
Finally we should observe that almost none of us, certainly not this author, has ever experienced torture at the hands of professionals bent on a specific goal, and thus we might suspect, to put it quite directly, that we simply do not know what we are talking about when we discuss the possibilities of torture. (page 236)
It is, I think, easy to obtain forced confessions from a man whom one holds at one’s mercy. Physical torture is not absolutely necessary. I mean to say that it is not absolutely necessary to strike the victim. It is sufficient sometimes to shout and to threaten. Seclusion and prolonged isolation, as was the case with Aldo Moro, can create a feeling of panic and lead to a sort of madness. One will be ready to sign any kind of declaration in order to get out of the isolation. If an officer refuses to confess, he can be threatened with the loss of his men, and vice versa. He will be threatened with the loss of his wife and children. I am sure that all physical or mental resistance can be wiped out by very simple means. For example, captors will offer their prisoner conditions of lodging worthy of a decent hotel and give him as much as he wishes to eat, but nothing to drink. Or the prisoner will get enough to eat and to drink, but they will light his cell day and night so brightly (see the example of Nuremberg) that he will no longer be able to sleep. Very quickly he will become a human rag, prepared to mutter any kind of confession.
One fearful effect of torture is to bring the victim closer to his torturer. The panting victim detaches himself mentally from those whom he ought to love in order to attach himself to the one whom he ought to fear and hate. He no longer wishes to have anything in common with those whose ideas he shares: he comes to hate those ideas and those people because those ideas, finally, have caused him too much suffering and those people – his friends – appear to him as a living reproach. In contrast, there is everything to expect from the torturer. He possesses power, which always, in spite of everything, confers a certain prestige. The gods are on his side. It is he who has the solution to all your sufferings. The torturer is going to propose this solution to you, although, if he wished, he could kill you on the spot or torture you without respite.
This torturer, who proposes that you sign a simple sheet of paper on which some words are written: he is good. How can you resist him when you feel yourself so weak and so alone? This torturer becomes irresistible when, instead of demanding from you a confession that is precise and totally contrary to the truth, he proposes to you a sort of compromise: a vague confession based on a partial truth. From 1963 to 1965, at the Frankfurt trial, the judge had as his first concern not the truth, since he thought that the truth had already been revealed completely, but the measurement of the degree of repentance of each defendant! On page 512 of Hermann Langbein’s book, cited above, we see the judge show his preoccupation with discerning to what degree defendant Pery Broad was conscious of having done evil: the judge declared in all candor: “You see, an awareness of one’s wrongdoing plays a large part in these proceedings.” How many times must the German defendants have heard that remark from the mouths of their jailers, their investigating magistrates, and especially from their lawyers! After that, how could an intelligent and sensible man like Pery Broad refuse to tell the stupid story about an anonymous SS man whom he is supposed to have noticed one day, from a distance, in the process of releasing a mysterious liquid through the opening in the roof of... the “gas chamber” of Auschwitz (the original camp)? Pery Broad probably knew that no one would come and ask him, among other questions:
But how could you know that that was the roof of a “gas chamber” and not of a morgue? Did you enter the place? If you did, can you tell us how it was arranged? Was it not mad of the Germans to have placed a “gas chamber” just beneath the windows of the SS hospital and beneath the windows of the administrative building where you found yourself that day? With the ventilation, the flow of hydrocyanic vapor would therefore have been in the direction of the SS men in the hospital, or of those in your building. Isn’t that so?
Such are the questions that the court did not put to Pery Broad. It would be inhuman to blame Pery Broad, Dr. Kremer, Rudolf Höss and other SS men for their absurd forced confessions. One must be astonished at the laughable number of those confessions when one thinks of the hundreds of SS men from the concentration camps who were imprisoned by the Allies. Of all those who were hanged or shot or who committed suicide, how many left confessions? A handful on the subject of the alleged “gas chambers.” In regard to other subjects, perhaps there are more numerous confessions. I am inclined to believe that the Poles and the Soviets must have obtained a multitude of confessions; the SS men had to accuse each other, as all the men of the same lost cause were more or less obliged to do. If there were very few confessions from the SS men concerning the “gas chambers,” it was not due to the courage of the SS men – since, once again, it seems to me that no one can truly resist a torturer who is something of a psychologist – but quite simply because, on this subject, their torturers did not know very well what precisely to make them state. Without any material reality on which to construct their lies about the “gas chambers” – those slaughterhouses which in fact never existed – the torturers were reduced to inventing some poorly defined things and some stereotypes that they attributed to such men as Rudolf Höss, Pery Broad and Johann Paul Kremer.
11. A PRACTICAL CONCLUSION
In conclusion, if in your presence an exterminationist should base his argument for the reality of the “gas chambers” of Auschwitz (or of any other camp) on the claim of confessions, here, in my opinion, is the conduct to follow:
Ask if he will first enumerate those confessions one by one;
Ask him to point out the confession that, in his opinion, is the most convincing;
Agree to read that one confession in the language (accessible to you) and in the form that, again, is chosen by him;
Compare the allegedly original text of that confession with the text that the exterminationist has provided;
Decipher the text line by line and word by word, without making it say either more or less than it actually says; note carefully what the author of the confession alleges that he personally saw, heard or did; a traditional trick of the German courts has consisted, as was the case in the Kremer trial at Münster in 1960, in slipping a weak confession that the defendant made into a very long presentation about “gassing” in such a way that the reader will believe that the whole report comes from the defendant; the reader imagines that the defendant made a detailed report of the events. Nothing of the kind; the text need only be “scoured” of all the additions that the judge made to it: then one can conclude that the testimony is nearly as inconsistent as it is brief and vague.
See if the confession stands up, if it is coherent, if it breaks no law of physics or chemistry; be very materialistic, as if you were studying a miracle from Lourdes; try to see the places where the action is said to have occurred; see what remains of them; some ruins can be very instructive; seek out the plans of the places or the buildings.
Determine, if possible, whether the text of the confession is in the handwriting of the man who confessed; find out whether that text is in his mother tongue or another language; the Allies usually made the Germans sign texts drawn up in French (Josef Kramer) or in English (Rudolf Höss), and they would add, with full peace of mind, that they guaranteed that the text had been very faithfully translated for the accused into his own language (and they proceeded thus in the absence of any lawyer);
Seek to know who obtained the confession, when and how; ask yourself: upon whom did the man who confessed depend for his food and drink, and his sleeping quarters?
I don’t think I have to add any other recommendations (for example, as to the material or documentary authenticity of the text to be studied). You understand that I am setting out a method of investigation that is elementary and not at all original. It is a routine method that one would apply automatically in ordinary criminal matters, but, unfortunately, when it comes to crimes that are exceptional by their supposed nature, the historians as well as the judges, very far from redoubling prudence and holding to a tried and tested method, display an incredible rashness. Good method – whether it is a question of an investigation, an analysis, etc. – always consists in “beginning with the beginning.” In fact, experience has taught me that often nothing is more difficult and less spontaneous than “to begin with the beginning.” It was only after years of research on the “gas chambers,” and after having pronounced the words “gas chambers” perhaps several thousand times, that one fine day I woke up with the question: “What do these words really mean? What material reality do they really relate to?” To ask those questions was to find in them, very quickly, an answer. That answer you know: it is that the homicidal “gas chambers” of the Germans existed only in sick minds. It is high time that the entire world woke up and realized this. Germany, in particular, ought to wake up from this dreadful nightmare. It is high time a truthful history of the Second World War were written.
I reproduce here the text of the entry of 2 September 1942 (Diary of Johann Paul Kremer) after the photocopy of the original as found in the National Archives in Washington (Doc. #NO-3408). Some exterminationist works reproduce the photograph of this entry among other entries from the diary. But the reader has little chance of deciphering each word of Dr. Kremer’s German handwriting. He will be inclined to trust the printed reproduction offered to him, for example, in the margin; this is the case with KL Auschwitz, Arbeit Macht Frei, published by the International Auschwitz Committee, 96 p. (not dated). On page 48 there appears a photograph of a manuscript page of the diary on which are found three entries relating to five dates (1 through 5 September 1942). In the margin, one discovers the alleged printed reproduction of the single entry of 2 September. That reproduction appears in French, English and German. In French and English the text is outrageously distorted. In German, it was very difficult to distort the text in a similar way, since the photocopy of the manuscript was available to the reader. But we must have unlimited trust in the exterminationists’ ability to falsify texts that embarrass them. The International Auschwitz Committee found a solution thanks to a typographical trick. After the word Sonderaktion the editors printed, in the same typeface, the following parenthesis, as if it were from Dr. Kremer: “So wurde die Selektion und das Vergasen genannt” (“Thus did they refer to selection and gassing”). Either the reader, as is highly probable, will not notice the difference between the manuscript text and the printed text and will thus believe the sentence to be a confidence imparted by Dr. Kremer (something that will appear all the more normal since, according to an exterminationist myth, the Nazis spent their time inventing and using a coded language in order to cover up their crimes); or else the reader will see the difference between the texts and the authors will then plead a simple, and innocent, typographical error. Serge Klarsfeld, as I’ve said above, has used this fallacious page in his “Memorial of the deportation of the Jews of France”. Thus are historical tricks spread and perpetuated. Here is the original manuscript text in its authentic form:
Zum 1. Male draussen um 3 Uhr früh bei einer Sonderaktion zugegen. Im Vergleich hierzu erscheint mir das Dante’sche Inferno fast wie eine Komödie. Umsonst wird Auschwitz nicht das Lager der Vernichtung genannt!
Finally, here is the text of the passage from the letter of 21 October 1942 addressed to Miss Gla[ser], which I reproduce with its errors in punctuation and spelling.
[...] Definitiven Bescheid habe ich allerdings noch nicht erwarte jedoch, dass ich vor dem 1. Dezember wieder in Münster sein kann and so endgultig dieser Hölle Auschwitz den Rükken gekehrt habe, wo ausser Fleck usw. sich nunmehr auch der Typhus mächtig bemerkbar macht...
August 1, 1980