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''The Hoax Of The Twentieth Century'', by Prof. Arthur Butz

   I remember how shocked I was about 5 years ago, when reading the word 'Holo-hoax' for the first time in a mail from a USA-acquaintance.
Seeing Bishop Williamson on tv, hearing his argumentation and being surprised that nobody even bothered to give him some 'facts', I started doing my own research. At that moment I knew for sure that Americans were barbarians to whom nothing was sacred ...The outcome was a surprise : I found NOTHING confirming the six million, the contrary. 

Much has changed in the meantime.
There was proof of labour camps, not of extinction camps, not of gas chambers and not of ovens. 
The only solid figures came from the Red Cross (1979), 273.000 deaths in total, with 53.000 for Auschwitz : jews, communists, gypsies and homosexuals. Russian archives opening some years ago confirme this.

A open debate on this issue is not possible in the mainstream press, this falsification of history may not be exposed. 
Anybody in the West may deny the suffering of Jesus Christ, may deny he ever existed, may deny the existence of a supreme being, but the 'Holocaust' and the 'suffering of the jewish people' may not be denied. There is no choice ; everybody must BELIEVE, if not you could find yourself in jail. 'A-holocaustism' is NO option here, this freedom we do not have.

Arthur Butz's book gives facts : pls read and make others read. Understand the injustice done to the German people and the disgrace of the ongoing plundering of Germany by zionists. Understand the falseness of the argumentation of people like Netanyahu, when defending Israeli agression. Understand most of all that WE THE PEOPLE are mainly fed lies on practically every issue.



Do I "deny the Holocaust"? No! No indeed. 

I hope the holocaust is not denied and never forgotten. 

I hope the holocaust is remembered as the greatest propaganda effort and hate campaign ever waged against a civilized people. 

We must never forget. We must look at the despoliation of our people and our culture and ask : 

Why do the heavens not darken? 

We have lost the will and courage to defend ourselves. 

The time has come to commit the new blasphemy. It is time to deny the gods of the New World Order.’

Tom Blair




Arthur R. Butz
Theses & Dissertations Press
PO Box 257768, Chicago, Illinois 60625
September 2003

The Author
Arthur R. Butz was born and raised in New York City. He
received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering
from M.I.T. and his Ph.D. in Control Sciences
from the University of Minnesota in 1965. In 1966 he
joined the faculty of Northwestern University, Evanston,
Illinois, where he is now Associate Professor of Electrical
Engineering and Computer Sciences. Dr. Butz is the author
of numerous technical papers.

HOLOCAUST Handbook Series, vol. 7:
Arthur R. Butz:
The Hoax of the Twentieth Century.
The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry
3rd edition.
Chicago (Illinois): Theses & Dissertations Press,
Imprint of Castle Hill Publishers, September 2003
ISBN: 0-9679856-9-2
ISSN: 1529-7748

© by Arthur R. Butz 1976, 2003
Distribution Australia/Asia: Peace Books, PO Box 3300,
Norwood, 5067, Australia
Distribution Rest of World: Castle Hill Publishers
UK: PO Box 118, Hastings TN34 3ZQ
USA: PO Box 257768, Chicago, IL 60625
Set in Times New Roman.

Table of Contents
Foreword to the 2003 Edition .........................................................................8
Foreword ........................................................................................................19
A Short Introduction to the Study of Holocaust Revisionism ....................23
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis ................................................................27
Trials and Doubts........................................................................................27
How Many Jews? .......................................................................................32
Our Method, Argument, and Conclusion....................................................38
The War Crimes Trials................................................................................39
Chapter 2: The Camps ..................................................................................61
Horror Scenes and ‘Extermination’ Camps ................................................61
The Camps and Their End ..........................................................................63
The Industrial Role of Auschwitz...............................................................75
Chapter 3: Washington and New York ........................................................81
The Rubber Crisis of 1942 .........................................................................81
Auschwitz of Great Interest to Americans..................................................85
The First ‘Extermination’ Claims and Washington ....................................89
The First ‘Extermination’ Claims and New York .....................................100
German Reactions ....................................................................................128
The War Refugee Board Report: Birth of the Auschwitz Legend ............129
Rudolf Vrba ..............................................................................................138
Chapter 4: Auschwitz ..................................................................................143
Structure of the Legend ............................................................................143
The Höss ‘Confession’ .............................................................................144
Contradictions at the Outset .....................................................................148
When Did It Start?....................................................................................149
The Alleged Gassings and Zyklon............................................................150
Lines of Authority.....................................................................................154
Transports to Auschwitz ...........................................................................155
A Hospital for the People Being Exterminated?.......................................157
“Special Treatment”..................................................................................160

Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

The Crematories .......................................................................................163
Back to the ‘Gas Chambers’.....................................................................171
Why in English? .......................................................................................174
The Role of Birkenau ...............................................................................175
Summary for Auschwitz ...........................................................................183
Chapter 5: The Hungarian Jews ................................................................185
The International Red Cross.....................................................................185
1944 Propaganda ......................................................................................202
Where are the pictures? ............................................................................207
Air raids on Auschwitz: Rudolf Vrba overreaches himself ......................208
Documentary evidence? ...........................................................................210
The Producers...........................................................................................221
What Happened in Hungary? ...................................................................233
Can Anybody Believe Such a Story?........................................................235
Chapter 6: Et Cetera ...................................................................................237
More ‘Extermination’ Camps ...................................................................237
Logic of Defense Testimonies ..................................................................240
Josef Kramer, ‘Beast of Belsen’ ...............................................................240
Hermann Göring, et. al. at the IMT ..........................................................242
Oswald Pohl at Nuremberg.......................................................................248
Adolf Eichmann .......................................................................................249
West German Trials ..................................................................................253
Precedents for the Trials? .........................................................................256
Adolf Hitler ..............................................................................................260
Heinrich Himmler,....................................................................................262
Joseph Goebbels .......................................................................................265
The Einsatzgruppen..................................................................................266
Chapter 7: The Final Solution ....................................................................277
The German Policy and the Wannsee Conference....................................277
Numbers Deported: Whence and Whither................................................292
The Polish Ghettos ...................................................................................297
What Happened to Them? ........................................................................299
Zionism Again ..........................................................................................305
Migration to the USA ...............................................................................312
Table of Contents


J. G. Burg ..................................................................................................315
Conclusions ..............................................................................................316
Himmler Nailed it Perfectly .....................................................................317
Chapter 8: Remarks ....................................................................................319
Miscellaneous Objections.........................................................................319
Postwar Germany and Willy Brandt.........................................................322
The Talmud...............................................................................................325
Other Matters............................................................................................329
Some Implications....................................................................................330
Appendices ...................................................................................................333
Appendix A: The “Statement”..................................................................333
Appendix B: SS Ranks .............................................................................347
Appendix C: Deportation of Jews ............................................................349
Appendix D: The Belsen Trial..................................................................355
Appendix E: The Role of the Vatican .......................................................377
Supplements .................................................................................................399
Supplement 1: The International Holocaust Controversy ........................399
Supplement 2: Context and Perspective in the Holocaust
Controversy ..........................................................................................413
Supplement 3: A Response to a Major Critique of Holocaust
Supplement 4: Zyklon B and Gas Detectors in Birkenau
Crematorium II .....................................................................................469
Supplement 5: Vergasungskeller...............................................................481
Illustrations ..................................................................................................489
Index .............................................................................................................533

Foreword to the 2003 Edition
My investigations of the Jewish “Holocaust” commenced in 1972 and
twenty seven years have passed since the first publication of this book in 1976
in England as The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. Twenty six years have
passed since the release of the slightly revised second British and first American
edition of 1977. This text consists of the last, preceded by a short article I
wrote for the student newspaper at Northwestern University in 1991,1 and followed
by five supplements representing writings from 1979-1997. There is
also an addendum to Appendix E (“The Role of the Vatican“), consisting of
the obituary/tribute I wrote on Rev. Robert A. Graham. All were published in
the Journal of Historical Review. Also Appendix A, on Kurt Gerstein, has
been revised somewhat.
I am proud that this book remains of interest to anybody a quarter century
after publication. Nevertheless the age of this text, and the great advances that
have subsequently occurred in Holocaust revisionism, require some comments
on the value of the book to today’s reader. How can a quarter century old text
not be obsolete today? What does today’s reader gain from it? Would it not be
better to revise this text to take into account more recent developments?
From the perspective of today the book has defects, and several people, of
whom I am one, could now do better. In admitting such defects, I can plead
that I was one man working with little help. Except for Wilhelm Stäglich, the
correspondents I had before publication in 1976 were not then, and have not
subsequently become, significant in revisionist work. The literature of revisionist
orientation was scanty. Some of it was rubbish that constituted a minor
nuisance. On the positive side were Paul Rassinier, Thies Christophersen, and
Wilhelm Stäglich. At that time the writings of Rassinier, a former political
prisoner at Buchenwald, were of interest both as a primary source, relating
personal experiences, and as historical exposition (today Rassinier is of interest
only as a primary source). Christophersen and Stäglich, Germans who had
been stationed near Auschwitz, were of value only as primary sources, although
Stäglich later wrote a book of historical exposition. Even taking these
three into account, the historical complex was not there, as I shall explain below.
A common complaint about this work has been that I am not a trained historian
or history professor. It is, however, not unusual for people who are not
academic historians to make contributions to history. The great American historian
Francis Parkman was no history professor; he had only a brief academic
appointment as Professor of Horticulture at Harvard. The late Arnaldo Momigliano
urged wariness of academic historians and pointed out that none of
1 Rhodes, 347. Daily Northwestern, May 13, 1991, correction May 14.
Foreword to the 2003 Edition

the three leading nineteenth century historians of the ancient world was a history
professor, e.g. Mommsen was a Professor of Law.2
However, such examples do not satisfactorily illustrate the fact that history
has a closer relationship to popular culture than most other academic disciplines.
This is easily clarified and proved. In the major book reviews (New
York Times, New York Review, etc.) one can find reviews of, and advertisements
for, many works on the leading edge of historical research, i.e. works
not specifically written for popular readership. No such attention is given to
leading edge works in electrical engineering and most other academic disciplines.
Many intelligent laymen can read such historical works with comprehension.
If many can read them, then some can write them. I could give reasons
for this relatively popular status of serious history study, but it would
carry us too far afield. In any case, there is no venality on the part of academic
historians in approving of such popular promotion of their books.
Such observations show, however, that there is hypocrisy in their common
implication, when denouncing Holocaust revisionism, that only people with
their kinds of Ph.D. degrees are competent to deal with historical issues.
The style of my book is certainly not elegant. I believe my style has improved
much since then but, like most men with a technical education, my
style remains at best dry and not elegant. It was, however, good enough to do
the job. I have even sometimes wondered if elegance of style might be incompatible
with a subject as dreary as the present one.
It is not immodest for me to say that mine is the best book of its type, because
it is the only book of its type. To compare my book to others, the approach
of mine is horizontal, the others vertical. Subsequent investigators
have taken specific subjects and gone more deeply into them than I did. Such
vertical approaches should be contrasted with my horizontal. I attempted to
cover every reasonably relevant aspect of the problem. The question of the existence
of gas chambers was only one of many. I tried to show what did happen
as well as what did not. I showed the relevance of the Zionist and related
movements. I discussed the Allied policies and the Jewish influences in them.
My use of sources (e.g. the Nuremberg trials, Red Cross reports, Vatican
documents, contemporary newspaper accounts) today seems obvious but it
was not then. To aid in comprehending the early war crimes trials, I gave
witchcraft trials as a useful precedent.
I claim an additional contribution of this book that may seem ridiculous on
its face. I treated the German concentration camps as specific institutions that
existed in specific locations, with the alleged events that took place in them
taking place, if at all, in real space and real time, together with other events
that happened simultaneously in those same camps or in real space. By “real
2 A. Momigliano, “History in an Age of Ideologies,” American Scholar, Autumn 1982, pp.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

space” I mean a space that we all exist in so that, whatever happened at
Auschwitz, it happened at the same time President Roosevelt held meetings in
Washington, and I as a child went to school, etc., and in the same space.
That is so obvious that it may seem preposterous for me to present it as an
original perspective, but please hear me out. My impression of the extant literature
was that the events claimed there may as well be imagined as having
taken place on Mars if at all, so absent was a concern for the broader context.
As I reminded readers in my Chapter 5: “There was a war going on during
World War II.”
Consider my presentation of Auschwitz, the principal alleged “extermination
camp”. I started by describing Auschwitz as a camp that performed functions
similar to those performed by typical German camps that are not claimed
to have been extermination camps; I outlined those functions and I presented a
map showing where the German camps were. Then I described Auschwitz in
its unique respects and showed, why the Allies would have been interested in
events transpiring at Auschwitz. I presented pictures of crematorium ovens at
Auschwitz and other camps. I presented a map of the Auschwitz region and a
plan of the “Birkenau” section of the Auschwitz camp. That plan and the various
maps showed the reader exactly where, in Europe, Poland, and at Auschwitz,
the great gas chambers were supposed to have been located. Then I considered
one of the specific groups of Jews, the Hungarian Jews, not only from
the point of view of allegations of events in German camps but from the point
of view of events in Hungary. That is, for me the problem of the Hungarian
Jews was as much a problem of what happened in Hungary as what happened
at Auschwitz. Even in considering events at Auschwitz, I chose to place my
perspective elsewhere, among the Allies who, at the time in question, were
very interested in Auschwitz as an industrial bombing target and would have
photographed the camp for that purpose.
The photographs were produced almost three years after publication of my
book and confirmed my conclusions, but that is not the point that I am now
trying to emphasize. My point is that, as unlikely as it may seem, my method
of placing Auschwitz in its general historical context was essentially unique in
this historical area. True, some of what I said in that respect is to be found in
earlier books that purported to relate how the “exterminations” transpired, but
in scattered bits and pieces that were usually incidental to those accounts.
Even so, much had to be culled from diverse sources. For example, though it
seems obvious that any useful discussion of the Auschwitz problem required a
map of the Auschwitz region and of the Birkenau camp, the former had to be
constructed by me from several sources and the latter had to be lifted, not
from one of the standard “Holocaust” books such as those by Hilberg or
Reitlinger, but from a book about a German trial of Auschwitz personnel that
took place in 1963-5. Hilberg, Reitlinger, and similar authors were very stingy
with maps and pictures, except in books specifically devoted to presenting
Foreword to the 2003 Edition

pictures. We can say, with only minor oversimplification, that they would sell
you a book of pictures or a book of text, but not one book integrating the two
in any useful way.
I believe my analysis provoked investigations of specific problems, even
when such influence was not acknowledged. My implied skepticism about the
reality of the mysterious “German industrialist” who in 1942, according to the
World Jewish Congress, passed along information that a plan to exterminate
the Jews had been discussed in Hitler’s headquarters, may have provoked the
later investigations attempting to determine his identity. Walter Laqueur and
Richard Breitman, in Breaking the Silence, 1986, unconvincingly proposed
Eduard Schulte. I also stressed the inaction of the Allies with respect to
Auschwitz, which Laqueur (The Terrible Secret, 1980) and Martin Gilbert
(Auschwitz and the Allies, 1981) tried without success to explain.
The existence and relevance of the 1944 aerial reconnaissance photos of
Auschwitz were, to the best of my knowledge, first argued in my book.3 I also
believe that my book provoked, perhaps through some intermediary, the 1979
release of these photos by the CIA, but again such influence is not admitted.
I analyzed the specifics of the alleged extermination process at Auschwitz.
I showed that all of the specific material facts required a dual interpretation of
relatively mundane facts, e.g. transports, selections, showers, shaving hair,
Zyklon B, crematoria etc., all real and all relatively mundane, had been given
a second interpretation. That insight scarcely merits the label today, but it did
then. It has been the main paradigm for all subsequent revisionist writing on
Auschwitz and other alleged “extermination camps”. It may seem very simple
and obvious after one reads this book; it certainly was not when I wrote it. The
reader is shown what sorts of questions he should ask if he wants to go further.
Those who have studied the development of ideas understand that the
right answers are not attainable until the right questions are formulated (yes,
questions can be right or wrong). This book, even today, shows how to do
I consider my book generally “right” even today in the sense of how the
historical parts fit together, and they fit perfectly without major or fundamental
mysteries. Contrast the gyrations of the typical historians, who have nothing
but mysteries. How and when was an order to exterminate given? Was
such an order given at all? Why didn’t the Allies recognize what was (allegedly)
happening at Auschwitz? Why didn’t the Pope forthrightly condemn
physical extermination, even after the German had been driven out of Rome?
Why didn’t the Allied press give greater prominence to reports of extermina-
3 There is an unconfirmed and disputed claim that U.S. Army Capt. Jakob Javits (later U.S.
Senator) used the photos, in 1944, to argue for bombing Auschwitz. See letters in the New
York Jewish weekly Forward, 23 Feb. 2001, p. 10, and 6 April 2001, p. 16. If the claim is
true, the photos were forgotten until I argued, in my 1976 book, that they had to exist. I am
inclined to think the claim is not true.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

tion of Jews, rather than bury them in the back pages of the larger newspapers?
This horizontal analysis remains unique in the revisionist literature. The
book presented a historical complex that remains valid today. The book made
specialized studies easier because investigators did not have to worry about
coherence of the larger picture; they could direct a curious person to my book.
I did a good enough job for that, even if not a perfect job. The proof is that,
among revisionists, defects of the book are certainly seen but, unfortunately,
there seems to be no great demand for an improved integrated work of comparable
scope, and no aspiring author in view.
An example. You want to discuss the question of gas chambers at Auschwitz.
My old book won’t help if you want to be current, and there would not
necessarily be any reason to cite it. There are much more recent and conclusive
writings, but I could not imagine a person securely venturing into such a
controversy without having a grasp of the general historical complex, as provided
in my book. Thus I cannot imagine contemporary Holocaust revisionism
existing without a book such as mine, even if it is never necessary to cite it today.
It is still the only book of this sort. A better one would be nice but there are
two problems that occur to me. First such a book, if written from the point of
view of our knowledge today, would not fit into a single volume. This explains
why I reject the idea of trying to bring this book up to date. Such a project
would quickly run away from “updating”, resulting in an entirely new
work. Any attempt to respect the original content and organization of the book
would be a handicap in the updating project. The best single volume for bringing
the reader up to date on revisionist scholarship is a compilation of papers
by many people, not an integrated work.4
Second, a paradox: a weakness of the book explains some of its strength.
From the present point of view, there seems much in the book that is awkwardly
presented. This is because I did not write this book as an expert. The
book was written as works of research normally are: I was myself struggling
to understand, as would an intelligent and serious reader. Thus the book expresses
a relationship of common perspective, and therefore implicit mutual
empathy, between author and reader that could not exist in a new book, written
today from a position of expertise and directed at a neophyte reader, which
is the only relationship possible today. I believe this explains the occasional
overwhelming effect the book has. From this point of view the book is still
contemporary, as well as “right”, and ought not undergo major revision.
4 Germar Rudolf (ed.), Dissecting the Holocaust: The Growing Critique of “Truth” and
“Memory”, 2nd edition, Theses & Dissertations Press, PO Box 257768, Chicago, IL 60625,
USA, 2003. Expanded version of the text originally published as Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte:
Ein Handbuch über strittige Fragen des 20. Jahrhunderts, Grabert-Verlag,
Tübingen, 1994. Probably not available from Grabert now, but available from T&DP.
Foreword to the 2003 Edition

For these reasons, I have rejected any idea of “updating” this book. Rather,
several later writings from 1979 on have been provided here, as specified
That this book is still valuable today is due to the distortions and misrepresentations
that have continued to issue from the media and academe, resulting
in millions of people so uninformed that a viewpoint of 1976 is a great revelation
for them in 2003.
I consider this book as successful as could have been judiciously hoped
under the circumstances, but it is important to view it as one of the successes
in the phenomenon of Holocaust revisionism, for which no single person, or
set of specific persons, can take credit. It seems to me to be just something
that was timely and had to develop and that I was just a part of this development.
I discussed this in my paper reproduced as Supplement 1 but, to try to
make my point clearer, let me emphasize that the Jews have played a very important
role in this development; they must take some of the credit. It was they
who chose, in 1977, to spread the news of this obscure book to the most remote
corners of the universe. Who could have imagined such massive publicity
for a book from an unknown publisher, written by an unknown author, and
only barely available in the USA? They have used their powerful positions in
the media to keep the subject of “Holocaust” uppermost in the minds of the
populace; we get it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The present “Holocaustomania”,
which younger readers may believe has been a permanent feature of
our public affairs since World War II, can be fairly said to have started with
the 1978 NBC-TV “docudrama” Holocaust. Only Jewish groups (either formally
Jewish or having a largely Jewish membership), on the campus of
Northwestern University, have maintained students’ interest in my work on
the “Holocaust”. Such mutual dependency only holds for things that had to
When I wrote this book, there were perhaps a half dozen serious Holocaust
revisionist researchers (most not known by me). Today there are too many for
me to even try to list, and readers of contemporary Holocaust revisionist literature
in all languages certainly number in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps
There are many back-handed compliments to our success. Perhaps the most
conspicuous is the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. A February 1992 funds
appeal for it, signed by “National Campaign Chairman” Miles Lerman named
“revisionists” as those whom the museum would “counter”. The Museum formally
opened in April 1993 “Intent on refuting revisionist attempts to diminish
the scope of the Holocaust”.5 As if that weren’t enough, the 104th Congress
passed, without dissent, a resolution making only two points: it “deplores”
revisionism and “commends the vital, ongoing work of the […] Mu-
5 Chicago Tribune, 23 April 1993, sec. 1, p. 18.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

seum.”6 That silly Museum is an ironic monument to Holocaust revisionism.7
The Museum will not be the last such monument. In 1996, Jewish Senators
Barbara Boxer and Arlen Specter handed Jewish movie director Steven Spielberg
a check representing a $1 million federal grant for his “Survivors of the
Shoah Visual History Foundation” (a project of videotaping accounts of “survivors”
– “Shoah” is the Hebrew word used in place of “Holocaust”). Specter
motivated the grant in terms of opposing the considerable success of revisionists.
A more recent example is the projected Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. A
July 2001 advertisement, appealing for funds, raised the danger of revisionism.
Revisionist apostasy has been rare. It has been most visible in cases where
some public figure who was not actually a revisionist made public remarks
supportive of revisionism. A 1996 example was Abbé Pierre, a sort of French
Mother Teresa (although more active in public affairs) who, despite his quick
recantation of his revisionist remarks, will never be forgiven by his former
friends.10 This episode is one of many that illustrate the handicaps that Holocaust
revisionism has labored under.
A final proof, if needed, of our success is the fact of laws passed in recent
years, in several European countries, criminalizing the publication of revisionist
views on the Holocaust. Such literature circulated freely in Europe until the
present revisionist movement started making its impact in the late 70s. In the
United States we are still free of state suppression, although there is considerable
whining in some quarters about “First Amendment absolutism”. Here the
repression works largely by extra-legal means of intimidation and reprisal. For
example, Fred Leuchter was the leading execution technologist in the USA
when he published his famous 1988 report on the alleged Auschwitz gas
chambers.11 Since then, his business has been ruined and his marriage de-
6 Senate resolution 193 passed 9 Nov. 1995, and House resolution 316 passed 16 April 1996.
7 Perhaps the most telling point is that the Museum, after so much promotion and millions
spent, has failed to depict a homicidal gas chamber. Robert Faurisson has commented on
this and related his humorous encounter with the Museum’s director, Dr. Michael Berenbaum.
Journal of Historical Review, Jan./Feb. 1994, p. 23; Nov./Dec. 1994, p. 4.
8 Boston Globe, 24 July 1996, p. A6. Spielberg got into “Shoah business” (from an American
expression – “there’s no business like show business”) via his Schindler’s List movie, which
also failed to depict a gassing or homicidal gas chamber. On the basis of his other movies
and other scenes in this one, I could not attribute the failure to squeamishness on Spielberg‘
s part. He is a good enough showman to have realized that a complete depiction of a
gassing via Zyklon B, faithful to the legend and to physical possibility, would have been far
too preposterous even for him. The Jewish worker who was shot for exceeding her assigned
tasks was routine rubbish, but the gassing would have been too much.
9 NY Times, 18 July 2001, p. A6.
10 NY Times, 1 May 1996, p. A6. Boston Globe, 23 July 1996, p. A5.
11 S. Lehman, “A Matter of Engineering,” Atlantic Monthly, Feb. 1990, pp. 26-29. Also see the
letters in the May issue; Fred A. Leuchter, An Engineering Report on the alleged Execution
Foreword to the 2003 Edition

stroyed. All such developments are of course back-handed and evil tributes to
the success of Holocaust revisionism. Even the most naive reader will see the
point: they don’t want you to know these things! They are trying to hold back
the wind.
We are successful, but we have a long way to go, as the brute strength of
the dying monster is considerable.
Evanston, Illinois
June 2003
Gas Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, Poland, Samisdat Publishers Ltd.,
Toronto 1988; for an update on this issue, see Germar Rudolf, The Rudolf Report. Expert
Report on Chemical and Technical Aspects of the ‘Gas Chambers’ of Auschwitz, Theses &
Dissertations Press, PO Box 257768, Chicago, IL 60625, USA, 2003.

A number of individuals contributed valuable suggestions and critiques
which are reflected in the text of this book, but of course the responsibility for
any errors of fact or interpretation, if such be found, is entirely my own. I also
wish to reserve for myself any problems that may arise on account of the reaction
to this book, and for this reason I refrain from making the applicable personal
acknowledgments here.
Institutional acknowledgments are made to the US National Archives, the
US Army Audio-visual Agency and the Foreign Affairs Document and Reference
Center of the US Department of State, Washington, DC, to the Panstwowe
Museum, Oswieçim, and to the Library of the University of Chicago
and the Center for Research Libraries, Chicago.
Special acknowledgment is made to the staffs of the Imperial War Museum,
London, the national office of the Netherlands Red Cross, The Hague,
and the Library of Northwestern University (especially the inter-library loan
department), Evanston, all of whom contributed more than routine services
without, of course, being aware of the exact nature of the research involved.
A.R. Butz

In common with virtually all Americans, who have had their opinions
formed since the end of World War II, I had, until not very long ago, assumed
that Germany had given the world a particularly murderous outburst during
World War II. This view has ruled Western opinion since 1945 and earlier,
and I was no exception in accepting the essentials of it.
An important qualification in the preceding is the term “essentials,” for the
collection of crimes of which the Germans were supposedly guilty in World
War II grows rapidly smaller as one examines the evidence and arguments assembled
in readily available “revisionist” books. An elementary critical examination
reveals that most of the crimes that are real even in the minds of
“intellectuals” (e.g. lampshades manufactured by some Germans from the
skins of human beings killed in concentration camps for the purpose) obviously
had no basis in fact. Likewise with legends about mistreatment of
American and British prisoners of war. Moreover, the general problem is
elaborated considerably when one weighs, as the revisionists do, the appalling
wartime and postwar brutalities of the Western Allies.
Such an investigation does not overturn the “Holocaust” legend, however,
and the “six million” Jews murdered, mainly in “gas chambers,” can seem
immovable fact. The revisionist books which overturn some of the most popular
misconceptions seem to accept the gas chambers as factual. All educated
opinion that the investigator consults accepts the “extermination” story. Professors
of history who have specialized in Germany, if asked, seem to consider
the charge as established as the Great Pyramid. Liberal and conservative
publicists, though they have very different attitudes toward World War II and
America’s entry into it, and though they squabble with each other on almost
everything else, close ranks on the reality of the “Holocaust.” Noting the obvious
ways in which this legend is exploited in contemporary politics, notably
in connection with the completely illogical support that the US extends to Israel,
I had long had lingering doubts about it, and there was also the fact that
there existed a small number of respected observers whose views had not been
formed entirely after World War II and who, in the very limited channels open
to them and with various degrees of explicitness, denied even the approximate
truth of the legend. A good example is the distinguished American scholar
John Beaty, who was called to active duty in the military Intelligence Service
of the War Department General Staff just before the entry of the US into the
war and attained the rank of Colonel by the end of the war. Among other
things, Beaty was one of the two editors of the daily secret “G-2 Report,”
which was issued each noon to give persons in high places, including the
White House, the world picture as it existed four hours earlier. In his book
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

Iron Curtain Over America, published in 1951, he ridiculed the six million
legend with a few remarks that were unfortunately brief and inconclusive, but,
coming from a man who was one of the best informed in the world during the
war, carried some amount of authority.
Elementary investigation into the question, of the sort the non-historian
customarily does, led me nowhere. The meager amount of literature in the
English language which denied the truth of the legend was not only unconvincing;
it was so unreliable and unscrupulous in the employment of sources,
when sources were employed, that it had a negative effect, so that the case for
the truth of the essentials of the legend (disregarding quantitative problems,
e.g., whether it was six million or four million or only three million) seemed
strengthened. At the time I became aware that there existed additional literature
in French and German but, being quite unaccustomed to reading texts in
those languages except on rare occasions when I consulted a paper in a French
or German mathematics journal, I did not undertake to acquire copies of the
foreign language literature.
Moreover, I assumed that if such literature was worth more than what was
being published in English, somebody would have published English translations.
Still possessing my lingering doubts I sat down, early in 1972, and started
to read some of the “Holocaust” literature itself rather more systematically
than I had previously, in order to see just what claims were made in this connection
and on what evidence. Fortunately, one of my first choices was Raul
Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews. The experience was a shock
and a rude awakening, for Hilberg’s book did what the opposition literature
could never have done. I not only became convinced that the legend of the
several million gassed Jews must be a hoax, but I derived what turned out to
be a fairly reliable “feel” for the remarkable cabalistic mentality that had given
the lie its specific form (those who want to experience the “rude awakening”
somewhat as I did may stop here and consult pp. 567-571 of Hilberg12).

Although my long-lingering skepticism in regard to the legend was no
longer on the defensive, my information could not, early in 1972, be considered
conclusive and my knowledge of the subject was not comprehensive so I
set out, at first in my “spare time,” to investigate the subject with the thoroughness
that was required.
The reader will have surmised that my “spare time” eventually expanded
Several, for me startling, discoveries made the subject irresistible in a
purely intellectual sense. I acquired the foreign language literature. Ultimately
I spent the entire summer of 1972 working on an exposé of the hoax, since by
then I had penetrated and demolished the whole sorry mess so that, while the
12 Vol. 3, pp. 885-890 in the “revised and definitive edition” of 1985.


The book you are holding differs considerably in quantity of factual content and
general quality from the picture I had formed by the summer of 1972, that picture,
whose essentials are transmitted here, was in such overwhelming contradiction
to the lies that Western society had equipped me with, that my attention
could not be drawn from the subject by any appeal to prudence or any
such practical calculation. Because even early in the summer of 1972, it was
evident that my research had carried the subject beyond the existing literature,
I felt an inescapable obligation and an intellectual imperative to put forward
for society’s evaluation what I knew about this most pernicious hoax. It
quickly became clear that only a book would do; the subject could not, given
the years of propaganda, be treated in a research paper or pamphlet and, a fortiori,
it could not be treated in the form of a lecture.

The body of a text was written in the summer of 1972 and then the manuscript
was gradually improved in the course of the next two years. A trip to
Europe in the summer of 1973 was very rewarding, as was a trip to Washington
later in the year. The book was essentially finished in late 1974.
There will be those who will say that I am not qualified to undertake such a
work and there will even by those who will say that I have no right to publish
such things. So be it.

If a scholar, regardless of his specialty, perceives that scholarship in acquiescing,
from whatever motivation, in a monstrous lie, then it is his duty to expose
the lie, whatever his qualifications. It does not matter that he collides
with all “established” scholarship in the field, although that is not the case
here, for a critical examination of the “holocaust” has been avoided by academic
historians in all respects and not merely in the respect it is treated in
this book. That is, while virtually all historians pay some sort of lip service to
the lie, when it comes up in books and papers on other subjects, none has produced
an academic study arguing, and presenting the evidence for, either the
thesis that the exterminations did take place or that they did not take place. If
they did take place then it should be possible to produce a book showing how
it started and why, by whom it was organized and the line of authority in the
killing operations, what the technical means were and that those technical
means did not have some sort of more mundane interpretation (e.g. crematories),
who were the technicians involved, the numbers of victims from the
various lands and the timetables of their executions, presenting the evidence
on which these claims are based together with reasons why one should be
willing to accept the authenticity of all documents produced at illegal trials.
No historians have undertaken anything resembling such a project; only nonhistorians
have undertaken portions.

With these preliminary remarks, therefore, I invite your study of the hoax
of your century.
Evanston, Illinois
August 1975


A Short Introduction to the Study of Holocaust Revisionism

First published in the Daily Northwestern, May 13, 1991, correction May 14.
I see three principal reasons for the widespread but erroneous belief in the
legend of millions of Jews killed by the Germans during World War II: US
and British troops found horrible piles of corpses in the west German camps
they captured in 1945 (e.g. Dachau and Belsen), there are no longer large
communities of Jews in Poland, and historians generally support the legend.
During both world wars Germany was forced to fight typhus, carried by
lice in the constant traffic with the east. That is why all accounts of entry into
the German concentration camps speak of shaving of hair and showering and
other delousing procedures, such as treatment of quarters with the pesticide
Zyklon. That was also the main reason for a high death rate in the camps, and
the crematories that existed in all.
When Germany collapsed in chaos then of course all such defenses ceased,
and typhus and other diseases became rampant in the camps, which quartered
mainly political prisoners, ordinary criminals, homosexuals, conscientious objectors,
and Jews conscripted for labor. Hence the horrible scenes, which
however had nothing to do with “extermination” or any deliberate policy.
Moreover the west German camps involved were not the alleged “extermination
camps”, which were all in Poland (e.g. Auschwitz and Treblinka) and
which were all evacuated or shut down before capture by the Soviets, who
found no such scenes.
The “Final Solution“ spoken of in the German documents was a program
of evacuation, resettlement and deportation of Jews with the ultimate objective
of expulsion from Europe. During the war Jews of various nationalities were
being moved east, as one stage in this Final Solution. The legend claims that
the movements were mainly for extermination purposes.
The great majority of the millions allegedly exterminated were east European,
not German or west European, Jews. For that reason study of the problem
via population statistics has been difficult to impossible, but it is a fact
that there are no longer large communities of Jews in Poland. However, the
Germans were only one of several parties involved in moving Jews around.
The Soviets deported virtually all of the Jews of eastern Poland to their interior
in 1940. After the war, with Polish and other Jews pouring out of the east
into occupied west Germany, the Zionists moved large numbers to Palestine,
and the US and other countries absorbed many Jews, in most cases under conditions
making impossible a numerical accounting. Moreover the Polish borders
were changed drastically at the end of the war; the country was literally
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

moved west.
Historians generally support the legend, but there are precedents for nearly
incomprehensible blindness on the part of scholars. For example throughout
the Middle Ages even the Pope’s political enemies conceded his false claim
that the 4th century Emperor Constantine had ceded rule of the west to the
Pope, although all knew very well that Constantine had been succeeded by
more emperors. Near unanimity among the academics is especially suspect
when there exist great political pressures; in some countries Holocaust revisionists
have been prosecuted.
It is easy to show that the extermination legend merits skepticism. Even the
casual reader of the Holocaust literature knows that during the war virtually
nobody acted as though it was happening. Thus it is common to berate the
Vatican, the Red Cross and the Allies (especially the intelligence agencies) for
their ignorance and inaction, and to explain that the Jews generally did not resist
deportation because they did not know what was in store for them. If you
add all this up you have the strange claim that for almost three years German
trains, operating on a continental scale in densely civilized regions of Europe,
were regularly and systematically moving millions of Jews to their deaths, and
nobody noticed except for a few of our Jewish leaders who were making public
“extermination” claims.
On closer examination even those few Jewish leaders were not acting as
though it was happening. Ordinary communications between the occupied and
neutral countries were open, and they were in contact with the Jews whom the
Germans were deporting, who thus could not have been in ignorance of “extermination”
if those claims had any validity.
This incredible ignorance must also be attributed to Hans Oster’s department
in German military intelligence, correctly labeled “the veritable general
staff of the opposition to Hitler” in a recent review.
What we are offered in evidence was gathered after the war, in trials. The
evidence is almost all oral testimony and “confessions.” Without the evidence
of these trials there would be no significant evidence of “extermination”. One
must pause and ponder this carefully. Were trials needed to determine that the
Battle of Waterloo happened? The bombings of Hamburg, Dresden, Hiroshima
and Nagasaki? The slaughter in Cambodia?
Yet this three year program, of continental scope, claiming millions of victims,
requires trials to argue its reality. I am not arguing that the trials were illegal
or unfair; I am arguing that such historical logic as the legend rests on
must not be countenanced. Such events cannot happen without generating
commensurate and evidence for their reality, just as a great forest fire cannot
take place without producing smoke. One may as well believe that New York
City was burned down, if confessions to the deed can be produced.
Detailed consideration of the specific evidence put forward in support of
the legend has been a focus of the revisionist literature, but I shall mention one
A Short Introduction to the Study of Holocaust Revisionism

point here. The claim of the legend is that there were no technical means provided
for the specific task of extermination, and that means originally provided
for other purposes did double duty in improvised arrangements. Thus
the Jews were allegedly gassed with the pesticide Zyklon, and their corpses
disappeared into the crematories along with the deaths from “ordinary” causes
(the ashes or other remains of millions of victims never having been found).
Surely any thoughtful person must be skeptical.

Chapter 1:
Trials, Jews and Nazis
Trials and Doubts
The “war crimes trials” which the victors in World War II conducted,
mainly of Germans but also of many Japanese, were precedent-shattering in
their scope and in the explicitness of the victorious powers’ claims to some
sort of legal jurisdiction in respect of laws or understandings which did not exist
at the time they were allegedly broken by the Axis powers. Thus in disregard
of European honor conventions which had been respected for centuries,
German civilian and military prisoners, many of the highest rank, met violent
deaths while in Allied captivity as a supposed consequence of these extraordinary
Nothing resembling the trials of 1945-1949 which were conducted by the
wartime enemies of Germany has ever occurred before. The case of Joan of
Arc comes to mind, but that involved a solitary prisoner, not an entire state,
and the English who were, in the last analysis, responsible for the trial did
everything to make the issue appear to be one of heresy and witchcraft, already
formally proscribed, to be decided by an impartial and universal church
according to pre-existing rules of evidence and procedure.
In the United States, the real progenitor of the trials, opinion on the appropriateness
of having conducted such trials has always been divided, but the
balance has varied. In the immediate post-war period, opinion generally favored
the trials with, however, some significant voices in opposition. In the
middle of the heated election campaign of 1946, just before the major Nazis
Göring, Ribbentrop et. al. were to be hanged, Senator Robert A. Taft delivered
a speech attacking both the legal basis for the trials and the sentences which
had been imposed; his speech seems to have hurt his Republican Party in
those elections.
A decade later views had evidently changed somewhat, since at that time
the then obvious presidential candidate John F. Kennedy published a book,
Profiles in Courage (a survey of various people whom Senator Kennedy
thought courageous) in which he commended Taft for taking this stand, adding
that Taft’s views “are shared […] by a substantial number of American
citizens today.”13
13 Kennedy, 216-219; 236-239 in Memorial Edition.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

With the Eichmann abduction in 1960 and subsequent “trial” and with the
associated later publicity, opinion seemed to move again, however slowly, toward
approval of the trials. Many reasons may be offered for this extraordinary
reversal but it seems to me that what had happened was that in a peacetime,
generally non-hysterical atmosphere the world’s attention had been focused
on one tale of a peculiarly macabre sort: the killing, mainly in “gas
chambers,” of several (usual figure, six) million Jews, of all ages and conditions,
by the Nazis during the war, as part of a program of ridding Europe of
Jewry. Gerald Reitlinger’s The Final Solution, 2nd edition (1968) is generally
accepted as the most detailed and useful presentation of this claim, and Raul
Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews (1961) tells essentially the
same story. Other writings are Nora Levin’s The Holocaust (1968), several
books by Léon Poliakov, and The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, by Lucy
S. Dawidowicz (1975).
Returning to the problem of the appropriateness of the war crimes trials,
everybody would agree as to the (at least) shaky legal foundations of the trials,
but apparently many people would go along with the claim that the trials were
appropriate anyway because normal wartime excesses were not involved; the
extraordinary nature of the crime, the extermination of the European Jews,
called for extraordinary proceedings. Such cruelty must not only be punished
but documented as well, the argument goes.
I do not propose in this book to settle the question of what degree of cruelty
justifies what degree of legal irregularity. Rather, a rarely heard point
which is at least relevant to the debate is insisted upon here; it is a fact that
without the evidence generated at these trials, there would be no significant
evidence that the program of killing Jews ever existed at all. One has only to
examine the sources employed by Hilberg and by Reitlinger to see this. If the
trials had not been held, a person claiming the existence of the extermination
program could not, if challenged, produce any evidence for this save a few
books (not including Hilberg or Reitlinger) whose claims are just as unsupported
as his original claim. Thus the problem that had been involved in deciding
whether or not to hold trials on the Jewish extermination aspect was not
a simple question of whether or not to try mass murder; unlike the usual murder
case there was legitimate and very solid doubt that the deed had been
committed at all.
This may surprise the reader who regards the tale of Jewish extermination
as a near certainty; such is simply not the case. There are many considerations
supporting this view and some are so simple that they may surprise the reader
even further. The simplest valid reason for being skeptical about the extermination
claim is also the simplest conceivable reason; at the end of the war,
they were still there.
This must be qualified only slightly. Consider a West European observer,
who had been familiar with the status of European Jewry prior to the war,
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis

making a survey of West European Jewry in, say, late 1946 (East European
Jewry was out of bounds). He would have found Italian, French, Belgian and
Danish Jewry essentially unscratched (these points will be discussed more
fully in later chapters). On the other hand, he would have found that large
numbers of Jews, possibly majorities, were missing from Luxembourg, the
Netherlands and Czechoslovakia (then accessible from the West). German-
Austrian Jewry was confused because, although most had emigrated before
the war, it was difficult to be precise about what numbers had emigrated to
where. In any case large numbers, possibly majorities, of those who had remained
were no longer resident in their former homes.
However, the absences were offset by the obvious fact that displaced persons’
camps in Germany were full of Jews (a figure of more than 250,000 has
been given14) and that many European Jews had emigrated to the US or Palestine
or elsewhere since the beginning of the war. The facts available to the
West European observer in late 1946 argued very strongly against the extermination
claims which had received such wide publicity during the war and at
the recent trial at Nuremberg.
The passage of a quarter of a century has, despite superficial developments,
gradually strengthened this view of the extermination tale, although for many
years there was only one serious writer in the field, the late French geographer
Paul Rassinier. In 1948, he published a book, Passage de la Ligne, on his experiences
as a left wing political prisoner at Buchenwald, 1943-1945, “generally
received with sympathy, provoking only muffled and inconclusive gnashings
of teeth on a certain side.” Then in 1950 he published Le Mensonge
d’Ulysse (The Lie of Ulysses), a critical study of the concentration camp literature
in which he challenged the certainty of the gas chambers: “It is yet too
early to pronounce a definitive judgment on the gas chambers.” This provoked
a violent press campaign which led ultimately to legal actions in which author,
preface author and publisher were first acquitted then found guilty with judgments
involving fines, damages and suspended prison sentence, and finally
acquitted again.
In 1955, the two books were combined as Le Mensonge d’Ulysse, 2nd edition,
in which material increasingly critical of the gas chamber claim had been
added. The most common (but not very common) edition today is the fifth
(referenced here), published in 1961, in which year Rassinier also published a
short “complementary” volume, Ulysse Trahi par les Siens, consisting of three
essays showing that he had moved rather strongly in the direction of a negative
judgment on the gas chambers; the last essay is the text of a speech given
in several German and Austrian cities in the early spring of 1960 (just before
the Eichmann affair). In 1962 followed Le Véritable Procès Eichmann (The
Real Eichmann Trial), a study of the entire range of alleged German crimes in
14 Grayzel, 792.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

their historical and political contexts; by this time he had reached a definitive
conclusion on the tale of extermination of the Jews: “a historic lie: the most
tragic and the most macabre imposture of all time.”15
Rassinier employed two basic approaches to reach this conclusion, the material
and the demographic.
By the material approach we mean the analysis of the evidence that mass
executions of Jews by gassings or other specific means were in fact conducted
by the Germans during World War II. The material approach is nearly synonymous
with analysis of the war crimes trial evidence, or of the trials evidence
as interpreted by Hilberg and by Reitlinger, and as supplemented by
them with similar evidence. Rassinier only tentatively explored the demographic
approach in Le Véritable Procès Eichmann, but in his final general
work on the Jewish extermination problem, Le Drame des Juifs Européens
(The Drama of the European Jews), 1964, he presented a lengthy analysis of
the question from a demographic point of view. In 1965, he published
L’Opération “Vicaire,” a critique of Rolf Hochhuth’s play, The Deputy. One
must comment that it is necessary to check up on Rassinier in his interpretation
of sources; some do not check out and, in addition, he employs some
clearly unreliable sources at a few points. There are also some glaring but
relatively irrelevant errors of fact, such as characterizing Hanson Baldwin as
the New York Times’ “expert in matters of Jewish population” (it is doubtful
that the Times ever had a staff member who could be characterized thus), and
in asserting that the majority of American Jews are anti-Zionist and support
the outlook of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism (which was
never a politically significant organization). However, Rassinier was a courageous
pioneer in an ignored area and, despite the various shortcomings of his
work, no fair minded person could read it without becoming at least skeptical
about the “exterminations.” Rassinier passed away in July 1967. His books
had appeared in German, Spanish and Italian translations, but no English
translation was published for some years.
Rassinier’s books were followed by three books which Josef Ginsburg
published under the pseudonym J. G. Burg: Schuld und Schicksal (Guilt and
Fate), 1962, Sündenböcke (Scapegoats), 1967, and NS-Verbrechen (National
Socialist Crimes), 1968. Ginsburg’s books are not particularly well researched
since his views are based mainly on what he had read in the newspapers plus
his personal experiences as a Jew who, together with his family, was deported
during the war to occupied eastern territory by the Nazis and the Romanians.
After the war Ginsburg took his family to Israel but he eventually became
very anti-Zionist and moved back to Europe, eventually setting up a bookbindery
in Munich. While he believes that many Jews perished as a result of
the combined effects of Nazi policies and wartime conditions, he denies that
15 Rassinier (1961), 9, 175; Rassinier (1962), 112.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis

the German government ever contemplated the extermination of the Jews of
Europe and he is particularly scornful of the six million figure. He is unsure of
the existence of gas chambers, but he believes that many Jews perished on account
of epidemics, pogroms, air raids and executions of partisans, and offers
an estimate of about three million as the maximum possible number of victims,
although he believes the correct figure is much lower. As a reward for
his efforts to get at the truth, Ginsburg, a small man and not young, was
beaten up by Jewish thugs while visiting his wife’s grave in the Israelite cemetery
in Munich.
In 1969, a short book was published in the United States, The Myth of the
Six Million, attributed to an anonymous author. While some things can be said
in favor of this book, e.g. I learned of Rassinier there, it also contains so many
errors of fact that it illustrates that it is not enough that a book’s thesis be correct,
for quite a few people who used it as a basis for prosecuting public controversy
got burned as a result.
The next development was the publication in Germany of a book by Emil
Aretz, Hexen-Einmal-Eins einer Lüge (The Witches’ Multiplication Table of a
Lie), of which only the third edition, Munich, 1973, seems to have attained
significant circulation. Aretz carries the case against the exterminations only
slightly beyond Rassinier. He depends heavily on Rassinier in this respect, although
he provides some new material. A major function of his book is the
presentation of a remarkably bold and forthright general defense of the German
The unreasonable continuation of war crimes trials in West Germany, and
the absence of any statute of limitations, with respect to alleged war crimes by
Germans, have had a seldom remarked implication; people who “were there”
have been afraid to come forward and report what, to their knowledge, actually
happened. They would rather not call attention to the fact that they “were
there.” However it was inevitable that a few courageous individuals would
come forward nevertheless. The most important of these, to date, has been
Thies Christophersen, author of the booklet Die Auschwitz Lüge (The Auschwitz
Lie). Christophersen was at Auschwitz from January to December 1944,
and in 1973 published his recollections and his firm view that no exterminations
over took place there. An English translation of Christophersen’s booklet,
to which some colorful announcements had been added, was published in
1974. Christophersen was followed by Dr. Wilhelm Stäglich, a Hamburg
judge, who had been assigned to an anti-aircraft unit near Auschwitz during
1944, and had visited the camp on a few occasions.16
In late 1973, Austin J. App, a retired English professor in Maryland, published
a short booklet, The Six Million Swindle. Early in 1974 Wolf Dieter
16 Nation Europa, vol. 23 (Oct. 1973), 50; vol. 25 (Aug. 1975), 39. The Ginsburg beating incident
is well known and is mentioned by App, 20.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

Rothe published the first volume of his study, Die Endlösung der Judenfrage,
and later in 1974 Richard Harwood published in England his book, Did Six
Million Really Die? Harwood’s booklet is quite good in convincing power, although
it has some weak points and the reader is referred to Rassinier for a definitive
treatment of the subject. It was favorably reviewed by Colin Wilson in
the November 1974 issue of the influential British monthly, Books and Bookmen,
setting off a months-long controversy in the pages of that journal.
In early 1975 Harry Elmer Barnes’ translation of one of Rassinier’s books,
The Drama of the European Jews, was issued by a small publisher in the
United States.
How Many Jews?
In this introductory chapter we quickly review the principal problems that
arise when demographic questions are asked. We then indicate how demographic
problems are resolved in this book, but indicate that the specific task
of resolution must be deferred until later in the book.
The problems inherent in a demographic study are formidable. First, all
sources of post-war primary data are private Jewish or Communist sources
(exclusively the latter in the all important cases of Russia and Poland). Second,
it appears that one can get whatever results desired by consulting the appropriately
selected pre-war and post-war sources. Consider world Jewish
population. The 1939 study of Arthur Ruppin, Professor of Jewish Sociology
at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, gave 16,717,000 Jews in the world in
1938.17 Because Ruppin (who passed away in 1943) was considered the foremost
expert on such matters, on account of many writings on the subject over
a period of many years, the estimates of other pre-war sources tend to agree
with him. Thus the American Jewish Committee estimate for 1933, which appears
in the 1940 World Almanac, was 15,315,359. The World Almanac figure
for 1945 is 15,192,089 (page 367); no source is given but the figure is apparently
based on some sort of religious census. The 1946 World Almanac revised
this to 15,753,638, a figure which was retained in the editions of 1947
(page 748), 1948 (page 572) and 1949 (page 289). The 1948 World Almanac
(page 249) also gives the American Jewish Committee estimate for 1938 (sic),
15,688,259 while the 1949 World Almanac (page 204) reports new figures
from the American Jewish Committee which were developed in 1947-1948:
16,643,120 in 1939 and 11,266,600 in 1947.
However Hanson Baldwin, New York Times military expert, in an article
written in 1948 dealing with the then forthcoming Arab-Jewish war on the ba-
17 Ruppin, 30-33.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis

sis of information available at the UN and other places, gave a figure of 15 to
18 million world Jewish population, as well as figures for such things as Jews
in Palestine, Jews in the Middle East, Arabs in Palestine, total Arabs, total
Moslems, etc.18
Such a sketch illustrates some of the simpler uncertainties that exist in a
demography study. To carry the matter further, the 11-12 million postwar
world Jewish population figure which it is necessary to claim in order to maintain
the extermination thesis is very vulnerable on two points. The first is the
set of statistics offered for the US and the second is the set offered for Eastern
Europe. Both, especially the latter, are subject to insuperable uncertainties. Let
us first consider the United States. Census figures for the total US population
Table 1: US total population
1920 105,710,620
1930 122,775,046
1940 131,669,275
1950 150,697,361
1960 179,300,000
while US Jewish population figures, as given by the Jewish Statistical Bureau
(subsidiary of either the American Jewish Conference or the Synagogue of
America), H. S. Linfield, Director, are:20
Table 2: US Jewish population
1917 3,388,951
1927 4,228,029
1937 4,770,647
1949 5,000,000
1961 5,530,000
It is important to note that all of the US Jewish population figures are given
by the same source (Linfield).
The indicated growth of US Jewish population, 1917-1937, is 40.8% while
the growth of total US population, 1920-1940 is 24.6%. This contrast is generally
reasonable since in the period under consideration Jewish immigration
was fairly heavy. However Jewish immigration into the US raises some problems
of its own. The American Jewish yearbook gave a net Jewish immigra-
18 New York Times (Feb. 22, 1948), 4.
19 World Almanac (1931), 192; (1942), 588; (1952), 394; (1962), 251.
20 World Almanac (1931), 197; (1942), 593; (1952), 437; (1962), 258.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

tion for the years 1938-1943 and 1946-1949 (inclusive) of 232,191.21 Figures
for 1944 and 1945 do not seem to be available. It was in those two years, incidentally,
that an indeterminate number of Jews were admitted to the US “outside
of the regular immigration procedure.” It was claimed that there were
only 1,000 such Jews quartered at a camp near Oswego, New York, and that
they were not eligible for admission to the US. This was supposed to be a US
contribution to relieving the problems of refugees, but the whole episode
seems most strange and suspicious.22
Rather than attempt to settle the problem of the extent of Jewish immigration,
suppose one allows the Jewish population a growth rate in 1937-1957 at
least equal to that of the US Jewish population of 1917-1937, as seems at least
reasonable in view of various facts, e.g., the reasons which sent 1.5 million
Jews to Palestine during the World War II and aftermath period appear to motivate
immigration to the US just as well, and no national or racial immigration
quotas were applicable to Jews as such. In such a case there should be as
least 6,678,000 Jews in the US in 1957, not the 5,300,000 that are indicated.
There are about 1,400,000 Jews missing from the interpolated figures for
1957, and we consider this a conservative figure for the reason given. The period
1937-1957 was one of Jewish movement on an unprecedented scale.
On the other hand we can adopt an equally conservative approach and assume
that the 4,770,647 Jews of 1937 grew in 1937-1957 at the same rate as
the US population in 1940-1960. Under this assumption these should have become
6,500,000 Jews in the US in 1957. If one adds the reasonable figure of
300,000 more due to immigration we have 6,800,000 in 1957. Thus by either
method of extrapolation the figures offered for post-war US Jewish population
are at least approximately 1.5 million short for 1957.
The specific major fault of the US Jewish population figures is the inexplicably
small claimed growth from 1937 to 1949 despite record Jewish movement
and a very open US immigration policy.
Eastern Europe, however, presents the core of the demographic problem. In
order to avoid very serious confusion, one must first recognize that there have
been extensive border changes in Eastern Europe in the course of the twentieth
century. A map of Europe on the eve of World War I (1914-1918) is given
as Fig. 1. A map for January 1938 showing, essentially, Europe organized according
to the Treaty of Versailles, before Hitler began territorial acquisitions,
is given in Fig. 2, and Fig. 4 shows the post-war map of Europe. The principal
border change at the end of World War II was the moving westward of the
Soviet border, annexing the three Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia)
and parts of Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland and East Prussia. Poland
21 World Almanac (1952), 438.
22 US-WRB (1945), 64-69; New York Times (June 10, 1944), 1; (June 13, 1944), 1; (Aug. 10,
1944), 5; (Oct. 24, 1944), 14; (Oct. 25, 1944), 13; Myer, 108-123.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis

was compensated with the remainder of East Prussia and what used to be considered
eastern Germany; the effect was to move Poland bodily westward.
Pre-war (1938) Jewish population estimates for Eastern Europe were offered
by H. S. Linfield and the American Jewish Committee in the 1948 (sic)
World Almanac (page 249). Post-war (1948) figures are published in the 1949
World Almanac (page 204).
Table 3: Eastern European Jewish
population (est.)
COUNTRY 1938 1948
Bulgaria 48,398 46,500
Hungary 444,567 180,000
Poland 3,113,900 105,000
Romania 900,000 430,000
USSR 3,273,047 2,032,500
TOTALS 7,779,912 2,794,000
The claimed Jewish loss for Eastern Europe is thus 4,985,912. The figure
for the USSR includes, in both cases, the three Baltic countries and the Jews
of Soviet Asia. The pre-war figures are in all cases in close agreement with the
figures that Ruppin published shortly before the war. To the extent that the extermination
legend is based on population statistics, it is based precisely on
these statistics or their equivalents.
The trouble is that such figures are absolutely meaningless. There is no
way a Western observer can check the plausibility, let alone the accuracy, of
such figures. He must either be willing to accept Jewish or Communist
(mainly the latter) claims on Jewish population for Eastern Europe or he must
reject any number offered as lacking satisfactory authority.
It is possible to reinforce our objection on this all important point, and simultaneously
deal with a reservation that the reader may have; it would appear
excessively brazen to claim the virtual disappearance of Polish Jewry if
such had not been essentially or approximately the case, or if something like
that had not happened. This seems a valid reservation but one must recall that
much of the territory that was considered Polish in 1939 was Soviet by 1945.
It was possible for Polish Jewry to virtually disappear if, during the 1939-1941
Russian occupation of Eastern Poland, the Soviets had dispersed large numbers
of Polish Jews into the Soviet Union, and if, during 1941-1944, the Germans
had concentrated Polish Jews eastwards, with the Soviet Union ultimately
absorbing many of these Jews into the Soviet Union, with those who
did not wish to remain in the Soviet Union emigrating, mainly to Palestine and
the US, but also to some extent to the new Poland and other lands. This, in
fact, is what happened to the Jews who had resided in Poland before the war.
Whatever may be said about Soviet Jewish policy after, say, 1950, it is
clear that the earlier policies had not been anti-Jewish and had encouraged the
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
absorption of Jews into the Soviet Union. It is known that many Polish Jews
were absorbed during, and immediately after the war, but of course numbers
are difficult to arrive at. Reitlinger considers this problem and settles on a figure
of 700,000, without giving reasons why the correct figure might not be
much higher. He then notes that the evidence that he employs of extermination
of Jews in Russia (documents alleged to be German) indicates about the same
number of Soviet Jews exterminated, from which he correctly infers that, in
the period 1939-1946, the Soviet Jewish population may have actually increased.
23 This important concession, coming from the author of The Final Solution,
shows that our unwillingness to accept the Communist figures need not
be regarded as motivated merely by the necessities of our thesis. The figures
are inarguably untrustworthy. It is claimed by the Soviets that their Jewish
population declined by 38%, despite the acquisition of territory containing
many Jews. Since the USSR is one of the lands where “Jew” is a legally recognized
nationality the Soviets do, indeed, possess accurate figures on the
number of Jews they have but have chosen (in Reitlinger’s opinion if you
choose not to accept this author’s) to claim an utterly mythical Jewish population
loss of 38%.
Likewise with the value to be attached to the remainder of the figures offered.
The most relevant research by a demographer appears to be that of Leszek
A. Kosinski of the University of Alberta (Geographical Review, Vol. 59,
1969, pp. 308-402 and Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 11, 1969, pp. 357-
373), who has studied the changes in the entire ethnic structure of East Central
Europe (i.e. excluding Germany and Russia) over the period 1930-1960. He
explains the extreme difficulties with basic statistics:
“The criteria used in compilation differ from country to country and
are not always precise. In principal, two types are used: objective criteria,
such as language, cultural affiliation, and religious denomination, and
subjective criteria, based on the declaration of the persons themselves.
Each type has virtues and deficiencies. Objective criteria define nationality
only indirectly and are difficult to apply in marginal cases (for example,
bilingual persons).
The same criticism applies even more to subjective criteria. External
pressure and opportunism can influence the results, especially where national
consciousness is not fully developed or where an honest answer can
bring undesirable consequences. Official data are not always reliable,
then, even when they are not forged, as has also occurred. However, criticism
of the official data cannot be applied in the same degree to all the
countries, and reliability is very much a function of national policy.”
Jews are of course one of the groups Kosinski is interested in and he pre-
23 Reitlinger, 534, 542-544.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
sents various figures, generally comparable to those given above, for numbers
of pre-war Jews. However his post-war data are so useless from this point of
view that he does not even attempt to offer specific post-war numbers for
Jews, although he offers post-war figures for other groups, e.g. gypsies, giving
numbers less significant, statistically, than the numbers of Jews who, according
to the extermination mythologists, survived in Eastern Europe. It is true
that he accepts the extermination legend in a general way and presents a bar
graph showing a catastrophic decrease in the Jewish populations of Poland,
Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia. He also remarks that the combined
war-caused population losses for Yugoslavs, Jews, Poles and east Germans
was about 12.5-14 million, not breaking the total down, and referring the
reader to the statistical summary Population Changes in Europe Since 1939
by Gregory (Grzegorz) Frumkin, whose figures for Jews come from the
American Jewish Congress, the Zionist Organization of America, and the
Centre de Documentation juive contemporaine (Center for Contemporary
Jewish Documentation) in Paris.
However the point is that Kosinski arrives at no figures for Jews, as he obviously
should not, given the problems he has noted. The ethnic population
figures from Communist Hungary are based on language, and the figures from
Communist Poland, Communist Czechoslovakia and Communist Romania are
based on “nationality,” whatever that means in the various cases. Naturally he
apologizes for his use of “official statistics, imperfect as these may be.” We
will return to demographic problems, especially those which involve the Polish
Jews, in Chapter 7.
We must also remember that the problem of counting Jews in Western
countries contains enormous difficulties on account of the lack of any legal,
racial or religious basis for defining a “Jew.” As an example, the statistics
available to Reitlinger indicate to him that early in World War II there were
300,000 Jews in France, including refugee German Jews.24
The Nazis, on the other hand, thought that there were 865,000, and I see no
motivation for deliberate inflation of this figure; other figures used by the Nazis
were not wildly inflated compared to the figures of other sources.25 I
should add that I really have no idea how many Jews there are in the US. I can
consult the World Almanac, which will tell me that there are about 6,000,000
but I cannot see how that figure was arrived at, and have little confidence in it.
As far as I know, the correct figure could as easily be 9,000,000. There must
be at least 4,000,000 in the New York area alone.
To summarize what has been said with respect to Jewish population statistics:
the problem of compiling such statistics is formidable even without political
interference or pressure. Moreover, in the demographic argument for a
24 Reitlinger, 327.
25 NG-2586-G in NMT, vol. 13, 212.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
five or six million drop in world Jewish population, the sources and authorities
for the figures used are Communist and Jewish and thus, by the nature of the
problem we are examining, must be considered essentially useless. In addition,
the post-war figures for the United States are demonstrably too low by a
significant amount.
One should not form the impression that it is essential to my argument that
any demographic conclusions seemed to be reached above be accepted by the
reader. It has only been shown what sorts of problems arise if one attempts a
too direct demographic approach; it is not possible to settle anything in such a
manner. In the final analysis the difficulty is that the figures available amount
to nothing more than statements, from Jewish and Communist sources, that
millions of Jews were killed. Such claims are to be expected, but they must
certainly not deter us from looking deeper. We will take up the demographic
problem later in the book, however, because the nature of the situation is such
that reasonably useful demographic conclusions are possible once it is understood
what, in general, happened to the Jews.
Rassinier’s demographic study, in fact, does not really even attempt to settle
the problem, strictly speaking. His basic approach is to analyze the inferences
that have been drawn from two different sets of data, that of the Centre
de Documentation juive contemporaine and that of Hilberg, both of whom infer
from their data five to six million Jewish victims of the Nazis. Rassinier’s
conclusion is that the former can only claim 1,485,292 victims form its data,
and the latter 896,892.26 Rassinier accepts the reality of about a million Jewish
victims of Nazi policies, while rejecting the claims of extermination. For example,
it is known that some East European peoples took advantage of general
political-military conditions to persecute Jews. Also, many Jews who were
deported from their homes no doubt perished as a result of generally chaotic
conditions which accompanied the latter part of the war.
Believing that the task is not possible, I will offer here no definite estimate
of Jewish losses. However, I have no strong reason to quarrel with Rassinier’s
Our Method, Argument, and Conclusion
As stated, the “material” approach will be extended here and, in addition, a
“historical-political” approach will be “introduced.” This is just a fancy way
of saying that we will grasp that there are two political powers involved in the
problem, not just one. That is to say, we have a tale of extermination and we
should inquire into the circumstance of its generation. Clearly, there are two
26 Rassinier (1964), 220.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
states involved in the problem. Germany had an anti-Jewish policy involving,
in many cases, deportations of Jews from their homes and countries of citizenship.
That is certain. The wartime policy of Washington was to claim extermination
and the post-war policy was to hold trials at which there was generated
the only evidence that we have today that these wartime claims had any foundation.
That is also certain. The policies of both states are necessarily of interest
and, if there is any respect in which this book may be breaking fundamentally
new ground on the problem, it is in its insistence in seeing Washington as
an active agent in the generation of the story. Thus we are interested not only
in what Hitler, Himmler, Göring, Goebbels and Heydrich were doing during
the war in regard to these matters, but also what Roosevelt, Hull, Morgenthau
and the New York Times and associated media were doing during the war, and
what the various tribunals controlled or dominated by Washington did after
the war. This is not only a fair but, more importantly, an illuminating historical
The conclusion is that Washington constructed a frame-up on the Jewish
extermination charge. Once this is recognized, the true nature of German Jewish
policy will be seen.
The War Crimes Trials
Before we review the details of the story it should be pointed out that there
are excellent a priori grounds for expecting a frame-up. There is of course the
very general argument that political enmity of a magnitude to bring on armed
conflict between two states necessarily excludes the impartiality on the part of
one of them which is a necessity for a fair trial, and for which there exists no
substitute. The judges had pursued political careers in the contexts of the internal
politics of the Allied powers hostile to Germany and after the trials
would, assuming they had not done anything highly improbable at the war
crimes trials, return to these careers. They had, in addition, for several years
heard only the anti-German viewpoint. In sitting on the military tribunals, they
were ad hoc political appointees. Such considerations exclude approximate
There are, however, much more specific reasons for expecting a frame-up.
In order to see this it is only necessary to consider the easily obtainable facts
concerning the various tribunals involved.
First there was the “big trial” conducted by the “International Military Tribunal”
(IMT) at Nuremberg immediately after the war. This was the trial of
the top Nazis Göring, Hess, Ribbentrop et. al. which ran from November 1945
to October 1946. The judges and prosecutors were American, British, French
and Russian. As with all “military” tribunals, there was no jury. There were
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
three acquittals, seven prison sentences and eleven death sentences. The latter
were carried out almost immediately after the trial except that Göring escaped
the noose by swallowing a potassium cyanide capsule just before the hangings.
It was never determined where Göring had obtained the poison, or how
he had managed to hide it for any length of time. A unique sequel to this episode
was that the first Nuremberg prison psychiatrist, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley,
a leader in the treatment of psychiatric disorders with drugs, shortly later published
a book on his experiences at Nuremberg, giving Göring and Göring’s
last act a laudatory treatment:27
“He stoically endured his long imprisonment that he might force down
the Allied Tribunal and browbeat the prosecuting lawyers on their own
terms. […] His suicide […] was a skillful, even brilliant, finishing touch,
completing the edifice for Germans to admire in time to come. […] History
may well show that Göring won out at the end, even though condemned by
the high court of the Allied powers.”
A decade later Dr. Kelley followed Göring by taking one of several potassium
cyanide capsules which he possessed, said to be ‘souvenirs’ taken off
Göring’s body.
The IMT trial was the only one that received very great attention. It was
important in the sense that the Allied powers committed themselves to a specific
version of the extermination claim, but there was little evidence presented
of any substantial nature, relative to Jewish extermination; it was almost
entirely testimony and affidavits, not at all difficult for the victorious
powers to produce under the circumstance. The only relative merit of the IMT
trial, for our purposes, is that the complete transcript and a reasonably complete
selection of the documents put into evidence are readily available (see
References) in numerous libraries as a 42 volume set with a very complete
subject and name index.
From 1946 to 1949 a series of twelve superficially less important trials
were held by the Americans before what is here called the Nuremberg Military
Tribunal (NMT). They are referred to variously according to the “case
number,” the major defendant, or a more descriptive title, see Table 4.
Several death sentences resulted from these trials but the great majority received
prison sentences, in many cases rather lengthy ones. However, almost
all were free by the early Fifties.
The only cases among these that will concern us here in any way are Case
1, a trial of medical personnel involved in euthanasia and medical experiments,
Case 4, a trial of concentration camp administration, Cases 6 and 10,
self explanatory, Case 8, dealing with German resettlement policies, Case 9
(the Einsatzgruppen were used for rear security in the east) and Case 11, a
trial of officials of various ministries. The US Government published a fifteen
27 Kelley, 76-77; New York Times (Jan. 2, 1958), 18; Robertson, 266.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
volume set of books, referred to here as the “NMT set,” in which may be
found “summaries” of the cases, along with very limited “selections” of the
documents put into evidence. The volume numbers corresponding to the various
cases are listed in the above table.
On this point the student encounters a significant difficulty because, as can
be seen by consulting Hilberg and Reitlinger, almost all the evidence for the
extermination claim was developed at the NMT, not the IMT. That is to say
the important documents, those which, for better or for worse, constitute major
source material for writing any history of Nazi Germany, are those of the
NG, NI and NO series, and these documents were put into evidence at the
NMT trials. Documentary evidence is, especially in view of the irregular legal
and political circumstances which prevailed, immeasurably more weighty than
testimony, as has been suggested. The relevant documentary evidence generated
at the NMT consists of certain kinds of material allegedly supporting the
extermination charges: documents dealing with concentration camp administration,
with crematory construction, with deportations, with certain Farben
and Krupp operations which employed prisoner labor, with general Jewish
policies of the German Government, etc. There is of course no direct documentary
evidence for an extermination program. As Dr. Kubovy of the Center
for Jewish Documentation in Tel-Aviv admitted in 1960, “there exists no
document signed by Hitler, Himmler, or Heydrich speaking of exterminating
the Jews and […] the word ‘extermination’ does not appear in the letter from
Göring to Heydrich concerning the final solution of the Jewish question.”28
The difficulty for the normally circumstanced person is that only small
fractions of the NMT testimonies and documents are widely accessible, in
English translations (in the fifteen volume NMT set). Additionally, these
28 Rassinier (1962), 83. See also Dawidowicz, 121.
Table 4: NMT Trials
1 Brandt Medical Case 1,2
2 Milch Milch Case 2
3 Alstötter Justice Case 3
4 Pohl Concentration Camps Case 5, 6
5 Flick Business Men Case 6
6 Krauch I. G. Farben Case 7, 8
7 List Hostages Case 9
8 Greifelt RuSHA Case 4, 5
9 Ohlendorf Einsatzgruppen Case 4
10 Krupp Krupp Case 9
11 Weizsäcker Wilhelmstrasse, or Ministries, Case 12, 14
12 von Leeb High Command Case 10, 11
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
translations cannot always be trusted, as will be seen. Also, the extracts which
are published have been selected by unknown criteria.
Finally, the fifteen volume NMT set is likely to be found only in cities of
moderately large size.
The situation is better if one lives in a very large city, since reasonably
complete collections of documents together with the mimeographed trial transcripts
(almost always in German) exist in certain library centers. However,
the normally circumstanced person may encounter trouble in arranging to examine
specific pieces which he may call for, and in some cases general browsing
even by university faculty is not welcome. In addition, no subject or name
indexes exist for the NMT trials (indexes of testimonies of witnesses, with
many errors, appear in the NMT volumes).
The IMT and NMT trials are almost the only ones of significance here. Of
general significance are a series held by the British; of these, only the Belsen
case and the Zyklon B case interests us to any extent. The Poles, Russians,
French, Dutch and Italians have all held trials of no significance except to the
victims. The Bonn Government has held some trials of slight interest, for example
the “Auschwitz trial” of 1963-1965, reported on by Langbein, by
Laternser and by Naumann.
The manner in which the IMT and the NMT were constituted can be set
forth with sufficient completeness for our purposes. Since the autumn of 1943,
there had been in existence a United Nations War Crimes Commission, headquartered
in London. However, the Commission never really did anything except
realize, at one point, that if anything was to be done, it would be done by
the individual Allied governments.
The first serious moves started in the United States. In August 1944 the
Joint Chiefs of Staff considered a proposed program for dealing with war
crimes. The proposal had been approved by the Judge Advocate General of
the US Army. On October 1, 1944, the Joint Chiefs approved this proposal
and, at about the same time and in accordance with directives of the Secretary
of War, a “War Crimes Branch” was established in the Department of the
Judge Advocate General. The War Crimes Branch, headed by Brigadier General
John M. Weir, with Colonel Melvin Purvis as his assistant, was responsible
for handling all war crimes matters for the State, War and Navy Departments.
The proposal that had been approved by the Joint Chiefs did not survive for
very long, for its character had been rather traditional, in that it contemplated,
basically, the trial of persons who had broken the accepted laws of war in the
field. Thus, offenses committed before the war or acts by enemy authorities
against their own nationals were not considered to be under Allied jurisdiction.
Thus, for example, all measures against German Jews were considered
outside the jurisdiction of the planned war crimes trials. The concept of war
crimes was, at this point, strongly under the influence of the principle, never
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
questioned, that a belligerent may try enemy soldiers for the same sorts of offenses
for which he may try his own soldiers.
The Secretary of War, Stimson, had a conference with President Roosevelt
on November 21, 1944, at which Roosevelt made it clear that he had in mind a
much broader idea of war crimes, and that the proposals approved by the Joint
Chiefs were completely unsatisfactory.
Accordingly, in January 1945, Roosevelt designated Judge Samuel
Rosenman as his personal representative in discussions on war crimes problems.
A meeting of January 18, among Stimson, Rosenman, Attorney General
Francis Biddle and others resulted in general agreement on very much expanded
conceptions of war crimes to be tried.29
Biddle was later to sit as a judge at the IMT although, for Roosevelt’s use
at the Yalta conference, he had written in January 1945 that “the chief German
leaders are well known and the proof of their guilt will not offer great difficulties.”
The Russian IMT “Justice” Nikitchenko was slightly more direct in declaring
before the trial that “we are dealing here with the chief war criminals
who have already been convicted.”30
In early May 1945, President Truman approved the revised proposals and
appointed Robert H. Jackson, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, to
act as Chief of Counsel for the US in the forthcoming trial, and also to represent
the US in negotiations with foreign governments relative to constituting
the trial. On June 6, 1945, Jackson made an interim report to the President and
later in June, Jackson and his staff set up headquarters in London, where much
of the preliminary work for the IMT was done.
A key member of Jackson’s London staff was Colonel Murray C. Bernays,
who was one of the first people who had been involved in war crimes problems.
Graduated from Harvard in 1915, he established a law practice in New
York. He was given a commission in the Army in 1942 and, in October 1943,
he was made chief of the Special Projects Branch, Personnel Division, Army
General Staff. His major project in this position was the preparation of plans
for trials of German “war criminals.” After each stage of negotiations with the
White House and others he made the appropriate revisions in the plans being
considered although, if one is to credit his account, he was the author of the
plan that was eventually settled on. In any case, shortly after the appointment
of Jackson, Bernays was awarded the Legion of Merit, the citation reading in
“Early recognizing the need for a sound basis in dealing with the problem
of war criminals and war crimes, he formulated the basic concept of
such a policy and initiated timely and appropriate action which assured its
adoption as the foundation of national policy.”
29 Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 1-3; New York Times (Feb. 1, 1945), 4.
30 Davidson, 6, 18, 21n.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
Bernays returned to the US in November 1945 and immediately resigned
from the Army. Because, as we have seen, there was considerable dialogue at
higher levels relating to plans for war crimes trials, it is doubtful that one can
take Bernays’s claims at full value, but he no doubt had a great deal to do with
the drafting of the plans for the trials. Moreover, he had certainly been an appropriate
choice for something as novel as the formulation of the “legal”
structure for the war crimes trials, since his views of justice were equally
novel. After his return to the US he had a chat with some editors (who characterized
him as “the man behind the gavel”), and in answer to their queries as
to “how the small fry are going to be hooked,” he replied:31
“There are a good many Nazi criminals who will get off if the roundups
aren’t conducted efficiently. But if we establish that the SS, for example,
was a criminal organization, and that membership in it is evidence per se
of criminality, the Allies are going to get hold of a great many more criminals
in one swoop. You know, a lot of people here at home don’t realize
that we are now the government of Germany in our zone and that no judicial
system can exist other than one we approve. We are the law. If we
wanted to, for instance, we could try Germans for crimes twenty, thirty,
forty years old.
We’ll be too busy with the current crop of war criminals, though, to
have much time to look into ancient wrongdoings.”
In London, Jackson negotiated with the Allies on the trials, and his interim
report of June 6 became the basis for the “London Agreement” of August 8,
signed by the US, Britain, Russia and France. And “indictment” was filed
against twenty four individuals and six organizations (the SS, the General
Staff, etc.) on October 18 and the trial opened at Nuremberg on November 20,
1945. Three of the listed defendants did not stand trial. Martin Bormann was
never found, Robert Ley committed suicide before the trial, and Gustav Krupp
was too ill and too old to stand trial. An attempt was made by the prosecution
to substitute Krupp’s son as defendant, but this was too much even for that
court, so the trial of Alfred Krupp had to wait until the NMT.
In passing we should note that Justice Jackson, in addition to being the
American chief prosecutor at the trial, was also in a formal sense the leading
personality in the London negotiations relative to the formulation of the legal
system under which he was to operate at the trial. A rare opportunity for a
prosecutor, and probably an utterly unprecedented one in respect to proceedings
that civilized people have seriously considered to be trials.
Equally unique features of the final charter of the IMT were that its jurisdiction
was not restricted to acts taken in connection with the war but extended
over the entire life of the Nazi Party, that the defense of superior orders
31 New York Times (June 21, 1945), 6; (Dec. 16, 1945), sec. 4, 8; New Yorker (Nov. 17, 1945),
24; Survey Graphic (Jan. 1946), 4-9; Reader’s Digest (Feb. 1946), 56-64.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
was inapplicable and that defendants could be compelled by the prosecution to
The War Crimes Branch that had been set up in 1944 did not cease to operate,
because in connection with the IMT trial Jackson had “enlisted the cooperation
and participation of the War Crimes Branch of the Judge Advocate
General’s Department.” Moreover, in the early months of the IMT trial (and
perhaps also later), the ordinary prosecution staff, exclusive of Jackson, was
“on the payroll of the Judge Advocate General.”32
A significant role for the Judge Advocate General’s department (JAG) was
most natural under the circumstances because the JAG was the legal agency of
the Army, and the basic American administrative machinery in Germany immediately
after the war was that of the US Army. The traditional role of the
JAG had been the administration of military justice: courts-martial and related
matters. However, during World War II the operations of the JAG had spread
to all phases of military activity where legal matters arose; it even got involved
in litigations relative to war production contracts. The Judge Advocate
General, Major General Myron C. Cramer, had given a speech in May 1945 in
which he declared that the pursuit and arraignment of Nazis was to tax to the
utmost the capacity of the War Crimes Branch and become a major activity of
the JAG, whose resources he pledged to Jackson. While it is not specified exactly
what the War Crimes Branch did in connection with the IMT, it is most
likely that it effectively supervised the American (hence major) role in the
screening and selection of prosecution and defense lawyers and staff, in the
selection of other staff such as translators, and in interrogations. Of course,
Jackson formally held much of this authority, but it is reasonably sure that
such responsibilities were, in fact, exercised by the War Crimes Branch.33
The involvement of the War Crimes Branch in trials was, however, much
While the IMT and NMT trials were being conducted, several lesser trials
were taking place. Among these were the trials held at the Dachau camp (outside
Munich, and thus not far from Nuremberg) of the staffs of some concentration
camps (Buchenwald, Flossenbürg, Dachau) that had been captured by
the Americans, and of those accused of killing 83 American prisoners at
Malmédy during the Battle of the Bulge. These trials were supervised by the
War Crimes Branch.34 They were perhaps the most shameful episodes in US
The entire repertoire of third degree methods was enacted at Dachau: beatings
and brutal kicking, to the point of ruining testicles in 137 cases, knocking
out teeth, starvation, solitary confinement, torture with burning splinters, and
32 Taylor (Apr. 1949), 248-255; Select Committee, 1536.
33 New York Times (Oct. 17, 1943), sec. 6, 10; (May 20, 1943), 15.
34 Kolander; Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 4, 10, 13, 14.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
impersonation of priests in order to encourage prisoners to “confess.” Low
rank prisoners were assured that convictions were being sought only against
higher ranking officers, and that they had absolutely nothing to lose by cooperating
and making the desired statements. Such “evidence” was then used
against them when they joined their superiors in the dock. The latter, on the
other hand, had been told that by “confessing” they had taken all responsibility
onto themselves, thereby shielding their men from trial. A favorite stratagem,
when a prisoner refused to cooperate, was to arrange a mock trial. The
prisoner was led into a room in which civilian investigators, dressed in US
Army uniforms, were seated around a black table with a crucifix in the center,
with two candles providing the only light. This “court” then proceeded to hold
a sham trial, at the conclusion of which a sham death sentence was passed.
The “condemned” prisoner was later promised that, if he cooperated with the
prosecutors in giving evidence, he would be reprieved. Sometimes interrogators
threatened to turn prisoners over to the Russians. In many cases the prisoner’s
family was threatened with loss of ration cards or other hardships if cooperation
was not obtained.
The official, as distinct from the mock, trials were also an apparently deliberate
mockery of any conception of due process. The mockery started with
the “indictment,” which made only general reference to very broad categories
of crimes allegedly committed in the years from 1942 to 1945 (in the cases of
concentration camp personnel), and then proceeded to present a long list of
defendants accused of being criminal in the extremely general sense stated.
Specific crimes by specific people on specific dates were not part of the indictments
(e.g. document 3590-PS).
In some cases, the “defense counsel” was an American with no legal training,
who could not speak German. Competent interpreters were not provided
at the trial. The “prosecution” also lacked legal training, as did the “court,”
which consisted of ten US Army officers. There was one person with legal
training present, all of whose rulings on the admissibility of evidence were final.
There were 1,416 convictions out of 1,672 tried, with 420 death sentences.
While the prosecution could hunt all over Europe for witnesses and, if necessary,
torture or otherwise coerce Germans in order to get “evidence,” the accused,
cut off from the outside world and without funds, were rarely able to
summon anybody to their defense.
In addition, the “Association of Persons Persecuted by the Nazis,” by a
propaganda campaign, forbade former concentration camp inmates to testify
for the defense.
The American lawyer George A. McDonough, who had had the rather peculiar
experience of having served as both a prosecutor and defense counsel in
the war crimes program, and later on as a member of a reviewing board and an
arbiter on clemency petitions, wrote to the New York Times in 1948 complainChapter
1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
ing about the lack of legal basis for the trials, and remarking that “in nine
problems out of ten the authorities and the textbooks had no answer” to the legal
questions that regularly and consistently came up for anybody seriously
concerned with matters of legality. For McDonough, the major problem was
whether or not a defense of superior orders should be accepted in war crimes
trials. He wrote:
“At the Dachau trials, the claim of the accused that he would have been
shot himself if he had not obeyed his superior’s order to commit an act
which he, in ignorance, may have believed to be a legal order, or knew to
be illegal, seemed to be handled by the courts as an issue of fact. The
availability of this defense seemed to depend upon the age and the rank of
the accused, and the state of battle existing at the time of the offense. Again
it would seem high-handed procedure to hold an enlisted man to the
knowledge of the illegality of a particular act when the international authorities
themselves are in disagreement as to its illegality or have never
defined the act at all.
[…] Hearsay evidence was admitted indiscriminately and sworn statements
of the witnesses were admissible regardless of whether anybody
knew the person who made the statement or the individual who took the
statement. If a prosecutor considered a statement of a witness to be more
damaging than the witness’ oral testimony in court he would advise the
witness to go back to his home, submit the statement as evidence, and any
objection by defense counsel would be promptly overruled.”
One notable incident occurred when investigator Joseph Kirschbaum
brought a certain Einstein into court to testify that the accused Menzel had
murdered Einstein’s brother. When the accused was able to point out that the
brother was alive and well and, in fact, sitting in court, Kirschbaum was
deeply embarrassed and scolded poor Einstein:
“How can we bring this pig to the gallows, if you are so stupid to bring
your brother into court?”
The US Army authorities in charge admitted some of these things. When
the chief of the Dachau War Crimes Administration Branch, Colonel A. H.
Rosenfeld, quit his post in 1948 he was asked by newspapermen if there was
any truth to the stories about the mock trials, at which sham death sentences
had been passed. He replied: “Yes, of course. We couldn’t have made those
birds talk otherwise […] It was a trick, and it worked like a charm.”35
The Malmédy defendants had had a competent defense attorney, Lieutenant
Colonel Willis M. Everett, Jr. It was Everett’s repeated appeals to, among
others, the US Supreme Court, plus a chorus of protests from German clergy-
35 New York Times (Apr. 31, 1946),Utley, 185-200; Chicago Tribune (Apr. 30, 1948),12; (Feb.
13, 1949), 3; (Feb. 14, 1949), 3; (Feb. 17, 1949), 8; New York Times (Oct. 31, 1948), sec. 4,
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
men and others, plus such details regarding what was going on that managed
to get into the press by various routes, that persuaded the American military
governor, General Lucius D. Clay, to request an investigation of the trials at
Dachau. On July 29, 1948, the Secretary of the Army appointed a commission
consisting of two American judges, Gordon Simpson of Texas and Edward
Van Roden of Pennsylvania, both JAG reserve colonels. They were assisted
by JAG Lieutenant Colonel Charles Lawrence, Jr. The commission submitted
its report to the Secretary of the Army in October 1948, and selected portions
were made public in January 1949.
Subsequent public remarks by Van Roden and also, to some extent, by
Simpson, plus an independent investigation by a review board appointed by
Clay, decisively exposed the whole affair, to the point where the defenders of
the trials could only haggle about the numbers of German prisoners subjected
to brutalities. The review board confirmed all that Van Roden claimed, taking
exception only in respect to the frequencies of the brutalities.36 Oddly, in his
book, Decision in Germany, Clay denies the brutalities, but he is contradicted
by his own review board.
The cases, especially the Malmédy case, attracted a good deal of attention
through 1949, and a subcommittee headed by Senator Baldwin conducted an
investigation. One witness, formerly a court reporter at the Dachau trials, testified
that he was so repelled by what had gone on there that he quit the job. He
said that the “most brutal” had been Lieutenant Perl, Frank Steiner and Harry
W. Thon. He explained that both Perl and his wife had been in Nazi concentration
camps, and that the Nazis had killed Steiner’s mother.
Judge Gordon Simpson (unlike Van Roden, trying to put the best interpretation,
even if very strained, on the sorry facts that had come out) conceded
that this was probably “a poor team,” and explained that the shortage of German-
speaking American lawyers and interpreters had forced the Army to
“draw on some of the German refugees.” Steiner, Kirschbaum and Thon (later
chief of the evaluation section of the civil administration division of the US
military government) appeared later and denied all, but they were shaken by
the testimony of investigator Bruno Jacob, who admitted a few things. Speaking
for the press, investigators Dwight Fanton and Morris Elowitz also denied
all. Colonel Rosenfeld denied almost all. He charged that Lieutenant Colonel
Harold D. McGown, commander of the American soldiers massacred at
Malmédy, had fraternized with SS Colonel Joachim Peiper, the German commander,
and this explained why McGown had appeared at Dachau as a defense
witness for Peiper and had testified that Peiper had held talks with him
and had been responsible for saving a number of Americans. As evidence for
the fraternization, Rosenfeld claimed that McGown and Peiper had been “en-
36 New York Times (Jul. 30, 1948), 5; (Oct. 7, 1948), 15; (Jan. 7, 1949), 1, 9; (Mar. 2,1949), 1,
14; (Mar. 5, 1949), 1, 4; (May 5, 1949), 8.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
tirely too friendly during those nights they spent talking together” and that,
when Peiper and his men were later able to escape a US Army trap, “McGown
was with them.” Of course, McGown was Peiper’s prisoner.37
It will, of course, be argued that these nightmarish Dachau “trials” have little
to do with our subject because the standard maintained in the trials at Nuremberg
were not comparable and because the bearers of the extermination
legend do not cite any of the “evidence” produced at these trials. There is partial
truth to these contentions; brutality and coercion were not nearly as extensive
at the prominent Nuremberg trials as they were at the Dachau trials, and
mass exterminations were not emphasized in the Dachau trials (although gas
chambers made occasional appearances in testimony). However the Dachau
trials cannot be waved aside so easily because the administering agency, the
War Crimes Branch, was also deeply involved in the Nuremberg trials, as we
have noted, and as we are to reconfirm shortly in a particularly striking respect.
In addition coercion was, in fact, employed in order to get evidence at
the Nuremberg trials, but that subject is discussed in a later chapter.
None of the four powers was happy with the IMT arrangement and after
the “big trial” they split up and held the kinds of trials they were interested in.
The British trials reflected a general interest but on points of relatively minor
significance here. The only major French trial was of Saar industrial magnate
Hermann Röchling, whom the French had also tried, in absentia, after World
War I. Planning for the American NMT trials had actually started in 1945, and
in March 1946 a division of Jackson’s office, headed by Telford Taylor, had
been created for this purpose.
It is worth noting that in all of these trials of Nazis, from the IMT through
the Eichmann “trial” of 1961 (in which defense witnesses were not permitted)
to the “Auschwitz trial” of 1963-1965 (which the Bonn Government would
not allow Rassinier to attend as observer), the defense lawyers had no staff of
trained research assistants to go through the documents and, in addition, almost
all of the documents which were available to them were controlled by
the prosecuting powers.38 Whatever the legalistic evaluation of such a situation,
it can produce a very distorted historical picture if not approached skeptically.
Under the legalistic schema of the occupation, there was an important constraint
on the NMT and other single-nation tribunals:
“The determination of the International Military Tribunal in the judgments
[…] that invasions, aggressive acts, aggressive wars, crimes, atrocities
or inhumane acts were planned or occurred, shall be binding on the
tribunals established hereunder and shall not be questioned except insofar
37 New York Times (Mar. 5, 1949), 4; (Apr. 30, 1949), 2; (Sep. 6, 1949), 9; (Sep. 7, 1949), 9;
(Sep. 8, 1949), 9.
38 Arendt, 201, 251, (221, 274 in 1964 edition); Aretz, 28-29.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
as the participation therein or knowledge thereof by any particular person
may be concerned. Statements of the International Military Tribunal in the
judgment […] constitute proof of the facts stated, in the absence of substantial
new evidence to the contrary.”
Two administratively distinct organizations functioned at the NMT. One
was the collection of “Military Tribunals,” the judges, functioning administratively
through a Secretariat, headed by a Secretary General. The judges were
recruited in the US “by the Department of the Army.” There were three or
more judges at any one trial.
The second organization was the Office, Chief of Counsel for War Crimes
(Telford Taylor) which had come into existence on October 24, 1946, immediately
after Ribbentrop had been killed. It filed its first indictment the
next day. Although there was a trivial difference in their titles, Taylor, who
had been an associate trial counsel at the IMT, was really the successor to
Jackson in the trials being staged in the Nuremberg courthouse.39
We will have much to say of the NMT trials in this volume. However, the
reader can grasp much of the spirit of these proceedings even from remarks
made by some of the American judges who had been recruited by the US
Army to serve at Nuremberg. Understandably, these people were normally
very reluctant to speak out publicly against what they observed. Thus, the remark
of one of the judges in the Farben trial, that there were “too many Jews
on the prosecution,” was a privately expressed hint to the prosecution, certainly
not intended for publication. However, the presiding judge in Case 7
(trial of German generals for alleged wholesale murder of hostages), Charles
F. Wennerstrum, spoke out publicly and forcefully, immediately after sentences
had been pronounced:40
“If I had known seven months ago what I know today, I would never
have come here.
Obviously, the victor in any war is not the best judge of the war crime
guilt. Try as you will it is impossible to convey to the defense, their counsel,
and their people that the court is trying to represent all mankind rather
than the country which appointed its members.
What I have said of the nationalist character of the tribunals applies to
the prosecution. The high ideal announced as the motives for creating
these tribunals has not been evident.
The prosecution has failed to maintain objectivity aloof from vindictiveness,
aloof from personal ambitions for convictions. It has failed to
strive to lay down precedents which might help the world to avoid future
39 Taylor (Apr. 1949), 272-276.
40 DuBois, 182. Chicago Tribune (Feb. 23, 1948), 1, 2; (Feb. 24, 1948), 3; (Feb. 25, 1948), 4;
(Feb. 26, 1948), 1, 8; (Feb. 28, 1948), 4, 8; (Feb. 29, 1948), 2; New York Times (Feb. 23,
1948), 5; (Feb. 25, 1948), 10; (Feb. 29, 1948), 10; (Mar. 6, 1948), 6.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
The entire atmosphere here is unwholesome. Linguists were needed.
The Americans are notably poor linguists. Lawyers, clerks, interpreters
and researchers were employed who became Americans only in recent
years, whose backgrounds were imbedded in Europe’s hatreds and prejudices.
The trials were to have convinced the Germans of the guilt of their
They convinced the Germans merely that their leaders lost the war to
tough conquerors.
Most of the evidence in the trials was documentary, selected from the
large tonnage of captured records. The selection was made by the prosecution.
The defense had access only to those documents which the prosecution
considered material to the case.
Our tribunal introduced a rule of procedure that when the prosecution
introduced an excerpt from a document, the entire document should be
made available to the defense for presentation as evidence. The prosecution
protested vigorously. General Taylor tried out of court to call a meeting
of the presiding judges to rescind this order. It was not the attitude of
any conscientious officer of the court seeking full justice.
Also abhorrent to the American sense of justice is the prosecution’s reliance
upon self-incriminating statements made by the defendants while
prisoners for more than two and a half years, and repeated interrogation
without presence of counsel. Two and one-half years of confinement is a
form of duress in itself.
The lack of appeal leaves me with a feeling that justice has been denied.
[…] You should go to Nuremberg. You would see there a palace of justice
where 90 per cent of the people are interested in prosecution.
[…] The German people should receive more information about the trials
and the German defendants should receive the right to appeal to the
United Nations.”
Ironically, the validity of Wennerstrum’s attack on the low or non-existent
standard of integrity maintained by the Nuremberg prosecution was confirmed
even by the nature of Telford Taylor’s reaction to Wennerstrum’s statements,
which were made in supposed privacy in Nuremberg, for publication in the
Chicago Tribune. The Tribune reporter, Hal Foust, sent the message to Berlin
for transmission to the US on a wireless channel which was supposedly secure
from prying. However, the prosecution, apparently by employment of a ruse,
managed to obtain a copy of the message. Ernest C. Deane, Taylor’s press officer,
immediately phoned Foust in order to attempt “to talk him out of sending
the story.” However, the story had already been sent, and Foust replied
that “Taylor could not properly have knowledge of the article until its publicaArthur
R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
tion.” Taylor thereupon prepared a reply to Wennerstrum’s remarks, and the
reply was actually made public before the Tribune published the Foust story
containing Wennerstrum’s attack. Taylor accused the judge, among other
things, of making remarks “subversive to the interests and policies of the
United States.” Wennerstrum, on arrival in the US shortly after the publication
of Taylor’s “reply” and of the Tribune story, stood firm on his remarks and
again criticized Taylor.
This incident was one of the notable “government spying” incidents of the
year 1948. The Army issued an order against such spying, and there was much
speculation that Taylor might be court-martialed. When reporters asked Taylor
for his opinion on the legality of his action, the following exchange occurred:
“I don’t know whether it was legal or not,” he replied.
“Weren’t you general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission
for two years before being commissioned in the army?
Yes, but what does that have to do with it?”
Taylor steadfastly refused to express an opinion of the legality of his action
“off the record indicated he was as pleased with himself as a field officer
[…] which he never was […] who had just scored against the enemy by a trick
outside the rules of warfare as prescribed by the 1907 Geneva convention.”
The quote is from Hal Foust’s story about the Taylor press conference.
Foust claimed that this was the second instance of Army interference with his
messages to his newspaper, and that in the first instance he had been picked up
by Army agents for interrogation after his story had been sent.
Who was in Charge?
In our examination of the Nuremberg trials we are naturally interested in
who supervised the NMT proceedings. Pro forma, Taylor supervised almost
everything except the appointments of the judges, since the Chief of Counsel’s
formal responsibilities were not confined to the mere prosecution of cases. His
Office was also charged with determining who should and who should not be
tried (there was no separate proceeding for formulating indictments, such as a
grand jury), what the former were to be charged with and how the latter were
to be disposed of. The Office also took over the functions of the Nuremberg
staff and hence one may assume that the Office took over, at least formally,
the (expanded) Nuremberg staff itself. Thus the Office was responsible for interrogations,
field work examination of documents, court reporting, and translating
and interpreting.41
We have given reasons why one should expect that this Nuremberg staff
41 Taylor (Apr. 1949), 272-276.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
had been under the effective supervision of the War Crimes Branch and it will
shortly be seen that, whatever Taylor’s formal powers, his actual functions do
not suggest that he ever took over the Nuremberg staff in any effective sense.
The War Crimes Branch, although quartered in far-off Washington, continues
to be involved in our consideration of the Nuremberg trials.
On June 12, 1948, the American press carried a story which reported that
an officer of the US Army, Colonel David “Mickey” Marcus, a West Point
graduate operating under the alias “Mickey Stone,” had been killed in action
while serving as supreme commander in the Jerusalem sector in the Jewish-
Arab war for the control of Palestine (actually, Marcus had been erroneously
shot by one of his own sentries). The New York Times summarized his career.
He had been Commissioner of Corrections in New York before the war and,
as an Army officer, had helped draft the German and Italian surrender terms.
He was a legal aid at the Potsdam conference (summer of 1945), after which
point, if one judges for the adulatory New York Times article only, his career
ended, since we are told of no other activity of Marcus‘ until he turns up with
the Haganah in Palestine in January 1948, visits the US in April, receiving a
medal at a ceremony in the British Embassy in Washington (probably a cover
for negotiations on the details of the final British capitulation), and then returns
to Palestine after three weeks to take over in Jerusalem. The only hint we
get of any activity in the period August 1945 to January 1948 is a story on
June 24, p. 15, reporting that the London Daily Telegraph of the same date
said that:
“He was at the time of his death a full colonel in the Judge Advocate
General’s office of the organized reserve of officers. […] Although not
subject to military discipline he had agreed to remain subject to recall.”
Marcus had, in fact, been Weir’s successor as head of the War Crimes
Branch. Immediately after the war, he had been “number three man in making
American policy” in occupied Germany, but was taken out of this position
early in 1946 in order to take the war crimes job. His appointment was effective
as of February 18, 1946, but he spent a few months in Japan after leaving
Germany and then moved into the Washington office of the War Crimes
Branch until April 1947, when he retired from the Army and went into private
law practice.42
Our previous observations obviously suggest that it was in reality the War
Crimes Branch that exercised the crucial functions in respect to the NMT.
This is the case, as is made clear by a careful reading of Taylor’s official final
report on the NMT trials, although the fact is not emphasized there.43 The fact
is confirmed by the remarkable book by Josiah E. DuBois, who headed the I.
42 Marcus; Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 11, 1945; Berkman, 44-45; Saturday Evening Post
(Dec. 4, 1948), 179.
43 Taylor (Aug. 15, 1949), 13, 14, 34, 35.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
G. Farben NMT prosecution, and Berkman’s book about Marcus provides
some sketchy information on this aspect of Marcus’ career.44
Marcus was made head of the War Crimes Branch primarily in order “to
take over the mammoth task of selecting hundreds of judges, prosecutors and
lawyers” for the NMT and Far East (Tokyo) trials. In December 1946, DuBois
had been summoned to Marcus‘ office in Washington to discuss the possibility
of DuBois’ taking over the prosecution of leading officials of the great
German chemicals firm, I. G. Farben. DuBois had been undecided so he conferred
at length with Marcus on the problems involved; one of the problems
being whether or not there was sufficient evidence to charge Farben with an
“aggressive war” plot and, if so charged, the possible political repercussions
that might ensue. They discussed the general advantages of bringing the Farben
men to trial. One point Marcus made was that a trial might show how
Farben managed to develop certain weapons in total secrecy. Then too, if they
went free, they might start working for the Russians. Marcus displayed great
knowledge of Farben. He pointed out that there was a “warehouse full” of
Farben records in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, a fact that DuBois forgot until
later events forced him to recall and act on it during the pre-trial investigation.
They got around to the required length of the pre-trial investigation. Marcus
said: “As far as I’m concerned, you could go over there for as long or as
short a time as you liked.” Dubois suggested that he would need about four
months, and Marcus replied: “I have no objection to that. Within a few days
after you get home, you should get a wire from Telford Taylor agreeing to it.”
Taylor, of course, was in Europe in his capacity of Chief of Counsel. Du-
Bois records Taylor’s activities relative to the Farben trial. He responded favorably
to a staff member’s suggestion that DuBois (under whom the staff
member had worked in the Treasury Department during the war) be appointed
to prosecute Farben. He passed the recommendation on to Washington. After
DuBois had taken the job, he had plans to see Taylor to get his okay for adding
another man, specified by DuBois, to the prosecution staff. The okay was
granted. Taylor went to Paris to plead before the French cabinet for the extradition
of a key Farben man. Taylor gave the opening speech at the Farben trial
and them disappeared from the proceedings. Taylor was not involved in the
pre-trial investigation or in the formulation of the specific charges made by
the prosecution.
All of this suggests rather strongly that Taylor’s role was in public relations
and that he was not deeply involved in the details of the running of the
trials which were his formal responsibility. Such situations are not unusual in
large scale operations.
The facts show that the real organizers of the NMT trials were not as much
in the public eye as Taylor was; in effect and possibly in intention Taylor was
44 DuBois, 19-22, 31, 53, 63, 69-70, 74-75; Berkman, 195-199, 157-159.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
a front man. Marcus, as head of the War Crimes Branch, no doubt exercised
effective control of much of the Nuremberg staff, and he selected the judges
and lawyers for the trials (with only a handful of exceptions). The book by
Dubois shows that Taylor was not involved with the trials on the working
level so the inescapable conclusion is that the substantial powers of Taylor’s
office were actually exercised either by the War Crimes Branch or by persons
subordinate to Taylor. In examining the prominent persons in the latter group
one encounters Robert M. W. Kempner, who is discussed in Chapter 5.
Marcus seems to have had a real importance quite incommensurate with
his relatively common rank of Colonel, because we are told that during the
war he had made a “favorable impression on FDR […] he was one of the
anonymous handful who charted American policy behind the scenes.” A man
whose career was remarkably intertwined with that of Marcus was General J.
H. Hilldring, who headed the Army Civil Affairs Division to which Marcus
was assigned in 1943. The CAD had been created in 1943 within the Army
General Staff in anticipation of a need for a group to concern itself with policies
to be followed in occupied territories. It had been thought that Fiorello
LaGuardia was to head the CAD, but the job went to Hilldring. Marcus became
a member, and later the chief, of the Planning Branch of the CAD. It
was as a consequence of Marcus‘ activities in the CAD that he made his mark;
his assignment to the military government of Germany was a direct result of
his CAD responsibilities. It was Hilldring who, several months later, pulled
him out of his military government position and assigned him to head the War
Crimes Branch (which was transferred from the JAG to the CAD on March 4,
1946). Then Hilldring immediately moved over to the State Department as an
Assistant Secretary of State in charge of occupied areas problems; in this capacity
he headed a secretariat which coordinated Army, Navy and State Department
policies in Germany. In September 1947 he left the State Department
and became an Adviser to the US delegation at the United Nations, where the
diplomatic battle between the Zionists and the Arabs was being waged.
Hilldring “was a tower of strength from the outset […] as information link
with the Jewish representatives, he frequently conversed with Zionist strategists.”
Then, at about the time Marcus was made supreme commander in Jerusalem,
Hilldring was appointed back to the State Department as Assistant Secretary
of State for Palestine. Zionist sources have subsequently boasted that
both the UN and second State Department appointments were direct result of
Zionist lobbying.45 Quite a pair, Marcus and Hilldring.
The filling of the War Crimes Branch position with a fanatical Zionist, the
“first soldier since Biblical times to hold the rank of General in the Army of
45 Marcus; Berkman, 191-193, 199; John & Hadawi, vol. 2, 209n, 367; Zink, 209, 210; New
York Times (Apr. 8, 1943), 12; (Apr. 16, 1943), 10; (Mar. 17, 1946), 15; (Sep. 16, 1947), 10;
(Apr. 29, 1948), 16; Blum, 383.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
Israel,” is not only significant in terms of what the Zionist might do in the position,
but also significant in revealing, in a simple way, the nature of the
overall political forces operating at the trials. This is the important point. It is
simply not possible to imagine an appointment that would make these trials
more suspect.
Under these political conditions it is simply silly to expect anything but a
frame-up at the “trials.” The associated “extermination” hoax will be exposed
with complete clarity in these pages.
The Nazis
This book is written for people who are already informed on the European
side of World War II and the immediately preceding years. We have no intention
of reviewing the nature of the Nazi state, the roles of Göring, Himmler,
Goebbels, etc., or the anti-Jewish measures that were taken prior to the war,
except that these matters will be touched upon here and there as a matter of
course. The major events and approximate dates associated with the war are
assumed known by the reader.
When Europe was dominated by the Germans it was not organized according
to the plan of the Treaty of Versailles; Figure 3 presents a map of Europe
as it was organized in the autumn of 1942, at the apex of Hitler’s power. Germany
had annexed Austria, Alsace-Lorraine, part of Czechoslovakia, and a
great deal of Poland (essentially the part that had been taken from Germany
after World War I). The part of Poland that remained was called the “General
Government” and had the status of a subject province governed by the Germans,
as did the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In the
same subject status were White Russia, the Ukraine, Bohemia-Moravia (formerly
western Czechoslovakia), and Banat (long a part of Hungary dominated
by ethnic Germans). The eastern part of Czechoslovakia had become the independent
state of Slovakia, and Yugoslavia had been reorganized as Croatia
and Serbia, corresponding to the two dominant of the five nationalities that
had constituted Yugoslavia. Italy also had an interest in this area of Europe,
controlled Albania, and shared influence in adjoining countries with her German
ally. Finland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria were also allied with
Germany, and the Waffen-SS (regular military units within the SS) recruited
troops all over Europe, particularly in the Baltic states, in the Ukraine, in
Scandinavia, and in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and much (later all) of
France were occupied by the Germans. Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal
remained neutral throughout the war.
It is convenient to review, at this point, some matters pertaining to the SS,
a strange bureaucracy which had responsibility for certain improbable combinations
of functions.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
Only three of these functions, security, concentration camp administration
and resettlement policies, are of interest in our study.
The best known agency of the SS was the RSHA, Reich Security Main Office,
which embraced the Gestapo (Secret State Police, headed by SS Lieutenant
General Heinrich Müller), the SD (Security Service, headed by SS Lieutenant
General Schellenberg), the Kripo (Criminal Police, headed by SS Lieutenant
Generals Nebe and, later, Panzinger) and related functions. The first
head of the RSHA had been SS General Reinhard Heydrich, an ambitious and
ruthless young man whose methods generated many enemies for him.
Ever since the Röhm purge of 1934, the substantial ambitions of the SS in
respect to military matters had resulted in growing conflict between the SS
and the regular military establishment, the Wehrmacht, and Heydrich was not
in the least bit delicate in the methods he employed to prosecute the conflict.
In 1938 he had forced the resignation of the Minister of War, General Blomberg,
by showing that Blomberg’s new wife had been a prostitute. Blomberg’s
obvious successor was General von Fritsch, so Heydrich constructed a frameup
of von Fritsch, based on perjured allegations of homosexuality. Although
von Fritsch was eventually exonerated, his career had been ruined, and the bitterness
toward Heydrich swelled.
The SS had a second basis for rivalry with the military establishment. The
German intelligence services were the Abwehr, German military intelligence,
responsible to the military high command and headed, since 1935, by Admiral
Wilhelm Canaris, and the SD, the political intelligence arm, responsible to
Heydrich and Himmler. Since the two types of intelligence activity cannot be
strictly separated, Canaris and Himmler inevitably became rivals. Heydrich
appears to have attempted to be cooperative with Canaris, at least at first; this
may have been due to Heydrich’s own background as a naval intelligence officer
who, during the twenties, had served and trained under Canaris and had
even been a frequent visitor to his home.
More significantly, the Admiral was a traitor; he is one of the awesome
mysteries of World War II. During, and even before (he was in contact with
Churchill in 1938) the war Canaris betrayed Germany at every opportunity. A
British official has expressed the role of Canaris most succinctly: “We had
Admiral Canaris.” The man’s motivations remain as mysterious as his personality
and his antecedents. Ian Colvin, one of the authorities on World War II
intelligence operations, wrote a whole book about Canaris and, yet, never deciphered
“The readers will have to judge for themselves whether Admiral
Wilhelm Canaris was a German patriot or a British spy, a European
statesman or a cosmopolitan intriguer, a double agent, an opportunist, or
a seer. It will not be easy for them to make up their minds.”
It may be of some relevance that the man whom Colvin, in his 1951 book
characterized as one of Canaris’ “close personal friends,” Otto John, the AbArthur
R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
wehr man in the all important neutral capital of Lisbon during World War II,
later became Chief of State Security for the Bonn Government, and was subsequently
exposed (in 1956) as a Soviet agent.46
The Canaris case is sometimes confused by grouping Canaris with the men
behind the abortive coup d’état of July 20, 1944. This is utterly erroneous
since Canaris used all his powers to betray Germany, whereas the men of July
20, merely betrayed Hitler, and would never have betrayed Germany. No Englishman,
after the war, could have truthfully said, “we had Erwin Rommel.”
The most one can say about Canaris’ involvement is that he was no doubt
aware of the conspiracy in its early states, and naturally gave its members the
impression that he was with them. Canaris was a grand master at giving such
To return to Heydrich, great ambition had gotten the young SS General appointed
Deputy Protector of Bohemia-Moravia in late 1941; he was thus starting
to look bigger than his superior, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. It
might also be interesting to speculate that, at about this time, Heydrich may
have started to grasp Canaris’ game; as chief of the RSHA and as a former associate
of Canaris, no man was better situated and motivated to penetrate Canaris’
secret than Heydrich was. When one considers the long burning antagonism
of the Army, it appears that Heydrich, by early 1942, had accumulated a
very long list of powerful enemies in Germany. It was thus remarkable that at
this point in Heydrich’s career the English, it is said, fortuitously removed him
in May 1942 by dropping two assassins from the sky. In accord with the alltoo-
common scenario for political assassinations (e.g. the Abraham Lincoln
and John F. Kennedy assassinations), the alleged assassins were said to have
been killed before they got an opportunity to talk.
In an appointment that caused general astonishment, Heydrich was succeeded
in early 1943 by the relatively obscure and much less ambitions Dr.
Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Evidently desirous of avoiding repetition of the situation
that had developed with Heydrich, Himmler retained a rather more direct control
of the Gestapo and the SD than he had held previously. However both
agencies continued to be formally responsible to the head of the RSHA, now
Kaltenbrunner. Himmler also charged Kaltenbrunner with a special task: to
build up the intelligence service of the SD. This was a particularly timely decision
on the part of Himmler, since Canaris fell from power (without being
fully exposed) in February 1944 and, by a special Hitler decree, all military
and political intelligence functions were taken over by the RSHA, thus uniting
all intelligence activity under SD chief Schellenberg.
Canaris was arrested after the July 20 coup and he was executed shortly before
the end of the war.
46 Colvin, vii, 1-6; New York Times (Dec. 23, 1956), 1; (Jul. 6, 1969), 11. See Sturdza, 161-
162, for an episodic illustration of Canaris at work.
Chapter 1: Trials, Jews and Nazis
Concentration camp administration was under the WVHA, Economic-
Administrative Main Office, headed by SS General Oswald Pohl. As its name
suggests, the WVHA was concerned with the economic role of the SS which
had arisen, for the most part, on account of the availability of the labor of concentration
camp inmates. The commandants of the concentration camps reported
to the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps, headed by SS Brigadier
General Glücks, who reported to Pohl. Pohl reported to Himmler, and was
formally equal in rank to Kaltenbrunner and Heydrich.
It is convenient to state at this point, in very general terms, what was going
on with respect to the Jews of Europe during the life of the Nazi regime. Before
the war, the German Government had used all means to encourage the
emigration of Jews from Germany, and most German Jews had left Germany
before the outbreak of the war. The persistent problems in connection with
this emigration program were, first, the dislocations of the economy which
were entailed in moving the Jews out and, second, the difficulty in arranging
for other countries to take the Jews. By the summer of 1941 Germany was at
war with Russia and huge numbers of Jews, i.e., the greater part of all the
Jews of Europe, were in the German sphere of influence. However the war
had also opened up, temporarily, vast new territories for the Germans and,
consequently, a program of Jewish resettlement got under way in the autumn
of 1941. Through the course of the war, as long as Germany controlled any
significant amount of eastern territory, European Jews were being resettled in
the East. There were also a certain number of young, adult Jews conscripted
for labor.
On account of certain political problems and the priority of war requirements,
the resettlement program was only partially carried out and, of course,
nowhere near six million Jews were involved. Excluding Polish and Romanian
Jews, perhaps 750,000 Jews were resettled, primarily in the Ukraine, White
Russia and Latvia. Not all Polish Jews fell under German domination. Apart
from those who managed to flee before or after the German occupation, several
hundred thousand or perhaps a million Jews had been deported from Poland
by the Russians in 1940 and had been dispersed in the Soviet Union. For
the most part, the Polish Jews who came into German hands were crowded
into ghettoes in eastern Poland (1939 boundaries).
What happened to all of these people can be established only in a very
general way, because all of the territory that the Jews had been resettled onto
became Soviet territory after the war, and because the victorious powers engaged
in considerable suppression of the data. However there is sufficient evidence
to permit us to see approximately what happened. Although it is very
likely that a fair number perished in the disorderly and chaotic conditions that
accompanied the German retreats, it is established that a large number of
Jews, predominantly of pre-war Polish nationality, were absorbed into the Soviet
Union, and the remainder of the Jews who had been uprooted ultimately
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
resettled in Palestine, the US, Europe and elsewhere.
These general remarks are supplied here to serve as a background to assist
the reader in interpreting the analysis of the “extermination” claims, which is
the task of the next few chapters. However, the major evidence for these remarks
concerning what actually happened to the Jews will not be presented
until Chapter 7.
The RSHA was responsible for carrying out most aspects of this Jewish
policy. Within the Gestapo there was an office, “B4,” which designated the
“religions and cults division – Jewish religion subdivision,” headed by one
Karl Adolf Eichmann, whose highest attained rank had been Lieutenant Colonel
or Colonel.47 Eichmann did the routine chores associated with the Jewish
emigration and resettlement policies of the German Government; most of his
time was spent arranging with the various Jewish Councils to draw up transport
lists of Jews, and arranging for transportation for the deportees. There is
no evidence that Eichmann ever participated in formulating policy and, since
he was not involved in concentration camp administration, he could not have
been directly involved in whatever it was that happened in those camps.
It is, therefore, quite ridiculous that it was possible to get so many people
excited about the case of a person such as Eichmann, who had performed
completely routine functions in Nazi Germany. Those functions were carried
out in accordance with specific orders transmitted by his superiors. His Jerusalem
testimony was given “after consulting Reitlinger and Poliakov, (producing)
seventeen multicolored charts, which contributed little to a better understanding
of the bureaucratic machinery of the Third Reich.”48 I see no point in
viewing the Eichmann affair as anything but a publicity stunt on the part of a
state accustomed to disregarding the constraints that other states feel bound to
respect. A short discussion of the Eichmann case, and of Eichmann’s Jerusalem
testimony, is provided in Chapter 6.
Other departments of the SS which were involved in resettlement activities
were the RKFDV (Reich Commission for the Strengthening of Germandom,
headed by SS General Ulrich Greifelt), the RuSHA (Race and Settlement
Main Office, headed by SS Generals Otto Hofmann and, later, Richard
Hildebrandt) and the VoMi (Liaison Office for Ethnic Germans, headed by SS
General Werner Lorenz). The most important responsibility of these departments
was the resettlement of ethnic Germans on conquered territories, and
Greifelt was the main personality in this program. However they inevitably
got involved in the program of Jewish resettlement to some degree.
47 Reitlinger, 28; Red Cross (1947), 99; Eichmann, session 75, V1, W1.
48 Arendt, 136 (152 in 1964 edition).
Chapter 2: The Camps
Horror Scenes and ‘Extermination’ Camps
When Germany collapsed in the spring of 1945 it was after a long allied
propaganda campaign that had repeatedly claimed that people, mainly Jews,
were being systematically killed in German “camps.” When the British captured
the camp at Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany they found a large
number of unburied bodies lying around the camp.
Photographs such as Fig. 10 and pictures of guards with unfortunate facial
expressions, such as Fig. 12, were accordingly reproduced all over the world.
It is, I believe, Belsen which has always constituted the effective, mass
propaganda “proof” of exterminations, and even today you will find such
scenes occasionally waved around as “proof.” In fact these scenes, repeated in
varying degrees at other German camps, e.g. Dachau and Buchenwald, were
much less related to “extermination” than the scenes at Dresden after the British-
American raids of February 1945, when many, many times as many bodies
were found lying around.49 The deaths at Belsen were the result of a total loss
of control, not a deliberate policy. Equivalent scenes could easily have existed
in any country invaded on all sides by enemy armies, crippled by powerful
“strategic” bombings which had caused all sorts of shortages and chaotic conditions.
The major cause of the deaths at Belsen was a typhus epidemic. Everybody
agrees that typhus was a constant menace in all German camps and eastern
military operations; for this reason there was a real fear of typhus spreading
throughout Germany and vigorous countermeasures were applied.50 The typhus
problem will play a most significant role in our story because it was not
merely at the end of the war that it manifested itself; the scenes at the end of
the war were due to the total collapse of all measures against a disease that
had plagued the German concentration camps since early in the war. The typhus
was of the sort carried by the body louse and consequently defensive
measures consisted in killing the lice, whose spread was due mainly to the
constant rail traffic with the East.
Thus all “survivor literature,” sincere or inventive, and regardless of the
type of camp involved, report the same basic procedures involved in entering
a German camp: disrobe, shave hair, shower, dress in new clothes or in disin-
49 Veale, 133-136; Martin, 121.
50 Reitlinger, 122, 402; Hilberg, 570-571; DuBois, 127.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
fected old clothing.51
At Belsen, the trouble had started in October 1944 with a breakdown of
these measures. In the account of a political prisoner there:52
“Towards the end of February 1945 my own situation changed completely.
By that time typhus had become a serious danger for the whole camp. It
was the species of typhus which is transmitted by lice. At one time all the
transports which arrived at Belsen had had to pass through a ‘human
laundry’ and this disinfection seems to have been effective enough to keep
the camp free from lice until the autumn of 1944.
At the end of October a big transport had, for the first time, been admitted
to the camp without being disinfected, because there had been some
damage to the machinery of the shower-baths. Unfortunately the people of
this transport were louse carriers, and from that day the lice gradually
spread over the whole camp. […] Typhus broke out in Camp I about the
end of January. At first there were only a few cases, but a month later a
dozen had appeared, and it became impossible to check the disease […].”
Another serious complication was that, in the final months, Belsen was
considered a Krankenlager, a sick camp, so that many people entering were
sick to begin with.53 The British could not check things at once and over a
quarter of those alive when they took over the camp were to perish in the first
four weeks.54
Despite the very effective propaganda role of the Belsen scenes, nobody
acquainted with the most easily obtainable facts claims exterminations at Belsen
and the British military court which tried the commandant, SS Captain
Kramer, never accused him of supervising an extermination camp at Belsen.55
Today, in fact, exterminations at any of the concentration camps in Germany
are not claimed by anybody trying to be serious; Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau,
etc. were not extermination camps. The extermination camps are all
supposed to have been in occupied Poland, namely the camps referred to as
Auschwitz, Belzec, Kulmhof (Chelmno), Lublin (Majdanek), Sobibor and
Also, exterminations of Jews were supposed to have been conducted in
Russia by the Einsatzgruppen, employing either mass shooting or “gasmobiles.”
The camps in Poland are also claimed to have employed “gas chambers”
but, except for the case of Chelmno, stationary rather than mobile ones.
Thus the exterminations are supposed to have taken place only at locations
51 Burney, 9; Buber, 188; Lenz, 31; Cohen, 120-122.
52 Sington, 117-118.
53 Fyfe, 152.
54 Sington, 48.
55 Fyfe, 17.
56 Hilberg, 561-564; Reitlinger, 94, 147-150, 154.
Chapter 2: The Camps
which had been abandoned before being captured by the Russians, not at
camps which were still functioning, however disastrously, when captured by
Western troops.
Although six extermination camps are claimed, one of them, Auschwitz, is
the key to the whole story. It is for Auschwitz that quantities of documentary
evidence are offered; there is little of any sort offered for the others. It was
Auschwitz, as will be seen, that got the very special attention of Washington
long before the end of the war. Thus much of this work is necessarily concerned
with the claim that at Auschwitz Jews were being exterminated during
World War II.
The Camps and Their End
The subject of this book is the question of whether or not the Germans attempted
to exterminate the European Jews. We are not concerned with considering
in any detail the general question of alleged Nazi brutalities of all
sorts or with presenting a complete picture of the functioning of German
camps. However, it has been found that many people have such distorted
views of these camps that, because at Auschwitz there were camps, it is difficult
to separate Auschwitz at the outset and consider it in isolation from other
camps. Thus a few general words about the camps are in order. Fig. 23 presents
a map (January 1938 boundaries) that shows the locations of a few of the
most frequently referred to camps together with the locations of a few large
There were many types of German camps and only a fraction of them were
called “concentration camps.” There were thirteen German concentration
camps, each of them actually being a collection of neighboring camps. Only
two of the six alleged “extermination camps,” Auschwitz and Lublin, were
“concentration camps.” A table of many types of German camps, which includes
many ordinary prisons, is given by Aronéanu, pp. 203-251, who lists
about 1,400 “camps,” together with their locations and “characters.” While
this table gives some idea of the scope and diversity of the German prison and
camp systems, it has obvious major errors, such as giving the “character” of
Birkenau as “medical experiments.” The major significance of Oranienburg,
near Berlin, was that it quartered the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps,
and was thus in direct communication with all concentration camps.
The typical inmate of a German concentration camp was a person being
detained for punitive or security reasons. There were five major categories and
they were distinguished by colored insignia which were associated with their
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
Table 5: Concentration camp inmate insignia
Green Criminals
Red Political prisoners (mainly communists)
Pink Homosexuals
Black Asocials (vagrants, drunkards, etc.)
Purple Considered disloyal on account of
religious views (mainly Jehovah’s Witnesses)
At Auschwitz and some other camps a triangle of the appropriate color was
attached to the uniform. If the prisoner was Jewish, a yellow triangle was superimposed
on the first triangle, forming a star of David. This is referred to as
the Auschwitz “star system.”
Economic conditions being what they were, the German government made
every effort to use concentration camp inmates for labor. Prisoners of war
(POWs) were also used to the extent that such use did not conflict with the
relevant conventions, as the Germans interpreted their obligations under them.
Thus Russian POWs were used freely, because Russia did not respect the conventions.
Employment of western POWs was restricted to cases where certain
legalistic “transformations” into civilian workers were possible, as with many
French POWs,58 or some cases where the work was not considered to be ruled
out by the conventions, as with some British POWs employed under conditions
to be discussed.
The number of inmates in the entire German concentration camp system
was about 224,000 in August 1943 and 524,000 a year later.59 These figures
include only camps referred to by the Germans as concentration camps, and
do not include any transit camps or camps referred to in other terms, such as
the Theresienstadt ghetto, or any other establishments intended for quartering
It is generally accurate to say that there was no such thing as a “concentration
camp” for Jews as such, but this remark must be clarified; there are three
distinct categories of Jews which must be considered in this connection.
First, a fraction of those interned for punitive and security reasons were
Jews and under the national socialist system it was natural, in the camps, to
segregate them from the “Aryan” inmates. Thus sections of the camps could,
in this sense, be considered “for Jews.” Second, specific legislation existed for
the labor conscription of Jews and many selected specifically for labor found
their ways into concentration camps on this basis.
57 Cohen, 26-28.
58 Red Cross (1948), vol. 1, 546-547.
59 1469-PS and NO-1990 in NMT, vol. 5, 382, 389.
Chapter 2: The Camps
The third category was Jewish families, but the closest they got to “concentration
camps” was in certain Durchgangslager, transit camps, which in some
cases were independent camps such as Westerbork in the Netherlands60 and
others (to be mentioned) and in some cases were separate compounds which
existed at some concentration camps, e.g. Belsen, possibly Dachau,61 and others
(to be mentioned). The transit camp, as its name suggests, was intended
only for temporary quartering pending transport to some other destination.
In addition to the transit camps there were “camps” for some Jewish families,
such as Theresienstadt in Bohemia-Moravia and others far to the East, but
the most pejorative term applicable in these cases would be “ghetto,” not
“concentration camp.” In addition, as we shall see, toward the end of the war,
as the Russians were approaching on the eastern front, the Germans put many
formerly free Jews into ghettos for security reasons.
The full story regarding the position of Jews relative to German-controlled
camps of all types is rather complicated. Rather than attempt to say here exactly
what that position was, the subject will be touched on at many points in
the book and the reader will be able to form a reasonably complete picture.
There is no point in attempting to discuss the entire German camp system
here. For our purposes it will suffice to discuss the three that are referred to
most frequently (excluding Auschwitz): Belsen, Buchenwald and Dachau
(inmate populations in August 1943: 3,000, 17,600 and 17,300 respectively62).
Then we will pass on to preliminary discussion of the alleged “extermination
camp” Auschwitz in Poland.
Belsen had only a very brief history. It had originally been a Wehrmacht
camp for wounded POWs. In mid-1943 the SS took over half the camp for the
purpose, among others, of turning it into an “exchange camp,” a transit camp
for foreign nationals and Jews whom the Germans contemplated exchanging
for Germans held abroad. Some new grounds and buildings were also added to
the camp. Jews from Salonika, Greece, who possessed Spanish passports were
the first Jewish arrivals (it was hoped to send them to Spain) but eventually
the Dutch Jews predominated (about 5,000). A fraction of the Dutch Jews
were there on a semi-permanent basis because they numbered many of the
skilled craftsmen of the essential Amsterdam diamond cutting industry and
thus their diamond cutting operations had merely been moved to Belsen. The
quarters for Jews at Belsen formed what was called the “Star Camp,” which
was strictly separated from the rest of the camp and was essentially untouched
60 Cohen, xiii.
61 Aronéanu, 212.
62 1469-PS in NMT, vol. 5, 382.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
by the typhus epidemic of the last months.63
The Dutch Jews were particularly heavily hit by deportations; reasons for
this will be given later. It was at Belsen in March 1945 that Anne Frank is said
to have perished.64 Because there were many Dutch Jews at Belsen this could
easily be true but it is difficult, to say the least, to guess the cause of death in
such a case. There were no exterminations and the Jewish families were isolated
from the typhus epidemic. The question of the authenticity of the diary is
not considered important enough to examine here; I will only remark that I
have looked it over and don’t believe it. For example, as early as page 2 one is
reading an essay on why a 13-year-old girl would start a diary, and then page
3 gives a short history of the Frank family and then quickly reviews the specific
anti-Jewish measures that followed the German occupation in 1940. The
rest of the book is in the same historical spirit.
The remainder of the Belsen concentration camp contained the usual assortment
of inmates, and the fate of the camp has been seen. Bergen-Belsen
never had a significant economic-industrial aspect, except for the diamond
The major significance of Buchenwald was industrial; its satellite camps at
Beuchow, Dora, Ellrich, Elsing, Gandersheim and Halberstadt existed primarily
for the sake of an underground aircraft factory which employed the usual
concentration camp and foreign labor in addition to regular German labor.65
There were, however, two other aspects, the medical experiments conducted at
the main camp Buchenwald and the activities of commandant Koch; these offer
quite perfect illustrations on how the meanings of facts have been distorted
in speaking of these camps. We are fortunate in having a book by Christopher
Burney, a former inmate; this book not only indulges in some of this distortion
but also offers us some facts or hints which enable us to see through the distortion.
Burney’s book should illustrate to any reader the necessity, when
reading “personal experience” literature of this sort, of sharply and rigorously
distinguishing between the scenes the author actually claims to have witnessed
or the claims he had read or heard, on the one hand, and the inferences he has
drawn or pretended to draw on the other. The differences are often most stark.
Describing commandant Koch:66
“No cruelty was foreign to him, no single cell of his brain had not at
some time or other contributed to the planning of new refinements of anguish
and death for the rats in his trap.”
63 Reitlinger, 364-365, 406; Hilberg, 377-379, 632-633.
64 A. Frank, 285.
65 Aronéanu, 207, 213, 214, 217, 220.
66 Burney, 10-14.
Chapter 2: The Camps
Burney goes on to explain that, because Koch was a homosexual, Frau Ilse
Koch used to make out with the prisoners, “who were then sent to the crematorium,”
except that highly valued tattooed skin was saved for lampshades. At
this point in Burney’s book things obviously look bad for him, especially if he
has tattoos and Frau Koch finds him but, happily, all of that had happened before
he arrived there in early 1944. Koch had been arrested in 1943 for embezzlement
and was succeeded by Pister who was “one of the mildest concentration
camp commanders in history” so that:
“in the last year of its existence a casual observer who came to the
camp and looked generally at it without probing its corners, would have
seen little or no beatings, a large number of men doing no work, a much
larger number working with a lethargy taught them by the Russians […],
living blocks which were clean, kitchens with huge, horrifyingly modern
soup-cookers and a hospital which would just pass muster at first glance.”
The Koch arrest had, in fact been part of the breaking of a ring of corruption
which had spread through the German concentration camp system and
had involved the murder of some prisoners who knew too much. It was exposed
through the efforts of SS Judge Konrad Morgen. Koch was executed by
the SS.67
The tattooed skin was undoubtedly due to the medical experiment role of
Buchenwald. As remarked by Burney, when a Buchenwald inmate died the
camp doctors looked his body over and if they found something interesting
they saved it.68 It is fairly certain that the collection of medical specimens thus
gathered was the source of the tattooed skin and the human head that turned
up at the IMT as “exhibits” relating to people “murdered” at Buchenwald.
What is probably the greater part of the collection is pictured in Figure 32.
The head is normally pictured, without any explanation, in the company of
some soap (Fig. 24), allegedly made from human bodies, which was submitted
as evidence by the Russians who, when they learned there was to be a trial,
evidently read up on what the Germans had been charged with in World War
I.69 By the time the IMT was done “developing” the fact about the tattooed
skin found at Buchenwald, we had an official deposition:70
“In 1939 all prisoners with tattooing on them were ordered to report to
the dispensary. No one knew what the purpose was, but after the tattooed
prisoners had been examined, the ones with the best and most artistic
specimens were kept in the dispensary and then killed by injections. […]
the desired pieces of tattooed skin were detached from the bodies and
treated. The finished products were turned over to Koch’s wife, who had
67 Hoehne, 383-387 (434-436 in paperback).
68 Burney, 10.
69 3420-PS; 3422-PS. For pictures see, e.g., Andrus, photographs. A “macabre collection” of
specimens from Buchenwald is also pictured in Pélissier, 640 opp.
70 3421-PS; IMT, vol. 3, 515; quoted Shirer, 984.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
them fashioned into lampshades and other ornamental household articles.
I myself saw such tattooed skins with various designs and legends on them,
such as ‘Hansel and Gretel’ which one prisoner had on his knee, and designs
of ships from prisoners’ chests.”
Frau Koch was convicted of such crimes at her trial before a US military
court but in 1948 the American military governor, General Lucius Clay, reviewed
her case and determined that, despite testimony produced at her trial,
Frau Koch could not be related to the lampshades and other articles which
were “discovered” (i.e. planted) in the Buchenwald commandant’s residence
when the camp was captured in 1945. For one thing, she had not lived there
since her husband’s, and her own, arrest in 1943. Also her “family journal,”
said to be bound in human skin, and which was one of the major accusations
against her, was never located, and obviously never existed. Clay thus commuted
her life sentence to four years imprisonment, for ordinary sorts of brutalities.
What happened after the commutation provided one of the many episodes
which, together with the 1948-49 revelations of what had transpired at the Dachau
“trials,” exposed quite effectively the lawlessness that prevailed in the
war crimes trials. Rabbi Wise and other influential people protested the commutation
so strongly that there was a Senate investigation into the matter,
which concluded that:
“military authorities say they have been unable to find evidence of any
other crime Ilse Koch committed on which she could be tried without violating
the rule of double jeopardy. However […] because the trial conducted
by our special military government court was based on charges that
the various accused had mistreated ‘non-German nationals,’ the German
courts might well try Ilse Koch under their law for crimes committed
against German nationals. […] Should the German people bring Ilse Koch
to trial on such charges, the subcommittee is convinced that it would then
be the duty of our military authorities to give complete cooperation to the
German authorities.”
This distinction between crimes against Germans and crimes against non-
Germans was merely a bit of sophistry that was trotted out for the occasion.
Not only had the US war crimes courts always assumed jurisdiction in cases
of alleged crimes against German Jews, but the distinction was irrelevant
anyway, for Clay’s commutation of her sentence was based on a conclusion
that she was not guilty of the major charges against her, which had to do with
lampshades and the like, irrespective of the nationality of the alleged victims.
Clay did not change his position throughout the long public controversy
concerning efforts to try Frau Koch a second time on essentially the same
charges, a controversy which, according to the New York Times, “rocked the
United States and Europe.” Clay was firm on his decision in the Ilse Koch
case, and explained that:
Chapter 2: The Camps
“examination of the record, based upon reports which I received from
the lawyers, indicated that the most serious charges were based on hearsay
and not on factual evidence. For that reason the sentence was commuted.
I hold no sympathy for Ilse Koch. She was a woman of depraved character
and ill repute. She had done many things reprehensible and punishable,
undoubtedly, under German law. We were not trying her for those
things. We were trying her as a war criminal on specific charges.”
Despite this empathic stand of the American military governor, pressures
from the US induced the German authorities to move against Frau Koch after
she was released from American detention in October 1949. She was again
tried on the familiar “lampshade” charges. Although the defense was able to
show that the testimonies of two of the prosecution witnesses contradicted
declarations that they had made in connection with earlier proceedings, thus
forcing the German court to strike their testimonies from the record, Ilse Koch
was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. She hanged herself in
her cell in 1967.71
Burney reports some Belsen-like scenes at Buchenwald, but mainly among
incoming prisoners evacuated from more eastern locations during the final
chaotic weeks. So much for Buchenwald.72
Dachau was one of the oldest Nazi concentration camps, with an emphasis
on Austrian political prisoners, Roman Catholic priests (detained for reasons
that need not be examined here) and old and semi-employable people of all
categories. The camp also had its group of ordinary criminals. Work was
mainly at outside factories but a herb plantation was being built up at the
camp and some prisoners worked at draining swamps.73
It is useful here to go into some detail on how, at the end of, and immediately
after the war, Dachau was misrepresented as an extermination camp with
gas chambers. In showing that such events never took place at Dachau we are
not, of course, contradicting the present story put forward by the bearers of the
extermination legend, who do not claim Dachau in this connection, and build
their story around the camps in Poland, with Auschwitz occupying the central
position in this respect. The point of exploring these details regarding Dachau
is that the credibility of the US occupation is thereby demolished. The US
propaganda had claimed exterminations in the German camps and Dachau
was the major camp taken over by the Americans (Buchenwald was later surrendered
to the Russians). Thus an effort was made to distort and misrepresent
71 New York Times (Sep. 24, 1948), 3; (Oct. 1, 1948), 11; (Oct. 8, 1948), 10; (Oct. 22, 1948), 5;
(Dec. 27, 1948), 1, 12; (Dec. 20, 1950), 15; Jan. 16, 1951), 1; (Sep. 3, 1967), 1.
72 Burney, 106-109.
73 Lenz, 32, 42, 78; 1063-PS.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
what had happened at the Dachau concentration camp. A recognition of the
amazing crudeness and clumsiness of that effort, and the ludicrous nature of
the “evidence” put forward, will prime the reader quite suitably for our analysis
of the central part of the hoax, the Auschwitz lie.
The conditions in the camps had forced the German government, in March
1945, to take the final step in reversal of its earlier policy of absolute exclusion
of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from the concentration
camps (existing conventions covered POWs, not concentration
camp inmates). On March 29, 1945, SS General Kaltenbrunner authorized the
ICRC to place one delegate in each camp for the purpose of distributing relief
supplies, on the conditions that the delegate remained there until the end of the
war.74 The ICRC organized road transport for relief supplies (use of the railways
was out of the question) but its effectiveness was to a degree influenced
by the attitudes of individual concentration camp commanders; for example
the reception at Mauthausen on April 23-30 was at first negative. SS Colonel
Ziereis claimed that he had not heard of the Kaltenbrunner order.75
At Dachau the ICRC had gotten a relatively warm reception on April 27
(after some coolness on April 26) and a delegate was allowed to establish
himself in the camp. By Sunday, April 29, it was found that most of the German
officers, guards and employees had fled and the effective command of
the camp had fallen to a certain SS Lieutenant Wickert who had similar intentions
of leading a flight of the remaining guards. Because this raised many
dangers, notably violence by prisoners against German civilians of the area
and the spread of epidemics, the delegate talked Wickert out of this. They
came to an agreement regarding surrender of the camp, which the ICRC delegate
was to do his best to have respected. First, guards would remain in the
towers to prevent the escape of prisoners.
Second, the soldiers not standing guard would assemble, unarmed, in one
of the courtyards.
Third, the garrison would be allowed to withdraw to its own “battle lines,”
after the transfer of the camp to the Americans.
The ICRC delegate then affixed a white towel to a broomstick and, taking
a German officer with him, left the camp to hunt up some Americans. After a
while they encountered an American motorized unit and the delegate presented
himself to the American general (not named in the delegate’s report on
these events) who, on learning the identities of his new guests, immediately
asked that the delegate and the German officer accompany them for the purpose
of taking press photos at the camp, particularly of a certain train which
was full of dead bodies. Although the Red Cross delegate had been at the
camp for two days, he had apparently been too busy to learn of this train while
74 Red Cross (1948), vol. 1, 620; vol. 3, 83, 184; Red Cross (1947), 82-84.
75 Red Cross (1947), 134-137.
Chapter 2: The Camps
at the camp, and learned of it from the general.
With its mission thus defined, the column set off for the camp. On the way,
the delegate was able to ask a Major Every to communicate to the general the
agreement for the transfer of the camp, but apparently this attempt to communicate
with the general was not successful.
On arrival at the camp they found that some Americans had already arrived,
the German guards in the towers had been replaced and all the Germans
had surrendered. The inmates were in great disorder and some were armed;
shots were fired at SS guards and this resulted in some killed on both sides.
The delegate was finally able to gain the attention of the general to present the
plan for the transfer of the camp. The general assented to the plan, but the
German prisoners were not allowed to leave anyway, and many of them suffered
at the hands of inmates seeking vengeance. As many of the inmates were
disarmed as possible, but this did not end the disorders. Some inmates embraced
the American soldiers while others tore down barbed wire fences and
escaped. Some shots were fired by the Americans over the heads of inmates
and an uneasy calm was finally reached by 10 p.m. There were, however, occasional
shots fired during the following night. The following day, April 30, it
was possible to pass out adequate food and on the next day, Tuesday May 1,
some members of the ICRC legation arrived and, according to the delegate,
they visited not only piles of corpses but “equally the execution chamber, the
gas chamber, the crematory ovens, etc.”76
The preceding is a summary of the report of the Red Cross delegate. It contains
no assertions similar to later assertions made independently by former
inmates Johann M. Lenz and Nerin E. Gun, both of whom claim that the
Americans, on arrival, started killing all SS guards in sight (unquestionably at
least an exaggeration).77 Gun claims that this policy even extended to the dogs
in the kennels, while Lenz claims that the general ordered a two hour bombardment
of the defenseless town of Dachau (he was eventually dissuaded
from this) in retaliation for the bodies which had been found lying around.78 If
there is any truth to these claims, the ICRC delegate made a fairly significant
omission in his report.
It is very important to recognize what the Red Cross delegate refers to as
the “gas chamber” in his report. The tone of the delegate’s report is tongue-incheek
and contemptuous at several points, for it was written in defensive
awareness of all the drivel that was being given mass circulation in the press.
Thus he remarks, in connection with the bodies found on the train at Dachau,
76 Red Cross (1947), 144-146, 149-152.
77 Editor’s note: This massacre was photographed by the U.S. troops, see Fig. 21, bottom
right. Compare also Howard A. Buechner, Dachau. The Hour of the Avenger. An Eyewitness
Account, Metairie, LA, Thunderbird Press, 1986; see also Dachauer Hefte, 1985, issue 1:
“Die Befreiung”.
78 Lenz, 270; Gun, 63-64.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
that “many of these men had been killed while the others were probably dead
of hunger.” Also, while the delegate is happy to pass along the names of le
lieutenant Wickert and le major Every and others, he refuses to mention the
name of the US commander (apparently either Linden or Patek), who is referred
to only as “le general.”
There were two types of rooms which were claimed as gas chambers by the
US propaganda after the camp was captured, and Gun reproduces the relevant
photographs. Here we present Figs. 16 and 22. The former shows an ordinary
shower which the US propagandists had the audacity to claim was a gas
chamber disguised as a shower. Fig. 19 shows the entrance to this “Brausebad”
(shower bath).
The second type of room which was claimed as a gas chamber was, indeed,
a gas chamber, the door of which is shown as Fig. 22. This door certainly appears
to be genuine and not manufactured for the propaganda. To see what is
involved, examine Fig. 13. On the left one can perceive the very same door
and, near the door, a heap of dirty prisoner clothing. That “gas chamber” was
obviously a chamber for disinfecting clothing; such equipment was necessary
and existed at all of the German concentration camps. The interior of the disinfection
room is shown in Fig. 6.
The building shown in Fig. 13 housed disinfection chambers, the shower
bath of Fig.16, and the crematory of Fig. 17. This building has been maintained
and is regularly visited by tourists. It is removed from the main part of
the camp, located in a relatively isolated spot. It was perfectly logical to locate
both the disinfection chamber and the crematory in such a way that inmates
did not come into frequent contact with such things (the former for reasons of
health and the latter for reasons of morale). The shower was necessary, obviously,
to decontaminate the people who worked in this building before they
returned to the main part of the camp. I do not know whether this shower bath
also serviced incoming prisoners, or if a separate shower existed for that purpose.
As suggested by Fig. 16, and confirmed by the literature, it was almost
always the shower bath, rather than the disinfection chamber, which served
the propaganda as a “gas chamber.”79 The latter was probably considered too
small to represent as a gas chamber which had claimed countless victims.
Naturally, the “war crimes trials” produced witnesses who claimed gassings
at Dachau (e.g. IMT witness Franz Blaha, who also claimed tattooed
skin scenes as at Buchenwald80). Naturally, the people whose bodies had been
found at the camp when it was captured, especially those on the train, were
always represented as having been murdered.
The number of bodies on the train at Dachau was approximately 500. Finding
dead people on trains in Germany toward the war’s end was not unusual
79 M. J. Smith, 94-95.
80 IMT, vol. 5, 167-173; Rassinier (1962), 78.
Chapter 2: The Camps
even on ordinary passenger trains; in January 1945, 800 Germans, frozen to
death, had been found on a train which had arrived in Berlin.81 The German
rail system was in utter chaos and conditions in April 1945 are difficult to
imagine, but some attempt should be made to see some of these corpse-laden
trains in context. Some thought might also be given to the possible conditions
of people as they started their journeys on these trains. It is entirely possible
that the typical individual concentration camp commander, presented with
what he considered insane orders to “transfer” N inmates to X camp, reasoned
that putting the half dead on the train had the double merit of minimizing
numbers of deaths and also getting some of the dying off his hands. However,
such problems are not of essential or central interest here.
The truth about Dachau was not long in coming out, but did not receive
wide publicity. The causes for the dead bodies which were found at the camp
when it was captured were described in a 1948 publication of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science. As the US Army advanced into
Germany, it encountered the sorts of conditions which its medical services had
anticipated and for which they had prepared counter-measures:82
“Germany in the spring months of April and May was an astounding
sight, a mixture of humanity traveling this way and that, homeless, often
hungry and carrying typhus with them. […] The more territory that was
uncovered, the greater was the number of reported cases; for Western
Germany in the areas of the American advance was rather uniformly
seeded with typhus. To be sure, there were heavily involved communities
and others lightly affected. There were great accumulations of cases in the
concentration and prison camps, and in nearby small communities.
As estimated 35,000-40,000 prisoners were found in [Dachau], living
under conditions bad even for a German camp of this kind and worse than
any other that came into American hands. Extreme filthiness, louse infestation,
and overcrowding prevailed throughout the camp buildings. Several
car-loads of human bodies were found packed in box cars in the railroad
yards adjacent to the camp, the vestiges of a shipment of prisoners from
camps further north who were transferred to Dachau in the late days of the
war to escape the advancing United States troops.
The number of patients with typhus fever at the time the camp was first
occupied will never be known. Days passed before a census of patients
could be accomplished. Several hundreds were found in the prison hospital,
but their number was small compared with the patients who continued
to live with their comrades in the camp barracks, bed-ridden and unattended,
lying in bunks 4 tiers high with 2 and sometimes 3 men to a narrow
shelflike bed; the sick and the well; crowded beyond all description; reek-
81 Burney, 107; Red Cross (1947), 151.
82 Gordon, 23-25.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
ing with filth and neglect – and everywhere the smell of death.”
It is not surprising that Dachau had experienced catastrophes very similar
to those at Belsen. Since the beginning of 1945, there had been an estimated
15,000 prisoner deaths from typhus, mostly in the final two months.83
The Americans brought the camp under control and it served, as we have
seen, as an American camp and center of “war crimes trials.” An American
lawyer, Stephen S. Pinter, who was stationed there and evidently disapproved
of what had been carried out there in the name of the United States, wrote in
“I was in Dachau for 17 months after the war, as a US War Department
Attorney, and can state that there was no gas chamber at Dachau.
What was shown to visitors and sightseers there and erroneously described
as a gas chamber, was a crematory. Nor was there a gas chamber in any of
the other concentration camps in Germany. We were told that there was a
gas chamber at Auschwitz, but since that was in the Russian zone of occupation,
we were not permitted to investigate, since the Russians would not
permit it.
[…] uses the old propaganda myth that millions of Jews were killed by
the national socialists. From what I was able to determine during six postwar
years in Germany and Austria, there were a number of Jews killed, but
the figure of a million was certainly never reached, I interviewed thousands
of Jews, former inmates of concentration camps in Germany and
Austria, and consider myself as well qualified as any man on this subject.”
In 1960, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte of Munich, “the paragon of hostility
and resistance to Nazism,” declared that:85
“The gas chamber in Dachau was never completed and put into operation
[…] The mass extermination of Jews by gassing started in 1941/1942,
and took place […] with the aid of installations technically designed for
this purpose, above all in occupied Polish territory [but nowhere in the Old
Reich …].”
This is essentially the Dachau myth as it stood in the summer of 1973: the
information given the visiting tourist at Dachau correctly identified the disinfection
room as such, without any attempt to represent it as a gas chamber for
exterminating people. In regard to the shower bath the leaflet explained that
“This gas chamber, camouflaged as a shower room, was not used. The
prisoners selected for ‘gassing’ were transported from Dachau to the
Hartheim Castle, near Linz (Austria) or to other camps.”
So much for Dachau, a close examination of which was necessary in order
83 Red Cross (1947), 150.
84 Letter by Pinter in Catholic weekly Our Sunday Visitor (Jun. 14, 1959), 15.
85 Die Zeit (Engl. Edition, Aug. 26, 1960), 14 (letter by M. Broszat); Rassinier (1962), 79.
Rassinier refers to the German edition of Die Zeit (Aug. 19, 1960).
Chapter 2: The Camps
to evaluate the general credibility of the US propaganda.
The Industrial Role of Auschwitz
The camps at Auschwitz were, of course, part of the same concentration
camp system as the camps we have just discussed. However the operations referred
to with the term “Auschwitz” were really, in many ways, in a class by
themselves. This is so much the case that, in order to see the role of Auschwitz
clearly, it is necessary to go back considerably in time. It is also necessary, unfortunately,
to indulge in a certain amount of discussion that may seem excessively
technical at first.
The principal cause of the German defeat in World War I in 1918 had been
shortages brought about, chiefly, by the British blockade. Shortages of such
things as oil and rubber had been crippling the Army, and near starvation conditions
in Germany had made the internal political situation unpredictable and
unstable. Germany capitulated, a victim of, among other things, the twentieth
century’s first “energy crisis.”
The extreme vulnerability of Germany in respect of raw materials had, of
course, been realized by the German chemical industry during the war, and after
the war the popularity of the concept of “autarky,” non-reliance on imports
or foreign aid, was partially based on this consideration. The only raw materials
that concern us here are oil and rubber, of which there was essentially none
in Germany. In Europe, only Romania had significant oil resources, and there
was no natural rubber anywhere in Europe. There were, however, huge
sources of coal in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
The great German chemicals company, I. G. Farben, was in 1918, a collection
of six smaller companies which later combined in 1925 to form Farben.
The principal predecessor company, Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik (BASF)
of Ludwigshafen-am-Rhein had, starting early in World War I, been working
on processes for producing synthetic oil and synthetic rubber from coal. These
investigations continued after the formation of Farben and also after the rise of
Hitler in 1933. The Nazi government soon adopted a policy of subsidizing
these autarky-oriented developments.86 Thus on account of government encouragement,
the real need for the synthetics, and the general German scientific-
technological pre-eminence of the time, especially in chemistry and
chemical engineering, Germany was substantially ahead of the rest of the
world in these areas.
Synthetic oil was by far the easier of the two problems. Coal is mainly carbon;
the general principle is that coal treated with hydrogen gas at high pres-
86 Howard, 3, 11-22, 44, 60-62; NMT, vol. 7, 79-80.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
sure and temperature (“hydrogenation”) resulted in oil. The usual range of
chemical products could be made from this oil: dyes, explosives, drugs, etc.
Another state of hydrogenation yielded gasoline. The idea was basically simple,
although the process was inherently expensive, and most research consisted
in a search for the most effective catalysts. During World War II there
were many synthetic oil plants in and around Germany; they produced about
75 percent of the oil available to the Germans; the rest came mainly from Romania.
Synthetic rubber was a different matter; the technical problems in developing
a sufficiently economic synthetic rubber suitable for tires were most severe
and were not really resolved until approximately the beginning of the
The basic steps in making rubber are first making long chains of molecules
of some sort, polymerization, and then causing these chains to “cross-stitch” –
to join each other at various points – vulcanization. One needed a molecule
congenial to polymerization and vulcanization and it was found that butadiene
was particularly suitable. In the late Twenties it had been found that sodium
was an excellent catalyst for polymerization of the butadiene, and consequently
the synthetic rubber that was being made from butadiene with sodium
(Na) as catalyst was called “Buna” rubber. The sodium had been dropped by
1935, but the term “Buna” was retained. By replacing 25 per cent of the butadiene
with styrene, “Buna-S” rubber, the type particularly suited for tires was
The earliest serious German Buna-S plant, and the largest, was the
Schkopau plant, started in 1937 and completed in 1939. It had a capacity of
6,000 tons per month. A second plant was started at Hüls in 1938 and was in
operation in August 1940; its capacity was 4,000 tons per month. A third plant
was started in January 1941 at Ludwigshafen, Farben research headquarters,
and it was producing Buna in March 1943; its capacity was 2,500 tons per
month. The fourth, at Auschwitz, was begun in 1941 and was designed for a
capacity of 3,000 tons per month.
During all this plant construction, research on new processes continued and
the differences in the processes used in the four plants reflected this. All
started from coal but at Schkopau the butadiene was produced via a classical
calcium carbide-acetylene-butadiene sequence; at Hüls the carbide state was
replaced by one involving hydrocarbon gases. Ludwigshafen reverted to the
classical sequence but the superior Reppe process was introduced for the
acetylene-butadiene state. The Buna plant at Auschwitz also used a version of
the classical sequence.89
87 Craven, 172.
88 Howard, 35-37.
89 Dunbrook, 50; Naunton, 107.
Chapter 2: The Camps
The reason for the appearance of Auschwitz in this context is very simple;
Auschwitz was a huge industrial operation.
When Germany annexed a large part of Poland after the partitioning of Poland
in 1939 by Germany and Russia, it came into the possession of the great
coal fields of Polish Upper Silesia. It was naturally decided to exploit this and
the possibilities for a hydrogenation and Buna plant were examined. It was
found that the little town of “Oswieçim” (population 13,000), translated into
German as “Auschwitz” (Auschwitz had been a duchy of the Habsburg Empire
before World War I), was ideally located because the three rivers that
joined there could provide the necessary water, while a fourth river for carrying
off the waste was nearby. In addition, Auschwitz was on the southern border
of the Silesian coal fields, the Kattowitz (Katowice) mining region of Poland.
In early 1941 it was decided to build a hydrogenation and a Buna plant at
Auschwitz employing both free and prisoner labor. By pure chance there was
already near the town a partisan POW camp holding 7,000 prisoners (it had
formerly been a Polish artillery barracks); this camp became the nucleus for
expansion via its own enlargement and also the construction of additional
camps. It was quickly transformed into and remained to the last a camp for political
prisoner-workers; it is usually referred to as Auschwitz I. The terms
“main camp,” “Hauptlager,” and “Stammlager” are also sometimes used.91
Sometime in 1941 work had begun on a second camp, Auschwitz II, generally
referred to as Birkenau. It was one to one and a half miles northwest of
Auschwitz I and was initially referred to as a POW camp. Part of it was completed
by April 1942; Russian POW labor was used for constructing the camp.
Its functions will be examined at length.
Some 4,000 Jews were moved out of the town to another town to make
room for free labor attached to the industries. On November 16, 1941, it was
decided to build a third camp, generally referred to as Monowitz, three miles
east of the town and close to the Farben plant, for quartering labor working on
and in the plant. Russian POW’s were again used for constructing the camp.92
The relative locations of the three camps are shown in Fig. 5.93
There was also a large number of smaller camps in the outlying region,
most of them within a radius of 25 miles. These “outer camps,” of which
Raisko and Harmense were two relatively close-in examples, were administered
by the Auschwitz camp administration and the number has been variously
given as 13 to 39, depending upon what is considered a single camp.
The smaller or outer camps were mainly for those who worked at the five
90 DuBois, 154-155.
91 Reitlinger, 110, 128; NO-034 in NMT, vol. 5, 356-358.
92 Reitlinger, 114-115; DuBois, 156.
93 Central Commission, Figs. 2, 4; Langbein, 929.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
blast furnaces or five coal mines. Monowitz and the collection of all outer
camps taken together are sometimes referred to a Auschwitz III. The collection
of all camps, Auschwitz I, Birkenau (Auschwitz II) and Auschwitz III,
together with the industries which employed the inmates, is usually what is referred
to under the blanket term “Auschwitz.”94
The prisoner population of Auschwitz II was nothing unusual except that
there was a significant number of British POWs.95 The NMT judgment was
that the use of British POWs was not contrary to the Geneva Convention because
the Buna factory had an ultimate peaceful purpose.96 The Red Cross apparently
concurred because, although it was specifically aware of this situation,
it did not mention the employment of British POWs in its later report on
the problems it had encountered during the war in respect to the use of POWs
for war-related work.97
Typical camp strengths were 20,000 for Auschwitz I, 35,000 for Birkenau
(30 to 60 percent women) and 15,000 for Auschwitz III. By a wide margin,
Auschwitz was the largest complex of concentration camps in the German
system; in August 1943 the second largest was Sachsenhausen with a population
of 26,500.98 There were also many free laborers working and living in the
area. For example, less than thirty per cent of the workers at the Farben plant
were in the “prisoner” category; more that half were free foreign workers who
had enlisted voluntarily for labor and the remaining approximate twenty per
cent were ordinary German employees.99
Auschwitz I was the administrative center for all SS functions at Auschwitz.
These SS functions included the guarding, feeding, clothing, housing,
recreation and disciplining of the prisoners, and also their medical services.
The working hours at Auschwitz were those standard for the German concentration
camps: eleven hours per day, six days a week, with extra work on Sunday
mornings in “emergencies.”100 At Auschwitz there were divers recreational
activities: concerts, cabaret performers, movies and athletic contests.
There was even a brothel for the prisoners, staffed by professionals recruited
for the purpose.101 Medical services receive further comment later on.
The providing of such extensive services naturally meant that companies
using the labor of the prisoners “rented” them from the SS; a typical rate
Central Commission, 30; Reitlinger, 492; NO-021 in NMT, vol. 5, 385.
95 DuBois, 217-218, 223-227; Reitlinger, 115.
96 NMT, vol. 8, 1183-1184.
97 Red Cross (1947), 92; Red Cross (1948), vol. 1, 546-551.
98 Central Commission, 31; Reitlinger, 123, 492; 1469-PS and NO-021 in NMT, vol. 5, 382,
99 NI-11412-A in NMT, vol. 8, 311-312.
100 NO-1290 in NMT, vol. 5, 371.
101 Cohen, 180; Christophersen, 34. See also the discussion of the Dachau brothel in Gun, 38-
Chapter 2: The Camps
seems to have been RM 4.00-RM 6.00 ($1.00-$1.50) per day and up.102 Thus
the prisoners were at the basis of Himmler’s bureaucratic and economic empire
and accordingly this resource, together with the supporting functions of
feeding, clothing, etc. were jealously guarded. Nevertheless Farben had been
big enough to get a special arrangement for those at Monowitz; it was granted
full authority for the care of the prisoners there and consequently the payments
to the SS were reduced. This led to the expected scraps between the SS
and Farben. The SS complained of beatings and other mistreatment such as
unsanitary conditions at the Monowitz hospital. Also, one-fifth of the people
who had been registered at this hospital were discharged by being sent to
Birkenau, at which time the Farben appropriations for their care immediately
ceased and they became the responsibility of the SS which, already wounded
by not being accorded its customary rights in regard to employable prisoners,
was incensed at receiving in return only the unemployable from Monowitz.
The SS therefore demanded that the Monowitz hospital, which had only 300
beds, be enlarged, but the reply to this, of course, was that “if they aren’t
strong enough to work, they don’t belong on the factory grounds.”103
Birkenau, like Auschwitz I, had a responsibility of supplying labor for Farben
and for sub-contractors to Farben. It also supplied labor for other enterprises
such as the Krupp fuse plant and the Siemens electrical factory. In addition
inmates worked at clearing demolished structures, draining the marshy
land, road construction, operating an establishment for the cultivation of special
plants (Raisko), building and operating a model farm (Harmense), clothing
manufacture, etc.104 Birkenau had other functions, as will be seen. It will
be particularly necessary to examine the claim that at Birkenau a program of
mass killings of Jews via gas chambers was in operation, the Jews having
been transported to Auschwitz primarily for this purpose.105
The rough figures given above for camp populations are only illustrative;
actually the Birkenau figure varied a great deal and, in addition, the Birkenau
camp was never completed. The projected capacity of Birkenau seems to have
been 200,000 prisoners while Auschwitz I expanded to a capacity of about
30,000 and then stabilized.106 Thus, on the basis of seniority and also on account
of quartering the Auschwitz SS administrative offices, Auschwitz I was
indeed the “main camp,” but Birkenau, designed for the specific requirements
of the Auschwitz operations, was clearly intended as the “principle camp” in
terms of inmate accommodating functions.
While the Auschwitz-Kattowitz region was ideal from a technical point of
102 NMT, vol. 9, 121; Central Commission, 37.
103 DuBois, 164, 220-224.
104 DuBois, 141; NMT, vol. 6, 207, 233; NMT, vol. 9, 120; US-WRB (1944), pt. I, 1-2; Christophersen,
105 Reitlinger, 115, 157; Hilberg, 565, 574.
106 Central Commission, 31.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
view, it was also wretched from a human point of view. The ground was extremely
flat with no means of draining away water in many places; it was dotted
with stagnant ponds which poisoned the air and caused the area to be constantly
muddy. Malaria and typhus were natural, not wartime-created, dangers
in this region; the war conditions greatly aggravated matters. It is said that
“motor cars were disinfected after each journey carrying prisoners or their
After 1942, the hydrogenation plant at Auschwitz produced oil and gasoline
and other chemicals, but by the time the camp was evacuated in January
1945 it had not produced any Buna; it was only at the point of producing acetaldehyde
from acetylene.108 This relative slowness in plant construction was
no doubt due to the initially virgin character of the area, the use of prisoner labor
and the bad health of many prisoners; the latter had further implications
which will be seen later in proper context.
I do not know whether the Auschwitz Buna plant was to have been essentially
the same as the Ludwigshafen plant, an improved version of the latter, or
a new generation in Buna plant construction. In any case, if it had been finished,
there would have been no more advanced Buna rubber plant in the
world at the time.
107 Central Commission, 27-29; Dubois, 130; Friedman, 33.
108 DuBois, 341; Naunton, 107; Bebb & Wakefield, 945.
Chapter 3:
Washington and New York
The Rubber Crisis of 1942
The military situation of the Allied powers in 1942 was superficially a desperate
one. After the winter of 1941-1942 the German armies continued their
advance across Russia. The destruction of most of the American Pacific fleet
at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, had made the Pacific a virtual Japanese
lake. America was suddenly faced with a problem that was, for her, a strange
one: lack of a crucial raw material without which no war effort appeared possible.
Japan controlled what had been the source of ninety per cent of America’s
rubber, Malaya and the East Indies, and the source of the other ten per
cent, Central and South America, was hopelessly inadequate.109
The manner in which America extricated herself from this grave situation
will go down as one of the great ironies of history. America, one would expect,
could not resolve this problem because nobody in America had thought
in terms of “autarky.”
Standard Oil of New Jersey had the essentials of the I. G. Farben Buna
rubber process. This was on account of a series of agreements between the
two companies, commencing in 1927, covering technical cooperation and mutual
licensing arrangements. Standard was quite interested in Buna rubber because
it could also be made (more easily) from oil.
The cooperation continued, with the consent of the German government,
right up to the outbreak of war and even, to some extent, after the outbreak of
war. The American side benefited hugely from these arrangements, but the
German side got almost nothing out of them.110
The outbreak of war in September 1939 between Germany on the one hand
and England and France on the other, threw these arrangements between Farben
and Standard into a certain amount of legal confusion which need not be
explored here. Farben wished to clarify the confusion and so a meeting was
arranged at the Hague, on September 22, at which certain legal arrangements
were made. Standard official Frank A. Howard was puzzled by all of this:111
“I could not escape the conviction, however, that the Germans them-
109 Howard, 4-7, 216; U.S. Special Committee, 24.
110 Howard, chapters 2-9.
111 Howard, 82-83.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
selves were the only people who could profit from a military standpoint by
leaving the relations between Standard and the I. G. in the situation into
which the war had thrown them.”
The arrangements that had been made at the Hague soon proved to be inadequate
so it was decided in the spring of 1940 that another meeting was
necessary. Howard saw another motivation for an additional meeting:
“[…] we intended also to ask them to supply some of their detailed designs
of manufacturing equipment and technique for Buna. We hoped that
I. G. might obtain permission of its government to sell to us the plans for
the Buna polymerization plants they had erected in Germany under the
government program.”
These hopes were dashed at the conference between Standard and Farben
which finally took place in Basle, Switzerland in mid-April 1940, during the
German occupation of Norway which signaled the end of the Sitzkrieg. The
new political conditions arising from the German realization that the situation
was a serious one brought about at the conference the effective termination of
the relations between Farben and Standard. Naturally Standard got nowhere
with its proposals to buy plant designs. However, as Howard explains:
“One other point was very much on our minds. We wanted to make
sure, if possible, that the Germans had not, since the outbreak of the war in
Europe, made any radical change in their Buna manufacturing processes
or formulas. Direct questions were out of order, since the I. G. men could
not discuss any phase of Germany’s industrial war effort. But during the
settlements of patent transfers and discussions of license definitions needed
to implement the Hague agreement, we obtained sufficient data to feel sure
that all of the fundamentals of the Buna operation had remained unchanged.
This conclusion was later fully confirmed.”
This was the “last direct contact Standard had with the Germans on Buna
All American knowledge of the Buna processes, which made the American
war effort possible, came from these relationships with I. G. Farben, and this
is accepted fact in the rubber industry.113 Nevertheless Standard later came
under some rather stupid criticism and even later legal action on account of
The sudden unavailability in 1942 of a source of rubber set off a major political
crisis in the United States. There had been a Buna program in existence
since mid-1940, when the Rubber Reserve Corporation had been created
within the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. This agency, headed by Jesse
H. Jones, supervised the stockpiling of reserve crude rubber and also spon-
112 Howard, 104-108.
113 Naunton, 104.
114 DuBois, 284.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
sored the construction of Buna plants, which started in 1941. However, nobody
in authority had foreseen the complete loss of the Far East rubber, so the
synthetic rubber program had been modest in scope. Consequently, in 1942
there was almost no practical experience with large scale use of the Farben
The emergency had been realized immediately after the attack on Pearl
Harbor because, three days later, the US government banned the sale of new
automobile tires for civilian purposes. General rationing of rubber followed
quickly. Early in 1942 it became realized that, if there was to be any American
war effort, a gigantic synthetic rubber industry would have to be created in record
time. The apparently dismal prospects for such an achievement were the
cause of some amount of panic and, naturally, scapegoats were sought. Jesse
Jones was a favorite target, and his claim that 300,000 tons of synthetic rubber
would be produced in 1943, and 600,000 tons in 1944, was jeered at (US rubber
consumption in 1940 was 648,500 tons). Standard Oil also came in for
outrageously unfair abuse by people who interpreted the Farben-Standard
agreements as a conspiracy to retard synthetic rubber development in the US.
Harry S. Truman, chairman of a Senate committee which investigated war
production problems, first became prominent in connection with the rubber
crisis of 1942.
The crisis also set off internal political conflicts. The big oil interests had a
long lead in the production of Buna-S, but the farm bloc was dominant in
Congress. Now, Buna can be made not only from coal and oil, but also from
alcohol, an agricultural product. Foreseeing the birth of a major new industry,
the farm interests started arguing in favor of making Buna from alcohol (the
most expensive method). They cited the fact that the Russians, also long active
in the synthetic rubber field, started from alcohol. They also produced a
Polish refugee who was supposed to have made some revolutionary invention
in connection with making Buna from alcohol.
There was another political bloc tied up with South American interests,
which proposed subsidies for plantations. There was also a small farm bloc
which pressed for more extensive planting of the guayule plant in the southwest.
The effect of these internal political battles was to generate massive confusion
and retard the progress of the existing US Buna program.
The rubber crisis filled the press in 1942 and was, in fact, the major crisis
the US faced in connection with the war. There was constant lamenting that
Germany was well ahead of the US, and that the US lacked the vital experience
with the processes that the Germans possessed. Methods being used in
Germany were cited in connection with discussing the prospects of the US
115 As stated, the rubber crisis “filled the press,” but the following stories seem to summarize
the crisis adequately: Business Week (Jan. 31, 1942), 22+; (Mar. 14, 1942), 15+; (May 30,
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
The farm bloc’s battle against what it called the “oily interests” achieved a
temporary major success in July 1942 when the Congress passed the weird
“Rubber Supply Act of 1942.” The Act would have established a new agency
for rubber production, entirely under the control of Congress and outside the
domain of the War Production Board, the Army, the Navy or any executive
agency of the Government. Of course, the Act also specified that the rubber
was to be made from grain alcohol. President Roosevelt vetoed this bill on
August 6, and announced the appointment of a committee to study the rubber
problem and make some recommendations in regard to the organization of an
American synthetic rubber program: “probably the most widely acclaimed action
on the domestic front in the history of the war program.” The members of
the committee were Dr. James D. Conant, President of Harvard, Dr. Karl T.
Compton, President of MIT, and the financier and political leader Bernard M.
Baruch, who served as Chairman. The committee is normally referred to as
the Baruch Committee.116
These three men were chosen partially because they were not considered
connected with any specific interests in the conflict, and also because of their
expertise. The appointment of Baruch as chairman of such a technically oriented
group may seem peculiar at first, but this is not the case. Besides being a
man of diverse talents and important financial, industrial and political connections,
he had chaired the War Industries Board during World War I. Moreover,
for a period of more than thirty years he had been interested in industrial ventures
involving rubber and had independently inventoried, with war requirements
in mind, American rubber stocks in the spring of 1941. As a consequence
he had gotten into fights with various people, mainly Jesse H. Jones.
In addition, unlike the usual chairman of a “name” Washington ad hoc committee,
Baruch threw all his energy into the work of the Committee. His assistant
Sam Lubell also was put to work on the Committee’s assignment. Even
after the issuing of the final report Baruch maintained interest: Howard reports
that Baruch later expressed a wish to speak to the Standard people, and that a
meeting was accordingly held, at which the major technical-economic problems
were discussed.117
The work of the Baruch Committee was completed with remarkable speed
and the final report was issued on September 10, 1942; the best explanation
for this speed would appear to be Baruch’s independent prior involvement in
the problem.
We must attempt to see this problem as the Committee must have seen it in
1942), 15+; (Jun. 20, 1942), 15+; (Aug. 15, 1942), 15+; (Sep. 19, 1942), 15+; (Dec. 19,
1942), 28+; Newsweek (Apr. 6, 1942), 46+; (Apr. 13, 1942), 56+; (June 1, 1942), 46+; (Sep.
21, 1942), 58+; New York Times (Jan. 11, 1942), sec. 7, 6+; (Jul. 26, 1942), sec. 7, 3+; Fortune
(June 1942), 92+; Nature Magazine (May 1942), 233+; Harper’s (Dec. 1942), 66+.
116 Naunton, 108; Howard, 210-213.
117 Howard, 221-222; Coit, 120-121, 162-222, 513-520.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
1942. Primarily, it was a political problem requiring the reconciliation of the
various interests contending for the synthetic rubber business. Thus the final
report of the Committee recommended the creation of a capacity to produce
100,000,000 gallons of additional grain alcohol per year. A second problem
involved the lack of practical American experience with the Buna processes.
Technical specifications were at hand, but there existed many questions on
many details and quite a few alternative versions of the processes.
Thus, in order to accelerate the American synthetic rubber program, the
Baruch Committee saw a need to learn as much as possible of the experiences
of others. It made a specific recommendation that an immediate effort be
made to learn the experiences of the Russians in the production of synthetic
rubber and make use of them in the American program (Jesse Jones had been
charged with overlooking this possibility). The effort was made but yielded no
results of any value.118 Under such conditions it is necessary to assume that
somebody in America looked into new developments in Germany in as close
detail as possible at the time, and the new German development in rubber in
1942 was Auschwitz, the site of the most advanced developments in Buna
rubber at that time.
Auschwitz of Great Interest to Americans
The point to be made in our discussion of the American rubber crisis of
1942 is that American intelligence must have known what was going on at
Auschwitz in that year.
Clearly, it would be delightful if we could learn exactly what US military
intelligence knew about events in and around Germany during the war. However,
intelligence agencies are notoriously reluctant to release such information,
even many years after the events in question. With respect to World War
II intelligence operations, a few sensational episodes are known but, on the
whole, the content of Allied intelligence information has not been divulged.
The intelligence relative to Auschwitz will be a long, long time in being made
public, if it is ever made public.
In attempting to estimate, therefore, what information was possessed by
Allied intelligence agencies, one must proceed very much on the basis of
common sense. The difficulty is that my common sense may differ very much
from another’s, and that agreement on such matters may be most difficult to
arrive at. Now, my common sense tells me that, quite apart from the rubber
crisis, Allied intelligence would have known, in mid-1942, what was happening
at the largest German concentration camp. If additionally, as every version
118 Howard, 227-228; U.S. Special Committee, 13, 18, 50-51; Dunbrook, 40-46.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
of the extermination legend asserts, there had been anything as outré as a program
of systematic extermination of Jews at Auschwitz in the summer of
1942, then my common sense tells me that it is a certainty that US military intelligence
would have known about it.
If another’s common sense does not lead him to the same conclusion it is
very doubtful that the disagreement could be settled by discussion. However,
with Auschwitz we have the fact that it was of interest not only as a large concentration
camp (and also, if the extermination claims were correct, an extermination
camp), but also as the site of the most advanced developments in
synthetic rubber. In 1942, no location in the German Reich was of greater interest,
and no industrial operations of greater strategic importance. Therefore,
if one wishes to claim that US (or the closely related British) intelligence did
not know what was happening at Auschwitz in the summer of 1942, then I am
afraid that one must logically claim the complete ignorance and incompetence
of these intelligence agencies.
Auschwitz was of the greatest interest to the US in mid-1942 on account of
its enormous technological significance. Above we saw Howard’s great interest,
in 1940, in any information about possible new developments that could
be obtained directly or inferred indirectly. A similar interest on the part of the
Americans in 1942 must be assumed. It is a certainty that intelligence had developed
the basic facts about the industry at Auschwitz: a plant for hydrogenation
and other chemical processes aimed at producing gasoline and rubber. It
has been seen that each one of the German Buna rubber plants employed
processes differing in important details from the others and that the Auschwitz
processes were to be the beneficiary of accumulated experiences with several
different versions. We are thus justified in assuming, on account of the peculiar
urgency of the rubber problem and the peculiar position of Auschwitz
relative to this urgency, that the intelligence had gone into unusual detail in
regard to Auschwitz, probably going over every inch via aerial photographic
intelligence, and that the assembled information was available to various people
in the US. The information probably included many details not greatly
relevant to the rubber problem, such as the employment of prisoner and POW
labor at Auschwitz.
Although concealment of information has been the rule in the area of military
intelligence, we can nevertheless assume that the means of gathering intelligence
data on Auschwitz included more or less conventional methods: exploitation
of contacts with commercial representatives of Farben who were
stationed in neutral countries (Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland),
aerial photographic intelligence (aircraft used for such purposes may always
have longer ranges than bombers on account of their lack of armaments), general
knowledge of German industrial and economic matters, spies and informers
in German industry and in the German government (e.g. Admiral Canaris),
and informers in the employ of advantageously situated neutral organizations
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
(such as the Swiss and Swedish diplomatic corps and also firms doing business
in Germany). Although all of these means no doubt played a role, photographic
intelligence was probably particularly important; the technology of
photographic intelligence had attained a respectable level in 1942 so that a
“you are there” effect was possible in blown-up aerial photos of even heavily
defended positions. There were other channels of information, whose nature
and existence are of some particular importance here, and which will be discussed
in due course.
Not being sufficiently acquainted with the technical problems that were associated
with Buna at the time, we have no idea what information the Americans
might have been after and how it could be inferred from the intelligence
data, any more than we have an understanding of what questions were on the
minds of the Standard people at the Basle meeting and how partial answers
could be inferred from the legal ritual that took place at that meeting. We can,
however, offer one possibility by way of example without any claim that such
was the specific case.
We have seen that the first German Buna plant at Schkopau employed a
carbide-acetylene-butadiene process and that at the Hüls plant the process was
hydrocarbons-acetylene-butadiene. The new plant at Ludwigshafen, nearing
completion when the Baruch Committee was meeting, had reverted to making
the acetylene from carbide and had modernized the acetylene to butadiene
stage. Because either a carbide or a hydrocarbons process was potentially applicable
to the processes to be employed in the US (which could have started
from oil or grain alcohol), it was no doubt of great interest whether Auschwitz
was to employ a carbide process (as was the case), suggesting abandonment of
the hydrocarbons version on the basis of the Hüls experience, or was to employ
a hydrocarbons or other process, suggesting failure to make a commitment
to carbide processes.
Moreover the carbide vs. hydrocarbons question could probably be answered
on the basis of aerial intelligence, if necessary.
What was the ultimate value, in terms of the problems the Americans
faced, of the detailed information about contemporary German Buna developments
which, we feel certain, they examined closely approximately in middle-
late 1942? Perhaps none, as was the case with most categories of information;
it is just that you don’t miss a bet in the sort of situation in which the
Americans found themselves regarding rubber in 1942.
Consideration of technical matters has been necessary here because it was
in a technical context that Auschwitz first became prominent in Washington.
However it is not the technical matters that have been our objective here but
simply the fact of prominence, or heavy exposure, in US inner circles in the
summer of 1942; this is the only point relevant to our subject. We have no direct
evidence of this but we have reviewed reasons why such exposure may be
assumed. It remains to show that events at Auschwitz at this time were such as
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
to suggest an “extermination factory” charge to those in the inner political circles,
who were alert to the appearance of semi-factual bases for atrocity stories.
The events at Auschwitz in late 1942 – early 1943 will be covered in a
second context in the next chapter, and hence are not annotated here.
The eeriest aspect that Auschwitz must have presented while the Baruch
Committee was meeting was that of the site of a ghost factory; starting around
August 1, the Buna plant had been closed. There was no activity to be seen
except possibly an occasional watchman. This must have excited great curiosity
and no doubt special steps were taken to find out what was going on.
Our ugly old friend typhus was at Auschwitz; an epidemic had shut down
the Buna plant for two months, so that work did not resume until late September.
By this time the number of dead must have been a few thousand, although
there is a large degree of uncertainty here. The German policy was to cremate
the bodies of camp inmates who died, but the epidemic caught the Auschwitz
authorities with inadequate crematory facilities. There was a small crematory
at Auschwitz I but more extensive facilities at Birkenau, plans for which existed
in January 1942, were still under construction in 1942, and the first complete
new unit, consisting of fifteen conventional crematory ovens, was not
available until January 1943. It appears that many of the victims of the epidemic
were immediately cremated in pits, but it is possible that many were
buried, at least temporarily. That the Germans were constructing crematories
at Birkenau was probably evident to continued Allied surveillance (which we
assume existed) in the autumn of 1942. The buildings housing the Birkenau
ovens had certain halls, rooms, or cellars which the accusations say were the
“gas chambers.”
Several books offer versions of Fig. 7, which is claimed to be a photograph
of gassed victims about to be burned in pits, taken by an Auschwitz inmate in
1944.119 We have no way of knowing when, where or by whom it was taken.
However such scenes were common at Auschwitz in 1942, when the camp
presumably attained some prominence in Allied intelligence. Indeed the poor
quality of the picture caused some initial speculation on my part that it is an
aerial intelligence photograph; the low angle does not rule out the possibility
because such angles were frequently attained even with highly defended positions.
120 Also, the versions I examined in the various books do not have the
border material which tends to support the claim that it was taken on the
ground. Our Fig. 7 is reproduced from a print obtained in 1973 from the museum
operated by the Polish government at Auschwitz, and there remain a
number of mysteries concerning it. The version reproduced here is the only
one, so far as I know, that is not obviously falsified to some extent. However
119 The photograph appears in Schoenberner, 162 (206 in paperback), and in Central Commission,
Fig. 39.
120 C.B. Smith, 166-171 and photographs.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
such an observation does not settle the matter because of the strange fact that
the falsified (or, at least, retouched) versions display more apparently genuine
background detail (e.g. the fence and trees).
In any case Birkenau was, in a very real sense, a “death camp;” dead, dying
and sick people were sent there and, after the crematories were built, the dead
were disposed of in them. If one is to claim an “extermination camp” when
there is none, what better choice is there but a “death camp”?
While the preceding adequately suggests how the Auschwitz lie originated,
it is not relevant to the circumstances under which the more general extermination
legend originated. The claims of exterminations of Jews have their origin
not in Allied intelligence information but in the operations of the World
Jewish Congress, whose leaders were at first either unconcerned with, or uninformed
about, the facts pertaining to Auschwitz.
In this connection one must reject two possible fallacious expectations. The
first is that Allied propaganda would strive to maximize Auschwitz propaganda
after it was realized that the propaganda possibilities were excellent.
The second is that the claims made in the Allied propaganda relative to
Auschwitz would be almost completely devoid of real fact.
The second fallacious expectation is that American propaganda relative to
Auschwitz would be almost free of fact. We have indicated already that this
should not be expected. Washington had excellent and accurate information
about Auschwitz, as it had about all important phases of German industrial activity,
and it has been remarked above that the real facts about Birkenau
seemed to invite distortion of interpretation.
If, as is claimed here, there was no German extermination program but certain
propagandists in the US wished the acceptance of the thesis that there
was, it would have been a most serious blunder for the propagandists to give
maximum emphasis to Auschwitz or any other place as an alleged extermination
camp for this would amount to making a charge that the Germans could
answer. If high US officials, such as Roosevelt or his cabinet members, had
made specific remarks about exterminations, naming sites where exterminations
were taking place, under circumstances where their remarks received the
wide publicity normally given to public statements by officials of their rank,
then both the Germans and the Allies would have been put on the spot on the
question and the truth would not have been long in coming out. On the contrary,
as we shall see in a later chapter, the first period in which there was a
persistence of references to Auschwitz as an extermination camp, appearing
even under obscure circumstances, was immediately after D-Day (June 6,
1944), when nobody was paying any attention to such stories. Later in the
summer of 1944, the emphasis shifted to the Lublin camp, which the Russians
had just captured. The first reference to emerge from a US government source
that was high enough so that it could not be ignored, and which charged exterminations
at Auschwitz, came in late November 1944, after the exterminaArthur
R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
tions are supposed to have been terminated.121 Otherwise, people such as Roosevelt
and Churchill and their ministers spoke only in very general moralistic
terms about exterminations. It is only if one believed there actually were exterminations
taking place at Auschwitz, and one wanted to stop them, that one
would have made a specific charge concerning Auschwitz to which the Germans
would have felt obliged to respond. No such challenge ever materialized.
Despite the fact that in all versions of the extermination legend the
Auschwitz exterminations had certainly started by the late summer of 1942,
and despite the fact that US military intelligence must have known whatever it
was that was going on at Auschwitz at that time, no specific extermination
charges came from any high source until much later.
The First ‘Extermination’ Claims and Washington
The first “inside” events relative to the extermination propaganda were in
the context of a conflict involving the US State and Treasury Departments and
the World Jewish Congress (and American Jewish Congress), headed by
Rabbi Stephen S. Wise. The prominent characters in the story are Treasury
Secretary Morgenthau, later the nominal author of the notorious “Morgenthau
Plan” for the despoliation of Germany, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and
Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, who were mildly reluctant to be carried
along by the propaganda, and Assistant Secretary of State J. Breckenridge
Long, who was very resistant to the propaganda. Also involved are the World
Jewish Congress representatives in Switzerland, Gerhard Riegner and Professor
Paul Guggenheim, who transmitted stories of supposedly European origin
to Wise or to other persons in the US, notably to the State Department through
the US Ambassador to Switzerland, Leland Harrison, or through the US Consul
in Geneva, Paul C. Squire. The principal work that has set forth the events
surrounding the birth of the extermination legend is Arthur D. Morse’s While
Six Million Died, a book which is supplemented to some extent by Henry L.
Feingold’s The Politics of Rescue. Additional material had been contributed
by post-war accounts given by Morgenthau, historians J. M. Blum and Anthony
Kubek (in interpreting Morgenthau’s papers, the latter for the US Senate
publication Morgenthau Diary), historian F. L. Israel (in summarizing the
papers of J. Breckenridge Long), and J. DuBois, who was at first Chief Counsel
of the Treasury’s Foreign Funds Control, involved in these matters chiefly
in connection with efforts to extend assistance to refugees.122
121 Hilberg, 631; Reitlinger, 493-495.
122 Unless otherwise noted, our treatment of the early extermination propaganda, related developments
in Washington and New York and the conflicts between the State Department, on
the other hand, and Zionists and the Treasury Department on the other, and the events leadChapter
3: Washington and New York
The first extermination claim appears to have been made by the London
section of the World Jewish Congress in June 1942. It was claimed that one
million Jews had been killed in some undesignated and unlocated “vast
slaughterhouse for Jews” which had been established in Eastern Europe. The
only attempt to provide evidence for this claim was a remark that the Polish
government in exile in London had received confirming information. The allegation
was carried in the New York Times in a story that will be reviewed below.
The evidence for this London claim was obviously too flimsy to serve as
effective propaganda, so an effort was made to improve matters slightly. On
August 8, 1942, Riegner and Guggenheim approached the US Consulate in
Geneva, which had been cooperating with the World Jewish Congress to the
extent of allowing it to use diplomatic channels for messages, with a story that
some anonymous German industrialist had informed them that he had learned
of a decision to kill all non-Soviet Jews under German control. Discussions,
which the industrialist had overheard, were being held in the Führer’s Headquarters
regarding the methods to be employed. One method under discussion
was gassing with Prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide gas) after the Jews had been
concentrated at camps in Eastern Europe. This story was forwarded to Washington
by the Consulate, via US diplomatic channels, and to London via British
diplomatic channels. The “industrialist” has remained anonymous to this
When the US State Department received the message, it was evaluated and
it was decided that:
“[…] it does not appear advisable in view of the […] fantastic nature of
the allegations and the impossibility of our being of any assistance if such
action were taken, to transmit the information to Dr. Wise as suggested.”
The message was accordingly suppressed, but Wise learned of its contents
anyway. It is said that he learned from London, but it is also possible that he
had composed the message in the first place, and learned of its transmission
and suppression through his various connections.
Wise immediately contacted Welles, who had approved the decision to
suppress, in order to protest the State Department’s handling of the matter.
Welles replied that the “information” was somewhat too unsubstantiated to be
taken seriously, and that some confirmation should be obtained before any
public announcement was made. Welles then instructed the US representative
in the Vatican to attempt to check the allegations with Vatican sources. At the
time, almost nobody in Washington pretended to take these claims seriously,
and even President Roosevelt assured Justice Felix Frankfurter that the Jews
ing up to the establishment of the War Refugee Board, is based on Morse, 3-99; Feingold,
167-247; Dubois, 183-189; Blum, 207-227; Israel; 173-174, 216-217, 306-337; Morgenthau.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
who had been deported to the East were merely being used to help build fortifications.
In September two anonymous persons showed up in Geneva, claiming to
have escaped from German controlled areas. They reported the extermination
of Polish Jews and the utilization of the Jewish corpses for the manufacture of
fertilizer. This was forwarded to Washington through diplomatic channels,
and again an attempt was made to get confirmation by the Vatican (which had
thus far ignored the first request for confirmation). At about the same time,
Wise had received a message from a World Jewish Congress official in
Europe reporting on the “manufacture of soap and artificial fertilizer” from
Jewish corpses.
In late September Riegner came forward with two new documents. The
first had, he said, been prepared by an (anonymous, naturally) officer attached
to the German High Command, and had reached Riegner through several intermediaries.
The anonymous officer claimed that there were at least two factories
in existence which were manufacturing soap, glue and lubricants from
Jewish corpses, and that it had been determined that each Jewish corpse was
worth 50 Reichmarks. The second document consisted of two coded letters
that had, it was said, been written by a Swiss Jew resident in Warsaw. The
anonymous Jew reported wholesale exterminations of Warsaw Jews deported
to the East. All of these messages were forwarded to Washington and then
In passing we should note the resemblance of such claims to World War I
propaganda, and the appalling lack of originality and creativity on the part of
the World Jewish Congress. It scarcely requires remarking that the soap and
glue factories were a very transient propaganda phenomenon, and that the
only similar charges made at Nuremberg were made by the Russians. These
charges were largely ignored even then and nobody, to my knowledge, has
since come forward with the locations of these factories, the identities of the
persons who managed them, or similar information. Reitlinger does not claim
the existence of such factories, and Hilberg (page 624) does not believe they
On October 10, the Vatican finally informed the US representatives that it
had been unable to confirm the many reports it had heard of severe measures
against the Jews.
On October 22, Riegner met with Ambassador Harrison and presented him
with more of the same sort of “evidence,” this time reporting “information”
provided by yet another anonymous German informant (whose name, however,
is said to have been presented to Harrison in a sealed envelope, and to
have been kept secret from everybody but the Office of Strategic Services
[OSS]) and also an anonymous official of the International Red Cross. Harrison
forwarded this material to Washington, but also wrote two personal letters
to Welles in late October, claiming that he knew the name of the German inChapter
3: Washington and New York
dustrialist, and also claiming that the anonymous Red Cross official was Carl
Jacob Burckhardt, the distinguished Voltaire-Goethe scholar who was prominent
in the International Red Cross during the war. He enclosed an affidavit
that Guggenheim had deposed before Squire on October 29, in which Guggenheim
claimed that he had obtained from an anonymous German informant
information confirming Riegner’s claims. The anonymous German informant
had gotten his information from an anonymous official of the German Foreign
Ministry, and from an anonymous official of the German Ministry of War.
Moreover, an anonymous Swiss informant, resident in Belgrade, had also
given information to Guggenheim supporting the claims.
In order to confirm the claims, Squire arranged an interview with Burckhardt,
which took place in Geneva on November 7. On November 9, Squire
communicated to Harrison his memorandum on the interview, in which he had
recorded that Burckhardt’s information was that Hitler had signed an order
that before the end of 1942 Germany must be free of all Jews. Squire’s account
of the interview explains:123
“I then asked him whether the word extermination, or its equivalent,
was employed, to which he replied that the words must be Juden-frei (free
of Jews) were utilized. He then made it clear that since there is no place to
send these Jews and since the territory must be cleared of this race, it is
obvious what the net result would be.”
This, the report of an ambiguous remark, made by an imperfectly informed
Swiss citizen, reported by an intermediary who was friendly to the World Jewish
Congress and eager to discover a sinister interpretation to such facts as
were available, is as solid as this “evidence” ever got. To my knowledge,
Burckhardt never spoke out publicly, during or after the war, in connection
with these matters. He answered some written questions which were put to
him by Kaltenbrunner’s defense during the IMT trial, but these questions, relating
to Kaltenbrunner’s efforts to permit the Red Cross to enter the German
camps toward the end of the war, were not relevant to our subject. Nobody
asked Burckhardt about exterminations.124
Late in November, the State Department received “information” from an
anonymous Vatican source, consisting of a three page description, in French,
of events allegedly transpiring in Poland. The document is unsigned and the
only sort of endorsement is a handwritten notation, “from Mr. F. at Vatican
City,” which appears in an unknown hand on the first page. The document re-
123 Guggenhiem’s affidavit is in dispatch no. 49 of October 29, 1942, of the retired files of the
U.S. Consulate, Geneva, which are in the archives of the Foreign Affairs Document and
Reference Center, Department of State, Washington. Squire’s memorandum of his interview
with Burckhardt is attached to Squire’s personal letter of November 9, 1942 to Harrison,
which is in the same file.
124 The question put to Burckhardt, and his answers, are IMT document Kaltenbrunner 3, IMT
Vol. 40, p. 306.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
ports, inter alia125
“Farms for the breeding of human beings are being organized to which
women and girls are brought for the purpose of being made mothers of
children who are then taken from them to be raised in Nazi establishments.
[…] Mass execution of Jews continues. […] They are killed by poison gas
in chambers especially prepared for that purpose (often in railway cars)
and by machine gun fire, following which the dead and the dying are both
covered with earth. […] Reports are being circulated to the effect that the
Germans are making use of their corpses in plants manufacturing chemical
products (soap making factories).”
During the late summer and autumn of 1942, Wise had continuously campaigned
for the Allied governments to take a public position directly condemning
the alleged exterminations of Jews in Europe. On December 8, Wise
led a delegation to the White House and presented to President Roosevelt a
twenty-page document entitled Blue Print for Extermination, which was based
on the sort of “information” we have reviewed. Related Jewish pressures finally
brought capitulation to Wise on the mythical exterminations, and on December
17, 1942, the Allies, led by Washington, issued a statement condemning
the exterminations. A related statement, released two days later, claimed
exterminations at Belzec and at Chelmno, but Auschwitz was not mentioned
(the relevant news stories are reviewed below).
Despite this public declaration, the group headed by J. Breckenridge Long
continued to resist the propaganda. On January 19, 1943, Riegner gave Harrison
the “information” that “in one place in Poland 6,000 Jews are killed
daily.” On January 21, Harrison communicated this material to the State Department
and also to certain unspecified “private Jewish agencies,” apparently
meaning Wise. The message was merely filed and the Department made no
public mention of it. For a time, the private Jewish agencies were also silent
about the message. On February 10, Long’s group took a further step in suppression
of such propaganda. It instructed Harrison, in a message signed by
Welles (who is said to have not read the message), and with particular reference
to Harrison’s cable of January 21,
“in the future, reports submitted to you for transmission to private persons
in the United States should not be accepted unless extraordinary circumstances
make such action advisable. It is felt that by sending such private
messages which circumvent neutral countries’ censorship we risk the
possibility that neutral countries might find it necessary to take steps to
curtail or abolish our official secret means of communication.”
Finally, on February 14, the New York Times published the story (see below).
For explanation of the delay of four weeks in publishing the story, de-
125 The statement of the “Vatican source” is in the U.S. National Archives as Department of
State file 740.00116 EW/726.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
spite its being received by “private Jewish agencies” on January 21, and despite
the evident policy of publishing the unsupported claims of such agencies,
we can only conjecture that certain unknown persons were hoping that the
State Department, given the precedent of the declaration of December 17,
would release the “information” so as to confer a greater credibility than
would have been granted to the story as it eventually appeared: a claim indistinguishable
in terms of authority from the average sort of atrocity claim.
The Treasury (which, because of Morgenthau’s long crusade against Germany,
had repeatedly interfered in the conduct of foreign affairs since at least
1936126) was soon to come into conflict with State over this suppression. A
second and more substantial basis for conflict between the two Departments
was also established in February 1943. It was learned that the Romanian government
was prepared to transfer 70,000 Jews to Palestine on Romanian ships
bearing Vatican insignia (it is unlikely that the Romanians really cared where
the Jews were sent, so I assume that the Palestine destination must have been
somehow specified by the Zionists involved in the formulation of the proposals).
An important condition was specified by “officials who were in charge in
Romania of Jewish interests.” A cost of 250 pounds (about $1200) per capita
was specified. There were other difficulties. The British policy at the time was
not to antagonize the Arabs, especially in view of the potentially catastrophic
consequences of an Arab uprising in wartime, and thus the British at first refused
to consider the admission of so many Jews to Palestine. The British took
the position that if such Jews were to be taken out of Europe, the US should
provide camps in North Africa for them. In addition, both the British Foreign
Office and the US State Department took the position that there would inevitably
be spies in such a large group of people, that the logistical problems involved
in transporting and accommodating such numbers were formidable,
and that the money demanded might fall into the hands of the enemy (who
valued Allied currency for various purposes). The Treasury was eager to get
into the business of aiding Jewish refugees and thus it sought to overcome
such objections. By July 1943 there was said to be bribe money demanded for
the Romanian Jews, $170,000, and the Treasury and the World Jewish Congress
proposed that Romanian Jewish businessmen could produce the bribe
money if they could be reimbursed after the war with money to be held in escrow
in Switzerland. However, the British objections to admitting Jews to
Palestine stood, and efforts to circumvent them by proposing other destinations
for the Jews ran into the opposition of various candidate countries and
also into US immigration laws.
The State Department, especially J. Breckenridge Long and associates,
considered all the talk about “exterminations” to be just wartime propaganda,
in the same spirit as the stories invented during World War I. They were, after
126 Hull, 471-473.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
all, continually considering proposals to move these exterminated people out
of Europe; as late as January 1944 the Department was taking steps to encourage
Jews to leave Poland for Hungary. Long wrote that one danger in supporting
the proposals of Wise was that it “may lend color to the charges of Hitler
that we are fighting this war on account of and at the instigation and direction
of our Jewish citizens.” State considered the whole project pointless and, indeed,
in conflict with the requirements of an optimum war effort. Long wrote
“Wise always assumes such a sanctimonious air and pleads for the ‘intellectuals
and brave spirits, refugees from the tortures of the dictators’ or
words to that effect. Of course only an infinitesimal fraction of the immigrants
are of that category – and some are certainly German agents. […] I
did not allude to the Navemar – en route from Lisbon to Havana and New
York – a freight boat, passenger accommodations for 15 and 1200 poor
Jews above and below decks with no sanitary arrangements, no service, no
kitchen facilities, at from $700 to $1500 apiece, 4 dead before reaching
Bermuda, 6 hospitalized there, 1 of which died, victims of the greed of their
fellows – not of Germany or the United States policy. The vessel is a menace
to the health of any port where it stops and a shame to the human
greed which makes it possible. But I did not allude to it in reply to Rabbi
Wise. Each one of these men hates me. I am to them the embodiment of a
nemesis. They each and all believe every person, everywhere, has a right to
come to the United States. I believe nobody, anywhere has a right to enter
the United States unless the United States desires.”
The State Department either procrastinated on the matter or actively sabotaged
the proposed project. At the end of the summer of 1943 it was learned
that 6,000 Jewish children could be taken out of France, and this possibility
got involved in the problem.
The people from the Treasury and the World Jewish Congress kept pressing
for the proposed projects and continually asserted, with apparent complete
seriousness, that the only alternative was the death of the people in question at
the hands of Hitler. It was even openly charged that the failure to approve the
projects was “acquiescence of this Government in the murder of the Jews.”
Pressure was also put on the British by various people. Long had become a
whipping boy both publicly and within government circles, and he wrote bitterly
“the Jewish agitation depends on attacking some individual. Otherwise
they would have no publicity. So for the time being I am the bull’s eye.”
As a result of this campaign, Wise and Morgenthau achieved a breakthrough
in December 1943, when arrangements were finally made for the
evacuation of Romanian Jews and money was put into a Swiss account controlled
by Riegner and the US Treasury. Moreover, in December Romania put
out peace feelers and was assured it would be treated well if it treated its Jews
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
well; Romania immediately decided to repatriate Jews it had resettled by the
Sea of Azov in Russia.
This Morgenthau victory had been achieved at a December 20 meeting of
Hull, Long, Morgenthau and John Pehle, chief of the Treasury’s Foreign
Funds Control. Morgenthau had evidently decided on a showdown with State
over the entire matter for at that meeting he casually requested a copy of the
complete text of the February 10 message from Welles to Harrison (the suppression
instruction). The State Department complied, but deleted the reference
to Harrison’s message of January 21, thereby causing the message of
February 10 to appear utterly routine. In thus editing the message, State was
obviously unaware that the complete contents of this correspondence had already
been leaked to DuBois in the Treasury by Donald Hiss of the State Department
(brother of Alger Hiss and later identified in Bentley-Chambers testimony
as a Communist, although he denied it), who had acquired copies of
the messages only with great difficulty and, in complying with DuBois’ request,
nevertheless cautioned the latter that the messages were “none of
Treasury’s business” and that Hiss could lose his job for the leak.127
When Morgenthau received the edited message he knew that he had another
weapon to use against Long and associates and, thus, he brought on a
collision by charging editing of the message and demanding to see the unedited
files, which were produced shortly later, exposing State’s clumsy attempt
at concealment. The State Department people were now very much on the defensive,
and further examination of the State Department files (which the
Treasury was now in a position to insist on) revealed that, in response to a request
by Wise, Welles had cabled Harrison in April to meet with Riegner and
transmit new information that Riegner was supposed to have obtained. The
confused Harrison did as requested (Riegner’s information had to do with
proposals to assist Jewish refugees in France and Romania) and also remarked
to Welles that such material should not be subjected to the restriction imposed
by the February 10 message.
Morgenthau was victorious in the State-Treasury collision; Roosevelt,
drawn into the issue, sided with him by establishing in January 1944 the socalled
War Refugee Board consisting of Morgenthau, Hull and Secretary of
War Stimson. However, the executive director was “Morgenthau’s fair haired
boy,” John Pehle, and Josiah DuBois was the general counsel. It was thus
Morgenthau’s Board. The WRB naturally acquired the powers that had been
held by the three Government Departments that were involved in the proposed
projects for taking Jews out of Europe. Thus, the State Department became
committed to appointing special attachés with diplomatic status on the recommendation
of the Board (the UNRRA – United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation
Administration – set up the previous November, was to have a simi-
127 Morgenthau Diary, 6.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
lar function but only after the war ended).128
In order completely to grasp the nature of its development, and its import
in terms of our subject, we should go beyond noting the obvious fact that the
WRB was to serve, to a great extent, as simply an instrument of the World
Jewish Congress and other Zionist organizations. The Communist apparatus
was also one of the directors involved, for the person to whom Morgenthau
had delegated all of the Treasury’s powers in the areas relevant to the WRB
was Harry Dexter White, later exposed as a Soviet agent. White became a
member of Morgenthau’s inner circle in the spring of 1938. A week after
Pearl Harbor, Morgenthau announced that “on and after this date, Mr. Harry
D. White, Assistant to the Secretary, will assume full responsibility for all
matters with which the Treasury Department has to deal having a bearing on
foreign relations […] ” The extreme generality of the wording of this order,
especially the phrase “having a bearing on,” were to create grand opportunities
for White in the years ahead. In early 1943 Morgenthau amplified White’s
“Effective this date, I would like you to take supervision over and assume
full responsibility for Treasury’s participation in all economic and
financial matters […] in connection with the operations of the Army and
Navy and the civilian affairs in the foreign areas in which our Armed
Forces are operating or are likely to operate. This will, of course, include
general liaison with the State Department, Army and Navy, and other departments
or agencies and representatives of foreign governments on these
White, who became an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in early 1945,
took full advantage of these powers, especially in connection with occupation
policy in Germany. It is also evident that, because the WRB was to a large degree
an arm of the Treasury, its operations fell into White’s domain. It is also
worth remarking that the general counsel of the WRB, Dubois, was “closely
associated” with the Communist agent, William L. Ullmann, and was also a
witness of White’s will.129
Long had mixed and, as it developed, prescient thoughts about the implications
of these developments:
“[…] it will be only a few more days now before I relinquish jurisdiction
in connection with refugees and let somebody else have the fun. And it
has been a heavy responsibility – domestic as well as foreign, because
there are 5 million Jews in the country, of whom 4 million are concentrated
in and around New York City. And we have no Arab or Moslem
population, but we do have increasingly important commercial interests –
128 New York Times (Jan. 22, 1943), 6; (May 13, 1943), 8; (Sep. 5, 1943), 7; (Sep. 6, 1943),
7.23, 1944), 11.
129 Morgenthau Diary, 6-9.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
principally oil – in the Moslem countries. In addition our ally England has
hardly any Jewish citizenship but a very large political interest in the Near
East. So our policy is increasingly based in part – a large part – on a domestic
situation, while England’s is based entirely on a foreign affairs base
– and the two are hard to reconcile […] it is good news for me […] this
ensures me staying out. What they can do that I have not done I cannot
Long miscalculated on the last point for the WRB eventually did a considerable
amount of Jew relocation, and its acts on behalf of refugees are of great
importance in this book and are discussed in a later chapter. It also aided concentration
camp inmates, through the Red Cross, in the final weeks of the
war.130 As an instrument of Wise and other Zionists, the WRB also did considerable
propagandizing131 and its most consequential propaganda achievement
was a booklet, German Extermination Camps: Auschwitz and Birkenau,
Executive Office of the President, Washington, November 1944. The booklet
is hereafter referred to as the WRB report.
The WRB report constituted the formal birth of the “official” thesis of exterminations
via gas chamber at Auschwitz. In it all of the essentials and many
of the details of the later Auschwitz hoax are found. The Nuremberg charges
grew out of the WRB report. There does not seem to have been any particularly
strong reaction, one way or the other, to the WRB report at the time that
it was issued. However, an American journalist, Oswald F. Schuette, wrote a
critical letter to Stimson (one of the signers of the report), but Schuette did not
get a satisfactory reply.132
Of course, the WRB report failed to change the opinions of the State Department
people who had scoffed at the extermination propaganda from the
very beginning. In private with DuBois, they were blunt in their opinion of the
WRB report:
“Stuff like this has been coming from Bern ever since 1942. […] Don’t
forget, this is a Jew telling about the Jews. […] This is just a campaign by
that Jew Morgenthau and his Jewish assistants.”
The WRB report was said to have been transmitted from Bern to Washington.
The report will be discussed in depth after we have surveyed a key part of
the wartime propaganda, in its public aspect. First, however, we should point
out that some otherwise keen observers misinterpret the role of Auschwitz in
the extermination legend. The distinguished American journalist and historian,
Harry Elmer Barnes, wrote in 1967 that the extermination133
“[…] camps were first presented as those in Germany, such as Dachau,
130 DuBois, 198-199; Red Cross (1947), 20, 23, 59-60; US-WRB (1945), 9-10, 56-61.
131 US-WRB (1945), 45-56.
132 Morgenthau Diary, 805-810; Aretz, 366-368.
133 Barnes Quoted in Anonymous, 3.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
Belsen, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, and Dora, but it was demonstrated
that there had been no systematic extermination in those camps. Attention
was then moved on to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, Chelmno, Jonowska,
Tarnow, Ravensbruck, Mauthausen, Brezeznia, and Birkenau, which does
not exhaust the list that appears to have been extended as needed.”
The basis for Barnes’ misunderstanding, of course, is that at the end of the
war the mass media, for the sake of sensation mongering did, indeed, seize on
the scenes found in the German camps as proof of exterminations, and it is
also true, as we indicated in the previous chapter, that these scenes have
served as the mass propaganda “proof” of exterminations. However, our
analysis shows that Auschwitz had been carefully chosen in 1944 as the core
for the extermination hoax. This point will be supported by material to be reviewed
below and also in a later chapter. By publishing the WRB report in
November 1944, Washington committed itself to a specific form of the hoax.
That form was maintained in the trials in Nuremberg and, even today, the
form of the hoax does not differ in any significant respect from the WRB report.
After his WRB victory, Morgenthau busied himself with other things, particularly
with the policies to be followed in occupied Germany. He found that
existing plans actually paid regard to the Hague and Geneva Conventions, to
which the United States was signatory, and which prohibited such things as
the seizure of private personal property of no military significance, the detaining
of POWs long after the end of hostilities, and the needless imposition of
starvation rations. He therefore campaigned for the harsher policies which
later became known as the Morgenthau Plan, and of which many were actually
adopted and put into practice. David Marcus, in the CAD, sponsored
Morgenthau’s objectives there and kept him informed about his opponents.
Colonel Bernard Bernstein, long associated with Morgenthau, performed a
similar function for him at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces
(SHAEF) in London. Baruch also helped out.134
The First ‘Extermination’ Claims and New York
The thesis of this book is that the story of Jewish extermination in World
War II is a propaganda hoax. Obviously, therefore, we must examine the origins
of the hoax in wartime propaganda. We have already discussed many of
the “inside” aspects, and the public aspects remain to be examined.
The enormity of the task plus the “controversial” nature of the subject
seem to have discouraged a thorough study of the propaganda. There have
134 Blum, 343, 383.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
been studies of special aspects. John T. Flynn, in While You Slept, surveyed
the propaganda in respect to communist and pro-communist influences, especially
in regard to Asia. James J. Martin made a study of the manner in which
the American media treated the Soviet Union, the negotiated peace question,
and the Allied terror bombings during the war.
It is out of the question to survey all of the atrocity and extermination
propaganda pertaining to the European theater in World War II. Here we may
economize on the magnitude of the survey to be undertaken by noting that we
are interested only in the Jewish extermination question, and only in what important
people were doing. We will therefore find that examination of stories
concerning alleged Jewish extermination that appeared in the New York Times,
spring 1942 through 1943, together with a summary of 1944 propaganda
which will be presented in a subsequent chapter, is all that is required to get a
satisfactory conception of the propaganda. Therefore, we start here with
spring 1942 stories.
Concurrent commentary will be made. In many cases there is involved a
story – allegedly originating in Europe – claiming mass killings, and the matters
of particular interest in such cases are the source of the story, the location
of the alleged killings and the method of killing allegedly employed. It should
also be kept in mind that the post-war extermination legend claims only three
varieties of mass exterminations: gassing at six sites in Poland, “gasmobiles “
in Russia, and mass shootings in Russia.
April 6, 1942, p. 2 Kuibyshev, Russia, April 5 (AP) – The Anti-Fascist
Jewish Committee reported today that the Germans have killed 86,000
Jews in and around Minsk, 25,000 at Odessa and ‘tens of thousands’ in
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In Estonia, the report said, the entire Jewish
population numbering 4,500 was wiped out.”
June 13, 1942 Berlin, June 12 (From German broadcast recorded by
the United Press in New York) – Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels
said tonight that Germany would carry out a mass ‘extermination’ of Jews
in reprisal for the Allied air bombings of German cities which, he acknowledged,
have caused heavy damage.
Dr. Goebbels, in an article in the publication The Reich, said the Jews
would be exterminated throughout Europe ‘and perhaps even beyond
Europe’ in retaliation against the heavy air assaults.”
Goebbels’ remark was directed against the Jewish controlled press, which
he regarded as largely responsible for the propaganda atmosphere which made
the terror bombings possible. His remark in Das Reich was:
“In this war the Jews are playing their most criminal game, and they
will have to pay for that with the extermination (Ausrottung) of their race
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
in Europe and perhaps far beyond. They are not to be taken seriously in
this conflict, because they represent neither British nor American, but exclusively
Jewish, interests.”
Now this is indeed an extermination threat, because the primary meaning
of the term “Ausrottung” is “extermination” (the English “uprooting,” to
which the word is related etymologically, is only a secondary meaning). Similar
totally public utterances were also made occasionally by Hitler. Examples
are “the result of this war will be the destruction of Jewry,” and “it will not be
the Aryan peoples that will be annihilated but it will be Jewry.”135
In reaction to this one should observe that (a) extreme statements were a
pervasive feature of Nazi oratory and rhetoric, (b) the extermination mythologists
find it necessary to claim that the exterminations were carried out in the
most extreme secrecy, which makes it somewhat untenable to take such occasional
references in the public declarations of Nazi leaders as evidence of exterminations,
(c) it is necessary to fully grasp the specific circumstances of the
Goebbels remark, i.e. it was a reaction to Allied terror bombings, (d) people
can say heated things in wartime, and bloodthirsty statements were made by
supposedly responsible people on both sides during the war, and (e) it is often
the case that a complete understanding of context is necessary when interpreting
the specific meaning of a reference to “extermination” or “annihilation”
(or, in German, “Ausrottung,” “Vernichtung,” respectively). Moreover, the
German word for “Jewry,” das Judentum, is ambiguous in meaning. Let each
of these five points be examined in order.
(a) It is well known that Nazi oratory and rhetoric tended to have a provocatively
inflammatory character whose origins go well back into the days
when the Nazis were a minor party in Weimar Germany. It appears that this
was a result of a deliberate and studied policy, for in 1931 Hitler explained the
reasons for it in a private interview;136
“What some madman of an editor writes in my own press is of no interest
to me. […] We can achieve something only by fanaticism. If this fanaticism
horrifies the bourgeoisie, so much the better. Solely by this fanaticism,
which refuses any compromise, do we gain our contact with the
Put more simply, he often found that he could get attention by making wild
Naturally, all of the Nazi leaders, especially Goebbels, were infected with
this attitude to some degree. It is true that after the Nazis came to power and
assumed responsibility for ruling Germany, their public declarations became
much more moderated in tone, but the tendency never entirely departed from
them, and of course the war and the problem of attempting to reach public
135 Das Reich (Jun. 14, 1942), 2; Jaeckel, 62-63.
136 Calic, 34-35. Hitler also made relevant remarks in Mein Kampf.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
opinion in the Allied countries revived the feature somewhat. Under the circumstances,
it is actually remarkable that Hitler and Goebbels only rarely
made such declarations.
(b) We shall see in following chapters that the extermination mythologists
are forced to take the position that the Nazis went to extremes to preserve the
secrecy of their killing program of continental scope, and did in fact preserve
this secrecy to a most remarkable extent. What is known of the behavior of
European Jews during those days, for example, despite the claims of some individual
authors and the indubitable fact that there were all sorts of rumors
current, shows that the Jews were not conscious of any extermination program.
When they were told to pack up for transport, they did just that, and
went without resistance. On p. 121??? we shall note Theresienstadt Jews volunteering
for transport to Auschwitz as late as August 1944, for the Jews at
Theresienstadt knew nothing of any extermination program at Auschwitz or
anywhere else. On p. 243??? we shall note that the Nazis were allegedly even
unwilling to commit anything to confidential documents for, we are told, “the
drafting of circumspect minutes was one of the major arts of Hitler’s Reich.”
Because this is the case put forward by the extermination mythologists, then it
is not merely that occurrences of the sort of remarks under consideration do
not support their case; the problem becomes that of explaining such occurrences.
(c) The Goebbels remark should be seen for what it was: a professional
propagandist’s reaction to the Allied bombings, which obsessed German policy
in various ways from May 1940 on. Because the facts in this connection,
although well established, are not well known, they are very briefly summarized
here but, in order to avoid an inexcusably long digression, the summary
is indeed brief. The reader interested in more thorough treatment is referred to
Veale and to Colby.137
At the outbreak of war in 1939, German air doctrine viewed the bomber as
a form of artillery and thus a weapon to be used in support of ordinary ground
operations. It was in this connection that the well-publicized bombings of
Warsaw in 1939 and Rotterdam in May 1940 took place: only after these cities
had actually become the scenes of military operations and the laws of siege
applied. “Strategic bombing,” as we understand the term, played no role in
German combat operations (although of course it had been and was under
study by German military planners).
This was not the case in Britain, however, for at the time that the Germans
were using their bombers as artillery in the Netherlands, the British made the
“splendid decision” to bomb German civilian targets, knowing perfectly well
that Hitler had no intention or wish to engage in warfare of this sort (Hitler,
indeed, did not want war with Britain at all).
137 Frederick J. P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism, and Benjamin Colby, ‘Twas a Famous Victory.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
There was a moderate amount of German bombing of targets in England
during the early summer of 1940, but only specifically military targets were
attacked, even while such cities as Hamburg and Bremen were undergoing
general attack. It was only after three months of this, and with the greatest reluctance,
that Hitler felt himself forced to reply in kind, and in this way the
well publicized “Blitz” hoax was established. The British people were not
permitted to find out that their government could have stopped the German
raids at any time merely by stopping the raids on Germany.
The British raids on Germany, while of no military significance in 1940,
had put the German government on the spot in German popular opinion, because
the German people naturally thought that their government should be
able to do something about them. The only reason the Germans adopted retaliatory
bombing was as a last resort. In announcing the policy, Hitler declared
in a Sportpalast speech of September 4, 1940 that:138
“If the British Air force drops two or three or four thousand kilograms
of bombs, we will drop a hundred and fifty, a hundred and eighty, two hundred
thousand, three hundred thousand, four hundred thousand kilograms
and more in a single night.”
This was a gross exaggeration of his capabilities relative to the British for,
although at the time his bombers were numerically superior to the British, they
were designed for support of troops and not for the “strategic bombing” for
which the British bombers were equipped. Nevertheless violent words are
cheap and, after the Luftwaffe, which was never more than a nuisance for the
Allied bombing operations, violent words (sometimes coupled with promises
of secret new weapons) were about all Hitler and Goebbels were able to come
up with, in 1940 or at any subsequent time, to oppose the bombings. It is in
this context that the Goebbels remark should be grasped.
(d) There were bloodthirsty remarks made on both sides during the war. In
the US there were many examples of wild views earnestly put forward by apparently
civilized persons, which were received with apparently thoughtful reactions
of approval by equally respected persons. Because there were so many
such people, it will suffice to remark only on Clifton Fadiman, the well known
author and critic who, at the time, was the book review editor of the New
Yorker weekly magazine.
Fadiman was the principal luminary of the Writers War Board, a semiofficial
government agency that did volunteer writing for government agencies
in connection with the war. The Board was chaired by Rex Stout. The
thesis that Fadiman and Stout carried to the writers’ community in 1942 was
that writings on the war should seek “to generate an active hate against all
Germans and not merely against Nazi leaders.” This generated some heated
controversy and writers and observers took sides in what became a debate hot
138 Hitler, 848.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
enough for Fadiman to declare that he knew of “only one way to make a German
understand and that’s to kill them and even then I think they don’t understand.”
These were not isolated outbursts for, through his column in the New
Yorker, Fadiman welcomed the opportunity to set down his views on Germans
in a more organized context. In April 1942 he had found the juvenile concept
he needed in a book by de Sales, The Making of Tomorrow. Taking for
granted the reader’s concurrence that the Nazis were at least the worst scourge
to come along in centuries, he wrote that de Sales’
“argument is simply that the present Nazi onslaught is not in the least
the evil handiwork of a group of gangsters but rather the final and perfect
expression of the most profound instincts of the German people. ‘Hitler is
the incarnation of forces greater than himself. The heresy he preaches is
two thousand years old.’ What is the heresy? It is nothing more or less
than a rebellion against Western civilization. Mr. de Sales traces five such
German rebellions, beginning with Arminius. At first you are inclined to be
skeptical of the author’s grand indictment – his anti-Germanism may conceivably
stem from his French ancestry – but as you follow his argument it
becomes more and more cogent and the true proportions of this war
emerge with great clarity.”
His reviews of books on the war expressed the historical concept that he
had found in de Sales’ nonsense. Scoffing at Howard K. Smith’s claim that “If
we can offer (the Germans) a real alternative to extermination, the nation,
though it may not succumb to actual revolution, will fall into our hands,”
Fadiman wrote:
“The world has been appeasing the Germans ever since their human
wolf packs broke out of their forest lairs in the time of Arminius. The result
is a Europe on the verge of suicide.”
This was followed by his obvious approval of “Hemingway’s extraordinary
[…] suggestion that ‘the only ultimate settlement’ with the Nazis is to sterilize
them. He means just that, in a surgical sense.” Of course, Fadiman also saw no
distinction between Nazis and other Germans and ridiculed Dorothy Thompson’s
“passionate argument” for such a distinction, as well as her conviction
“that our postwar efforts must be directed toward the construction of a European
federation of states, with Germany, under democratic leadership, occupying
a leading position.” Although Fadiman never advocated the killing of
all or most Germans, at least not in so many words, this was the clear sense of
his declarations. After all, what else can be done with “wolf packs who broke
out of their forest lairs,” are now trying to enslave the rest of the world, “understand”
only if you “kill them” and must not be given “a real alternative to
139 New York Times (Oct. 29, 1942), 20; New Yorker (Apr. 18, 1942), 62; (Sep. 12, 1942), 53;
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
Clifton Fadiman was only a very prominent and semi-official example of a
“school of thought” that existed among leaders of opinion in the US during the
war. James J. Martin and Benjamin Colby have published longer studies of
Allied propaganda based on hatred of all Germans, the latter presenting a particularly
thorough study of the Writers War Board.
The climate of wartime opinion in Britain, of course, was about the same
and, on account of England’s earlier entry into the war, of longer standing. In
reacting to Hitler’s Berlin Sportpalast speech on the initiation of German air
raids on British cities (quoted above), the London Daily Herald gloated that
Hitler had made “a frantic effort to reassure his raid-harassed people” who
“are in an extremely nervous condition and stay awake even when there is no
alarm.” The same issue of the Herald goes on to present the recommendations
of the Reverend C. W. Whipp, vicar of St. Augustine’s Leicester:
“The orders ought to be, ‘wipe them out,’ and to this end I would concentrate
all our science towards discovering a new and far more terrific
These German devils (that is the only word one can use) come over our
cities and turn their machine-guns on women and children.
Well, all I hope is that the RAF will grow stronger and stronger and go
over and smash Germany to smithereens.
A Minister of the Gospel, perhaps, ought not to indulge in sentiments
like these.
I go further, and I say quite frankly that if I could I would wipe Germany
off the map.
They are an evil race and have been a curse in Europe for centuries.
There can be no peace until Hitler and all those who believe in him are
sent to hell which is their place of origin and their final home.”
The Herald remarked that Whipp “has aroused considerable local controversy,”
so it is evident that in Britain, as in the US, there were many people
who kept their heads despite the Fadiman types.
The peculiar ad hoc philosophy of history enunciated by de Sales and promoted
by Clifton Fadiman also made its apparently independent appearance in
England. An article by Reginald Hargreaves in the June 1941 issue of the respected
journal National Review (not to be confused with the National Review
that was founded in the US in 1955) proposed as a war aim (as distinct from
an unavoidable consequence of the war) that “at least three million Nazi soldiers
(be) put permanently out of action,” it being:
“[…] an absolutely vital prerequisite to the laying down of arms that a
sufficient number of the present-day corrupted, brutalized and delirious
young dervishes of Nazidom should be left dead upon the field.”
The necessity for this arose from the consideration that:
(Oct. 24, 1942), 64f; (Nov. 28, 1942), 82; (Dec. 5, 1942), p. 82.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
“[…] throughout her whole history Germany has shown herself as utterly
uncivilized and worthy of nothing but detestation and disgust. From
the very beginning the behavior of the Teutonic peoples had qualified them
for the role of pariahs – the outcast mad dogs of Europe. […] Our real war
aim must be, not only military triumph in the field, but the reduction of the
German people to such a shrunken and delimited condition that never
again will they be in such a position to ‘start anything’ to the detriment of
generations yet to come. Our conflict, despite mushy affirmations to the
contrary, is with the German people; a race so savage, so predatory, so
unscrupulous and so utterly uncivilized that their elimination as a major
power is the only hope for a world that has no choice but to take the surgeon’s
knife and cut out this cankerous growth from its body-politic, thoroughly,
relentlessly, once and for all.”
Such declarations seem even more extraordinary when one considers that
they came from a nation noted for understatement.
The point of this discussion is not that there had grown up any consensus
in the US and Britain that all Germans are by nature monsters and should be
killed or at least sterilized. Everybody would agree that no such consensus existed
(and even the extermination mythologists would agree, I think, that no
consensus favoring extermination of the Jews existed in Germany). Moreover,
as we all realize, the genocidal policies advocated or implied by many leaders
of opinion in the US and Britain were not, in their literal form, within the
bounds of the possible; the American and British people would never have
permitted such deeds to be done in their names. The point is that during the
heat of wartime the most extraordinary things were said. For the most part
(unfortunately, one can only say for the most part) such lunacies were not realized
in events, but they were expressed nevertheless.
Murderous things were said on both sides and, in my opinion and dim recollection
of the times, the rhetoric in the US (especially in regard to the Japanese)
seems to me to have been more violent than anything that now seems to
have been current in Germany during the war, although such a comparison is
difficult and perhaps should not be attempted in regard to degree, on account
of the very different roles played by “public opinion” and by the statements of
political leaders in the two political systems involved.
On the Axis side, one should also note that Fascist Italy had various anti-
Jewish laws that were however very mild in application and certainly never
approached murder. Nevertheless the anti-Jewish rhetoric in the Fascist press
was at least as violent as anything generated in Germany and, assuming the
New York Times (October 22, 1941) reported accurately, it even advocated
that all Italian Jews be “annihilated as a danger to the internal front” Because
“this is the moment to do away with half-way measures.”
(e) A final point is that one must use some common sense and a feeling for
the context in interpreting references to “extermination” and “annihilation”
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
properly. In the American Civil War, many wanted Lincoln to “annihilate” the
South, and it is not inaccurate English to say that Lincoln did just that, but it
was understood, then as now, that the killing of all Southerners was not contemplated.
Naturally the same observation may be made in connection with public
declarations of Nazi leaders, but there is an additional point to be made in this
connection. Very often the Jews were referred to via the German word das
Judentum, one of whose correct translations is “Jewry,” but which can also
mean “Judaism” or even “Jewishness” or “the idea of Jewishness.” Thus a
Hitler reference to “die Vernichtung des Judentums,” if lifted out of context
and interpreted in a purely literal way, can be interpreted as meaning the killing
of all Jews, but it can also be interpreted as meaning the destruction of
Jewish influence and power, which is what the politician Hitler actually meant
by such a remark, although it is true that he could have chosen his words more
carefully. Alfred Rosenberg made specific reference to this ambiguity in his
IMT testimony, where he argued that “die Ausrottung des Judentums,” a term
he had used on occasion, was not a reference to killing in the context in which
Rosenberg had used it.
The lengthy digression made necessary by Goebbels’ “Ausrottung” remark
being concluded, we return to the survey of stories in The New York Times for
by George Axelsson – by telephone to the New York Times Stockholm,
Sweden, June 13. At the Gross Lichterfelde Barracks in the western suburbs
of Berlin 258 Jews were put to death by the SS on May 28, and their
families deported, in retaliation for an alleged Jewish plot to blow up the
anti-Bolshevist ‘Soviet Paradise’ exhibition at the Lustgarten. […] If there
were any bombs, they evidently were discovered before they had time to
explode. […] The SS wanted the executions to be published. […] Instead
[…] leaders of the Jewish colony were called in […]”
June 30, 1942, p. 7 London, June 29 (UP) […] spokesmen for the
World Jewish Congress charged today.
They said Nazis had established a ‘vast slaughterhouse for Jews’ in
Eastern Europe […] A report to the Congress said that Jews, deported en
masse to Central Poland from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and the
Netherlands were being shot by firing squads at the rate of 1,000 daily.
Information received by the Polish Government in London confirmed
that the Nazis had executed ‘several hundred thousand’ Jews in Poland.”
No such “slaughterhouse” where executions were by “firing squad” is
claimed today. As noted above, this was the start of the World Jewish ConChapter
3: Washington and New York
gress‘ campaign of extermination propaganda. It is quite possible that this first
story was inspired by Goebbels’ then recent “Ausrottung” remark.
July 22, 1942, p. 1 […] President Roosevelt declared last night in a
message read to 20,000 persons at Madison Square Garden […]
President’s Message
‘The White House
‘July 17, 1942
‘Dear Dr. Wise:
‘[…] Citizens […] will share in the sorrow of our Jewish fellow-citizens
over the savagery of the Nazis against their helpless victims. The Nazis will
not succeed in exterminating their victims any more than they will succeed
in enslaving mankind.
The American people […] will hold the perpetrators of these crimes to
strict accountability in a day of reckoning which will surely come […]’
Text of Churchill Message
‘[…] you will recall that on Oct. 25 last, both President Roosevelt and I
expressed the horror felt […] at Nazi butcheries and terrorism and our resolve
to place retribution for these crimes among the major purposes of
this war […]’”
Such vague statements of the wartime leaders, while devoid of any specific
charges, carried more weight among the public than any of the more specific
stories that the leaders may have seemed, by their statements, to be endorsing.
We shall see that the specific claims of the time, at least for several months,
did not very much resemble the claims made at the later trials. Nevertheless
the politics of the situation, as perceived by Roosevelt and Churchill, made it
opportune for them to “go along,” at least to the extent of making vague public
statements supporting the propaganda.
September 3, 1942, p. 5 London, Sept. 2 (UP) – Fifty thousand Jews
from Germany and Czechoslovakia have been thrown into the fortress at
Terezin and several thousand who are ill or charged with ‘criminal’ acts
are in underground dungeons where they are ‘dying like flies’ a Czech
Government spokesman said tonight.
‘All hope for them has been abandoned,’ the spokesman said. […] The
spokesman said the Germans had launched a campaign to exterminate
Jews from the protectorate and that of 40,000 Jews formerly in Prague
only 15,000 remain. Pilsen and Bruenn have been cleared of Jews, he said,
many of them being sent to Terezin, largest concentration camp in Nazicontrolled
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
A European observer said the Germans planned to exterminate the
Jews not only in Europe, but throughout the world. He declared the Nazis
had executed 2,000,000 Jews in the past three years […].”
The only truth in this story lies in the fact that the death rate of Jews was
rather high at Terezin (Theresienstadt) due to the German policy of sending all
Reich Jews over 65 there. Another category at Theresienstadt was the “privileged”
Jews – the war veterans – especially those with high decorations. There
were other Jews, many of whom were eventually moved out but, if they suffered,
it was not at Theresienstadt. The place was visited by the Red Cross in
June 1944 and the resulting favorable report angered the World Jewish Congress.
140 There will be more to be said about Theresienstadt in subsequent
chapters. While it was not the “largest concentration camp in Nazi-controlled
Europe,” it nevertheless plays an important role here.
September 5, 1942, p. 3 Washington, Sept. 4 – The State Department
has made the ‘most vigorous representations possible’ to the French Government
through the American Embassy in Vichy over the mass deportation
of Jews from unoccupied France, it was announced today by the
American Jewish Committee.
The protest followed representations by four Jewish organizations, and
the action was communicated to them in a letter by Sumner Welles, Under-
Secretary of State. […] Mr. Welles said: ‘I have received your communication
of Aug. 27, 1942, enclosing a letter […] in regard to the mass deportation
of Jewish refugees from unoccupied France.
‘I am in complete agreement with the statements made concerning this
tragic situation, which provides a new shock to the public opinion of the
civilized world. It is deeply regretted that these measures should be taken
in a country traditionally noted for adherence to the principles of equality,
freedom and tolerance.
‘The American Embassy at Vichy […] has made the most vigorous representations
possible to the highest authorities at Vichy […].’
[…] The letter of the four organizations to the Secretary of State follows:
‘On behalf of the organizations we represent […] the undersigned respectfully
request our government to transmit to the government of France
a solemn protest against the action taken recently by that government to
turn thousands of refugees over to the agents of the Nazi government for
deportation to Poland and to other Nazi-occupied regions in Eastern
‘Reports reaching us […stating] that the government of France is per-
140 Reitlinger, 176-186.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
mitting the […] deportation by the Nazis of Jewish refugees who have been
interned in a number of camps in the south of France. This action began
about Aug. 8, when a total of 3,600 men, women and children were
rounded up, loaded on trains and sent off without any word regarding their
‘The reports agree that these 3,600 were the first contingent of a total
of 10,000 Jewish refugees which the French government has agreed to deport
to eastern territories […]
‘[…] Mass deportations of Jews from Germany and from territories under
German occupation have been going on ever since the conquest of Poland.
In accordance with the announced policy of the Nazis to exterminate
the Jews of Europe, hundreds of thousands of these innocent men, women
and children have been killed in brutal mass murders. The rest are being
herded in ghettos in Eastern Europe under indescribably wretched conditions,
as a result of which tens of thousands have succumbed to starvation
and pestilence.’”
We should only note at this point that even the four Jewish organizations
are not completely secure in claiming exterminations, because they allow
themselves an “out” by referring to those being “herded in ghettos.” Welles’
reply, while “in complete agreement” with the letter, avoids direct endorsement
of the extermination claim.
November 24, 1942, p. 10 JERUSALEM, Nov. 23 (UP) – The Hebrew
press appeared today with black borders around reports of mass murders
of Jews in Poland. The reports, received by the Jewish Agency, asserted
that systematic annihilation of the Jewish population was being carried out
by a special German ‘destruction commission’ […] on the former frontier
between German and Russian Poland, thousands were thrown into the Bug
river and drowned.”
December 13, 1942, p. 21. […] Rabbi Israel Goldstein declared: ‘Authenticated
reports point to 2,000,000 Jews who have already been slain by
all manner of satanic barbarism, and plans for the total extermination of
all Jews upon whom the Nazis can lay their hands. The slaughter of a third
of the Jewish population in Hitler’s domain and the threatened slaughter of
all is a holocaust without parallel.’”
December 18, 1942, p. 1 Special to the New York Times Washington,
Dec. 17 – A joint declaration by members of the United Nations was issued
today condemning Germany’s ‘bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination’
of Jews […]. The declaration was issued simultaneously through the
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
State Department here, and in London. […]
Text of Declaration
‘[…] From all the occupied countries Jews are being transported in
conditions of appalling horror and brutality to Eastern Europe. In Poland,
which has been made the principal Nazi slaughterhouse, the ghettos established
by the German invader are being systematically emptied of all Jews
except a few highly skilled workers required for war industries. None of
those taken away are ever heard of again. The able-bodied are slowly
worked to death in labor camps. The infirm are left to die of exposure and
starvation or are deliberately massacred in mass executions. The number
of victims of these bloody cruelties is reckoned in many hundreds of thousands
of entirely innocent men, women and children.’”
This was the beginning of the State Department involvement in the extermination
legend, and that it came from such a seemingly official source was
the basis for special comment in the Times editorial of the same day:
December 18, 1942, p. 26 Despite all that has been written about Nazi
persecution of the Jews, the facts in the joint statement issued yesterday in
Washington, London and Moscow in the name of the United Nations will
come as a shock to all civilized people who have preserved a modicum of
human decency. For this statement is not an outcry of the victims themselves
to which many thought it possible to close their ears on the ground
that it might be a special plea, subject to doubt. It is the official statement
of their own governments, based on officially established facts. […]”
Clearly, it was believed that atrocity claims apparently coming from the
State Department were more credible than claims coming from such groups as
the World Jewish Congress, which is no doubt what is meant by the “victims
themselves.” However we have seen that Wise was also behind the “joint declaration.”
The December 17 statement marked the start of US and British government
complicity in the extermination legend. The German government did
not see the event as laden with import, and von Stumm of the Foreign Office’s
press section flippantly explained to the neutral press that the Allied declaration
was for the purpose of helping the Christmas sales of the Jewish department
stores of New York and London.141
December 20, 1942, p. 23 What is happening to the 5,000,000 Jews of
German-held Europe, all of whom face extermination, is described in a
statement released yesterday by the United Nations Information Office.
141 Reitlinger, 439.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
[…] Novel methods of mass execution by shooting and lethal gas are
cited in the main body of the report, which states that this destruction of
the Jews is not ‘isolated in one country but is continent-wide. Early in December
1942 the State Department in Washington gave some figures showing
that the number of Jewish victims deported and perished since 1939 in
Axis-controlled Europe now reached the appalling figure of 2,000,000 and
that 5,000,000 were in danger of extermination. […]
The document concludes. […]
‘The means employed in deporting from the ghetto all those who survive
murders and shooting in the street exceeds all imagination. In particular,
children, old people and those too weak for work are murdered. Actual
data concerning the fate of the deportees is not at hand, but the news is
available – irrefutable news – that places of execution have been organized
at Chelmno and Belzec, where those who survive shootings are murdered
en masse by means of electrocution and lethal gas.’”
The alleged electrocutions at Belzec appeared a few times in the propaganda,
and will be discussed again in Chapter 5. They are one of the versions
of exterminations that were quickly forgotten about after the end of the war.
Nevertheless we can see, at this point, a clear tendency of the propaganda to
resemble the claims which have become the fixed features of the legend, the
gas chambers and the approximate 6,000,000 killed during the course of the
war. We will have more to say a bit later on the origin of the six million figure.
December 28, 1942, p. 21 Albany, Dec 27 (AP) – Dr. Wise, president of
the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress [… urged]
formulation of an Allied program to halt the Nazi slaughter of civilians.”
Jan. 8, 1943, p. 8 Ninety-three Jewish girls and young Jewish women,
the pupils and the teacher of a Beth Jacob School of Warsaw, Poland,
chose mass suicide to escape being forced into prostitution by German soldiers,
according to a letter from the teacher, made public yesterday by
Rabbi Seth Jung of the Jewish Center of New York City.”
[magazine article by Sholem Asch] February 7, 1943, VI, p. 16 […] gas
chambers and blood poisoning stations which are established in the outlying
countryside, where steam shovels prepare community graves for the
February 14, 1943, p. 37 Warsaw is being subjected to a deliberate
Nazi pattern of death, disease, starvation, economic slavery and wholesale
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
elimination of population, the Office of War Information states in a twentyfour
page pamphlet, ‘Tale of a City,’ published today.
Declaring that Warsaw has been the testing ground for Nazi plans of
world conquest […]
‘[…] there is no way of telling at this time exactly how many Poles have
been murdered by the Nazis in Warsaw.’ The execution spot is now
Palmiry, near Warsaw, where mass shootings occur either at dawn or during
the night.”
February 14, 1943, p. 37 Mass executions of Jews in Poland on an accelerated
tempo was reported by European representatives of the World
Jewish Congress in a communication made public by Rabbi Stephen S.
Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress.
In one place in Poland 6,000 Jews are killed daily, according to the report,
dated Jan. 19. Jews left in Poland are now confined in fifty-five ghettos,
some in the large towns and some in the smaller towns that have been
transformed into ghettos.”
This was the propaganda story involved in the conflict between State and
Treasury. As noted in connection with the remarks on the Times editorial of
December 18, if this story had managed to emerge from the State Department,
greater credibility would, apparently, have been attached to it. Unfortunately
for the propaganda inventors at the time, they had to settle for Rabbi Wise as
ostensible source.
February 16, 1943, p. 7 Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 15 (ONA) – All the
aged and feeble (from Czestachowa, Poland) were sent to Rawa-Russka, in
Galicia, for execution by the Nazis, sources from inside Poland said.”
February 23, 1943, p. 23 Thirty-five hundred children […] held a solemn
assembly of sorrow and protest against Nazi atrocities in Mecca Temple,
133 West Fifty-fifth Street […] Six refugee children related their experiences
at the hands of the Nazis.”
March 2, 1943, pp. 1, 4 Immediate action by the United Nations to save
as many as possible of the five million Jews threatened with extermination
[…] was demanded at a mass demonstration […] in Madison Square Garden
last night.
[…Rabbi Hertz said] ‘appalling is the fact that those who proclaim the
Four Freedoms have so far done very little to secure even the freedom to
live for 6,000,000 of their Jewish fellow men by readiness to rescue those
who might still escape Nazi torture and butchery[…]’
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
[…Wendell Wilkie said] ‘Two million human beings, merely because
they are Jews, have already been murdered by every fiendish means which
Hitler could devise. Millions of other Jews […] face immediate destruction
[…Chaim Weizmann said] ‘Two million Jews have already been exterminated.
‘The democracies have a clear duty before them. […] Let them negotiate
with Germany through the neutral countries concerning the possible
release of the Jews in the occupied countries. […] Let the gates of Palestine
be opened to all who can reach the shores of the Jewish homeland
March 7, 1943, p. 30 Stockholm, Sweden, March 6 (Reuter) – Nearly
600 Norwegian Jews […] are now known to have reached Polish Upper
Silesia. Most of the men have been sent to work in the mines near Katowice.”
March 10, 1943, p. 12 Forty thousand persons listened and watched
[…] last night to two performances of ‘We Will Never Die,’ a dramatic
mass memorial to the 2,000,000 Jews killed in Europe. […] The narrator
said ‘There will be no Jews left in Europe for representation when peace
comes. The four million left to kill are being killed, according to plan.’”
April 1, 1943, p. 2 Wireless to The New York Times London, March 31
– A system of ‘death convoys’ under which French Jews are being rounded
up […] and then shipped out to various points in Eastern Europe, after
which they are no longer heard from, was described here today by the British
section of the World Jewish Congress, which charged that the ‘full
force’ of the Nazi and anti-Jewish terror now was being concentrated in
Basing its report on first hand information supplied by a prominent
French Jew who has escaped to a neutral country, the Congress declared
the last ‘convoy’ left France about Feb. 20. It involved 3,000 Jews of all
classes and ages, and all that was known about its eventual destination
was that it was somewhere in the East.
In mid-February, the Congress added, the Gestapo raided the Lyon
headquarters of the General Union of French Jews, arrested the entire
staff, removed them to the Drancy concentration camp and since has
shipped them, too, to some ‘extermination center’ on the other side of
Reitlinger (page 327) tells us that “less than a tenth of the Jews who were
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
deported (from France) possessed French nationality.” By his figures that is
perhaps 5,000 of the 240,000 French Jews, suggesting that maybe the 5,000
enlisted for work voluntarily or were actually “politicals” or partisans.
April 12, 1943, p. 5 London, April 11 (AP) – The Polish Telegraph
Agency said tonight that the Germans had erased the ghetto at Krakow in a
three-day massacre that started March 13, and also had eliminated the
ghetto in Lodz.
The fate of the Jews in the latter city was unknown, but the agency said
it was believed they also were killed.”
“2,000,000 JEWS MURDERED
April 20, 1943, p. 11 London, April 19 (Reuter) – Two million Jews
have been wiped out since the Nazis began their march through Europe in
1939 and five million more are in immediate danger of execution. These
figures were revealed in the sixth report on conditions in occupied territories
issued by the Inter-Allied Information Committee.
[…] The report said lethal gas and shooting were among the methods
being used to exterminate the Jews.”
April 20, 1943, p. 11 The Jewish Agency for Palestine, in a memorandum
addressed to the Bermuda Refugees Conference yesterday, urged that
measures of rescue be launched immediately on behalf of 4,000,000 Jews
estimated to be still surviving in Nazi occupied countries.
The Agency, headed by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, is recognized in the
Mandate for Palestine as a body to advise and cooperate with the Government
of Palestine on matters affecting the establishment of the Jewish
National Home.
The memorandum declares that ‘should the announced policy of the enemy
continue unchecked, it is not impossible that by the time the war will
have been won, the largest part of the Jewish population of Europe will
have been exterminated.’”
April 25, 1943, p. 19 Special Cable to the New York Times Hamilton,
Bermuda, April 24 – The large scale movement of refugees is impossible
under wartime conditions, and neither the United States nor Great Britain,
alone or jointly, can begin to solve the refugee problem. These two concrete
impressions have emerged after almost a week’s discussion of the
refugee problem by the American and British delegations here.”
Because almost all Jews outside the Continent, particularly those in the US,
believed the extermination claims, they brought political pressures which reChapter
3: Washington and New York
sulted in the Bermuda Conference. It was believed,142 correctly, that the Nazis
wished the emigration of the Jews from Europe (under appropriate conditions)
and this put the British and American governments, on account of the propaganda
basis for their war, into an awkward position around which they were
obliged to continually double-talk.143 We have described the conflict between
State and Treasury in this regard. The British had, at that point, no intention of
opening Palestine, and both the British and Americans had no intention of
providing the resources, in the middle of the war, for massive operations undertaken
for reasons that were valid only to the degree that their propaganda
was taken seriously. No sane modern statesmen believe their own propaganda.
This is the dilemma which J. Breckenridge Long and other State Department
officials felt themselves facing.
Another point that should be made here before proceeding with the survey
of the propaganda is that, apparently, the six million figure had its origin in
the propaganda of 1942-1943. An examination of the problem of the origin of
the six million figure could easily lead to the conclusion that it had its origin at
the IMT, where the indictment mentioned a figure (supplied by the World
Jewish Congress) of 5,721,800 “missing” Jews and Wilhelm Höttl of the SD
signed an affidavit, 2738-PS, asserting that he had gotten a figure of six million
from Eichmann. According to Höttl, Eichmann had visited his Budapest office
in a depressed mood because he was convinced that the war was lost,
thought that the Allies would punish him as a major war criminal, and then declared,
with no other witnesses present, that four million Jews had been killed in
extermination camps and that two million had met death in various other ways,
mainly through executions carried out by the Einsatzgruppen in Russia.
Here we offer a different theory regarding the origin of the six million figure.
Its very first appearance seems to be Rabbi Goldstein’s statement of December
13, 1942, followed by the story of December 20 to the same effect,
except that it specified a potential seven million in danger of being exterminated,
rather than the six million implied by Goldstein’s statement. However,
it could correctly be argued that one must not infer the origin of the six million
figure purely on the basis of these stories.
However, the appearances of the two million killed – four (or five) million
to be killed – extermination claim, at the public affairs reported on March 2
and 10, 1943, must be taken much more seriously. More information about the
latter affair can be extracted from an advertisement that also appeared on
March 10 (page 10), reporting that the show had been organized by the
“Committee for a Jewish Army of Stateless and Palestinian Jews,” headed by
Senator Johnson of Colorado. The advertisement makes the same extermination
claim (two million killed, four million to be killed) and also lists the
142 Dubois, 197.
143 New York Times (Nov. 1, 1943), 5; (Dec. 11, 1943), 1; (Dec. 13, 1943), 11; (Jan. 3, 1944), 9.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
sponsors of the organization, which included many members of Congress and
other notables. The same organization had also run a full page advertisement
on February 16 (page 11), specifying two million killed and four million to go
(and also claiming that the only Arabs who objected to massive Jewish immigration
into Palestine were Nazi agents). The two stories of April 20 suggest
rather widespread usage of the two million killed – four (or five) million to be
killed – form of the extermination claim in early 1943. We therefore have very
general usage of the six (or seven) million figure, long before the end of the
war, by the political establishment that wrote the charges at Nuremberg so, I
believe, we can take late 1942 – early 1943 propaganda as the origin of the six
million figure. The complete independence of that figure of any real facts
whatever is reflected in Reitlinger’s elaborate apologies for his belief that he
can claim only 4.2 to 4.6 million Jews, almost all East European, who perished
in Europe during World War II, one third of them dying from “overwork,
disease, hunger and neglect.”144 However, Reitlinger’s figures are also
mostly independent of any real facts, but that matter will be discussed in
Chapter 7.
It is not at all remarkable that after the war somebody could be found to
declare, at Nuremberg, that the propaganda figure was correct. Höttl, indeed,
was a completely appropriate choice, because he was one of those stereotype
“operators” with which the world of intelligence work is plagued. Born in
1915, he entered the SD in 1938 and soon acquired a reputation for mixing official
business with personal business deals. His teaming up with a Polish
countess friend in a Polish land deal led, in 1942, to an SS investigation of his
activities. The report of the investigation characterized him as “dishonest,
scheming, fawning […] a real hoaxer,” and concluded that he was not even
suitable for membership in the SS, let alone a sensitive agency such as the SD.
He was, accordingly, busted down to the ranks, but then the appointment in
early 1943 of his fellow Austrian and Vienna acquaintance, Kaltenbrunner, to
head the RSHA seems to have reversed his fortunes, and he rose to the rank of
Lieutenant Colonel by the end of the war, and played a responsible role in foreign
intelligence work. After the war he worked, until 1949, for the US Army
Counter-Intelligence Corps in lining up ex-SS personnel to give information.
It is said that he managed to make this job rather lucrative. After 1949 he immersed
himself in the snake pit of Vienna cold war politics, maintaining links
with neo-Nazis, Soviet agents, and nearly everybody else. He had a particularly
close relationship with one Soviet agent Kurt Ponger, a naturalized US
citizen whom he had met when Ponger was employed as a translator at the
IMT (in addition a Kurt Ponger, probably the same person, was a prosecution
lawyer in NMT Case 4). Höttl consequently became suspect in the Verber-
Ponger espionage case of 1953, and was arrested by US authorities in March
144 Reitlinger, 533, 545, 546.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
in Vienna but released a few weeks later. In the mid-Fifties, he published two
books on his wartime experiences. In 1961, he signed a prosecution affidavit
for Eichmann’s trial (substantially the same as his IMT affidavits).145
Authors on my side have written that, during the war, Höttl was an Allied
agent. This is not correct. The only real fact that is involved in this claim is
that Höttl was in touch with Allen Dulles, of the OSS in Switzerland, toward
the end of the war. This was a part of his duties: the RSHA was attempting to
arrange a favorable conclusion of the hostilities and Höttl was one of the persons
involved in the secret contacts with the western Allies.
No doubt, during the very last weeks of the war many of these intelligence
officers started acting with their personal interests in mind and, also without
doubt, Höttl would have been delighted to have been enlisted as an Allied
agent at this juncture of the war, and may even have volunteered some favors
to Dulles with this development in mind. However, these contacts are no more
evidence that Höttl was an Allied agent than they are that Dulles was an Axis
agent (Dulles is even said to have peppered his conversation with anti-Semitic
remarks when he was trying to win the confidence of some German contacts146).
If Höttl had been an Allied agent, it would seem that he would boast
about this in one of his two books (The Secret Front and Hitler’s Paper
Weapon), but he makes no such claim. In addition, Ian Colvin, who knows as
much about these matters as anybody, wrote the Introduction for The Secret
Front, and makes no remarks in this connection.
April 27, 1943, p. 10 Stockholm, Sweden, April 26 (ONA) – Reports
from Oslo said today that most of the Norwegian Jewish women and children
deported from the country […] had died of starvation.
Transports of deportees that left Oslo in November and February were
removing them toward an ultimate destination in the Silesian mining region
around Katowice. […]”
May 3, 1943, p. 12 An audience of 1,500 persons […] heard Pierre van
Paassen […] assert that Palestine presented the only solution to the refugee
[…] Mr. van Paassen said that Great Britain had made a ‘hollow
mockery’ of the refugee conference in Bermuda by excluding discussion of
Palestine among the possible solutions.
‘Britain feels that the modernization of Palestine by the Jews endangers
the pillars of her empire. […] That is the real reason many more Jews face
145 Time (Jul. 12, 1954), 98, 100; New Republic (Dec. 20, 1954), 22; New York Times (Apr. 7,
1953), 20; (Apr. 12, 1953), 33; Eichmann, session 85, A1-L1; IMT, vol. 11, 228.
146 R. H. Smith, 214-215.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
death because Britain wants to keep the doors of Palestine shut to them.’”
May 20, 1943, p. 12 Special Cable to the New York Times London,
May 19. […] Eden […] insisted that it was not fair to accuse the British
Government of utterly ignoring the situation.
[…] he disclosed that the war Cabinet had approved the [Bermuda
Conference] report […]”
“London, May 19 (Reuter) – The World Jewish Congress […] expressed
deep disappointment with the results of the Bermuda Conference.
The note […] pointed out that the way to Palestine is now also free.”
May 22, 1943, p. 4 Wireless to the New York Times London, May 21 –
Nearly 1,000 Germans were killed or wounded in the battle in the Warsaw
ghetto in the last two weeks when the Nazis undertook the final liquidation
of the ghetto.
[…] More news of the anti-Jewish campaign in Poland was picked up
today from SWIT, the secret Polish radio station. It said the Nazis had
started liquidating the ghetto of Cracow and Stanislawow […] shooting
Jews wherever they were found or killing them in gas chambers.”
June 7, 1943, p. 15 Six thousand children […] participated yesterday in
a ‘Rally of Hope’[…]. […] Jewish children and their parents are tortured
and put to death by a barbarous enemy. […]”
“June 9, 1943, p. 3 London, June 8 (Reuter) – No fewer than 3,500
Jews have recently been deported from Salonika, Greece, to Poland, it was
stated here today. Men, women and children were herded indiscriminately
into cattle trucks, which were then sealed, it was added.”
June 13, 1943, p. 8 By Telephone to the New York Times Stockholm,
Sweden, June 12 – More than 10,000 Jews were killed since last October
in the Brest-Litovsk district […] according to the Swedish language Jewish
Chronicle published in Stockholm.
Thousands were gassed to death in hermetically sealed barns and others
have been shot in groups of sixty in adjoining woods, the paper says.
[…] When Dr. Robert Ley, chief of the German Labor Front, recently
spoke at Koenigsberg, Bialystok and Grodno he said: ‘The Jews are the
chosen race, all right – but for extermination purposes only.’”
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
June 15, 1943, p. 8 London, June 14 (AP) – The Belgian Government in
exile said today that the Germans had removed nearly all 52,000 Belgian
Jews to concentration camps in Germany, Poland and occupied Russia.”
Reitlinger reports for Belgium the same situation as in France. Among the
Jews deported from Belgium, “virtually none” were Belgian Jews. It is worth
remarking that essentially the same held for Italy and Denmark.147
June 21, 1943, p. 2 A resolution condemning the ‘inaction’ of the Bermuda
Conference and another calling upon President Roosevelt and Prime
Minister Winston Churchill to open the doors of Palestine to refugees were
adopted unanimously yesterday by the order of the Sons of Zion […] at the
Hotel Pennsylvania.”
June 21, 1943, p. 3 Berne, Switzerland, June 20 (UP) – Swiss newspapers
said tonight that 5,000 bodies reported by Axis propagandists to have
been buried near Odessa were those of Romanian Jews killed by the Romanian
secret police.
The Romanian press announced the discovery of the mass tomb on
April 22, claiming the bodies were those of Romanians killed by the Russians
after the latter occupied Bessarabia and Bukovina in 1940.”
June 23, 1943. p. 8 London, June 22, (UP) – All Jews in Amsterdam
have been deported by the Germans to Poland, thus completing the removal
of the entire Jewish population of the Netherlands, the Aneta news
agency said today.”
This story is not true; nevertheless the majority of Dutch Jews were deported.
The reasons for the great differences in policy in the Netherlands (and
Luxembourg) on the one hand and in Belgium and France and other countries
on the other will be seen in a later chapter. It will be shown that the ultimate,
as distinct from immediate, destination of the Jews deported from the Netherlands
was most probably not Poland. Of the 140,000 Dutch Jews, about
100,000 were deported.148
“June 28, 1943, p. 8 London, June 27 (Reuter) – A German radio
broadcast tonight quoted Premier Nicholas von Kallay of Hungary as stating
that all remaining property of Jews in Hungary would pass into ‘Aryan’
hands at the end of this year. This property will be distributed among
147 Reitlinger, 367, 370-371, 378.
148 Reitlinger, 352.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
those who have distinguished themselves in the war and families with many
children, it is said.”
June 29, 1943, p. 6 London, June 28 (Netherlands News Agency) – The
Germans have launched mass executions of Netherlands Jews deported to
Poland, it was reported tonight.
[…] 150 Jews in the village of Turck had been mowed down with machine
gun fire. […] At Socky […] 340 Netherlands Jews were machinegunned,
and 100 women and children were slain near Potok. […] They
were among the thousands of Jews who had been transported from the
Netherlands to the notorious Treblinka concentration camp.”
It seems odd to transport people out of an extermination camp and then kill
them. Whoever composed this story was evidently not only uninformed on
what Treblinka was supposed to be, but also on the order of magnitude of the
numbers that were supposed to be thrown around.
July 21, 1943, p. 13 Immediate action to rescue the Jews of Nazidominated
countries was demanded last night by speakers at the opening
session of the Emergency Conference to Save the Jews of Europe, held at
the Hotel Commodore.
[…] Representative Rogers pointed out that some 3,000,000 of
Europe’s 7,000,000 Jews already have perished and insisted that ‘this is a
problem which cannot be solved through the exercise of vocal cords and
routine protests.’
[…] ‘Certainly there are enough open spaces and unpopulated areas to
accommodate 4,000,000 tortured human beings,’ he said. ‘Palestine is the
logical place. It is nearer and over land instead of over water […]’
[…] Count Sforza voiced the hope that Jews and Arabs would be able
to cooperate in the future in the building of a great Near East federation,
with Palestine as a member.”
August 2, 1943, p. 10 Washington, Aug. 1 – A survey of the European
refugee problem, published today by the Foreign Policy Association, said
that only a collective effort on the part of the great powers or an international
organization could deal effectively with the situation that would follow
the end of the war.
[…] On the basis of reports from the governments in exile and other informants,
the report said, it was estimated that of the Jews who in 1939 inhabited
European countries now held by the Axis, two million already have
been deported or had perished from various forms of mistreatment or deliberate
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
The Foreign Policy Association does not seem to be very secure in asserting
exterminations, because it gives the impression that most of the Jews had
been “deported,” even though by this time other propagandists were speaking
of three million dead Jews.
August 8, 1943, p. 11 London, Aug. 7 – Polish Labor Fights, a publication
issued here today, printed an account of a house maintained by the
Germans at Treblinka, Poland, for the extermination of Jews. In this place
alone, it is said, the Germans have killed 2,000,000 persons.
[…] ‘When the cells are filled they are closed and sealed. Steam is
forced through apertures and suffocation of the victims begins. At first
cries can be heard but these gradually subside and after fifteen minutes all
is silent. The execution is over.
[…] Often a grave digger is too weak to carry two bodies, as ordered,
so he ties arms or legs together and runs to the burial ground, dragging
them behind him.’”
Of course, the post-war story was that the bodies were burned, not buried:
these millions of buried Jewish bodies simply did not exist.
August 27, 1943, p. 7 […] a 300-page survey made public yesterday by
the […] American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.
More than 3,000,000 Jews have been destroyed by planned starvation,
forced labor, deportations, pogroms and methodical murders in Germanrun
extermination centers in eastern Europe since the outbreak of the war
in 1939, according to the report, while 1,800,000 Jews have been saved by
migration into the interior of the Soviet Union and 180,000 have succeeded
in emigrating to other countries.
[…] The survey […] declares that 1,700,000 Jews have been victims of
organized massacres and pogroms, […] that 750,000 Jews perished as a
result of starvation and its consequences, and that 350,000 died in the
process of deportation.
[…] A table showing how the process of extermination has been carried
out […] follows:
Germany 110,000 Belgium 30,000
Poland 1,600,000 Holland 45,000
USSR 650,000 France 56,000
Lithuania 105,000 Czechoslovakia 64,500
Latvia 65,000 Danzig 250
Austria 19,500 Estonia 3,000
Romania 227,500 Norway 800
Yugoslavia 35,000 Greece 18,500
Total 3,030,050”
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
August 27, 1943, p. 7 London, Aug. 26 (UP) – The Inter-Allied Information
Committee […] tonight accused Germany, Italy and their satellites of
[…] a deliberate program of wholesale theft, murder, torture and savagery
unparalleled in world history.
[…] Poland: Exhaustion, torture, illness and executions have created a
life expectancy of only nine months from the time an individual is thrown
into a concentration camp. Conditions are particularly severe at the
Oswiecim camp, where 58,000 persons are believed to have perished.
At least 1,000,000 Jews have been slaughtered, starved or beaten to
death in Poland during the past three years. In Warsaw food rations permit
only 23.4 per cent of the calories necessary to keep a human being alive.”
This was one of the very few pre-1944 specific references to the Auschwitz
concentration camp (although the stories of March 7 and April 27 were
oblique references). The interesting thing about this reference to Auschwitz is
that it is essentially correct, as shall be confirmed in the next chapter, although
one cannot be confident of the accuracy of the 58,000 figure and “torture” and
“executions” should not be included as causes of the high death rate. The important
point is that this story implicitly rejects the post-war extermination
claims which assert that thousands were killed at Auschwitz almost every day,
starting at the latest in the summer of 1942 and continuing to the autumn of
October 8, 1943, p. 5 Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 7 – Well-informed circles
here said today that a decree had been issued in Berlin ordering the
removal of all Jews from Europe before the end of the war. The source said
that the order was issued by Adolf Hitler himself.
[…] The power behind the Nazi persecution of Danish Jews is the socalled
‘Jew Dictator,’ Storm Trooper Eighman [sic…] who was born in
Palestine of German emigrants and brought up there [and] is known for his
sadistic hatred of Jews. He engineered all the extermination action against
Jews in Germany and the occupied territories. […]”
This seems to be Eichmann’s debut in the propaganda and, probably, the
source of the myth that he was raised in Palestine (he was born in Solingen,
Germany, and raised in Linz, Austria).
November 23, 1943, p. 4 The 43-year-old wife of Premier Stanislaw
Mikolajczyk of Poland is being held by the Germans as a hostage in the
Oswiecim concentration camp and may be facing imminent execution, the
Polish Telegraph Agency reported from London yesterday.
[…] Oswiecim is the most notorious German prison in Poland, where
thousands of helpless victims have been tortured to death. […]
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
The names of the Germans chiefly responsible for the massacre of Polish
Jews were given in a Polish statement in London. […]
‘There are ten of them, headed by Ludwig Fischer, the Nazi Governor
of the Warsaw area. […] A member of the Polish National Council said
that most of the Jews in Poland had already been wiped out.’”
November 29, 1943, p. 3 By W. H. Lawrence.
Kiev, Russia, Oct. 22 (Delayed) – Kiev authorities asserted today that
the Germans had machine-gunned from 50,000 to 80,000 of Kiev’s Jewish
men, women and children in late September, 1941 and, two years later –
when Kiev’s recapture by the Red Army seemed imminent – had forced
Russian prisoners of war to burn all the bodies completely destroying all
the evidence of the crime.
[…] On the basis of what we saw, it is impossible for this correspondent
to judge the truth or falsity of the story told to us. […]”
December 6, 1943, p. 10 London, Dec. 5 (UP) – Evidence that Russian
prisoners of war were executed and cremated in German concentration
camps has been offered to the emigre Czech Government by a Czech Army
officer who spent several years in a German prison camp before he escaped
to England.
[…] The officer’s teeth had been kicked out when he was struck on the
mouth, he was deaf in one ear from a blow on the head and on his body
was the scar of a swastika that he said had been carved by Germans to
whom he went for treatment of an infection.
Jews were chosen at random from those in the camp and shot, he said.
This completes the survey of relevant New York Times stories for the period
of spring 1942 through 1943. Selectivity on my part was, of course, necessary
but I believe that an adequate picture has been given of the sort of stories
that were in circulation in supposedly intelligent circles.
What cannot be recaptured is the hysterical atmosphere of the time. The
unusually critical reader will have noticed the rather high page number of
many of the stories cited, especially those which report specific instances of
mass killings. In practical politics only page one counts, and these things seldom
appeared on page one. If Roosevelt said something, it was normally
printed on page one, but only because he said it, not because he said anything
interesting or significant. The allegations of exterminations of Jews do not appear
to have had great importance to the public during the war, if one judges
from the lack of any prominence given to such stories. Another way to express
it is to say that if one spends some time examining the newspapers of the time,
a high degree of hostility to the Nazis is obvious, but the specific basis of the
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
hostility is virtually impossible to distinguish. Thus, there is something of an
emotional nature missing from our survey, but this is unavoidable.
Two principal observations should be made in regard to the extermination
propaganda. First, the legend has its origin among Zionists and, second,
Auschwitz was not claimed as an extermination camp until very late in the
We have seen that the first extermination claims were not based on one
scrap of intelligence data. Zionists, principally the World Jewish Congress,
merely presented their nonsense to the Allied governments, in particular to the
US government, demanding endorsement of their nonsense. The first reactions
in Washington were to scoff at the claims but, on account of various political
pressures, and only on account of those pressures and not because corroborating
information had been procured from military intelligence, official Washington
eventually cooperated with the extermination propaganda to the extent
of having high officials make vague public declarations in support of it, and of
having propaganda agencies make more specific declarations of an obscure
nature. The early propaganda had features which are retained in the legend to
this day, such as the six million figure, and also features which were quickly
forgotten, such as the soap factories, although both features were authored by
the same Zionist circles.
In regard to our terminology, it should be remarked that the word “Zionist”
is not being employed here as a code word for “Jewish;” the evidence shows
that, while the hoax is certainly a Jewish hoax, in the sense of having been invented
by Jews, it is also a Zionist hoax, in the sense of having been invented
by Jews who were Zionists, on behalf of Zionist ends. The Zionist character of
the propaganda is quite clear; note that, as a rule, the persons who were pressing
for measures to remove Jews from Europe (under the circumstances a routine
and understandable proposal) coupled such proposals with demands that
such Jews be resettled in Palestine, which shows that there was much more in
the minds of the Zionist propagandists than mere assistance to refugees and
victims of persecution.
We have also noted that Auschwitz was absent from the extermination
propaganda in 1942 and 1943 although, if there had been exterminations at
such a prominent site, military intelligence and others would certainly have
learned of it. To be sure, Auschwitz appeared in the propaganda, but the specific
claims, bearing on a high death rate due to more or less normal causes,
were in their essentials true, however amplified their content. There were no
claims of gas chambers or exterminations. Naturally I make the reservation
that this statement is based on the fact that, after a reasonably thorough study,
I have not noted Auschwitz in the 1942-1943 extermination propaganda;
Treblinka, Belzec and Chelmno appeared in the newspaper extermination stories,
but not Auschwitz.
This view is confirmed by the periodicals and books of the period that I
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
have examined. Three periodical publications are of particular interest. The issue
of Commonweal for June 4, 1943, carried an article by Jacques Maritain
which summarized what he, evidently after some investigation, believed to be
the chief features of the extermination program.
Auschwitz is not mentioned, although exterminations via “poison gases,
electrocution, mass piling into enclosed spaces where asphyxia takes place by
degrees, suffocation […] in sealed freight cars” are mentioned, and particular
reference is made to Chelmno.
The New Republic for August 30, 1943, was a special issue devoted to the
plight of the Jews in Europe, and made no reference to Auschwitz. A two page
advertisement, placed by the Jewish Labor Committee (New York), mentions
only Treblinka, Belzec and “hermetically sealed cars where Jews are being
Survey Graphic for April 1943 carries a two page article by William L.
Shirer. The subject is the whole range of alleged German atrocities and thus
Auschwitz (Oswieçim) is mentioned, but only in connection with an alleged
high death rate of 250 Poles per day, due to “executions, inhuman treatment,
hunger and epidemics.” Shirer claims exterminations of Jews at Belzec.
The Shirer story cites a March 7 report from the Polish government in
London as the source for the statements about Auschwitz. This is the earliest
reference that I know of to Auschwitz in the propaganda. The only candidate
for an earlier claim that I know of appears in The Black Book of Polish Jewry,
J. Apenszlak, ed., 1943. Pages 56 and 59 tell of reports in the “East London
Observer” in early 1942 that the ashes of Jews who had been sent to Auschwitz
were being returned to their relatives (contradicting post-war propaganda).
However, as far as I have been able to determine, the East London
Observer did not exist. The Black Book does not claim exterminations at
Auschwitz but speaks of exterminations via gasmobile at Chelmno (pages
115-117, in agreement with later claims); via electrocution in baths at Belzec
followed by burial (page 131, not in agreement); through being left in freight
cars for days near Belzec followed by burning (pages 137-138, not in agreement);
via steam baths at Treblinka followed by burial (page 143,not in
agreement); the Diesel engine whose exhaust gases were used for killing in
later versions of the story is used for digging the graves in The Black Book).
There remains one source which conveys the impression that Auschwitz
appeared in the extermination propaganda early in 1943 or even earlier. This
is the book The Devil’s Chemists by Josiah DuBois, whom we have encountered
as a wartime Treasury official. At the NMT after the war, DuBois was
the chief prosecutor in the Farben trial, and his book is his account of the trial
and such other matters that he considered relevant. According to him, a message
dealing with Auschwitz crossed his desk in November 1942. The message
transmitted the contents of a note, a “crumpled testament of despair,”
which had allegedly been written by a worker-inmate at Auschwitz and then
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
passed along underground in hand-to-hand relay to Bern:
“We worked in the huge ‘Buna’ plant. […] There was a chain of sentry
posts overlooking every 10 square meters of workers, and whoever stepped
outside was shot without warning as ‘having attempted to escape.’ But attempts
were made every day, even by some who tried to crawl past the sentries
because they could no longer walk.”
The note also applied to Farben’s Ter Meer “stereotyped images of swastika
and riding crop and fixed sneer (which had not characterized Ter Meer at
any time during his life).” The claimed origin and history of the note make the
whole thing appear rather silly but one should note the strong element of fact
in the note; at approximately this time many workers at Auschwitz were indeed
not in a condition to work or even walk. Thus this message was not
really extermination propaganda, and we cannot be certain that it really existed
but, if it did, all it suggests is that the propagandists were well aware, in
late 1942, of what was happening at Auschwitz.
DuBois then proceeds to misinform his reader that the two messages of
January and April 1943 from Harrison to the State Department, discussed
above, dealt with Auschwitz, i.e. it was at Auschwitz that 6,000 were allegedly
being killed every day. In reporting this, DuBois is simply passing along
misinformation. His motive seems to be that, as the prosecutor in the Farben
case, he was attempting to maximize the significance of Auschwitz in every
respect possible, and has thus read in the record something that simply is
German Reactions
It is of passing interest to comment on what the Germans were saying
about the Allied propaganda stories. We have seen that von Stumm of the
press section of the German Foreign Office ridiculed the extermination claim
when it was first made by the Allied governments, but that was a rare reference,
on the part of the German government, to any specific Allied propaganda
concoction. The weekly newspaper Das Reich, published by the Goebbels
Ministry, and the Völkischer Beobachter, the daily newspaper of the Nazi
Party, had much comment of a general sort on the “Greuelpropaganda,” but
there were few references to specific propaganda claims. The usual situation
was one of no commentary on the Jewish extermination claim, as well as on
other specific propaganda claims, e.g. starvation and torturing of American
and British POWs and the various gruesome inventions of Hollywood, such as
the draining of the blood of children in occupied countries for the use of the
149 DuBois, 137-138, 186-188.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
The reason for this relative silence on specific propaganda claims was no
doubt that there was no need, from the German point of view, to review its
content. They had seen it all before, during World War I. Thus the German
press treatment of the “Greuelpropaganda” was on a higher level and, rather
than concern itself with the specific contents of the stories, it concerned itself
with such questions as the nature of the political interests that were served by
the propaganda and the extent and means of Jewish influence in the Allied
press (e.g. Das Reich for December 20, 1942).
The War Refugee Board Report: Birth of the Auschwitz
The high level Washington commitment to the claim that Auschwitz was
an extermination camp came in November 1944, after the claimed termination
of the killing program, in the form of the WRB report (the claim had appeared
many times in the propaganda earlier in 1944; those stories are reviewed in a
later chapter). The issuing of the report was carried by the New York Times on
November 26, 1944, (page 1) and some excerpts were given.
The WRB report is described as two reports, one written by “two young
Slovakian Jews” and the other by “a Polish major,” all of whom had been inmates
at Auschwitz from the spring of 1942 until the spring of 1944, when
they escaped (the two Jews on April 7).
There is an additional short supplement said to be written by two other
young Jews who escaped on May 27, 1944, and made their way to Slovakia
(under German domination until 1945) to make their report, which is said to
have been received in Switzerland on August 6, 1944. The authors are completely
anonymous and this anonymity is duly apologized for “whose names
will not be disclosed for the time being in the interest of their own safety.”
Sections 1, 2 and 3 constitute the first part of the report, and section 4 the
second part. The first section is the major part of the report. It is said to have
been written by a Slovakian Jew who arrived at Auschwitz on April 13, 1942,
and was given a registration number (tattooed onto his left breast) in the
neighborhood of 29,000. He eventually became registrar in the Birkenau infirmary.
The feature of this first section is a detailed record, for the period
April 1942 to April 1944, of the transports which arrived at Auschwitz, together
with the registration numbers assigned. About 55 groups of transports
(sometimes more than one transport are in a group) are reported and the (admittedly
approximate) registration numbers assigned to the people in each
group are given. The numbers start at 27,400 and run to 189,000 in the conArthur
R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
secutive numbering system in which a number was not used twice. For each
group the nationalities represented, as well as other information (Jewish or
Aryan, political prisoners or other, occasional names of individuals, numbers
“gassed” instead of registered, etc.) is given. The WRB report, if it is approximately
correct in these matters (interpreting the people “gassed” as either
never having existed or having been sent on to another destination), is one of
the two known sources of significant amounts of such information (the other
is the referenced set of Netherlands Red Cross reports, which is the subject of
Appendix C).
Almost all of this information is given by the author of the first section of
the WRB report, but after he escaped the authors of the third, supplemental,
section of the report kept an account of this information for the period April 7
– May 27 and have contributed it to the report.
The second section of the report is said to be written by a Slovakian Jew
who arrived at the Lublin camp around June 4, 1942, but was sent to Auschwitz
around June 30, 1942. According to the first section of the report he then
would have received a registration number around 44,000, which was tattooed
onto his left forearm (the tattooing system had changed). The two authors of
the first two sections of the report are the two young Slovakian Jews who escaped
together on April 7, 1944. The third section of the report is the short
supplement and the fourth section is the contribution of the “Polish major.”
The anonymity of the authors of the report is certainly a vulnerable feature,
but the major implausibility is simply the contents of the WRB report. Examination
shows that the information given in the report which is most likely true
to semi-true is the sort of thing that could have been built up from intelligence
data, not from reports of “two young Slovakian Jews and a Polish major” who
“escaped.” This is exactly as one should expect; Germany’s enemies had certain
means of gathering information about German camps and about events in
Europe and simply used information gathered by such conventional methods,
plus a considerable amount of invention, to compose the WRB report. It is just
not believable that intelligence agencies were in such a primitive position with
respect to, of all things, the industrial center Auschwitz, that they were obliged
to depend for information on miraculous escapes by unusually well informed
prisoners. This point will be amplified below. Of course, such an observation
does not rule out the possible use of reports of former employees or inmates,
escaped or otherwise, as part of the data.
The report presents the following information (or estimates, or guesses, or
claims, or inventions):
1. The number of prisoners at Auschwitz I in the month of April 1942,
the predominant nationalities present and the main causes of internment.
Description of the inmate registration number system and the
“star system” of inmate insignia. A list of various factories in the area
(pt. I, 1-2).
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
2. An accurate map of the area, comparable to our Fig. 5 (pt. I, 4).
3. Dimensions related to the Auschwitz I camp size, its fences and its
guard towers. Ditto for Birkenau. Description of barracks (pt. I, 5-7).
4. In the case of a natural death of a prisoner, a death certificate was
made out and sent to Oranienburg central camp administration. If the
inmate was gassed, his name was entered in a special register and
marked “S.B.” (Sonderbehandlung, special treatment) (pt. I, 9).
5. Four buildings, referred to as Crematories I, II, III and IV were in use
in Spring 1944 at Birkenau; use of at least one of them had started in
February 1943. Each building contained: (A) a furnace room of ovens;
(B) a large hall; (C) a gas chamber. The first two buildings each contained
36 ovens and the other two 18 each. Three bodies are put in one
oven at a time and the burning took an hour and a half. Thus one could
dispose of 6,000 bodies per day. This was considered, at the time, an
improvement over burning in trenches (the method previously employed)
(pt. I, 14-15).
6. The specific product used for generating the gas for the gas chamber
was a powder called “Cyklon,” manufactured by a Hamburg concern.
When exposed it released cyanide gas and about three minutes were
required to kill everybody in the gas chamber. The containers for the
Cyklon were marked “for use against vermin” (pt. I, 16).
7. Prominent people from Berlin attended the inauguration of the first
crematory in March 1943. The “program” consisted in the gassing and
burning of 8,000 Cracow Jews. The guests (no names given) were extremely
satisfied with the results (pt. I, 16).
8. A detailed breakdown of the numbers and classifications of the inmates
at Birkenau in April 1944 (pt. I, 23-24).
9. In the camp, each block has a “block eldest” who “has power of life
and death.” Until February 1944 nearly 50 per cent of the block eldests
were Jews, but this was stopped by order of Berlin. Under the block
eldest is the block recorder, who does all the clerical work. If the recorder
has noted down a death by mistake, as often occurs, the discrepancy
is corrected by killing the bearer of the corresponding number.
Corrections are not admitted (pt. I, 25).
10. A passage strikingly similar to the November 1942 “crumpled testament
of despair”:
“We worked in the huge buna plant to which we were herded
every morning about 3 AM. […] As our working place was situated
outside the large chain of sentry posts, it was divided into small
sectors of 10 x 10 meters, each guarded by an SS man. Whoever
stepped outside these squares during working hours was immediately
shot without warning for having ‘attempted to escape.’ […]
Very few could bear the strain and although escape seemed hopeArthur
R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
less, attempts were made every day.” (pt. I, 30).
11. A “careful estimate of the numbers of Jews gassed in Birkenau between
April 1942 and April 1944,” summarized in a tabular form. The
numbers showed up in the published record of the IMT trial and are
presented here as Fig. 25 (pt. I, 33).
12. Great excitement prevailed as a consequence of the escape of the two
young Slovakian Jews (this is supposedly written by the authors of the
supplementary section 3), and the friends and superiors of the two escapees
were closely questioned. Because the two had held posts as
“block recorders,” all Jews exercising such functions were removed
for punishment and as a precautionary measure. This, of course, contradicts
the implication of the “Foreword” of the WRB report that the
Germans did not know the identity or even registration numbers of the
two escapees, because it withholds such information “in the interest of
their own safety.” (pt. I, 34).
13. Starting May 15, 1944, Hungarian Jews started arriving at Birkenau at
the rate of about 15,000 per day. Ninety per cent were killed immediately
and, because this exceeded the capacity of the ovens, the method
of burning in trenches which had existed earlier was reverted to. The
ten percent who were not killed were also not registered at Birkenau
but sent eventually to camps in Germany: Buchenwald, Mauthausen,
Gross-Rosen, Gusen, Flossenbürg, Sachsenhausen, etc. (pt. I, 36-37).
14. A new inmate registration number system was also put into effect in
the middle of May 1944. At about the same time, a visit by Himmler,
to nearby Cracow was reported in the Silesian newspapers. These
newspaper reports apparently omitted to mention, however, that on
this trip Himmler had also visited Birkenau, and that his party made a
special visit to Crematory I (pt. I, 37-38).
15. In the late summer of 1943 a commission of four distinguished Dutch
Jews had visited Auschwitz for the purpose of inspecting the condition
of the Dutch Jews (who were then specially prepared by the Germans
with new clothes, better food, etc.). The commission saw only a part of
the Dutch Jews sent to Auschwitz but were told that the others were in
similar camps. The commission was satisfied with this and signed a
declaration that everything had been found in good order at Auschwitz,
but after signing the four Jews “expressed a desire to see the
camp of Birkenau and particularly the crematoria about which they
had heard some stories […] The commission was then taken to Birkenau
[…] and immediately to Crematorium No. 1. Here they were shot
from behind. A telegram was supposedly sent to Holland reporting
that after leaving Auschwitz the four men had been victims of an unfortunate
automobile accident.” (pt. I, 38).
16. The area around Auschwitz, within a radius of 100 kilometers, had
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
been evacuated, and the buildings not to be taken over by the camp
were to be demolished (pt. II, 6).
17. Description of the Auschwitz I hospital and its procedures. In the autumn
of 1942 the hospital mortality rate was so high that Berlin requested
an explanation. An investigation uncovered that the “camp
doctor” had been administering lethal injections to weak and sick people,
certain prisoners condemned to death, and some teenagers considered
to be orphans. For “punishment” the camp doctor was simply sent
to the same job at the Buna plant (probably meaning Monowitz […]
the SS continued to provide some services to the camp administered
by Farben) (pt. II, 8-10).
18. As a result of bad treatment a Jew, irrespective of his physical condition,
could not last more than two weeks (pt. II, 12).
19. In the summer of 1942 Jews were being gassed in the birch forest
(Birkenwald, where Birkenau was located) in special sealed buildings
giving the impression of showers. Because the crematories were not
completed, the bodies were buried in mass graves, causing putrefaction.
In the autumn of 1942 the four crematories were completed and
many bodies were exhumed and burned (this is the Polish major’s account,
contradicting that of the two young Slovakian Jews, who said
that part of the new crematories were put into operation in February
1943 and that prior to that date bodies were burned in trenches) (pt. II,
20. Details on how it was decided exactly when to execute somebody already
condemned to death (pt. II, 16-17).
The foregoing is effectively illustrative of the contents of the WRB report.
It is a mixture of truth, guess-work, and invention, the factual part of which
could have been, and obviously was, put together on the basis of inside information
available in 1944.
The contradiction in the two accounts of exterminations serves to enhance
the credibility of the claim that these are unsolicited reports of escaped inmates,
but it is not clear that such increased credibility was the motivation for
composing the report thus. The first version, that large crematories were in
operation at Birkenau in early 1943 and that mass cremations took place in
trenches before that date, is the one subsequently put forward (and the correct
one in regard to the date of availability of the crematories) but the second version
of mass graves might have some truth in it also, because there had been a
typhus epidemic in the summer, at a time when inadequate crematory facilities
Reitlinger uses the WRB report as a source. This is not entirely justified
but, it is not entirely without justification either. One must assume that much
of the material in the report is true. As will be elaborated below, there is no
question of the competence of the authors of the report. However one must be
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
careful in this regard, obviously, and accept only that which seems corroborated
by either common sense or independent evidence. Given the protagonistic
and propagandistic role of the report, but recalling that a well organized
hoax necessarily contains much valid fact, this is perfectly reasonable.
One can be rather specific about the routes by which information flowed
out of the camps. In cases where there was significant industrial activity, the
inmates inevitably came into contact with many people who were not camp
inmates (company employees, railroad employees, etc.) and these contacts
were the basis for an extensive system of clandestine channels of communication.
Auschwitz, of course, furnished numerous and excellent opportunities for
such contacts and, on account of the communist organization, there were very
effective channels to outside underground centers, especially in nearby Cracow.
Information about the camp, including, it is claimed, copies of orders received
from Berlin or Oranienburg, flowed constantly out of Auschwitz.
These channels were also used to send such things as money, medicine and
forged papers into the camp. In addition, as discussed in another connection in
the next chapter, the Communists in all of the camps were highly organized
for illegal radio listening. If they had receivers, they no doubt also had transmitters.
There has been witness testimony to possession of radio transmitters
by camp inmates, and Reitlinger believes that Auschwitz inmates had transmitters.
In order to grasp completely the nature of the information and propaganda
channels that existed, one should take special note of the War Refugee Board
and the OSS. The WRB maintained constant contact with events in Hungary
even after the German occupation in March 1944. For example, it had its
agent, Raoul Wallenberg, in the Swedish diplomatic corps, and there were
other links through Jewish organizations. Jewish leaders in Budapest were in
constant contact with those in Slovakia, and the Slovakian Jewish leadership
was in contact with Polish Jewry, particularly in Cracow.151
Possibly more important than the WRB, although its role in the hoax is not
nearly as obvious, was the Office of Strategic Services, OSS, the predecessor
of the CIA. The OSS was set up early in World War II under the leadership of
General William Donovan. Its mission was intelligence of a political nature
and related matters (e.g. sabotage, propaganda, guerilla warfare) as distinct
from the more conventional forms of military intelligence, to which its operations
were related somewhat as the operations of the German SD were related
to those of the Abwehr, although high-placed Washington observers complained
that the OSS seemed to enjoy unlimited funds and knew no bounds on
150 NMT, vol. 5, 820; Reitlinger, 466; Borwicz, 66-76.
151 US-WRB (1945), 24-33. For contacts of Slovakian Jews with Poland, especially Cracow,
and with Budapest, see Neumann’s book and also the testimony of Freudiger: Eichmann,
session 51, Ww1-Eee; session 52, A1-Bb1. Wallenberg discussed in Poliakov and Wulf
(1955), 416-420.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
its authority.
With only a few exceptions, the OSS was not staffed by military people but
by persons recruited from private life. Thus it included many political types,
ranging from Communists to émigré monarchists. On account of their organization,
the Communists were naturally a significant force in the OSS, irrespective
of their numbers.
The OSS was deeply involved with propaganda. The OWI (Office of War
Information), the most prominent US wartime propaganda agency, had been
the propaganda division of the “Office of the Coordinator of Information”
(Donovan) when it split off from the OSS in 1942, and the remainder of
Donovan’s organization was renamed the OSS. Despite this separation, the
OSS remained active in the propaganda field, and when the Anglo-American
PWB (Psychological Warfare Branch) was set up in Eisenhower’s headquarters,
it drew its American personnel from both the OWI and the OSS.
Another propaganda operation of the OSS, one which employed a large
number of “progressive writers,” was the MO (Morale Operations) Branch.
The mission of MO was “black propaganda,” i.e. MO specialized in manufacturing
propaganda presented in such a way that it would appear to have come
from within the ranks of the enemy. MO thus distributed forged newspapers
and military orders among enemy personnel, operated clandestine transmitters
that purported to be broadcasting from within enemy territory, and started rumors
in the Axis and Axis occupied countries. Its staff included “liberals and
communists alike, all dedicated to the idealist interpretation of the fight
against fascism.”
A particularly relevant facet of the OSS operations was that they had
enlisted the cooperation of the Jewish Agency in Palestine (which was really
the unofficial Israeli government of the time). The Jewish Agency, on account
of extensive and elaborate contacts with Jews in Europe, especially in the Balkans,
was able to undertake many important missions for the OSS. Thus the
channels to Jews in Hungary, Slovakia, and beyond were open.
Finally, it is of interest that the OSS was very significant on the prosecution
staff at the IMT trial, especially in the early stages.152
The point to be made in this discussion of the WRB report is certainly not
that it was invented in the OSS or the WRB. I do not know the identity of the
authors and do not believe that the question is of great significance. The main
point is that two “internationals,” the Communist and the Zionist, played important
roles in the intelligence, propaganda and refugee assistance programs
of the US. The WRB, effectively taking its orders from Harry Dexter White,
Henry Morgenthau Jr., the World Jewish Congress and other Zionists, and the
OSS, with its staff of Communists and its Jewish Agency allies, show that the
situation was perfectly suitable for the manufacture of a Jewish extermination
152 R. H.Smith, 2, 12, 23, 62, 125, 239; Kimche & Kimche, 108.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
propaganda lie, built about Auschwitz, which, as a precaution, contained
enough real facts to suggest to the unreflective that the allegations were true.
The interior of the Auschwitz camp was not, by any exercise of the imagination,
isolated from the Allies. The world’s most efficient intelligence organization,
the Communist Party, could transmit any information desired to
any destination whatever, and the situation was such that the ubiquitous Zionist
International was in a position to manufacture and transmit whatever items
seemed appropriate for the occasion. Even if the contents of the WRB report
were entirely true, an escape by inmates would not have been at all necessary
to get the “facts” into the hands of the Allies. Note that we are told that the entire
contents of the WRB report are due to three independent escapes by remarkably
informed inmates. In view of what we know about the channels of
communication that existed, this is silly in the extreme.
The authors of the WRB report remained anonymous for quite a bit more
than “the time being.” The report became a prosecution document at Nuremberg
under the number 022-L. The descriptive material accompanying the
document, dated August 7, 1945 (the “staff evidence analysis”), seems distressed
at the anonymity of the authors. It tells of a certain Dr. Joseph Elias,
“Protestant Pastor of Jewish ancestry, organizer of Jewish resistance in Hungary,
head of Jo’Pasztor Bizottsag, who interrogated the first two Slovak Jews
after their escape.” Then it tells of “Dr. G. Soos – Secretary of Hungarian underground
movement MFM, who brought the first report (of the first two Slovak
Jews) to Italy.” The organization “Jo’Pasztor” was real, but of the activities
of Elias or Soos in connection with these matters nothing, it seems, is
known. Of the origins of the parts of the report attributed to the other three
people we are told nothing. It is said that R. D. McClelland, Bern representative
of the WRB, forwarded the report to Washington in early July 1944 (the
supplemental part was presumably not included).
The WRB report was put into evidence at the IMT, as document 022-L, by
Major Walsh on December 14, 1945.153 There was no defense objection, at the
IMT, to the acceptance of the report into evidence. At the Farben trial the
prosecution submitted the report (Document Book 89) as evidence but the defense
objected and this objection “as to the competence and materiality of
each and every document in the book” was sustained by that court. The result
of the ensuing legal argument was that the court agreed to taking a certain
very ambiguous “judicial notice” of the documents.154
Anonymity was maintained for several more years, because the first edition
(1953) of Reitlinger’s The Final Solution considers the authors anonymous. In
considering the beginnings of the gassings, reference is made to “the very reliable
report of the Birkenau infirmary registrar or Blockschreiber, who escaped
153 IMT, vol. 3, 568.
154 DuBois, 173-175.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
to Hungary in April 1944” (page 110). In connection with information about
Theresienstadt Jews transported to Auschwitz “we are indebted to a Slovak
Jewish doctor, who escaped to Hungary in April, 1944. This man, who was in
charge of the Birkenau infirmary records […] ” (pages 169-170). In discussing
the WRB report, Reitlinger told us that “the most important document is that
of the anonymous Slovak Jewish doctor who escaped to Hungary in April
1944” (page 540). In all three cases Reitlinger was referring to the author of
the first section of the WRB report, who, the report says, was the Slovakian
Jew who arrived on April 13, 1942, and was given a registration number
around 29,000. Reitlinger refers to him as a doctor, but the report actually
does not make it clear what he was; it appears that he was supposed to be an
“intellectual” or a “clerk.”
The next development seems to have been the publication in 1956 in Israel
of the book Im Schatten des Todes, by J. Oskar Neumann. Neumann had been
one of the leaders of the various Jewish councils and resistance organizations
in Slovakia. In his account Rabbi Michael Dov Ber Weissmandel (or Weissmandl),
originally a Hungarian Jew resident in a part of Hungary that was annexed
by Czechoslovakia after World War I, was the leader of Jewish resistance
in Slovakia. In Neumann’s story the two young Slovakian Jews appear
on schedule in Slovakia, as does the Polish major (actually, the WRB report
does not say where the Polish major escaped to). Neumann gives the impression
that he actually met these people: “Yet here sit eye-witnesses, who have
told the whole truth.” His account does not mention the two authors of the
third, supplementary, section of the WRB report, and he does not tell us the
names or tattooed registration numbers of the escapees. Since they were in
great danger of being found by the Gestapo, which was looking for them, they
“were sent to an outlying mountainous area to rest.” Rabbi Weissmandel
communicated the report to Budapest, Switzerland, and other destinations, in
order to warn other Jews, and to bring help.155
Weissmandel emigrated to the United States after the war and set up an orthodox
Talmudic seminary in New York State. He died in November 1957.
However his war memoirs were published posthumously in 1960, unfortunately
in Hebrew, which I am not able to read. The WRB report is a major
subject of his book. I have assumed that his story is essentially similar to
Neumann’s, because the two authors were similarly situated and had the same
connections. However, I could be wrong.156
155 Neumann, 178-183.
156 New York Times (Nov. 30, 1957), 21; Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 16, 418-419.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
Rudolf Vrba
It appears that the next event involved Reitlinger. The anonymity of the authors
of the WRB report is a striking and disturbing feature of the first edition
of Reitlinger’s book, as I am sure he realized. This no doubt bothered him, for
it appears that he set out to locate the authors of the report, for he writes in his
second edition, published in 1968, that Rudolf Vrba, the author of the “most
important” part of the WRB report, i.e., the first section, was “in hospital practice
in Cardiff in 1960.” Reitlinger’s contact with Vrba in 1960, thus, would
appear to be the first appearance of an alleged author of the report in any sort
of historical record. Vrba was, apparently, produced as a consequence of
Reitlinger’s investigations. The town of Cardiff in south Wales is, incidentally,
only about 150 miles from Reitlinger’s home in Sussex. Reitlinger does
not mention the name of any of the other authors. He considers a stencil book
by Silberschein, Riegner’s World Jewish Congress colleague in Switzerland,
as including the “complete version” of the report.157
Both authors of the first two sections of the WRB report (the first two
young Slovakian Jews) acquired identities at Eichmann’s trial in 1961. Two
witnesses testified regarding the report, and it was offered in evidence with the
explanation that the first two young Slovakian Jews were Alfred Wetzler (or
Weczler) and Rudolf Vrba (ex Rosenberg or Rosenthal, then resident in England).
The document was rejected on the grounds that certain contradictions in
the figures offered required further explanation. Therefore, late in the trial, the
prosecution produced an affidavit by Vrba. The affidavit explains how Vrba
arrived at the impressively detailed figures regarding the transports to Auschwitz,
which are the main feature of the WRB report. His affidavit gives the
impression that, while he got assistance from various people, he was solely responsible
for drawing up the figures, and he does not give the name of or even
mention his companion who supposedly escaped with him in April 1944. He
mentions a Philip Müller, who helped him somewhat with his figures, because
Müller “is apparently the only survivor alive at present.” Vrba’s affidavit was
rejected by the court on the grounds that there was no excuse for the prosecution
not bringing him to Jerusalem to testify.158
Vrba appeared again at the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt in 1964; his book, I
Cannot Forgive, (with Alan Bestic), also appeared in 1964, shortly before his
Frankfurt appearance. Vrba’s companion in his supposed escape appeared,
too; Alfred Wetzler was said to have been the other young Slovakian Jew.
Wetzler was (in 1964) a 46-year-old civil servant in Czechoslovakia, who had
arrived at Auschwitz on April 13, 1942, and been given registration number
157 Reitlinger, 115n, 182, 590-591.
158 Eichmann, session 52, M1, N1, W1-Aal; session 71, Ff1; session 72, I1-M1; session 109,
J1-L1, R1, S1. The affidavit is reproduced by Vrba & Bestic, 273-276.
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
29,162. He had been a block registrar at Birkenau. Vrba was identified as a
40-year-old biochemist living in England, who had arrived at Auschwitz on
June 30, 1942, and been given registration number 44,070. He had also been a
block registrar at Birkenau. They had, they said, escaped on April 7, 1944, and
made their way to Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, where they made their report to
the Jewish elders and also to the Papal Nuncio. The report was smuggled to
Budapest by Rabbi Weissmandel.159
The 1964 story differs, therefore, from that which was told to the authors
of the IMT staff evidence analysis in 1945. The most serious apparent contradiction,
however, is in the credit for the reporting of the figures related to the
transports to Auschwitz. Vrba, in his 1961 affidavit (which did not mention
Wetzler), and also in his Frankfurt testimony, presented himself as being primarily
responsible for the figures. The WRB report, on the other hand, while
it attributes the figures to both men, present the figures in the first section of
the report, whose author is supposed to be Wetzler.
Vrba does not explain, in his 1964 book, why he waited 16 years to talk
about his escape from Auschwitz, and his delivery of the statistics that were
eventually published by Washington. His book follows, roughly, the story of
the WRB report, with a few contradictions of varying degrees of importance.
For example in the book (page 128) Vrba writes that the girls working in the
“Canada” area were in very good health, but in the WRB report (part I, page
31) these women were “beaten and brutalized and their mortality was much
higher than among the men.” Other oddities in his book are his claim to have
helped build the crematories (page 16, not mentioned in the WRB report), and
his description of an Allied air raid on April 9, 1944, of which there is no record
(page 233; he says that he and Wetzler hid in a woodpile for three days at
Auschwitz after their April 7 escape. The possibility of an Allied air raid in
April in discussed below in Chapter 5). Wetzler just barely manages to get
mentioned in Vrba’s book. Vrba says nothing about the Polish major or the
two Jews who supposedly escaped later on to supplement the Auschwitz
transport figures. In the book the other prisoners refer to him as “Rudi,” although
his original name, and the name by which he was supposedly known at
Auschwitz, is supposed to have been Walter Rosenberg (a point Vrba’s book
does not bring up but is claimed elsewhere, e.g. in They Fought Back, ed. by
Yuri Suhl, and in Fighting Auschwitz, by Jozef Garlinski). Vrba says nothing
about resting in a mountain retreat after escaping.
Just as conclusive, in our evaluation of Vrba’s story, as the various contradictions
of either the WRB report or known fact, is the general tone of the
book and his description of how various people behaved at the camp. Although
the book presents utterly incredible material in this connection from
beginning to end, the best example is Vrba’s description of an alleged visit by
159 Naumann, 290-291; Langbein, vol. 1, 122-125; vol. 2, 968, 971.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
Himmler, on July 17, 1942 (pages 9-15, not mentioned in the WRB report).
The prisoners were drawn up for inspection, and the orchestra was in readiness
to play when Himmler, arrived. As they waited, the leader of the orchestra:
“[…] stood, baton raised, motionless, poised to weave music for the
honored guest.
And then it happened. The catastrophe that every actor dreads. The
moment of horror that only great occasions merit. The crisis that seems to
dog every moment of truth.
In the tenth row outside our Block, the Block senior found Yankel
Meisel without his full quota of tunic buttons.
It took some seconds for the enormity of the crime to sink in. Then he
felled him with a blow. […]
Out of sight, […] they beat and kicked the life out of him […]
[…] Himmler’s suite was twenty yards away. The baton moved […] and
the orchestra followed […] with an excerpt from Aida.
It was ‘The Triumph March.’ […]
He lined us up and rapped: ‘I am the Reichsführer. Let’s see how you
behave in front of me.’
Slowly he marched down the ranks, a little killer aping a big killer,
glaring at each of us in turn. If he found dirty finger nails or wooden shoes
not properly blacked, he howled abuse at the offender and thumped him
with his heavy bamboo cane. He even inspected us, nursery fashion, behind
the ears and then went prowling through the barracks, searching for blankets
which had not been folded with precision.”
Vrba mentions a second Himmler, visit (pages 15-19; the visit seems to
correspond to the March 1943 visit of dignitaries from Berlin) in January 1943
to witness the gassing of 3,000 Polish Jews. The event was scheduled for 9
AM, but Himmler took until 11 AM to finish breakfast, so the 3,000 Jews had
to wait two hours in the gas chamber. Himmler finally witnessed the gassing
in a cheerful and relaxed mood, chatting with the commandant and others, occasionally
throwing a glance through the peep-hole to observe the Jews being
The book manages to maintain this utterly incredible tone throughout, as
you can verify by reading it, if you can stand it.
Reitlinger does not cite Vrba’s book in any connection in the second edition
of his book. He still writes of Vrba as the author of the “most important”
part of the WRB report, the first section, although the data offered shows that
this role should be attributed to Wetzler. It does not appear important or relevant
to Reitlinger that Vrba was only 18-years-old when, he claims, he started
collecting the numerical and other data concerning the transports to Auschwitz,
with the intention of making this information available to the outside
Chapter 3: Washington and New York
There has been no claimed break, so far as I know, in the anonymity of the
Polish major. Erich Kulka, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in an article
in Suhl’s book, offers names for the two authors of the supplementary section
(Czezln Mordowicz who changed his name to Petr Podulka, and Arnost
Rosin who changed his name to Jan Rohác), but I know nothing of these people
other than that they remained quiet about their heroic exploits for an even
greater number of years than Vrba and Wetzler did. Moreover neither Elias,
nor Soos, nor Vrba (as Vrba or as Rosenberg), nor Weissmandel appeared as
witnesses in any of the Nuremberg trials, despite the sometimes contested role
played by Document 011-L at those trials.
The records of the International Tracing Service in Arolsen, West Germany,
report that two Jews named Wetzler and Rosenberg did escape on April
7, 1944, and this agrees with the Kalendarium published by the Polish government
in 1964 as number 7 of Hefte von Auschwitz, which also declares that
two Jews named Mordowicz and Rosin escaped on May 27, 1944. Because
there were many successful escapes from Auschwitz during this period (many,
many more than Vrba seems to think there were – compare page 217 of Vrba
with Garlinski’s remarks about escapes), this data may well be correct, but it
still does not authenticate the authorship of the WRB report, especially because
we are told today that after escaping the four Jews adopted aliases for
concealment purposes and that three of the four retained these different names
after the war rather than reassume their real names.
The details behind the manufacture of the WRB report will probably never
be completely uncovered, but it is entirely possible that its creators went to
great lengths in simulating a report miraculously smuggled to Slovakia and
then to Switzerland. If it was written in Slovakia then it seems clear that Rabbi
Weissmandel should be credited with at least co-authorship. It is also possible
that, as claimed, the report was given to the Papal Charge d’affaires in Slovakia,
Giuseppe Burzio, and that it was forwarded by him to Rome. It is clear
that Burzio was contacted by Jewish propagandists and that he forwarded at
least some of their “information” to Rome. Examples that Burzio transmitted
to the Vatican were March 22 claims that the Germans were taking young
Jewish women from their families to make them prostitutes for German soldiers
on the eastern front (a complete fantasy) and an early 1943 letter from a
Bratislava priest claiming that both Jewish and responsible German sources
had told him of soap factories supplied with the bodies of gassed and machine-
gunned Jews. Whether Burzio forwarded such material purely as routine
procedure or because he gave credence to it is hardly relevant, although the
later appears to be the case. The Vatican received and filed many such reports
during the war, but never gave any credence to them. Its present position is
that, during the war, neither it nor the “Jewish agencies were aware that the
deportations were part of a general mass annihilation operation” (see also ApArthur
R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
pendix E).160
In any case it is obvious that the WRB report is spurious. The data given in
the report is not the sort of information that escapees would carry out; the
claim that two more Jews escaped later on to supplement this data is more
than doubly ridiculous. Instead of coming forward immediately after the war
with ostensible authors of the report, in order to lend more support to the lie, it
appears that it was assumed that the whole thing was irrelevant until, for some
reason (probably Reitlinger’s curiosity), an author was produced sixteen years
after the event. That person’s story is not credible.
Thus was born the Auschwitz legend.
160 New York Times (Apr. 27, 1974), 7. Actes et documents, vol. 8, 476, 486-489; vol. 9, 40,
Chapter 4:
Structure of the Legend
We now consider the specific Auschwitz “extermination” story that we are
The trials that generated the evidence on which the extermination claims
are based took place in a prostrate, starving Germany whose people were in no
position to do anything but that which the occupying powers wished. This was
the political reality of the situation. By the record, the “Zionist International”
organized the specific extermination claims that were made, which were given
no credence by high and knowledgeable Washington officials. The leading
personality in setting up the legal system of the war crimes trials was none
other than the American prosecutor at the IMT trial. At that trial the judges
had previously expressed themselves on the obvious guilt of the defendants,
and the findings of the trial were formal legal constraints on subsequent trials.
The most important of the subsequent trials were those organized by the arch-
Zionist David Marcus, future hero of Israel, and then head of the US War
Crimes Branch, an agency that had engaged in torture of witnesses in connection
with certain trials. The “honor” of the states conducting the trials was
committed to the thesis of extraordinary Nazi brutality. Under such conditions
it is difficult to see how one could fail to expect a frame-up; this and the following
chapter shows that the Auschwitz charges are what one should expect.
It must first be asked: what is the essential attribute, the “trademark” of a
hoax on this scale? No sane author of such a thing would present a story
which is untrue in every or in most details; ninety nine percent valid fact can
be present in a story whose major claim has no truth whatever to it and recognition
of this leads the author of the hoax to the maximally safe approach to
his deed: distort the meaning of valid facts.
This is the basic structure of the Auschwitz extermination legend. It is
shown here that every real fact contained in the story had (not could have had,
but had) a relatively routine significance, having nothing to do with exterminations
of people. Thus those who claim extermination must advance a thesis
involving a dual interpretation of the facts, but by then the impartial reader, in
consideration of what has just been noted, should be on my side; the need for
a dual interpretation of fact, the trademark of the hoax, has emerged.
Another trademark, not so obvious at this point, will be suggested by the
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
Also, facts which contradict the extermination claims will be noted, and for
those who still believe the claims these facts are “mysteries.” The inconsistencies
and implausibilities and obvious lies will appear and finally the crushing
blow, a fact contradicting the claims, so huge in significance that there can be
no mumbling about “mysteries.”
The Höss ‘Confession’
The commandant of Auschwitz from May 1940 to late 1943 was SS Colonel
Rudolf Höss. During the IMT trial he had signed some affidavits for the
prosecution, the most noted being signed on April 5, 1946.161 In accord with a
common IMT and NMT practice, he was then called by the Kaltenbrunner defense
on April 15, 1946.162 The major content of his testimony was in his assenting,
during cross-examination, to his affidavit of April 5, and also in certain
points of supporting testimony.
Höss is universally considered the star prosecution witness and, despite the
origins of the Auschwitz hoax in the WRB report, the extermination mythologists
essentially treat the Höss affidavit as the Auschwitz extermination story
or, more precisely, the framework for the story. All pleaders of the Auschwitz
extermination legend present a story that is the Höss affidavit, with only numerical
variations, as supplemented by the IMT, NMT and similar evidence.
None of the principal extermination mythologists gives prominence to the
WRB report, and only Reitlinger seems to perceive a problem of some sort of
importance in connection with it.
Thus it is convenient to allow the Höss affidavit to act as framework for
our analysis also. It is presented in full here and then the individual points are
reviewed with due regard for the supplemental and additional evidence. The
fateful duality will emerge as an undeniable feature. The contradictions, inconsistencies,
wild implausibilities and lies will appear. The analysis will reveal
something of the psychological context of the trials.
Due regard is also given to verifiable interpretation of sources, including
instances where it is deemed better to reference Hilberg or Reitlinger rather
than an original document to which the reader is not likely to have convenient
“I, RUDOLF FRANZ FERDINAND HŌSS, being first duly sworn, depose
and say as follows:
1. I am forty-six-years-old, and have been a member of the NSDAP
161 3868-PS
162 IMT, vol. 11, 396-422.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
since 1922; a member of the SS since 1934; a member of the Waffen-SS
since 1939. I was a member from 1 December 1934 of the SS Guard Unit,
the so-called Deathshead Formation (Totenkopf Verband).
2. I have been constantly associated with the administration of concentration
camps since 1934, serving at Dachau until 1938; then as adjutant
in Sachsenhausen from 1938 to May 1, 1940, when I was appointed commandant
of Auschwitz. I commanded Auschwitz until December 1, 1943,
and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated
there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed
to starvation and disease, making a total dead of about 3,000,000.
This figure represents about 70% or 80% of all persons sent to Auschwitz
as prisoners, the remainder having been selected and used for slave labor
in the concentration camp industries. Included among the executed and
burnt were approximately 20,000 Russian prisoners of war (previously
screened out of Prisoner of War cages by the Gestapo) who were delivered
at Auschwitz in Wehrmacht transports operated by regular Wehrmacht officers
and men. The remainder of the total number of victims included
about 100,000 German Jews, and great numbers of citizens, mostly Jewish
from Holland, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia,
Greece, or other countries. We executed about 400,000 Hungarian Jews
alone in the summer of 1944.
3. WVHA [Main Economic and Administrative Office], headed by
Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl, was responsible for all administrative
matters such as billeting, feeding and medical care, in the concentration
camps. Prior to establishment of the RSHA, Secret State Police Office (Gestapo)
and the Reich Office of Criminal Police were responsible for arrests,
commitments to concentration camps, punishments and executions
therein. After organization of the RSHA, all of these functions were carried
out as before, but pursuant to orders signed by Heydrich as Chief of the
RSHA. While Kaltenbrunner was Chief of RSHA, orders for protective custody,
commitments, punishment, and individual executions were signed by
Kaltenbrunner or by Müller, Chief of the Gestapo, as Kaltenbrunner’s
4. Mass executions by gassing commenced during the summer 1941 and
continued until fall 1944. I personally supervised executions at Auschwitz
until the first of December 1943 and know by reason of my continued duties
in the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps WVHA that these mass
executions continued as stated above. All mass executions by gassing took
place under the direct order, supervision and responsibility of RSHA. I received
all orders for carrying out these mass executions directly from
5. On 1 December 1943 I became Chief of AMT I in AMT Group D of
the WVHA and in that office was responsible for coordinating all matters
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
arising between RSHA and concentration camps, under the administration
of WVHA. I held this position until the end of the war. Pohl, as Chief of
WVHA, and Kaltenbrunner, as Chief of RSHA, often conferred personally
and frequently communicated orally and in writing concerning concentration
camps. On 5 October 1944 I brought a lengthy report regarding
Mauthausen Concentration Camp to Kaltenbrunner at his office at RSHA,
Berlin. Kaltenbrunner asked me to give him a short oral digest of this in
complete detail. This report dealt with the assignment to labor of several
hundred prisoners who had been condemned to death […] so-called
‘nameless prisoners.’
6. The ‘final solution’ of the Jewish question meant the complete extermination
of all Jews in Europe. I was ordered to establish extermination
facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941. At that time there were already in the
general government three other extermination camps, BELZEC, TREBLINKA
and WOLZEK. These camps were under the Einsatzkommando of
the Security Police and SD. I visited Treblinka to find out how they carried
out their exterminations. The Camp Commandant at Treblinka told me that
he had liquidated 80,000 in the course of one-half year. He was principally
concerned with liquidating all the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. He used
monoxide gas and I did not think that his methods were very efficient. So
when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz, I used Cyclon B,
which was crystallized Prussic Acid which we dropped into the death
chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people
in the death chamber depending upon climatic conditions. We knew
when the people were dead because their screaming stopped. We usually
waited about one-half hour before we opened the doors and removed the
bodies. After the bodies were removed our special commandos took off the
rings and extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses.
7. Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our
gas chambers to accommodate 2,000 people at one time, whereas at Treblinka
their 10 gas chambers only accommodated 200 people each. The way
we selected our victims was as follows: we had two SS doctors on duty at
Auschwitz to examine the incoming transports of prisoners. The prisoners
would be marched by one of the doctors who would make spot decisions as
they walked by. Those who were fit for work were sent into the Camp. Others
were sent immediately to the extermination plants. Children of tender
years were invariably exterminated since by reason of their youth they
were unable to work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka
was that at Treblinka the victims almost always knew that they were to be
exterminated and at Auschwitz we endeavored to fool the victims into
thinking that they were to go through a delousing process. Of course, frequently
they realized our true intentions and we sometimes had riots and
difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women would hide their chilChapter
4: Auschwitz
dren under their clothes but of course when we found them we would send
the children in to be exterminated. We were required to carry out these exterminations
in secrecy but of course the foul and nauseating stench from
the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the
people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations
were going on at Auschwitz.
8. We received from time to time special prisoners from the local Gestapo
office. The SS doctors killed such prisoners by injections of benzine.
Doctors had orders to write ordinary death certificates and could put down
any reason at all for the cause of death.
9. From time to time we conducted medical experiments on women inmates,
including sterilization and experiments relating to cancer. Most of
the people who died under these experiments had been already condemned
to death by the Gestapo.
10. Rudolf Mildner was the chief of the Gestapo at Kattowicz and as
such was head of the political department at Auschwitz which conducted
third degree methods of interrogation from approximately March 1941 until
September 1943. As such, he frequently sent prisoners to Auschwitz for
incarceration or execution. He visited persons accused of various crimes,
such as escaping Prisoners of War, etc., frequently met within Auschwitz,
and Mildner often attended the trial of such persons, who usually were
executed in Auschwitz following their sentence. I showed Mildner throughout
the extermination plant at Auschwitz and he was directly interested in
it since he had to send the Jews from his territory for execution at Auschwitz.
I understand English as it is written above. The above statements are
true; this declaration is made by me voluntarily and without compulsion;
after reading over this statement, I have signed and executed the same at
Nürnberg, Germany on the fifth day of April 1946.
Rudolf Höss”
By “NSDAP” is meant the Nazi Party, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
(National Socialist German Worker’s Party).
Some points of information, which have not been included in the affidavit
although some might consider them relevant, are that Höss, as a nationalist
brawler in the twenties, had committed a political killing for which he served
five years in prison,163 and that he started in the concentration camps at Dachau
as a corporal in 1934. He may seem to have risen unusually quickly because
in 1945, during the final weeks of the war, he was a colonel and was
negotiating concentration camp matters with the Red Cross and representatives
of neutral countries.164 Most probably, his low rank in 1934 was due to
163 Hilberg, 575; Reitlinger, 113.
164 Reitlinger, 113, 502, 516-517; Red Cross (1947), 95, 98, 103-104.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
artificial limitations on the size of the SS, imposed for political reasons. His
rapid advance was probably the result of the expansion of the SS after the SARöhm
purge of June 1934 and the greater expansion which took place after the
war began.
We now analyze the significant points of the affidavit. The plan of Birkenau
is shown in Fig. 29; it is based on information gathered at the “Auschwitz
trial” of 1963-1965, but the WRB report presents a similar plan.165
Contradictions at the Outset
Paragraph 2
It would have been helpful in putting things into slightly better focus and
perspective if Höss had briefly indicated what the nature of the “concentration
camp industries” at Auschwitz was, and the enormous importance this industry
had for the Germans. In the entire transcript of IMT testimony there appears
to be only one specific reference to the nature of the industry at Auschwitz.
It is in the testimony of political prisoner Marie Claude Vaillant-
Couturier where she makes passing reference to an “ammunition factory” (no
doubt the Krupp fuse plant) and to a “large Buna factory, but as (she) did not
work there (she did) not know what was made there.”166 There are other references,
especially in the documents, but they are buried quite deeply.
Not even Höss clung to the figure of 2,500,000 victims gassed; in private at
the time of his testimony and also at his own trial in 1947 in Poland (he was
hanged) he used a figure of 1,135,000. The lowest figure to be claimed by
those who claim that gassings took place is 750,000.167 The Russians claimed
4,000,000, including some killed by “injections, ill treatment, etc.,” but the
highest figure claimed seems to be 7,000,000.168
The remark about 400,000 Hungarian Jews was in accord with a strange
emphasis in the legend on the Hungarian Jews. This emphasis existed well before
the Höss affidavit and it has persisted to this day. It was on May 5, 1944,
that Eichmann was supposed to have proposed, through the intermediary Joel
Brand, a “trucks for Hungarian Jews” swap with the Western allies.169 The
continued emphasis on the Hungarian Jews seems to be a result of the focus,
since 1960, on the activities of Eichmann. For the initial emphasis, the only
165 Langbein, vol. 2, 930-931; Naumann, 19 opp; US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 22.
166 IMT, vol. 6, 211.
167 Reitlinger, 119.
168 008-USSR; Friedman, 14.
169 Reitlinger, 472-478; US-WRB (1945), 39-40.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
explanation I can offer is that the problems of the Hungarian Jews started in
March 1944 with the German occupation of Hungary, which was simultaneous
with the beginnings of the functioning of the War Refugee Board, which
had been established in January.
Much of the attention of the WRB was thus directed toward Hungary.170
The problem of the Hungarian Jews is given special attention in the next chapter.
Paragraph 4
Höss places the commencement of the gassings in the summer of 1941. He
gets promoted in December 1943 to the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps
at Oranienburg but knows “by reason of (his) continued duties” there that
“these mass executions continued.” To claim knowledge of significant events
at Auschwitz, while with the Inspectorate, seems very reasonable but in his
testimony he said that in the summer of 1941 he, Höss, had been summoned to
report directly to Himmler, and that during the interview the concentration
camp commandant had received directly from the Reichsführer-SS the order
to begin exterminating the Jews, with the stipulation that he should maintain
the “strictest secrecy,” not allowing even his immediate superior Glücks to
find out what he was doing. “Glücks was, so to speak, the inspector of concentration
camps at that time and he was immediately subordinate to the
When Did It Start?
Paragraph 6
It will be seen in a subsequent chapter what the “final solution” of the Jewish
question meant. Höss claims that he “was ordered to establish extermination
facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941.” Thus he reaffirms the date given in
paragraph 4 and his testimony in support of the affidavit reaffirmed this date
again; there seems no doubt that Höss was knowingly and deliberately given
the summer of 1941 as the start and that no slip is involved here. Also, Höss
testified that, at the time of the Himmler, order, the Inspectorate (Glücks) was
“immediately subordinate” to Himmler. This could only have been true prior
to March 1942, at which time Oswald Pohl, chief of the WVHA (paragraph
3), took over the Inspectorate and Glücks started reporting to Pohl, who re-
170 US-WRB (1945), 49-50.
171 IMT, vol. 11, 398.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
ported to Himmler. Prior to March 1942 the Inspectorate seems to have been
an orphan organization and may have reported to Himmler, although it had
connections with both Heydrich and Jüttner’s Operational Main Office
(Führungshauptamt). Höss, of course, was familiar with these administrative
arrangements because in late April 1942 Pohl had held a meeting of all camp
commanders and all leaders of the Inspectorate for the specific purpose of discussing
Despite all this Reitlinger insists that Höss meant the summer of 1942, not
1941, for certain reasons that will be seen later and also for other reasons.
First, an obvious implicit claim of Höss‘ affidavit is that the visit to Treblinka
took place after large deportations of Warsaw Jews to that camp. Höss confirmed
this point explicitly in another affidavit. That puts the Treblinka visit in
1942. Second, according to Reitlinger’s sources, the first large transports
(2,000) of Jews to Birkenau date from March 1942, when “the small gassing
installation in Birkenwald had only started to work.”173 Actually, such arguments
only increase the confusion, if we are also told that Höss received the
extermination orders in the summer of 1942.
These are simply the sorts of contradictions that one should expect to
emerge from a pack of lies. However, for the sake of discussion we should accept
that Höss really meant the summer of 1942 and continue on to other matters.
By any interpretation, however, Höss says that there were three other extermination
camps at the time of the Himmler order, that he had visited Treblinka
and that this camp had been exterminating for one half year. That puts
the beginning of the gas chamber exterminations in early 1942 if we accept
Reitlinger’s point.
The Alleged Gassings and Zyklon
One must agree that gassing with carbon monoxide is inefficient. The
source of the carbon monoxide was supposed to have been the exhausts of a
diesel engine at Belzec and of captured Russian tanks and trucks at Treblinka!
One must also agree that Cyclon (Zyklon) B was more efficient because it
consisted of crystals which, when exposed to air, sublimated into “Prussic
acid” (hydrogen cyanide gas). There was no deadlier gas and, in fact, Zyklon
was a well-known and widely used insecticide developed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft
für Schädlingsbekämpfung (DEGESCH), German Pest Control Co.
172 Hilberg, 556-560; Reitlinger, 107ff; documents R-129, NO-719 and 1063(F)-PS in NMT,
vol. 5, 298-303.
173 Reitlinger, 109, 115.
174 Reitlinger, 147ff.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
It had been marketed world-wide before the war as an insecticide;175 the word
Zyklon means “cyclone,” i.e. the product was a “cyclone” for pests. It was
used throughout the German armed forces and camp system during the war,
and it was thus used as an insecticide at Auschwitz. The ordering and receiving
of Zyklon at Auschwitz was done by the so-called Referat für Schädlingsbekämpfung
(Pest Control Office).176
The constant menace of typhus as carried by lice has been noted, and the
calamitous results of a complete breakdown of disinfection measures at Belsen
have been seen. In view of the particular hospitability of the Auschwitz-
Kattowicz operations to the typhus-bearing louse, in view of the fact of epidemics
at Auschwitz that actually forced work stoppages, and in view of the
tremendous importance of the Auschwitz industry to the German war effort, it
is not surprising that Zyklon was used in liberal quantities at Auschwitz, and
in the surrounding regions, for its intended purpose. It is this chemical product,
known to be an insecticide and known to be used at Auschwitz as an insecticide,
which, in the WRB report but starting even earlier, was claimed, and
continues to this day to be claimed, as the source of the gas used to exterminate
Jews at Auschwitz.
It is not correct to say that the insecticide role of Zyklon has been concealed;
the WRB report mentions the anti-parasite role of Zyklon and a dual
role for Zyklon at Auschwitz is explicitly claimed in the IMT transcript.177 We
must be careful at this point to note the significance of the legend’s Zyklon B
allegation. Here we have, on a major point, the main attribute of a hoax as we
begin to examine the details of the Auschwitz extermination claims: the fact
requiring a dual interpretation. This is not discussed or, apparently, even appreciated
in the “final solution” literature. Hilberg merely utters the completely
irrelevant assertion that “very little was used for fumigation” and then
cites unconvincing authority. Reitlinger does no better.178
The most typical use of Zyklon was in disinfecting rooms and barracks.
Everything was sealed and then the necessary amount of Zyklon, which came
in green cans (Figs. 27, 28), was emptied in. After the proper time interval it
was assumed that all the lice and other insects and pests were dead, and the
enclosure was aired out. Zyklon could be used for disinfecting clothing by
employing an “extermination chamber”; such were marketed by the German
“extermination” industry, although at that time steam baths were also used for
the disinfecting of clothing, especially at permanent installations. The “extermination
chambers” were preferred in connection with highly mobile or special
conditions. The US Army, which also had insect control problems during
175 DuBois, 213. Some of the chemistry of Zyklon (“Cyclon”) is discussed in the article on
CYANIDE in the Encyclopedia Britannica for 1943.
176 Hilberg, 567-571.
177 IMT, vol. 6, 225-332.
178 Hilberg, 570 Reitlinger, 154-156.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
the war, had correspondingly similar devices and had devised a “field chamber.”
Because the US came into the war late, it had time to adopt the newly
developed chemical, DDT, for the functions that Zyklon performed for the
Germans.179 Naturally, the Americans employed DDT in their “camps,” concentration
or otherwise. DDT, as a more advanced insecticide, was more versatile
for various reasons, e.g. it was not nearly as lethal for human beings as
Zyklon, which was quite lethal and in its commercial form contained a “warning
stuff,” an irritant which was emitted before the cyanide gas was emitted. It
is common to leave out frills in military versions of products, and thus the irritant
was absent from the Zyklon employed in concentration camps.
The dual role of Zyklon was asserted at the IMT on January 28, 1946, in
the testimony of a witness called by French prosecutor DuBost. On January
30, DuBost submitted as evidence document 1553-PS, consisting of a number
of invoices from DEGESCH, addressed to SS 1st Lieutenant Kurt Gerstein,
for various quantities of Zyklon sent to Oranienburg and to Auschwitz, plus a
lengthy “statement” attributed to Gerstein. After some hesitation over certain
legal technicalities both parts of the document were accepted in evidence, the
claims of Rassinier and Reitlinger that the “statement” was rejected to the
contrary notwithstanding.180 Two invoices are printed in the IMT volumes and
part of the “statement” is printed in one of the NMT volumes.181 The invoice
samples printed in the IMT volumes include one invoice for 195 kg of Zyklon
sent to Oranienburg and one for the same sent to Auschwitz. It is probable that
the Oranienburg Zyklon was ultimately destined for other camps and that the
Zyklon sent to Auschwitz was to be shared with all the smaller camps of the
region and possibly also with the coal mines.
The case of Kurt Gerstein shows that there is no limit to the absurdities that
intelligent people can attain once they have accepted falsehood as truth. This
is the same Gerstein who appears as a major character in Rolf Hochhuth’s
play, The Deputy.
Gerstein’s title in the SS was Chief Disinfection Officer in the Office of the
Hygienic Chief of the Waffen-SS,182 and as such it was his responsibility to
supervise the deliveries of disinfection supplies to all the camps administered
by the SS. Two versions of what happened to him at the end of the war are offered
us. In the one he encountered American interrogators by chance in a hotel
in Rottweil, the Black Forest, related that he had obtained a responsible
post in the Nazi Party while operating as a secret agent for the sometimes anti-
Nazi Reverend Niemöller, that he had been involved in operating gas chambers,
and that he was prepared to act as a witness in any court. He handed
179 Hardenbergh, 252-254, 257-259; Knipling.
180 IMT, vol. 6, 211, 225, 360-364; Rassinier (1962) 80, 224; Rassinier (1964), 105n; Rassinier
(1965), 38-48; Reitlinger, 161n.
181 NMT, vol. 1, 865-870; IMT, vol. 27, 340-342.
182 Hilberg, 570.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
them a seven-page document, typed in French, together with a note in English
and some Zyklon invoices, and then vanished.183 In the other, he somehow
found himself in Cherche-Midi military prison in Paris, composed a document
in his own hand, in French, added the Zyklon invoices, and then hanged himself
in July 1945.184 In either case neither he nor his body has ever been found.
He vanished, allegedly leaving a “statement” and some Zyklon invoices that
became document 1553-PS. The former version of the Gerstein story is the
one claimed in the descriptive material accompanying the document.
Even if we were not presented with such an obviously fishy story concerning
Gerstein, we would doubt the authenticity of the “statement” merely on
the grounds of its contents, for it is ridiculous in the story it presents, e.g. that
Gerstein took his position in the SS in order to attempt to sabotage the exterminations
(“a man who had penetrated hell with the sole intention of bearing
witness before the world and aiding the victims”185). The text of the “statement,”
including the part published by the NMT, is included here as Appendix
A; the “statement” plays no great role in the analysis but the reader should examine
it sometime. It is absolutely insane. It is no marvel that people who can
take this story seriously have remarked on the “ambiguity of good” and feel “a
certain malaise, an inability to arrive at a full explanation of Gerstein as a person.”
186 The Deputy opens with “Gerstein“ forcing his way into the reception
room of the Papal Legation on the Rauchstrasse in Berlin, breathlessly relating
the story of his “statement” to the Papal Nuncio!
It is thoroughly unforgivable that Hilberg and Reitlinger use such an obviously
spurious “statement” as a source, and without apology. Reitlinger, however,
points out that Hitler never visited Lublin, as the “statement” asserts.187
DEGESCH was not the only firm involved in the “extermination” business.
The firm of Tesch and Stabenow supplied customers with Zyklon and also
with equipment for “extermination chambers” that were of typical volume ten
cubic meters and smaller. In Chapter 2 we saw that there apparently existed
such a “gas chamber” at Dachau which was, of course, represented as a murder
chamber in the early phases of the propaganda, although today no attempt
is made to claim it is anything other than a “disinfection room.” Tesch and
Weinbacher, officers of the firm of Tesch and Stabenow, who had sold some
“extermination chamber” equipment to the camp at Gross-Rosen, were hanged
for their role in the extermination business, their plea that they did not know
that their merchandise was to be used for purposes other than disinfection, and
their alternate plea that an order of the SS could not be refused, having been
183 Reitlinger, 161; 1553-PS.
184 Friedlaender, vii-xii.
185 Friedlaender, xi.
186 Friedlaender, x.
187 Reitlinger, 162f. See also Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (Apr. 1953), 189n, which is
cited in an article in Nation Europa (May 1963), 50+ (q.v.).
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
rejected by the British military court.188
Lines of Authority
Paragraph 7
According to affidavits given by Höss and Friedrich Entress in 1947,189 the
first gas chambers put into operation in the summer of 1942 (now contradicting
the affidavit of 1946), were makeshift affairs consisting of two old peasant
houses made air tight, with windows sealed up. At the “Auschwitz trial” in
1963-1965 it was held that the “bunker” in Fig. 29 was one of these early gas
chambers.190 The nature of later “gas chambers” is examined below.
This is a good point at which to raise objections regarding lines of responsibility
and authority in these operations. Höss says he received his order directly
from Himmler, during, we have agreed to pretend, the summer of 1942.
This means that Himmler not only bypassed Glücks, but also Pohl in giving
this order directly to the camp commandant, specifying that Glücks was not to
learn what was going on. Himmler reached three levels or more down to give
the order and specified that Höss was to maintain an impossible secrecy. Most
That is not all. The story we are offered, by the Höss affidavit and testimony
and all other sources is that (except for certain later developments to be
discussed) the German government left the means of killing, and the materials
required, a matter for the judgment and ingenuity of the local camp commandant.
Höss decides to convert two old peasant houses. Höss found the Zyklon
kicking around the camp and decided that it offered a more efficient method
of solving the Jewish problem than that employed at Treblinka, where they
had scrounged up some captured Russian tanks and trucks to use for exterminations.
All of this is idiotic and Reitlinger is obviously uncomfortable with the
“problem” of the responsibility of the Zyklon decision but gets nowhere with
the difficulty except to make it graver by suggesting that Hitler (!) finally decided
on Zyklon “with misgiving.”191
188 Hilberg, 567; Reitlinger, 155-156; documents NO-4344 and NO-4345 in NMT, vol. 5, 362-
189 Hilberg, 565; Reitlinger, 158n.
190 Langbein, vol. 2, 930-931; Naumann, 19 opp.
191 Reitlinger, 155-158.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
Transports to Auschwitz
We are told that those Jews not fit for work were gassed immediately upon
arrival (and hence do not appear in any written records, for the most part), but
an account directly in conflict with this claim appears even in the WRB report.
According to that report a transport of four to five thousand Jews from
Theresienstadt, traveling as families, arrive at Birkenau in September 1943.
They kept their baggage and were lodged as families in the camp sector designated
in Fig. 29. They were allowed to correspond freely, a school was set up
for the children, and the men were not obliged to work. They were considered
to be in six months quarantine. It is said that they were gassed on March 7,
1944, and that “the young people went to their deaths singing.” The relatives
of these Jews got mail from them dated March 23 or 25, but it is claimed that
the mail had been written on March 1 and post-dated, in obedience to German
This procedure was repeated with another group of Jewish families, 5,000
people who arrived from Theresienstadt in December 1943, and whose quarantine
was due for expiration in June 1944. Some men were put to work. According
to what are said to be surviving records, in May 1944 two thousand
were on the employment list, 1,452 were still in quarantine, and 1,575 were
considered “in readiness for transport” (“Vorbereitung zum Transport”),
which Reitlinger considers to mean in reality “waiting for the gas chambers.”
This was repeated a second time with a group of Theresienstadt families
which arrived in May 1944.192 Since these people were put into “quarantine” it
is a certainty that their quarters had been disinfected with Zyklon just prior to
their moving in and perhaps at periods while they were living there. Now we
are asked to believe that the Germans planned to kill them with the same
chemical product later on!
Essentially the same story was repeated in IMT testimony.193 The presence
of such material in the WRB report is no mystery. Whatever was happening to
the Theresienstadt Jews in 1943-1944 was fairly well known in Europe. In October
1943, when 360 Jews were deported from Denmark, they were sent to
Theresienstadt, “where the Danish king could be assured of their safety.”194
We noted in the preceding chapter the Red Cross visit of June 1944; the Red
Cross involvement with Theresienstadt receives further treatment in the next
chapter. In a 1945 visit the Red Cross reported transfers to Auschwitz in 1944,
adding no sinister interpretations.
To describe the Theresienstadt Jews as “in readiness for transport” just before
their quarantine was to expire was perfectly logical, because it is known
192 US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 19-21, 37-38; Reitlinger, 182-183; Blumental, 105.
193 IMT, vol. 6, 218.
194 Reitlinger, 183.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
that many Theresienstadt Jews were being deported East. A source sponsored
by the Israeli government, who had been at Theresienstadt, reports that from
1941 to 1944 the Germans were transporting Jews to such places as Minsk in
Russia and Riga in Latvia. One must have passed by quite a few “extermination
camps” to travel from Theresienstadt to those cities. The source also reports
that young Theresienstadt Jews were eager to volunteer for transports to
Auschwitz as late as August 1944.195 Rabbi Leo Bäck has claimed that somebody
escaped from Auschwitz in August 1943, and made his way back to
Theresienstadt, where he told Bäck of gassings. Bäck has explained why he
told nobody else of this at the time so that, we will no doubt be told, explains
how it was possible that all those people were, in their “ignorance,” so eager
to go to Auschwitz.196
The part of the Auschwitz legend touching on the Theresienstadt Jews is
obvious nonsense even without contrary evidence, however. It is not believable
that the Germans would quarter for six months at Birkenau each of three
distinct groups of people of a category for which there exists an extermination
program at Birkenau. The dual role of Zyklon in this story merely effects passage
from the nonsensical to the incomparably ludicrous.
If we examine the other extant source of what is said to be statistical data
concerning transports to Auschwitz, we meet the same situation. The data offered
in the Netherlands Red Cross reports is more reliable than that offered in
the WRB report, although it is rather limited. Nevertheless, as shown in Appendix
C, the data shows that virtually all of the male Jews who were deported
from the Netherlands to Auschwitz in July and August of 1942 entered Birkenau
and were given registration numbers. It is also known that these Dutch
Jews wrote letters to acquaintances in the Netherlands in which they described
the work at Auschwitz as “hard” but “tolerable,” the food “adequate,” the
sleeping accommodations “good,” the hygienic conditions “satisfactory” and
the general treatment “correct” (this was reported by the Jewish Council in
Amsterdam which claimed, however, that it knew of only 52 such letters). To
Reitlinger, these things are “mysteries” for, he says, “at certain periods, entire
transports were admitted.”197
The term “spot decisions” has not been used subsequent to the Höss affidavit,
so far as we know. The common term is “selections.” The story is that
“selections” were made on incoming transports on a basis of suitability for
work. This, of course, must be essentially true; given the extent and variety of
the industrial operations at Auschwitz, selections were required not only on a
work vs. no work basis but also on, e.g., a light work vs. heavy work basis.
195 Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 7, 109, 110n, 113.
196 Reitlinger, 181-182; Boehm, 292-293.
197 Reitlinger, 118-121. Reitlinger remarks on the “mystery” presented by the data in the Netherlands
Red Cross reports, which is presented and discussed here in Appendix C. The letters
from Auschwitz are considered by de Jong.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
Other factors which must have figured in this connection were whether a
given transport was composed of prisoners, volunteer laborers, Jews being resettled
(such as the Theresienstadt Jews) or other. The transports were no
doubt also screened for certain key professionals, such as medical personnel,
engineers, skilled craftsmen, etc. The extermination legend merely claims that
one category sought in these elaborate sortings and selections was all nonemployable
Jews, destined for extermination. This claim has already been seriously
undermined by the evidence.198
A Hospital for the People Being Exterminated?
Selections on incoming transports are not the only mode of gas chamber
selections which have been claimed. A Dutch Jew, Dr. Elie A. Cohen, was arrested
in 1943 for attempting to leave the Netherlands without authority. In
September he and his family were shipped to Auschwitz, and he was separated
from his family, which he never saw again. He later wrote a book, Human Behavior
in the Concentration Camp, based on his experiences as a member of
the hospital staff at Auschwitz I. Because Cohen’s contact with the people
who were being exterminated was of a doctor-patient nature, it was necessary
to produce an extraordinarily descriptive term for his book, and “objective”
was as good a choice as any.
Cohen interprets certain selections in the hospital as selections for the gas
“After the ‘HKB (camp hospital) administrative room’ had given warning
that the camp physician was about to make a selection, the whole block
became a hive of activity, for everything had to be spic-and-span […]
while everybody stood at attention, he made his entry with his retinue:
SDG (medical service orderly), Blockälteste and block clerk. The sick Jews
were already lined up – as a matter of course, naked. Simultaneously with
the presentation of the card with the personal notes concerning each prisoner,
to the camp physician, the block physician, in whose ear the diagnosis
was being whispered by the room physician, introduced the patient in
198 The Kalendarium, published in 1964 in German, says that of 1500 people in a transport that
arrived at Auschwitz on April 16, 1944, from the camp in Drancy, France, a certain number
of the men were registered as inmates and the others gassed. Many years ago Robert Faurisson
pointed out that, according to the deportation lists, “the others” included Simone Veil,
who as Faurisson wrote was President of the European Parliament. Later I noticed that the
English translation of the Kalendarium, published in 1990 (D. Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle
1939-1945), engages in a little bit of revisionism on this, and now says some of the women
were registered. A document from the International Tracing Service, Arolsen, Germany, is
199 Cohen, 38-39.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
question to him […] in 90 per cent of the cases the card was handed to the
SDG, which meant death by gassing for the patient, unless the political department
gave orders to the contrary, which frequently occurred in the
case of ‘Schutzhäfltinge’ (people charged with ordinary crime).
Not only emaciated prisoners, but also some who looked well fed were
sometimes consigned to the gas chamber; and occasionally even members
of the HKB staff, who were officially exempt, had to suffer a similar fate.
Therefore, especially when one considered the ‘medical style’ of the camp
physician, it was generally supposed that it was not only people incapable
of work who were scheduled for killing, but that the decisive factory must
be that a certain number of persons had to be gassed.
Officially no one knew what the final object actually was, not even the
staff of the administrative room, for after the names of the gassed the initials
S.B., short for ‘Sonderbehandlung’ (special treatment) were placed.”
Cohen does not report having seen any gas chambers; the only evidence
which he draws on to support a “gassing” interpretation of such scenes (such
interpretation certainly not being evident from the raw facts) consists in the
post-war claim of extermination at Auschwitz and also in that there were rumors
inside the camp of extermination somewhere at Auschwitz. The existence
of such rumors is practically certain because a delegate of the International
Red Cross reported their existence among British POWs at Auschwitz
III in September 1944.200 However nothing much can be inferred from the existence
of rumors, as rumor spreading is an elementary aspect of psychological
warfare, and we have seen that the OSS and, of course, the Communists
engaged in rumor spreading and “black propaganda.” In fact, knowledgeable
officials of the US government have admitted the “information” spreading. At
the Farben trial, prosecuting attorney Minskoff asked defense witness Münch
the following question about gassings at Birkenau:201
“Now, Mr. Witness, isn’t it a fact that, during the time you were at
Auschwitz, Allied planes dropped leaflets over Kattowitz and Auschwitz informing
the population what was going on in Birkenau?”
Münch did not know that. Minskoff was knowledgeable in this area because
he had been a foreign operations oriented lawyer in the Treasury Department
during the war and was presumably well informed on WRB matters;
the WRB had collaborated with the Office of War Information on various
leaflet operations. The head of the prosecution staff at the Farben trial was
DuBois, who had been general counsel of the WRB, who wrote that in his “office
in 1944, [he] knew […] what was going on at Auschwitz,” and who chose
in his book to reproduce with general approval the part of the testimony con-
200 Red Cross (1947), 91-92.
201 NMT. vol. 8, 320.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
taining the Minskoff question.202 This is good evidence for an American leaflet
operation over Auschwitz, although the method seems somewhat crude.
My guess is that if the leaflets were indeed dropped, they were dropped at
night, and in moderate quantities.
Actually, a leaflet operation was not necessary to get rumors going in the
camps, for the highly organized Communists were very active in this area.
Their superior organization, which involved systematic illegal listening to radios,
had made the other inmates essentially fully dependent on them for
“news.”203 Let us remember that it was a small world, even in 1939-1945, and
that, on account of the general ease with which information flowed into and
out of the camp (a fact noted in the preceding chapter), the Allied stories about
the camps would have ultimately and necessarily penetrated into those camps
by various routes.
The Red Cross delegate mentioned above had attempted to visit the
Auschwitz camps but apparently got no further than the administrative area of
Auschwitz I and the quarters of the British POWs. The latter were the only
persons the existing conventions entitled him to visit; with regard to other
matters the German officers there were “amiable and reticent.” The delegate
reported without comment that the British POWs had not been able to obtain
confirmation of the rumors by consulting camp inmates. It is claimed that, despite
these rumors, the British POWs who were interrogated by the Russians
after the capture of the camp “knew nothing at all” of the “crimes.”204
Subsequent events have, of course, changed the rumors into “knowledge”
in many cases. Incoming Jews certainly had no suspicions of gassings.205
With the “selections” we are offered another fact for dual interpretation.
There is no doubt that the extensive industrial and other activities required
“selections” of people for various conventional purposes. We are then asked
to add an “extermination” purpose to these activities.
Before leaving Cohen, we should note that there were sick emaciated Jews,
as well as others, in the Auschwitz I hospital. He further informs us:206
“[…] The HKB was housed in five good stone-built blocks. There was
one block for surgery, one for infectious diseases, one for internal diseases,
one for ‘Schonung’ (less serious cases) and Block 28 (X-ray, specialists’
rooms, medical experiments, admissions). The sick lay in three
bunks, one above another, on straw mattresses, and were dressed in a shirt
(with, later, a pair of drawers added), under two cotton blankets and a
sheet. Every week the patients were bathed, and every two weeks they were
given ‘clean’ underwear and a ‘clean’ sheet; there were few fleas and no
202 Dubois, 53, 173, 231; US-WRB (1945), 48-55.
203 Lerner, 152-153.
204 Friedman, 13-14.
205 Cohen, 119.
206 Cohen, 60.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
lice. Each berth was seldom occupied by more than two persons. But […]
even patients in a state of high fever had to leave their beds to go to the toilet
or to wash in the cold lavatory in the mornings. Because of ‘organizations’
from the SS, there were always medicines, though not in sufficient
quantities, including even sulfa drugs; these had been brought in by large
transports of Jews from every European country.”
He adds that hospital conditions were much worse in other camps (about
which he has only read).
The Auschwitz I hospital was obviously no luxury establishment but nevertheless
it showed a serious concern, on the part of the Germans, for the recovery
of inmates, including Jews, who had fallen ill. This observation also
opposes the claim that those not fit for work were killed. Cohen reports certain
selections of an incompletely known character, in connection with unknown
destinations. It may be that those considered of no further use as labor were
sent to Birkenau; this would be very reasonable because it has been shown
that the unemployables from the Monowitz hospital were sent to Birkenau.
“Special Treatment”
The term “special treatment,” Sonderbehandlung, is supposed to have been
one of the code words for gassing. When it is said that N Jews in a transport to
Auschwitz were gassed, and that this is according to some German record or
document, it is the case that the word “Sonderbehandlung” is being interpreted
as meaning gassing. The documents in question are two in number, and
are printed (not reproduced from originals) in a 1946 publication of the Polish
government. Both documents are said to be signed by an SS Lieutenant
Schwarz. They state that from several Jewish transports from Breslau and Berlin
to Auschwitz in March 1943, a certain fraction of Jews were selected for
labor, and that the remainder were sonderbehandelt. As far as I know, these
documents are not Nuremberg documents; the originals, if they exist (which I
am not denying), are in Polish archives.207
On account of this relatively well publicized interpretation of the term
Sonderbehandlung, Cohen thinks that he has read “SB” in the notes made in
the Auschwitz I hospital, but it is likely that he misread “NB,” nach Birkenau
(to Birkenau).
There exists a document, apparently genuine, from the Gestapo District
Headquarters, Düsseldorf, which specifies the manner in which executions of
certain offending foreign workers were to be carried out, and which uses the
207 Friedman, 14-15; Reitlinger, 172; Hilberg, 587; Blumental, 109-110. One of the documents
are reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 198.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
term “Sonderbehandlung” as meaning execution. There is also a document,
put into evidence at Eichmann’s trial, which referred to the execution of three
Jews as Sonderbehandlung.208
Thus it seems correct that, in certain contexts, the term meant execution,
but it is at least equally certain that its meaning was no more univocal in the
SS than the meaning of “special treatment” is in English-speaking countries.
There is completely satisfactory evidence of this. At the IMT trial prosecutor
Amen led Kaltenbrunner, under cross examination, into conceding that the
term might have meant execution as ordered by Himmler. Then, in an attempt
to implicate Kaltenbrunner personally in Sonderbehandlung, Amen triumphantly
produced a document which presents Kaltenbrunner as ordering Sonderbehandlung
for certain people. Amen wanted Kaltenbrunner to comment
on the document without reading it, and there was an angry exchange in this
connection, but Kaltenbrunner was finally allowed to read the document, and
he then quickly pointed out that the Sonderbehandlung referred to in the document
was for people at “Winzerstube” and at “Walzertraum,” that these two
establishments were fashionable hotels which quartered interned notables, and
that Sonderbehandlung in their cases meant such things as permission to correspond
freely and to receive parcels, a bottle of champagne per day, etc.209
Poliakov reproduces some document which show that Sonderbehandlung
had yet another meaning within the SS. The documents deal with procedures
to be followed in the event of the pregnancies caused by illegal sexual intercourse
involving Polish civilian workers and war prisoners. A racial examination
was held to decide between abortion and “germanization” of the baby
(adoption by a German family). The term Sonderbehandlung was a reference
either to the germanization or to the abortion. In addition, at Eichmann’s trial,
some documents were put into evidence which dealt with the treatment of 91
children from Lidice, Bohemia-Moravia. These children had been orphaned
by the reprisals which had been carried out at Lidice after Heydrich’s assassination.
A certain number were picked out for germanization and the remainder
were sent to the Displaced Persons Center in Lodz (Litzmannstadt), operated
by the RuSHA. The commander of the Center, Krumey, regarded the children
as a special case within the Center, to be given Sonderbehandlung while at the
Center. The term or its equivalent (eine gesonderte Behandlung) was also
used in the Foreign Office in connection with special categories of prisoners
of war, such as priests.210
It is only to a person not accustomed to the German language that the term
Sonderbehandlung sounds like it stands for some very special concept. For a
208 NO-4634 in NMT, vol. 4, 1166; Eichmann, sesson 79, W1-Y1.
209 IMT, vol. 11, 336-339.
210 Poliakov & Wulf (1956), 299-302; Eichmann, session 79, Y1-Bb1; session 101, Hhl-Mml;
session 107, U1-V1; session 109, F1-H1, N1, O1; NG-5077.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
German, however, the term is as diverse in possible application as “special
treatment” is in English.
Himmler commented somewhat unclearly on Sonderbehandlung when he
examined the “Korherr report,” documents NO-5193 through 5198. Korherr
was the chief SS statistician and thus, in late 1942 and early 1943, he prepared
a report for Himmler on the situation regarding European Jews. In March
1943 he reported that a total of 1,873,594 Jews of various nationalities had
been subjected to a program of “evacuation,” with a parenthetical note “including
Theresienstadt and including Sonderbehandlung.” The report also
gave numbers of Jews in ghettos in Theresienstadt, Lodz and the General
Government, the number in concentration camps, and the number in German
cities on account of a special status conferred for economic reasons. It was
also remarked that, from 1933 to December 31, 1942, 27,347 Jews had died in
German concentration camps.
After Himmler examined the report he informed Korherr, through Brandt,
that the term Sonderbehandlung should not be used in the report, and that
transport to the East should be specified. Nevertheless the document, as it has
come to us, uses the term in the way indicated. The document gives no hint
how the term should be interpreted but, because it occurs in such a way that it
is linked with Theresienstadt, it is obviously fair to interpret it in a favorable
sense, as a reference to some sort of favored treatment.
Shortly later Himmler wrote, in a document said to be initialed by him, that
he regarded the “report as general purpose material for later times, and especially
for camouflage purposes.” What was to be camouflaged is not indicated
in the document but, at his trial, Eichmann testified that after the Stalingrad
disaster (January 1943) the German government quickened the pace of the deportations
“for camouflage reasons,” i.e., to reassure the German people that
everything was OK out there. Himmler specified that the Korherr report was
not to be made public “at the moment,” but the camouflage remark could still
be interpreted in the sense in which Eichmann suggested (Eichmann’s statement
was not in connection with the Korherr report.)211
Other documents are 003-L, a letter by SS General Katzmann, speaking of
434,329 resettled (ausgesiedelt) Jews of southern Poland as having been sonderbehandelt,
and NO-246, a letter from Artur Greiser to Himmler dated May
1, 1942, asking permission to give Sonderbehandlung, specified as getting
them “locked up” (abgeschlossen), to about 100,000 Jews in the Warthegau
(part of annexed Poland). Greiser was sentenced to death by a Polish court on
July 20, 1946, despite the intervention of the Pope on his behalf. There is also
a letter by Lohse, which is discussed in Chapter 6.212
211 Most of the Korherr report is reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 240-248. Eichmann,
session 77, Y1, Z1. The crematories
212 Reitlinger, 557. Documents reproduced in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 197-199.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
Summarizing the situation with respect to documents which speak of Sonderbehandlung,
we may say that, while one can certainly raise questions regarding
the authenticity of the relevant documents, it is nevertheless the case
that even if all of the relevant documents are assumed authentic, they do not
require an “extermination” interpretation of those that apply to Auschwitz.
That the term Sonderbehandlung had more than one meaning within one
agency of the German government is not very peculiar. For example, I understand
that, within the Central Intelligence Agency, “termination” can mean
execution or assassination in certain contexts. However, the term obviously
could also be applied to the dismissal of a typist for absenteeism.
The point in paragraph 7 of the Höss affidavit about endeavoring “to fool
the victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process” is,
of course, a logical one because anybody on entering a German camp went
through a delousing process such as Höss described in the affidavit and in his
testimony – disrobe, shave, shower.213 Again we are offered a fact for dual interpretation.
The Crematories
The last subject in paragraph 7 is the cremations; it is a big one. According
to Höss and all other accounts of exterminations, Birkenau cremations took
place in trenches or pits prior to the availability of the modern crematory facilities
there.214 It is claimed that the new crematories were intended for extermination
of Jews but we have suggested a more routine purpose in the preceding
chapter. Let us review their history.
The construction was well into the preliminary stages of planning and ordering
early in 1942 and this fact, in itself, makes it difficult, to say the least,
to believe that they were related to any extermination program orders by
Himmler in the summer of 1942. The construction plans for four structures
containing crematory furnaces are dated January 28, 1942.215 On February 27,
1942, the head of the construction department of the WVHA, SS Colonel
(later Lieutenant General) Dr. Ing. Hans Kammler, an engineer who also supervised
the design of the German V-rocket bases and the underground aircraft
factories, visited Auschwitz and held a conference at which it was decided
to install five, rather than two (as previously planned), crematory furnaces,
each having three ovens or doors.216 This matter, therefore, was not left
213 IMT, vol. 11, 400-401.
214 IMT, vol. 11, 420; Central Commission, 87-88.
215 Central Commission, 83-84; Rassinier (1962), 85-86. Rassinier does not cite a source, so he
presumably got it from Central Commission.
216 Reitlinger, 157-158; Hilberg, 565; NO-4472.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
to the ingenuity of Höss. In the extermination legend, however, Höss definitely
gets credit for the Zyklon. The fifteen ovens to be installed in each of
the structures or buildings were ordered from Topf and Sons, Erfurt, on August
3, 1942.217 The ovens were of the standard type which Topf (still in business
in Wiesbaden in 1962) sold. Fig. 26 is said to be a photograph of one of
the crematories at Auschwitz. Each oven was designed to take one body at a
time, as are all standard cremation ovens; there is no evidence for the installation
of any non-standard ovens, such as any designed to take more than one
body at a time. Topf had also supplied ovens to camps for which exterminations
are not claimed, such as Buchenwald.218
The plans for the four buildings containing the crematories, numbered II,
III, IV and V (Crematory I seems to have been the ultimately dormant crematory
at Auschwitz I which contained four ovens219), show that a large hall or
room existed in each. For II and III, these were below ground level and were
designated Leichenkeller (mortuary cellar – literally corpse cellar – a German
word for mortuary is Leichenhalle); their dimensions were height 2.4 meters
and area 210 square meters and height 2.3 meters and area 400 square meters,
respectively. The halls in the building containing Crematories IV and V were
at ground level and were designated Badeanstalten (bath establishments); they
were each of height 2.3 meters and area 580 square meters. According to the
information generated at the “Auschwitz trial” of 1963-1965, these four buildings
were located as shown in Fig. 29.
The Auschwitz construction department, in erecting the crematories, was
assisted not only by Topf but also by the SS company DAW (Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke,
German Equipment Factory), which helped with miscellaneous
constructions. The first ovens installed were in Crematory II and numbered,
as we have noted, fifteen: five three-oven units. The construction took
considerable time although, as shown by the documents, it was carried out
with deliberate haste. The NMT volumes offer us the following English translation
of document NO-4473; if the reader thinks he sees something in the
document that is hostile to my thesis he should withhold judgment:220
“January 29, 1943
To the Chief Amtsgruppe C, SS Brigadeführer and Brigadier General of
the Waffen SS.,
Dr. Ing. Kammler
Subject: Crematory II, condition of the building.
The Crematory II has been completed – save for some minor construc-
217 Central Commission, 83; Rassinier (1962), 86; NO-4461.
218 Reitlinger, 159; NO-4353, NO-4400 & NO-4401 in NMT, vol. 5, 353-356; NO-4445; NO-
4448. Photograph also in Schoenberner and in Nyiszli.
219 Friedman, 54.
220 NMT, vol. 5, 619-620.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
tional work – by the use of all the forces available, in spite of unspeakable
difficulties, the severe cold, and in 24-hour shifts. The fires were started in
the ovens in the presence of Senior Engineer Prüfer, representative of the
contractors of the firm of Topf and Söhne, Erfurt, and they are working
most satisfactorily. The planks from the concrete ceiling of the cellar used
as a mortuary [Leichenkeller] could not yet be removed on account of the
frost. This is, however, not very important, as the gas chamber can be used
for that purpose.
The firm of Topf and Söhne was not able to start deliveries of the installation
in time for aeration and ventilation as had been requested by the
Central Building Management because of restrictions in the use of railroad
cars. As soon as the installation for aeration and ventilation arrive, the installing
will start so that the complete installation may be expected to be
ready for use February 20, 1943.
We enclose a report [not attached to document] of the testing engineer
of the firm of Topf and Söhne, Erfurt.
The Chief of the Central Construction Management,
Waffen SS and Police Auschwitz,
SS Hauptsturmführer
Distribution: 1 – SS Ustuf. Janisch u. Kirschneck; 1 – Filing office (file
crematory); Certified true copy: [Signature illegible] SS Ustuf. (F)”
I interpret this as meaning that, although all work for Crematory II was not
completed, the ovens could be used in January 1943 for cremations, despite
the impossibility of using the Leichenkeller.
On February 12, 1943, Topf wrote to Auschwitz acknowledging receipt of
an order for five three-oven units for Crematory III, the construction to be
completed April 10. I have not seen any documentation indicating installation
of any ovens in Crematories IV and V, unless a letter of August 21, 1942,
from an SS 2nd Lieutenant at Auschwitz, mentioning a Topf proposal to install
two three-oven units near each of the “baths for special purpose,” should
be interpreted as such.221 There was, however, carpentry work done on Crematories
IV and V.222
This brings us to the problem of the number of ovens at Birkenau; it is a
problem because it is said that the Germans demolished the crematory buildings
before abandoning Auschwitz.223 Obviously, we must assume that there
were at least thirty available, fifteen in both Crematory II and Crematory III,
sometime in 1943. Evidence for ovens installed in IV and V consists mainly in
the appearance of a labor Kommando assigned to these crematories in what is
said to be the Birkenau employment roster for May 11, 1944 (the same docu-
221 008-USSR.
222 NO-4466 in NMT, vol. 5, 624.
223 Friedman, 20, 74, 78; Hilberg, 632.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
ment the Theresienstadt Jews appear in), plus some witness testimony. The
Russians and Poles claimed that each of these crematories had eight ovens,
and that the other two had fifteen each: 46 ovens. The WRB report had specified
36 in both II and III and 18 in IV and V: 108 ovens.224
Reitlinger claims 60 ovens by assuming that each crematory had fifteen.
His only authority for this is the writings attributed to one Miklos Nyiszli,
which we should not accept on anything, least of all a number. The Nyiszli
account purports to be a record of personal experiences of a Hungarian Jewish
doctor deported to Auschwitz in May 1944. It appeared in French in 1951 in
the March-April issues of Les Temps Modernes, with a preface by translator
T. Kremer. Rassinier has reported on his strenuous subsequent efforts to contact
Nyiszli and determine whether or not he actually existed; the only person
who seemed unquestionably to exist was translator Kremer.225 An English
translation of Richard Seaver, foreword by Bruno Bettelheim, was published
in New York in 1960 under the title Auschwitz. Nyiszli was obviously dead by
then because it is specified that the copyright is held by “N. Margareta Nyiszli.”
As is the usual practice with deceased authors who held doctor’s degrees,
the title page of a doctoral thesis, by “Nicolaus Nyiszli,” Breslau 1930,
is reproduced in the 1960 NY edition. The book was republished in French
and German editions in 1961.
According to Rassinier, it is difficult enough to reconcile the numbers in
the various editions, but it is not even possible to get internal consistency in
one edition. In the 1960 edition we read (page 55) that the 60 ovens could reduce
“several thousand” corpses per day. Further on (page 87) we are told that
“when the two (burning pits) were operating simultaneously, their output varied
from five to six thousand dead a day, slightly better than the crematoriums,”
but then later on (page 92) we learn that Crematories II and III could
alone dispose of at least 10,500 per day. This is total confusion.
The writings attributed to Nyiszli also commit what I consider the basic
witness-disqualifying act; they claim gratuitous regular beatings of initially
healthy prisoners by the SS (e.g. pp. 25, 27, 44, 57); it is known that this was
not the case. Aside from possible humanitarian objections to such beatings,
the prisoners were a source of income to the SS. Many were the complaints,
on the part of the SS, against various forms of alleged Farben mistreatment.
On the other hand, for security reasons, the SS discouraged fraternization between
guards and prisoners. The SS guard was ordered to maintain “distance”
(Abstand) from the prisoners, not even talking to them unless absolutely necessary.
This regulation was of course difficult to enforce and the regular and
very frequent infringements of it produced memoranda from Pohl to the camp
224 008-USSR; Central Commission, 88; US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 14-16; Fyfe, 158; Blumental,
225 Rassinier (1962), 245-249.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
commanders ordering appropriate and systematic instruction of the guards.226
Despite a certain amount of SS guard brutality as reported by authors of
other books, Cohen does not report such experiences at Auschwitz and remarks
that the “reception ceremony” for his transport “passed without violence.”
However, he mentions a specially constructed wooden table used for
beating prisoners on the buttocks. This was a formerly regulated mode of punishment
of prisoners who committed various offenses in the camps; “intensified”
beating was defined as whacking on the naked buttocks.227
When an Auschwitz witness starts claiming regular gratuitous beating, he
may be telling the truth on some matters, but one must reject his general
On the basis of the available evidence, the best assumption is that there
were 30 ovens available at Birkenau in the spring of 1943, and 46 a year later.
Before leaving the subject of the number of ovens, we should remark that
there are certain ambiguities in the documents relating to the crematories. The
most obvious is due to the fact that the WRB report does not seem to be the
only source that mistakenly numbers the Birkenau crematories I-IV rather
than II-V; the Germans sometimes did this themselves, or so it would appear
from, e.g., NO-4466.228
The limit on the rate at which people could have been exterminated in a
program of the type alleged is not determined by the rate at which people
could have been gassed and the gas chambers ventilated, but by the rate at
which the bodies could have been cremated. In estimating the capacity of the
crematories, it is possible for arithmetic to produce some impressive figures.
At that time an hour was a very optimistic time to allow for the reduction of
one body, and the body’s being wasted would not have made much difference.
229 If we allow for one hour of cleaning and miscellaneous operations per
day, one oven could reduce perhaps 23 bodies per day so 30 ovens could reduce
690 and 46 could reduce 1058 per day. This could accommodate exterminations
at the respectable rate of about 240,000 to 360,000 per year, but of
course one must bear in mind that, because the exterminations are supposed to
have been halted in the autumn of 1944, Auschwitz could not have had 46 ovens
for more than about one year of exterminations.
However, the logic leading to such figures as the preceding is rubbish;
things do not work that way. People, especially concentration camp inmates,
who manned the crematories, do not work with such efficiency, such equipment
cannot be used in such a continuous manner, and equipment needs do
not occur with such mathematical regularity in any case. If we allow opera-
226 DuBois, 221. NO-1245.
227 Cohen, 81, 125. See also Fyfe, 159, and Appendix D here.
228 NMT, vol. 5, 624-625. See also Blumental, 100.
229 Polson, 138, 143-145.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
tions to relax toward something more realistic, taking into account downtime
for regular and irregular maintenance and allowing for usual engineering margins
of excess capacity we have figures that are generally in line with anticipated
epidemic conditions. It is also possible that, as the WRB report asserts,
there was a backlog of buried bodies to dispose of.
It is obvious that, given a policy of cremating dead inmates, a vast operation
such as Auschwitz would naturally provide relatively elaborate cremation
facilities for the purpose. Thus we again have a fact for dual interpretation if
we are to believe the extermination legend; to the commonplace interpretation
of these ovens, unquestionably valid, it is proposed that we also accept as
valid a second interpretation of exterminations. Below we will examine specific
evidence that the number of ovens was completely compatible with the
rate of “normal” deaths.
That is not the last fact for dual interpretation that we are offered in connection
with the cremations. Höss tells us that “all of the people living in the
surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on” on account
of the “foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies.”
If I were to select just two points in the extermination tale to hold up as
near proof that the whole thing is a hoax, it would be this point and also the alleged
role of Zyklon.
The hydrogenation and other chemical industry that existed at Auschwitz
was notorious for creating stenches. Visit the northern part of the New Jersey
Turnpike by the Standard Oil (NJ) refineries, or any other refineries, to see (or
smell) this. The only significant difference Auschwitz presented, in terms of a
stench, is that the coal the Germans started from is by any relevant measure a
“dirtier” source than crude oil. If we are told that 30 to 46 bodies being reduced
in modern crematories could even compete with, much less overwhelm,
this stench of industrial origin then we know that what is involved here is not
a fact for dual interpretation but an obvious lie. Actually, on account of the furor
of phony objections raised by various fanatics in the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries, cremation had been developed so that it was a rather
“clean” process.230 Höss cannot be believed.
The analysis has revealed a previously unsuspected but nearly inevitable
attribute of the great hoax: the excess fact. Following the principle that his
story should involve mostly or almost entirely valid fact, the author of the
hoax easily slips into the error of including as much fact as possible and
commits the major blunder we have just seen; the story would obviously have
been much better off without that “fact.” Of course, it is only on account of
the passage of time that it has become a major blunder. At the time it was
completely effective on account of an hysterical emotional atmosphere that it
230 Polson, 138-139.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
is impossible to recapture. DuBois wrote in 1952:231
“On the stand Schneider had said that he never heard of any exterminations,
although he recalled going along the main road one day, past a
‘dormant crematorium.’ At that time this ‘dormant’ crematorium was
burning corpses at the rate of a thousand a day. The flames shot fifteen meters
into the air; the stink pervaded the countryside to the north for forty
miles until it joined the stink of the Warsaw crematorium; the fumes would
pucker the nose of anyone within half a mile, and Schneider – a scientist
with a specially acute sense of smell – had passed within a hundred yards
of the place.”
It does not seem possible that, toward the end of a book, which gives (outside
of technical literature) the best available description of the chemical industry
at Auschwitz, DuBois could write thus, but there it is. It is not explicable
in terms of normal errors of judgment; it is explicable only in terms of hysteria.
It would seem that somebody at the trial would have challenged Höss on
this point. There was a challenge, but it was weak and ambiguous. The following
exchange occurred near the end of Höss‘ testimony (Kaufman was counsel
for Kaltenbrunner):232
“THE PRESIDENT: The last sentence of Paragraph 7 is with reference
to the foul and nauseating stench. What is your question about that?
DR. KAUFMAN: Whether the population could gather from these
things that an extermination of Jews was taking place.
THE PRESIDENT: That really is too obvious a question, isn’t it? They
could not possibly know who it was being exterminated.
DR. KAUFMAN: That is enough for me. I have no further questions.”
It is possible that there was a language difficulty at the time of this exchange,
and that a misunderstanding existed, and that Kaufman really meant
“persons” rather than “Jews” in his question. In any case this episode suggests
the utterly irrational atmosphere that must have pervaded the IMT trial; Höss
was not caught in a clumsy and transparent lie. It is not possible for us to
grasp the spirit of these proceedings except to classify then as a form of hysteria.
Speer was there, and he could have seen through this lie easily. Was he
effectively asleep, resigned to the futility of opposition? Was he or his lawyer
merely being careful to avoid becoming entangled in the extermination question?
Only he can tell us; we do not know. All that is certain is that the spirit
of the trial was such that even a simple truth such as the true source of the
stench, exposing with great deftness that the witness was lying, and suggesting
the nature of the factual basis for the charges, could not emerge.
The stench was the basis for quite a bit of witness testimony to knowledge
231 DuBois, 340-341.
232 IMT, vol. 11, 421.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
of exterminations,233 and its use at one particular point of the Farben trial, to
be discussed in a later chapter, was not only rather amusing but also revealing
and illustrative of an important point to bear in mind when reading the records
of these trials. This is discussed later.
In his booklet, Christophersen considered the problem of the factual basis,
if any, for references to a pervasive stench at Auschwitz. The only thing he
could recall was a blacksmith establishment at Auschwitz I; when horses were
being shod the burning hoofs created a stench which could be perceived in the
immediate neighborhood. Christophersen recognized that this could not account
for a stench of the extent claimed in connection with the exterminations.
I communicated with Christophersen on this point, inquiring into the possibility
that Christophersen might have forgotten the stench of industrial origin,
in searching his memory for some stench that might have approximated
the stench of burning flesh. Christophersen recalled no stench of industrial
origin. I also communicated with Stäglich, who distinctly recalled only clean
and fresh air near Auschwitz.
The recollections of Christophersen and Stäglich are however consistent
with the theory that the stench of the hoax is none other than the stench associated
with the Farben plant. With reference to Fig. 5, the map of the Auschwitz
area, Christophersen was quartered at Raisko during his year at Auschwitz,
and had occasional business at Auschwitz I and Birkenau. Stäglich was
quartered in the town of Osiek, which is about 6 miles due south of the town
of Oswieçim, and mentions that he visited the “KZ-Lager Auschwitz” (presumably
meaning Auschwitz I) “three or four times.” We do not know exactly
where the Farben plants were, but we know that the camp called “Monowitz”
was either within or immediately next to the town of Monowitz, and that the
camp had been placed there so that it would be close to the Farben plants. In
consideration of the locations of the rail lines, rivers and roads in the area, it is
probable that the Farben plants were either immediately to the east or to the
west of the town Monowitz. If the former, they were four or five miles from
Auschwitz I and, thus, people at that camp, at Birkenau, and a fortiori at
Raisko and Osiek would never have smelled the chemical industry (which was
very modest in size compared to a typical American cracking plant). If the
Farben plants were immediately to the west of the town, it is possible that
people at Auschwitz I might have gotten a whiff now and then when peculiar
wind conditions prevailed, but that could not qualify as a pervasive stench.
Thus, close consideration of the point shows that Christophersen and Stäglich
should not have experienced the stench of industrial origin to any extent that
they would recall thirty years later. Moreover, the trial at which the pervasive
stench was a pervasive feature of witness testimony was the Farben trial, at
which most of the Auschwitz related defense witnesses and almost all of the
233 DuBois, 218, 230, 232.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
prosecution witnesses were people who either lived near or worked at the Farben
plant. Thus they did, indeed, experience a stench and testified correctly in
this respect, adding only an erroneous interpretation of the stench.
Back to the ‘Gas Chambers’
The final subject in paragraph 7 is the gas chambers that, except for Höss‘
early sealed up huts, are supposed to have been integrated into the crematory
buildings. Reitlinger and Hilberg take different approaches to making this
claim. Reitlinger interprets NO-4473, whose translation as it appears in the
NMT volume is presented above, as evidence for a gas chamber in Crematory
II. This is a result of mistranslation.
The crematories at Auschwitz are frequently referred to as “gas ovens” but
this is hardly informative since, with the exception of electric crematories
which enjoyed a brief existence during the Thirties, all modern crematories
consist of “gas ovens,” a fuel-air mixture, which may be considered a “gas,” is
introduced into the oven to start, control and finish the burning. The fuel used
may be “gas,” town gas or some sort of liquefied gas is popular. Such a crematory
is termed “gas-fired” on account of the use of gas as a fuel. Other
types are “oil-fired” and “coke- (or coal-)fired,” but all are “gas ovens” because
in all three cases it is a fuel-air mixture which is injected, under pressure,
into the oven.234
The customary German word for the concept in question here is Gaskammer,
but the word in NO-4473 which was translated “gas chamber” is Vergasungskeller,
which Reitlinger also mistranslates as “gassing cellar.”235 Now
the word Vergasung has two meanings. The primary meaning (and the only
one in a technical context) is gasification, carburetion or vaporization, i.e.,
turning something into a gas, not applying a gas to something. A Vergaser is a
carburetor and, while Vergasung always means gasification in a technical context,
it usually means, specifically, carburetion in such a context.
There is also a secondary meaning of Vergasung, established by military
usage in World War I: attacking an enemy with gas. Why the word Vergasung
was used in this sense is not clear; it may be because the gases used in that
war were really dusts and were generated by exploding some chemical into
the atmosphere: Vergasung.
The translation “gassing cellar” is thus not absolutely incorrect; it is just
over-hasty and presumptuous. A “gas oven” requires some sort of gasification
or carburetion. In the case of the gas-fired ovens of Utting and Rogers in
234 Polson, 137-146.
235 Reitlinger, 158-159.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
“Burners set in the crown and sole of the furnace are fed by a mixture
of air and gas under pressure; the mixture is regulated by fans, housed in a
separate building. Separate control of both air and gas provides better
regulation of the furnace temperature.”
That building is just a big carburetor. Oil-fired crematories are so similar in
design that most gas-fired ovens can be easily adapted for use with oil.
The ovens at Birkenau seem to have been coke or coal-fired,237 and with
this type there is an extra stage of fuel processing due to the initially solid
state of the fuel. The two most common methods of producing fuel gases from
coal or coke are, first, by passing air through a bed of burning coke to produce
“coke oven gas” and second, by passing steam through the coke to produce
“water gas.”238 The first coke cremators employed what amounted to coke
oven gas.239 Processes for generating such gases are termed Vergasung in
German, as well as processes of mixing them with air. The coal-fired crematory
ovens that W. H. Lawrence saw at the Lublin camp after its capture by
the Russians employed equipment, including fans, very similar to that described
in the above quotation. Lawrence, incidentally, termed a “gas chamber”
what was obviously a steam bath.240
In any case it is obvious that the crematories at Auschwitz required equipment
for doing Vergasung in order to inject a fuel-air mixture into the ovens
and that the translation of NO-4473 should be revised, possibly to “gas generation
cellar.” I have confirmed this interpretation of the Vergasungskeller
with the technically competent sources in Germany. The reasons for installing
such equipment in special separate rooms or even buildings are most probably
the considerable noise that must be made by the fans and, in coal-fired ovens,
the heat of the burning coal.
The primary meaning of the word Vergasung is of necessity applicable to
document NO-4473. It is written in a technical context; it is a letter from the
chief of the Auschwitz construction management to the head of the SS engineering
group. It makes reference to a process, Vergasung, which is standard
with all crematories, and the wording of the letter is such that it is implied that
it would normally be peculiar to find bodies in the Vergasungskeller, because
bodies are normally stored in what is correctly translated as the “cellar used as
a mortuary.”
Document NO-4473 tends, in fact, like so many prosecution documents, to
rejection of the prosecution’s claims when it is properly understood. We see
that in Crematory II there were at least two cellars, a Leichenkeller and a Ver-
236 Polson, 142.
237 008-USSR; Central Commission, 89.
238 Johnson & Auth, 259-261.
239 Polson, 141.
240 New York Times (Aug. 30, 1944), 1.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
gasungskeller, and that neither was a “gas chamber.”
Now NO-4473 is included in the NMT volumes in a selection of prosecution
evidence from Case 4 (trial of concentration camp administration). One
must assume that the prosecution has selected well. Yet this is as close as it
has gotten to offering the documentary evidence that “gas chambers” existed
in the crematory buildings at Birkenau. The three “gas tight Türme” (towers)
ordered from DAW in NO-4465241 are obviously irrelevant.
Hilberg takes a different and even less sound approach. He inexplicably
passes over NO-4473 without dealing with the problem it raises; he even
quotes from the document without quoting the phrase containing the word
“Vergasungskeller.” He simply declares that the Leichenkeller in Crematories
II and III and the Badeanstalten in Crematories IV and V were, in reality, gas
chambers. Absolutely no evidence is offered for this; the documents cited by
Hilberg at this point do not speak of gas chambers.242 The only “evidence” for
interpreting the Leichenkeller and Badeanstalten in this manner is in the affidavits
and testimony (June 27 and 28, 1947) in Case 4 of witness (not a defendant)
Wolfgang Grosch, an engineer and Waffen-SS major, who “baptized”
these as “gas chambers,” the existence of Zyklon at Auschwitz being
obvious justification for such baptisms.243 However, Grosch was a very unsteady
witness since in affidavits of February 20 and March 5, 1947, he
claimed knowledge of the existence of gas chambers, and then on June 26,
1947, the day before he was to testify, he retracted all these statements during
interrogation and denied any knowledge of gas chambers.244 None of Grosch’s
testimony is reproduced in the NMT volumes, and Hilberg does not cite his
testimony or affidavits.
There is no reason to accept, and every reason to reject, the claims regarding
the Leichenkeller and Badeanstalten. As for the Badeanstalten, we have
observed that a shower for incoming inmates was standard procedure at all
German camps, so there must have been showers at Birkenau. Now, according
to Fig. 29, the “baths” or Badeanstalten associated with Crematories IV and V
are near “filtration plants” and also near “Canada,” where the clothes of incoming
inmates was stored.245 The “steam bath” was no doubt for disinfecting
clothes, either prior to storage or after being temporarily taken away from inmates.
246 If it was a sauna for incoming inmates, the inmates would need a
241 NMT, vol. 5, 622-623.
242 Hilberg, 566.
243 Grosch’s testimony is supposed to be in the Case 4 transcript, 3565-3592, but these pages
were missing in the transcript copy I consulted. Presumably he testified in agreement with
his affidavit NO-2154.
244 NO-2154 quoted in Rassinier (1962), 84ff, and also in Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 136.
Grosch’s precourt wavering is reported in the Ortmann memorandum attached to NO-4406.
245 Central Commission, 41, 43; Naumann, 194, 254; German edition of Naumann, 540.
246 IMT, vol. 6, 211.
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
cold shower afterwards in any case. The people remove their clothing near
“Canada” and then shower. What could be simpler?
No reasonable considerations can make these gas chambers materialize.
The claim that the shower baths, which are said to have been housed in the
same buildings as some of the crematory ovens, were really gas chambers is
just as unfounded as was the identical claim concerning the Dachau shower
bath, which existed in the crematory building at that camp.
There is, incidentally, a small amount of doubt whether the shower baths
were, indeed, in the same buildings as Crematories IV and V, because the
camp plan given in the WRB report has the baths in a separate building. However,
the point is of no importance.
This completes the analysis of the points raised in paragraph 7 of the Höss
Why in English?
Final paragraph
This is a minor point. It seems strange that the Höss affidavit is in English.
We are not aware of any evidence that Höss knew the English language but, in
common with many Germans, he might have known something about it.
However, a prudent German, signing a document of this importance “voluntarily
and without compulsion,” would not be satisfied with an ordinary foreign
language ability; he would either have considered himself expert at English
or he would have insisted upon a German translation to sign (a request
that would necessarily have been honored). Höss was evidently not in a spirit
to insist on anything.
There is no doubt that Höss hoped to buy his life by cooperating with the
IMT prosecution, and it is most probable that a specific offer was made in this
connection. However, Höss’ reward for his services was to be packed off to
Poland about a month after his IMT testimony. In Poland he dutifully wrote
out an “autobiography” for his captors, wherein he explained that he was just
following orders in the exterminations. His reward on this occasion was final;
he was “tried” and killed in April 1947. The “autobiography” was published in
Polish translation in 1951 and in German and English in 1959.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
The Role of Birkenau
Birkenau, of course, performed the normal functions of a German concentration
camp; it quartered inmates for the principal or ultimate aim of exploiting
their labor. Thus when we refer to the “role” of Birkenau, we are referring
to a theory that Birkenau was the site of certain very special functions that
bear particularly strongly on the matters we have been considering.
The theory, which I consider beyond dispute, is simply that Birkenau was
designated to accommodate all persons who were in the non-worker category
but were, for whatever reason, the responsibility of the Auschwitz SS administration.
Thus Birkenau was designated to receive the permanently or semipermanently
ill, the dying, the dead, the underage, the overage, those temporarily
unassigned to employment, and those for whom Auschwitz served as a
transit camp. These categories could have been received either from other
camps (including the many small camps in the Kattowitz region) or from other
camps or from incoming transports. This theory is based on the following considerations.
First, as has been noted, Birkenau was clearly the “principal” camp in
terms of inmate accommodating functions. Auschwitz I was the “main” camp
in an administrative sense but it was a converted and expanded military barracks
while Birkenau had been designed from the beginning as a much larger
camp intended for the specific needs of the SS operations in the area.
Second, it has been noted that people discharged from the Monowitz hospital
as unfit for work were sent to Birkenau.
Third, family camps existed at Birkenau (the “gypsy” and “Theresienstadt”
camps in Fig. 29). It has been seen that these people had been designated as
being “in readiness for transport” during their stays of pre-specified limited
duration, so that the obvious interpretation of these family camps is that they
were transit camps, comparable to those that existed at Belsen and Westerbork.
The destination of transport has been suggested and will be discussed
further in a later chapter.
Fourth, it was only at Birkenau that unusually extensive facilities for disposal
of the dead via cremation were constructed.
Fifth, it was quite normal for a very high proportion of Birkenau inmates to
be unemployed. In the two years summer 1942 to summer 1944, as Reitlinger
remarks, “only a fraction of the starved and ailing Birkenau population had
been employed at all.” On April 5, 1944, 15,000 of the 36,000 Birkenau inmates
were considered “unable to work,” while only about 3,000 of the 31,000
other prisoners of the Auschwitz area were considered in this category. A
month later, two-thirds of the 18,000 inmates of the Birkenau male camp were
classed as “immobile,” “unemployable” and “unassigned” and were quartered
Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century
in sick and quarantine blocks.247
This makes it impossible, of course, to accept the assumption, so often expressed,
that to be sick and unemployable and to be sent to Birkenau meant
execution. This has been expressed in particular in connection with sick people
being sent from Monowitz to Birkenau, the assumption being reinforced
by the fact that such inmates’ clothing came back to Monowitz. The return of
the clothing, of course, was due to their being transferred from the Farben to
the SS budget.248
Sixth and last, there was an unusually high death rate at Birkenau, although
there are some difficulties in estimating the numbers except at particular
times. The first major relevant event is the typhus epidemic of the summer of
1942, which resulted in the closing of the Buna factory for two months starting
around August 1. The major evidence of this is the WRB report,249 but
there is confirming evidence. First, there certainly were typhus epidemics at
Auschwitz.250 Second, the data presented by the Dutch Red Cross (Appendix
C) shows that the average death rate at the Birkenau men’s camp from July 16
to August 19, 1942, was about 186 per day, with the rates toward the end of
the period noticeably higher than those toward the beginning. Third, there exists
in Amsterdam a single volume of the Birkenau death book (also discussed
in the Netherlands Red Cross Report). This volume contains death certificates
for the five days September 28 to October 2, 1942. The number of deaths is
1,500, and the causes of death that are given are those typical of typhus epidemic
conditions, although Reitlinger seems to consider such recorded causes
as “weakness of the heart muscles” and others as “invented […] fanciful diagnoses
of internee doctors, who were trying to save their patients from the
‘transport list’ or the phenol syringe.”251 In fact, such causes of death are typical
with typhus; under the “Typhus Fever” listing in the Encyclopedia Britannica
(eleventh edition) we read:
“Typhus fever may, however, prove fatal during any stage of its progress
and in the early convalescence, either from sudden failure of the
heart’s action – a condition which is especially apt to arise – from the supervention
of some nervous symptoms, such as meningitis or of deepening
coma, or from some other complication, such as bronchitis. Further, a fatal
result sometimes takes place before the crisis from sheer exhaustion,
particularly in the case of those whose physical or nervous energies have
been lowered by hard work, inadequate nourishment and sleep, or intemperance.”
247 Reitlinger, 125; NO-021 in NMT, vol. 5, 385. See also Fyfe, 729, or Appendix D herein.
248 DuBois, 192, 220.
249 US-WRB (1944), pt. 1, 30, 32; Reitlinger, 122.
250 DuBois, 209.
251 Reitlinger, 122-123. The death book is at the Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, and
is discussed by the Netherlands Red Cross, vol. 1, 8-12.
Chapter 4: Auschwitz
On account of the policy of sending sick people to Birkenau it appears that
the victims of the typhus epidemic got recorded as Birkenau deaths, regardless
of where they had been working. The WRB report claims that there were fifteen