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Summaries of Interrogations of Rudolf Höss

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INTERROGATIONS by American and British officers at Nuremberg prison, of Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Höß, born in Baden, Germany. Höß was Kommandant of the KZ (concentration camp) at Auschwitz from May 1, 1940 to December 1, 1943.

These original interrogations and affidavits ("made voluntarily and without compulsion") are from US National Archives (Washington, DC) microfilm M.1270, roll 7.

| These brief excerpts are made by David Irving | See also Eichmann Papers and especially the Notes [both in German]|

Interrogation of April 1, 1946: About Freikorps Rossbach, etc., KZ Dachau. Appointment to Auschwitz May 1, 1940. Whole area was very swampy and under water (p.11). "Cannot remember" the exact sequence of arrivals of Jews. RFSS had ordered him in mid 1941 (July) to exterminate, order received in person "before the Russian campaign had started" at Prinz Albrecht Str 6, since the three camps in Generalgouvernement were unable to cope--Belzek, Treblinka, and a third ["Walzek [sic]"?] "about 40 km in the direction of Kulm". "It was past Kulm in an easterly direction." "One train [at Treblinka?] generally handled 2000 people." [sic].There were two old farms, a small hole "through which the gas was blown in … Zyklon B, a crystal like substance." Three to fifteen minutes everybody was dead: average of two trains a day. He could hear the screams (those waiting outside could not.) After half an hour the bodies were removed and burned in open pits behind the farm houses. Gold teeth extracted after execution but before burning.

Interrogation of April 2, 1946: Refers to statement by Höß in Minden Jail on 20.3.1946 (#D479B) Said he Höß was also at Auschwitz for two months from Jun --Aug.1944 to introduce the new commandants Baer, Kramer, Schwarz. Höß was confused as to train capacity, now says two trains equals 1,600 to 1,700 people. He cannot give numbers. "Perhaps 10,000 Russians." Interrogator at Minden had told him 100,000 but he thought that impossible.--Eichmann told Höß Mar/Apr 1944 [sic. 1945?] that he was reporting to RFSS that he had sent 2·5m to Auschwitz. "We had an order by the RFSS to destroy all materials in numbers immediately and not to preserve any records of the extermination being carried out."[1] "In the ceilings of these gas chambers there were three or four openings that were fenced around with a grating that reached to the floor of the gas chamber and through these openings the gas was poured in…" Electrical ventilators removed the fumes in half hour. (Question: "Was it not dangerous…?")[2] Two larger Kremas with five double furnaces "could burn 2,000 human beings in twelve hours." Used coke. Each double-furnace held three corpses. Höß ducks a reply on how long each cremation process took.

Interrogation of April 3, 1946 (morning): Höß's career before Auschwitz. "Genickschußautomat" demonstrated at KZ Sachsenhausen. Attempt to incriminate Schwerin-Krosigk, who once visited Auschwitz.

Interrogation of April 3, 1946 (afternoon): KZ Dachau. Personnel. Last days. Relations with and of Adolf Eichmann.

Interrogation of April 4, 1946: again lists "Treblinka, Wolzek, and Belzek" (p.5).--Exterminations in Riga in the woods witnessed by SS Stubaf Sauer.--KZ Dachau.--2·5m killed plus 0·5m died in Auschwitz

Affidavit and interrogation of April 5, 1946: Höß estimates at least 2·5m were executed by gassing at Auschwitz, and 0·5m died of starvation and disease, total of 3m.[3] "We executed 400,000 Hungarian Jews alone at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944."[4] In Jun 1941 there were three other extermination camps: Belzek, Treblinka, and Walzek [sic]. --This interrogation is signed (1. Ausfertigung) by interrogators and interpreters but neither this document nor the affidavit is signed by Höß.

Interrogation of April 5, 1946: Question: "We have prepared an affidavit written in English…" ("Whereupon witness reads the affidavit as follows") Answer [by Höß]: "Yes, I understand everything that I read." Comments: (1) Höß could not understand any English whatever. (2) None of this document is signed.

Interrogation of April 8, 1946 morning: Makes reference to now getting a German translation "of the affidavit which you [Höß] signed."--Visits by IG Farben officials. Why did not IG Farben workers know about the exterminations, nor did the "7,000 Waffen SS guards." Dr Dürrfeld once asked him, says Höß; he evaded reply.

Interrogation of April 8, 1946 afternoon: Shown the affidavit of 5.4.1946 in German translation, Höß makes changes. IG Farben visits. Frau Höß's knowledge of goings-on at Auschwitz.

Interrogation of April 16, 1946 morning (by Col Harry Phillimore et al.): Relations at Auschwitz with Otto Moll. Moll ran one of the farm buildings. He was a Genickschußspezialist. Highest capacity was 10,000 gassed and burned in one day.[5]

Interrogation of April 16, 1946 afternoon: Most interesting is this confrontation of Höß with Otto Moll, which Moll had demanded: "It hurts me to see that he, the commandant, is running around free, when I have to go around shackled to a guard." Moll was a gardener, responsible for digging the mass graves. Moll admits shooting "some" in the neck; admits putting between 30 --40,000 people in those mass graves. "I don't know who those people were or how they got there." Moll says he was only responsible for the graves and burning the bodies. Höß disagrees on the figures: says 106,000 or 107,000 "were burned in the mass graves of the so-called dug-outs" [sic. The Bunkers?] But Moll could not complete the excavation Aufgabe, because he caught typhus(!). Later the 40 --50,000 bodies went through Moll's crematoria, from 1941 to the end. The two other large Kremas were run by SS Corporals Mußfeld and Voß. Moll says women and men were 50:50 among the bodies; about 1% were children. Two or three corpses were in each furnace. He denies that the Krema work detail [Sonderkommando] was ever exterminated (as Höß had testified.)

Interrogation of April 30, 1946: Höß reads Moll's statement of April 29, 1946, and makes the following reservations: He had ordered Moll to exhume the mass grave of 105,000 --106,000 bodies in the winter of 1941/42 and to burn them, on orders from the RFSS Himmler and Eichmann. SS-Reichsarzt Dr Grawitz also witnessed the burning, once. They had difficulty in finding one of the mass graves. The "bunker" was "behind [Kremas] 3 and 4, somewhat removed from 3 and 4."

Comments by David Irving:-

1. Then why the very detailed daily Tätigkeitsberichte from Höß to Berlin, that were decoded by Bletchley?! [RETURN]

2. For security precautions required in handling hydrogen-cyanide fumigants, see 1946 British regulations.[RETURN]

3. He does not address the logistic problems of disposing of three million corpses, approximately a quarter of a million tons of cadavers.[RETURN]

4. Again (see note 3) 400,000 corpses would amount to about 35,000 tons: requiring a pit of over 30,000 cubic metres, or alternatively 400,000 x 40 kg of coking coal (sixteen thousand metric tons); neither such pits nor such coke-heaps are visible on aerial photograph taken that summer.[RETURN]

5. Again -- logistics problems?[RETURN]

Your answers are invited and will be posted here.

Responses: [1]

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