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The Jewish ChronicleLondon, July 17, 1992



Auschwitz Unmasked
As David Irving visits the Moscow state archives on behalf of the Sunday Times, Gerald Fleming uncovers documents from those same archives detailing new evidence of the Nazis' extermination programme


[I]N FEBUARY 1990, I received a photocopy of an article in Izvestia by a special correspondent. E. Maksimova, in which she referred to SS archives captured at Auschwitz-Oswiecim -- and now in Moscow -- that related to the "technology of construction of a death factory with special sub-departments, including camps for gypsies, Jews and Soviet PoWs."

It was clear from the article that these archives of the Auschwitz Central Building Administration were very likely to contain documentary evidence beyond that already lodged at the Oswiecim Museum and used, in part, at the 1964-65 Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, which resulted in 20 convictions.

Camp gateWhen, in January, 1945, the Red Army was approaching Auschwitz-Birkenau, the murder installations attached to or under the crematoria were dynamited with each incineration complex, The camp command, on orders from Berlin, strove to destroy all evidence of the mass gassing of humans.

Although they succeeded in burning the political (camp Gestapo) archive, they did not destroy the archive of the Central Building Administration of the Waffen-SS and police at Auschwitz. This was captured by the Red Army largely intact and was later to become the subject of Maksimova's article.

In October 1990, following positive responses from the then Soviet foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, from the director of the Russian central archives administration and from the director of the Second World War "special" depository, I flew to Moscow to examine the archive.

Over a period of five weeks, I managed to deal with 800 papers a day and succeeded in locating a number of entirely unknown criminal indicators in the correspondence between the SS Central Building Administration Auschwitz and its immediate superiors in the SS construction hierarchy, the Amtsgruppenchef C, headed by SS Brigadeführer Dr Hans Kammler.

These newly available official communications within the SS concentration camp empire provide striking examples of the urgency attached by the SS leadership to the speedy implementation of Hitler's Final Solution.

On January 29, 1943, when the implementation of the murder programme had reached a critical state, the Auschwitz Central Building Administration wrote to Kammler, who was in charge of all SS-administered building works and who received his orders directly from SS and Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, regarding the retention of certain named, key SS personnel for the implementation of "construction projects which can under no circumstances be delayed."

In that same letter, Auschwitz Central Building Administration chief Karl Bischoff put it to Kammler that "since the special actions (Sonderaktionen) to be carried out at Auschwitz concentration camp may suffer no delay, the building works required for this purpose cannot suffer delay either."

The SS staff listed were specifically engaged in the construction of crematoria II, III, IV and V. "The completion of the crematoria," said the letter, "has, on higher order, absolute top priority," and the work was going on "in two shifts."

On May 14, 1943, Bischoff, in an internal directive, informed his staff that, "on orders from the Reichsführer SS and subsequent administrative directive of SS Brigadeführer Dr Kammler, the special building projects at Auschwitz must be completed within four weeks."

From other information, it is known that Kammler was referring specifically to crematorium II , which was handed over on June 25, 1943, since unit II was handed over on March 31, unit IV on March 22, and unit V on April 4.

In Hausverfügung (internal directive) No. 108, Bischoff warned that the plans for the crematoria "must be very closely guarded" and that no plans could be handed over to any work commandos on the site.

An administrative directive issued at the time named SS Second Lieutenant Dejaco as "personally responsible for the proper registration, in a special book, of all incoming and outgoing plans [technical drawings]."

On April 3, 1960, Dejaco told the examining magistrate at Reutte in Austria that he had got to know of the purpose of the gas chambers "only after they had become operative."

Yet, on December 19, 1942, SS Untersturmführer Walter Dejaco personally prepared technical drawing 2003, concerning the partial rearrangement of the ground floor of the western part of crematorium II and the junction between corpse cellars (morgues) 1 and 2 in the basement.

The elimination of the corpse chute makes the drawing incomprehensible, unless one accepts that the plan envisaged the entry of corpses, destined for incineration, into the two morgues on their own two feet -- that is, while they were still alive.

Drawing 2003 gives rise to the question: why did the SS want to bring live people into morgues?

The adaptation of the crematoria into instruments of mass murder allows this question in be answered.

Until March, 1943, there had been repeated references, both in technical drawings and in Auschwitz documents of the crematoria makers, Topf & Söhne Erfurt, to Leichenkeller (corpse cellars), whereas im April, 1943, there are several Topf & Söhne documents referring to Auskleidekeller (Undressing cellars),

In 1972, the case against Dejaco was thrown out by the Austrian court because of "insufficient evidence." Had the documents relating to his role in Auschwitz-Birkenau -- dated October 22, 1942, February 9, 1943, May 5, 1943, and May 17, 1943 -- been before the court, the outcome might well have been different, and drawing 2003 would have had to be properly examined (which it was not) .

AufraeumungskommandoIn view of the arrogance of the "revisionist historians," it is worth referring to the testimony of one of the main accused at the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, Camp Adjutant Robert Mulka, who, on the 55th day of the proceedings (September 11, 1964), suddenly admitted to the presiding judge, Dr Hofmeyer, that he had signed the Fahrgenehmigung (permission to travel) of October 2, 1942, which stated: "Permission to travel is given for five-ton truck with trailer to go to Dessau and back, in order to fetch materials for the resettlement of the Jews."

In answer to the judge's question as to what "Material für Judenumsiedlung" meant, Mulka hesitated for some time before replying.

"Na ja [well...], Zyklon-B." It was in Dessau that the deadly Zyklon-B gas was produced.

A similar "permission to travel" was granted on August 26, 1942, with a slight variation in the wording of the travel order: "Permission given for one truck to go to Dessau to fetch material for special treatment." The meaning of "special treatment" has been exhaustively proved, on a massive documentary basis, to be murder.

Among the photocopied material I brought back to London were at least 20 previously unknown traces of criminality in wartime official documents relating to Sonderaktionen and to Sonderbehandlung (special treatment) in the crematoria of Auschwitz-Birkenau -- 20 new indicators of mass gassings in this terrible camp.

They will now augment our knowledge of man's inhumanity to man during the Second World War, a new warning in defence of historical truth which shall and will prevail. square


Gerald Fleming, Emeritus Reader in German at the University of Surrey, is the author of "Hitler and the Final Solution" (Hamish Hamilton 1981)
Comment: Fleming omits to refer to a fourth "permission to travel" which rather undercuts his hypothesis.
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