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Birkenau-Auschwitz and Dachau Holocaust Survivor

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Eine Laus &endash; Dein Tod (A Louse &endash; Your Death)

Einsatzgruppen (Mobile Killing Units)

Endlösung (The Final Solution)

Entvölkerung (The Depopulation)

Erhängungen (Hanging)


Experimente 1 [Experiments (1)]

Experimente 2 [Experiments (2)]










The number of was a criminal who stained their hands and conscience with the blood of millions of innocent Jews is extremely large. To make a hierarchy is quite impossible. And yet, it is indubitable that the basest and vilest of all was SS Lieutenant-Colonel Adolf Eichmann, former chief of the IV b4 Section charged with the "Final Solution" of the Jewish question. He dedicated all his energies to assassination pursuing throughout his life a single goal: murder. And he did it out of conviction and with fervent zeal. When the collapse of the Third Reich was imminent and even criminals of Himmler's stature tried to disguise their crimes, Eichmann rasped out pompously: "I shall jump into my grave with a smile on my face, content that I have five million Jews on my conscience." The hallucinating scope of assassination he himself had organized never frightens him. He reassured himself and hi collaborators by saying that: "one hundred dead is catastrophe; five million &emdash; merely a statistical figure."

He prepared his macabre mission with diligence and typically Nazi meticulousness. In 1937 he traveled to Palestine to study Judaism at home and officially demanded funds for learning Hebrew with a Rabbi. Back in Berlin, talking up his quarters on the third floor of the building in 116 Kurfürstenstrasse, Eichmann became the Reich's main expert in Jewish matters, the unchallenged chief of all Jews in Europe, having the right and task to identify, isolate, deport and liquidate all Jews living in the Reich and the countries overrun by or under the influence of the Nazis.

Two decades later, confined in a cell of unbreakable glass, Eichmann tried to shun off the responsibility for the crimes he was taken to account for (the written evidence of his case weighed 330 tons) by trying to efface himself ceaselessly repeating that he was an ordinary and insignificant man, a mere humble executor who carried out orders. But when he had been the boss in 116 Kurfürstenstrasse he loved to put on airs. He never failed to attend the daily parties that Hammer gave to entertain his collaborators.

And while tasting the various sorts of cheese or relishing the flavor of the brandy, he talked about the efficiency of various mass extermination methods, trotting out his knowledge, his spirit of initiative in front of Kaltenbrunner and Himmler themselves.

On July 31, 1941 Goring asked Heydrich to make proposals for final settling of the Jewish question as it was obvious that the extant special detachments could no longer cope with the rhythm and scope of the actions planned. Three questions had to be urgently decided upon 10 how extermination going to be carried into effect? ; 2) where? ; 3) how were the victims going to be transported there?

Eichmann could boast that he found solution to all there. He did not spare his energy to attain the purpose. Before taking a final decision he went twice to Poland, where he first witnessed a mass gassing with exhaust gas at Lodz. He confessed at his trial: "In a room five times bigger than this, if I remember well, the Jews had to undress and then a van stopped in front of one of the entrances. I opened the door of the van and the Jews, naked, had to get on." The van setout and Eichmann followed it in his personnel car. According to his testimony the van stopped by a long ditch, the doors were opened and the corpses were thrown into the ditch. They seemed still alive, their limbs were so lithe... Then I saw a civilian who pulled out their golden teeth... then depressed, I got into my car..."

But he recovered soon from his depression. In autumn the same year he went to Auschwitz to keep council with Höss, the commander of the camp, as to "how the total extermination of Jews from Europe could be carried out."

In 1946, before the sentence of the Tribunal was executed Höss made a written declaration in which he mentioned: "In Wichmann's option, extermination in bathrooms with carbon monoxide required complex installations, taking into account the masses of people who were going to be asphyxiated; besides, to obtain that gas was quite difficult... Eichmann was concerned with finding a gas that could be obtained easily and did not require special equipment... We reckoned together that by using the proper gas in the room we had our disposal, 800 people could be exterminated simultaneously."

In his box of unredeemable glass, Eichmann managed to control himself, to remain calm, almost indifferent when the charges against him were presented. He managed to keep under control the muscles of his face, but his hands betrayed him: he could not suppress the shaking of his fingers. Indeed, his right hand which he had raised to point to the place were the largest extermination camp Birkenau was to set up and where the crematoria were to placed no longer obeyed him.

Crushed under the weight of irrefutable proofs, Eichmann kept repeating like a coward: " I don't remember... I don't know... It was not within my competence... I had to carry out the orders... I was wearing the uniform, I had to obey..." But actually, when he had worn that uniform he felt all-powerful.

And he was indeed. As Heydrich's special commissioner for the "final solution", he was, in fact, the official executor or the plan for the extermination of Jews in Europe. Kurt Becker, Himmler's commissioner for the ill-reputed "Goods for blood" deal characterized him as follows: "It was not Eichmann who was the spiritual father of the plan (for the extermination of Jews O.L.), but he was the one who fanatically carried it through."

Soon after the Anschluss he went to Vienna where he delivered a speech: " It is certain that now, every Jew knows that the bell has tolled for him," and sent a telegram to Berlin: "I hold them completely in my grip." In Therezienstadt he stated: "The list of dead Jews are my favorite reading." In 1939 when he came to Prague he ordered: "The Jews must go. And very soon." The next day the first convoy of Czech Jews left for a concentration camp.

With the same sadistically scrupulosity Eichmann saw to the liquidation not only of large communities but also of individuals who might have been exempted. He was reassured only when he knew that all Jews were sent towards the gas chambers.

"I merely organized the transports &emdash; Eichmann said in his own defense when he was in the dock. I admit to have stared them and I also knew where they would stop. But why should I be blamed for what happened after the trains arrived at their destination? The camps were not under my authority. They had nothing in common with the section I was heading. My duties were linked only to transport, clearing the space, the rate of transports and their timely arrival at gates of the camps. For what happened beyond the platform, beyond the gates others were responsible and must be called to account."

In actual fact, Eichmann Knew better than anyone in the SS-hierarchy what happened behind the gates of K.Z.-s and behind the barbed wire fences. It was he himself that ordered the commander of the Birkenau-Auschwitz camp to employ "Zyklon B" and from 1942 till 1943 he provided the necessary quantity of gas for the asphyxiation of millions of deportees.

In an interview given before his arrest, Eichmann confessed: "I was not a mere no one. I was somebody. I knew what I wanted. I had my own beliefs and I acted as my conscience guided me. I was a personality and I influenced others, as well, Rudolf Höss was grateful to me for helping and guiding him. I inculcated him determination. I inoculated him the belief that he was serving a great cause...

I am blamed for approving, for contributing to the introduction of modern mass gassing, but it occurs to no how many SS-men I saved from degradation, from the feeling that they were some ordinary assassins, how many pigeon-hearted I saved from endless qualms of their conscience, inevitable in the circumstances of the rudimentary assassinations before the crematoria of Birkenau were built.

I myself have not killed anyone. I am held responsible for the death of a youngster whom, it is true, I stroke several times with a cudgel. But why am I to be blamed if the representatives of that degenerated race have no resistance at all and die like flies?"

At his trial, Eichmann was yelping like a frightened dog: "I was just a small wheel in the great mechanism." But the truth is that he himself worked out, perfected and ensured the clockwork functioning of the extermination mechanism in all concentration camps, calculating in cold blood the size of the convoys in accordance with the time taken to asphyxiate a group in the gas chambers, the capacity of the camps and the transport possibilities of the railways. In Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc. he had won experience as a "high servant of death" which he turned into account with an iron hand in Hungary and the annexed by the Horthysts.

In spite of the difficulties caused by the war, Eichmann prevailed upon the Horthyst government to put 147 trains of 40-50 wagons each at his disposal; so that in less than two months, over May 15-July 9, 1944, he sent to Auschwitz 434.351 Jews. At a certain moment the deportation rate was in danger of slackening. On June 2, 1944 the Anglo-American aviation bombed the main railway junctions. On the night of June 2 to 3 all transports of deportees to Auschwitz were delayed. Among them, the fifth transport from the ghetto of Cluj, the transport my whole family and I were due to leave. Eichmann was boiling over with rage, unwilling to admit any perturbation. "It the railway tracks are bombed, the convoys should set out on font." Desperate efforts were made and within there days the railway tracks were put in operation. On June 6, the fifth transport of deportees from Cluj followed the other "death trains" bound to Auschwitz.

This is the truth. Carrying out Eichmann's orders special detachments searched Europe far and wide lest no Jew should escape; from all corners of the old continent, endless trains headed for Auschwitz; at Eichmenn's orders gas chambers were put into operations and the fire was lit in the ovens of the crematoria. His signature meant death to tens of thousands of innocent people.

At Eichmann's trial the Prosecutor general was filly entitled to say: "... Eichmann is as guilty as if he himself had hanged, had whipped or goaded the victims to the gas chambers, as if he himself had shot them in the nape of the neck and had thrown them into the ditches they themselves were complied to dig some moments before."




Eine Laus &emdash; Dein Tod


Six... or eight... or ten hours elapsed from the moment I arrived at Birkenau-Auschwitz till I entered barrack No. 21 of camp E. Who could say for certain how many? It seemed a lifetime to me. I had stepped from one world into another. Then I arrived I was still a human being, under arrest, that's true, and devoid of any possibility to defend myself, but still a human being. Crowded with my brothers and sisters, my parents, my parents and relatives in a wagon, but still together.

When I entered the barrack I was no longer a human being. I had become a Häftling, deprived of anything that might have reminded me of the other world, dressed in streaked clothes and pushed into a barrack together with over one thousand Häftlings, Tired, scared and confused, as I was, I might have collapsed to the cold cement floor of the barrack had bodies of the other Häftlings not supported me in the press which did not even allow one to turn about.

I heard voices, I listened to the words spoken around but I could not understand their meaning: "Did you take fare-well on the platform?... You shall never see the ones you have parted with... If you want to see them go out and look at the smoke raising through the chimneys of crematoria... You'll see them raising to the skies... Don't mourn them... for them it's better... They have escaped this damned world..."

I looked up and my glance rested on one of the beams that supported the roof. The note on it seemed to me as strange and absurd as the words spoken around. Eine Laus -- Die Tod. "A louse -- your death." The note was old. It had been hung in the first year of the camp's existence.

The SS-men murdered in cold blood but they feared their own death like hell. Back from the battlefront in the Eastmwhere death had taken a heavy toll, at Birkenau they felt safe. But from the East they had brough along the feary of typhus. It was only under the form of typhus that death could threaten them at Birkenau, so they considered lice their enemy number one.

In camp E there was no water for washing. From the day he entered the camp till was sent to another camp, no Häftling could change his clothes, not even his underwear. There was no soap or water for laundering. There was only one way to fight the lice. In the evening, after the Appell, everyone had to undress and look for lice in the folds of his clothes and smash them between his nails.

Then the Läusekontrolle, lice checking followed. Naturally not all detainees were checked because it would have taken too much time. Checking was made at random, taking bearings. When lice the crematorium. Then, clothes and lice were burnt together. Eine Laus &emdash; Dein Tod. A louse-your death. That is how things happened in the early days of the camp. Later on, due to the indescribable filth and promiscuity, lice multiplied fast and brought about outbreaks of typhus. W. Kielar recalls: "Typhus which had ravaged the war prisoners' camp suddenly spread to the whole camp. The only means, at that time to fight back the disease was Läusekontrolle ordered by Lagerführer Aumeier to be carried out in all barracks by the hospital personnel.

It was one of the tricks the authorities used to tease the detainees. If it wasn't raining, lice checking were made outdoors, irrespective of the season.

The detainees, stripped naked to the waist, let down their trousers and we looked at their underwear swarming with lice. We sprayed "Cuprex" to their armpits and pelvis, the places where lice used to gather. We listed the dirtiest detainees who were full of lice and handed the list to the block chiefs: the latter sent them to the washroom while their clothes and underwear was taken for delousing. The detainees usually avoided the lousing because the block chiefs used to torture them; besides, to take a could bath and then stay naked and wait for your underwear for hours on end was very pleasant, particularly in winter.

It is true, the freshly laundered underwear no longer had lice, but whole colonies of nits remained there and hundreds of hungry lice appeared after a few hours. The Moslims had the greatest number of lice, of course. Lice simply ate them alive. And when one of them also had wounds dressed with paper, one could say for certain that "it was not he who had lice, but it were lice who had him." Once I tore with disgust the stinking paper bandage of one of them. Under the paper smeared with pus thousands of lice were swarming, a wound covered with a compact, gray and swarming mass that was at least an inch deep."

In winter 1944 and particularly in spring 1945 whole camps from Bavaria ceased their activity.

All Häftlings were seized with typhus and the SS-men dared not enter their camps, not even for roll call.

At that time I was in Landsberg No. 1. There, only a few barracks were doing quarantine because of the typhus. The rest further continued their daily work. We were infested with lice by thousands. At night, in order to be able to sleep, I had to take off my shirt and I shook off the lice as you remove the dust from a rag. And as I shook my shirt I was thinking at my first night in camp E of Birkenau-Auschwitz, in barrack No. 21 when I read that strange inscription on one of the beams: Eine Laus -- Dein Tod. A louse means your death.





During the "Final Solution" and the "depopulating of the East" to create the Nazi "vital space" so many and so malignant crimes were perpetrated that any attempt to make a classification or hierarchy is doomed to failure. However, it may be said that no match could be found to those perpetrated by the ruthless Einsatzgruppen, task forces, but actually "detachments of death" &emdash; recruited from among the SS and SD. "Mankind will not forget soon the dreadful story of these blood-thirsty assassins, even themselves sick when beholding the dreadful sight of the death van doors opened near the pit. They were people who stood smoking near the antitank trench and nonchalantly shot the undressed victims in the nape of the neck with their automatic rifles. They were people who, according to their own calculations, killed some 2.000.000 men, women and children. They were the SD-men.1"

 Einsatzgruppen, task forces but actually "detachments of death" were made up of 1.000-2.000 SS, Gestapo and SD-men. They were set up before the attack against the Soviet Union. Each of them was detailed by an Army Group that aimed at conquering the East and purging it of Jews and Slaves. Their mission was, first and foremost, to liquidate the Jews and the political commissars. The order to act was issued on June 19, 1941.

On July 27, 1941, on the grounds of Hitler's guidelines, Keitel entrusted Himmler with preserving order in the territories conquered by the Nazis in the East, furnishing him with full powers to choose his methods, but advising him not to resort to "legal accusations" but to use "terrorist measures, the only ones which are effective."

Four Einsatzgruppen were set up: A, B, C, D. Each and every member of these groups stained himself with blood from top to toe; they killed men and women, children and old, leaving behind huge pits full of corpses which they no longer cared to cover with earth.

Otto Ohlendorf, commander of Eisatzgruppe D, described the way his subordinates took action: "The unit chosen for the purpose entered the village and ordered the Jewish leaders to gather all their co-nationals in view of being moved to some other place. Then the Jews were demanded to hand over all their valuables to the chief of the detachment and then, before execution, to take off their clothes, which they were also due to hand over, and remain in their underwear. Then the men, women and children were taken to the place of the execution, which was usually near a former antitank trench that had been deepened. They were shot, while standing erect or on their knees, and the bodies were throw into the ditch..."

In order that the reader should make a clearer image of how an execution took place, we reproduce the declaration made under oath by German engineer Hermann Friederich Gräbe, the managing director of the Ukraine branch of a German corporation, a declaration read in front of the Nürnberg Tribunal by Sir Hartley Shawcross, the main British prosecutor: "I headed for the building-site accompanied by Mönnikes2. In its close vicinity I saw a large earthen wave, some thirty meters long and two meters high. Several lorries loaded with people and guarded by armed members of the local police, commanded by an SS-man had stopped in front of the earthen wave. The people got off the lorries under the strict surveillance of the policemen who accompanied the lorries at their arrival and departure. All those who got off the lorries wore the yellow star, compulsory for the Jews, sown on the front and back of their clothes, so one could easily see that they were Jews.

Together with Mönnikes I went straight to the pit. Nobody stopped us. I heard several shots resounding from behind the earthen wave. An SS-man holding a whip in his hand ordered the people who had been brought by lorries to undress and carefully place their clothes in categories: shoes, clothes, underwear. I saw a large pile of shoes, about eight hundred or even one thousand pairs, large heaps of underwear and clothes.

Those people took off their clothes in blank silence, without cry, without tears; they gathered in-groups, in families, embraced and said good-bye to one another. They were waiting for the signal of another SS-man near the pit; who was also holding whip In the quarter of an hour that I spent there I heard no lament or begging. I kept staring at a family made up of about eight persons, husband and wife, both around fifty, and their three smaller children aged one, eight and ten two elder daughters about twenty and twenty-four. A gray-haired elderly woman had taken the youngster child in her arms, humming a song and stroking him gently. The baby was laughing whit delight. Husband and wife looked at them and tears gleamed in their eyes. The father held the elder boy, aged about ten, by the hand and talked to him in a whisper. The boy was trying to keep back his tears. Then his father pointed ups to the sky, strokes the boy on his head and seemed to explain him something.

At that moment the SS-man near the pit shouted something to his mate. The latter immediately separated some twenty persons and ordered them to go behind the earthen wave. The family I spoke about was among them. I remember well that a slender, black-and long-haired girl went past me. She pointed to herself and whispered: "twenty-three years old."

I also went behind the earthen wave and found myself in front of huge pit. In the pit &emdash; Jews, squeezed into one another, fallen over the bodies of those who had been killed before, so that only their heads could be seen. The pit was three quarters full. In my opinion about one thousand people were lying there. I tried to catch sight of the shooter: he was an SS-man who sat on the ground, his legs hanging into the pit, a Tommy gun on his knees. He was calmly smoking a cigarette.

The people, stark naked, got down into the pit descending the stairs dug into clay the wall, stumbling on the heads and bodies of the dead; they made up a line where the SS-man had ordered them to. They looked at the death, caressed those still alleviated whispered them something. Then the machine-gun rattle sounded. I looked into the pit and I saw the contorted bodies. Blood began to gush forth from the wounds. I wondered why nobody drove me away, then I saw that two postmen in uniform had also stopped to look at the scene.

The next group arrived. People got into the grave, stood in line and were also shot. I went to the other side of the earthen wave and I saw that a new transport had just arrived. This time among the victims there were sick and crippled. An old skinny woman shaking on her terribly thin legs was being undressed by two people who were already naked while other two persons supported her. She must have been paralyzed. Those naked people supported her on the way to pit. I went away, together with Mönnikes and then I drove back to Dubno."

The rate of murders committed by the Einsatzgruppen, task forces, but in fact detachments of death can be inferred from their own reports submitted to the General Headquarters. Here is one sent by Ohlendorf: "the detachments further cleared the area of Jews and communist elements. Over the interval this report is referring to, that is September 16-30, 1941, the towns of Nicolaev and Herson were purged of Jews in particular, and the official persons still left there were treated accordingly... Sum total: 35.782."

Instead of a conclusion we reproduce Otto Ohlendorf's answers to some of the questions asked at Nürnberg by the American prosecutor, John Harlan Amen:

 Amen: "How many detachments there were?"

 Ohlendorf: "Four. Intervention detachments A, B, C and D.

Detachment D was not assigned by any Army Group but directly subordinated to the Eleventh Army."

 Amen: "Did you have any interview with Himmler?"

 Ohlendorf: "Yes, I did. Towards late summer 1941, Himmler came to Nikolaev. He summoned the chiefs and members of the detachment and repeated them the issued order regarding mass executions, explicitly mentioning that neither the chiefs, nor the members of the groups taking part in execution would be held responsible in any way for carrying out the respective order. The whole responsibility would rest with himself and the Führer."

 Amen: "Do you know how many people were killed by detachment D, therefore under you command?"

 Ohlendorf: "From July 1941 till July 1942 the commandos (of the D detachment -- O.L.) reported the liquidation of about 90.000 people."

 Amen: "Does the figure include men, women, children?

 Ohlendorf: "Yes."

Except from the declaration made at Nürnberg by one of the USA advisers.
2 Hubert Mönnikes of Hamburg was a foreman at the branch building-site.







The Nazis perpetrated crimes in cold blood, even smiling, but they disliked being seen while killing. For certain reasons they tried to pose as principled people Hence the abundance of euphemisms they used in denoting their criminal activities.

Thus, they did not speak of the extermination of all Jews throughout Europe but of Endlösung, the "final settling" or the "final solution" of the Jewish question.

They made no mention of mention of the Jews' deportation to the death camp in Poland -- Birkenau-Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka but called that action Evakuirung -- evacuation in the East, or Zurückdrängung, removal from the "vital space of the German people."

They referred to the gassing of millions of deportees by calling it Sonderbehandlung, "special treatment."

 Die Endlösung der Judenfrage, the final salving of the Jewish question as an escalation, as a final and radical stage of the persecution of the Jews had become an issue in mid-July 1941 when Marshall Göring charged the chief of the security police and of the SD, SS-Gruppenführer Heydrich "to take all organizational and practical steps and the necessary material means for eine Gesamtlösung der Judenfrage im deutschen Einflussgebiet in Europe, a final solution of the Jewish question on the European territory under German influences."

The plan of action for the implementation of the final solution was recorder in the Wannsee Protocole, in actual fact the minutes of the meeting that took place on January 20, 1942 in Berlin, in 56-58 Grosser Wannsee Str., "concerning the Endlösung, the final settling of the Jewish question." The document specifies: "during the final settling of the Jewish question in Europe some 11,000,000 Jews have to be taken into account..." There follows a table of the European countries and the number of Jews living in each of them.

But what did the Nazis understand by Endlösung, the final settling of the Jewish question, and the taking into account of about 11,000,000 Jews?

In a speech delivered in Poznan on October 4, 1943 in front of a group of SS leaders, Reichsführer SS Himmler said: "I would like to raise here, in front of you, a very serious question, and treat it with utmost sincerity. We must discuss it in all earnestness between ourselves, but we shall never approach it in public... I meant the evacuation of Jews, the extermination of Jews... ("The Jews will be destroyed") says every member of our party. This is utterly obvious because it is written in our program. The elimination of Jews, their extermination -- this is something we ourselves will carry through."

Rudolf Höss, the commander of the Birkenau-Auschwitz camp from May 1940 till late 1943 when he was appointed department chief in the central command of all concentration camps, declared at his trial: "Die Endlösung, -- <the final solution> of the Jewish question meant Die vollständige Austrottung aller Juden in Europa, the total extermination of all Jews from Europe."

 Dieter Wisliczeny, a member of the Gestapo declared in front of the international Tribunal in Nürnberg: "Eichmann explained the meaning of the phrase. He told me that the words <final solution> mean the physical extermination of the Jewish race..."

The wide-scope actions envisioned by the Wannsee Plan -- the complete extermination of a people spread over a whole continent -- were to be carried out by simple and practical methods. The Jews from Germany and all occupied countries (in the minutes of the meeting they were referred to as "territories under German influence") had to be gathered, first in Durchgangsghettos, transit ghettoes, and then transported towards the East.

The East meant Birkenau-Auschwuitz, and Birkenau-Auschwitz meant gas chambers were 2.000 men could be gazed at a time and four crematoria with 46 ovens were functioning day in and day out.

In order to avoid superficiality and make sure that not a single Jew would escape ghettoization and deportation in the East, the participants in the meeting of January 20, 1942 which took place in 56-58 Grosser Wannsee Str. decided, their decision was recorded in the minutes of the meeting, that "During the practical implementation of the Endlösung, the final solution, the whole Europe will be searched from west to east."

But Himmler, assisted by Eichmann, the SS and the Gestapo saw to it that the entire Europe -- France, Belgium, Holland and Greece, Czechoslovakia and Poland, Norway and Italy -- be indeed searched from west to east and from north to south.

And yet, there was an exception: Horthyst Hungary. Horhyst Hungary was not searched. There the Gestapo did not have to hunt the Jews, to lose time in rounding them up searching the towns and villages like in other countries. The Horthysts -- the police and the gendarmerie spared them the effort. It was them who rounded up the Jews one by one, according to the police records, interned them in Duchgahgsghettoes, in transit ghettoes, loaded them in wagons and handed them over to the SS at the northern border of the country. The wagons remained locked, the engine was not changed; it was only the Horthyst gendarmes that were replaced by SS-men and the train bound for Birkenau-Auschwitz continued its journey.








The Nazi leaders were sure of victory. And victors -- they proclaimed far and loud lest the subordinates' hands should tremble when pulling the trigger -- will not have to answer for their deeds, as there is no one to take them to account. Consequently, they made their criminal plans overtly. They wrote in books, leaflets and newspapers, made declarations on the radio, held speeches at meeting and huge public rallies that the Reich must push its borders at least to the Urals, that the entire Europe had to be conquered and forced to acknowledge the supremacy of the German Übermenschen, who will ensure the rebirth of the old continent by Entvölkerung, the depopulation of large areas by exterminating millions, tens of millions of people of inferior race and replacing them with tens of thousands, hundred of thousand, millions of Germans born at a forced rate in the "procreation centers."

As a matter of fact Hitler unequivocally declared: "WE must develop die Entvölkerungstechnik, the depopulation methods. If you ask me what Entvölkerung, depopulation means to me, I will answer that I contemplate to eliminate whole racial units. This is what I intend to do, this is, in general Lines, my task. Nature is cruel, so we may be cruel as well. If I can send the pick of the German nation in the hell of the war with no regret for the shedding of the valuable German blood, I certainly have the right to eliminate millions of people of inferior race who are multiplying like worms!"

In order to clarify what "whole racial units" meant, as if further clarification were needed, specifications and details were introduced to remove any doubt and make clear that "whole racial units" meant whole peoples and nations.

"In the East, Himmler declared foaming with hatred -- we have to destroy the Russian enemy. We have to destroy this people of 200.000.000 souls on the battlefield one by one and then crush it with a finishing stroke. But how could we liquidate the greatest possible number of them, dead or alive? We shall succeed by killing them or taking them prisoners in which case we shall put them to work and we shall try to secure the greatest possible control over all territories we occupy, mopping up every corner we shall conquer or snatch away from the enemy. The Russians must be deported and used as hands in Germany or simply die in combat."

Although Hitler spoken of Entvölkerungstechnik, methods of depopulation, they had not been worked out from the beginning; but once the goal was clearly defined "the elimination of whole racial units:, the methods were developed and improved on the run including a series of procedures and means completing one another with a view to effect depopulation according to the established rates. Thus, in his above-mentioned speech, Himmler pointed to only ways to achieve depopulation: crushing in combat -- one by one -- and deportation to the Reich. However, Governor Frank who was in charge with the depopulation of Poland, emphasized the fact that an indispensable component of the "depopulation methods" was mass liquidation.

"We must immediately take advantage of the fact -- he noted in his diary -- they the attention of world public option is drawn by the western front, in order to proceed to the mass liquidation of Poles and of the Polish intelligentsia in the first place."







Concerned as they were to prevent a possible uprising of the detainees, the SS did everything in order to camouflage exterminations as mooches possible. Gas chambers were set up only in large camps where there was room to disguise their destinations. Killing and torturing went on only in isolated Bunker's, often built under the ground, The sound of shots was drowned by loud music which was splitting our ears.

Still, there was one single type of execution that was performed in full view of the whole camp and according to a lugubrious ritual: extermination durch Erhängungen, by hanging.

In the camp of Bavaria, which belonged to Dachau, in winter we left for work at dawn when it was still dark and returned at night. Faint with hunger, exhausted, chilled to the bone, hardly dragging our clogs through the high snow, we arrived at the camp more dead than alive. In front of the gate we glanced at our barracks as if they were our only salvation. They were dug into the earth: only their roofs, looking like some graves recently covered by snow could be seen above the ground.

But sometime our glances were attracted by a high pillar, standing erect in the middle of the Appellplatz and then our rows began to stagger. Some of us fell to the ground. The pillar that had been erected during our absence meant that before entering the barrack and getting out miserable ration of food we had to attend for hours on end, a bale performance: the death of a Häftling durch Erhängungen, who was to be hanged in the light of searchlights.

The reasons were various. The regulations of the Dachau camp, worked out by its first commander, SS-Oberführer Eicke, stipulated: "he who in the camp, in barracks, in kitchens, workshops or toilets... goes about, or collects, receives, transmits, retells, fraudulently transmits outside the camp, by secret means or other ways, false or true information... concerning the atrocities taking place in the concentration camp or its installations, transmits them in written or orally to detainees that had to be liberated or transferred, hides them in his clothes or in other objects, throws them out by means of some stones, etc. over the camp fence or draws up ciphered reports; likewise, he who... climbs the barracks, roofs and into the trees, to signal with lights or others, or attempt to get into contact with the world outside or incites others to escape or to perpetrate a crime, helps or supports it wird gehängt, will be hanged."

However, most often the reason was quite trivial: lack of respect for some Rottenführer1 or Scharführer. The purpose: to annihilate even the thought of standing up to an SS-man.

The pillar was erected whenever an escape attempt was made. The moment the alarm was given and a detachment of SS-men started to hunt the escapees with wolf-dogs, a group of Häftlings, under the command of a Kapo instantly began to raiser the pillar, which had as many hooks as many detainees were missing at the Appell. The gallows were pulled down only when all escapees were caught. The first man hanged was left there in the rain and wind till all escapees were caught.

Hunted with wolf dogs the Häftlings were brought back to the camp, stroked every step by SS-men with their riding whips. On their necks there hung huge notes reading: "All birds return to their nests."

The SS-man enjoyed the execution durch Erhängungen, by hanging. Probably perhaps it took place quite seldom. The daily extermination methods, gassing or shooting had become boring. Some, who no longer had patience to wait for an official hanging, took action at their own charge, to satisfy their own pleasure. They locked a Häftling into a room and forced him to hang himself while they locked in through the window or a slit in the door.

Wilhelm Schubert, former block chief in the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen declared at the trailhead in 1947 in Berlin: "I ordered a detainee sich aufzuhängen, to hang himself. I gave him a rope, a hammer and a nail. I locked him into a small room and I told him that if he doesn't hang himself I would put him to the rack.

The prosecutor: Did he hang himself?

Schubert: In the following half an hour er hat sich erhängt, he hanged himself.

1 SS corporal.







The thousands of concentration camp scattered throughout the Nazi Reich and the countries under its occupation fell into various categories according to their proportions and destination. Nevertheless, all of them functioned under the same aegis: ermorden, to kill.

Killing went on everywhere, from the small camp Kaufering no.9 lost in the forests of Bavaria, to the large camp of Birkenau.

The SS-men did the killing out of sadism, revenge, belief, pleasure or boredom. They did it meticulously, stubbornly, but also hysterically, chaotically or with negligence.

 Ermorden, to kill, was the verb defining their profession of faith, their vocation and dedication.

In the concentration camps the detainees were killed by hundreds, by thousand, They were killed by Vergasung, gassing; by Genickschuss, shooting in the nape of the neck; by Injection, phenol injection; by Erhängungen, hanging, But all these methods of mass assassination did not satisfy the thirst for blood of the SS-men in the Totenkopfeinheiten, the death's head units. Many of them were anxious, nervous, and fretful. They calmed down only when they did the killing themselves or when they could watch the victim struggling in the jaws of death, And they always devised new methods to kill which they themselves put into practice or directly supervised. To illustrate our statement we shall give only one example: SS-Hauptscharführer Sommer, Bunker chief at Buchenwald. According to the testimonies of the former intendance of the Bunker, collected by Eugen Kogon in his book the "simplest" way chosen by Sommer was to put a rope around the victim's neck and hang him to the heating device or the sash frame. Sommer also killed many detainees by striking them with a triangular iron. Once he fixed iron clamps on the temples of one Häftling and screwed them into his head till the skull was crushed under their pressure. One day he entered a cell holding a tin cup in his hand with which he killed two detainees, then he tore off an iron bar from the heating device and killed the others. From at least one hundred Jews brought into the Bunker over 1940-1941 none of them left it alive.

Once Sommer tied seven young Polish detainees to their bunks with chains. They were given only cucumbers in brine and salt water and died in terrible pains.

Intendance Gritz recalls:

"One morning, under a sink in the lavatory I found a chest covered with a white sheet. When I opened it I saw the corpse of a man whose limbs had been cut off. Once I was ordered to sort in the garret of the Bunker the clothes of the murdered. There were many items of clothes belonging to many detainees."

The tortures which Sommer used to device were nothing else but proofs of his sadistically nature. He enjoyed strangling the detainees with his own hands. He loved to herd all detainees in the Bunker into the 1,20 m wide corridor and to order them to jump till they fell flat to the floor, utterly exhausted. Then he trampled them under foot till blood came gushing out through their noses and ears and at least some of them died. Once he crowded fifteen detainees into a cell and gave them only a chamber pot witch he did not allow to be emptied for ten days. The floor of the cell was covered with excrements. He killed all the fifteen detainees.

In the room he had at his disposal Sommer had a skull with a bulb inside. Sometimes, in the evening, he brought in a victim from the cells and serenely killed him in his own room. Then he put the corpse under the bed he slept in. In the morning the Letchenträgers were ordered to take the corpse to the crematorium.

The SS-men killed thousands, tens of thousands, hundred of thousand, millions of Häftlings, but the increasing scope of their crimes were still unsatisfactory. Bored with individual and mass assassination of millions of innocent people, they would have liked to kill life itself. So they started to murder all pregnant women detainees. In some of the camps where there was an acute need for man power, abortion was permitted, but infants were burnt in the ovens of the heating devices. In the smaller camps, where abortion could not be practices, the newborns were strangled, stifled or drowned in the presence of their mothers.

At Ravensbrück -- the largest camp for women -- the SS-men finally found the method to give them the feeling that they are able to stop life itself, to kill it. The deportees who were excepting confinement had their legs tied closely, then they were thrown into a corner of the barrack and left there to die in unspeakable pains.





Experimente (1)


One of the main prosecutors at the Nürnberg trial, referring to the atrocities perpetrated in the concentration camps said: "Germany had been turned into a prison. The victims' cries were heard throughout the world making the whole civilized world shudder."

Indeed, during the long fascist night which seemed endless, cries of pain pierced the thick walls of Bunkers where the Gestapo tortured its victims, resounded from the locked wagons carrying deportees towards the concentrations camps, from the gas chambers where the showers poured Zyklon B crystals over the victims instead of water, from the vans which entered the yards of crematoria.

The desperate cries of millions of innocent people deported and imprisoned in concentration camps. Their screams, whines, curses, shrieks and moans blended into one single and ceaseless cry of pain and despair, revolt and haplessness.

At Dachau, there were heard the screams and shrieks of the detainees put into a wooden bath tube full of cold water, and floating ice where they were kept till froze to death, that is till their hearts ceased to beat.

At Buchenwald there were heard the screams and shouts of the Häftlings in barrack No. 46 &emdash; tied with chains to chains &emdash; when the boxes tied with rubber to their legs were opened by some Kapos and the thousands of lice infested with typhus swarmed over their bodies.

At Auschwitz there were heard the terrible cries of the women detainees, who after the sterilization injection were operated and their ovaries removed, of men irradiated in order to be castrated or of the pairs of twins forced to copulate.

At Ravensbrück there resounded the cries of detainees who were operated and fragments of their bones removed for transplantation; they were brought in directly from work, tied to the operating table and the operation started without even their clogs being taken off their feet.

At Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz, Ravensbrück… the SS doctors made Experiente an lebendigen Menschen, experiments on living people, while the victims cried and screamed on the top of their voices...

They made experiments to ascertain the resistance of the human organism to low pressure, cold, poison, bullets shot from various angles in various parts of the body.

They made experiments with typhus, sexual hormones, yellow fever, fever, cholera, tuberculosis, and diphtheria.

They made experiments as regards the sterilization of women, castration of men, the copulations of twins.

They transplanted bones, infected wounds with gangrene and tetanus bacilli, or burnt the flesh with phosphorous.

The beginning of experiments an lebendigen Menschen was rather timid. On May 15, 1941, doctor Raschher, one of their first promoters appealed to Reichsführer SS Himmler explaining that as there was a "lack of human material" because "these experiments are extremely dangerous and nobody willing undergoes them", he dares to ask for only two or three men. "These experiments, during which the respective persons... may, of course, die -- Rascher further explained -- are going to be performed with my collaboration." Himmler's approval arrived after seven days: "... the detainees will be put at your disposal with pleasure..."

This was the beginning. Later on, Himmler approved only the type of experiments while the detainees were put at the doctors' disposal by the camp commanders by hundreds or thousands.

 Die Experimente an lebendigen Menschen, the experiments on living people, had became so customers in every camp that not only the SS doctors, but every Sturmann or Rottenführer who got bored initiated an experiment on his own account, attended by Häftlings of various ages and nationalities. How long can men resist standing on one foot of hanging by an arm before fainting? How many kilometers can a man run carrying a 30 or 40 kg. Stone in his hands before falling flat to the ground? How many riding whip strokes or kicks can he endure?

The laughter of the SS-men who attended the experiments making bets was drowned by the shrikes of pain of the detainees in the isolated barracks surrounded with barbed-wire fences, whose flesh was burnt to the bone by liquid phosphorus, whose bodies were invaded by lice infested with typhus or whose various organs were extirpated.

The screams and cries of the victims terrorized the whole camp, a fact that scared or, in any case disturbed the SS doctors; such a reaction could turn into an "uncontrolled collective action." It was not accidental that doctor Rascher wrote to his "highly esteemed Reichsführer" asking him to allow him that the experiments ha had made in Dachau regarding the freezing of living people should be continued in Auschwitz, arguing that "from all centers for similar experiences Auschwitz is more convenient that Dachau in all respects."

Firstly, because it is colder at Auschwitz and due to its size the cries of the agonizing can be muffled and even absorbed by the larger surfaces. Rascher himself emphasized in his letter that "people undergoing experiments brüllen, scream when they freeze."





Experimente (2)


The doctors and professors of the Third Reich made Experimente an lebendige Menschen, experiments on living people and their hands did not shake, their conscience did not prick. They indulged themselves into thinking that the detainees in the concentration camps were not human beings, but subhuman, some sort of animals devoid of any value.

Doctor Kurt Heissmeyer declared at his trial: "It was obvious to me that to make experiments on human beings with the cultures of bacilli we had at our disposal could not have been justified because of some probable consequences. I was of the opinion that I could account for a such-like activity in the concentration camp, because, according to my national-socialist views at that time, I considered the camp detainees as second rate people. I knew that the detainees and children in the concentration camp were at the disposal of the SS, therefore I did not have to ask them if they were willing to be subjected to those medical tests. In case the experiments had a negative result I was not to suffer any penal consequences. Besides, the experiments were carried out in a concentration camp, because such experiments on human beings used somehow instead of animals, were not supposed to be made public."

During cross-examination Heissmeyer also declared: "As a doctor, I naturally knew that in fact I was not allowed to do that, and that I could hardly have done it somewhere else, except in a concentration camp. Because the experiments implicitly jeopardized the life of the respective people, I made my experiments in a concentration camp in order to prevent the possible consequences from begin known. At that time I shared the opinion that the detainees from concentration camps had no value as human beings."

Sharing such viewpoints, no wonder that the Nazi doctors and professors tortured and murdered the detainees in cold blood, with unconceivable cruelty.

On November 27, 1944 a group of children between five and 12 were sent from Birkenau to doctor Heissmayer who was "preoccupied" with combating tuberculosis. On their arrival at the Neuengamme concentration camp the children were in good health, lovely, normal, clever children, according to the witnesses at the trial. Small incisions were made on their armpits and chests trial. Small incisions were made on their armpits and chests and tuberculosis bacilli were introduced. Before the war ended, all twenty children were hanged in order to remove all traces of the experiments.

Professor SS Karl Gebhardt made experiments concerning the healing of wounds produced by gas in consequence of shots. In order to create "conditions similar to those on the frontline", the Häftlings serving as guinea pigs were shot at from various angles and wounded in various parts of their body. Professor Gerbhardt's team also studied the healing of artificially broken bones. Healthy detainees were invited into the consulting room and placed on the operating table where the bones of their legs or arms were broken by means of a hammer. They usually preferred very young women.

Many detainees were operated upon and their bones removed in order to be transplanted to those wounded on the front. After the operation the detainees were killed.

Concentration camps offered to the cursed doctors of the SS unique conditions, which they could never have had in normal life. For instance, the anatomy-pathological study of a pair of twins, the analysis of their normal, abnormal or diseased organs was to be made simultaneously, that is both twins were to die in the same second. This could be achieved practically only at Birkenau where Hauptsturmfuhrer-SS Dr. Josef Mengele himself killed in the same moment the twins subjected to his criminal experiments. His former forensic doctor at Birkenau crematoria, Dr. Nyiszli Miklos recalls in his book: "What happens here is unique in the history of world medicine: twins die at the same moment and the autopsy can be made without delay. In the conditions of normal life it were a miracle if twins died in the same place and at the same time! And that because circumstances often make them part and live at great distances from each other; besides, they never die at the same time. It may happen that one dies at the age of ten while the other the other at fifty. Therefore, in normal conditions, there is no possibility to make comparative autopsies in parallel. In the concentration camp of Auschwitz there are hundreds and hundreds of twins, and their extermination offers hundreds and hundreds of possibilities for research. That is the reason why Dr. Mengele selects the twins and dwarfs ever silence their arrival."

Indeed, the twins even those under 14 were selected by Mengele and separated from the column are heading for the crematoria and gas chambers. Their death was delayed. They were going to be killed and burnt only after they had been subjected to the degrading, torturing, absurd "experiments" made by Dr. Mengele.

In this testimony born at the Nürnberg trial, Dr. Nyiszli Miklos &emdash; the survivor who, from all Häftlings of Birkenau had greatest access to the "forbidden" places &emdash; showed: "In barrack No. 21 of the camp hospital F there by, in separate boxes the most miserable victims of the experimental lab. Youngsters full of life, aged twenty-twenty-three coming from Poland and France made up the group of the castrated, who were enduring excruciating pains. They had been sterilized with X-rays. Several days after irradiation their bodies showed terrible burns, which gradually expanded and deepened. The wounds did not react to any medicine, the pains could not be alleviated by any sedative."

Quite relevant are the testimonies born at the trials after liberation:

 Prosecutor: Baumkötter, did you know what the experiments with phlegms consisted in?

 Baumkötter: ... An incision was made in the detainees' thigh and it was filled with old rags and dirty straws. This produced the expected result, septicemia, which caused the death of many people.

 Prosecutor: What about experiments with potassium cyanide were such experiments made?

 Boumkötter: Yes. This happened in late 1944 or early 1945 when Standartenführer SS Nolling, the sanitary inspector of concentration camps arrived at the camp. Even before that a detainee had been selected for a special test. I saw the sanitary inspector to the crematorium and on the was Nolling took a 1 cm3 phial out of his cigarette case; the phial was introduced into the detainee's mouth who had to crush it between his teeth. After a couple of minutes the detainee was dead.

 Prosecutor: How long did it take till he died?

 Baumkötter: I ascertained that he had died in 15 seconds.

As regards the experiments with sexual hormones, the following dialogue took place at Nürnberg:

 Mr. Dubost: "Which were the consequences of these experiments?"

 Balachowsky: These experiments were always deadly.

 Mr. Dubost: Always deadly? Each experiment must therefore be ASSIMILATED TO MURDER!!!

... Balachowsky: In block No. 50 I saw photos of some phosphoric burns that had been inflicted in block No 46. You needn't be a specialist to realize the sufferings of those people whose flesh had been burnt to the bone. After three months, when the experiments were put an end to, the survivors were killed.


To Oliver Lustig's Biographical Sketch

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