Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Tests show that Nazis used human remains to make soap"

The Nazis used human fat to make soap during World War II in a Nazi German medical academy located in what is now the Polish Baltic sea port city of Gdansk, Polish war crimes prosecutors confirmed on Friday, pointing to new laboratory tests.

Officials with Poland's Institute for National Remembrance (IPN) based their findings on a laboratory analysis of a piece of soap found in 1945 in the medical academy in Gdansk run by Nazi German Professor Rudolf Spanner.

A new laboratory analysis of the soap revealed human fat was one of its components, spokesperson for the Gdansk branch of the IPN, Paulina Szumera, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur in a telephone interview on Friday.

Commissioned by the IPN, Professor Andrzej Stolyhwo of the Warsaw Agricultural University found human tissue in the soap.

The piece of soap was used as evidence in the post-WWII Nuremburg Trials where prominent German Nazis were prosecuted for crimes against humanity. At the time, prosecutors lacked the technology to determine whether the soap contained human tissue.

Human remains used to make the soap were believed to have been brought from Kaliningrad, Bydgoszcz and the Stutthof Nazi German concentration camp located about 30 from Gdansk.

The IPN investigation found that the soap in question produced by Professor Spanner was used to clean operating and autopsy rooms. -- Sapa-dpa
My comments:

1) It should be kept in mind that "the Nazis" didn't manufacture human soap as a matter of policy. A rogue Nazi's "accomplishments" do not tell us much about the Nazi policy in general. One can always turn the tables and accuse any "regime" of anything based on the actions of rogue elements.

This distinction is historically significant. Also, as I have already pointed out, Himmler strictly prohibited any use of the Jewish corpses for goals such as above, for the fear of Allied propaganda. Although the corpses brought to Spanner probably were mostly of non-Jews, one can assume that the same principles applied to them.

That should be assumed to have been an official Nazi policy, not Spanner's soap-making.

2) What does it mean to "make soap"? Does it mean to manufacture it on an industrial scale? In this case, certainly not. At most, we're talking about small-scale experiments of cleaning-agent production for local purposes. Dr. Joachim Neander proposes in his fine article that no "production" was actually involved, rather, the soap might have been a simple by-product of corpses' maceration. I think this might be possible, though I also think that the article is flawed in several important respects. Regardless of its flaws, however, it does point out several problems with evidence for the claim that the "soap" was manufactured, rather than created as a normal by-product.

In my personal opinion, the issue is not fully resolved.

3) Regardless of whether there was a "manufacture" of soap or not, there is actually no controversy as to whether there was a cleaning-agent involved, which was produced from human tissues. Dr. Spanner himself testified to that fact in a German court, as Dr. Neander points out. Of course, he (Spanner) denied that the corpses were boiled in order to produce soap - he went with the "by-product" version.

4) This fact, and also the new findings, show that the "soap" produced by the Soviets as evidence at Nuremberg is quite probably authentic human soap. At least deniers cannot prove otherwise. One more canard shot down.

9 comments:

TrueVoice said...

Sigh. Hannover has at it on this one:

Poland's Institute for National Remembrance (IPN)

IOW, judeo-supremacists with an agenda who have been shown to be untrustworthy. In fact, they've been proven to be blatant liars.

Again, they can't keep their lies straight:
Quote:

"The soap rumor was prevalent both during and after the war. It may have had its origin in the cadaver factory atrocity story that came out of World War I. The soap rumor was thoroughly investigated after the war and proved to be untrue.

The fact is that the Nazis never used the bodies of Jews, or for that matter anyone else, for the production of soap."

- Deborah Lipstadt

------

It's amazing that these masters of logic AND reason can't see that the story says "Nazis made Human soap" while Lipstadt (and Yad Vashem) say that it wasn't the bodies of Jews used for this production.

But, the Nazis didn't victimize the Poles, Russians, etc. (Hint for Cesspit dwellers -- maybe the human remains used to make soap were from some of the OTHER groups the Nazis persecuted, and not the Jews).

Sergey Romanov said...

"The fact is that the Nazis never used the bodies of Jews, or for that matter anyone else, for the production of soap."

Roman Werpachowski said...

"Poland's Institute for National Remembrance (IPN)

IOW, judeo-supremacists with an agenda who have been shown to be untrustworthy. In fact, they've been proven to be blatant liars."

Yes, we Poles are world-famous for our judeo-supremacist agenda.

Philip Mathews said...

Ms. Lipstadt's letter to the Los Angeles Times was written in 1981.

Although she wrote, somewhat parenthetically, that no bodies were used to make soap, her letter was clearly referring to the "RJF" rumors which originated with the Nazis.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/techniques-of-denial/appendix-5-02.html

Her 1993 book_Denying the Holocaust_ has three references to human soap. They all refer to the use of Jewish bodies for making soap. In discussing the historical dismissal of this specific claim she is also discussing the "RJF" soap rumors. She does not repeat her categorical conclusion about any human being used for soap making.

I think it is quite clear that in neither case was she referring to the Danzig Anatomical Institute situation.

TrueVoice said...

Sorry Sergey, it was late and I wasn't reading or writing on all cylinders.

I think that Lipstadt is saying, quite properly, that no bodies were used for industrial production.

I was trying to illustrate that was that the bodies of Jews weren't used in the experiments, but rather other victims. My "production" wasn't the industrial kind, but the act of rendering bodies into soap.

But, you (probably) already knew that. :)

Thanks for pointing it out, though, as I'll preview before posting next time.

Sergey Romanov said...

I agree with the points that Lipstadt meant "production" as in "industrial production". Neither is "the Nazis" charge true, as I pointed out. So in this sense Lipstadt is correct. However, her statement is still at least somewhat misleading, as to most people it would imply denial of Danzig soap too, IMHO.

The only excuse is that the letter is old and probably Lipstadt didn't know better at the time, using more careful language in her book, as Phil pointed out.

Joachim Neander said...

Having done research in the soap legend and its role in Holocaust denial, anti-Revisonism, and history politics, I am not surprised neither with the view presented by the IPN at the October 6, 2006, press conference at Gdansk, nor with its spokeswoman’s statement given to western press agencies. The IPN is neither an independent entity, nor is it a scholarly institution. It is a government agency and bound to directives given from above. Its President is chosen and sworn in by the Sejm, Poland’s parliament. One of IPN’s three departments is the Committee for the Investigation of Crimes Against the Polish People. Its members are state prosecutors, not historians. It is the immediate successor of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes Against the Polish People (founded already in 1944) that made the investigations in the Danzig soap case in the beginning of May, 1945, and it conducted the investigations also this time.

After last year’s political landslide which brought a firmly nationalistic coalition to power and made the Prime Minister’s twin brother President, Leon Kieres, head of the IPN from 1999 and a man known for impartiality - he was responsible for the Jedwabne investigations that deeply hurt Poland's nationalist feelings – was fired and replaced by a personality who was better acceptable to the majority in the Sejm. In addition, the IPN obtained from the parliament, as principal task, "To document and to evaluate Poland's human and economic losses due to the German attack and occupation in World War II." IPN had not only been attacked because of the Jedwabne case. (It proved that the perpetrators had been local Poles and not “unidentified Germans”). When it, in September 2005, publicly declared that the Danzig Anatomic Institute was not involved in the Nazi genocidal enterprise, a wave of furious and slanderous attacks swept through the Polish media. IPN was accused of national treachery and “toadying the Germans.” In the anti-German political climate of today’s Poland, IPN had no way out: it must sound the retreat.

As all information was only given orally by the IPN spokespersons and media reports differ widely, I will only comment on the intersection of the statements published in the media. First and foremost, IPN confirmed its stance that the activities of the Danzig Anatomic Institute, in no way, did qualify as genocide. IPN further stated that soap was made there from human remains – a fact already admitted at the end of 1945 by Spanner himself – and that there was no “soap factory,” but only a small-scale production for strictly internal use. All this tallies with my own research results. IPN also remarked that the famous “RIF” soap had nothing to do with Danzig and was not made from human fat, an also well-known fact, but it is good to remember the public from time to time of it.

There are, however, several points to which I cannot agree. IPN could not present new sources from eyewitnesses. Presenting to a TV audience the soap samples and the professor from the Warsaw Agricultural Academy who had analyzed them, was a good PR gag but did not bring new information. All alleged “new” witnesses were either witnesses from hearsay or had visited the institute months after it had been abandoned by the German scientists at the end of January 1945 and after its devastation, two months later, in the chaotic days of the Battle of Danzig and its immediate aftermath. IPN sweepingly discredited all evidence from the German side as “not trustworthy,” but accepted all incriminating evidence presented already in 1945, as “trustworthy,” without the slightest source criticism. As an historian, I am used to gauge sources critically: to treat every source seriously, but never to take it, from the outset, at face value. And sometimes it is also helpful to use common sense.

A second point of my criticism is the heavily biased way the “victims” of the soap-making were presented, particularly in the statement given to the western press: “Human remains have been brought ... from Kaliningrad, Bydgoszcz, and the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp.” As 99.99 per cent of the readers/listeners of this information are not specialized in Holocaust history, they will conclude: Bydgoszcz – Poles, Stutthof – Jews (in Poland: also Poles), Kaliningrad – Russians were boiled to soap. And so it arrived at the public, which can easily be seen by crawling the Web. And that is against the facts which IPN certainly knows. In the period to be considered for the soap-making, i.e. February 1944 to January 1945, for legal and practical reasons, neither corpses from Jews, nor from executed Poles or Russians could have been delivered to the institute. There may have been a few exceptions – even Nazi Germans were not always law-abiding. But all eyewitnesses who testified in 1945/46 confirmed that toward the end of the war, the “material” came from the Conradstein/Kocborowo insane asylum and from the prisons of Danzig/Gdansk, Elbing/Elblag, and Königsberg/Kaliningrad. That means, however, that the dead resp. executed must have been, in their great majority, non-Jewish German citizens. But “Germans” are never mentioned. By the way, I would like to know how the emaciated Stutthof prisoners would have been a suitable “raw material” for soap production. But such contradictions are characteristic for folktales and legends. They never bother neither the narrator, nor the listener.

My last remark will be about the statement of the chairman of the IPN committee, reported in all Polish media, that “the activities of Prof. Spanner [wartime head of the Anatomic Institute] belong to the most sinister chapters of World War II.” Well, it is in line with the commonly held opinion in Poland: that Spanner was “a monster,” an “arch-criminal,” “the prime example of the degeneration of scientists in Nazi Germany” (all quotes from teaching aids). It fits into the principal task traditionally assigned to Polish historiography by the national elites: to warm the people’s hearts and to foster national beliefs. But it is bad history. Spanner was neither a super-Mengele, nor an über-Clauberg. Just “a looter of corpses.”
Joachim Neander.

Joachim Neander said...

Having done research in the soap legend and its role in Holocaust denial, anti-Revisonism, and history politics, I am not surprised neither with the view presented by the IPN at the October 6, 2006, press conference at Gdansk, nor with its spokeswoman’s statement given to western press agencies. The IPN is neither an independent entity, nor is it a scholarly institution. It is a government agency and bound to directives given from above. Its President is chosen and sworn in by the Sejm, Poland’s parliament. One of IPN’s three departments is the Committee for the Investigation of Crimes Against the Polish People. Its members are state prosecutors, not historians. It is the immediate successor of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes Against the Polish People (founded already in 1944) that made the investigations in the Danzig soap case in the beginning of May, 1945, and it conducted the investigations also this time.

After last year’s political landslide which brought a firmly nationalistic coalition to power and made the Prime Minister’s twin brother President, Leon Kieres, head of the IPN from 1999 and a man known for impartiality - he was responsible for the Jedwabne investigations that deeply hurt Poland's nationalist feelings – was fired and replaced by a personality who was better acceptable to the majority in the Sejm. In addition, the IPN obtained from the parliament, as principal task, "To document and to evaluate Poland's human and economic losses due to the German attack and occupation in World War II." IPN had not only been attacked because of the Jedwabne case. (It proved that the perpetrators had been local Poles and not “unidentified Germans”). When it, in September 2005, publicly declared that the Danzig Anatomic Institute was not involved in the Nazi genocidal enterprise, a wave of furious and slanderous attacks swept through the Polish media. IPN was accused of national treachery and “toadying the Germans.” In the anti-German political climate of today’s Poland, IPN had no way out: it must sound the retreat.

As all information was only given orally by the IPN spokespersons and media reports differ widely, I will only comment on the intersection of the statements published in the media. First and foremost, IPN confirmed its stance that the activities of the Danzig Anatomic Institute, in no way, did qualify as genocide. IPN further stated that soap was made there from human remains – a fact already admitted at the end of 1945 by Spanner himself – and that there was no “soap factory,” but only a small-scale production for strictly internal use. All this tallies with my own research results. IPN also remarked that the famous “RIF” soap had nothing to do with Danzig and was not made from human fat, an also well-known fact, but it is good to remember the public from time to time of it.

There are, however, several points to which I cannot agree. IPN could not present new sources from eyewitnesses. Presenting to a TV audience the soap samples and the professor from the Warsaw Agricultural Academy who had analyzed them, was a good PR gag but did not bring new information. All alleged “new” witnesses were either witnesses from hearsay or had visited the institute months after it had been abandoned by the German scientists at the end of January 1945 and after its devastation, two months later, in the chaotic days of the Battle of Danzig and its immediate aftermath. IPN sweepingly discredited all evidence from the German side as “not trustworthy,” but accepted all incriminating evidence presented already in 1945, as “trustworthy,” without the slightest source criticism. As an historian, I am used to gauge sources critically: to treat every source seriously, but never to take it, from the outset, at face value. And sometimes it is also helpful to use common sense.

A second point of my criticism is the heavily biased way the “victims” of the soap-making were presented, particularly in the statement given to the western press: “Human remains have been brought ... from Kaliningrad, Bydgoszcz, and the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp.” As 99.99 per cent of the readers/listeners of this information are not specialized in Holocaust history, they will conclude: Bydgoszcz – Poles, Stutthof – Jews (in Poland: also Poles), Kaliningrad – Russians were boiled to soap. And so it arrived at the public, which can easily be seen by crawling the Web. And that is against the facts which IPN certainly knows. In the period to be considered for the soap-making, i.e. February 1944 to January 1945, for legal and practical reasons, neither corpses from Jews, nor from executed Poles or Russians could have been delivered to the institute. There may have been a few exceptions – even Nazi Germans were not always law-abiding. But all eyewitnesses who testified in 1945/46 confirmed that toward the end of the war, the “material” came from the Conradstein/Kocborowo insane asylum and from the prisons of Danzig/Gdansk, Elbing/Elblag, and Königsberg/Kaliningrad. That means, however, that the dead resp. executed must have been, in their great majority, non-Jewish German citizens. But “Germans” are never mentioned. By the way, I would like to know how the emaciated Stutthof prisoners would have been a suitable “raw material” for soap production. But such contradictions are characteristic for folktales and legends. They never bother neither the narrator, nor the listener.

My last remark will be about the statement of the chairman of the IPN committee, reported in all Polish media, that “the activities of Prof. Spanner [wartime head of the Anatomic Institute] belong to the most sinister chapters of World War II.” Well, it is in line with the commonly held opinion in Poland: that Spanner was “a monster,” an “arch-criminal,” “the prime example of the degeneration of scientists in Nazi Germany” (all quotes from teaching aids). It fits into the principal task traditionally assigned to Polish historiography by the national elites: to warm the people’s hearts and to foster national beliefs. But it is bad history. Spanner was neither a super-Mengele, nor an über-Clauberg. Just “a looter of corpses.”

ANGRY FOR GOD said...

Just out of curiousity, how many of you sat with a Holocaust survivor?