Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Auschwitz Sonderkommando Revolt in Contemporary Documents

In his recent book Bunt Sonderkommando, the Polish historian Igor Bartosik has published a new German document on the 7th October 1944 Jewish Sonderkommando revolt in Auschwitz-Birkenau (document Nr. 2 in the list below). This event is well known from testimonies from after the liberation of the camp, but there is also a substantial number of contemporary sources available:
  1. Report from the local police station Auschwitz on the escape of Sonderkommando prisoners on 7th September [recte: October] 1944.
  2. Telex from Auschwitz to police stations on the escape and shooting of crematoria prisoners on 7th October 1944.
  3. Labour force reports of 9th and 10th October 1944 on the decimation of the crematoria prisoners by 451 people and inactivity of crematorium 4.
  4. Secret camp resistance message on the 7th October 1944 Sonderkommando revolt.
  5. Garrison order on the killing of three SS men on 7th October 1944
  6. Sonderkommando list on the shooting of 460 Sonderkommando prisoners on 7th October 1944
  7. Sonderkommando manuscript on the 7th October 1944 Sonderkommando revolt.
These documents are too troublesome for Holocaust Revisionism as they a) heavily corroborate  the testimonial evidence and b) raise the question why the most secured detail in Auschwitz-Birkenau (see also Auschwitz Labour Force Reports as Evidence of Sinister Activity at the Crematoria) attempted a mass escape during daylight invitable resulting into deaths among the prisoners if there was no immediate threat to them. Just don't hold your breath for Revisionists to explain this. They haven't even offered yet any sound explanation why there were up to 903 prisoners employed at the crematoria - mostly idle according to their own hypothesis - in summer 1944 to begin with.

1. Report from the local police station Auschwitz, dated 7th September [recte: October] 1944:


Gegen 14.00 Uhr ist heute aus dem K.L. Auschwitz II vom Sonderkommando (Krematorium) eine grössere Anzahl Häftlinge ausgebrochen meist Juden. Die Häftlinge wurden bereits zum Teil bei der sofort aufgenommenen Verfolgung erschossen. Die Suchaktion wird fortgesetzt. Kennzeichen: geschoren, auf dem l. Unterarm eintatöwierte No. Kleidung teils Zivil mit roten Streifen. Weitere Fahndungsmassnahmen u. Verständigung der untergeordneten Stellen bitte ich sofort durchzuführen. Es sind nur noch 4 Häftlinge flüchtig."

"Escape report

Today around 14 o'clock, a large number of prisoners escaped from concentration camp Auschwitz II from the Sonderkommando (crematorium), mostly Jews. The prisoners were partly shot during the immediately started chase. The search operation is continued. Characteristics: close-cropped, tattooed number on the left forearm. Clothes partly civil with red stripes. Further manhunt measures and communication to the lower offices is requested. There are only four prisoners on escape left."
(Bartosik, Bunt Sonderkommando, p. 32, my translation; see also Carlo Mattogno and crematoria Sonderkommandos)

2. Telex from concentration camp Auschwitz to the RSHA and police stations of 8th October 1944


"Betr.: Beabsichtigte Massenflucht der in den hiesigen Krematorien beschäftigten Häftlinge. Am 7.10.44 beabsichtigten die Kommandos der hiesigen Krematorien eine Massenflucht. Durch schnelles und entschlossene Zugreifen der hies. Wachmannschaften konnte dieselbe jedoch vereitelt werden. Der größte Teil dieser Häftlinge wurde auf der Flucht erschossen. Z. Zt. werden noch folgendes Häftlinge vermisst: Rd. Vh. Bv.-Häftling Toepfer, Karl, geb. 20.2.12 zu Mühlhausen eingeliefert am 15.4.44 (Lublin) durch Kripo Erfurt, Tgb. Nr. 4944/42 K.Bv. -2.) Russischer Kriegsgefangener Schenkarenko, Aleksander, geb. 10.10.21 zu Witowzy, eingeliefert an 15.4.44 vom Stalag?, Kenn-Nr. 12766, besondere Kennzeichen: Kurzgeschorene Haare und auf der Brust eintätowierte Nr. 11526. - Transportjude..."


"Re: Intended mass escape of the prisoners employed in the local crematoria.

On 7 October 1944, the details of the local crematoria attempted a mass escape. However, this was defeated by the fast and resolute action of the local guard details. Most of the prisoners were shot on escape. At present, the following prisoners are still missing: Rd. Vh. Bv. prisoner Töpfer, Karl, born 20 February 1912 in Mühlhausen, admitted in 15 April 1944 (Lublin) by criminal police Erfurt, reference number 4944/42 K.Bv. 2.) Russian POW Schenkarenko, Aleksander, born 10 October 1921 in Witowzy, admitted on 15 April 1944 from Stalag?, ID 12766, special characteristic: close-copped hair and tattooed number 11526 on the breast. - transport Jew..."
(Bartosik, Bunt Sonderkommando, p. 34, my translation. According to Bartosik, there are four escaped prisoners mentioned in the telex, which matches to the previous document and supports that the escape report was actually written on 7 October 1944. Bartosik did not reply to my request to sent me the second page of the telex).

3. Male labour force reports between 7th and 10th October 1944
7 October 1944

"57-B.  Heizer Krematorium I.    Tag      [...]   84
57-B.  Heizer Krematorium I.    Nacht    [...]   85
58-B.  Heizer Krematorium II.   Nacht    [...]   85
58-B.  Heizer Krematorium II.   Tag       [...]  84
59-B.  Heizer Krematorium III.  Tag       [...]  84
59-B.  Heizer Krematorium III.   Nacht   [...]  85
60-B.  Heizer Krematorium IV.   Nacht   [...]  84
60-B.  Heizer Krematorium IV.   Tag       [...]  72"

9 October 1944

"57-B.  Heizer Krematorium I.    Tag     [...]   27
57-B.  Heizer Krematorium I.    Nacht   [...]  26
58-B.  Heizer Krematorium II.   Nacht   [...]  27
58-B.  Heizer Krematorium II.   Tag       [...]  26
59-B.  Heizer Krematorium III.  Tag       [...]  27
59-B.  Heizer Krematorium III.   Nacht  [...]  26
60-B.  Heizer Krematorium IV.   Nacht   [...]  27
60-B.  Heizer Krematorium IV.   Tag      [...]  26"

10 October 1944

"57-B.  Heizer Krematorium I.    Tag     [...]   33
57-B.  Heizer Krematorium I.    Nacht   [...]  33
58-B.  Heizer Krematorium II.   Nacht   [...]  33
58-B.  Heizer Krematorium II.   Tag       [...]  33
60-B.  Heizer Krematorium IV.   Nacht  [...]  33
60-B.  Heizer Krematorium IV.   Tag      [...]  33"

(Transcription inferred from 3 October 1944 male labour force report and Czech, Kalendarium, p. 898, 902, 903; Heizer = stoker, Tag = day, Nacht = night. Note that the data was obviously not updated the first day after the revolt and that crematorium 4 [III in the document's counting] was not manned anymore by 10 October 1944)

4. Secret message from the camp resistance of 9th October 1944


"9 October 1944. On Saturday the 7th, the Sonderkommando employed for the gassing and burning was supposed to be gassed. It did not came to the gassing, because the desperate prisoners, when they saw the unavoidable death infront of their eyes, threw themelves on the SS, killed six of them and forced their way through the chain of guards. About 200 were shot during the escape, about 500 have rescued themselves. One of the crematoria was set to fire. The overflying airplanes due the air raid on Silesia made the persecution more difficult. At the moment, the SS is publicly threating with bloody revenge on the prisoners, as they consider it an outrageous crime that the unfortunate prisoners did not allow to let themselves gassed. Berlin was informed about the matter in a special report [...]"

(Inmitten des grauenvollen Verbrechens, p. 182, my translation from the German translation provided in the book)

5. Garrison order number 26 of 12th October 1944

"Standortbefehl Nr. 26/44                                            Auschwitz, 12. Oktober 1944

1. In Ausübung ihres Dienstes fielen vor dem Feind getreu ihrem Eid auf den Führer am Sonnabend, dem 7.10.44

SS-Uscha. Rudolf Erler, geb. 31.8.04 5./SS-T-Stuba.KL Au. I
"                Willi Freese,  "   30.9.21 2./SS-T-Stuba.KL Au. II
"                Josef Purke,   "   28.2.03 1./SS-T-Stuba.KL Au. II

Wir werden den gefallenen Kameraden stets ein treues Andenken bewahren."


"Garrison order number 26/44 Auschwitz, 12 October 1944

1. On performing their duty, the following died faithfully in accordance with their oath on the Führer on Saturday, 7 October 1944:

SS-Unterscharführer Rudolf Erler, born 31 August 1994 5./SS-T-Stuba.KL Au. I
"                                Willi Freese, born 30 September 1921 2./SS-T-Stuba.KL Au. II
"                                Josef Purke, born 28 February 1903 1./SS-T-Stuba.KL Au. II

We will always remain true to the memory of the dead comrades."

(Standort- und Kommandanturbefehle des Konzentrationslagers Auschwitz 1940-1945, p. 499, my translation)

6. Undated list from a Sonderkommando prisoner of the exterminated people in Auschwitz-Birkenau


"7/10    460     m      rozstrzelac [?]    Sonder"


"7 October 460 m[ale] shot Sonder"
(Inmitten des grauenvollen Verbrechens, p. 136)

7. Handwriting from Sonderkommando prisoner Salmen Lewenthal of 1944

"But on the next day, i.e. on Saturday morning, 7 October 1944, we learnt that a transport with these 300 people from crematorium IV-V should leave. For the last time, we reinforced our positions and informed the people we had contact with how they should behave under the various circumstances. When it was 1:25 pm and they came to get those 300 people, they showed great courage as they did not want to move. They rose with a load cry and threw themselves with hammers and axes on the guards, wounded some of them, beat the others with what they could get and threw stones on them. One can easily imagine, what was the result of this. Moments later a whole battalion of SS arrived armed with machine guns and grenades. There were so many, that there were at least two machine guns against each prisoner. Such an army they mobilised against them. As our people saw that they were lost, they wanted to set fire to crematorium IV and to die in action, in the hail of bullets at this place. And so the whole crematorium ended up in smoke. When our detail at crematoria II-III saw the flames from the distance and heard the shooting, it was convinced that nobody was alive from this detail." 
(Inmitten des grauenvollen Verbrechens, p. 241 f., my translation)


27 September 2015: Corrected translation of document 2.)


Jeff said...

Hey Hans, I know you've had some dealings with Nicholas Kollerstrom in the past, so I thought you might want to see this. It pretty much wrecks his credibility to the point that anything he says can be dismissed offhand.


Hans said...

Thanks, that's definitely something to highlight also here at this blog.