Sunday, August 11, 2019

Nazi Document on Mass Extermination of Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau: The Franke-Gricksch Report

The so-called Franke-Gricksch report on the "resettlement action" in Auschwitz is the most detailed and explicit contemporary Nazi document on the mass murder of Jews in an extermination camp. The document describes the process of mass killing in Auschwitz-Birkenau, including how "the unfit [Jews] go to the basement of a biggish house" and  "are put to sleep" by "certain substances" introduced "by lowering containers into pillars from above" before "the corpses are incinerated". Previously, only a crude post-war copy of the report has been made public. We have located and now publish for the first time a war-time carbon copy made by the staff of the SS Personnel Main Office.

The Document


(BArch R 187/539, p. 24-25)

TRANSCRIPTION
Umsiedlungs-Aktion der Juden

Eine besondere Aufgabe hat das Lager Auschwitz in der Regelung der Judenfrage. Modernste Massnahmen ermöglichen hier in kürzester Zeit und ohne grosses Aufsehen die Durchführung des Führerbefehls.

Die sogenannte "Umsiedlungsaktion" der Juden läuft folgendermassen ab:

Die Juden kommen in Sonderzügen (Güterwagen) gegen Abend an und werden auf besonderen Gleise in eigens dafür abgegrenzte Bezirke des Lagers gefahren. Dort werden sie ausgeladen und durch Aerztekommissionen in Anwesenheit des Lagerkommandanten und mehrerer SS-Führer erst einmal auf Arbeitsfähigkeit untersucht. Hier kommt jeder, der noch irgendwie in den Arbeitsprozess eingebaut werden kann, kommt [sic!] in ein besonderers Lager. Vorübergehend Erkrankte kommen sofort in das Sanitätslager und werden durch besondere Kost wieder gesund gemacht. Grundsatz ist: Jede Arbeitskraft ist zu erhalten. Die "Umsiedlungsaktion" älterer Art wird völlig abgelehnt, da man es sich nicht leisten kann, wichtige Arbeitsenergien laufend zu vernichten.

Die Untauglichen kommen in ein größeres Haus in die Kellerräume, die von aussen zu betreten sind. Man geht 5 - 6 Stufen herunter und kommt in einen längeren, gut ausgebauten und durchlüfteten Kellerraum, der rechts und links mit Bänken ausgestattet ist. Er ist hell erleuchtet und über den Bänken befinden sich Nummern. Den Gefangenen wird gesagt, dass sie für ihre neuen Aufgaben desinfiziert und gereinigt werden, sie müssten sich also alle völlig entkleiden, um gebadet zu werden.

-2-

Um jegliche Panik und jede Unruhe zu vermeiden, werden sie angewiesen, ihre Kleider schön zu ordnen und unter die für sie bestimmten Nummern zu legen, damit sie nach dem Bad auch ihre Sachen wiederfinden. Es geht alles in völliger Ruhe vor sich. Dann durchschreitet man einen kleinen Flur und gelangt in einen grossen Kellerraum, der einem Brausebad ähnelt. In diesem Raum befinden sich drei grosse Säulen. In diese kann man - von oben ausserhalb des Kellerraumes - gewisse Mittel herablassen. Nachdem 300 - 400 Menschen in diesem Raum versammelt sind, werden die Türen geschlossen und von oben herab die Behälter mit den Stoffen in die Räume gelässen [sic]. Sowie diese Behälter den Boden der Säule berühren, entwickeln sie bestimmte Stoffe, die in einer Minute die Menschen einschläfern. Einige Minuten später öffnet sich an der anderen Seite eine Tür, die zu einem Fahrstuhl führt. Die Haare der Leichen werden geschnitt[en] und von besonderen Fachleuten (Juden) die Zähne ausgebrochen (Goldzähne). Man hat die Erfahrung gemacht, das[s] die Juden in hohlen Zähnen Schmuckstücke, Gold, Platin usw. versteckt halten. Danach werden die Leichen in Fahrstühle verladen und kommen in den 1. Stock. Dort befinden sich 10 grosse Krematoriumsöfen, in welchen die Leichen verbrannt werden. (Da frische Leichen besonders gut brennen, braucht man für den Gesamtvorgang nur 1/2 bis 1 Ztr. Koks.) Die Arbeit selbst wird von Judenhäftlingen verrichtet, die dieses Lager nie wieder verlassen.

Bisheriger Erfolg dieser "Umsiedlungsaktion": 500 000 Juden.

Jetzige Kapazität der "Umsiedlungsaktion"-Oefen: 10 000 Juden in 24 Stunden.
TRANSLATION
Jewish resettlement action.

The Auschwitz camp has a special task in the settlement of the Jewish question. The most modern methods make it possible to implement the Führer Order very quickly and discreetly. The so called “resettlement action” for the Jews proceeds as follows:

The Jews arrive in special trains (goods wagons) towards evening and are taken by a special line to a special area of the camp. There they are unloaded and examined by a medical board in the presence of the Camp Commandant and several SS leaders in the first place to see if they are fit for work. Here anybody who can be integrated into the work process in any way is sent to a special camp. Those with some temporary ailment are sent immediately to the quarantine camp and are brought back to health through a special diet. The basic principle is: keep as many prisoners as possible for labor. The “resettlement action” of the old sort is completely rejected, for it is not permissible to systematically destroy substantial labour capacities.

The unfit go to a biggish house, into the basement rooms, which are accessible from the outside. They descend 5 or 6 steps and come to a long, well built and ventilated basement, fitted with benches on the right and left. It is brightly lit, and above the benches are numbers. The prisoners are told that they are to be disinfected and washed ready for their new tasks. They therefore have to undress completely to be bathed. In order to avoid any panic or disorder, they are told to arrange their clothes neatly and leave them under a number so that they can find their things again after the bath. Everything proceeds in complete calm. They then go through a small corridor and arrive in a big basement room that resembles a shower room. In this room, there are three big pillars. Into these it is possible from above, outside the basement, to lower certain products. After 300 to 400 people have gathered in this room, the doors are closed and from above the containers with the products are lowered into the pillars. When the containers reach the floor of the pillars, they produce certain substances that put the people to sleep in one minute. A few minutes later, the door on the other side is opened, leading to a lift. The hair of the corpses is cut off and the teeth are broken out (gold teeth) by qualified people (Jews). It has been observed that Jews have hidden jewels, gold, platinum, etc. in hollow teeth. After this the corpses are loaded into the lift said go to the first floor. There, there are 10 big crematorium furnaces in which the corpses are burned. (As fresh corpses burn particularly well, the whole process requires only ½ to 1 Zentner of coke). The work itself is carried out by Jewish prisoners who will never leave this camp.

The result to date of this “resettlement action”: 500,000 Jews. The present capacity of the “resettlement action” furnaces: 10,000 in 24 hours.
(with some changes, the English translation is based on Pressac, Technique and Operation of the Auschwitz Gas Chambers, p. 239)


Provenance

The US historian Charles W. Sydnor wrote in the postscript of Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945:
"The Franke-Gricksch Memorandum, entitled "Umsiedlungsaktion der Juden" and originally discovered by this author in 1976, is a verbatim typed copy, in German, made from one of the carbon copies of the original at the time the carbon was first found, in the autumn of 1945, by a documents analyst of the U.S. Army, assisting in the process of assembling and evaluating materials for possible use as evidence in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. The carbon copy has never been relocated, and quite possibly is still buried in the mass of unindexed Nuremberg trial materials. The original of the Frank-Gricksch Memorandum, written for and submitted to the chief of the SS Personnel Office, Maximilien von Herff, has never been found.
The typed copy made from the carbon, found by this writer in a collection of private papers, was given along with the entire collection to the Tauber Institute at Brandeis University and is now deposited there."
The document analyst who located the report after the war was Eric M. Lipman of the U.S. Third Army, who typed a crude copy of the document (Figure 1). His copy included some English words ("had" instead of "hat", "and" instead of "an") and typos ("vörübergehend" instead of "vorübergehend").  Jean-Claude Pressac noted in his analysis of the Franke-Gricksch report that Lipman "seems to remember finding the carbon copy of the original report among a set of documents in a place he cannot recall exactly, somewhere in Bavaria".

Figure 1: Typed post-war copy of the Franke-Gricksch report, from Pressac, Technique and Operation of the Auschwitz Gas-Chambers, p. 238.

The British historian Gerald Fleming dedicated a section in his book Hitler and the Final Solution to discussing the historical context of the document. He cited Lipman's typewritten copy, but also stated that "one of three carbon copies from Alfred Franke-Gricksch's report ... is in author's possession." Fleming never published the carbon copy of the report. The Holocaust denier Brian Renk claimed in 1991 that he contacted Fleming about the carbon copy, but was only sent a photocopy of the typewritten copy as a reply. Whether true or not, it is not feasible to verify the formal authenticity of a document only known from a person's words.

In 2005, the British Holocaust denier David Irving joined the debate on the Franke-Gricksch report. According to his description, he did see the report at the former Berlin Document Center (BDC) in the 1980s (by the way, it is one of Irving's secrets as to why a document saying that "the most modern methods make it possible to implement the Führer Order very quickly and discreetly" does not personally implicate Hitler!). His reference (from memory) "238-I and II" looked like a reference to a file in the so-called Schumacher collection (thanks to our Nick Terry for this hint). Bruno Schumacher was an employee of the BDC, who collected all sorts of documents of various provenance on the National Socialist period.

With this in mind, we tried our luck in the Schumacher collection at the Bundesarchiv Berlin, which had incorporated the BDC files. A promising candidate turned up in the archive's search engine in the file R 187/539, with a document described as "resettlement action, camp Auschwitz, memo, without date". Its former BDC reference 240-I might be what Irving misremembered as 238-I. Indeed, the document turned out to be the report on the mass extermination of Jews reproduced above.


Historical Context

In late 1948, Alfred Franke-Gricksch of the former SS Personnel Main Office dictated to his wife a note on a meeting with the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler at his Headquarters in Lötzen in East-Prussia in Spring 1943 (Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution, p.153). According to this "diary", Himmler summoned Franke-Gricksch and his superior Maximilian von Herff because of increasing suicides and requests for front duty among SS leaders of "certain camps" in the East.

Figure 2: Alfred Franke-Gricksch, born 30.11.1906, promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer on 20.4.1943 and to SS-Obersturmbannführer on 1.9.1944 (BDC SSO file)

Von Herff believed "that some of the leaders in these camps cannot cope with the emotional burden and that they should, therefore, be taken to the front". Himmler denied the request to rotate the staff with the words that "you don't know the matter". He explained that "as you now have to go to these camps, you should also be informed of their task", namely carrying out Hitler's decision "to exterminate the biological centre of Judaism once and for all".

Figure 3: Maximilian von Herff, born 17.4.1893, promoted to SS-Gruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS on 31.1.1943 and to SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS on 20.4.1944 (BDC SSO file)

Himmler further emphasised that the execution of this "task does not tolerate any waste of time and must be carried out by all means, smoothly and without much attention" as "secrecy is the deciding factor in this case" and this "task, which is extremely difficult, must be performed by each and every one of them in an untainted manner". These words of Himmler - though only passed on by Franke-Gricksch - sound like his authentic speech as they reflect real concerns of the SS leadership (see also What's There to Hide? Camouflage and Secrecy of Nazi Extermination Sites).

The visit of the head of the SS Personnel Main Office and his adjutant to the East is well documented.

On 22 April 1943 von Herff informed the Higher SS and Police Leader of the General Government, Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger, of his plan to "carry out an official trip to the General Government in the first week of May [1943]" in order "to meet the [SS] leaders of the individual agencies". His adjutant Alfred Franke-Gricksch accompanied him. They intended to inspect Auschwitz concentration camp on 4 May 1943  (see Figure 5 below; Tuviah Friedman previously published the letter).

According to a lengthy trip report also written by Franke-Gricksch, the journey started with a flight from Berlin to Cracow on Tuesday 4th May 1943 and the inspection of Auschwitz in the afternoon (see Appendix A; we are grateful to Stephen Tyas for providing the images). The further sequence of the stations - Cracow, Lemberg, Lublin, Radom, Warsaw - is corroborated by a "travel itinerary" of Krüger's staff of 7 May 1943 (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Travel itinerary of the economy department of the Higher SS and Police Leader of the Generalgouvernement dated 7 May 1943 (BArch NS 19/1794, p.38).

The two SS officers from the SS Personnel Main Office reached Warsaw on 14 May and received "a detailed report on the battles in the ghetto" (trip report in Appendix A). Von Herff is pictured on a photograph taken during the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto.

According to Franke-Gricksch's post-war narrative, v. Herff had told Himmler to be "very happy if we make positive or negative notes for the personnel files of certain leaders to help them, after completion of the task by appropriate transfers".  Indeed, there exist assessment notes from the trip in the personnel SS officer files of the Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höß, the SS and Police Leader of Lublin Odilo Globocnik and the SS and Police Leader of Galizien Fritz Katzmann.

The so-called Final Solution of the Jewish Question was a significant task for Auschwitz concentration camp. For example, on 22 May 1943, a memo on a meeting between Hans Kammler and the Auschwitz SS reads that "in addition, there has recently been the Solution of the Jewish Question, for which the prerequisite for the accommodation of initially 60,000 inmates had to be made, which within a short time will grow to 100,000" (Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden durch das nationalsozialistische Deutschland 1933-1945, Band 16, Doc. 70).

The otherwise lengthy report of Alfred Franke-Gricksch on his trip to Auschwitz (Appendix A) is quite short, not to say silent on the role of the large Birkenau camp for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. The omission can be well understood if this delicate issue had been split off into an own report entitled "Resettlement Action of the Jews".

Carbon copy

Franke-Gricksch's above-reproduced account on mass extermination in Birkenau is a carbon copy, which is evident from the blurred contours of the letters. There were no additions made to the document after its creation (apart from the handwritten archival numbering). Thus, the top sheet fully included its content - but not necessarily vice versa (i.e. it is possible that the first sheet was signed, dated or commented after separated from its carbon copies).

The nature of a carbon copy is explained in appendix B to this posting. Just keep in mind that a carbon copy was written at the same time and by the same person and with the same strokes as the top sheet.


Typewriter

In the absence of a stamp, handwritten notes, pre-printed letterhead, etc., it seems challenging to verify a document's formal authenticity. There are, however, still a few more things that can provide valuable insights into the origin of a source, like the paper, the ink or the lettering of the typewriter.

In this case, the typewriter could be the key to verify the authorship of the document, since several letters lack strokes usually expected of the characters of this font. But the truncated letters are meaningless without a sample of known origin with the same combination of properties.

Since the report on the "resettlement actions of the Jews" was reportedly written by Franke-Gricksch about a trip together with his superior von Herff, we looked through their BDC files and those from their agency, the SS Personnel Main Office. The SS officer file of von Herff includes a typed copy of the letter to Krüger of 22 April 1943 (Figure 5). The document exists in two duplicates and displays the same characteristic letters as the report on Auschwitz.

Figure 5: Copies of a letter v. Herff to Krüger of 22.4.1943 from v. Herff's BDC SSO file (BArch R 9361-III/530593).

Figure 6 compares the letters of the Franke-Gricksch report (no. 1) with two copies of the writing to Krüger (no. 2 and 3) and two other documents from von Herff's and AFG's BDC SS officers files (no. 4 and 5) written with different typewriters for comparison.

As can be readily seen, the letters "i", "m", "n" and "u" appear defective in the Franke-Gricksch report and the letter to Krüger. While truncated letters can be occasionally found in other documents as well, it is the exact combination and characteristics of the defective letters, which point to the same typewriter. Another common feature is that the typewriter lacked capital Umlaute (Ä, Ö, Ü), Eszett  (ß) and the sig rune (or the author decided not to use it).

Figure 6: Comparison of the letters of the various documents. The boxes indicate the defective letters of the typewriter used for the Franke-Gricksch report and the copy of the letter to Krüger.

To be on the safe side, we had photographs of the documents examined by a qualified expert on typescripts. According to this expert opinion, both the report on Auschwitz (document "A") and the Krüger letter (document "B") were written with the font AR 1 from the company Ransmayer & Rodrian with a layout in use since 1930. The analysis concludes the following:
"The matching system features and type features justify the conclusion that the documents  "A" and "B" were with a great probability [mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit] written with one and the same typewriter. A higher probability statement was not possible because the examined documents were not available as originals."
(expert opinion of 3 April 2019 by Bernhard Haas, Sachverständiger für Maschinenschriften, provided to the author)

Style

The minimalistic formal style of the report is found in other notes from their trip to Auschwitz and the General Gouvernement (duty trip report and the assessment notes on Höß, Globocnik and Katzmann, which all lack letterhead, date and signature).

Figure 7 are further examples of reports written by Franke-Gricksch without many formalities.


Figure 7: Top: First page of a report by Franke-Gricksch; the last page is signed by him. Bottom: Last page of a report by Franke-Gricksch.  From his Handakte at the SS Personnel Main Office, BArch NS 34/15.

The command of language is compatible with that of Franke-Gricksch in other correspondence (see the correspondence in his BDC SSO file BArch R 9361-III/524709). For instance, the Auschwitz report makes grammatically correct use of parentheses, including the relatively rare case of an independent sentence. Franke-Gricksch showed the same use in a letter to Rudolf Brandt of 17 October 1941.

 Perspective

The first paragraph deals with the increasing lack of labour force in the Third Reich and the change of the extermination policy to meet the demands of the armament industry. The author points out the "basic principle" to "keep as many prisoners as possible for labor", even caring for "those with some temporary ailment" with "a special diet". It is now regarded as "not permissible to destroy systematically substantial labour capacities" as in the past. The statement also implies the view that it was perfectly permissible to kill those Jewish, which were found unfit for work in the long term. The systematic mass murder was considered justified within the framework of the Nazi ideology.

The author writes about the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of people, but carefully avoids terms and images that may discredit this policy and practise. The whole operation including the mass killing is termed a "resettlement action" - a common phrase among the Nazi authorities used to camouflage (morally and towards outsiders) the extermination of the Jews (see Appendix C). The Jewish prisoners carrying out the gruesome work "will never leave this camp" - another way to say they are liquidated. The killing capacity of 10,000 people per day is wrapped into the technical phrase "present capacity of the 'resettlement action' furnaces".

The murderous activity inside the crematoria is alleged to have been as pleasant as possible. The victims enter a "well built and ventilated basement, fitted with benches" and "brightly lit". They are told to get "disinfected and washed ready for their new tasks" and "everything proceeds in complete calm". Before they really notice it, they are put "to sleep in one minute". The picture - based on the (mis)conception of the Nazi Mass Euthanasia with a clean and sudden death - was denying the agony of the victims during the mass gassings with Zyklon-B.

The report pays almost no attention to the executioners - with two exceptions. Implicitly, by noticing that "the work itself is carried out by Jewish prisoners", it assures that the SS men stay away from the most dreadful work and especially the corpses. But the author did not dare to address the issue of what the SS staff was doing. Perhaps he still felt uncomfortable with their role but knew there was nothing to do about it anyway.  Himmler already denied the transfer of SS leaders to the front because of the mental strain in certain camps in his earlier briefing for the trip at his Headquarters in Lötzen in East-Prussia.

The other appearance of the SS in the report is that of "the Camp Commandant and several SS leaders" during the selection at the ramp. The observation and terminology make total sense for an officer of the SS Personnel Main Office. The "SS leaders" were precisely the group of people Franke-Gricksch was interested in his job. For the same reason, he and v. Herff requested "to meet the [SS] leaders of the individual agencies" in the letter to Krüger of 22 April 1943.

In short, the report clearly describes the mass extermination of Jewish people in Auschwitz from a perpetrator's point of view.

Reliability

A detailed analysis of the reliability of the report can be found in Appendix C.

The document portrays the primary trend of the Nazi extermination policy towards the Jews, the increasing focus on forced labour while ruthlessly killing unfit people regarded as so-called useless eaters.

Its implementation in Auschwitz is outlined with numerous details of the extermination process, which are supported by other sources. The author traces the path of the victims: they arrive in freight cars (so-called special trains) in a separate area of the camp, those unfit for work are sorted out and sent to a biggish house. They use steps to enter the undressing basement with benches and hooks and are funnelled into the killing cellar through a corridor. The poison substance is introduced from the top of the roof through columns. The Jewish prisoners working at the site remove hair and gold teeth from the corpses, which are brought to the ground floor by an elevator. The corpses are incinerated in coke-fired crematoria ovens on the ground floor.

The level of detail displayed by the author reflects extensive insider knowledge and is only comparable to that provided by SS men, Jewish Sonderkommando prisoners and other prisoners who became eyewitnesses in the crematoria. In contrast to that, reliable information about the extermination sites was barely known outside of the inner circle (see also Knowledge of Mass Extermination Among Hungarian Jews Returning from Auschwitz).

It should be mentioned, however, that the report contains several inaccuracies, some of which can be explained as a result of simple memory lapses, inattentiveness, poor view, exaggerations of the tour guide, others need a more sophisticated explanation.

The most severe mistake appears to be the description of the victims being removed from the gas chamber through a door at the opposite side of where they entered the gas chamber. Even if - and it's a big if - the gas chamber of crematorium 2 had already been divided into two and if Franke-Gricksch had noticed that door between two gas chambers, it could not have escaped him that the victims were taken out from the same door they had previously entered the chamber if he witnessed the scene.

Therefore, one can presume that a break occurred during the visit, as pointed out by the Auschwitz researcher Jean-Claude Pressac. If the SS visitor left the basement before the gas chamber was opened, and returned to the basement later on through a different entrance (or did not return at all), one could explain his confusion concerning the clearing of the gas chamber as a misunderstanding.

Another issue is whether Franke-Gricksch did witness an actual gassing or only the empty crematorium. So far, there seems to be no evidence to support Jean-Claude Pressac's belief that the Greek transport had not arrived yet when the SS officers from Berlin inspected the place. If the train had already been in Auschwitz, it is conceivable that Höß would have ordered to take out a few hundreds of victims from it to crematorium 2 for a show gassing for his visitors. However, neither is there evidence that the SS officers observed the operation of the killing site.

What is remarkable is that numerous details in the report are consistent with and correspond to those of the manuscripts written by the Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höß after the war (first published in German in 1958 and earlier in Polish in 1951, see Broszat, Kommandant in Auschwitz, 2000, p.14). A striking example is a description in both accounts that they found valuables hidden in hollow teeth of some victims - a detail not mentioned in many other testimonies on the subject (the only exception known to me is Benedikt Kautsky's memoir Teufel und Verdammte, 1946).

The substantial overlap in content supports that an SS officer guided by the Auschwitz commandant authored the report. It is also no surprise that after the war Höß remembered especially well exactly those details on mass extermination, which he used to tell his visitors to the camp.


 Conclusion

The document presented at the beginning of this article can be considered an authentic note of the SS officer Alfred Franke-Gricksch (AFG) on mass extermination of Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau written as a result of his trip to the East for several reasons:

1. The note fits into the gap left by AFG's lengthy trip report (Appendix A) on the subject of Solution of the Jewish Question in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

2. Its formal style corresponds to that of other notes on the trip, its linguistic style corresponds to that of AFG.

3. It was created with a typewriter that was most likely also used for the copy of a letter authored by AFG a few days before his trip to the East.

4. The report describes the mass extermination of Jews in Auschwitz from a perpetrator's point of view.

5. The interest shown in the "SS leaders" is characteristic for AFG and matches the purpose of his trip to the East.

6. The level of detail reported is consistent with an eyewitness of the site. The description of the actual killing process could be hearsay, but in that case, it would have been obtained from the accompanying SS staff (i.e., the Auschwitz commandant).

7. The significant correspondence between the content of the report and the testimony of the Auschwitz commandant suggests that the latter was the report's major source of information as a tour guide.

Maximilian von Herff is quoted from his post-war diary that "the extermination of the Jews was the beginning of our misfortune. Here men had to appear and stop it".

The two SS officers appeared at the camps but did not stop it. On the contrary, Franke-Gricksch's impression, as noted in his report, was glossing over the extermination of the Jews.


_______________________________________________________________________

Appendix A: Franke-Gricksch's Trip Report on the Journey to Poland, 4 to 16 May 1943



Appendix B: Carbon Copies



Appendix C: Reliability of the Franke-Gricksch Report on the Jewish Resettlement in Auschwitz


Appendix D: The Franke-Gricksch Report and Holocaust Deniers




________________
Changes
6 October 2019: Correction on Figure 7, see also this comment. The previous version is documented here.
16 October 2019: changed "most likely" into "with a great probability" in the translation of the quote from the expert opinion.

55 comments:

  1. I want to be the first:

    FAN-TAS-TIC!

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Same here, and glad that this is one of the most viewed HC articles.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is the most-viewed in the past month, with nearly 4,000 views in two weeks.

    Some of our 'reference' posts attract 2,000 views every month even many years after publication, while other posts on popular misconceptions like shrunken heads/soap/hair:
    http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2017/11/nazi-shrunken-heads-human-skin.html
    also get high hundreds of views a month 21 months on.

    This article will tick over at a lower rate in the medium to long term, as it concerns a document that isn't so well known, unless one is very familiar with Auschwitz, and unsurprisingly a lot of our traffic comes from google searches. But it's a substantive reference point, so we'll see how well it does in the long term.

    ReplyDelete
  4. off-topic denier conspiraloon spam deleted. We don't mind deniers commenting here, but we do expect comments to be relevant to the post above, see our comments policy:
    http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/p/comments-policy.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. Parece mentira que aquellos que se consideran historicistas rigurosos en el debate acerca del llamado "holocausto" presten credibilidad y le brinden veracidad a un documento apócrifo, de fuente primaria dudosa, sin fechas, sin firmas, sin muestras originales escrutadas y sobretodo plagado de giros idiomáticos anglicistas en su redacción, que mas alumbran a signarlo como un "documento original" fabricado como muchos en que se basó el libro de Presacc.
    Para el que quiera ahondar en dicho ver:
    http://www.jrbooksonline.com/cwporter/cfgrep1.htm

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh dear, here we have a dogmatic denier who didn't bother to actually read the article. How typical.

    Note that we *prove* that the document we have located is authentic, it obviously doesn't contain any anglicisms (and that's how we know the denier above didn't even bother to read the article), and Porter's arguments are debunked in the appendix (since he doesn't bring anything new to the table to what Mattogno and Renk provide).

    Holocaust deniers are so intellectually deficient...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Some chimp at CODOH:

    "Hieldner
    Valued contributor
    Re: another fake document: 'Resettlement Action Report'
    Post5 hours 44 minutes ago (Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:45 pm)

    Note that according to Brian Renk’s article, Franke-Gricksch was never enlisted in the Waffen SS under this name."

    Funny how many of them insist on commenting *without reading*.

    Renk is fully exposed in Appendix D and this "argument" in particular shows him to be nothing but a crude ignoramus:

    "we are indeed dealing here with H-denial's "expert" on Alfred Franke-Gricksch becomes clear from the fact numerous wartime documents do not bear the name "Franke" but Alfred Franke-Gricksch (like those here and here available online at least since 1999). Also, his signature did read "Franke-Gricksch" at the time, as is evident from this document (BArch R 9361-III/524709):"

    That's Holocaust denial for you, folks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Same applies to the Lamprey that posted Renk-based article as a counter-argument to the debunking *of these very non-arguments* by Renk.

    That's the best they can do, folks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Silly mr piper...
      Thinking cause David is a yidd too...
      Would be ok to tell the world on camera...
      That the alleged gas chamber...
      Was built in 1948....
      Now explain why you would do that...
      When you have your hands on all the evidence...??

      Delete
    2. Better still let's discuss how little Annie used a biro before it was invented...??
      You believe little Annie's story surely mundane....

      Delete
  9. The brain-damaged neo-Nazi chimp above spouted the mindless denier talking points without realizing all of them have been debunked:

    http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2017/06/debunking-david-coles-auschwitz-video.html
    http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2017/05/rebutting-twitter-denial-most-popular.html#annefrank

    ReplyDelete
  10. OIO, any further spam from you not discussing the Franke-Gricksch Report will be deleted without notification.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Holocaust "revisionism" is one giant circus as we can all see here.

    ReplyDelete
  12. So are those images just supposed to be a 2-page excerpt of a larger report? I see the 2nd page has a "- 2 -" at the top but also they have "24" and "25" written on the top right. So would they be page 24 and 25 of a more complete report? Are you going to post the rest of the report in another blog post?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not aware and don't think that there is a larger report on the extermination of Jews. The handwritten page numbers 24 & 25 are those of the file compiled by the Berlin Document Center employee Bruno Schumacher after the war.

      Delete
    2. Gricksch's [German] wikipedia page labels it "Franke-Gricksch Report 1943 (auszugsweise Abschrift)" so an excerpted copy. Also, on the copy typed by Lipamn, it says it is "Part of a report..."

      You provide figure 7 which is also not titled, dated, or signed either. However, I think in this case it probably is actually just a section of a larger report, and that it just wasn't entirely typed out because this was the more incriminating part that was to be used for the Nuremberg trials.

      Why do I think this? I reasoned that: How else would Lipman (or whoever found it) have known it was a report by Franke-Gricksch, or the date of the report [or the time period it is describing], since clearly there is no name or date on the two pages? The document in the archive you mention titled it "resettlement action, camp Auschwitz, memo, without date" so it's like they didn't even know what the date was.

      So, am I wrong to state that the date and author of these two page report is inferred solely by the 3-line message at the top of the copy we have had? The copy says it is part of a report from 4-16 May, 1943. That's what confused me at first, because then I looked at Appendix A and it said that it was a report from the same period (4-16th May, 1943) and it has a section on Auschwitz, but it doesn't described the gassings. I thought those 2 pages was just an excerpt of that other report, but then noticed the page numbers.

      My thought is, maybe the 2-page report was some sort of addendum added to the end of the longer report, where the longer report was not so much of a secret but those 2 pages, which are clearly incriminating, were solely "on a need to know basis" and, therefore, not spread around with the longer report (or were destroyed after reading). I could also be wrong, but I am not aware of any facts that would contradict this theory

      Delete
    3. Well, yes that's pretty much what I think.

      I should have elaborated more on this point, in the last paragraph of the section on context:

      "The otherwise lengthy report of Alfred Franke-Gricksch on his trip to Auschwitz (Appendix A) is quite short, not to say silent on the role of the large Birkenau camp for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. The omission can be well understood if this delicate issue had been split off into an own report entitled "Resettlement Action of the Jews"."

      As you say, Lipman most likely learnt about date of the trip and author from the long trip report, i.e. both documents were originally found in the same file. The reports - or at least one set of carbons, in case there were more than one - had been separated: the British dossier only knows about the long trip report, while Schumacher put only the "Resettlement Action" report in his file (a mixed compilation of various Nazi correspondence). It would be extremely interesting to relocate the original long trip report (we only know the translation from the British for now) and to compare the used typewriter with that of employed for the "Resettlement Action" report. The odds are good that Franke-Gricksch typed them on the same.

      Delete
  13. While you mentioned Figure 7, I did a mistake here. These are first and last page of different reports by Franke-Gricksch. The last page of the first report is signed by AFG. For the second report I cannot tell at the moment how the first page looks like.

    But also in this case it can be said that AFG did start/finish some of his reports without formalities.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well done Hans. You've completely demolished your colleague's wishful thinking about FG having authored a further appendix on mass-killing in AR.
    https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?p=2065230#p2065230


    After spending two days with Globocnik FG wrote:

    either this generation of ours succeeds in clearing up the Jewish problem completely and to its last consequences or, if their liquidation is not completely achieved, the Jewish people will rise again after this wave of oppression. Some individual cases may appear hard or even brutal but seeing these people in large masses and knowing how dangerous their passive attitude is to the life of the nations, one comes to the conclusion that this problem has to be cleared up completely to free the world once and for all of this pestilence."

    Chilling. More contemporary evidence of the genocide the nazis committed in B,S,T.

    The AU appendix is almost certainly a crude forgery, as I detailed on the AHF thread, cobbled together in Nuremberg in late-1947.

    The best you've got is your expert's opinion that the documents were likely, but not definitely, typed on the same typewriter. And, as is your wont, you haven't mentioned a word to your readers about the lack of a similar appendix on AR.

    There's some obvious files in TNA that no one appears to have ever checked r.e. the FG report and the alleged appendix: those containing docs on the capture, interrogations, and interment of von Herff,

    btw, you didn't post p.4 from Tyas.

    ReplyDelete
  15. BROI: "The AU appendix is almost certainly a crude forgery, as I detailed on the AHF thread, cobbled together in Nuremberg in late-1947."

    You have not detailed that it is "almost certainly" a forgery. You have pointed out that some items in the report appear in other sources after the war. This is nothing unusual but expected also for an authentic Auschwitz report. It is also expected that you will find some random, numerical coincidences like "300-400" people, which Nyiszli clearly assigned NOT to the crematoria. Just as strange is that the alleged forger with all his post-war material enabling him to write on Auschwitz did not know about Zyklon-B.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By the way, Nyiszli wrote that those 300-400 undressing in the farmhouse, who were actually from a group of 500 to be killed, were shot in the neck and burnt alive in the burning pit, not gassed. It is unlikely that anyone could mistaken this description "for being about Krema II". But a forgery hypothesis does not need to make much sense, I suppose?

      Delete
  16. It's a perfect definition of *denial* - the authenticity of the report now confirmed forensically, the Rabbit can now only close his eyes and ears and stomp his lil feet, referring back to his musings that had already been debunked even before the report's authenticity was finally confirmed.

    And of course there could have easily been a further report on AR, nothing has changed in this regard.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "You have not detailed that it is "almost certainly" a forgery."

    You misread me. I detailed that it was almost certainly cobbled together in Nuremberg during late-1947.

    It kinda goes without saying that it's "almost certainly a crude forgery".

    Lets look at the top Auschwitz expert's handling of this important document.

    Van Pelt never mentions "the most detailed and explicit contemporary Nazi document on the mass murder of Jews in an extermination camp" in:

    - His "award winning" BBC documentary "Blueprints of Genocide" [1994]
    - His book Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present [1996]
    - His expert report for the Irving-Penguin/Lipstadt trial [1999]
    - His 5 days of testimony at said trial [2000]
    - His book The Case for Auschwitz [2002]
    - His articles in the Neue Studien [2011]

    Despite clearly knowing of its existence:

    - Gerald Fleming, who published the text in 1982, features heavily in the documentary
    - He cites and discusses Pressac's A:T&O, which features facsimiles of Lipman's transcription, many times in his report and in CfA
    - He cites and discusses a JHR article that states "it is a postwar fabrication" in his report and in CfA

    If it wasn't "almost certainly a crude forgery" then van Pelt wouldn't have spent 25 years studiously avoiding even mentioning it.


    "... we tried our luck in the Schumacher collection at the Bundesarchiv Berlin, which had incorporated the BDC files. A promising candidate turned up in the archive's search engine in the file R 187/539, with a document described as "resettlement action, camp Auschwitz, memo, without date". Its former BDC reference 240-I ..."

    Will your discovery be on roll 1 or roll 1B of the microfilms that were filmed and given to an archive in NYC way back in 1959?
    https://www.archives.gov/files/research/captured-german-records/microfilm/t457.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  18. "According to a lengthy trip report also written by Franke-Gricksch ... (see Appendix A; we are grateful to Stephen Tyas for providing the images)."
    - Hans, 11 Aug 2019

    Why didn't you use Nick's?

    "Nick Terry examined it and has photos"
    Sergey, 1 Oct 2016

    ReplyDelete
  19. Still no convincing arguments for forgery, BRoI. Whether van Pelt or another historian did or did not use a document that at the time survived only as a postwar transcription doesn't tell us anything about the authenticity or lack thereof of a copy that is clearly typed up in the same manner as many other wartime Nazi documents.

    BArch R 187/539 is not mirrored in the Sammlung Schumacher collection at NARA, or the Yad Vashem copy of the older Bundesarchiv Sammlung Schumacher microfiching. I have checked both, and also looked in some other NARA collections that are related to the BDC non-personnel files, as well as the BDC files for F-G and Herff, without coming across the document.
    The Bundesarchiv finding guide listing for R 187/537 makes it clear that this file is actually from another archivist working in parallel to Schumacher, whose files are now merged into 'Sammlung Schumacher'. I have a few ideas as to which of the NARA microfilmed BDC file collections this might correlate to, but didn't get around to checking them.

    The 1959 copies in T457 wouldn't necessarily capture all of the archiving work done by Schumacher and others, which was as I understand it ongoing through to the 1960s.

    The F-G report carbon copy is also incidentally not in the Ludwigsburg files of documents copied from Sammlung Schumacher, confirming that R 187/537 isn't a strict Schumacher file. The Ludwigsburg Schumacher copies include docs that *are* in NARA T580, such as the originals of the Globocnik reports on Aktion Reinhard.

    ReplyDelete
  20. BRoI: "Why didn't you use Nick's?"

    Hans received the pics from Steve Tyas before the issue arose. And quite possibly because they were freshly transferred rather than requiring rummaging around older folders passed around the group. I have been asked several times by Sergey for files I copied for him years back :-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Following up on the Schumacher vs other collection issue, R 187/537 was previously Sammlung Reese, R 187/540, BDC Research O. 240 I. There is a serendipitous coincidence in numbering with Sammlung Schumacher 240 I and II, but Sammlung Schumacher lacks the O. prefix to its file numbering.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Or rather it's more normally spelled out as Ordner or Ord. 240 I in the case of Schumacher. The 'BDC Research' and 'Sammlung Reese' parts are in any case decisively different, but the similarity was enough to prompt a search of R 187, which has now merged the Reese and Schumacher collections.

    ReplyDelete
  23. "The 1959 copies in T457 wouldn't necessarily capture all of the archiving work done by Schumacher and others, which was as I understand it ongoing through to the 1960s.

    As he died in 1957 it's unlikely that he personally would have added further documents to his files after they were microfilmed in 1959.

    If it isn't on microfilm 1 or 1B, whether in BDC 240 I or 240 II, then Schumacher never saw it.



    ReplyDelete
  24. Fair point, but also now irrelevant since the document was in Sammlung Reese, now merged with Sammlung Schumacher.

    ReplyDelete
  25. "I have been asked several times by Sergey for files I copied for him years back."

    Who could doubt your word about TNA docs!
    https://holocausthistorychannel.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/a-case-of-shabby-plagiarism-by-holocaust-controversies/

    It is interesting that a Holocaust historian didn't think a few words from a 1943 SS report by a direct witness to OG's work in Lublin was worth including in the WP.

    "either this generation of ours succeeds in clearing up the Jewish problem completely and to its last consequences or, if their liquidation is not completely achieved, the Jewish people will rise again after this wave of oppression. Some individual cases may appear hard or even brutal but seeing these people in large masses and knowing how dangerous their passive attitude is to the life of the nations, one comes to the conclusion that this problem has to be cleared up completely to free the world once and for all of this pestilence."

    ReplyDelete
  26. Best update the article then, Hans. Need a few words on this Reese person, and better delete the part about Schumacher, who's now irrelevant according to Nick.

    ReplyDelete
  27. > I detailed that it was almost certainly cobbled together in Nuremberg during late-1947.

    But you haven't, as already shown at AHF.

    > If it wasn't "almost certainly a crude forgery" then van Pelt wouldn't have spent 25 years studiously avoiding even mentioning it.

    If I didn't know that you were capable of such braindead illogical non sequitur bullshit, I would have said you were being deceptive, but I already know you're capable of this and worse, so you're just being dumb as usual. Obviously, before our authentication of the document it was extremely suspect, and in any case not useful against deniers. I would have advised against using it before we showed its authenticity which you cannot address.

    > Why didn't you use Nick's?

    Why should we have? (Correction to Nick's comment: I received the files from Steve and sent them to Hans).

    Btw, I have "lost"/misplaced quite a few files throughout the years. I'm pretty sure I also had the report from Webb. I am still searching for some important photos I once received from the Auschwitz museum. Such is life.


    ReplyDelete
  28. > I have been asked several times by Sergey for files I copied for him years back :-)

    Speaking of which, can you please find the Morgen stuff?

    ReplyDelete
  29. "the authenticity of the report now confirmed forensically"

    Two lies in your short statement.

    1. The expert only looked at Hans' photos; he can't "forensically" examine a document in a photo. He says as much in the email Hans quotes, and his methods of forensic examination are detailed on his website.
    http://schriftexperte.de/arbeitsweise/

    2. "Confirmed" is not a synonym for "most likely", nor for "probability".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not quoting an e-mail, but a written "Gutachten" (expert opinion) sent to me in paper form.

      Of course, I could have also requested an analysis of the originals. But paying an expert's travel, stay and work at Bundesarchiv Berlin is far beyond my budget and stands in no relation to the possible gain. Moving from "most likely" to "extremely likely" or "certainly" is not worth a fortune. Especially since style, context, perspective, content of the doc already do the job. And anyone who still believes in a forgery after this posting, won't change his mind by an even stronger expert opinion anyway.

      Delete
  30. Unsurprisingly, both accusations of lying turn out to be lies themselves.

    Experts don't express "certainty", only conclusions of more or less likely. Sure, we could have achieved an even higher likelihood by having him microscopically examine the originals but that is simply not necessary, as the likelihood following from the expert's report (given the fact of not only the same font, which is trivial, but of specifically same 4 defective letters - calculating the ballpark probability of that having occurred in two different typewriters by chance is not difficult) is already sufficiently beyond the reasonable doubt (a further test would simply move the plank even higher).

    Since the Rabbit has to defend his blind faith, he will do what he usually does when cornered: pathologically lie while accusing others of being liars.

    A recent example of such behavior is exposed here:

    https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?p=2081564#p2081564

    ReplyDelete
  31. Dear Mr. ****

    On 11 August 2019, an article was published by a group of Holocaust researchers headed by Dr. **** ****, a history lecturer at the University of ******.

    Their article states that you examined photographs of two documents thought to have been written on the same typewriter, and quotes from your "expert opinion" dated 3 April 2019, as following:

    [...]

    Despite the unambiguousness of your your statement, the group has published the following statement:

    "the authenticity of the report now confirmed forensically"

    Do you agree with their claims that you 1) "forensically" examined the letters in the photos; 2) confirmed "the authenticity" of the report [meaning that the documents were unquestionably written on the same typewriter]?

    --------------------------

    I wonder what he'll say?

    Based on this Institute of Contemporary History article, he doesn't opine *indubitably* even when he's handled original documents and had the typewriter to test.
    https://www.ifz-muenchen.de/heftarchiv/2009_2_4_beierl.pdf






    ReplyDelete
  32. > he doesn't opine *indubitably*

    Because no credible expert does, dummy.
    As I have *just* explained above. You can't read, your have no idea how experts work and you lied once again: "the group has published the following statement:" - the group did no such thing. As I wrote many times before and will, undoubtedly, have to write many more times in the future, you're a pathological liar.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Something I wrote internally, anticipating this would come up. (The original German formulation is "mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit").

    Sergey Romanov
    Jun 26#194
    There should be a very short discussion of the meaning of "probably" in experts' reports. They never exhibit 100% certainty, so "with a high probability" is as factual as it goes and would be accepted by any court.

    ReplyDelete
  34. BRoI: "It is interesting that a Holocaust historian didn't think a few words from a 1943 SS report by a direct witness to OG's work in Lublin was worth including in the WP."

    WP, p.237: "this chapter has not touched on many quite important incidents and sources – in part deliberately."

    There were many sources available to us in 2011 that we didn't include in the WP, some even more obvious, eg the Kolomea-Belzec reports, which I copied within the same 12 months as the long F-G report, several years before the WP.

    Incidentally I don't recall anyone writing on Aktion Reinhard or the Holocaust in Poland in the 2010s using that quote from the long F-G report, although it would sit very well alongside many other sources from 1942-44 echoing the same sentiments (Bouhler to Bormann in 1942 also speaking of 'last consequences', Himmler remarks, Hans Frank remarks, etc).

    ReplyDelete
  35. I don't doubt that the document is authentic, but i really wonder what is it you find so important in it.
    Is it the two last sentences quite unrelated with the body of the report?
    Is it something else?
    Personally, i can quite understand why Van Pelt did not feel obliged to use it.

    Not only are the basic information contained in this report well known, but their rendition is approximate to say the least.

    Reading it, it feels like the selection taking place at the Judenramp did they best to select everyone that could work, and even those not in shape, by sending them to special healthcare accommodation to get them better and able to work. That from now on the focus was to recruit whoever could work, and that some old way of exterminating was from now on somehow out of date. The feeling reading it is that recruitment was now the priority, and that only the really unusable would have to be exterminated.

    And then the report goes on describing how the really unusable, in this case 300 to 400 Jews, (from a transport?) was sent to krema 2 or 3 to be gassed, while those facilities could actually kill 4 times as much.

    So yes, there is a new policy, only the really unusable are going to be killed as it is from now on out of question to spoil any potential work force, and the report conclude by saying that so far 500.000 have already been killed and that the current, but quite in contradiction of the so called new policy, killing capacity was of 10.000 a day.

    So the report claims that: " Die "Umsiedlungsaktion" älterer Art wird völlig abgelehnt, da man es sich nicht leisten kann, wichtige Arbeitsenergien laufend zu vernichten", while in the end boasting that 10.000 "work energy" could be destroyed daily at the day of the writing.

    So yes, what do you see so important in this report?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't add anything new to the historiography but it obviously blows denial out of water. And if the selection percentages were not say 95% any longer but 75% killed, like during the Hungarian action, that's still the huge majority.

      Delete
    2. Balsamo, it's in the introduction:

      "...the most detailed and explicit contemporary Nazi document on the mass murder of Jews in an extermination camp..."

      There are surely more reliable and detailed testimonies on micro-issues of the mass extermination in Auschwitz (or any other extermination camp), and if you take for instance somebody like Rudolf Höß there are also more detailed and reliable accounts from higher perspectives. But these are post-war, post-Nazi state, or not official Nazi sources. So basically it is the origin of the document AND its explicit and detailed character which makes it quite unique.

      If you regard this as "important" is another matter. From the point of view of a Holocaust historian it is probably not so important, except if you are interested in how the an extermination camp was perceived by a high-level Nazi closely after his experience.

      From the point of view of anti-Holocaust denial, it certainly is quite an important document to show that the evidence on extermination camps is also based on explicit Nazi documents (my recently posted Kulmhof document would be another example, but not as detailed as the Franke-Gricksch report).

      Delete
  36. Thanks Sergey, yes in this perspective. I tend to forget deniers.
    There a a couple of very interesting things in this report. The first would be the announcement of the change of policy.
    The term used - völlig abgelehnt - is quite srong and powerful, too powerful if it only refers to some change in the number of people to be selected for work.

    The second is that the report described what the New "Umsiedlungsaktion", and it actually consider the selection for work as part of it, apparently in opposition to an "old way" which consisted only of killing the Jews.

    Another term used strikes me, it is " noch irgendwie" when describing who is to be selected. The way it is translated does not make justice to its maximalist sense. It really means that everyone who could still somehow be used in the work process are to be selected and sent to a special camps (which one?) and if sick sent to hospital and given special food to get cured and put back to work.

    This is not how one would describe a process in which 75% of a transport would still be killed.
    Quite the contrary, he seems to consider that those are really hopelessly useless are to sent to the gas chamber, as even the sicks if potentially usable after being cured are to be spared.

    It seems that the author has been told a lot of bullshits during his tour.

    But if he really understood the new "Umsiedlungsaktion" this way, the addition that the camp had a capacity of disposing 10.000 corpses a day seems even more out of place. As if we understand how he sees the Aktion, based on selecting as many workable Jews as possible, a selection that is fully integrated into the new definition Aktion, such a capacity is almost irrelevant.

    And when in the end, he gives Hoess numbers, does he consider them through the new policy or the old one?

    So what is he thinking when speaking about the old way? It is not clear. But given that the report is based on a discussion with Hoess, one might have the impression that Hoess was opposing his way (Auschwitz-Birkenau) to the old way, recently abandoned, that is the AR camps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Again, no contradiction if understood in the 95% vs. 75% way figuratively speaking (you can't squeeze out the no longer squeezable since the majority was still simply unable to work, so your remark on how this doesn't describe the process is baseless). At about the same time (end of April) Himmler ordered a change in what inmates are to be sent to 14f13 - from now on even bed-ridden ones were to be spared and given work, only the mentally ill were to be killed. This parallels the FG report. Every Arbeitskraft was to be spared.

      Delete
  37. You might have misunderstood when i said his description is baseless.

    Read the German text, three or four times, notice the word used.

    His description of the execution of those 400 people is absolutely baseless, as the whole execution is presented as nice journey to heaven. The People are invited to step down a few stairs, into a well arranged well lighted comfortable cellar, with fresh air, and all the equipments for people to sort their stuff, and they are gently led to a room where they a painlessly put to sleep within a second.

    The gassing of Jews becomes a process "die in einer Minute die Menschen einschläfern.", nice for a Nazi to call Jews Menschen by the way...they are not killed by poisoning, but gently put asleep within a minute.

    My wording is probably ill chosen, but yes, it seems pretty baseless to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, ill-chosen. The basic description of the sequence is confirmed dozens of times over from eyewitnesses; the gloss about being put to sleep is *also* confirmed in several other contemporary Nazi documents re euthanasia (the 1942 film script) and gas vans. Indeed, the use of 'einschlaefern' is a marker for Nazi authenticity here since similar language was used elsewhere re other gassings. It was undoubtedly a self-delusion on the part of whoever told F-G what the process was like, but a genuine self-delusion.

      Delete
    2. Balsamo, I refer you to what I wrote in the posting:

      "The author writes about the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of people, but carefully avoids terms and images that may discredit this policy and practise. The whole operation including the mass killing is termed a "resettlement action" - a common phrase among the Nazi authorities used to camouflage (morally and towards outsiders) the extermination of the Jews (see Appendix C). The Jewish prisoners carrying out the gruesome work "will never leave this camp" - another way to say they are liquidated. The killing capacity of 10,000 people per day is wrapped into the technical phrase "present capacity of the 'resettlement action' furnaces".

      The murderous activity inside the crematoria is alleged to have been as pleasant as possible. The victims enter a "well built and ventilated basement, fitted with benches" and "brightly lit". They are told to get "disinfected and washed ready for their new tasks" and "everything proceeds in complete calm". Before they really notice it, they are put "to sleep in one minute". The picture - based on the (mis)conception of the Nazi Mass Euthanasia with a clean and sudden death - was denying the agony of the victims during the mass gassings with Zyklon-B.

      The report pays almost no attention to the executioners - with two exceptions. Implicitly, by noticing that "the work itself is carried out by Jewish prisoners", it assures that the SS men stay away from the most dreadful work and especially the corpses. But the author did not dare to address the issue of what the SS staff was doing. Perhaps he still felt uncomfortable with their role but knew there was nothing to do about it anyway. Himmler already denied the transfer of SS leaders to the front because of the mental strain in certain camps in his earlier briefing for the trip at his Headquarters in Lötzen in East-Prussia.

      The other appearance of the SS in the report is that of "the Camp Commandant and several SS leaders" during the selection at the ramp. The observation and terminology make total sense for an officer of the SS Personnel Main Office. The "SS leaders" were precisely the group of people Franke-Gricksch was interested in his job. For the same reason, he and v. Herff requested "to meet the [SS] leaders of the individual agencies" in the letter to Krüger of 22 April 1943.

      In short, the report clearly describes the mass extermination of Jewish people in Auschwitz from a perpetrator's point of view."

      Delete
    3. Balsamo, the description "baseless" referred to your particular claim, please try to read more carefully in the future.

      Delete
  38. Guys,

    I never wrote that the report was not describing how the krema or the broad extermination process worked. I know very well the sequences. This is of course not the part that is baseless.

    As i wrote, the most interesting part is the text in itself, how it is written, the words chosen, the emphasis on this so called new policy, and how this new policy is described and presented to the recipient of the report, Von Herff.

    To be clear, i do not deny the authenticity, i do not deny that it is a additional proof that A-B was an extermination camp. And beyond the case of A-B, this report is also a proof that there was a more global policy of systematic and indiscriminate extermination outside the camp.

    So yes the document is more important than it looks like at first glance.

    ReplyDelete
  39. When you read the report in German a couple of times, many time in a row, you sense that the author is trying to pass a message to the recipient of the report, some kind of reassurance that the dirty policy of the past was over, and that today the new policy as applied at Auschwitz Birkenau is a complete rupture with the past.
    This is a first lie since Treblinka was still in activity and would be for some months.
    The former policy, that is the former "evacuation of the Jews" is clearly described as a policy of systematic extermination, no code word, but a systematic destruction of work forces.
    It is quite obvious that Von Herff knew about this old policy, hence his concerns of the strain imposed on the SS personnel.

    My perception is that Franke described A-B in opposition to the AR camps, and others exterminations operation in the East. The new policy in operation at A-B, as described by Franke, was almost all about selecting work forces, instead of systematic indiscriminate killings, while of course the killing of those beyond repair would still continue, but in much better and humane conditions. And most important, the whole process was working by itself without the implication of the SS whose role was limited to assist the doctors during the selections, while the killing machine was almost exclusively operated by the inmates.
    This is kind of true, if one does not take into account, the killings that took place at the Bunkers, where the role of the SS was essential.


    Just an example, in the description of this new Final Solution, to use more common term, the term "evacuated" no longer applies exclusively to those who were killed. Since the new evacuation policy is about selecting as many Jews as possible, logically, those selected to work should be also understood as "evacuated", which was of course not the case in so called the old one.
    Frank does not just write, those who are fit to work would be selected and sent to special camps, but he uses a very vague terms that extend what fit could mean, usable in anyway seems to be enough, as even those who are sick would be considered for selection, sent to hospital, given special food to get them back on track...
    This is where things are getting even more baseless, right? If the word is ill chosen, it nevertheless sounds nice to my ears. Of course, instead of baseless I could have said full of exaggerations, and even blatant lies.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Considering these lies, the first question would be: do they come from Hoess? Did Franke take the initiative to embellish what the real fate of the Jews arriving at Auschwitz was?
    Was the objective the calm worries that Von Herff might have had regarding the strain on the SS? Of course, but why lying?
    Did Frank also visit Treblinka and Sobibor to meet the SS there?

    ReplyDelete

Please read our Comments Policy