Sunday, December 25, 2011

Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard. Chapter 2: Nazi Policy (5). The Europe-Wide Final Solution, January 1942–March 1943.

The Europe-Wide Final Solution, January 1942 – March 1943

The Wannsee Protocol[194] is silent on the fate of non-working Jews. Given that the document claims to be concerned with resettlement, this is a case where silence implies intent to kill. The fate of the working Jews also makes this inference the only plausible one:
Under proper guidance, in the course of the final solution the Jews are to be allocated for appropriate labour in the East. Able-bodied Jews, separated according to sex, will be taken in large work columns to these areas for work on roads, in the course of which action doubtless a large portion will be eliminated by natural causes.The possible final remnant will, since it will undoubtedly consist of the most resistant portion, have to be treated accordingly, because it is the product of natural selection and would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival (see the experience of history.)
There is policy continuity between these paragraphs and Wetzel’s discussion of “Vergassungsapparate” (the Protocol can only be read as stating that unfit Jews will receive the same treatment as the “final remnant”) but at Wannsee the discussion had clearly shifted to include all of Europe’s Jews.
Mattogno claims that the Wannsee Protocol cannot refer to the extermination of the unfit because the phrase “if released” must mean that the Jews were to be held in captivity. However, the passage as a whole refers to the death of the Jews: the phrase “if released” is written in the context of “eliminated by natural causes” in the previous paragraph; it is meant to convey the meaning that Jews were a historical virus that must not be allowed back into the ecosystem (“see the experience of history”). Mattogno also denies the killing of the unfit on the basis that the Protocol allowed for transports of old persons to Theresienstadt. However, this omits the fact that transport documents referred to Theresienstadt as a ‘Propagandalager’. For example, the Eichmann trial documentation included a minute by Zoepf from October 5, 1942, stating that according to Eichmann, Jews who, on account of their age or merits, could not be put on the same footing with other Auschwitz Jews may be transferred at any time from Westerbork to the “Propaganda camp” Theresienstadt.[195] Moreover, if Theresienstadt is the only reference in the Protocol to the unfit, this simply highlights the silence of the document concerning other unfit Jews.
In his Old Fighters’ speech of February 24, 1942, Hitler declared that “through this war, Aryan humankind will not be annihilated, but the Jew will be exterminated.”[196] In his diary entry of April 27, 1942, Goebbels recorded a similar threat by the Führer, who stated that “the hardest punishment that one can impose upon [the Jews] is still too lenient.”[197]
At the Final Solution conference of March 6, 1942, it was stated that it had come down from the “highest quarter” (Hitler) that “it was in no way tenable to keep the half-Jews permanently alive as a small race”. It was thus clearly known that full Jews were not to be kept alive.[198]
On March 27, 1942, Goebbels revealed the fate of the non-working Jews, whilst also repeating The Wannsee Protocol’s formulation for the workers:
The Jews are now being pushed out of the General Government, beginning near Lublin, to the East. A pretty barbaric procedure is being applied here, and it is not to be described in any more detail, and not much is left of the Jews themselves. In general one may conclude that 60% of them must be liquidated, while only 40% can be put to work. The former Gauleiter of Vienna [Globocnik], who is carrying out this action, is doing it pretty prudently and with a procedure that doesn't work too conspicuously.[199] 
The 60-40 split between those immediately selected for gassing and those “put to work” suggests that the Nazis were still being conservative in the targets they announced to their inner circle compared to the actual proportions that were selected.
A final confirmation that resettlement of Jews in Siberia had been abandoned as policy by May 1942 was contained in Wetzel’s document, Opinion and Ideas Regarding the General Plan for the East of the Reichsführer-SS, dated April 27, 1942. Wetzel wrote that:
An evacuation of the Jews also mentioned in the plan is no longer necessary due to the solution of the Jewish question. An eventual transfer of the Jews still remaining after the end of this war to forced labour camps in the northern Russian and Siberian territory is no "evacuation". Of the alien peoples to be considered for evacuation there thus remain to be discussed only the Poles, Western Ukrainians (it is not quite clear if by "Galicians" the plan means Poles or Ukrainians) and White Ruthenians.
It was clear from Wetzel’s language that the “the Jews still remaining after the end of this war” would be only a small remnant of the original population, echoing the Wannsee Protocol’s reference to a “possible final remnant” that would “have to be treated accordingly.” Non-working Jews would have already been liquidated so could not be resettled. Wetzel contrasted their fate with that of the Poles:
It should be clear that one cannot solve the Polish question by liquidating the Poles like the Jews. Such a solution of the Polish question would incriminate the German people until a distant future and take away our sympathies everywhere, especially as all other neighbouring peoples will have to count on being treated similarly when the time comes.[200]
In January 1942, Himmler began planning a system of closed camps whose inmates would be Jewish forced labourers.[201] The previous extermination of Soviet POW’s had left him with no other options than to use some Jewish labour. Pohl acknowledged the new policy on April 30, 1942, but noted that the Jewish labour would be worked to death; the work would be “exhaustive in the true sense of the word.”[202] Eighteen days later, Müller wrote to Jäger, following the execution of 630 workers in Minsk, to inform him that Jews aged 16-32 in these camps were to be “excluded from special treatment [Sonderbehandlung] until further notice.” This was another document where Sonderbehandlung was clearly used to mean killing.[203] This also converges with Wisliceny’s testimony that an extermination order had been shown to him in April 1942 stating that Jews fit for work were to be excluded and placed in concentration camps.[204] On June 23, 1942, Brack wrote the following to Himmler, making a clear connection between sterilization and extermination:
Among 10 millions of Jews in Europe there are, I figure, at least 2-3 millions of men and women who are fit enough to work. Considering the extraordinary difficulties the labor problem presents us with, I hold the view that those 3 millions should be specially selected and preserved. This can, however, only be done if at the same time they are rendered incapable to propagate. About a year ago I reported to you that agents of mine had completed the experiments necessary for this purpose. I would like to recall these facts once more. Sterilization, as normally performed on persons with hereditary diseases, is here out of the question, because it takes too long and is too expensive. Castration by X-ray however is not only relatively cheap, but can also be performed on many thousands in the shortest time. I think, that at this time it is already irrelevant whether the people in question become aware of having been castrated after some weeks or months once they feel the effects.[205]
On April 10, 1942, Heydrich informed Slovakian Prime Minister, Tuka, that “half a million” Jews were to be deported “from Europe to the East.” Countries affected were to include Slovakia, the Reich, the Protectorate, France, Belgium and Holland.[206] In the same period, Heydrich visited Minsk[207] and Paris as part of the preparation for these deportations.
Between March 11 and May 25, 1942, thirty transports left the Reich for transit ghettos in the Lublin region, but in June 1942, most Reich Jews deported to this region went directly to Sobibor.[208] A circular by Eichmann stated that on June 15, 1942, a transport to ‘Izbica’ would include 450 mental patients from Bendorf-Rhein[209], but subsequent Gestapo reports show 142 mental patients being sent on that train in covered G-Wagen.[210] Given that MGK claim that sick Jews were ‘euthanized’ at Sobibor, it would be highly hypocritical of them to deny the true fate of these deportees. A destination of Sobibor is also known for certain for the Vienna transport documented by Fischmann[211], whose name is spelt by Mattogno as ‘Frischmann.’[212] Significantly, Fischmann referred to Sobibor as a “labour camp”, which was obviously a euphemism. Kues attempts to neutralize this by claiming that Fischmann made an error, but his claim relies on a totally a priori assumption (a fallacy of personal incredulity) that the Nazis would not have used three different euphemisms for ‘death camp’.[213] Kues has to break the ‘Occam’s Razor’ rule to make this neutralization attempt. Given that Kues concedes that Fischmann was not fully informed about Sobibor, it is more plausible that information was withheld from the officer because the camp was a death camp than because it was a transit camp, as the former would have been more damaging to German interests if leaked to the enemy.
An estimated 53,000 Slovakian Jews were deported between March 26 and June 26, 1942; by the end of 1942, this had risen to 57,752, consisting of 18,746 to Auschwitz and 39,006 to Lublin and its surrounding areas.[214]
The beginning of systematic deportations from France was preceded by a number of exterminatory statements. On May 6, 1942, Heydrich visited Paris to mark the commencement of Oberg's duties as HSSPF and supplied Wehrmacht officials with information about gassing policy, noting that gassing "busses" were being replaced with "more sophisticated solutions providing a higher yield.” This conversation was passed on by one of the attendees (Bälz) to Bargatzky, who recorded it in his diary.[215] Bälz reported Heydrich’s revelation that:
Just as with the Russian Jews in Kiev, the death sentence has been pronounced on all the Jews of Europe. Even on the Jews of France, whose deportations begin in these very weeks.
Heydrich’s use of “death sentence” echoed Goebbels’ usage of the same phrase on December 14, 1941, but Heydrich referred to “all the Jews of Europe” rather than just “in many cases.” On May 15, 1942, Goebbels noted in his diary that “it would be best if we either evacuated (abschöben) or liquidated (liquidierten) all eastern Jews still remaining in Paris.”[216] Given that Goebbels had already stated in December 1941 that deportation from France would be “In many cases… equivalent to a death sentence”, Goebbels must here have been using abschöben to refer to killing by deportation and liquidierten to refer to killing on French soil.
On May 13, 1942, Dannecker noted that, in a conversation with Lieutenant General Kohl, who was responsible in Paris for rail transportation, Kohl appeared to Dannecker to be an "enemy" of the Jews, who agreed “100%” with “a final solution to the Jewish question with the goal of a total destruction of the enemy” (eine Endlösung der Judenfrage mit dem Ziel restloser Vernichtung des Gegners).[217]
Deportation policy unfolded in stages. On June 11, 1942, Dannecker announced that 100,000 Jews would be deported from the unoccupied zone, at a rate of three transports per week.[218] On June 22, 1942, Eichmann specified to Rademacher that 40,000 Jews from the unoccupied zone, 40,000 from the Netherlands and 10,000 from Belgium would be deported to Auschwitz[219], but the following day Himmler instructed the RSHA that “the previously planned rate (3 transports each of 1,000 Jews every week)” must be “significantly raised within a short time … with the goal of freeing France entirely of Jews as soon as possible.”[220] A few days later, Zeitschel stated that Dannecker required 50,000 Jews from the unoccupied zone to be deported “to the East as soon as possible.”[221] As a result of this urgency, transports to Auschwitz increased from four in the month of June to eight in July, thirteen in August and thirteen in September.[222] By July 21, 1943, the number of Jews evacuated from France had increased to 52,000.[223]
The exterminatory nature of deportation is also shown by the policy of deporting unaccompanied children to death camps, and of preventing children being given refuge in Palestine. On July 20, 1942, Eichmann advised Dannecker that as soon as trains could again be dispatched to the Generalgouvernement area, transports of children would be able to roll.[224] On August 13, 1942, Günther advised the SD in Paris that the Jewish children in the camps of Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande could be divided up gradually among the transports to Auschwitz.[225] Instructions for the transport of children from France to Auschwitz were signalled to Höß and the RSHA, but not to any other institution farther east.[226] Similarly, two teleprint messages from Roethke to Eichmann and to the Senior Commanders of the Security Police and the SD in Cracow and Lublin, sent on March 4-6, 1943, reporting the departure of deportation trains from Le Bourget-Drancy to Chelm (Cholm), did not have recipients farther east.[227] In April 1944, the round-ups were extended to children’s homes.[228] Attempts to prevent the emigration of Jewish children to Palestine led to correspondence, involving Eichmann’s office, concerning children in, for example, Sweden[229], Bulgaria[230], and Rumania.[231]
Rumania is particularly important in explaining the role of German officials in the Final Solution at this time. Mattogno has often attempted to use Luther’s memo of August 21, 1942, as evidence of a resettlement program. However, two days earlier than that memo, Luther received a telex from Rintelen quoting a report by the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, dated July 26, 1942, addressed to Himmler, on the situation with regard to deportation of Jews from Rumania.[232] This stated that non-working Jews would be “subjected to special treatment.”
On October 5, 1942, Luther met the Hungarian Ambassador, Sztojay, who expressed concerns that deported Hungarian Jews would not have a “continued existence.” Luther replied that all evacuated Jews would “first be used in the East for road construction and would later be settled in a Jewish reserve.”[233] This was clearly a lie because, as was discussed in Chapter 2, Heydrich had insisted as early as the autumn of 1941 that deportees would be interned in “camps built by the Bolsheviks” and that deportation would involve “decimation”, yet here Luther was denying decimation of any kind. Luther led the Hungarians to believe that deported Jews would have a “continued existence” yet on December 7, 1942, Luther again discussed plans to sterilize Mischlinge.[234] Sterilization and “continued existence”, applied to the survival of a population, are mutually exclusive terms.
Officials in Italian-controlled territories were aware of the intended fate of deported Jews. In August 1942, the Nazis requested the handing over of Croatian Jews who were under Italian occupation. The Minister of State at the German Embassy, Prince Otto von Bismarck, “stated that it was a question of several thousands of people and led me to understand that such measures would lead, in practice, to their dispersion and liquidation [“annihilation” in the original but lined out].”[235] However, when Mussolini received this information in writing, he scribbled that he had “no objection” (Nulla osta) to the deportation.[236] Conversely, Mussolini’s officers remained obstructive as their knowledge of the genocide mounted. In March 1943, Bastianini was reported to have told Mussolini:
The real reason for the attitude of our officers was not said by Ambrosio, but I am going to say it to you, Duce. Our people know what fate awaits the Jews consigned to the Germans. They will all be gassed without distinction, the old women, babies. And that’s why our people will never permit such atrocities to take place with their connivance. And you, Duce, may not give your consent. Why do you want to assume a responsibility which will fall on you entirely?[237]
In early 1943, the progress of the Final Solution was documented by Richard Korherr.[238] However, it is known that the original version of the Korherr Report did not use the term ‘durchgeschleust’ (‘sifted through’) but had instead referred to ‘Sonderbehandlung’ (‘special treatment’). Himmler’s assistant, Brandt, had written to Korherr and stated that:
The Reichsführer-SS has received your report on "The Final Solution of the European Jewish Question". He wishes that "special treatment of the Jews" not be mentioned anywhere.[239]
The term “special treatment” therefore clearly had a sinister meaning. The Korherr Report’s history therefore reveals not only the scope of the Final Solution, but also its true purpose.
It should also be apparent from the Korherr report and other documents so far discussed in this chapter (as well in the next one as well) that the Final Solution was being fully implemented during the war. In passages repeated near verbatim in both Treblinka and Sobibór, Mattogno half-heartedly suggested that the actions implemented against the Jews during the war were merely provisional and temporary measures; the real Final Solution was supposedly to be achieved only after the war.[240] This position relies on several outdated documents from 1940 and 1941 (prior to the decision to implement the Final Solution), faulty or tertiary documents in the decision making process (Goebbels’ 7.3.1942 diary entry and the so called April 1942 ‘Schlegelberger’ memo[241]), and a fundamental misreading of the Wannsee Conference protocol. Mattogno takes the stated “temporary measures” (Ausweighmöglichkeiten) to refer to the planned deportations, when actually the protocol was referring to the ongoing deportations of Reich Jews to locations such as Lodz, Minsk, and Riga.[242] From these smaller scale evacuations, “practical experience” was being gained which would help in the application of a total Final Solution. There simply is nothing provisional or temporary about the fate described for the able-bodied Jews at Wannsee, who were to be worked to death with any lasting remnant to be “treated accordingly” to prevent the seed for a new Jewish revival.

[194] Besprechungsprotokoll, Am Grossen Wannsee Nr. 56-58, 20 Jan. 1942, Berlin, 20.1.42, NG-2586-G. In Treblinka, M&G claim that “there is well-founded doubt as to the authenticity of the Wannsee Protocol” (p.187 n.537), but in Sobibór they pronounce that “the authors of the present work... see no need to doubt its authenticity” (p.205 n.602). Moreover, later documents in the same IMT bundle refer to the Protocol, and M&G use at least one of the bundle’s documents (Luther memorandum, 21.8.42, NG-2586-J) in support of their own thesis.
[195] Minute by Zoepf, 5.10.42, T/537.
[196] Max Domarus, Hitler. Reden und Proklamationen 1932-1945. 2 Bde. Wiesbaden, 1973, II, p.1844; cf. Aly, Endlösung, p.404; Richard J Evans, David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial, electronic edition, 2000.
[197] TBJG II/4, p.184 (27.4.1942).
[198] Besprechungsniederschrift der Besprechung über die Endlösung der Judenfrage, 6.3.1942, NG-2586 (H); T/100
[199] TBJG II/3, p.561 (27.3.1942).
[200] Helmut Heiber, ‘Der Generalplan Ost’, VfZ Jahrgang 6, 1958, pp.281-325.
[201] Himmler an Glücks, 25.1.1942, BA NS19/1920, p.1, also NO-500; cf. Ulrich Herbert, ‘Labour and Extermination: Economic Interest and the Primacy of Weltanschauung in National Socialism’, Past and Present, No. 138, Feb., 1993, pp.144-95.
[202] Pohl an Himmler, 30.4.1942, R-129, IMT XXXVIII, p.362ff.
[203] FS Müller an Jäger, Betr.: Endgültige Lösung der Judenfrage, 18.5.1942, RGVA 500-1-25, p.379.
[204] Testimony of Dieter Wisliceny, 3.1.46, IMT IV, pp.355-73; copied T/58.
[205] Brack an Himmler, 23.6.1942, BA NS19/1583, p.34-R, also NO-205. Brack’s original sterilization proposal was made to Himmler on 28.3.41, NO-203.
[206] Longerich, Holocaust, p.328.
[207] Helmut Heiber, ‘Aus den Akten das Gauleiters Kube’, Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 4, 1956, pp.67-92.
[208] Mattogno conflates these two time periods in order to disguise the escalation point.
[209] Photocopies of documents from the Duesseldorf Files, 21.4.42-30.6.42 (Vol. III, pp.1357-58), T/1400.
[210] Duesseldorf File No. 2 (Vol. III, pp.1356-57), T/1396.
[211] Fischmann report, 20.6.42. YVA, O-51/163/42-43.
[212] M&G, Treblinka, p.260; MGK, Sobibór, p.305.
[213] Thomas Kues, ‘On the terms Sonderlager and SS-Sonderkommando’, n.48.
[214] Schelvis, Sobibor, p.211; Cf. Yehoushua Büchler, ‘The Deportation of Slovakian Jews to the Lublin District of Poland in 1942’, HGS 6/2, 1991, p.166.
[215] Walter Bargatzky, Hotel Majestic. Ein Deutscher im besetzten Frankreich, Freiburg, 1987, p.103ff.; cf. Herbert, ‘Deportation of the French Jews’, p.152.
[216] TBJG, II/4, p.293 (15.5.42).
[217] XXVb-29, published in Serge Klarsfeld, Die Endlösung der Judenfrage in Frankreich. Deutsche Dokumente 1941–1944. Paris, 1977; also Raul Hilberg, Sonderzüge nach Auschwitz: The Role of the German Railroads in the Destruction of the Jews, Mainz, 1981.
[218] Memorandum by Dannecker on a discussion in Eichmann's office, 11.6.42, RF-1217, also T/419.
[219] Eichmann to Rademacher concerning the deportation to Auschwitz of Jews from Western Europe, Paris, 22.6.42, NG-183, also T/422.
[220] Minutes by Eichmann and Dannecker on their discussion concerning the deportation of Jews from France, Paris, 1.7.42, RF-1223, also T/429.
[221] German Embassy to the Head of the Security Police in France, 27.6.42, RF-1220.
[222] Serge Klarsfeld, Die Endlösung der Judenfrage in Frankreich. Deutsche Dokumente 1941–1944. Paris,1977.
[223] Roethke's review of "the present state of the Jewish Question in France". Paris, 21.7.43, T/488.
[224] Minute by Dannecker on a telephone call from Eichmann and Novak. Paris, 21.7.42, T/439.
[225] Teleprint message from Günther to the Security Police branch in Paris stating that the Jewish children in the camps of Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande can be divided up gradually among the transports to Auschwitz. Berlin, 13.8.42, T/443.
[226] Roethke to Eichmann reporting the departure of a train from Le Bourget-Drancy to Auschwitz with 1,000 Jews, Paris, 14.8.42, T/444; set of chronologically arranged teleprint messages from SD Section IV J in Paris reporting the departure of deportation trains to Auschwitz (each report was forwarded to Eichmann in the Head Office for Reich Security, to the Inspector of Concentration Camps in Oranienburg, and to the Auschwitz concentration camp), Paris, 17.7.42-2.3.43, T/447 (pp.1-9, 12-13, 14, 16); and teleprint message from Roethke to Eichmann, to the Inspector of Concentration Camps in Oranienburg, and to the Auschwitz concentration camp, reporting the departure of a deportation train carrying 1,000 Jews; Paris, 23.9.42, T/455; see also the same distribution chain in T/457 and T/461.
[227] T/447 (17-18), T/1420 and T/1421.
[228] Telegram from Barbie of the Security Police, Lyon, to Group IVb, Paris, reporting on the arrest and deportation of the children and the staff of the Jewish children's home, "Colonie Enfant," in Izieu-Ain; Lyon, 6.4.44, NO-1411, also T/505 and CDJC VII-10; cf. Serge Klarsfeld, Die Endlösung der Judenfrage in Frankreich. Deutsche Dokumente 1941–1944. Paris, 1977, p.135.
[229] Letter from Günther to the Foreign Ministry, transmitting a DNB (official German news agency) report on a charity event in Stockholm on behalf of Jewish children to be sent to Palestine, Berlin, 6.4.43,T/601; see also T/602.
[230] Letter from Bergmann, Foreign Ministry, to the German Legation in Sofia instructing it to oppose the emigration of 5,000 Jewish children to Palestine, 13.2.43, NG-1783, also T/948; see also T/949, T/950, T/951 and T/952.
[231] T/1049, T/1050, T/1051 and T/1056.
[232] NG-3559, also T/1023.
[233] A Discussion between the German Foreign Office and the Hungarian Ambassador about the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem in Hungary. Yad Vashem Archives, TR2, NG 1800, N11/553/E.
[234] Letter from Luther to Eichmann concerning the Foreign Ministry's stand on the proposed sterilization of half-Jews and the Jewish partners in mixed marriages. Berlin, 7.12.42, T/192.
[235] Jonathan Steinberg, All Or Nothing. The Axis and the Holocaust 1941-43. London, 2002, p.52, citing Luca Pietromarchi, ‘Estratti del diario privato’, 20.8.42, in Joseph Rochlitz, The Righteous Enemy. The Italians and Jews in Occupied Europe 1941-43. Rome, 1988, p.7.
[236] Steinberg, All or Nothing, p.2 , facsimile of ‘Appunto per il Duce’, 21.8.42, Ministero degli Affari Esteri (MEA). Archivio Storico Diplomatico (ASD) Gab AP 35. ‘Croazia’.
[237] Steinberg, All or Nothing, p.116, citing Luca Pietromarchi, ‘Estratti del diario privato’, 31.3.43, in Joseph Rochlitz, The Righteous Enemy. The Italians and Jews in Occupied Europe 1941-43. Rome, 1988, p.8.
[238] Korherr reports, 19.4.43, NO-5193 and NO-5194.
[239] Brandt an Korherr, 20.4.43, BA NS19/1570, also NO-5196.
[240] MG, Treblinka, p.189; MGK, Sobibór, pp.207-208. It also becomes apparent from the documents Mattogno subsequently quotes in both books that the final solution was being put into effect during the war.
[241] On the note by Franz Schlegelberger see Richard Evans, Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial (New York: Basic Books, 2001), pp.82-86.
[242] Cf. Browning, Origins of the Final Solution, p.411; Longerich, Holocaust, p.307

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