Saturday, February 11, 2017

"Separate accommodation" in Auschwitz: a code word for extrajudicial executions

The Nazis usually used the term "special treatment" (Sonderbehandlung) to designate the legal extrajudicial killings. They were  seen as "legal" because they were sanctioned by Hitler's authority (the will of the Führer being seen as the highest law), despite their extrajudicial nature. The mass murder of Jews was the biggest instance of such "special treatment".

In Auschwitz an additional term was used for such extrajudicial killings: "separate accommodation"/"special accommodation"/"special lodging" (gesonderte Unterbringung, Sonderunterbringung). The people thus killed were designated as "separately accommodated" (gesondert untergebracht). This term seems to have been fully interchangeable with "Sonderbehandlung".

Holocaust deniers of course say that it's just an assumption. When Auschwitz Political Department functionaries like Maximillian Grabner, Hans Stark and Pery Broad testify that "separate accommodation" meant killing, their testimonies are dismissed as coerced, the usual evidence-free denier m.o. According to the deniers "separate accommodation" was some sort of a literal accommodation somewhere in the camp.

However there is a series of documents that proves beyond any reasonable doubt that to have been "separately accommodated" in Auschwitz meant to have been killed. In this posting we will establish the meaning of "separate accommodation" in Auschwitz on a purely documentary basis.

1. Establishing the meaning of "separate accommodation" in Auschwitz.

There are several documents from the NG series concerning the case of two incurably ill Russian "activists" of Unternehmen Zeppelin (Operation Zeppelin, UZ - an operation to recruit Soviet POWs to spy for the Germans behind the Soviet lines) that help to establish the true meaning of the term "gesonderte Unterbringung". The documents are accessible, for example, in the T1139 collection at NARA. The graphical images of the documents, their transcriptions and translations are in the Appendix 1.

Here is the story of the two Zeppelin activists as it unfolded chronologically. Note that the terms "reception camp Auschwitz" (Vorlager Auschwitz), "special SS camp Auschwitz" (SS-Sonderlager Auschwitz) and "special detachment Auschwitz" (Sondereinheit Auschwitz) all refer to Sonderkommando Zeppelin in Auschwitz (to be more exact, SK Zeppelin in Auschwitz AKA Sondereinheit Auschwitz resided in Vorlager Auschwitz AKA SS-Sonderlager Auschwitz).

1. 28.01.1943 (NG-5220): physician Rasumovski of the special detachment in Breslau writes to the commandant of the special camp in Breslau Weissgerber that the two sick Russian activists Gachkov (German transliteration: Gatschkow) and Semyonov (German transliteration: Semjenow) have pulmonary tuberculosis in the second to third stage.

2. 28.01.1943 (NG-5221): SS-Hauptsturmführer Weissgerber writes to SS-Obersturmführer Huhn at the special detachment in Auschwitz that Gachkov and Semyonov suffer from TB of the third degree, that any further treatment is impossible there, and requests, on the basis of an RSHA administrative order about treatment of incurably ill activists, that these activists be "specially treated".

3. 29.01.1943 (NG-5222): SS-Oberscharführer Graf from Sonderkommando Zeppelin at the reception camp Auschwitz writes to the head of the Auschwitz Political Department SS-Untersturmführer Grabner under diary no. (Tagebuchnummer) 174/43, informing him that two agents are being brought to Auschwitz to receive special treatment and requests a report upon carrying out of the action.

4. 01.02.1943 (NG-5467): SS-Oberscharführer Brunngräber leaves a note in the Breslau camp files, according to which on 29.01.1943 he brought Gachkov and Semyonov to Auschwitz for special treatment. Special treatment was carried out in his presence. Both uniforms after a complete disinfection would be sent to the special SS camp Auschwitz.

5. 06.02.1943 (NG-5223): the head of the Auschwitz Political Department Maximillian Grabner reports to Sonderkommando Zeppelin in the reception camp Auschwitz that the activists were "separately accommodated". Huhn forwards this message to Weissgerber as the requested carrying-out report using the same diary no. 174/43 as in the 29.01.1943 message.

6. 13.02.1943 (NG-5466): Weissgerber writes a summary report to Dr. Rohrmann at the RSHA: Gachkov and Semyonov had TB of the 2nd or 3rd degree, on 29.01.1943 they were transferred to the special SS camp Auschwitz with the accompanying letter requesting special treatment. According to Brunngräber's report they died on the evening of the same day.

While deniers argue that there were other uses of Sonderbehandlung in the Nazi vocabulary (and a rare exception indeed appeared now and then), "special treatment" specifically in the official RSHA jargon and without modifiers meant exclusively extrajudicial executions. There isn't a single known RSHA document after 1939 that uses this term in regard to persons and without modifiers in an innocent way. And since Unternehmen Zeppelin was a part of the RSHA, they used the official RSHA terms. Indeed, the term first occurs in the series in a reference to an RSHA administrative order, which wouldn't have used any other meaning of Sonderbehandlung because it would have caused confusion.

Furthermore, there are UZ documents that show that "special treatment" was used this way specifically in the context of Unternehmen Zeppelin. E.g. there is a series of documents about several UZ agents - Kopyt, Koshilev and Plevako - who were "given the special treatment on 25 November by order of SS Brigadeführer Naumann of Einsatzgruppe B" as a result of "various things which happened in the meantime at the special camp Vissokoje" (see NO-5444, NO-5445, NO-5446; NMT, vol. XIII, pp. 562ff.). More specifically they were accused of hatching assassination plans (K.-M. Mallman, "Der Krieg im Dunkeln. Das Unternehmen "Zeppelin" 1942-1945", in M. Wildt (Hg.), Nachrichtendienst, politische Elite und Mordeinheit: Der Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers SS, 2003/2016). One other UZ activist, Kosin, was "sent by order of the RSHA, Amt VI, to Einsatzgruppe B, Smolensk, for special treatment" because earlier he and two other agents had escaped and he was the one that got recaptured  (see NG-4724; NMT, vol. XIII, pp. 560ff.). Needless to say, Einsatzgruppe B did not send all these people to a luxury hotel with princely treatment...

All this would already allow us to establish the meaning of Sonderbehandlung in these RSHA documents. However we don't have to rely only on the above considerations. Even if an RSHA document was found that uses an alternative, non-lethal meaning of the term, the fact is that none of the alternative explanations of "special treatment" would make sense in this particular case. Deniers sometimes propose that "special treatment" meant "deportation to the East", "disinfection", some sort of an undefined "hygienic measure" or isolation. Of these only isolation would superficially fit the sense of the first few documents (as in, the infectious activists would be sent off to somewhere to die in isolation), but when we come to Brunngräber's report, we see that it can also be ruled out since this "special treatment" was a one-off action carried out (with the sense of completion) by someone in his presence rather than a continuous process. Thus of all possible meanings only the lethal one remains when we take all the documents into account at once.

Since in the documents about the activists cited above "separate accommodation" is equated to "special treatment", it is thus documentarily proven that the terms "separate accommodation", "separately accommodated" (gesonderte Unterbringung, gesondert untergebracht) meant extrajudicial killings. The SS-men's testimonies are thereby amply confirmed.

There is yet another, alternative way of proving that both "special treatment" and "separate accommodation" in this series of documents meant killing:
  • Weissgerber's summary report established the deaths of these activists (with a reference to Brunngräber's report).
  • However neither the written report by Brunngräber about special treatment, nor the report by the Auschwitz Political Department about separate accommodation of these activists mention their deaths explicitly, though they obviously had to report on them.
  • This means that both "special treatment" and "separate accommodation" in these documents presupposed their deaths.
Therefore, once again, it is established that to have been "separately accommodated" in Auschwitz meant to have been killed extrajudicially.

As a side note it is necessary to mention that there exist at least two testimonies about this event which further confirm that the activists were executed in Auschwitz (see Appendix 2). The first testimony belongs to Willi Brunngräber who escorted the activists to Auschwitz and witnessed their shooting (BArch B162/5882, Bl. 422ff.). The second testimony is by Walter Weissgerber who remembered what Brunngräber had told him upon returning from Auschwitz (BArch B162/5882, Bl. 446ff.). Both of them claimed innocence and referred to orders from above and/or their alleged ignorance, a usual defense strategy. Weissgerber confirmed the authenticity of his letters from 28.01.1943 and 13.02.1943 (op. cit., Bl. 464, 467). Guido Huhn was also interrogated on 27.09.1966 (BArch B162/5882, Bl. 846ff.). He pretended not to remember much, but even he had to admit that from the documents it follows "that the order of the RSHA was known to us and that we knew exactly what was to do with the people", that "it especially had to be known to us, that the people were to be sent to the concentration camp Auschwitz for special treatment" (op. cit., Bl. 852).

On the denier objections to this interpretation of separate accommodation see Appendix 3.

2. Interpreting other Auschwitz documents in light of the established meaning of "separate accommodation".

The fact that "separate accommodation" was used as a code word for extrajudicial killing in Auschwitz spells doom for the Holocaust deniers, since there are documents about whole groups of Jews, including children, that use these terms.

Telex of SS-Obersturmführer Schwarz to the WVHA of 20.02.1943 (N. Blumental, Dokumenty i materiały z czasów okupacji niemieckiej w Polsce: Obozy, 1946, s. 117):
Subject: Transfer of 5022 Jews from Theresienstadt
Reference: Your telex from 17.2.43 no. 1023
Overall number of arrivals on 21.1.43 2,000 Jews, from them selected for labor deployment 418 = 254 men and 164 women = 20.9%. On 24.1.43 2029 Jews, of them for labor deployment  228 = 148 men and 80 women = 11.2%. On 27.1.43 993 Jews, of them for labor deployment 284 = 212 men and 72 women = 22.5%. Separately accommodated [gesondert untergebracht] on 21.1.43 1582 = 602 men and 980 women and children, on 24.1,43 1801 = 623 men and 1178 women and children, on 27.1.43 709 = 197 men and 512 women and children. The special accommodation [Sonderunterbringung] of the men was due to too much frailty, that of women because most were children.
That means that 4092 Jews were killed in these 3 days.

Telex of Schwarz to the WVHA of 15.3.1943 (ibid.):
Concentration camp Auschwitz reports Jew-transport from Berlin. Arrival on 13.3.43. Total strength 964 Jews. For labor deployment came 218 men and 147 women. The men were transferred to Buna. Separately accommodated were 126 men and 473 women and children.
That means that 599 Jews were killed on this occasion.

There is also a list with 498 female Jewish prisoners with the heading "G.U.v.21.8.43", that is, "separate accommodation on 21.08.1943" ("G.U." being an abbreviation of "gesonderte Unterbringung").

Thus in just 3 documents the extrajudicial killings of 5193 Jews in Auschwitz are documented for 5 days, which is incompatible with the Holocaust deniers' fantastical hypotheses about Auschwitz. Jews selected on arrival as unable to work were not transported further to the East (there is zero evidence for this, and since there should be mountains of evidence, this counts as never having happened). They were, as a rule, murdered en masse in Auschwitz.

PS: The documents described here obviously also play a role in interpreting the Auschwitz documents containing the terms "Sonderbehandlung", "sonderbehandelt", but that is a separate topic.

Appendix 1: Documents.

Appendix 2: Testimonies.

Appendix 3: Denier objections.

I'm indebted to Nick Terry and Hans Metzner for valuable suggestions and to Jason Myers for providing several of the document images.

This posting was significantly updated on 13.03.2017.

Further updated on 08.10.2019.


  1. ”The code words were needed simply because the extrajudicial nature of the killings was controversial despite their alleged formal legality. Another example of this was the mass murder of Jews which was both seen as formally legal and was kept a top state secret.”

    Regarding this quote I did a quick Google translation from Swedish to English of Jurgen Graf's book. The translation may not be 100% accurate, but enough to understand the point.

    I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but as I read this, I will take it up. How would you respond to what he writes below? Perhaps you guys could do post and respond to these claims on the blog? For this argument, I often see from these revisionists / deniers.

    German original title of the book is:
    ”Der Holocaust auf dem Prüfstand – Augenzeugenberichte versus Naturgesetze
    ; Guideon Burg Verlag, Basel, 1993”

    ”29. Hitler quote as "proof" of the Holocaust

    In the absence of other evidence of the one million-fold murder Jews beyond the extinction believers quote from Hitler and other Nazi bigwigs, like the Jews
    threatened with annihilation. In the last chapter, second volume
    of Mein Kampf is it called:

    ”If at the beginning of the war and during the war twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers in the field, the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain.”

    Certainly a fatal threat! However, show the context in which it stands, as well as toincapacitate twelve to fifteen thousand, that Hitler has not presented it as desirable to eradicate Jews as a whole, but only to liquidate the Marxist leaders (in fact, often Jews), which in his view, was to blame for Germany's defeat in World War I.
    (Stab-in-the-back legend).

    In hardly any history book is no good reference the Hitler speech of 30 January 1939, which dictator declared:

    ”Today I will once more be a prophet: If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the bolshevization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe! ”

    This is undoubtedly a clear threat of annihilation. However, one must consider that a warlike language was typical of the Nazi movement, which from the beginning to assert itself against the extreme the left. Words such as "destroy" and "destroy" please come over the National Socialists lips.

    Corresponding quotes, there are also lots of from the Allied side. As Churchill said the same day that the British declared war, that the aim of the war was "Germany's Holocaust." No one thought that Churchill had intended to physically exterminate the German people. In war, such bloodthirsty statements rather common.

    When the extinction believers perceive such quotes as evidence of the Holocaust, they end up in an absolute insoluble contradiction. If you ask them why there are no documents about the genocide and no mass graves of Holocaust victims, so they answer that the Germans had wanted to conceal the crime of world and therefore both refrained from making any documents, and got rid of all the corpses for the victims. But according to the same extinction believers Nazi leaders unabashedly have trumpeted
    their genocidal plans for the world!”


    Page: 42.

  2. Graf (a well-known liar) of course totally ignores the historical context. Hitler's public prophecy as such, standalone, is not that important because it was, first of all, a rhetorical threat at that moment where there was no extermination plan yet. I'm not sure who provides this quote (without context) as evidence for the Holocaust.

    What does count is what Hitler said on Dec. 12, 1941, privately, referring to his old prophecy (as written down by Goebbels):

    "Regarding the Jewish question, the Führer is determined to clear the table. He warned the Jews that if they were to cause another world war, it would lead to their own destruction.
    Those were not empty words. Now the world war has come. The destruction of the Jews must be its necessary consequence. We cannot be sentimental about it. It is not for us to feel sympathy for the Jews. We should have sympathy rather with our own German people. If the German people have to sacrifice 160,000 victims in yet another campaign in the east, then those responsible for this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives."

    This means that by Dec. 12 Hitler has made an actual, rather than a theoretical, decision to exterminate the Jews of Europe (and not only the Soviet Jews). It was not known yet how exactly. Hans Frank was present at this meeting with Hitler and here's what can be found in his private speech to the GG officials on Dec. 16:

    "As for the Jews, well, I can tell you quite frankly that one way or another we have to
    put an end to them. The Führer once put it this way: if the combined forces of Judaism
    should again succeed in unleashing a world war, that would mean the end of the Jews
    in Europe....I urge you: Stand together with me . . . on this idea at least: Save your
    sympathy for the German people alone. Don’t waste it on anyone else in the world,...
    As a veteran National Socialist I also have to say this: if the Jews in Europe should
    survive this war,... then the war would be only a partial success. As far as the Jews
    are concerned, I would therefore be guided by the basic expectation that they are going
    to disappear. They have to be gotten rid of. At present I am involved in discussions
    aimed at having them moved away to the east. In January there is going to be an important
    meeting in Berlin to discuss this question. I am going to send State Secretary Dr.
    Bühler to this meeting. It is scheduled to take place in the offices of the RSHA in
    the presence of Obergruppenführer Heydrich. Whatever its outcome, a great Jewish emigration will commence.
    But what is going to happen to these Jews? Do you imagine there will be settlement villages for them in the Ostland? In Berlin we were told: Why are you making all this trouble for us? There is nothing we can do with them here in the Ostland or in the Reich Commissariat. Liquidate them yourselves! . . . For us too the Jews are incredibly destructive eaters.... Here are 3.5 million Jews that we can’t shoot, we can’t poison.
    But there are some things we can do, and one way or another these measures will successfully lead to a liquidation. They are related to the measures under discussion with
    the Reich.... Where and how this will all take place will be a matter for offices that we will have to establish and operate here. I will report to you on their operation at the appropriate time."

    So the basic decision has been taken and it was liquidation. The details had to be yet decided upon, this was done at the subsequent Wannsee Conference.

    See Gerlach's article with the full context at

  3. Thumbs up, Sergey!

    Another helplessly confused performance from Mattogno.

  4. IKR. This is even worse than he usually does.

  5. The reports by Schwarz to the WVHA of February and March 1943 are very interesting, since they raise the question of why they were sent at all. The answer lies in the function that Schwarz had at Auschwitz, which was not that of organising the "Sonderbehandlung" of prisoners, but rather that of organising their labour deployment. In other words, the function of the reports was to demonstrate to the WVHA how the Jews sent to Auschwitz from Theresienstadt and Berlin were being used for labour. The enumeration of the number of deportees "separately accommodated" was essentially a side issue, an explanation for why not all the deportees had been deployed for labour. It is noteworthy that Schwarz even gives a justification for the "separate accommodation", which would not have been necessary if the primary purpose of the transports from Theresienstadt and Berlin that were the subject of the reports had been the killing of the transportees.

    Another salient fact is that the Schwarz reports of early 1943 detailing the numbers of deportees subjected to "separate accommodation" are the only extant reports from Auschwitz to the WVHA giving such statistics, which suggests that it was not normal practice for the Auschwitz administration to record the numbers of deportees killed on arrival, only the numbers of deportees registered. That in turn suggest that the Schwarz reports had a special purpose.

    The reports are to be seen in the context of the order issued by Himmler in late 1942 to send large numbers of prisoners fit for labour to the concentration camps. In response to that order, the head of the Gestapo, Mueller, reported that a large proportion of the Jews being subjected to the "Final Solution" were fit for labour, and could be sent to the concentration camps for forced labour as the RSHA's contribution to the fulfilment of Himmler's order. It may assumed that Himmler then issued orders to the RSHA to select Jews fit for labour in both Theresienstadt and Berlin and send them in transports to Auschwitz. The reports by Schwarz are therefore to be seen as advice for transmission to Himmler on how his order is being implemented.

    Shortly after the reports from Schwarz to the WVHA, Himmler sent a stinging rebuke to Kaltenbrunner, who was now head of the RSHA, ordering that from now on only Jews fit for labour were to be sent from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, since he had promised that the older Jews being held there would be allowed to die a natural death.

    The most probable course of events is that after the RSHA had received the order to send transports of Jews fit for labour to Auschwitz from Theresienstadt and Berlin, some RSHA operatives on the ground took the opportunity to fill the transports with old and unfit Jews in order to lessen the logistical burden they represented. That is most probably the reason why Himmler was so angry with Kaltenbrunner; the RSHA had acted in direct contravention of his order, in a way that hindered his aim of filling the concentration camps with prisoners who could be used for labour.

  6. Information about Heinrich Schwarz:

  7. > It is noteworthy that Schwarz even gives a justification for the "separate accommodation", which would not have been necessary if the primary purpose of the transports from Theresienstadt and Berlin that were the subject of the reports had been the killing of the transportees.

    As you have previously correctly pointed out, the function of the reports was to inform the WVHA of the labor force stats.
    Clearly, therefore, the language had to correspond to the function of the reports and does not reflect the primary purpose of the transports.

    > Another salient fact is that the Schwarz reports of early 1943 detailing the numbers of deportees subjected to "separate accommodation" are the only extant reports from Auschwitz to the WVHA giving such statistics,

    Not true. There are other reports by Schwarz that use the other term - special treatment. E.g. the 2.3.43 and 8.3.43 reports on the Berlin Jews,
    Also, the number of the surviving reports does not tell us anything because the other reports not surviving does not mean that they did not exist.

  8. Sergei, you misunderstand me. I meant that the series of reports from Schwarz to the WVHA in early 1943 were the only extant reports from Auschwitz detailing the numbers of Jews from a given transport selected for labour and the numbers killed on arrival, and giving the reasons for the killing. The two you mentioned, of 2 and 8 March, belong to that series.

    The fact that those extant reports all belong to a single series dating from February-March 1943 suggests that they had a special purpose, and that purpose was to justify why such a small percentage of the deportees from each transport had been selected for labour. It is reasonable to assume that the reason why the WVHA required those reports was to demonstrate that it was trying to fulfil Himmler's order of late 1942 to put as many Jews as possible to work in the concentration camps, which included Auschwitz.

    Under different circumstances, ie where there was no imperative to preserve arriving Jews for labour, there would have been no need to justify why those Jews were killed, and hence probably no need to provide reports back to the WVHA. I any case, I recall that Hoess claimed that it was forbidden to keep statistics of the number of Jews killed, and that only Jews chosen for labour and registered were recorded. Accordingly, it is entirely possible that no reports other than those by Schwarz were ever sent from Auschwitz giving the numbers of Jews killed from each transport.

    If there is truth to Hoess's claim that it was forbidden to record the number of Jews killed, then Schwarz was contravening that prohibition, which supports the interpretation that his reports were a special case, stemming from a new imperative to preserve Jewish deportees for labour, which had recently been introduced by Himmler.

  9. > Sergei, you misunderstand me

    If I did, it was only due to how you put it, namely, you limited the documents to those that contain the phrase "separate accommodation", which only 2 of them do.

    > The fact that those extant reports all belong to a single series dating from February-March 1943 suggests that they had a special purpose

    It makes sense that documents survive in batches, so this particular batch for this particular period survived. That doesn't tell us about whether or not there were other such batches before or after. So we cannot ascribe any special purpose to these documents on the basis of them surviving. Same is true of many other sets of documents - we don't have labor deployment reports for 1941-1943 (IIRC), what little that survives is from a period in 1944. It doesn't mean that there were no other such reports or that these 1944 reports served some special purpose.

    To be honest, I don't recall the forbidden stats thing. It would indeed be contrary to how things were done elsewhere (AR) and Eichmann had to collect his stats anyway.
    This document contradicts this thesis too:

    It prescribes sending the Anzahl der SB for AuI-III in Schutzhaftlagerberichten in 1944.

    And as you well know, the record of SBs was kept, among other documents, in the Stärkemeldungen of 1944. So one way or another the record was kept.

  10. Michael,

    the number of killed people was recorded at the ramp by the Political Department and forwarded to Berlin (apparently the RSHA). According to Josef Erber:

    "Ich hat auch gar keine Zeit dazu, denn wenn sie die Leute erschtens mal im
    Transport dann getrennt zählen müssen, denn die wurden ja getrennt nach
    Männer und Frauen und getrennt wie sie ins Lager gingen und dann öh wie sie in
    den Gas äh und das öh, zum öh in das Krematorium gehen mußten, ne, da kam
    ich ja gar nit dazu, ne."

    (interview of 12 July 1977 by John Steiner and Günther Bierbrauer)

    See also

    Höß stated that they had to destroy all records, but not that they were not made in the first place. He anticipated that some records might have survived:

    "Nach jeder größeren Aktion mußten in Auschwitz alle Unterlagen, die Aufschluß über die Zahl der Vernichteten geben konnten, laut RFSS-Befehl verbrannt werden. Als Amtschef D I vernichtete ich persönlich alle Unterlagen, die überhaupt in meinem Amt vorhanden waren. Die anderen Ämter taten dasselbe. Nach Eichmanns Aussage waren auch beim RFSS und RSHA alle Unterlagen vernichtet worden. Lediglich seine Handakte konnte noch javascript:void(0)aufschluss geben. Es möge durch Nachlässigkeit bei der einen oder anderen Dienststelle noch einzelne Schriftstücke, FS [Fernschreiben] und Funksprüche liegengeblieben sein, über die Gesamtzahl können sie keinen Aufschluss geben."

    (manuscript "Die 'Endlösung der Judenfrage' im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz")

  11. Exactly. Hans Stark testified about it:

    "Ich blieb jeweils bis zum Schluß dabei, da ich die Erschießungen dieser Personengruppe bestätigen und an das Reichssicherheitshauptamt in Berlin berichten mußte. Die Berichte über die Erschießungen wurden jeweils nach Durchführung schriftlich dem RSHA gemeldet, und zwar unter der Deckbezeichnung, daß »soundso viel Personen gesondert untergebracht« worden seien. Diese ganze Aktion richtete sich hauptsächlich gegen Personen der jüdischen Rasse und wurde »Sonderbehandlung« genannt."

    "Ich hatte, wie gesagt, die Aufgabe, aus der Gesamtzahl der ankommenden Personen die als arbeitsfähig Selektierten zu erfassen und der Zahl nach nach Berlin zu melden.

    Ich glaube, es wird durch ein Beispiel, bei dem ich die Zahl willkürlich wähle, am deutlichsten:

    Wenn ein Transport angekommen war, die Selektion stattgefunden hatte, habe ich meistens am nächsten Tag ein Fernschreiben etwa folgenden Inhalts nach Berlin abgesetzt, nachdem es durch den Abteilungsleiter unterzeichnet war:

    Ich berichtige, der Abteilungsleiter hat das Fernschreiben abgesandt, ich habe es nur inhaltlich vorbereitet.

    Ein solches Fernschreiben sah beispielsweise so aus (Daten, Namen und Zahlen sind willkürlich gewählt):

    »Am 1. August 1942 kam in Auschwitz ein Transport mit 500 jüdischen Personen aus Lodz an. Hiervon wurden 200 Personen gesondert untergebracht.«

    Daraus ergab sich für die Hauptstelle in Berlin auch die Anzahl der noch im Lager als arbeitsfähig vorhandenen Personen dieses Transportes.

    Vorhalt des Gerichts:

    Ich hatte also festzustellen die Anzahl der arbeitsfähig Selektierten und die Anzahl der »gesondert Untergebrachten«, um dieses Fernschreiben vorbereiten zu können. Meistens erfuhr ich diese beiden Zahlen auf dem Selektionsplatz selbst und fuhr dann unmittelbar mit dem Motorrad ins Büro zurück. Manchmal mußte ich aber diese Zahl erst bei den Gaskammern feststellen, und zwar habe ich das nicht selbst getan, sondern die Zahl wurde mir von einen Angehörigen des Begleitkommandos gesagt. Auch in diesen Fällen habe ich mich dann mit dem Motorrad ins Büro zurückbegeben."

  12. The series of reports by Schwarz in February-March 1943 on the handling of transports from Theresienstadt and Berlin were still a special case because they were sent to the WVHA, not to the RSHA.

    It is clear that the interest of the WVHA was in maximising the number of transportees deployed for labour, since Schwarz stated the reasons why so many of the transportees were killed on arrival, ie he had to justify to the WVHA why all or most of them had not been selected for labour.

    I think the reports reveal a conflict between the WVHA and the Auschwitz staff, with the former wanting to maximise the proportion selected for labour so as to fulfil Himmler's requirements, whereas the camp staff wanted to keep the proportion low so as to prevent the camp becoming overcrowded.

    It is noteworthy that Hoess in his postwar statements to Judge Sehn complained about Eichmann sending so many Jews to Auschwitz that the camp became overcrowded and conditions deteriorated. He also claims that during Himmler's visit to Auschwitz in July 1942 he asked Himmler to stop Eichmann sending Jews to Auschwitz, and that Himmler refused but ordered him to kill the non-working Jews so as to reduce the overcrowding and create a breathing space ("Luft schnappen"). The problem with that claim is that Hoess also says that Himmler ordered him to destroy the Gypsies, but there were not any Gypsies in Auschwitz in July 1942. It is possible that Hoess confused orders given by Himmler during his 1942 visit with orders given at a later time, possibly in relation to the deportation of the Hungarian Jews in 1944.

  13. > The series of reports by Schwarz in February-March 1943 on the handling of transports from Theresienstadt and Berlin were still a special case because they were sent to the WVHA, not to the RSHA.

    I don't see how this establishes it being special.
    RSHA wanted the number of the murdered Jews, with the percentage.
    WVHA wanted the number of the Jews fit for labor, with the percentage.
    In effect they were getting the same reports.
    What's special?


Please read our Comments Policy