Sunday, September 08, 2019

"The rest camp Mittwerda in Silesia" aka the gas chamber of Ravensbrück

The existence of a temporary gas chamber (a barrack near the crematorium) in the concentration camp Ravensbrück in early 1945 is fully proven by the statements of the SS members, most importantly the last camp commandant Fritz Suhren and the protective custody camp leader Johann Schwarzhuber (see B. Strebel, "Die Gaskammer im Konzentrationslager Ravensbrück Anfang 1945" in G. Morsch, B. Perz (Hrsg.), Neue Studien zu nationalsozialistischen Massentötungen durch Giftgas. Historische Bedeutung, technische Entwicklung, revisionistische Leugnung, 2012 (2. Aufl.), S. 277ff.).

The mendacious Holocaust denier Mattogno in Inside the Gas Chambers, Oct. 2016, pp. 181ff., dismisses these statements as evidence alleging some sort of a mythical "defense strategy" for which he cites no evidence at all.

In fact, when one looks at Suhren's interrogation of 05.12.1949 before the French military court in Rastatt, one sees him vigorously denying accusation after accusation. Certainly no coercion was involved at this particular moment. Suhren would have had no problem whatsoever denying any knowledge of any gas chamber if he so wished. Yet he admits that a gas chamber was built (denying his own guilt; pp. 80ff. of the interrogation protocol). All of Mattogno's whining aside, he can't refute this testimony, which stands as evidence.

Mattogno goes on to nitpick on various details, as is his wont (e. g. who ordered the murder - acc. to Suhren it was not Himmler but Heißmeyer and Glücks, hence there was no contradiction when it comes to Himmler's intentions; estimates in testimonies are not precise mathematical statements, so Mattogno's nonsensical calculations are meaningless; there is nothing that "defies our imagination" about the structure of the gas chamber - it was in a barrack near the crematorium, near it was a small undressing hut, inside the barrack there apparently was a small room at the entrance, that led to the gassing space - nothing complicated; nothing absurd about the "selection and dying" camp Uckermark - it was a special collection camp for all the sick, older women from Ravensbrück, who were not moved there in small groups only to be immediately sent back to the main camp, as Mattogno absolutely deceptively tries to portray, rather there were regular selections among the large Uckermark contingent and the camp had been organized before the gas chamber, see e. g. S. Schäfer, Zum Selbstverständnis von Frauen im Konzentrationslager. Das Lager Ravensbrück, 2002, p. 84, A. Ebbinghaus, Opfer und Täterinnen: Frauenbiographien des Nationalsozialismus, 1996, pp. 344ff.) and ends his failed attempt at a debunking with the false claim that the testimonies "are not supported even by a single document".

Even though they are, since one of the "deportation" lists to the non-existent "rest camp Mittwerda in Silesia" ("Schonungslager Mittwerda i. Schles.") signed by Suhren and dated 06.04.1945, with the names of 496 women that allegedly were transfered to this camp (the date of the deportation is not stated), was stolen by the secretaries and survives to this day.

I will quote Mattogno's treatment of the document at length:
Aside from witness accounts, orthodox historians present us with further proof for the existence of the Ravensbrück gas chamber in the form of some transport lists which have the name of a “Recovery camp Mittwerda” in Silesia as their place of destination. As we have seen, this “recovery camp” was labelled in Ruth Neudeck’s confession as an invention by Schwarzhuber. As in other such cases, the SS is painted as incredibly stupid, because if Schwarzhuber had wanted to allay suspicion among the detainees to be moved, he would obviously have spoken of a real camp, such as Bergen-Belsen, which was a true collection camp for sick detainees. Strebel writes (p. 285):
“The secretaries in the youth camp soon suspected that these indications were fakes. In the ‘labor command’ group as well, the detainees working there became suspicious of the Mittwerda transports, as these were handled in a manner very different from the usual procedure. Only one of these ‘Mittwerda-lists’ – the one dated 6 April – could be hidden by the detainees. It contained the names and the ID numbers of 496 female prisoners who, in all likelihood, were murdered on 30 March in the last gassings; it is signed by Commandant Suhren.”
Tillion, too, mentions this document and adds that there had also been “other vanished lists with the spelling Mittweida.” “Mittweida,” however, which differs from “Mittwerda” by only one letter, was a satellite camp of Ravensbrück, which means that it could hardly have been an accidental error. Tillion, in fact, writes:
“The female detainees who had to keep the Mittwerda lists up to date had never any doubt about the identity of the gas chamber and Mittweida, recording, as they did, the names and the ID numbers of the inmates at the very moment they saw them being moved away.”
This was the case for any kind of detainee transports. The need to identify “Mittwerda” with the alleged gas chamber was an indispensable part of the gas chamber story. If such a killing site did exist, it had to have its victims, and in view of the documents the detainees clearly concluded that they were being taken to an imaginary camp – Mittwerda in this case.
Unfortunately, it is hard to understand what the denier is trying to say here, since his text is simply not comprehensible, quite the usual thing for this author. He is not making any sort of an argument that makes sense and he is not addressing the existence of the document.

Is he saying that the camp did exist? Or that it was a typo for the work camp Mittweida? Or..? It is simply not clear.

Yet here are the facts.
  1.  There was no "rest camp" "Mittwerda", in Silesia or anywhere else.
  2. While there did exist a camp Mittweida, which was a sub-camp of Ravensbrück, any sort of a mistake can be excluded for the following reasons:
    • Mittweida was a work camp, the exact opposite of a "rest camp"; on 29.12.1944 Mittweida sent a pregnant inmate back to Ravensbrück exactly because a work camp was not a place for her (NARA T1021, roll 18, frame 697).
    • The camp Mittweida was in Saxony, not Silesia. Indeed, in his above-quoted testimony Suhren insisted that the women on the list were to be sent to a real camp Mittwerda in Silesia (p. 83) thus clearly lying to avoid responsibility (he further lied that the transport didn't take place due to military circumstances - although the document is about a transport that had already taken place).
Conclusion: the "rest camp Mittwerda in Silesia" was nothing but a code phrase, and there would be no need to use such if the purpose of the transport was not sinister. This supports the witness claims about the use of "Mittwerda" as a code word for the gas chamber, as well as the fact of the mass murder of these women, which in turn confirms the gassing claims.

"Mittwerda" also appears in the so-called Nummernbuch of the male inmates: it is written in 104 entries with the departure date 04.04.1945, thus showing that men were gassed too (Strebel, op. cit., p. 286).


Thus all of Mattogno's dishonest claims about the lack of evidence or documents are nothing but the usual hot air.


  1. About a minute and a half with Google Translate gets "Mittwerda" into "mitt wer da" which seems to mean "Who is there". Sounds like a code phrase: "the rest camp whoisthere." Or am I reading too much into this?

  2. No, that doesn't make sense in German, sorry.

  3. Thank you so much for this information.

    That being said, I am going to say that I just came back from the magical world of Russian historical "revisionism" and all of a sudden Holocaust denial is no longer the threat I though it to be. Compared to Fomenko's and Novsocsky's fantasies, it is just a tiny blip.

  4. I don't think it's all that much of a danger, since it is more or less confined to Russia, and even there it's not *that* popular due to it clashing with the official state picture of history. Plus there is a large body of literature debunking it.


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