Auschwitz explained by SRI (Romanian Information Service / Serviciul
Roman de Informatii)
Myths and Facts
Nearly everyone has heard of Auschwitz, the German wartime
concentration camp where many prisoners ‹ most of them Jewish ‹ were
reportedly exterminated, especially in gas chambers. Auschwitz is widely
regarded as the most terrible Nazi extermination center. The camp¹s
horrific reputation cannot, however, be reconciled with the facts.
Scholars Challenge Holocaust Story
Astonishing as it may seem, more and more historians and engineers have
been challenging the widely accepted Auschwitz story. These
«revisionist» scholars do not dispute the fact that large numbers of
Jews were deported to the camp, or that many died there, particularly of
typhus and other diseases. But the compelling evidence they present
shows that Auschwitz was not an extermination center and that the story
of mass killings in «gas chambers» is a myth.
The Auschwitz Camps
The Auschwitz camp complex was set up in 1940 in what is now
south-central Poland. Large numbers of Jews were deported there between
1942 and mid-1944.
The main camp was known as Auschwitz I. Birkenau, or Auschwitz II, was
supposedly the main extermination center, and Monowitz, or Auschwitz
III, was a large industrial center where gasoline was produced from
coal. In addition there were dozens of smaller satellite camps devoted
to the war economy.
Four Million Victims?
At the postwar Nuremberg Tribunal, the Allies charged that the Germans
exterminated four million people at Auschwitz. This figure, which was
invented by the Soviets, was uncritically accepted for many years. It
often appeared in major American newspapers and magazines, for example.
Today no reputable historian, not even those who generally accept the
extermination story, believes this figure. Israeli Holocaust historian
Yehuda Bauer said in 1989 that it is time to finally acknowledge the
familiar four million figure is a deliberate myth. In July 1990 the
Auschwitz State Museum in Poland, along with Israel¹s Yad Vashem
Holocaust Center, suddenly announced that altogether perhaps one million
people (both Jews and non-Jews) died there. Neither institution would
say how many of these people were killed, nor were any estimates given
of the numbers of
those supposedly gassed. (note 2) One prominent Holocaust historian,
Gerald Reitlinger, has estimated that perhaps 700,000 or so Jews
perished at Auschwitz. More recently, Holocaust historian Jean-Claude
Pressac has estimated that about 800,000 persons ‹ of whom 630,000 were
Jewish ‹ perished at Auschwitz. While even such lower figures are
incorrect, they show how the Auschwitz story has changed drastically
over the years. (note 3)
At one time it was seriously claimed that Jews were systematically
electrocuted at Auschwitz. American newspapers, citing a Soviet
eyewitness report from liberated Auschwitz, told readers in February
1945 that the methodical Germans had killed Jews there using an
«electric conveyor belt on
which hundreds of persons could be electrocuted simultaneously [and]
then moved on into furnaces. They were burned almost instantly,
producing fertilizer for nearby cabbage fields.» (note 4)
And at the Nuremberg Tribunal, chief U.S. prosecutor Robert Jackson
charged that the Germans used a «newly invented» device to
instantaneously «vaporize» 20,000 Jews near Auschwitz «in such a way
that there was no trace left of them.» (note 5) No reputable historian
now accepts either of these fanciful tales.
The Höss ŒConfession¹
A key Holocaust document is the «confession» of former Auschwitz
commandant Rudolf Höss of April 5, 1946, which was submitted by the U.S.
prosecution at the main Nuremberg trial. (note 6)
Although it is still widely cited as solid proof for the Auschwitz
extermination story, it is actually a false statement that was obtained
Many years after the war, British military intelligence sergeant
Bernard Clarke described how he and five other British soldiers tortured
the former commandant to obtain his «confession.» Höss himself privately
explained his ordeal in these words: «Certainly, I signed a statement
that I killed two and half million Jews. I could just as well have said
that it was five million Jews. There are certain methods by which any
confession can be obtained, whether it is true or not.» (note 7)
Even historians who generally accept the Holocaust extermination story
now acknowledge that many of the specific statements made in the Höss
«affidavit» are simply not true. For one thing, no serious scholar now
claims that anything like two and a half or three million people
perished in Auschwitz.
The Höss «affidavit» further alleges that Jews were already being
exterminated by gas in the summer of 1941 at three other camps: Belzec,
Treblinka and Wolzek. The «Wolzek» camp mentioned by Höss is a total
invention. No such camp existed, and the name is no longer mentioned in
Holocaust literature. Moreover, the story these days by those who
believe in the Holocaust legend is that gassings of Jews did not begin
at Auschwitz, Treblinka, or Belzec until sometime in 1942.
No Documentary Evidence
Many thousands of secret German documents dealing with Auschwitz were
confiscated after the war by the Allies. Not a single one refers to a
policy or program of extermination. In fact, the extermination story
cannot be reconciled with the documentary evidence.
Many Jewish Inmates Unable to Work
For example, it is often claimed that all Jews at Auschwitz who were
unable to work were immediately killed. Jews who were too old, young,
sick, or weak were supposedly gassed on arrival, and only those who
could be worked to death were temporarily kept alive.
But the evidence shows that, in fact, a very high percentage of the
Jewish inmates were not able to work, and were nevertheless not killed.
For example, an internal German telex message dated Sept. 4, 1943, from
the chief of the Labor Allocation department of the SS Economic and
Administrative Main Office (WVHA), reported that of 25,000 Jewish
inmates in Auschwitz, only 3,581 were able to work, and that all of the
remaining Jewish inmates ‹ some 21,500, or about 86 percent ‹ were
unable to work. (note 8)
This is also confirmed in a secret report dated April 5, 1944, on
«security measures in Auschwitz» by Oswald Pohl, head of the SS
concentration camp system, to SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Pohl reported
that there was a total of 67,000 inmates in the entire Auschwitz camp
complex, of whom 18,000 were hospitalized or disabled. In the Auschwitz
II camp (Birkenau), supposedly the main extermination center, there were
36,000 inmates, mostly female, of whom «approximately 15,000 are unable
to work.» (note 9)
These two documents simply cannot be reconciled with the Auschwitz
The evidence shows that Auschwitz-Birkenau was established primarily as
a camp for Jews who were not able to work, including the sick and
elderly, as well as for those who were temporarily awaiting assignment
to other camps. That¹s the considered view of Dr. Arthur Butz of
Northwestern University, who also says that this was the reason for the
unusually high death rate
there. (note 10)
Princeton University history professor Arno Mayer, who is Jewish,
acknowledges in a recent book about the «final solution» that more Jews
perished at Auschwitz as a result of typhus and other «natural» causes
than were executed. (note 11)
Perhaps the best known Auschwitz inmate was Anne Frank, who is known
around the world for her famous diary. But few people know that
thousands of Jews, including Anne and her father, Otto Frank, «survived»
The 15-year-old girl and her father were deported from the Netherlands
to Auschwitz in September 1944. Several weeks later, in the face of the
advancing Soviet army, Anne was evacuated along with many other Jews to
the Bergen-Belsen camp, where she died of typhus in March 1945.
Her father came down with typhus in Auschwitz and was sent to the camp
hospital to recover. He was one of thousands of sick and feeble Jews who
were left behind when the Germans abandoned the camp in January 1945,
shortly before it was overrun by the Soviets. He died in Switzerland in
If the German policy had been to kill Anne Frank and her father, they
would not have survived Auschwitz. Their fate, tragic though it was,
cannot be reconciled with the extermination story.
The Auschwitz gassing story is based in large part on the hearsay
statements of former Jewish inmates who did not personally see any
evidence of extermination. Their beliefs are understandable, because
rumors about gassings at Auschwitz were widespread.
Allied planes dropped large numbers of leaflets, written in Polish and
German, on Auschwitz and the surrounding areas which claimed that people
were being gassed in the camp. The Auschwitz gassing story, which was an
important part of the Allied wartime propaganda effort, was also
broadcast to Europe by Allied radio stations. (note 12)
Former inmates have confirmed that they saw no evidence of
extermination at Auschwitz.
An Austrian woman, Maria Vanherwaarden, testified about her camp
experiences in a Toronto District Court in March 1988. She was interned
in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942 for having sexual relations with a Polish
forced laborer. On the train trip to the camp, a Gypsy woman told her
and the others that they would all be gassed at Auschwitz.
Upon arrival, Maria and the other women were ordered to undress and go
into a large concrete room without windows to take a shower. The
terrified women were sure that they were about to die. But then, instead
of gas, water came out of the shower heads.
Auschwitz was no vacation center, Maria confirmed. She witnessed the
death of many fellow inmates by disease, particularly typhus, and quite
a few committed suicide. But she saw no evidence at all of mass
killings, gassings, or of any extermination program. (note 13)
A Jewish woman named Marika Frank arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau from
Hungary in July 1944, when 25,000 Jews were supposedly gassed and
cremated daily. She likewise testified after the war that she heard and
saw nothing of «gas chambers» during the time she was interned there.
She heard the gassing stories only later. (note 14)
Auschwitz internees who had served their sentences were released and
returned to their home countries. If Auschwitz had actually been a top
secret extermination center, the Germans would certainly not have
released inmates who «knew» what was happening in the camp. (note 15)
Himmler Orders Death Rate Reduced
In response to the deaths of many inmates due to disease, especially
typhus, the German authorities responsible for the camps ordered firm
The head of the SS camp administration office sent a directive dated
Dec. 28, 1942, to Auschwitz and the other concentration camps. It
sharply criticized the high death rate of inmates due to disease, and
ordered that «camp physicians must use all means at their disposal to
significantly reduce the death rate in the various camps.» Furthermore,
The camp doctors must supervise more often than in the past the
nutrition of the prisoners and, in cooperation with the
administration, submit improvement recommendations to the camp
commandants ... The camp doctors are to see to it that the working
conditions at the various labor places are improved as much as
Finally, the directive stressed that «the Reichsführer SS [Heinrich
Himmler] has ordered that the death rate absolutely must be reduced.»
German Camp Regulations
Official German camp regulations make clear that Auschwitz was not an
extermination center. They ordered: (note 17)
New arrivals in the camp are to be given a thorough medical
examination, and if there is any doubt [about their health], they
must be sent to quarantine for observation.
Prisoners who report sick must be examined that same day by the
camp physician. If necessary, the physician must transfer the
prisoners to a hospital for professional treatment.
The camp physician must regularly inspect the kitchen regarding
the preparation of the food and the quality of the food supply.
Any deficiencies that may arise must be reported to the camp
Special care should be given in the treatment of accidents, in
order not to impair the full productivity of the prisoners.
Prisoners who are to be released or transfered must first be
brought before the camp physician for medical examination.
Telltale Aerial Photos
Detailed aerial reconnaissance photographs taken of Auschwitz-Birkenau
on several random days in 1944 (during the height of the alleged
extermination period there) were made public by the CIA in 1979. These
photos show no trace of piles of corpses, smoking crematory chimneys or
masses of Jews awaiting death, things that have been repeatedly alleged,
and all of which would have been clearly visible if Auschwitz had been
the extermination center it is said to have been. (note 18)
Absurd Cremation Claims
Cremation specialists have confirmed that thousands of corpses could
not possibly have been cremated every day throughout the spring and
summer of 1944 at Auschwitz, as commonly alleged.
For example, Mr. Ivan Lagace, manager of a large crematory in Calgary,
Canada, testified in court in April 1988 that the Auschwitz cremation
story is technically impossible. The allegation that 10,000 or even
20,000 corpses were burned every day at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944
in crematories and open pits is simply «preposterous» and «beyond the
realm of reality,» he declared under oath. (note 19)
Gassing Expert Refutes Extermination Story
America¹s leading gas chamber expert, Boston engineer Fred A. Leuchter,
carefully examined the supposed «gas chambers» in Poland and concluded
that the Auschwitz gassing story is absurd and technically impossible.
Leuchter is the foremost specialist on the design and installation of
gas chambers used in the United States to execute convicted criminals.
For example, he designed a gas chamber facility for the Missouri state
In February 1988 he carried out a detailed onsite examination of the
«gas chambers» at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek in Poland, which are
either still standing or only partially in ruins. In sworn testimony to
a Toronto court and in a technical report, Leuchter described every
aspect of his investigation.
He concluded by emphatically declaring that the alleged gassing
facilities could not possibly have been used to kill people. Among other
things, he pointed out that the so-called «gas chambers» were not
properly sealed or vented to kill human beings without also killing
German camp personnel. (note 20)
Dr. William B. Lindsey, a research chemist employed for 33 years by the
Dupont Corporation, likewise testified in a 1985 court case that the
Auschwitz gassing story is technically impossible. Based on a careful
on-site examination of the «gas chambers» at Auschwitz, Birkenau and
Majdanek, and on his years of experience, he declared: «I have come to
the conclusion that no one was willfully or purposefully killed with
Zyklon B [hydrocyanic acid gas] in this manner. I consider it absolutely
impossible.» (note 21)
1. Nuremberg document 008-USSR. IMT blue series, Vol. 39, pp. 241,
NC&A red series, vol. 1, p. 35.; C.L. Sulzberger, «Oswiecim
Placed at 4,000,000,» New York Times, May 8, 1945, and, New York
Jan. 31, 1986, p. A4.
2. Y. Bauer, «Fighting the Distortions,» Jerusalem Post (Israel),
22, 1989; «Auschwitz Deaths Reduced to a Million,» Daily Telegraph
(London), July 17, 1990; «Poland Reduces Auschwitz Death Toll
to 1 Million,» The Washington Times, July 17, 1990.
3. G. Reitlinger, The Final Solution (1971); J.-C. Pressac, Le
d¹Auschwitz: La Machinerie du meurtre de mass (Paris: CNRS, 1993).
Pressac¹s estimates, see: L¹Express (France), Sept. 30, 1993, p.
4. Washington (DC) Daily News, Feb. 2, 1945, pp. 2, 35. (United Press
dispatch from Moscow).
5. IMT blue series, Vol. 16, p. 529-530. (June 21, 1946).
6. Nuremberg document 3868-PS (USA-819). IMT blue series, Vol. 33, pp.
7. Rupert Butler, Legions of Death (England: 1983), pp. 235; R.
The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1986-87, pp. 389-403.
8. Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw, German
No. 128, in: H. Eschwege, ed., Kennzeichen J (East Berlin: 1966),
9. Nuremberg document NO-021. NMT green series, Vol. 5. pp. 384-385.
10. Arthur Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century (Costa Mesa,
Calif.), p. 124.
11. Arno Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?: The ŒFinal Solution¹
History (Pantheon, 1989), p. 365.
12. Nuremberg document NI-11696. NMT green series, Vol. 8, p. 606.
13. Testimony in Toronto District Court, March 28, 1988. Toronto Star,
March 29, 1988, p. A2.
14. Sylvia Rothchild, ed., Voices from the Holocaust (New York: 1981),
15. Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret (Boston: 1981), p. 169.
16. Nuremberg document PS-2171, Annex 2. NC&A red series, Vol. 4, pp.
17. «Rules and Regulations for the Concentration Camps.» Anthology,
Medicine, Vol. 1, Part 1 (Warsaw: International Auschwitz
1970), pp. 149-151.; S. Paskuly, ed., Death Dealer: the Memoirs of
SS Kommandant at Auschwitz (Buffalo: 1992), pp. 216-217.
18. Dino A. Brugioni and Robert C. Poirier, The Holocaust Revisited
(Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 1979).
19. Canadian Jewish News (Toronto), April 14, 1988, p. 6.
20. The Leuchter Report: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution
Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek (Toronto: 1988).
for $17.00, postpaid, from the IHR.
21. The Globe and Mail (Toronto), Feb. 12, 1985, p. M3
The Auschwitz extermination story originated as wartime propaganda. Now,
more than 40 years after the end of the Second World War, it is time to
another, more objective look at this highly polemicized chapter of
The Auschwitz legend is the core of the Holocaust story. If hundreds of
thousands of Jews were not systematically killed there, as alleged, one
the great myths of our time collapses.
Artificially maintaining the hatreds and passions of the past prevents
genuine reconciliation and lasting peace. Correct information promotes
awareness and international understanding. That is why the
reconciliation work of the
SRI (Serviciul Român de InformaÝii) is so important and deserves your
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