Did Six Million Really Die?

a book by Richard Harwood

Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood

Rassinier entitled his first book The Lies of Odysseus in commemoration of the fact that travellers always return bearing tall stories, and until his death he investigated all the stories of extermination literature and attempted to trace their authors. He made short work of the extravagant claims about gas chambers at Buchenwald in David Rousset's The Other Kingdom (New York, 1947); himself an inmate of Buchenwald, Rassinier proved that no such things ever existed there (Le Mensonge d'Ulysse, p. 209 ff) Rassinier also traced Abbé Jean-Paul Renard, and asked him how he could possibly have testified in his book Chaines et Lumières that gas chambers were in operation at Buchenwald. Renard replied that others had told him of their existence, and hence he had been willing to pose as a witness of things that he had never seen (ibid, p. 209 ff).
    Rassinier also investigated Denise Dufournier's Ravensbrück.- The Women's Camp of Death (London, 1948) and again found that the authoress had no other evidence for gas chambers there than the vague "rumours" which Charlotte Bormann stated were deliberately spread by communist political prisoners. Similar investigations were made of such books as Philip Friedman's This was Auschwitz: The Story of a Murder Camp (N.Y., 1946) and Eugen Kogon's The Theory and Practice of Hell (N.Y., 1950), and he found that none of these authors could produce an authentic eye-witness of a gas chamber at Auschwitz, nor had they themselves actually seen one.

Certainly the most bogus "memoirs" yet published are those of Adolf Eichmann. Before his illegal kidnapping by the Israelis in May, 1960 and the attendant blaze of international publicity, few people had ever heard of him . He was indeed a relatively unimportant person, the head of Office A4b in Department IV (the Gestapo) of the Reich Security Head Office. His office supervised the transportation to detention camps of a particular section of enemy aliens, the Jews. A positive flood of unadulterated rubbish about Eichmann showered the world in 1960, of which we may cite as an example Comer Clarke's Eichmann: The Savage Truth. ("The orgies often went on until six in the morning, a few hours before consigning the next batch of victims to death," says Clarke in his chapter "Streamlined Death and Wild Sex Orgies," p . 124).
    Strangely enough, the alleged "memoirs" of Adolf Eichmann suddenly appeared at the time of his abduction to Israel. They were uncritically published by the American Life magazine (November 28th, December 5th, 1960), and were supposed to have been given by Eichmann to a journalist in the Argentine shortly before his capture -- an amazing coincidence. Other sources, however, gave an entirely different account of their origin, claiming that they were a record based on Eichmann's comments to an "associate" in 1955, though no one even bothered to identify this person. By an equally extraordinary coincidence, war crimes investigators claimed shortly afterwards to have just "found" in the archives of the U.S. Library of Congress, more than fifteen years after the war, the "complete file" of Eichmann's department.
    So far as the "memoirs" themselves are concerned, they were made to be as horribly incriminating as possible without straying too far into the realms of the purest fantasy, and depict Eichmann speaking with enormous relish about "the physical annihilation of the Jews." Their fraudulence is also attested to by various factual errors, such as that Himmler was already in command of the Reserve Army by April of 1944, instead of after the July plot against Hitler's life, a fact which Eichmann would certainly have known.
    The appearance of these "memoirs" at precisely the right moment raises no doubt that their object was to present a pre-trial propaganda picture of the archetypal "unregenerate Nazi" and fiend in human shape. The circumstances of the Eichmann trial in Israel do not concern us here; the documents of Soviet origin which were used in evidence, such as the Wisliceny statement, have been examined already, and for an account of the third-degree methods used on Eichmann during his captivity to render him "co-operative" the reader is referred to the London Jewish Chronicle, September 2nd, 1960. More relevant to the literature of the extermination legend are the contents of a letter which Eichmann is supposed to have written voluntarily and handed over to his captors in Buenos Aries. It need hardly be added that its Israeli authorship is transparently obvious. Nothing in it stretches human credulity further than the phrase "I am submitting this declaration of my own free will"; but the most hollow and revealing statement of all is his alleged willingness to appear before a court in Israel, "so that a true picture may be transmitted to future generations."

The latest reminiscences to appear in print are those of Franz Stangl, the former commandant of the camp at Treblinka in Poland who was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 1970. These were published in an article by the London Daily Telegraph Magazine, October 8th, 1971, and were supposed to derive from a series of interviews with Stangl in prison. He died a few days after the interviews were concluded. These alleged reminiscences are certainly the goriest and most bizarre yet published, though one is grateful for a few admissions by the writer of the article, such as that "the evidence presented in the course of his trial did not prove Stangl himself to have committed specific acts of murder" and that the account of Stangl's beginnings in Poland "was in part fabrication."
    A typical example of this fabrication was the description of Stangl's first visit to Treblinka. As he drew into the railway station there, he is supposed to have seen "thousands of bodies" just strewn around next to the tracks, "hundreds, no, thousands of bodies everywhere, putrefying, decomposing." And "in the station was a train full of Jews, some dead, some still alive ... it looked as if it had been there for days." The account reaches the heights of absurdity when Stangl is alleged to have got out of his car and "stepped knee-deep into money: I didn't know which way to turn, which way to go. I waded in paper-notes, currency, precious stones, jewellery and clothes. They were everywhere, strewn all over the square." The scene is completed by "whores from Warsaw weaving drunk, dancing, singing, playing music", who were on the other side of the barbed wire fences.
    To literally believe this account of sinking "knee-deep" in Jewish bank-notes and precious stones amid thousands of putrefying corpses and lurching, singing prostitutes would require the most phenomenal degree of gullibility, and in any circumstances other than the Six Million legend it would be dismissed as the most outrageous nonsense. The statement which certainly robs the Stangl memoirs of any vestige of authenticity is his alleged reply when asked why he thought the Jews were being exterminated: "They wanted the Jews' money," is the answer. "That racial business was just secondary." The series of interviews are supposed to have ended on a highly dubious note indeed. When asked whether he thought there had been "any conceivable sense in this horror," the former Nazi commandant supposedly replied with enthusiasm: "Yes, I am sure there was. Perhaps the Jews were meant to have this enormous jolt to pull them together; to create a people; to identify themselves with each other." One could scarcely imagine a more perfect answer had it been invented.

The figures of Dachau casualties are typical of the kind of exaggerations that have since had to be drastically revised. In 1946, a memorial plaque was unveiled at Dachau by Philip Auerbach, the Jewish State-Secretary in the Bavarian Government who was convicted for embezzling money which he claimed as compensation for nonexistent Jews. The plaque read: "This area is being retained as a shrine to the 238,000 individuals who were cremated here." Since then, the official casualty figures have had to be steadily revised downwards, and now stand at only 20,600 the majority from typhus and starvation only at the end of the war. This deflation, to ten per cent of the original figure, will doubtless continue, and one day will be applied to the legendary figure of six million as a whole.
    Another example of drastic revision is the present estimate of Auschwitz casualties. The absurd allegations of three or four million deaths there are no longer plausible even to Reitlinger. He now puts the number of casualties at only 600,000; and although this figure is still exaggerated in the extreme, it is a significant reduction on four million and further progress is to be expected. Shirer himself quotes Reitlinger's latest estimate, but he fails to reconcile this with his earlier statement that half of that figure, about 300,000 Hungarian Jews were supposedly "done to death in forty-six days" - a supreme example of the kind of irresponsible nonsense that is written on this subject.  

The truth about the Anne Frank Diary was first revealed in 1959 by the Swedish journal Fria Ord. It established that the Jewish novelist Meyer Levin had written the dialogue of the "diary" and was demanding payment for his work in a court action against Otto Frank. A condensation of the Swedish articles appeared in the American Economic Council Letter, April 15th, 1959, as follows: "History has many examples of myths that live a longer and richer life than truth, and may become more effective than truth. "The Western World has for some years been made aware of a Jewish girl through the medium of what purports to be her personally written story, Anne Frank's Diary. Any informed literary inspection of this book would have shown it to have been impossible as the work of a teenager.
    "A noteworthy decision of the New York Supreme Court confirms this point of view, in that the well known American Jewish writer, Meyer Levin, has been awarded $50,000 to be paid him by the father of Anne Frank as an honorarium for Levin's work on the Anne Frank Diary."
    Mr. Frank, in Switzerland, has promised to pay to his race kin, Meyer Levin, not less than $50,000 because he had used the dialogue of Author Levin just as it was and "implanted" it in the diary as being his daughter's intellectual work." Further inquiries brought a reply on May 7th, 1962 from a firm of New York lawyers, which stated: "I was the attorney for Meyer Levin in his action against Otto Frank, and others. It is true that a jury awarded Mr. Levin $50,000 in damages, as indicated in your letter. That award was later set aside by the trial justice, Hon. Samuel C. Coleman, on the ground that the damages had not been proved in the manner required by law. The action was subsequently settled while an appeal from Judge Coleman's decision was pending.

Thies Christopherson, who was sent to the Bunawerk plant laboratories at Auschwitz to research into the production of synthetic rubber for the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. In May 1973, not long after the appearance of this account, the veteran Jewish "Nazi-hunter" Simon Wiesenthal wrote to the Frankfurt Chamber of Lawyers, demanding that the publisher and author of the Forward, Dr. Roeder, a member of the Chamber, should be brought before its disciplinary commission. Sure enough, proceedings began in July, but not without harsh criticism even from the Press, who asked "Is Simon Wiesenthal the new Gauleiter of Germany?" (Deutsche Wochenzeitung, July 27th, 1973).
    Christopherson's account is certainly one of the most important documents for a re-appraisal of Auschwitz. He spent the whole of 1944 there, during which time he visited all of the separate camps comprising the large Auschwitz complex, including Auschwitz-Birkenau where it is alleged that wholesale massacres of Jews took place. Christopherson, however, is in no doubt that this is totally untrue. He writes: "I was in Auschwitz from January 1944 until December 1944. After the war I heard about the mass murders which were supposedly perpetrated by the S.S. against the Jewish prisoners, and I was perfectly astonished. Despite all the evidence of witnesses, all the newspaper reports and radio broadcasts I still do not believe today in these horrible deeds. I have said this many times and in many places, but to no purpose. One is never believed" (p. 16).
    Space forbids a detailed summary here of the author's experiences at Auschwitz, which include facts about camp routine and the daily life of prisoners totally at variance with the allegations of propaganda (pp. 22-7). More important are his revelations about the supposed existence of an extermination camp. "During the whole of my time at Auschwitz, l never observed the slightest evidence of mass gassings. Moreover, the odour of burning flesh that is often said to have hung over the camp is a downright falsehood. In the vicinity of the main camp (Auschwitz I) was a large farrier's works, from which the smell of molten iron was naturally not pleasant" (p. 33-4). Reitlinger confirms that there were five blast furnaces and five collieries at Auschwitz, which together with the Bunawerk factories comprised Auschwitz III (ibid. p. 452). The author agrees that a crematorium would certainly have existed at Auschwitz, "since 200,000 people lived there, and in every city with 200,000 inhabitants there would be a crematorium. Naturally people died there -- but not only prisoners. In fact the wife of Obersturmbannführer A. (Christopherson's superior) also died there" (p. 33).
    The author explains: "There were no secrets at Auschwitz. In September 1944 a commission of the International Red Cross came to the camp for an inspection. They were particularly interested in the camp at Birkenau, though we also had many inspections at Raisko" (Bunawerk section, p. 35). Christopherson points out that the constant visits to Auschwitz by outsiders cannot be reconciled with allegations of mass extermination. When describing the visit of his wife to the camp in May, he observes: "The fact that it was possible to receive visits from our relatives at any time demonstrates the openness of the camp administration. Had Auschwitz been a great extermination camp, we would certainly not have been able to receive such visits" (p. 27).
    After the war, Christopherson came to hear of the alleged existence of a building with gigantic chimneys in the vicinity of the main camp. "This was supposed to be the crematorium. However, I must record the fact that when I left the camp at Auschwitz in December 1944, I had not seen this building there" (p. 37). Does this mysterious building exist today? Apparently not; Reitlinger claims it was demolished and "completely burnt out in full view of the camp" in October, though Christopherson never saw this public demolition. Although it is said to have taken place "in full view of the camp", it was allegedly seen by only one Jewish witness, a certain Dr. Bendel, and his is the only testimony to the occurrence (Reitlinger, ibid, p. 457).
    This situation is generally typical. When it comes down to hard evidence, it is strangely elusive; the building was "demolished", the document is "lost", the order was "verbal". At Auschwitz today, visitors are shown a small furnace and here they are told that millions of people were exterminated. The Soviet State Commission which "investigated" the camp announced on May 12th, 1945, that "Using rectified coefficients . . . the technical expert commission has ascertained that during the time that the Auschwitz camp existed, the German butchers exterminated in this camp not less than four million citizens ..." Reitlinger's surprisingly frank comment on this is perfectly adequate: "The world has grown mistrustful of 'rectified coefficients' and the figure of four millions has become ridiculous" (ibid, p. 460). Finally, the account of Mr. Christopherson draws attention to a very curious circumstance. The only defendant who did not appear at the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial in 1963 was Richard Baer, the successor of Rudolf Höss as commandant of Auschwitz. Though in perfect health, he died suddenly in prison before the trial had begun, "in a highly mysterious way" according to the newspaper; Deutsche Wochenzeitung (July 27th, 1973). Baer's sudden demise before giving evidence is especially strange, since the Paris newspaper Rivarol recorded his insistence that "during the whole time in which he governed Auschwitz, he never saw any gas chambers nor believed that such things existed," and from this statement nothing would dissuade him. In short, the Christopherson account adds to a mounting collection of evidence demonstrating that the giant industrial complex of Auschwitz (comprising thirty separate installations and divided by the main Vienna-Cracow railway line) was nothing but a vast war production centre, which, while admittedly employing the compulsory labour of detainees, was certainly not a place of "mass extermination".