This gas chamber still exists, together with the associated crematorium, which was reconstructed after the war using the original components, which remained on-site. Construction on Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the extermination camp, began in October to ease congestion at the main camp. It was larger than Auschwitz I, and more people passed through its gates than through Auschwitz I. The first gas chamber at Birkenau was "The Little Red House," a brick cottage converted into a gassing facility by tearing out the inside and bricking up the walls.
It was operational by March A second brick cottage, "The Little White House," was similarly converted some weeks later. He told me something to the effect—I do not remember the exact words—that the Fuehrer had given the order for a final solution of the Jewish question. We, the SS, must carry out that order. If it is not carried out now then the Jews will later on destroy the German people. He had chosen Auschwitz on account of its easy access by rail and also because the extensive site offered space for measures ensuring isolation. Picture of Birkenau taken by an American surveillance plane, August 25, Rees speculates that the conversation with Himmler was most likely in the summer of In early , the Nazis decided to increase greatly the gassing capacity of Birkenau.
It went into operation in March. Crematorium III was built using the same design. Crematoria IV and V, designed from the start as gassing centers, were also constructed that spring. By June all four crematoria were operational. Most of the victims were killed during the period afterwards.
Members of these groups were killed periodically. They were sent to the "Gypsy camp" and murdered when the camp was liquidated. The "Gypsy Family Camp", which was still under construction at the time was to become a separate subcamp within Auschwitz II. The camp would eventually contain 32 residential and 6 sanitation barracks and house a total of 20, Romani men, women, and children. Steinbach was believed to be Jewish until research uncovered her Sinti heritage in The basis of the study was to ascertain the prevalence of "Gypsy traits" in " Zigeunermischlinge ", Gypsy half-breed half-Romani children, many half-German, were taken from their parents and raised in orphanages and foster homes without any contact with Romani culture.
Of the 41 children in the study at St. Of the 39 children, two survived Auschwitz; all the others were killed, most during the final liquidation of the camp on the night of August 2—3, During the final liquidation of the Gypsy camp, the remaining 2, Romani in the camp were sent to the gas chambers. It held approximately 12, prisoners, the great majority of whom were Jewish, but also carried non-Jewish criminals and political prisoners.
The life expectancy of Jewish workers at Buna Werke was three to four months, for those working in the outlying mines, only one month. Those deemed unfit for work were gassed at Birkenau or sent "to Birkenau" nach Birkenau , according to a euphemism used in I. Farben record books. Farben executive, as his friend Raymond van den Straaten testified at the Nuremberg trial of 24 I. Farben executives:. One day, two Buna inmates, Dr. Raymond van den Straaten and Dr. Farben dignitaries passed by. One of the directors pointed to Dr. There were 45 smaller satellite camps, some of them tens of kilometers from the main camps, with prisoner populations ranging from several dozen to several thousand.
Inmates of 28 of them worked for the German armaments industry. Nine camps were set up near foundries and other metal works, six near coal mines, six supplied prisoners to work in chemical plants, and three to light industry. One was built next to a plant making construction materials and another near a food processing plant. Apart from the weapons and construction industries, prisoners were also made to work in forestry and farming. Due to its large size and key role in the Nazi genocide program, the Auschwitz Concentration Camp encompassed personnel from several different branches of the SS, some of which held overlapping and shared areas of responsibility.
Auschwitz also maintained a medical corps, led by Eduard Wirths , whose doctors and medical personnel were from various backgrounds in the SS. Assisting the SS with this task was a large collection of Kapos, who were trustee prisoners. SS personnel assigned to the gas chambers were technically under the same chain of command as other internal camp SS personnel, but in practice were segregated and worked and lived locally on site at the crematorium.
The Hygiene Division was under the control of the Auschwitz Medical Corps, with the Zyklon B ordered and delivered through the camp supply system. These guards manned watchtowers and patrolled the perimeter fences of the camp. Various administrative and supply SS personnel were also assigned to Auschwitz, usually "out of the way" of the more horrific activities of the camp, based out of command administrative offices in the main camp of Auschwitz I.
In addition to the command and control proper of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the camp further frequently received orders and directives from other organs of the SS and the Nazi state. By July , the SS were conducting the infamous "selections," in which incoming Jews were divided into those deemed able to work, who were sent to the right and admitted into the camp, and those who were sent to the left and immediately gassed. Prisoners were transported from all over German-occupied Europe by rail, arriving in daily convoys. The group selected to die, about three-quarters of the total, included almost all children, women with children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit.
Auschwitz II-Birkenau claimed more victims than any other German extermination camp, despite coming into use after all the others. SS officers told the victims they were to take a shower and undergo delousing. The victims would undress in an outer chamber and walk into the gas chamber, which was disguised as a shower facility, complete with dummy shower heads.
After the doors were shut, SS men would dump in the cyanide pellets via holes in the roof or windows on the side. In Auschwitz II-Birkenau, more than 20, people could be gassed and cremated each day. Despite the thick concrete walls of the gas chambers, screaming and moaning from within could be heard outside for 15 to 20 minutes. In one failed attempt to muffle the noise, two motorcycle engines were revved up to full throttle nearby, but the sound of yelling could be heard over the engines. The belongings of the arrivals were seized by the SS and sorted in an area of the camp called "Canada," so-called because Canada was seen as a land of plenty.
Many of the SS at the camp enriched themselves by pilfering the confiscated property. Hungary was an ally of Germany during the war, but it had resisted turning over its Jews to the Germans until Germany invaded in March From April until July 9, , , Hungarian Jews, half of the pre-war population, were deported to Auschwitz, at a rate of 12, a day for a considerable part of that period.
The incoming volume was so great that the SS resorted to burning corpses in open-air pits as well as in the crematoria. This is not a holiday resort but a labor camp. Just as our soldiers risk their lives at the front to gain victory for the Third Reich, you will have to work here for the welfare of a new Europe. How you tackle this task is entirely up to you. The chance is there for every one of you. We shall look after your health, and we shall also offer you well-paid work. After the war we shall assess everyone according to his merits and treat him accordingly.
Hang your clothes on the hooks we have provided and please remember your number [of the hook]. When you've had your bath there will be a bowl of soup and coffee or tea for all. Oh yes, before I forget, after your bath, please have ready your certificates, diplomas, school reports and any other documents so that we can employ everybody according to his or her training and ability.
Kapos —prisoners who had been promoted to foremen—were responsible for the prisoners' behavior while they worked, as was an SS escort. The working day lasted 12 hours during the summer, and a little less in the winter. No rest periods were allowed. One prisoner would be assigned to the latrines to measure the time the workers took to empty their bladders and bowels. After work, there was a mandatory evening roll call. If a prisoner was missing, the others had to remain standing in place until he was either found or the reason for his absence discovered, even if it took hours, regardless of the weather conditions.
After roll call, there were individual and collective punishments, depending on what had happened during the day, and after these, the prisoners were allowed to retire to their blocks for the night to receive their bread rations and water. Curfew was two or three hours later, the prisoners sleeping in long rows of wooden bunks, lying in and on their clothes and shoes to prevent them from being stolen. Block 10, the medical experimentation block. German doctors performed a wide variety of experiments on prisoners at Auschwitz. Deported to Auschwitz in March along with his wife and child who were gassed upon arrival.
The Jewish skeleton collection was obtained from among a pool of Jewish inmates at Auschwitz, chosen for their perceived stereotypical racial characteristics. They were chosen for their perceived stereotypical racial characteristics. Hans Fleischhacker , who arrived in Auschwitz in the first half of and finished the preliminary work by June 15, In with the approach of the allies, there was concern over the possibility of the corpses being discovered, at this point they had still not been defleshed.
The first part of the process for this "collection" was to make anatomical casts of the bodies prior to reducing them to skeletons. In September, Sievers telegrammed Brandt: "The collection can be defleshed and rendered unrecognizable. This, however, would mean that the whole work had been done for nothing-at least in part-and that this singular collection would be lost to science, since it would be impossible to make plaster casts afterwards.
Only very few specimens of skulls of the Jewish race, however, are available with the result that it is impossible to arrive at precise conclusions from examining them. They in turn are to be given special directives to inform a certain office at regular intervals of the number and place of detention of these captured Jews and to give them special close attention and care until a special delegate arrives.
This special delegate, who will be in charge of securing the 'material' has the job of taking a series of previously established photographs, anthropological measurements, and in addition has to determine, as far as possible, the background, date of birth, and other personal data of the prisoner. The basis of these studies will be the photos, measurements, and other data supplied on the head, and finally the tests of the skull itself. Victim Elisabeth Klein b. He was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment, the minimum sentence, but did not serve any time in prison.
For many years only a single victim, Menachem Taffel prisoner no. In Dr. In the remains of the 86 victims were reinterred in one location in the Cronenbourg-Strasbourg Jewish Cemetery. On Dec. One is at the site of the mass grave, the other along the wall of the cemetery. Another plaque honoring the victims was placed outside the Anatomy Institute at Strasbourg's University Hospital. At the present time these prisoners are segregated by sex and are under quarantine in the two hospital buildings of Auschwitz. The deaths of 86 of these inmates was, in the words of Hirt, "induced" at a jury rigged gassing facility over the course of a few days in August One of the victims was shot by the SS when he fought entering the gas chamber.
The corpses; 57 men and 29 women were sent to Strasbourg. This, however, would mean that the whole work had been done for nothing — at least in part — and that this singular collection would be lost to science, since it would be impossible to make plaster casts afterwards. Brandt and Sievers would be indicted, tried and convicted in the Doctor's Trial in Nuremberg. Hans-Joachim Lang. His first report was smuggled to the outside world in November , through an inmate who was released from the camp. He eventually escaped on April 27, , but his personal report of mass killings was dismissed as exaggeration by the Allies, as were his previous ones.
The debate over what could have been done, or what should have been attempted even if success was unlikely, has continued ever since. Inmates were able to distribute information from the camp without escaping themselves. Nonetheless, those reports were for a long time discarded as "too extreme" by the Allies. Birkenau revolt. Ruins of Crematorium IV, blown up in the revolt. By , resistance organizations had developed in the camp. These organizations helped a few prisoners escape; these escapees took with them news of exterminations, such as the killing of hundreds of thousands of Jews transported from Hungary between May and July By , however, he realized that the Allies had no such plans.
Meanwhile, the Gestapo redoubled its efforts to ferret out ZOW members, succeeding in killing many of them. Pilecki decided to break out of the camp, with the hope of personally convincing Home Army leaders that a rescue attempt was a valid option. He escaped on the night of April 26 — 27, , but his plan was not accepted by the Home Army as the Allies considered his reports about the Holocaust exaggerated.
At least prisoners attempted to escape from the Auschwitz camps during the years of their operation, of which were successful. The fates of of the escapees are still unknown. A common punishment for escape attempts was death by starvation; the families of successful escapees were sometimes arrested and interned in Auschwitz and prominently displayed to deter others. If someone did manage to escape, the SS would pick 10 people at random from the prisoner's block and starve them to death.
The Germans never recaptured any of them. In , the " Kampfgruppe Auschwitz " was organised with the aim to send out as much information about what was happening in Auschwitz as possible. They buried notes in the ground in the hope a liberator would find them and smuggled out photos of the crematoria and gas chambers. They also wanted to smuggle out deportation lists Zimetbaum had been able to copy due to her translator job in the office of the " Lagerleitung ".
They both were arrested on July 6 near the Slovakian frontier and sentenced to be executed on September 15, in Birkenau; Galinski managed to kill himself before being executed, while Zimetbaum, having failed to commit suicide, died finally after being tortured by the SS.
The last selection took place on October 30, The gas chambers of Birkenau were blown up by the SS in January in an attempt to hide the German crimes from the advancing Soviet troops. The SS command sent orders on January 17, calling for the execution of all prisoners remaining in the camp, but in the chaos of the Nazi retreat the order was never carried out. On January 17, , Nazi personnel started to evacuate the facility. Those too weak or sick to walk were left behind. Among the artifacts of automated murder found by the Russians were , men's suits and , women's garments.
The exact number of victims at Auschwitz is impossible to fix with certainty. Later he wrote "I regard two and a half million far too high. Even Auschwitz had limits to its destructive possibilities". Communist Polish and Soviet authorities maintained a figure "between 2. In , French scholar George Wellers was one of the first to use German data on deportations to estimate the number killed at Auschwitz, arriving at 1. After the collapse of the Communist government in , the plaque at Auschwitz State Museum was removed and the official death toll given as 1. Deniers often use the 'Four Million Variant' as a stepping stone to leap from an apparent contradiction to the idea that the Holocaust was a hoax, again perpetrated by a conspiracy.
They hope to discredit historians by making them seem inconsistent. If they can't keep their numbers straight, their reasoning goes, how can we say that their evidence for the Holocaust is credible? One must wonder which historians they speak of, as most have been remarkably consistent in their estimates of a million or so dead Few if any historians ever believed the Museum's four million figure, having arrived at their own estimates independently. The museum's inflated figures were never part of the estimated five to six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, so there is no need to revise this figure.
The original intent of the camp was to intern Polish political prisoners. The trials ended on December 22, , with 23 death sentences issued, as well as 16 imprisonments ranging from life sentence to 3 years. After liberation, local Polish farming population returning to the area searched the ruins of Birkenau thoroughly for re-usable fallen bricks, so they could rebuild farm buildings for shelter needed for the next winter. Today, at Birkenau the entrance building and some of the southern brick-built barracks survive; but of the almost wooden barracks, only 19 have been reconstructed from authentic materials: 18 near the entrance building and one, on its own, farther away.
All that survives of the others are chimneys, remnants of a largely ineffective means of heating. Many of these wooden buildings were constructed from prefabricated sections made by a company that intended them to be used as stables; inside, numerous metal rings for the tethering of horses can still be seen. His younger brothers were Karl Junior and Alois Mengele. From this association, Mengele probably developed his life-long fascination with the study of twins.
Their only son, Rolf, was born March 11, Five years after Mengele emigrated to Buenos Aires in , his wife Irene divorced him. She continued to live in Germany with their son. Josef and Martha had no further children. Hitler declared war against the Soviet Union on 22nd June In one instance, he drew a line on the wall of the children's block centimetres about 5 feet from the floor, and children whose heads could not reach the line were sent to the gas chambers. Human experimentation Block 10 — Medical experimentation block in Auschwitz.
Mengele took an interest in physical abnormalities discovered among the arrivals at the concentration camp. Mengele often called them "my dwarf family"; to him they seemed to be the perfect expression of "the abnorm". Rena Gelissen 's account of her time in Auschwitz details certain experiments performed on female prisoners around October Most of the victims died, because of either the experiments or later infections. Mengele placed them on his polished marble dissection table and put them to sleep. Mengele then began dissecting and meticulously noting each piece of the twins' bodies. At Auschwitz, Mengele did a number of studies on twins.
After an experiment was over, the twins were usually killed and their bodies dissected. The subjects of Mengele's research were better fed and housed than ordinary prisoners and were, for the time being, safe from the gas chambers, although many experiments resulted in more painful deaths. When visiting his child subjects, he introduced himself as "Uncle Mengele" and offered them sweets.
Some survivors remember that despite his grim acts, he was also called "Mengele the protector". Auschwitz prisoner Alex Dekel has said: "I have never accepted the fact that Mengele himself believed he was doing serious work — not from the slipshod way he went about it. He was only exercising his power. Mengele ran a butcher shop — major surgeries were performed without anaesthesia.
Once, I witnessed a stomach operation — Mengele was removing pieces from the stomach, but without any anaesthetic. It was horrifying. Mengele was a doctor who became mad because of the power he was given. Nobody ever questioned him — why did this one die? Why did that one perish? The patients did not count. He professed to do what he did in the name of science, but it was a madness on his part.
An Auschwitz prisoner doctor has said: "He was capable of being so kind to the children, to have them become fond of him, to bring them sugar, to think of small details in their daily lives, and to do things we would genuinely admire And then, next to that, Well, that is where the anomaly lay. In South America Josef Mengele in Photo taken by a police photographer in Buenos Aires for Mengele's Argentine identification document. While in Buenos Aires, Mengele practiced medicine, specializing in illegal abortions, and was briefly detained by police on one occasion for the death of a patient during an abortion.
He was doing well in South America, yet Mengele feared being captured, especially after news of Eichmann's capture and subsequent trial were revealed. Agents of Mossad debated whether or not also to kidnap him. However, they still had Eichmann in a safe house inside Argentina, and determined that it would not be possible to conduct another operation at the same time. In his account of the operation, he reports no sightings of Mengele in , but feels that they might have got him if they could have moved more quickly. When asked about the secondary target by the co-pilot who helped transport Eichmann at the time, he claims to have told him that "had it been possible to start the operation several weeks earlier, Mengele might also have been on the plane.
According to a senior Mossad man, Israel had received reports that Mengele was in Brazil, but they kept this information to themselves. But Benjamin Weiser Varon, Israeli ambassador from —, was "not given any instructions by the foreign office on Mengele of any kind. It wasn't even mentioned. He presented a dilemma. Israel had less of a claim for his extradition than Germany.
He was, after all, a German citizen who had committed his crimes in the name of the Third Reich. None of his victims were Israeli—Israel came into existence only several years later. In the seclusion of his Brazilian hideaway Mengele was safe. In , his only son Rolf, never having known his father before, visited him there and found an unrepentant Nazi who claimed that he "had never personally harmed anyone in his whole life". His theory was rejected by Brazilian scientists who had studied twins living in the area; they suggested genetic factors within that community as a more likely explanation.
In , suspicions had grown that he was still alive, given his divorce from Irene in and his marriage to Martha in Mengele sightings were reported all over the world, but they turned out to be false. Rolf Mengele issued a statement saying that he "had no doubt it was the remains of his father". Everything was kept quiet "to protect those who knew him in South America", Rolf said. He had evaded capture for 34 years. These eight photos of Mengele are the first authenticated pictures of him at Auschwitz, museum officials said. The auction caused protest amongst some Holocaust survivors, describing it as "a cynical act of exploitation aimed at profiting from the writings of one of the most heinous Nazi criminals.
Himmler was known to issue direct orders to the camp commander, bypassing all other chains of command, in response to his own directives. Before Auschwitz was a death camp, Frank left the running of the camp mostly to the SS, although did know of the camp's existence since the early Auschwitz fell under his geographical authority. A final group which had interest in Auschwitz were the various German ministries concerned with war production, slave labor, and manpower.
Administrative and supply SS personnel were assigned mostly to the camp headquarters at the Auschwitz I camp. Such personnel, many of whom were Waffen-SS members but not members of the SS-TV camp service, were usually "out of the way" of the more horrific activities of the camp. During an emergency, such as a prisoner uprising, the Guard Battalion could be deployed within the camp. Camp guards were either members of the SS-TV or Waffen-SS veterans rotated into the concentration camp system due to wounds in action or for some other administrative reason.
Ironically, contrary to the stereotypical image of the "Concentration Camp Guard", members of the Guard Battalion seldom, if ever, had direct contact with prisoners. In contrast to Hitler, Himmler inspected concentration camps. As a result of these inspections, the Nazis searched for a new and more expedient way to kill, which culminated in the use of the gas chambers. On 18 December , Himmler's appointment book shows he met with Hitler. The entry for that day poses the question "What to do with the Jews of Russia? His experience as a chicken farmer had taught him the rudiments of animal breeding which he proposed to apply to humans.
I also want to refer here very frankly to a very difficult matter. We can now very openly talk about this among ourselves, and yet we will never discuss this publicly. Let us thank God that we had within us enough self-evident fortitude never to discuss it among us, and we never talked about it. Every one of us was horrified, and yet every one clearly understood that we would do it next time, when the order is given and when it becomes necessary.
I am now referring to the evacuation of the Jews, to the extermination of the Jewish People. They say the others are all swine, but this particular one is a splendid Jew. But none has observed it, endured it. Most of you here know what it means when corpses lie next to each other, when there are or when there are 1, Because we know how difficult it would be for us if we still had Jews as secret saboteurs, agitators and rabble rousers in every city, what with the bombings, with the burden and with the hardships of the war.
If the Jews were still part of the German nation, we would most likely arrive now at the state we were at in and ' He declared that no drop of German blood would be lost or left behind for an alien race. Himmler continued his plans to colonize the east despite evidence that Germans did not want to relocate there, and that the activities hindered the war effort; several high-ranking Nazi officials found the latter point obvious.
Any person classified as German who resisted was to be deported to a concentration camp. Himmler oversaw cases of obstinate Germans, and gave orders for concentration camps, or separation of families, or forced labor, in efforts to break down resistance. His declaration that "it is in the nature of German blood to resist" led to the paradoxical conclusion that Balts or Poles who resisted Germanization measures were regarded as more suitable material than more compliant ones.
Himmler urged:. Either we win over any good blood that we can use for ourselves and give it a place in our people, or we destroy that blood. The "racially valuable" children were to be culled, removed from all contact with Poles, and raised as Germans, with German names. Himmler declared, "We have faith above all in this our own blood, which has flowed into a foreign nationality through the vicissitudes of German history. We are convinced that our own philosophy and ideals will reverberate in the spirit of these children who racially belong to us.
Children who passed muster at first but were later rejected were used as slave labor or killed. His original plans to recruit settlers from Scandinavia and the Netherlands were unsuccessful, and so it was settled with such ethnic Germans as had not been deported by the Soviet Union.
Here in this struggle stands National Socialism: an ideology based on the value of our Germanic, Nordic blood. On the other side stands a population of million, a mixture of races, whose very names are unpronounceable, and whose physique is such that one can shoot them down without pity and compassion. These animals, that torture and ill-treat every prisoner from our side, every wounded man that they come across and do not treat them the way decent soldiers would, you will see for yourself. These people have been welded by the Jews into one religion, one ideology, that is called Bolshevism When you, my men, fight over there in the East, you are carrying on the same struggle, against the same subhumanity, the same inferior races, that at one time appeared under the name of Huns, another time— years ago at the time of King Henry and Otto I— under the name of Magyars, another time under the name of Tartars, and still another time under the name of Genghis Khan and the Mongols.
Today they appear as Russians under the political banner of Bolshevism. For a time, the Polish population would be permitted to remain as slave labor. Himmler forbade that this group, not suitable for Germanization, receive anything above a fourth-grade education. The removal of the racially valuable types would deprive the population of leaders, and ensure that they were available for labor.
He also prescribed that as many ethnic groups as possible be recognized in order to foment disunity. By this I mean that it is very much in our interest not only not to unite the people of the East but the reverse -- to splinter them into as many parts and subdivisions as possible. This also reflected Nazi policy on non-Germans. The Posen speech also calls for the merciless use of all Slavonic forced labor on this ground:. Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture; otherwise, it is of no interest to me.
Whether 10, Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interest me only in so far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be rough and heartless when it is not necessary, that is clear. We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals. But it is a crime against our own blood to worry about them and give them ideals, thus causing our sons and grandsons to have a more difficult time with them. When someone comes to me and says, "I cannot dig the anti-tank ditch with women and children, it is inhuman, for it will kill them", then I would have to say, "you are a murderer of your own blood because if the anti-tank ditch is not dug, German soldiers will die, and they are the sons of German mothers.
They are our own blood". He also called for sexual relations between German women and Polish slave laborers to be punished by death for the man and a concentration camp for the woman. Employed against Soviet troops, they performed acceptably. Himmler inspects a prisoner of war camp in Russia. Some 2. Himmler ordered brutal reprisals. At least 1, people were "executed" by firing squads after Heydrich's death. In , Himmler was appointed Reich Interior Minister, replacing Frick, with whom he had engaged in a turf war for over a decade. For instance, Frick had tried to restrict the widespread use of "protective custody" orders that were used to send people to concentration camps, only to be begged off by Himmler.
While Frick viewed the concentration camps as a tool to punish dissenters, Himmler saw them as a way to terrorize the people into accepting Nazi rule. Himmler's appointment effectively merged the Interior Ministry with the SS. It also incurred some displeasure from Hitler himself, whose long-standing disdain for the traditional civil service was one of the foundations of Nazi administrative thinking.
With Himmler threatening his power base, Bormann could not give him the opportunity fast enough, initially acquiescing in the policies, until furious protests broke out. Then, Bormann came out against the scheme, leaving Himmler discredited, especially with the party, whose gauleiters now saw Bormann as their protector. This increased Himmler's personal power. Unfortunately for Himmler, the investigation soon revealed the involvement of many SS officers in the conspiracy, including senior officers, which played into the hands of Bormann's power struggle against the SS because very few party cadre officers were implicated.
Even more importantly, some senior SS officers began to conspire against Himmler himself, as they believed that he would be unable to achieve victory in the power struggle against Bormann. The U. In late January, after some limited initial success, Himmler was transferred east. Operation North Wind officially ended on 25 January. Hitler placed Himmler in command of Army Group Vistula despite the failure of Army Group Upper Rhine and despite Himmler's total lack of experience and ability to command troops. Himmler did this despite the train having only one telephone line and no signals detachment.
Eager to show his determination, Himmler acquiesced in a quick counter-attack urged by the general staff. The worsening situation left Himmler under increasing pressure from Hitler; he was unassertive and nervous in conferences. At conferences with Hitler, Himmler echoed Hitler's line of increased severity towards those who retreated. Guderian visited him there and carried his resignation as Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Vistula to Hitler that night.
Peace negotiations Heinrich Himmler in He also believed by the middle of April that Hitler had effectively incapacitated himself from governing by remaining in Berlin to personally lead the defence of the capital against the Soviets. He represented himself as the provisional leader of Germany, telling Bernadotte that Hitler would almost certainly be dead within two days. Himmler hoped the British and Americans would fight the Soviets alongside the remains of the Wehrmacht.
At Bernadotte's request, Himmler put his offer in writing. During the meeting, Himmler stated that he wanted to " bury the hatchet " with the Jews. When Hitler was informed of the news, he flew into a rage. However, Himmler had not even bothered to request permission. Finally, he expelled Himmler from the Nazi Party and ordered his arrest. Himmler's negotiations with Count Bernadotte failed. However, the negotiations helped secure the release of some 15, Scandinavian prisoners from the remaining concentration camps.
He asked Eisenhower to appoint him "minister of police" in Germany's post-war government. Another version has Himmler biting into a hidden cyanide pill embedded in one of his teeth, when searched by a British doctor, who then yelled, "He has done it! The precise location of Himmler's grave remains unknown.
In May a British police investigation identified 29 forgeries that had been slipped into 12 files to support claims in Allen's three World War II books. Formed in by those who had held high positions within the then defunct Nazi Party, the group provides "quiet but active assistance to those who lost their freedom during or after the war by capture, internment or similar circumstance and who need help to this day.
Historians are divided on the psychology, motives, and influences that drove Himmler. Some see him as dominated by Hitler, fully under his influence and essentially a tool carrying Hitler's views to their logical conclusion. Still others see Himmler as power-mad, devoted to the accumulation of power and influence. According to Robert S. Wistrich, Himmler's decisive innovation was to transform the race question from "a negative concept based on matter-of-course anti-Semitism" into "an organizational task for building up the SS His strength lay in a combination of unusual shrewdness, burning ambition, and servile loyalty to Hitler.
Churchill] as commenting. A main focus of recent work on Himmler has been the extent to which he competed for and craved Hitler's attention and respect. The events of the last days of the war, when he abandoned Hitler and attempted to enter into separate negotiations with the western Allies an attempt which was rebuffed , are obviously significant in this respect. Himmler appears to have had a distorted view of how he was perceived by the Allies; he intended to meet with U.
He tried to buy off their vengeance by last-minute reprieves for Jews and important prisoners. According to British soldiers who arrested him, Himmler was genuinely shocked to be treated as a prisoner. While ostensibly engaged in anti-partisan actions in Yugoslavia, this unit became notorious for committing terrible atrocities against the civilian population. However, because of the confusing power struggle inside the Nazi organisation where Hitler divided and ruled via his changing favourites, he had the same power and responsibilities as Greiser.
In he was arrested but released on bail on 19 April His trial opened in in Bonn. The trial was adjourned due to Koppe's ill health and in the Bonn court decided not to prosecute and Koppe was released for medical reasons. Oskar Dirlewanger. His death was as murky and obscure as his career. He applied for SS membership on 20 September , and his application as a member of the SS was accepted on 1 April By the end of his four years at Dachau, he was serving as administrator of the property of prisoners.
Auschwitz I was the administrative center for the complex; Birkenau was the extermination camp, where most of the killing took place. Himmler had selected Auschwitz for this purpose, he said, "on account of its easy access by rail and also because the extensive site offered space for measures ensuring isolation". Himmler described the project as a "secret Reich matter", meaning that "no one was allowed to speak about these matters with any person and that everyone promised upon his life to keep the utmost secrecy".
At first, small gassing bunkers were located deep in the woods, to avoid detection. He commented,. Of course, frequently they realized our true intentions and we sometimes had riots and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women would hide their children under the clothes but of course when we found them we would send the children in to be exterminated. With Zyklon B, he said that it took 3—15 minutes for the victims to die and that "we knew when the people were dead because they stopped screaming".
The killing itself took the least time. You could dispose of 2, head in half an hour, but it was the burning that took all the time. The killing was easy; you didn't even need guards to drive them into the chambers; they just went in expecting to take showers and, instead of water, we turned on poison gas. The whole thing went very quickly. He evaded arrest for nearly a year. There he gave detailed testimony of his crimes:.
The remainder of the total number of victims included about , German Jews, and great numbers of citizens mostly Jewish from Holland, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Greece, or other countries. We executed about , Hungarian Jews alone at Auschwitz in the summer of Only two and one half million — the rest died from disease and starvation.
The sentence was carried out on 16 April immediately adjacent to the crematorium of the former Auschwitz I concentration camp. The message on the board reads:. Prisoners suspected of involvement in the camp's underground resistance movement or of preparing to escape were interrogated here. Many prisoners died as a result of being beaten or tortured. There is too much apathy to leave any suggestion of remorse and even the prospect of hanging does not unduly stress him.
In the solitude of my prison cell I have come to the bitter recognition that I have sinned gravely against humanity. As Commandant of Auschwitz I was responsible for carrying out part of the cruel plans of the 'Third Reich' for human destruction. In so doing I have inflicted terrible wounds on humanity. I caused unspeakable suffering for the Polish people in particular.
I am to pay for this with my life. May the Lord God forgive one day what I have done. I have been constantly associated with the administration of concentration camps since , serving at Dachau until ; then as Adjutant in Sachsenhausen from to 1 May, , when I was appointed Commandant of Auschwitz. Included among the executed and burnt were approximately 20, Russian prisoners of war previously screened out of Prisoner of War cages by the Gestapo who were delivered at Auschwitz in Wehrmacht transports operated by regular Wehrmacht officers and men. Mass executions by gassing commenced during the summer and continued until fall All mass executions by gassing took place under the direct order, supervision and responsibility of RSHA.
The "final solution" of the Jewish question meant the complete extermination of all Jews in Europe. I visited Treblinka to find out how they carried out their exterminations. He was principally concerned with liquidating all the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto.
He used monoxide gas and I did not think that his methods were very efficient. So when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz, l used Cyclon B, which was a crystallized Prussic Acid which we dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber depending upon climatic conditions. We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped.
After the bodies were removed our special commandos took off the rings and extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses. Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our gas chambers to accommodate 2, people at one time, whereas at Treblinka their 10 gas chambers only accommodated people each. The way we selected our victims was as follows: we had two SS doctors on duty at Auschwitz to examine the incoming transports of prisoners.
The prisoners would be marched by one of the doctors who would make spot decisions as they walked by. Those who were fit for work were sent into the Camp. Others were sent immediately to the extermination plants. Children of tender years were invariably exterminated since by reason of their youth they were unable to work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka was that at Treblinka the victims almost always knew that they were to be exterminated and at Auschwitz we endeavored to fool the victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process.
We were required to carry out these exterminations in secrecy but of course the foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz. We received from time to time special prisoners from the local Gestapo office.
The SS doctors killed such prisoners by injections of benzine. Doctors had orders to write ordinary death certificates and could put down any reason at all for the cause of death. From time to time we conducted medical experiments on women inmates, including sterilization and experiments relating to cancer. Most of the people who died under these experiments had been already condemned to death by the Gestapo.
Rudolf Mildner was the chief of the Gestapo at Kattowicz and as such was head of the political department at Auschwitz which conducted third degree methods of interrogation from approximately March until September As such, he frequently sent prisoners to Auschwitz for incarceration or execution. He visited Auschwitz on several occasions. I understand English as it is written above. The above statements are true; this declaration is made by me voluntarily and without compulsion; after reading over the statement, I have signed and executed the same at Nurnberg, Germany on the fifth day of April The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.
Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook. The "society" soon became a part of Pohl's SS administration office. Pohl also left the Roman Catholic Church in Concentration camp administrator Oswald Pohl as a Nazi official.
Postwar Oswald Pohl receives his sentence of death by hanging. However, Pohl was not executed right away. Officially, Pohl never left the Catholic Church, but stopped visiting churches from on. When it 'suited him best' during the Nuremberg trials, the ex-SS man started to see a Roman Catholic priest again, as he ascertained the American prison psychiatrist Dr.
Goldensohn in Pohl insisted on his innocence until his death, stating that he was only a "simple functionary". Liebehenschel became head the SS Manpower Office there. In November , he took over the department D I, the "inspectorate for concentration camps". On the advice of his lawyer he refused to testify and died of a heart attack in pre-trial detention in After seeing a wanted picture in the Bild-Zeitung, a co-worker on Otto von Bismarck's estate reported that Baer was working as a forester there.
When officials confronted "Neumann" in the forest on the early morning of December 20, , he at first denied everything. Having already addressed Baer as her "husband", the woman in the house subsequently gave her name as "Frau Baer", but still claimed that Baer was named Neumann. Baer, however, finally admitted his true identity. His SS training led him into work as a prison guard and, after the outbreak of war, as a concentration camp guard. He was to hold that position until December , when he was transferred out and appointed as Commandant of Belsen.
At Auschwitz, Kramer soon became notorious among his subordinates as a harsh taskmaster. One of the defendants at the Frankfurt Trial, Dr. Franz Lucas , testified that he tried to avoid assignments given him by Kramer by pleading stomach and intestinal disorders. When Dr.
Lucas saw that his name had been added to the list of selecting physicians for a large group of inmates transferred from Hungary, he objected strenuously. Kramer reacted sharply: "I know you are being investigated for favouring prisoners. I am now ordering you to go to the ramp, and if you fail to obey an order, I shall have you arrested on the spot".
Belsen had originally served as a temporary camp for those leaving Germany, but during the war had been expanded to serve as a convalescent depot for the ill and displaced people from across north-west Europe. Although it had no gas chambers, Kramer's rule was so harsh that he became known as the 'Beast of Belsen'. As Germany collapsed administration of the camp broke down, but Kramer remained devoted to bureaucracy. On March 19, the number of inmates rose to 60, as the Germans continued to evacuate camps that were soon to be liberated by the Allies. As late as the week of April 13, some 28, additional prisoners were brought in.
With the collapse of administration and many guards fleeing to escape retribution, roll calls were stopped, and the inmates were left to their own devices. Kramer remained even when the British arrived to liberate the camp. He remained indifferent and callous and took them on a tour of the camp to inspect the 'scenes'. Piles of corpses were lying all over the camp, mass graves were filled in, and the huts were filled with prisoners in every stage of emaciation and disease.
Josef Kramer was imprisoned at the Hamelin jail. The trial lasted several weeks from September to November Mulka subsequently returned to Hamburg in mid during the bombing of the city. In the spring of , he was arrested and kept in custody because of his SS membership. The prosecutor, who had been investigating Auschwitz since , recognized the relatively uncommon name and investigated Rolf's father.
His suspicion was correct, and Robert Mulka was arrested in November He was remanded in custody from then until March , from May until December , from February until October , and then from December At the time of his trial, Mulka was 68 years old and married with a daughter and two sons. In the trial, Mulka said the Auschwitz atmosphere disgusted him, stating that "the things that transpired there shocked me from the beginning". When asked to elaborate, he pointed to the striped prisoner uniforms, commenting that his SS colleagues had "no style". Mulka was found guilty of aiding and abetting the murder of people on at least four separate occasions, and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
In the conviction, the court noted that:. During the same period he also received some military training. The two men administered the camp until the Allies arrived. Early in the s he was apprehended by West German authorities in his hometown, where he was a bank official. It is not known why the bank rehired and promoted him after a long absence during which he had nothing to do with banking. He further denied any knowledge of the fate of the approximately , Hungarian Jews who were murdered at Auschwitz during his term of service at the camp. While accounts from survivors and other SS officers all but placed him there, prosecutors could locate no conclusive evidence to prove the claim.
He was released in and was able to return to his bank post as a chief cashier, where he worked until his retirement. This first page shows Hoecker, right, with the commandant Richard Baer. Hoecker playing on a lawn with his dog, a German shepherd named Favorit. His father, a bricklayer, died in the First World War, leaving his family impoverished. Hoecker worked at a bank, then joined the S. At the beginning of the war, he was drafted into the S.
Fighting Corps, and in he was sent to work at Neuengamme concentration camp, near Hamburg. In , he was transferred to Majdanek, where he was adjutant during the Harvest Festival of November, , when all the Jews from three camps, including Majdanek, were assembled and shot, in order to prevent uprisings. Forty-two thousand prisoners were killed in two days. This album contains eight pictures of Mengele—the only known photographs of him at Auschwitz. On October 15, he was assigned to Auschwitz, where he remained until April In February he served as a sergeant in the guard company.
An intimidating figure among SS men in his company, he was renowned as a devout Nazi, and would abuse prisoners by beating them defiantly. He also demonstrated to his colleagues how to behave towards prisoners. Due to an amnesty, he was released in the mid-fifties. He received a strict upbringing from his father, a skilled textile worker. His role in salary administration granted him both the administrative and military aspects he wanted from job, but in , the SS ordered that desk jobs should be reserved for injured veterans, and that fit members in administrative roles were to be subjected to more challenging duties.
His responsibilities included counting and sorting the money stolen from exterminated prisoners, and guarding other prisoner belongings in the camp before they were plundered. While at the camp, he witnessed the entire killing process. After being temporarily held in a former concentration camp he was transferred to England in , working as a forced labourer. Relatively few German soldiers were in France, and those who were there had an easier time than the soldiers fighting against the Russians in the East. France had been divided into two zones—only one of which was occupied by Germany, but the French largely administered both zones.
Although the Nazis wanted the French to turn over all Jews, the French agreed at first to round up only Jews with foreign citizenship, many of whom were in France because they had fled the Nazis in other countries. The first roundup took place in July In an early morning visit, in the 20th Arrondissement of Paris, French Police knocked on the door of the Mullers—Jews originally from Poland.
Hurry up. They told us to take three days worth of food. I seem to remember they said for three days. Along with 4, other children, they were sent to a makeshift camp in the suburbs of Paris. It was called Drancy. Michel was crying. Within a short time, all the children at Drancy were packed into freight trains and sent east.
Michel and Annette Muller, however, were spared the journey because their father bribed French officials for their release. The journey for the parentless children lasted two days and nights before it ended at Auschwitz. They were then taken from the train ramp to the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were murdered with the poisonous insecticide Zyklon B. None of the children sent from Drancy survived.
About 70 percent of them were murdered immediately upon arrival. April to March Prisoners at forced labor building airplane parts at the Siemens factory in the Bobrek labor camp. There were such horrible conditions that God decided not to go there. The items were sorted and sent back to Germany, although some were stolen by SS guards.
Mostly women inmates worked in "Canada," and it was one of the few sought-after jobs in Auschwitz. They could grow their hair out and were able to steal extra food from the belongings as they sorted through them.
International Cyanide Management Institute Hist ory Hydrogen cyanide, discovered in the late 18th century, was used in the s for the fumigation of citrus trees in California. Its use spread to other countries for the fumigation of silos, goods wagons, ships, and mills. Its light weight and rapid dispersal meant its application had to take place under tents or in enclosed areas. Chemists at Degesch added a cautionary eye irritant to a less volatile cyanide compound which reacted with water in the presence of heat to become hydrogen cyanide.
The new product was marketed as the pesticide Zyklon cyclone. As a similar formula had been used as a weapon by the Germans during World War I, Zyklon was soon banned. There, beginning in 1 , , Brun o Tesch, and others worked on packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irri tant Cautionary eye irritants used included chloropicrin and cyanogen chloride. The new product was also labelled as Zyklon, but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version. The Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt awarded the patent on 27 December Beginning in the s, Zyklon B was used at U.
Customs facilities along the Mexican border to fumigate the clothing of border crossers. Corporate structure and marketing In , Degussa ceded Goldschmidt AG, in exchange for the right to market pesticide products of those two companies through Degesch. Degussa retained managerial control. While Degesch owned the rights to the brand name Zyklon and the patent on the packaging system, the chemical formula was owned by Degussa.
Schlempe GmbH, which was 52 percent owned by Degussa, owned the rights to a process to extract hydrogen cyanide from waste products of sugar beet processing. This process was performed under license by two companies, Dessauer Werke and Kaliwerke Kolin, who also combined the resulting hydrogen cyanide with stabilizer from IG Farben and a cautionary agent from Schering AG to form the final product, which was packaged using equipment, labels, and canisters provided by Degesch.
Their territory was split along the Elbe river, with Heli handling clients to the west and south, and Testa those to the east. Degesch owned 51 percent of the shares of Heli, and until owned 55 percent of Testa. Uses in Germany included delousing clothing often using a portable sealed chamber invented by Degesch in the s and fumigating ships, warehouses, and trains. By , sales of Zyklon B accounted for 65 percent of Degesch's sales revenue and 70 percent of its gross prof its.
Use in the Holo caust In early , Zyklon B emerged as the preferred killing tool of Nazi Germany for use in extermination camps during the Holocaust. The chemical was used to kill roughly one million people in gas chambers installed in extermination camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, and elsewhere. Most of the victims were Jews, and by far the majority killed using this method died at Auschw itz.
Soviet officials initially stated that over 4 mill ion people were killed u sing Zyklon B at Auschwitz, but this figure was later proven to be greatly exaggerated. Camps also occasionally bought Zyklon B directly from the manufacturers. Of the tonnes of Zyklon B sold in Germany in —44, 56 tonnes about 8 percent of domestic sales were sold to concentration camps. Auschwitz received The remainder was used in the gas chambers or lost to spoilage the product had a stated shelf life of only three mont hs.
Degesch and Zyklon B. All in all, it seems reasonable to assume that the SS over- rather than underdosed They also offered courses to the SS in the safe handling and use of the material for fumigation purposes. In April , the German agriculture and interior ministries designated the SS as an authorized applier of the chemical, and thus they were able to use it without any further training or governmental oversight. Block 11 proved unsuitable for mass killings, as the basement was difficult to air out afterwards and the crematorium Crematorium I, which operated until July was some distance away.
The site of the killings was moved to Crematorium I, where more than victims could be killed at once. By the middle of , the operation was moved to Auschwitz II—Birkenau, a nearby satellite camp which had been under construction since October The first gas chamber at Auschwitz II—Birkenau was the "red house" called Bunker 1 by SS staff , a brick cottage converted to a gassing facility by tearing out the inside and bricking up the windows.
It was operational by March A second brick cottage, the "white house" or Bunker 2, was converted some weeks later. These structures were in use for mass killings until early At that point, the Nazis decided to greatly increase the gassing capacity of Birkenau. Crematorium II, originally designed as a mortuary, with morgues in the basement and ground-level incinerators, was converted into a killing factory by installing gas-tight doors, vents for the Zyklon B to be dropped into the chamber, and ventilation equipment to remove the gas afterwa rds.
The gas chamber also had to be heated, as the Zyklon B pellets would not vaporize into hydrogen cyanide unless the temperature was or above. Crem atorium III was built using the same design. Crematoria IV and V, designed from the start as gassing centers, were also constructed that spring. By June , all four crematoria were operational.
Most of the victims were killed using these four structures. The Nazis began shipping large numbers of Jews from all over Europe to Auschwitz in the middle of Those who were not selected for work crews were immediately gassed. The group selected to die, about three-quarters of the to tal, Of the Hungarian Jews who arrived in the middle of , 85 percent were killed immediately. The victims were told they were to undergo delousing and a shower. They were stripped of their belongings and herded into the gas chamber. The actual delivery of the gas to the victims was always handled by the SS, on the order of the supervising SS doctor.
After the doors were shut, SS men dumped in the Zyklon B pellets through vents in the roof or holes in the side of the chamber. The victims were dead within 20 minutes. Johann Kremer, an SS doctor who ove rsaw gassings, test ified that the "shouting and screaming of the victims could be heard through the opening and it was clear that they fought for their lives". Sonderkommandos special work crews forced to work at the gas chambers wearing gas masks then dragged the bodies from the chamber. The victims' glasses, artificial limbs, jewelry, and hair were removed, and any dental work was extracted so the gold could be melted down.
If the gas chamber was crowded, which they typically were, the corpses were found half-squatting, their skin discolored pink with red and green spots, with some found foaming at their mouths, or bleeding from their ears. The corpses were burned in the nearby incinerators, and the ashes were buried, thrown in the river, or used as fertilizer. With the Soviet Red Army approaching through Poland, the last mass gassing at Auschwitz took place on 30 October Gerhard Peters, who served as principal operating officer of Degesch and Heli and also held posts in the Nazi government, served two years eight months in prison as an accessory before being released due to amendments to the penal code.
Use of hydrogen cyanide as a pesticide or cleaner has been banned or restricted in some countries. Most hydrogen cyanide is used in industrial processes, made by companies in Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and the US. Degesch resumed production of Zyklon B after the war. The product was sold as Cyanosil in Germany and Zyklon in other countries.
It was still produced as of The company is now called Detia-Degesch. Uragan means "hurricane" or "cyclone" in Czech. Subsequent use of the word "Zyklon" in trade names has prompted angry reactions in English-speaking countries. The name "Zyklon" on portable roller coasters made since by Pinfari provoked protests among Jewish groups in the U. In , British sportswear and football equipment supplier Umbro issued an apology and stopped using the name "Zyklon", which had appeared since on the box for one of its trainers, after receiving complaints from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre.
The firm was already using the name in Germany for one of their vacuum cleaners. French company IPC's product names used "Cyclone" for degreasers and suffix "B" for biodegradable: "Cyclone B" was renamed "green cap" in after protests from Jewish groups. A rabbi said the name was "horrible ignorance at best, and a Guinness record in evil and cynicism if the company did know the history of the name of its product. Leuchter, who found low levels of Prussian blue in samples of the gas chamber walls and ceilings. Leuchter attributed its presence to general delousing of the buildings.
Leuchter's negative control, a sample of gasket material taken from a different camp building, had no cyanide residue. In , James Roth, the chemist who had analyzed Leuchter's samples, stated that the test was flawed because the material that was sent for testing included large chunks, and the chemical would only be within 10 microns of the surface. The surface that had been exposed to the chemical was not identified, and the large size of the specimens meant that any chemical present was diluted by an undeterminable amount.
Using microdiffusion techniques, they tested 22 samples from the gas chambers and delousing chambers as positive controls and living quarters as negative controls. They found cyanide residue in both the delousing chambers and the gas chambers but none in the living quarters. Bailer, F. Freund, T. Geisler, W. Lasek, N. Neugebauer, G. Spenn, W. Leuchter, Jr. Log into your account your username your password Forgot your password?
Sign up Welcome! Register for an account your email your username A password will be e-mailed to you. Get help Create an account Create an account Welcome! Password recovery Recover your password your email A password will be e-mailed to you. The product is infamous for its use by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust to mu rder peoples in gas chambers installed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, and other extermination camps.
In , Degesch was purchased by Degussa, where a team of chemists that incl uded Walter Heerdt and Bruno Tesch developed a method of packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and one of several adsorbents such as diatomaceous earth. Mode of ac tion : Hydr ogen cyanide is a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration. In a human weighing 68 kilograms lb , death occurs with in two minutes of inhaling 70 mg of hydrogen cyan ide. History : Hydr ogen cyanide, discovered in the late 18th century, was used in the s for the fumigation of citrus trees in California.
There, beginning in 1 , Walter de Heerdt, Brun o Tesch, and others worked on packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and adsorbent stabilizers such as diatomaceous earth. The Deutsches Patent und Markenamt awarded the patent on December 27 Beginning in the s, Zyklon B was used at US Customs facilities along the Mexican border to fumigate the clothing of border crossers.
Corporate Structure and Marke ting : In , Degussa ceded Holocaust : In early , Zyklon B emerged as the preferred killing tool of Nazi Germany for use in extermination camps during the Holocaust. Most of the victims were Jews, and by far the majority killed using this method died at Auschwitz. The remainder was used in the gas chambers or lost to spoilage the product had a stated shelf life of only three months.
Testa conducted fumigations for the Wehrmacht and supplied them with Zyklon B. Crematorium II, originally designed as a mortuary, with morgues in the basement and ground-level incinerators, was converted into a killing factory by installing gas-tight doors, vents for the Zyklon B to be dropped into the chamber, and ventilation equipment to remove the gas afterwards. Crematorium III was built using the same design.
The group selected to die, about three-quarters of the total, included almost all children, women with small children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit. With the Soviet Red Army approaching through Poland, the last mass gassing at Auschwitz took place on October 30 When they opened the door to our cattle car, our mother became very frightened, Stay with me, children, she told us, refusing to let go of our hands. But hen some prisoners told her in Yiddish, Tell them you have twins.
There is a Dr. Mengele here who wants twins. He stopped to look at us. Miriam and I looked very much alike. We were wearing similar clothes. Are they twins? Is that good? He nodded yes. They are twins, she said. Eva Mozes Josef Mengele had a strange fascination with twins, and spent much of his time at Auschwitz studying the twins. Mengele would systematically document measurements of the twins, often comparing them. After these experiments he would kill both of the twins in order to dissect and compare the bodies. Mengele even tried to sew together two children together in an attempt to create Siamese twins.
The hands of the children became badly infected where the veins were sected together. These are just a few examples of the atrocities committed by Josef Mengele. Of over pairs of twins, only about of these twins survived Mengele and the war. The village, which is located about 30 kilometers south of Auschwitz, was very popular with concentration camp supervisors. I am not sure about this caption Photo right Little Princess — Seven-year-old Jacqueline Morgenstern, later victim of tuberculosis medical experiments at Neuengamme KZ.
She was murdered just before the liberation of the camp.
Paris, Schwarberg Source : www. His younger brothers were Karl Jr and Alois. Mengele did well in school and developed an interest in music, art, and skiing.
He completed high school in April and went on to study medicine at Goethe University Frankfurt and philosophy at the University of Munich. Munich was the headquarters of the Nazi Party. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a scientist conducting genetics research, with a particular interest in twins. As an assistant to von Verschuer, Mengele focused on the genetic factors resulting in a cleft lip and palate or cleft chin.
His thesis on the subject earned him a doctorate in medicine in Both of his degrees were later rescinded by the issuing universities. October Sher Director, Eli M. Rosenbaum Principal Deputy Director. Josef Mengele was an SS physician, infamous for his inhumane medical experimentation upon concentration camp prisoners at Auschwitz.
In , Mengele earned a Ph. In January , at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt, he became the assistant of Dr Otmar von Verschuer, a leading scientific figure widely known for his research with twins. In Mengele joined the Nazi Party. The following year, the same year in which he received his medical degree, he joined the SS.
In June , Mengele was drafted into the army, and thereafter volunteered into the medical service of the Combat Waffen-SS. During his infamous tenure at the concentration camp, Josef Mengele was not the only physician at Auschwitz, nor was he, as common wisdom often maintains, the highest-ranking physician at the camp; this distinction belonged to SS captain Dr.
Eduard Wirths, whose position as garrison physician made him responsible in all medical matters for the entire camp complex. Approximately 30 physicians served at Auschwitz during the period in which Mengele was assigned to the camp. As a requisite feature of their rounds, medical staff performed selections of prisoners on the ramp, determining from among the mass of humanity arriving at Auschwitz who would be retained for work and who would perish immediately in the gas chambers.
Known as the Angel of Death , or sometimes as the White Angel , for his coldly cruel demeanor on the ramp, Mengele is associated more closely with this selection duty than any other medical officer at Auschwitz, although by most accounts he performed this task no more often than any of his colleagues. Mengele had become interested in utilizing twins for medical research through Verschuer, famous for experimenting with identical and fraternal twins in order to trace the genetic origins of various diseases. During the s, twin research was seen as an ideal tool in weighing the variant factors of human heredity and environment.
Mengele, with his mentor, had performed a number of legitimate research protocols using twins as test subjects throughout the s. Now, at Auschwitz, with full license to maim or kill his subjects, Mengele performed a broad range of agonizing and often lethal experiments with Jewish and Roma Gypsy twins, most of them children. Throughout his stay in Auschwitz, Mengele collected the eyes of his murdered victims, in part to furnish research material to colleague Karin Magnussen, a KWI researcher of eye pigmentation.
He himself also conducted several experiments in an attempt to unlock the secret of artificially changing eye color. Less famously, he zealously documented in camp inmates the progression of the disease Noma, a type of gangrene which destroys the mucous membrane of the mouth and other tissues. These children were liberated from Auschwitz by the Red Army in January Jeffreys and Dr. The family was murdered in Auschwitz on Aug. Jose Alvers Aspiazu detention pending trial is ordered. These charges are based on the following facts : in the years to the former National Socialist Government of the German Reich operated a concentration camp with several additional camps within the city limits of the town Oswiecim in occupied Poland in the area of Upper Silesia; for a time the concentration camp was divided into three camps that were independently administered and designated as Auschwitz I to Auschwitz III.
Among other functions the camp Auschwitz served as extermination camp. In the camp countless people were killed who, according to the National Socialist conception at that time, were considered inferior, in particu1arJews, Slays and Gypsies. The extermination on a massive scale took place mainly in the camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, and specifically in such manner that, under the pretext of a shower, the people destined to die were brought into specially prepared chambers where they were suffocated in a very painful way through hydro-cyanic acid fumes of the poison gas compound Zyclon B.
The execution of these measures as well as the command and the guarding of the camp devolved on the Schutzstaffel SS , a military organization of the National Socialist German Labor Party. As a rule, only the ones unfit to work were destined to die through gassing. The ones persecuted on racial and political grounds who appeared fit to work were forced to work in the camp as well as at construction sites and in businesses in the surrounding area, sometimes under inhuman conditions.
The suspect Mengele, as an SS Hauptsturmfuehrer [Captain and SS camp physician, is charged with having killed, deported and imprisoned people of the concentration camp Auschwitz on account of their race, sometimes in a sadistic and bestial way, motivated by pleasure in killing and by arrogance towards Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and other groups of people he considered inferior. It is not possible, not even in approximation, to assess the number of selections supervised by him and the number of people who were selected to die. According to submitted testimonies, however, it can be presupposed that he carried out arrival selections at least at the following times : — 1 — At the end of May at a transport of deported people organized by the Reich Security Main Office RSHA with which the female witness Friendman-Englaender arrived; — 2 — In the year at a transport with which the female witness Morgen arrived,where he hit an older Jew already selected to be gassed, who wanted to go to his son in the group of those fit to work, with an iron studded stick on the head in such a violent way that the skin of the head and probably also the skull was split and the older gentleman fell to the ground dead; — 3.
On 20 July at a RSHA transport from Paris, with which the witness Doctor Horeau arrived men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, a total of persons were gassed ; — 4 — On 1 August at the first RSHA transport from the ghetto Bendsburg Bedzin with which the witnesses Jack and Rachel Rozmaryn arrived; — 5 — On 2 August at a RSHA transport from the ghetto Bendsburg Bedzin at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, several relatives of the witness Kugelmann; — 6 — On 3 August at a RSHA transport from the ghetto Sosnowitz Sosnowiec with which the female witness Mangel arrived women and men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, an unknown number of people were gassed.
Hungarian Jews on their way to the gas chambers. Above : Jews before going in the gas chambers in Auschwitz, Jewish women and children wait in the grove before being forced to go to the undressing. Arrival of a train containing Jews deported to Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
Jewish women and children forced to walk towards the gas chambers. Photo right Prewar portrait of two Belgian Jewish sisters who later were killed in Auschwitz. The railway, which was built in , was the last stop for the trains bringing Jews to the death camp. In numerous cases, he allegedly personally killed those prisoners who had been selected by him or other SS physicians in the above described way, by injecting phenol, gasoline, Evipan a sleeping drug and anesthia , chloroform, air or other substances into the blood stream, especially into the heart chamber, sometimes under the pretext and semblance of a treatment, or he allegedly ordered and supervised the killing of these prisoners by men of the SS medical ranks; sometimes also, in cases of camp and medical barracks selections, he allegedly supervised men of the SS medical ranks at the gas chambers as they threw the granulated hydro-cyanic acid compound Cyclon B through the funnels into the chambers in which the people destined to die stood closely packed together, or himself threw the compound in.
Because of their everyday occurrence and their uniformity, the number and scope of these camp and medical barracks selections carried out by the suspect MENGELE, can be ascertained with as little precision as the number of people killed. Nonetheless, at least the following cases can be established concretely : Photo right Zuzi Frenkel Zuzi was sadly murdered in Auschwitz-Birenkau in at age 4.
During this disbandment of the Gypsy Camp, a Gypsy girl of about four years of age who turned to Mengele with the words Uncle Doctor and did not want to leave him, allegedly, on a sign from the suspect Mengele, was seized by her leg by a German Kapo prisoner-foreman and her head hurled against the wheel of a truck such that the skull of the child was smashed.
During the liquidation of the Gypsy Camp he allegedly personally shot two Gypsy boys between about 10 and 14 years of age. He allegedly drove two piepel boys who serve the prisoner functionaries in his car to the crematory where they were killed, because-they had hidden themselves during roll call and therefore the number of prisoners ascertained was incorrect.
Also during the liquidation of the Gypsy Camp, the suspect Mengele tried to transfer seven pairs of twins to the research block 10 of the central camp with the purpose of pseudo-medical experiments. Already before this in the nursery of the Gypsy Camp, 17 pairs of twins and 12 handicapped children from the Gypsy Camp had allegedly been killed by the suspect Mengele himself or on his orders and immediately afterwards dissected by him in the crematory. One of the ways he allegedly expressed his contempt for Jews especially painful for them was to carry out selections on their highest holy days.
Thus he allegedly. Photo right Jenny Lejzerorowicz murdered in the gas chamber in Auschwitz. In addition to the central camp Auschwitz and at the Birkenau camp, he allegedly also made selections. It is almost impossible to determine the exact number of murders and attempted murders that were committed in the course of this. The following groups of experiments can be distinguished : 1 — According to the result of the judicial preliminary investigations, the research of twins took a prominent place among the pseudo experiments of the suspect Josef Mengele.
A profiling in this area mattered especially to the National Socialist regime of that time, in particular with respect to their endeavor to increase the birth rate for instance, through medical manipulation to increase twin births. Besides statistical studies and body measurements, the pairs of twins were subjected to injections, spinal cord taps, surgical operations and blood examinations, though these were not indicated on medical grounds nor was it clear what results were to have been obtained through those experiments.
Also, an exchange of blood was repeatedly made between the individual twins of a pair. It is not possible, not even approximately, to determine exactly how many twins and triplets the suspect Mengele experimented on in this way, nor how many casualties resulted from this research. At times, as many as pairs of male twins were allegedly kept on reserve for the experiments of the suspect Josef Mengele. Some of these pseudo experiments allegedly took place in the research block 10 of the central camp Auschwitz, some also at other places, dissections took place mainly in one of the crematories.
B — After blood transfusions, there allegedly died, among others : — a a female pair of twins from Hungary of about 35 to 40 years; — b a male pair of twins; — c a woman deported from Beregszas [Beregovoj, likewise; — d twins who allegedly died of weakness after excessive drawing of blood. D — Finally the suspect Josef Mengele allegedly destined twins for whom the series of experiments was finished and whom he did not intend to dissect, to be killed in the gas chambers, by injections or by shooting; killed for these reasons, among others : — a in the summer of , fourteen twins were allegedly killed with Evipan and chloroform injections by the suspect Mengele; — b in August , 33 twins were allegedly shot to death in front of the incinerators of the crematory.
Several of them he allegedly killed or ordered to be killed in order to carry out dissections on the corpses. Many of these previously healthy women allegedly died after blood transfusions, but also from weakness because of excessive drawing of blood, a state of affairs that the suspect at least willingly sanctioned. The gaps caused by death were filled with new, healthy women from the camp.
Photo right Hungarian Jewish children and an elderly woman on the way to the death barracks of Auschwitz-Birkenau, ca. May After discontinuing the experiments, at least some of these prisoners, and indeed also those who had been cured, were allegedly killed by the suspect Mengele or on his orders, in part at least in order to perform dissections. The fate of those who survived the experiments in Monowitz is unknown. Both perished in Auschwitz. Whether these nuns died, and in case they did, how many died as a result of the treatment, is unknown. The suspect at least willingly sanctioned the possibility that they would die.
As at this time many prisoners died of typhus, in particular because of deficient hygiene and medical care, he at least willingly sanctioned the possibility that the witness would die. Because of his experience as a physician, in these cases likewise, he knew death was possible and, though he may not have wanted it, he still sanctioned the death which indeed occurred to several of the people abused in these experiments. In the months of September and October of , one of the women whom he abused for these purposes was the female witness Garfinkiel, who was injected with phlegmons in the hips and under the arms for research purposes in the described way; in her case, despite high fever and temporary unconsciousness, it did not result in her death because of her strong constitution, though the suspect, by virtue of his education and experience as a physician, knew death to be possible and, though not wanted, still sanctioned this possibility.
To the mother he said : What harm can it do to turn a blue eye into a black eye? As the suspect, in virtue of his education and experience as a physician; knew death to be possible and, though not wanted, still sanctioned the possibility; the child died on 28 January ; — b In the second half of the year , the suspect Mengele allegedly killed an unknown large number of people in order to make preparations of their eyes for the purpose of demonstrations. He allegedly dispatched with the camp mail a wooden crate with jars full of such preparations.
Two cases of survivors of these experiments have become known : — a In the late summer of , the witness Fried was operated on his right shinbone twice a week for the above described purpose. Marrow was regularly drawn through a tube inserted into the chiseled shinbone. The witness survived the operations; — b In November , the female witness Weszi had tubes drawn through her right shinbone in the same way.
For about eight to ten days she had a high fever. Then the right leg was amputated below the knee. After this failed experiment, the female witness would normally have been killed as a cripple now unfit to work. That this did not happen is probably due to the fact that, at the end of November , the gassings were stopped because the Red Army was drawing near and the evacuation of the camp was imminent.
By David Shazan, Paris, September 16 On a bleak February day in , a French Gendarme one of these heroes… snatched a pair of dolls from two Jewish sisters about to be deported to Auschwitz, and flung them to the ground. But a family in the village looked after their dolls for three generations and kept alive the story of how the two little girls were lined up in the snow with their parents, grandparents, an aunt and uncle, a cousin and other Jewish families. She gave them to her twin daughters, who in turn passed them on to their nieces, Mrs Gilles and her sister. I got the blue one, my favourite colour, said Mrs Gilles, But none of us ever played with the dolls.
We knew the story. Our family tried to find out what happened to the two girls, but they never came back. We were unable to trace any relatives. Katja Esther Hijman murdered in Auschwitz on Nov. Cut-off breasts and muscle parts from the thighs were allegedly used in the hygienic laboratory as culture material for the experiments of the suspect Mengele; b The suspect Mengele had the SS Oberscharfuehrer [Technical Sergeant Josef Klehr, a medical officer, administer a lethal injection to a male prisoner of about thirty years and took the spleen from the corpse of the prisoner; c In the year he allegedly dissected a still alive Gypsy boy of about three to four years of age, after previous drawing of blood.
In addition to the cases of systematic mass extermination, killing of ill occupants of the camp and egotistical lethal medical research and pseudo experiments, the suspect Mengele, as SS camp physician, allegedly killed deported people and camp occupants on impulse, arrogating to himself the power of life and death over them, out of the sheer pleasure in killing. Before the drive he allegedly gave candies to the twin girls. After all had left the truck in the neighborhood of the crematories, Mengele allegedly killed the four girls by shotting them through the back of the neck; — 3 When the actor Herskovic, who was imprisoned in Auschwitz, declared in the presence of the suspect Mengele that he was not afraid to die, — Mengele allegedly said to the report officer, who was present, the SS Unterscharfuehrer [Sergeant Kurpanik : Since he is so begging for it, shoot him!
Even if the women survived this treatment, the suspect Mengele, in using this improper method of abortion, at least willingly sanctioned the possibility of their death; — 17 In August — September , the suspect Mengele allegedly drew a large quantity of blood from the female witness Bojtar and her cousin Erna Boros to punish them both for leaving the barracks assigned to them during a block curfew, despite the prohibition against it; here the suspect at least willingly sanctioned the possibility of the death of the prisoners.
While the female witness Bojtar survived, the prisoner Boros died after the drawing of blood; — 18 In January , on the occasion Of the letter action of SS Untersturmfuehrer [Second Lieutenant Hartenberger of the Reich Security Main Office RSHA , in the Auschwitz-Monowitz camp, the suspect is further charged with having ordered to shoot Jewish prisoners who refused to write what he dictated to their relatives, saying that they had arrived in an agreeable labor camp and were treated well, the relatives should follow them.
The genocide of Sinti and Roma during the Nazi period is not widely known. Throughout Europe they were arrested, deported and murdered. Many were forced to do hard labor in camps and ghettos. Hundreds of thousands of Sinti and Roma died. Over half of the victims were younger than Here, six children speak on behalf of the murdered masses. The criminal acts with which the suspect Mengele is charged do not fall under the statute of limitations according to German Law. Paragraph 78 of the Penal Code. The present residence of the suspect in unknown.
Allegedly, he is staying in a South American country. It is possible though unconfirmed that he was later registered and discharged under his own name. In any event, it is likely that he passed as a regular soldier and was released in routine fashion in the chaotic conditions that prevailed in the summer of , particularly because he did not have a blood type tattoo, which was common to SS personnel and was used by US authorities as a litmus test in screening prisoners.
The US Army, with over three million German POWs in custody, dwindling food supplies, and a significant and growing displaced persons population with its own urgent needs and problems, relied on such threshold tests in part because of the enormous pressure US forces consequently faced to discharge releasable POWs as quickly as possible. He did not live openly in his hometown of Guenzburg. He escaped arrest and prosecution in part because the several US efforts to apprehend him, while made in good faith, were sporadic in nature and were insufficiently sustained.
This failure can be explained principally by the belief on the part of Allied prosecutors that he was dead as of October a belief nurtured by the Mengele family and by the fact that the Polish government did not specifically request his apprehension and extradition. There is no evidence that he ever had a relationship with US intelligence.