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Michel de Bouard
Michel de Boüard
In 1986, Michel de Boüard, former inmate at Mauthausen, honorary dean of the Faculty of Letters at the University of Caen, member of the Committee for the History of the Second World War, member of the Institut de France, said:
In the monograph on Mauthausen that I published in Revue d’Histoire de la [Deuxième] Guerre mondiale in 1954, I mentioned a gas chamber on two occasions. When the time of reflection had arrived, I said to myself: where did you arrive at the conviction that there was a gas chamber in Mauthausen? This cannot have been during my stay in this camp, for neither myself nor anybody else ever suspected that there was one there. This must therefore be a piece of ‘baggage’ that I picked up after the war; this was [an] admitted [fact] but I noticed that in my text - although I have the habit of supporting most of my affirmations by references-there was none referring to the gas chamber . . . (Ouest-France, August 2-3, 1986, p. 6).
In response to The Journalist's question:
You were president of the Calvados (Normandy) Association of Deportees, and you resigned in May, 1985, why?
I found myself torn between my conscience as a historian and the duties it implies, and on the other hand, my membership in a group of comrades whom I deeply love, but who refuse to recognize the necessity of dealing with the deportation [ 1] as a historical fact in accordance with sound historical methods. I am haunted by the thought that in 100 years or even 50 years the historians will question themselves on the particular aspect of the Second World War which is the concentration camp system and what they will find out. The record is rotten to the core. On one hand a considerable amount of fantasies, inaccuracies, obstinately repeated (in particular concerning numbers), heterogeneous mixtures, generalizations and, on the other hand, very close critical studies that demonstrate the inanity of those exaggerations. I fear that those future historians might then say that the deportation, when all is said and done, must have been a myth There lies the danger. That haunts me. (Ibid).
The Real Ovens
After years of private research and study, Faurisson first made his sceptical views about the “Holocaust” story known to the general public in two pieces printed in December 1978 and January 1979 by the influential Paris daily Le Monde. Soon afterwards Faurisson discovered the building plans of the Auschwitz morgues, the crematoria and other installations in the archives of the Auschwitz State Museum. He was the first person to publicise those important documents, which had been kept hidden since the war, and point out their significance.
Faurisson played an important role in both of the Ernst Zundel “Holocaust trials” in Toronto, Canada (1985 and 1988). His most noteworthy contribution to Zündel’s defence in 1988 may well have been his securing of the participation of Fred Leuchter, an American gas chamber specialist. He was also instrumental in arranging for Leuchter’s on-site investigation in Poland of alleged homicidal gas chambers, and in making public the American’s remarkable findings.
For years French government agencies and influential private bodies have waged a concerted campaign to silence him. He has been obliged to defend himself many times in the courts for his forthright writings and statements. He has had to contend with numerous convictions and has suffered at least ten physical assaults, one of which was a nearly successful attempt at murder.
His bank account has been frozen, and legal officials have repeatedly visited his home threatening him and his wife with seizure of their furniture to cover damages imposed by civil judgments against his “heretical” works. His family life has been repeatedly disrupted and thrown into turmoil by this harassment. His health has suffered terribly.
During an interview in December 1980 with the French radio network
Europe no. 1, Faurisson summed up the results of his research on “the
Holocaust” in a sentence of 60 French words. Here is that sentence in
English: “The alleged Hitlerite gas chambers and the alleged genocide of
the Jews form one and the same historical lie, which has permitted a
gigantic political and financial swindle whose main beneficiaries are
the State of Israel and international Zionism and whose main victims are
the German people — but not their leaders — and the Palestinian people
in their entirety.”
Some new facts about Auschwitz are at last beginning to make a tentative appearance. They are contained in a recent work called Die Auschwitz-Lüge: Ein Erlebnisbericht von Theis Christopherson (The Auschwitz Legends: An Account of his Experiences by Thies Christopherson, Kritik Verlag/Mohrkirch, 1973). Published by the German lawyer Dr. Manfred Roeder in the periodical Deutsche Bürger-Iniative, it is an eye-witness account of Auschwitz by 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".
The Factual Appraisal of the Conditions in
the German Wartime Concentration Camps
by the International Committee
of the Red Cross
A key role in relation to the Jewish question in Europe during World War H was played by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which consisted largely of relatively detached Swiss nationals, although, as might be expected, sentiment became more critical of Germany when the German military defeats continued to mount following Stalingrad. At the 17th International Red Cross Conference at Stockholm in 1947 final arrangements were made for a definitive report to appear the next year: Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities during the Second World War (3 vols., Geneva, 1948). This comprehensive survey both supplemented and incorporated the findings from two previous key works: Documents sur L'activité du CICR en faveur des civils detenus dans les camps de concentration en Allemagne, 1939-1945 (Geneva, 1946), and Inter Arma Caritas: the Work of the ICRC during the Second World War (Geneva, 1947). The team of authors, headed by Frédéric Siordet, explained in the opening pages of the first of the 1948 volumes that their motto had been strict political neutrality, and service to all. The ICRC was contrasted with the national societies of the Red Cross with their primary aims of aiding their own peoples. The neutrality of the ICRC was seen to he typified by its two principal wartime leaders, Max Huber and Carl J. Burckhardt. This neutral source has been selected here to conclude the testimony on the genocide question.
The ICRC considered that its greatest single wartime triumph consisted in the successful application of the 1929 Geneva military convention to obtain access to civilian internees in the various parts of Central and Western Europe. The ICRC, however, was unable to obtain any access to the Soviet Union, which had failed to ratify the 1929 convention. The millions of civilian and military internees in the USSR were cut off from any international contact or supervision whatever. This was especially deplorable, since enough was known to assert that by far the worst conditions for internees of both types existed in the USSR.
ICRC contacts with German internment camps in wartime began on September 23, 1939, with a visit to Germany's major PW camp for captured Polish soldiers. The ICRC, after March, 1942, and the first reports on German mass-internment policies directed toward the Jews, became concerned that previously satisfactory conditions in German civilian internment camps might be affected. The German Red Cross was requested to take action, but they candidly reported to the ICRC on April 29, 1942, that the German Government was not being sufficiently cooperative in providing necessary information. The German Government took the position that its internment policy "related to the security of the detaining state" (Report, vol. 1, p. 613). The ICRC did not accept this position as a basis for excluding supervisory authority, and finally, by the latter part of 1942, it was able to secure important concessions from Germany.
The German Government agreed to permit the ICRC to supervise the shipment of food parcels to the camps for all cases which did not involve German nationals. The ICRC soon established contact with the commandants and personnel of the camps and launched their food relief program, which functioned until the last chaotic days of the war in 1945. Letters of thanks for packages were soon pouring in from Jewish internees, and it was also possible to make unlimited anonymous food shipments to the camps.
As early as October 2, 1944, the ICRC warned the German Foreign Office of the impending collapse of the German transportation system due to the Allied bombing campaign. The ICRC considered that starvation conditions for people throughout Germany were becoming inevitable. At last, on February 1, 1945, the German Government agreed to permit Canadian PW's to drive white supply trucks to the various concentration camps. The ICRC set up one special distribution center at the Berlin Jewish Hospital and another at Basel. However, this improvised food system did not work well, and many of the white food trucks were destroyed by Allied aerial attacks. The ICRC role became so important in the last phase of the war that it was actually the ICRC representatives who hoisted the white flags of surrender at Dachau and Mauthausen during the final days of the war.
The ICRC had special praise for the liberal conditions which prevailed at Theresienstadt (Terezin) up to the time of their last visits there in April, 1945. This large Jewish community, which had been concentrated under German auspices, enjoyed complete autonomy in communal life under a Jewish administration. The Jewish Council of Elders repeatedly informed the ICRC representatives that they were enjoying surprisingly favorable conditions when one considered that Germany was going down to defeat during a war in which World Jewry had been the first to call for her destruction.
The ICRC also had special praise for the Vittel camp in German-occupied France. This camp contained thousands of Polish Jews whose only claim to special consideration was that they had received visas from American consular authorities. They were treated by the German authorities in every respect as full-fledged American citizens.
The ICRC had some guarded comments to make about the situation of Hungarian Jews, many of whom were deported. to Poland by the Germans in 1944 after the German occupation of Hungary. The ICRC believed, for instance, that the "ardent" demonstrations of Hungarian Jews against the German occupation were unwise.
The ICRC had special praise for the mild regime of Ion Antonescu of Rumania toward the Jews, and they were able to give special relief help to 183,000 Rumanian Jews until the moment of the Soviet occupation. This enabled the Rumanian Jews to enjoy far better conditions than average Rumanians during the late months of the war. This aid ceased with the Soviet occupation, and the ICRC complained bitterly that it never succeeded "in sending anything whatsoever to Russia" (Report, vol. 2, p. 62).
It should be noted that the ICRC received voluminous flow of mail from Auschwitz until the period of the Soviet occupation. By that time many of the internees had been evacuated westward by the Germans. The efforts of the ICRC to extend aid to the internees left at Auschwitz under the Soviet occupation were futile. It was possible, however, at least to a limited extent, for ICRC representatives to supervise the evacuation of Auschwitz by way of Moravia and Bohemia. It was also possible to continue sending food parcels for former Auschwitz inmates to such places as Buchenwald and Oranienburg.
The ICRC complained bitterly that their vast relief operations for civilian Jewish internees in camps were hampered by the tight Allied blockade of Fortress Europe. Most of their purchases of relief food were made in Rumania, Hungary, and Slovakia. It was also in the interest of the interned Jews that the ICRC on March 15, 1944, protested against "the barbarous aerial warfare of the Allies" (Inter Arma Caritas, p. 78). The period of the 1899 and 1907 Hague conventions could only be considered a golden age by comparison.
It is important to note in finishing with these detailed and comprehensive ICRC reports that none of the International Red Cross representatives at the camps or else where in Axis-occupied Europe found any evidence what ever that a deliberate policy of extermination was being conducted by Germany against the Jews. The ICRC did emphasize that there was general chaos in Germany during the final months of the war at a time when most of the Jewish doctors from the camps were being used to combat typhus on the eastern front. These doctors were far from the camp areas when the dreaded typhus epidemics of 1945 struck (Report, vol. 1, pp. 204ff.).
The ICRC worked in close cooperation throughout the war with Vatican representatives, and, like the Vatican, found itself unable, after the event, to engage in the irresponsible charges of genocide which had become the order of the day.
Nothing is more striking or important relative to the work of the International Red Cross in relation to the concentration camps than the statistics it presented on the loss of life in the civil population during the Second World War:
Loss of German civil population as a result of air raids and forced repatriation
Loss of German nationals of other countries during the time of their eviction
Loss of victims of persecution because of politics, race or religion who died in prisons and concentration camps between 1939 and 1945 (not incl. USSR)
Loss of civil population of the countries of Eastern Europe, without the Soviet Union
Loss of civil population of the Soviet Union
These figures present the appalling estimate of 17,850,000 who lost their lives for reasons other than persecution, while only 300,000 of all persecuted groups, many of whom were not Jews, died from all causes during the war. This figure of 300,000 stands out in marked contrast with the 5,012,000 Jews estimated by the Jewish joint Distribution Committee to have lost their lives during the war, mainly through extermination by National Socialists.
One of the most bewildered Germans after the war was Legation Counsellor Eberhard von Thadden, who had been delegated the double responsibility by the German Foreign Office of working on the Jewish question with the ICRC and with Adolf Eichmann. In April, 1943, he discussed with Eichmann the rumors circulating abroad that Jews were being wantonly exterminated by the German authorities. Eichmann insisted that the very idea of extermination was absurd. Germany needed all possible labor in a struggle for her very existence.
Thadden questioned the wisdom of the internment policy. Eichmann admitted that available transportation facilities were needed to furnish both the fronts and the homeland, but he argued that it had become necessary to concentrate Jew from the occupied territories in the East and in German camps to secure Jewish labor effectively and to avert unrest and subversion in the occupied countries. Any of the occupied countries might become a front-line area within a relatively short period of time.
Eichmann insisted that the family camps for the Jews in the East, along the lines of Theresienstadt, were far more acceptable to the Jews than the separations which the splitting up of families would entail. Eichmann admitted a case to Thaden in 1944 in which a Jew was killed in Slovakia while on transport from Hungary to Poland, but he insisted that such an event was extremely exceptional. He reminded Thadden again that the Jews were solely in camps so that their working power could be utilized and espionage could be prevented. He noted that Germany had not employed these extreme measures in the early years of the war, but only when it became evident that her very existence was at stake. Eichmann also reminded Thadden that foreign Jews who were being allowed to leave Europe directly from the camps were not charging Germany with the atrocities which were irresponsibly rumored from abroad. In short, Thadden, who had personally made numerous visits to the various concentration camps, was thoroughly convinced that Eichmann was right and that the foreign rumors of genocide in circulation were incorrect.
Eberhard von Thadden's only comment from his prison cell on June 11, 1946, after having heard the full scope of the Nuremberg Trial propaganda, was that, if Eichmann had lied, he would have to have been a "very skillful" liar indeed. The world has not yet sufficiently pondered the question about who has lied and why. Yet it is a statistical fact that, for every fraudulent affidavit or statement claiming a death camp or a gas chamber, there are at least twenty which deny the very existence of such camps and gas chambers. It is only the published evidence which has presented a lop-sided picture in support of the genocide myth.