Auschwitz Document: "unconditional secrecy"

In this document dated May 24, 1944, SS-Unterscharführer (Sergeant) Gottfried Weisse formally states that he has been reminded of the Auschwitz camp policies against stealing or revealing secret information.

Transcription:

SS-Uscha. Weisse Gott[fr]ied Verpflichtungsschein

1.) Mir ist bekannt und ich bin heute darüber belehrt worden, daß ich mit dem Tode bestraft werde, wenn ich mich an Judeneigentum jeglicher Art vergreife.

2.) Über alle während der Judenevakuierung durchzuführenden Maßnahmen habe ich unbedingte Verschwiegenheit zu bewahren, auch gegenüber meinen Kameraden.

3.) Ich verpflichte mich, mich mit meiner ganzen Person und Arbeitskraft für die schnelle und reibungslose Durchführung dieser Maßnahmen einzusetzen.

Auschwitz 24.5.44

Translation:

Sergeant Weisse Gott[fr]ied Duty note

1.) I am aware, and I was today reminded of the fact, that I will be punished with death, if I steal for myself Jewish property of any kind.

2.) Most importantly, I will maintain unconditional secrecy during the measures to carry out the Jewish evacuation, and also vis-à-vis my comrades.

3.) I pledge myself to commit my entire person and my capacity for work toward the swift and smooth execution of these measures.

Auschwitz May 24, 1944


The term "Judenevakuierung," the Jewish evacuation, is a code-word for what was really going on at Auschwitz. Heinrich Himmler had earlier made this clear in a secret October 1943 speech:

I am talking about the evacuation of the Jews [Judenevakuierung], the extermination of the Jewish people. It is one of those things that is easily said. "The Jewish people is being exterminated," every Party member will tell you, "perfectly clear, it's part of our plans, we're eliminating the Jews, exterminating them, a small matter."

In fact, that speech might have had something to do with Sergeant Weisse being reminded, eight months later, that stealing was punishable by death. In his next paragraph, Himmler emphatically tells his generals that such rules must be enforced:

...he who takes even one Mark of this is a dead man. A number of SS men have offended against this order. They are very few, and they will be dead men without mercy! We have the moral right, we had the duty to our people to do it, to kill this people who would kill us. We however do not have the right to enrich ourselves with even one fur, with one Mark, with one cigarette, with one watch, with anything. That we do not have. Because we don't want, at the end of all this, to get sick and die from the same bacillus that we have exterminated.


The Weisse document is reproduced in Friedlander, Henry, and Sybil Milton, eds, Archives of the Holocaust, New York, 1989, Vol. 11, Part 2, p. 300. See also Gottfried Weisse's later declaration.

This document is cited in the essay How Reliable are the Hoess Memoirs?