The Holocaust and the Neo-Nazi Mythomania
© 1978, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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3. Statements of Former Prisoners at Auschwitz

We are currently in possession of at least nine declarations written prior to the end of the war. They were therefore made before even the maddest minds could have conceived of the so-called "Jewish world conspiracy," the objective of which was to extort fabulous sums of money from Germany.

These statements are those of five persons who escaped from the camp of Auschwitz and of four others who died there before its liberation in January 1945.

The escapees are two Slovak Jews who got away from Birkenau on April 7, 1944, two others escaped on May 27, 1944, and a non Jewish Polish officer who had arrived at Auschwitz on March 25, 1942, and remained there for nearly two years. After having left Auschwitz, these five former prisoners were able to transmit to the United States accounts of what they had seen and personally experienced. In November 1944 (five months before the end of the war), the Executive Office of the War Refugee Board of the President of the United States published them, adding that their "names will not momentarily be revealed in the interest of their own security" and that "the Office has every reason to believe that these reports provide an exact picture of the horrible things which are going on in these camps" (5).

It is known today that the first two escapees are Rudolf Vrba and Fred Wetzler. The former now lives in Canada and related the details of his escape and the story of his report, published anonymously in 1944, in a book which appeared in 1963 (51). The latter now lives in Slovakia. The two escapees of May 1944 are Czeslaw Mordowiz and Ernst Rosin. On the other hand, I ignore the name of the Polish commandant. Wetzler was deported on April 13, 1942, from Sered in Slovakia directly to Auschwitz. Vrba was deported from Novaky in Slovakia to Maidanek and was then transferred on June 27, 1942, to Auschwitz. They thus were familiar with Auschwitz-Birkenau for nearly two years, as was the Polish officer. The date of the arrival at Auschwitz of the two escapees of May 27 is not given, but it is certainly prior to April 7, 1944. Their report was received in Switzerland via Slovakia. then sent to the USA.

These five reports are very rich in information of all kinds. We shall, however, retain from this mass of particulars only what is directly relevant to the problem of the gas chambers. Each report speaks of them.

Wetzler, who knew Birkenau at its beginnings, described the first systematic selections upon arrival of the convoys, after which those selected were sent without other formality from the siding directly to the birch wood forest (at Birkenau, G.W.) where they were administered the gas and where they were incinerated" (5, p. 14). He spoke of the first "Sonderkommando" (5, p. 15). "At the end of February 1943, a new modern establishment of crematory ovens and gas chambers was inaugurated at Birkenau," he wrote. "The administration of the gas
     
   

 
The Holocaust and the Neo-Nazi Mythomania
© 1978, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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