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From: (Mark Van Alstine)
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Subject: Re: The next important development in the mass gassing claims
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Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 18:56:39 GMT
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In article <>, Jeff Roberts


> The second was the description of extermination at
> Belzec -- the victims were told to strip, as if for a shower, were led
> into a room, and then electrocuted via a metal plate on the floor.<-45

Reitlinger's _The Final Solution_ (1953) dispenses with the rumor of mass
murder by "electrocution" at Belzec:

The inefficiency of the gassing vans produced horrors enough, but it sees
they were nothing compared with what happened when the next step was
attempted, the application of the engine-exhaust gas to a group of
permanent chambers, each holding hundreds of people at a time. The first
of these, the Belsec gas installation, which was intended to be ready for
the Lublin resettlement on March 16th, 1942 (_see pages 252-253_), broke
down constantly. The deportees were left in the 'transfer station' for
days on end, where they crouched in the open, naked and without food or
water. Sometimes they were left in railway box-cars to suffocate on
sidings. This story brought to London in February, 1943, cannot be lightly
dismissed.[59] It can at least be compared with the evidence which a
_German_ court was prepared to accept in August, 1950, that on one
occasion the gas engine at Sobibor had broken down for three days on end,
during which an entire transport had to wait under these conditins till
the survivors could be gassed.[60]

Between May and June, 1942, Belsec was out of action for six weeks,[61]
and in July it was only handling two transports a week.[62] In November-
or soon after -it was out of action for good,[63] but the Jewish
_Sonderkommando_ was occupied in effacing the mass graves till the
following June.

Strange to say, all this happened within a few yards of the main line
between Lwow and Lublin, where, in April 1943, a Jewish doctor later
escaped to Switzerland, noticed the appalling stench of the exhumed bodie=
as he passed the spot by train.[64] Nevertheless the wildest legends
sourrounded the place. Dr. Gue'rin, in a prisoner-of-war camp only twenty
miles along the line, heard that the Jews were killed by an incredible
electric current passed through water, and his story reached London in
November, 1942.[65] It was only after the war that a real survivor
appeared to describe the miserable diesel engine which had supplied the
carbon monoxide. He was Rudolf Reder, the former director of a soap
factory in Lwow, who owed his survival at the age of sixty to his ability
to work the camp steam excavator.[66] Reder once saw the victims locked in
the gas chamber for hours on end while efforts were made to start the
diesel engine. The same scene was described by the German gas expert, Kurt
Gerstein, who visited Belsec on August 20th, 1942, within a few days of
Reder's arrival (_see pages 153 and 265). I took two and three-quarter
hours to start the engine and all the time the moaning could be heard in
the four gas chambers, in each which there were 750 people.[67]


59 _Black Book of Polish Jewrey_, 1943, pages 135-38.

60 Sobibor case. (_Frankfurter Rundschau_, August 24th, 1950.)

61 IMT, V, 240. (Evidence, Paul Roser.)

62 Case IV. Interrogation, Karl Wolff, _Trial of War Criminals_, V, page
279, 1951.

63 Josef Tenenbaum, _In Search of a Lost People, New York, 1949, page 123.
Evidence, Leon Weliczer.

64 Silberschein. _Die Judenausrottung in Polen, Geneva, 1944, V, page 22

65 _Rawa Ruska_, Marseilles, 1945.

66 Muszkat. _Polish Charges_, pages 229, _Dokumenty i Materialy_, I, page
221. _Belsec_ (in Polish), Cracow, 1945, by Rudolf Reder.

67 IMT, PS 1553. _Trials of War Criminals_, I, page 865. This is
incomplete; full version in document books of Cases I and IV.

Source: Reitlinger, _The Final Solution_, p.140-141; notes 59-67 pp.553-5=

In the above one can see that Reitlinger, with careful analysis of the
available sources, determined that Dr. Guerin's 1942 account of the rum=
that "Jews were killed by an incredible electric current passed through
water" was one of the rumors that surround Belzec and was dispelled by
Rudolf Reder's (and Gerstein's) eyewitness account.

>  The elaboration of these materials in the New York Times on November
> 26, 1942, would include allegations by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise that the
> Germans were also turning the bodies of dead Jews into "fats and soaps
> and lubricants"

For information about morbid Nazi soap experiments see:

Furthermore, insight to the soap _rumors_ (and not the Danzig experiments=
is offered by Hilberg:

The SS and Police (i.e. Himmler) had decided to make Lublin a German city
and to make the Lublin district a German district. On October 1, 1942, th=
police carried out a _razzia_ in the northern section of the city of
Lublin. All inhabitants of the section were called out and assembled in
one place. All work certificates were checked, and all Poles - male or
female - who could not prove that they were employed were carted away to =
camp, while their children under fifteen were sent to an orphanage.

Immediately, rumors swept the city like wildfire. Many Poles stopped in
the streets and said: "Weren't we right that the resettlement across the
Bug was going to come> It has come, earlier than we supposed. Punctually
on October 1, 1942, in the morning it has come!" The Poles were convinced
that this _Aktion_ was the same as the "resettlement" of the Jews. In
Lublin the belief was strong that the Jewish "resettlers" had been killed
and that the fat from their corpses had been used ijn the manufacture of
soap. Now the pedestrians in Lublin were saying it was the turn of the
Poles to be used  - just like the Jews - for soap production.


There is more evidence that the news of the killing centers trickled into
Slovakia, not only in government circles but to the public as well. In
July 1942, a group of 700 ethnic German "asocial" were "resettled" from
Slovakia. As the asocials were about to leave, a rumor began to circulate
that the "resettlers" would be "boiled into soap" (zur Seife verkocht
werden). That rumor referred to the popular belief that the Germans in th=
killing centers were turning human fat into soap cakes. (We may recall
that in October 1942, an identical rumor was spread in the
_Generalgouvernement district of Lublin. Probably the rumor originated


On July 29, 1942, the chief of the ethnic Germans in Slovakia, Karmasin,
had written a letter to Himmler in which he described the "resettlement"
of 700 "asocial" ethnic Germans. One of the difficulties, wrote Karmasin,
was the spreading of the rumor (furthered by the clergy) that the
"resettlers" would be boiled into soap" (das die Aussiedler "zur Seife
verkocht werden"). In October, 1942, the Propaganda Division in the Lubli=
district reported the rumor circulating in the city that now it was the
turn of the Poles to be used, like the Jews, for "soap production" (Die
Polen kommen jetzt genau wie die Juden zur Seifenproduktion dran).

We are not concerned here with the question whether soap cakes of human
fat were produced in the killng centers (the answer is propbably not) or
whether such cakes were produced at all. To us the importance of the soap
rumor lies in its effectiveness as a carrier of information about the mas=
killings. In 1942 that rumor had already been recorded in two different
places, Lublin and Bratislava. Such spacing indicates that the rumor had =
powerful impact and a wide distribution.

Source: Hilberg, _The Destruction of the Euopean Jews_, pp. 331,470,624.

> and that the Germans were now "injecting bubbles into
> their veins" because "prussic acid had been found to be too expensive."
> <-46

The use of phenol injections to the heart to kill invalid prisoners at
Auschwitz, for example, is well documented. The Nazis only bothered
treating the sick only if it was likely that they would work again soon.
In practice this meant only those with relatively minor injuries or
illness that required less than a week or two in the infirmary were
treated. Those who had succumbed to disease, starvation, privation etc. t=
the point where there was littl prospect of them working any time soon
were put to death. Intially this meant phenol injections to the heart, bu=
also later included sending the sick off to the gas chambers. Their death
certificates (if any) were then falsified as to the cause of death. (Cf.
Lifton, _The Nazi Doctors_; Gutman, _Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp_=
Kogon _Nazi Mass Murder_.)

In regard to the falsification of death certificates (and "medicalized"
killing) at Auschwitz, according to Lifton:

With the arrival of Eduard Wirths as chief SS physician in September 1942=
and the increasing offical emphasis on the working capacity of prisoners,
medical facilities were considerably expanded and improved. Prisoner
doctors were permitted to do real medical work; responsible political
prisoners (many of them German Communists) replaced often brutal criminal
prisoners in important medically related positions; and SS doctors, for
the most part, lent their support to these developments. Yet at precidely
the same time, mass murder of Jews was also expanded to reach its most
extreme proportions, and SS doctors were major coordinating figures. They
'did everything the command wished": that is, "cooperated th=
annihilation of the prisoners, and simultaneously did everything to make
believe that they administered the proper medical treatment and in such a
wayu they helped conceal various crimes." Their falsifications included
certification of the food rations as sufficient for life as well as the
subsequent death certificates (required for prisoners admitted to the

Source: Lifton, _The Nazi Doctors_, p.187.

Cf. Langbein, _menchen_ [7], pp.420-21.

A specific example of the falsification of the cause of death of a
prisoner is related by Auschwitz survivor Dr. Albert Wenger, an American
citizen, a lawyer and economics expert who was arrested in Vienna, on
Febraury 24, 1943, and sent to Auschwitz on March 6, 1943. Dr. Wagner,
suffering from the provations and brutalities that were common to
Auschwitz, subsequently fell ill on March 23, 1943 and was sent to Block
28 (the prisoners infirmary). After recovering he worked in Block 28 as a
male nurse and barrack "Schreiber" (scribe). There he witnessed the
selection of prisoners, by SS Doctors, who were then sent to the gas
chambers. He specifically recalls that the "protected deportee[s]"
(Schutzheftling) Josepg Iratz and Herbert Kohn were sent to the gas
chambers. (This was, according to Dr. Wagner, probably an error as
Schutzheftling, according to the camp rules were not supposed to be
selected for gassing.) 

In Dr. Wagner's offical declaration "made to the representatives of the
liberating armies," according to Lengyal, tells the following:

"In the Autumn, 1943, the German 'protected inmate,' Willi Kritsch, 28
years old, an architect, was beaten with a stick by Unterscharfu"hrer
Nidowitzky in one of his fits of sadism until Kritsch fell to the ground.
Since Kritsch was still alive, Nidowitzky ordered that he be taken to the
operating room where he (nidowitzky) injected him with phenol. The cause
of death was stated as 'heart failure!'

Source: Lengyal, _Five Chimneys_, p.183.

Unfortunately, much of the medical records from the prisoner infirmaries
at Auschwitz, according to Lengyel, were confiscated by the SS and burned
when the camp was being abandoned by the Nazis (cf. Lengyal, _Five
Chimneys_, p.209). However, the Auschwitz _morgue register_ confirms that
prisoners were routinely murdered with phenol injections in the prisoner
infirmaries. According to Czech:

October 16 [1941]


In the prisoner's infirmary 21 prisoners are killed with phenol
injections. In the Morgue Register, the entry "27w" appears nect to these
prisoners' numbers.

Source: Czech, _Auschwitz Chronicle_, p.96.

The refernece for this entry is cited: "APMO, D-RO/90K, 1/B.**." The
footnote to this reference reads:

**This is a list of prisoners who died or were killed by shooting and
injections. The list was made in Auschwitz and, with the help of the
resistance movement, was sent illicitly to Krakow. It is a copy of the
Morgue Register. The number of 21 prisoners who were brought in one after
another are put together in brackets and the note "injection" is added.
Next to those numbers is the code "27w." Thus we can assume that previous
entries marked with the same code concern prisoners who were also killed
with phenol injections.

Source: Czech, _Auschwitz Chronicle_, p.96fn.

In regard to the Morgue Register, according to Czech:

The Morgue Register covers the period October 7, 1941 to August 31, 1943.
The entries are made by the individual body bearers. The following data
are noted daily: the current number, the prisoner number, and the place o=
admission, i.e., usually the number of the residential or infirmary block=
Block 11, or the abbreviation for the Penal Comapny (SK-Strafkompanie),
the gravel pit (KG-Kiesgrube), the Political Department (PA-Politische
Abteilung) or the Russian Camp (RL-Russisches Lager). The last refers to
prisoners who were put in the camp of the Russian POWs and died there.
Many entries are mde in a code. The entry "27w" probably means that the
prisoner was killed by phenol injection in the lavatory of Block 28 or in
the waiting room of the morgue of Block 28 where the corpse bearers
gathered and were also given phenol injections. The entry "27w" is under
the current number entry during the period October 7, 1941 to January 10,
1942; later "28w" is entered.

Source: Czech, _Auschwitz Chronicle_, p.94fn.


>   In the midst of now typical gas chamber claims in May and June, and
> perhaps as a response to the Katyn accusation, the Soviets conducted a
> trial in Krasnodar in July of 1943, featuring German POW's who confesse=
> to the gassing of people by use of "gas vans" or as the Russians called=

> them, "Dushegubki" or "murder vans".<-62

>From Eichmann's interrogation, regarding his visit to Chelmno in the
autumn of 1941:

EICHMANN: After the war broke out between Germany and Russia. That would
make it the autumn of 1941.  Then I was sent to Kulm [Chelmno] in
Warthgau. I recieved orders from M=FCller to go to Litzmannstadt and repo=
back to him on what was going on there. He didn't put it the same way Heydrich...not as crassly. "An action against the Jews is under
way there, Eichmann. Go take a look. And then report to me." I went to
Gestapo headquarters in Litzmannstadt-now it's Lodz again-and there I was
told. It was a special team, put in by the Reichsfu"hrer [Himmler]. And
they told me exactly where this Kulm is situated. I saw the following: a
room, perhaps if I remember right, about five times as big as this one
here. There were Jews in it. They had to undress, and then a sealed truck
drove up. The doors were opened, it drove up to a kind of ramp. The naked
Jews had to get in,. Then the doors were closed and the truck drove off.

LESS: How many people did this truck hold?

EICHMANN: I don't know exactly. The whole time it was there, I didn't loo=
inside. I couldn't. Couldn't! What I saw and heard was enough. The
screaming and...I was much too shaken and so on. I told M=FCller that in =
report. He didn't get much out of it. I drove after the truck...and there
I saw the most horrible sight I had seen in all my life. I drove up to a
fairly long trench. The doors were opened and corpses were thrown out. Th=
limbs were as supple as if they'd been alive. Just thrown in. I can still
see a civilain with pliers pulling out teeth. And then I beat it. I got
into my car and drove off. I didn't say another word to my driver. I'd ha=
enough. I was through. The only other thing I remember is that a doctor i=
a white smock wanted me to look through a peephole and watch the people
inside the truck. I refused. I couldn't, couldn't say another word, I had
to get out of there. In Berlin I reported to Gruppenf=FChrer M=FCller. I =
him the same as I've told you now. Terrible, an inferno. I can't. It's...=
can't do it...I told him.

LESS: What did M=FCller say?

EICHMANN: M=FCller never said anything. Never! Not about these things and
not about other things. He was always very terse and unemotional, he only
said what was strictly necessary. He'd say yes or he'd say no. And when h=
didn't say yes or no, he usually said, "EIchmann, my friend..." That
wasn't yes and it wasn't no. He was a man of few words.

LESS: Did you report this in writing?

EICHMANN: No, I couldn't do that. I was expressly forbidden to; by
Heydrich, I believe. M=FCller wanted especially to know how long it takes=
; I
wasn't able to tell him that, I couldn't hear. I should have gone out
there a second time, but naturally I didn't volunteer, and nothing was
said to me.

Source: von Lang, _Eichmann Interrogated_, pp.74-78.


> It is worth mentioning here
> that no "gassing van" has ever been located.<-63



>   In late November, 1943, the Soviets, upon the liberation of Kiev,
> would allege that several tens of thousands had been shot at Babi Yar, =
> ravine outside of the city.<-65

According to the USHMM:

On September 29-30, 1941 more than 33,000 Jewish residents of Kiev were
marched to this site, where they were systematically gunned down over the
edge of the ravine by members of Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppen C.
Babi Yar also served as the execution site for thousands of Gypsies and
Soviet POWs in the period between 1941 and 1943. In the summer of 1943, i=
an attempt to erase evidence of the mass slaughter, units of
Sonderkommando 1005 undertook the exhumation and cremation of those kille=
at Babi Yar. They began their work on August 18 and finished six weeks
later on September 19.

Photos and their captions from the USHMM archives:

"Jews on their way out of the city of Kiev to the Babi Yar ravine pass
corpses lying on the street. This is possibly an image showing the
assembly of Jews in Kiev prior to their execution at the Babi Yar ravine.=
(Sep 29, 1941)


"Unidentified people sit among piles of clothing at the bottom of a ravin=
presumed to be Babi Yar. Above them, German police officers
patrol the ravine." (Sep 29, 1941 - Sep 30, 1941.)


"German police look through the clothing of people killed during a
shooting action, presumably at Babi Yar." (Sep 29, 1941 - Sep 30, 1941.)


"Soviet POWs at forced labor exhuming bodies in what is presumably
the ravine at Babi Yar." (Aug 19, 1943)


"A member of an Einsatzgruppe speaks with two women at the top of what is
presumably the ravine at Babi Yar. Soviet POWs in the ravine are busy
exhuming the bodies of the thousands of Jews, Gypsies, and Soviet POWs
killed there in the previous two years. (Aug 19, 1943)

"View of the ravine at Babi Yar." (Circa 1944.)


See also:


> The absence of forensic evidence was
> explained by claiming the Germans had somehow managed to dig up all of
> the remains a few weeks before retreating from the Red Army and burned
> all of the bodies without leaving a trace.<-66

In July 1943, by which time the Red Army was on the advance, Paul Blobel
came back to Kiev. He was now on a new assingment, in coordination with
SS-Gruppenf=FChrer Dr. Max Thomas, the officer commanding the SD and Sipo=
the Ukraine: that of erasing all evidence of the mass carnage that the
Nazis had perpetrated. For this purpose, Blobel formed two special groups=
identified by the code number 1005. Unit 1005-A was made up of eight to
ten SD men and thirty German policemen, and was under the command of an
SS-Obersturmbannf=FChrer named Baumann. In mid-August the unit embarked o=
its task of exhuming the corpses in Babi Yar and cremating them. The
ghastly job itself was carried out by inmates of a nearby concentration
camp (Syretsk), from which the Germans brought 327 men, of whom 100 were
Jews. The prisoners were housed in a bunker carved out from the ravine
wall; it had an iron gate that was locked during the night and was watche=
by a guard with a machine gun. They had chains bolted to their legs, and
those who fell ill or lagged behind were shot on the spot. The mass grave=
were opened by bulldozers, and it was the prisoners' job to drag the
corpses to cremation pyres, which consisted of wooden logs doused in
gasoline on a base of railroad ties. The bones that did not respond to
incineration were crushed in tombstones from the Jewish cemetary. The
ashes were sifted to retrieve any gold or silver they might have
contained. The cremation of the corpses began on August 18 and went on fo=
six weeks, ending on September 19, 1943. The Nazis did their job
thoroughly, and when they were through no trace was left of the mass

Source: Gutman, _Encyclopedia of the Holocaust_, pp.134-135.

> What is at issue here is not the reality of shooting claims, per se, fo=
> certainly is much  evidence to corroborate the notion that the Germans =
> their East  European auxiliaries massacred many people, including Jews,

"By trhe spring of 1943, the Einsatzgruppen had killed more than a millio=
Jews and tens of thousands of Soviet political commissars, partisans, ans
   --USHMM, _Historical Atlas of the Holocaust_, p.51.

> in the course of carrying out the Commissar Order to kill communists an=
> communist sympathizers,

The Kommissarbefehl targeted the Soviet political/ideological leadership,
not the general populace. To suggest otherwise is a fascile lie.

According to Gutman:

KOMMISSARBEFEHL, (Commissar Oder), order issued by the German army to kil=
the political commissars in the Red Army who fell into German hands. The
guidelines that Hitler gave the Wehrmacht for the attack on the Soviet
Union (Operation "Barbarossa") ordered it to plan the attack not only fro=
its military aspects but from the ideological aspects as well. Thus, the
attack was to include the physical destruction of the bearers of the
Communist idea and the political activists of the Soviet state

On June 6, 1941, two weeks prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union, the
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (Armed Forces High Command; OKW) issued the

   It must be expected that the treatment of our prisoners by the politic=
   commissars of all types, who are the true pillars of resistance, will =
   cruel, inhuman, and dictated by hate.... Therefore, if captured during=

   combat or while offering resistance they must on principle be shot
   immediately. This applies to commissars of every type and position,
   even if they are only suspected of resistance, sabotage, or instigatio=

   According tot he Directive for the COnduct of Troops in Russia,
   their capacity as officals attached to enemy troops, political
   commissars...will not be recognized as soldiers; the protection grante=
   to prisoners of war...will not apply to them. After having been
   segregated they are to be liquidated....

   Commissars seized in the rear areas of the army group...are to be hand=
   over tothe Einsatzgruppen or Einsatzkommandos of the Sicherheitspolize=
   [Security Police].

The order was signed by Gen. Walter Warlimont and its issue was authorize=
by Gen. Wilhelm Keitel, the OKW chief of staff. It was based on the Order
on Jurisdiction in the Operation "Barbarossa" Area of May 13, 1941, which
gave the army and the SS wide powers and facilitated the establishment of
a regime of terror and tyranny in the Soviet territories occupied by the

The _Kommissarbefehl_ and the order of May 13 were both in violation of
international conventions on the treatment and rights of prisoners of war
and civilians in occupied territories. Together with other orders of the
same type, it made the Wehrmacht and accomplice in the Nazi war crimes
committed in the Soviet Union. A few days after the _Kommissarbefehl_ was
issued, Field Marshal Walther von Brauchlitsch, chief of the Oberkommando
der Wehrmacht (Armed Forces High Command), issued guidelines giving every
officer the authority to decide who had been made prisoners of war.
Commissars were executed as soom as they were identified as such, whether
on the front, when they were taken prisoner, or in prisoner of war camps
in the rear. In the summer of 1941 Keitel ordered that all copies of the
_Kommissarbefehl_  that had been distributed to the various army
headquarters be destroyed, in an effort to remove evidence implicating th=
army in war crimes.

Source: Gutman, _Encyclopedia of the Holocaust_, p.814.


> well as in the context of anti-partisan warfare.<-67

In light of the Mr. Robert's claim that the Kommissarbefehl instructed
German forces to carry  out anti-partisan warfare, the followinf, for
example, should be noted:

28.8.41   Kedainiai 710 Jews, 767 Jewesses, 599
                    Jewish children                            2,076

or these items:

29.8.41  Rumsiskis and     20 Jews, 567 Jewesses, 197
         Ziezmariai        Jewish children                       784
29.8.41  Utena and         582 Jews, 1,731 Jewesses, 1,469
         Moletai           Jewish children                     3,782
1.9.41   Mariampole        1,763 Jews, 1,812 Jewesses, 1,404
                           Jewish children, 109 mentally sick,
                           1 German subject (f.), married to a
                            Jew, 1 Russian (f.)                 5090

   --from the detailed report by SS-Standartenfuehrer J=E4ger about mass
     killings in Nazi occupied USSR, July-November 1941

Over the period of four days, in six towns in the Ukraine, the Nazis
killed 3,070 children. According to Mr. Roberts, evidently these 3,070
children must have been dangerous "partisans." To suggest that the
thousands of children rounded up in the Einsatzgruppen's mobile killing
operations were partisans according to the Kommissarbefehl is nothing more
than a malicious and transparent lie.

But then malicious and transparent lies are Mr. Robert's stock-in-trade.



"Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and
 evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between
 political parties--but right through every human heart--and all
 human hearts." -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "The Gulag Archipelago"

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