The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
LE VERITABLE PROCES EICHMANN ou les vainqueurs incorrigibles
[The real Eichmann trial or the incorrigible victors]
Les Sept couleurs, Paris 1962, pages 245 to 249.
Concerning Médecin à Auschwitz published by the Munich magazine Quick in January 1961 [as “Auschwitz: Das Tagebuch eines Lagerarztes” — The diary of a camp doctor] and now just republished in France by Julliard, who had already published it in 1951 in Mr Jean-Paul Sartre’s review Les Temps Modernes, I wrote to the publisher, Julliard. My letter and the reply are given below.
16th November 1961

Mr René Julliard, Directeur des Editions Julliard
30 rue de l'Université — PARIS (7e)

Sir, I have just finished reading Médecin à Auschwitz by Dr Miklos Nyiszli, published by you last month, and of which I had already read large extracts under the title “SS Dr Obersturmführer Mengele” in the March and April 1951 issues of the ReviewLes Temps Modernes.

At the time, in my double role of historian and deportee, thinking that publishing accounts that were manifestly in contradiction with material facts as regards the political behavior of Nazism, one could not do other, if caught several times in flagrant délit, than a sow doubt in public opinion and gradually convince people that Nazism was a fable, I rose up against the tendency of publishers to print accounts of concentration camps by all and sundry. His account being, according to the extracts published in Les Temps Modernes, full of impossibilities and contradictions, and the introduction by Mr Tibère Kremer adding even more, I therefore wrote to Dr Nyiszli, care of Temps Modernes”. Through Mr Tibère Kramer, l l rue des Moulins, Toulouse, I received a letter, that I hold at your disposal and which is in contradiction with the text you have just published. For example, Mr Tibère Kramer, in his 1951 introduction, spoke of 6,000,000 Jews in such a way that this was taken up by the entire press and attributed to the Auschwitz gas chambers. Dr Nyiszli himself says 2,500,000, and this was the figure accepted by the Cracow Court that condemned Hoess, the camp commandant, to be hung, on 4th April 1947. Another example: arriving in Auschwitz at the end of May and speaking of 20,000 Jews being exterminated every day in the gas chambers, plus 5,000 in the open air pyres, Nyiszli states that that had been going on for FOUR years, and this is again found on page 50 of your book Now, if there were gas chambers at Auschwitz the documents produced at Nüremberg establish:

That they were ordered from Messrs Topf of Erfurtt on 8th August 1942, but under the designation “Leichenkeller” and “Badeanstalt";

Set up in the camp in February-March 1943.

And the repport by Dr Kasztner establishes for its part — and this report was accepted at Nuremberg — that they did not operate from “autumn 1943 to May 1944”.

Etc. … I could add to the list, but in view of the time that that would take me, I shall do so only if you are interested.

However, what I would draw your attention to is the German version of “Médicin à Auschwitz”, published in installments in the Munich illustrated weekly “Quick”, starting on 15th January 1961. This version is in formal contradiction with Mr Tibère Kremer’s translation on virtually everything. I have noted 31 contradictions, not counting those due to faulty syntax nor those found in the text itself. An example of absolute contradiction: in the German text, the crematoriums handled 10,000 persons a day and in the French text 20,000. An example of contradiction by the author: the the dead are shorn on one page, and then twenty pages further on it is said that the hair was collected before sending people ro the gas chamber. Furthermore, there are corrections that Mr Kramer has made with repect a his first version. A pistol marksman who hits his target at 40-50 metres in the first version succeeds only at 20 to 30 metres in the second; an institute that is the most famous in the Third Reich in the first is the most famous in the world ín the second, etc. ... It all boils down to one thing: either it is a document that is being made public and it should be the same in 1961 as in 1951, and in its German and French versions, or it is an apocryphal document. How are we historians supposed to emerge honorably from this affair if we are called upon to talk about it? People are automatically going to say that it is an apocryphal document. And, since the description of the premises agrees neither in German nor in French with the official description taken from the documents produced at Nuremberg, if we are are told that this Nyiszli never set foot in Auschwitz, there will be no lack of reasons for so claiming.

Example: the gas chambers, Miklos Nyiszli tells us, are 200 meters long, and the document produced at Nuremberg tells us that they have a floor area of 210 m², 400 m² or 580m², giving widths of 1.05m, 2m and 2.90 m respectively, which is not reasonable. It is all the less likely in that 3,000 people are supposed to he able to enter and move around easily, there are pillars down the centre and benches on each side. Another example, in the French version two plaaces are 500m apart, in rhe German version 3 km, or vice-versa. Etc. ...

When this German version was published by “Quick”, I wrote to Mr Tibère Kremer, but the letter was returned “no longer at this address”. I wrote to “Quick”, and was told that they could not send the letter on to Dr Nyiszli because he was dead (!)

Perhaps you could pass these remarks on to Mr Tibère Kremer, whose address you must have because the translation you published was obtained from him.

It remains only for me to ask you kindly not to misunderstand the purpose of the remarks I have taken the liberty of addressing to you. Historical documents should be respected and versions whose acuracy cannot be guaranteed should not be published without due consideration. As it happens, my studies requiring it, I have been looking for the original for fifteen years and nobody has ever been able to tell me where I could consult it. The best qualified historians in the world know nothing about it. The versions that have been made public are divergent and contradict one another from one page to the next. The author speaks of places he obviously never visited, otherwise he would not attribute a length of 200 metres to a room that would be only 1.05m wide if it were true, or at most 250m, etc. Such things lead to the conclusion that it must indeed been an apocryphal document

If, therefore, you were able to provide me with enough certainties to enable me to write “authentic document”, against the name of Dr Nyiszli in the references in my works, I should be particularly grateful.
Yours etc.,


8th December 1961

36 rue Bapast, ASNIERES (Seine)


Thank you indeed for having sent me the typed copy of your letter of 16th November.

I am forwarding it this very day to Mr Tibère Kremer, translator of the book by Doctor Miklos Nyiszli, Médecin à Auschwitz, so that he can reply to you.

I can however tell you that it is true that Doctor Nyiszli is dead, but his wife is still living. I have also shown his book to several deportees, who have confirmed its authenticity.
Yours etc.,

Pierre JAVET

I am still awaiting the reply from Mr Tibère Kremer.

It is likely that I shall never receive it. First, on 24th October 1951, Mr Tibère Kremer sent me a reply from Dr Nyiszli to the letter I referred to when I wrote to Mr Julliard. Second, the research I have continued to carry out regarding this singular witness has resulted in my receiving infonnatiom from New York, (where the book translated by Mr Richard Seaver was published in 1951 with a preface by Professor Bruno Bettelheim), that Dr Nyiszli was dead long before his testimony was published for the first time.

If this is true, then this dead witness — yet another — would have the distinction of having written to me after his death.

And the silence of Mr Tibère Kremer would then be understandable.

No further comment.