The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
Photo 1
Photo 1.
(Personal archives)

Photograph of page 79 of the picture book LA BETE EST MORTE!La Guerre Mondiale chez les Animaux[The beast is dead … the World War in the animal world], Second Volume entitled Quand la bête est terrassée [When the beast is down]. Illustrated by CALVO and written by Victor DANCETTE, “printing completed in June 1945, in the hope That the Beast is well and truly dead”, and distributed as from 22nd September 1945. Editions GP. 80 rue Saint Lazare. Paris IX.

The text by Dancette is very much the reflection of his time and now appears terribly dated, but CALVO’s drawings are quite remarkable and their style remains unique. Fortunately the majority of children who opened these two albums never read a single line of them, prefering simply to look at the pictures, which is less boring, and to dream with their eyes open. Republished in a single volume in the second quarter of 1977 by Futuropolis, 130 rue du Théâtre, 75015, Paris
Translation of Dancette’s text:
1. “But it was again in our poor tortured country that the Barbarians were to push back the frontiers of ferocity. A calm, cold, ordered ferocity. They thus arrived one day, two hundred strong, in a little village that they surrounded, driving towards the centre the rabbits they found working in their gardens or strolling in the sun. They emptied all the cottages, all the burrows, all the cradles, searched in all the nooks and crannies to make sure that no peaceful animal escaped this assemhly. They put the males in the bars, the females and their little ones in the holy place that even the most savage had respected up to then. All that was done with the method and order that these people cannot do without, even when accomplishing the most vile tasks. Scarcely an hour after the arrival of the Barbarians, the victims had been duly classified, labelled and put in their place. Then, on a precise order, the atrocious massacre of the innocents began.

Bursts of bullets laid low in the bloody straw the unfortunates shut in the barns. After the killing squad, the arsonists completed the work of death. For the massacre was not enough. There had to be the fire, the pyre. In every barn transformed into Gehenna, poor rabbits, wounded but alive, tried to extract themselves from the corpses before asphyxia should do its work, before the fire should devour its prey. But the flames got closer and closer, pursued them, enveloped them and pitilessly brought them down. And those rare victims who managed to get out of this hell were immediately slaughtered by the Wolves lying in wait for an innocent prey. Horror was everywhere. In the streets, in the houses, in the fields, carnage raged. Blood trickled down the facades, ran down the gutters, but that was still not enough. The greatest crime was still to be committed. Wolves with fearsome muzzles, with a ferocious look that betrayed the savage joy of a cruelly prepared vengeance, took it without hesitating.

Yes, children, they dared desecrate the sanctuary that even the most barbarous of their ancestors had respected. They dared to sully this place where mercy and charity reigned, they dared to turn into a charel-house this haven of peace where they had crowded in the mothers and their little ones. I lack the words to tell you, children, what the atrocious suffering must have been of these poor defenceless animals that the Barbarian, first asphyxiated then burned. In what had been a sanctuary, nothing was found but carbonised corpses, little blackened skulls, shreds of charred flesh, bones and ashes. All the animais of this charming place perished in this way. 892 innocents met their death. The mind boggles before such an abomination. The imagination begs for mercy before the diabolical sadism of a people where one can only believe that each is born an executioner.
2. My dear little children, never forget this: these Wolves who perpetrated these horrors were ordinary Wolves, I mean Wolves like the others. They were not in the heat of battle. excited by the smell of powder. They were not tormented by hunger. They did not have to defend themselves, nor to take vengeance for a victim of their own. They had simply received the order to kill. Do not believe those who will tell you that they were Wolves of a special sect. That’s not true! Believe me, children, and I will go on repeating it until my dying breath, there are no good and bad Wolves, there is Barbarism, which is a whole and has only one race, that of monsters, executioners, sadists and killers.

We sometimes have animals who are born without legs or without ears, and we find them abnormal. But that race is normally born without a heart. The gentlest of them is capable of ripping your stomach open with a smile.

From that moment a wave of terror broke over our poor country. Not being able to confront us everywhere at once, the Wolves thought that they could paralyze us with fear through a demonstration of diabolical ferocity. There were mass arrests, deportations, shootings. It seemed that the Barbarians themselves were carried away by a wave of devilish madness. But they were simply obeying the orders of the raging Beast, who had had difficulty in restraining the bloodthirsty instincts of his hordes of wild animals for four years.

At last! The Wolves could now cast off the mantle of correctness in which the Masters of Barbarism had dressed them up in order to mislead us the better!

At last! They would to he able to tear off the mask and show their true features of bloodthirsty wolves.