The Holocaust Historiography Project

'Der Auschwitz Mythos': A book and its fate in the German Federal Republic

Wilhelm Stäglich

From a translation by Charles E. Weber
(Paper presented to the 1983 International Revisionist Conference)

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. [retranslation]

President Abraham Lincoln

I was not yet acquainted with these words of Lincoln when, after the Second World War, I repeatedly expressed doubts in conversations with a wide range of people about the alleged atrocities in German concentration camps. It simply appeared to me my obvious duty to report, in such conversations, what I had seenor. for that matter, had not seen-in the Auschwitz region around the middle of the year 1944. At that time, in the so-called Stommloger [original or parent camp] of Auschwitz, I saw orderly quarters and sanitary facilities, and internees who were well nourished and who appeared to have neither special demoralization nor fear, let alone a fear of death. Moreover, I never noticed mistreatments of internees nor, in particular, any sign-such as clouds of smoke or the stench of burning corpses-of mass extermination of human beings.

At that time, as the Ordonnanzoffizier [warrant officer] on the staff of an antiaircraft detachment stationed near Auschwitz from mid-July to approximately mid-September 1944 for the protection of the industrial plants in the area of the concentration camp, it was my duty to maintain contact with the SS camp command. For that reason I had unlimited access to the Auschwitz Stommloger, where the camp command was located. I should state that I never entered the Birkenau camp, which was located about two miles away.

In 1965 (when the famous first Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial was just being concluded) I was denounced as a “Nazi” by one of my judicial colleagues in Hamburg to the Jewish mayor of the city, as a result of my remarks concerning Auschwitz. That led to the initiation of a disciplinary proceeding against me. Its objective was to expel me from civil service. The notable feature of this proceeding, which lasted nearly two years, was the fact that the attempt was made to render me ineffective during its course with the aid of a psychiatrist (apparently of Jewish origin), this after it became obvious that the proceeding would probably not lead to the desired success, as a result of legal factors. I could only thank the energetic intercession of my defense attorney for the fact that nothing came of this scheme, which is otherwise known as characteristic only of the Communist sphere of influence. I was acquitted “for lack of evidence” because the exact contents of my remarks could not be determined, in the opinion of the disciplinary judge, who appeared to have a good opinion of me.

This disciplinary proceeding was for me the first incentive to analyze the Auschwitz problem in a somewhat more thorough manner. And so I began to study the official literature about it. The more I read, the more improbable indeed seemed to me the thesis of the “extermination camp of Auschwitz.” More and more I recognized that the descriptions of it were different from the atrocity propaganda of the First World War only insofar as the details were concerned.

Around the middle of 1973 I acquired by chance the eyewitness repart of Thies Christophersen, published as a booklet under the title Die Auschwitz-Lilge.[1] Christophersen, whom I did not then know, completely confirmed with his report the impressions which I myself had gained of Auschwitz in the year 1944. All the doubts (about my own doubts) which occasionally occurred to me were thus as if expunged, especially after I became acquainted personally with the author. My reaction was such because Christophersen had, after all, been a member of the command personnel of the ancillary camp of Rajsko for a whole year and had himself even picked out his labor internees from the ill-famed Birkenau camp. Naturally, he had thus obtained a much deeper insight into the conditions of the Auschwitz region than I.

I no longer saw any reason not to release for publication my own impressions of Auschwitz-which, even during the disciplinary proceeding, had been recorded in writing in the archive of the German monthly periodical Nation Europa. Their publication took place in the October 1973 issue under my full name and with the note that I was a judge fulfilling my duties in Hamburg. I was quite cognizant of the risks involved in this, but I hoped that ttie ban placed for years on the critical discussion of “Auschwitz” had now been broken and that after Christophersen’s courageous appearance other eyewitnesses in addition to myself would come forth who remembered the Auschwitz concentration camp as not being an “extermination camp.”

Alas, my hopes were illusory. Had we Germans really, to use Lincoln’s words, become “a nation of cowards” during the past decades? It appeared that this was the case! In any event, the smear campaign by nearly all the mass media which commenced against me only a few days after the appearance of my Auschwitz report had to be taken as an indication that further infractions of the Auschwitz taboo would be daring acts indeed. Although Christophersen’s report was effectively killed by silence at the time, the Auschwitz myth-makers obviously did not want to put up with the circumstance that no less than a judge holding office was opposing their lies. The result was a further disciplinary proceeding against me, again with the objective of removing me from my judicial position. During the course of this proceeding it was suggested to me to leave the service voluntarily and that the proceeding could then be suspended. Since my health was no longer the best, simply as a result of the emotional disturbances and constant professional disadvantages connected with the first proceeding (ever after my acquittal), I finally took this “hint” and requested early retirement. Under such circumstances I in fact had little inclination to continue in my position as a judge. My request was granted at once. Presumably the judicial officials were happy to get rid of me in this manner. Nevertheless, the disciplinary proceeding was continued against me-now with the declared objective of disallowing my claims to a pension! Although the people prosecuting me did not attain this objective, my peiisioti was nevertheless reduced by 20% for a period of five years.

Even though the financial disadvantages incurred by this proceeding were difficult for me, I was nevertheless happy to now be in the position of freedom from professional duties and restrictions, able to carry out what I had already begun by force of circumstances during the first proceeding: the scholarly examination of the Auschwitz problem. The attacks directed against me thus had set something positive in motion. They had become, as Goethe once expressed it [Faust, I, 1335-6], “a part of that force wiiicii constantly intends evil and yet creates good.”

When I became certain, on the basis of my scholarly efforts, how impudently our German nation and the world had been deceived with regard to the treatment of Jews during the Third Reich, I resolved to publish the things I knew in the form of a book. I was not willing to “sin by remaining silent.” That was the hour of birth of my book, Der Auschwitz Mythos.

In this work I focused on the question of the alleged moss gassings because this is essentially the basis on which the “myth of terror” is founded. This restriction in scope to the core of the Auschwitz legend seemed appropriate to me in order to finally treat the basic problem as completely as possible-a treatment which had not yet been undertaken, even by the various revisionists.

At the beginning of my research I had, in my naive mind, actually planned to proceed as far as possible from the examination of primary sources. I soon became aware that this was practically impossible. This was mainly the case because the places where most of the original documents from the archives of the German authorities are kept are presently unknown. They may still be found, with some exceptions, in very many different foreign archives and even so can be located only with difficulty. Even the professional historians appear to have been hitherto scarcely concerned with this problem. In any event, the German historian Dr. Alfred Schickel, a moderate revisionist of the postwar generation, reported approximately two years ago in several German newspapers that the National Archives in Washington D.C. could be “a real bonanza” for every historian, but, nevertheless, remain scarcely used. There, according to Schickel, are kept amongst other things the archival materials and documents which were confiscated by the U.S. Army in Germany, including in some cases documents of which even the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz, and other West German archives, possess neither copies nor microfilms. Dr. Schickel reported further that the American experts had, however, waited in vain for the visits of German historians, although the Germans certainly had to be the ones who should be primarily interested.[2]

Schickel’s assertions are proved correct when one goes through the literature on recent history. Today this history is still based essentially on the record books of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg and of the subsequent trials (Nuremberg Military Tribunal, or NMT) which were carried out exclusively under American direction. Besides these records, photographic copies of alleged documents from various foreign (especially Polish or Jewish) archives are employed. Yet for a historian working on a scholarly basis, photographic copies cannot be a substitute of equal value for the original documentsthis especially because they offer no guarantee of the authenticity of the documents and because the possibility of forgeries must be taken into account, particularly for the period of the Third Reich, 1933-1945. There are numerous examples of such forgeries, one of the most recent being the forged “Hitler diaries.”

For an outsider such as myself, extraordinarily limited moreover in his financial possibilities, it was naturally impossible under these circumstances even just to locate the primary source materials for the problem on which I was working. And I was not tho recipient of any support from official or semiofficial officessuch as, for example, the Institut fuer Zeitgeschichte [Institute for Contemporary History] in Munich.[3] Although I was able to inspect a few copies of documents in the archives in the German Federal Republic, an inquiry from me to the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz concerning certain important original documents and other items was answered, for example, as follows:

… to my regret I must inform you that the originals of the Nuremberg documents mentioned in your letter could not yet be located in the materials present in the Federal Archives…

Furthermore, concerning the originals of the documents employed in the Nuremberg trials, the quite general observation must be made that the tracing of places where they are stored involves considerable difficulties and problems as a matter of principle. Unfortunately, the ones specified by you are no exception.

To the extent that documents were present in the original … they might be in American custody along with the originals of the trial records themselves or, for that matter, in the archives of the United Nations in New York. Some of them have also certainly been transferred to the trial representatives of the other participating nations and can be expected [to be found] today in their archives.

The paths which the original documents took … can not be traced with absolute certainty …

For thirty years now, the scholars of many countries and research organizations have also seen no reason to dispense with the form of the documents of the Nuremberg trials preserved and present in Nuremberg and other places as a quite important source of German history and to go back to the originals which are not easily accessible.4

All of this is quite revealing with regard to the question of the validity of the official or established postwar historiography — which, as we can see, is still almost exclusively dependent on the information supplied by the Nuremberg trials, not on any genuine critical scholarly research, even to the slightest extent. In view of these facts I can only be astonished again and again at the impudence of historians with a scholarly education who, primarily in the function of experts appointed by the courts, simply assert that the official version of the extermination of the Jews is based on “proved historical knowledge.” The fact that German courts constantly pay unlimited homage to this formula, although the so-called “information” upon which it is based appears absolutely grotesque, speaks less for the vaunted thoroughness of German judges than for their apparently unlimited opportunism. Involved also. perhaps, is the factor of a certain judicial confidence in the scholarly integrity of German professors, although this of course would hardly be in keeping with the critical stance which should be demanded of judges even in relation to supposedly expert witnesses.

And so a thorough historical examination of the Auschwitz problem would demand not only much time, but also much money. After my retirement I had the former but not the latter; my possibilities financially were extremely limited. Thus I had to rely during my work essentially upon the same source materials used by the established writers of recent history as the basis for their statements concerning the “extermination camp of Auschwitz.” Here I made a virtue out of necessity, confining myself to examining the question as to whether this source material was at all valid. My method in this regard I have described in detail in my book, and so won’t go into further detail here on this point. Suffice it to say that this method led to my conclusion that “the Auschwitz myth is rooted in the morass of inconsistent formation of legends, but not in actual happenings.115 There is no significant evidence that in the Auschwitz region during the Second World War there took place by command from the highest echelons the planned, massive extermination of Jews by means of gas with the subsequent burning of the corpses so produced. I shall explain this conclusion below in greater detail by means of several examples.

In connection with this conclusion it is perhaps worth noting that one of the most famous and respected of West German historians, Dr. Hellmut Diwald, professor of history at the University of Erlangen, came to it himself (and at approximately the same time I did) in his book Geschichte der Deutschen. Therein he wrote that whatever happened to the Jews who were evacuated to the east after 1940 is “still unexplained with regard to the central questions, in spite of all that has been written.'16 By coming to this conclusion he caused a storm of indignation to issue from afl Jewish organizations and their West German puppets. The Zionistically-minded press czar Axel Springer even dismissed the head of his corporation’s publishing house, Propylaen, which had brought out Diwald’s work; he further ordered the destruction of the stock of the original printing which had not yet been sold. In order to keep his academic position and to avoid a prosecution under criminal law, Diwald himself was compelled to rewrite completely the two pages in his book dealing with the persecution of Jews.

“Freedom of scholarly research” in West Germany in the year 1979!

Let us now consider the contents of rny book. In it I arranged into three groups and discussed accordingly the types of source materials for the allegation of the extermination of the Jews which are of decisive importance in the opinion of the makers of the Auschwitz myth. These three groups were 1) documents, 2) reports dating from the postwar period of witnesses, and 3) evidence from the first Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial. I included in the first group only those documents (including written depositions) which came into existence at the time of the alleged happenings. These I designated “contemporary documents.”

I included in my investigations the Auschwitz Trial (which is strictly speaking not a proper historical source at all) because the advocates of the extermination thesis rely more and more on this trial as an allegedly, even particularly, reliable source. Their reliance on a postwar trial for material upon which to base a claim of writing wartime history is not really so astonishing from their-or our-point of view, given that contemporary, wartime, documents concerning the alleged extermination of the Jews are almost entirely lacking or are at least very questionable. As regards the eyewitness reports published in the postwar period. these are not only all inconsistent with each other, but also claim things that are simply technically impossible. For this reason they are obviously not to be believed. Given, then, the generally ragged evidentiary situation, it was presumably the main objective of the Auschwitz Trial, as well as of all further trials of this kind, to make the extermination thesis incontestable, so to speak, by virtue of judicial authority. But it should be clear to historians working on a scholarly basis that judicial criminal trials are hardly suited to clearing up historical facts and connections. This fact was demonstrated by one of the most famous German professors of law, Dr. Beling, as early as the closing phases of the First World War in a journal article which remains quite pertinenttoday.7

It is naturally impossible within the limitations of this paper even just to hint at all of the questions and views treated in my book. Therefore I must confine myself to making a few important points.

With regard to the contemporary documents I would first like to mention the fact that in reality, and in spite of aR the assurances of the advocates of the extermination legend, there is not one single official written item from the time of the Third Reich which contains evidence of the alleged mass gassings of Jews. In particular, there are no documents concerning the construction of gas chambers for the killing of human beings, or concerning other technical arrangements which would have been necessary for this purpose. To just as slight an extent are there any directions concerning the use and servicing of such “death factories.” Since the mass killings of human beings by means of gas, indeed even the killing of a single human being in this manner, requires it

unavoidable technical preparations which would quite certainly have to have been put down in writing in appropriate plans and directives, the utter lack of such written documents is certainly an important indication of the fact that such “gas chambers” for human beings did not actually exist. Furthermore, one must note that the advocates of the extermination thesis have hitherto studiously avoided even just touching on the question of the technical requisites for the claimed “gassings of jews.,, 8

Nevertheless these people do base their case on documents of various kinds (in addition, of course, to other things). However, and primarily for two reasons, these documents are not sufficient proof for such a monstrous claim.

In the first place, the documents can be made to serve the purposes of the extermination thesis only with the aid of arbitrary interpretations of terms. This is true of all documents in which there is talk of “resettlement of Jews, expulsion of Jews, deportation, evacuation” and similar things. The advocates of the extermination legend, accordingly, speak regularly of “code designations” or “code words” and “euphemisms” with which the authors of the documents were supposed to have intended to voil the “true situation,” specifically the intended killing of Jews in “extermination camps.” But it remains that this claim of ..coded” intent must be designated as unfounded and misleading as long as the question is unanswered as to when, where, and by whom these “code designations” were established and precisely how their supposedly true meaning was transmitted to the persons and military offices involved. In other words: how the ..code” was set up and run. As far as I can ten, the advocates of the extermination legend have not even posed this question, let alone answered it.

In the second place, a number of these documents give the impression of being forgeries. I wish to elucidate this point using the example of the so-called Wannsee-Protokoll, to the critical analysis of which I devoted quite a bit of space in my book. In the case of this document it is the matter of a later record of a conference of high German government officials presided over by the well-known SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich. This conference is supposed to have taken place on the shore of the Great Wannsee in Berlin on 20 January 1942. The subject of the discussion was the “final solution of the Jewish Problem,” as it was literally formulated in the introductory sentence of the “Protokoll.” The sixteenth of the total of thirty copies of the document which were prepared was allegedly discovered shortly before the beginning of the Nuremberg (NMT) Wilhelmstrasse Trial, in the records of the German Foreign Office, by the representative of the American prosecutor’s office in that trial. This representative was Robert M.W. Kempner, a former Prussian Oberregierungsrat [senior government councillorl who had emigrated to the United States for racial reasons during the 1930s. Since its discovery the Wannsee-Protokoll has generally been cited by the advocates of the extermination legend as the document with which the planned extermination of the Jews ordered by Hitler was initiated.

Now it is true that this document in fact contains no express indication of such an intent to exterminate. However, there are several sentences in it which when taken out of their context could make possible (if one wishes it) such an interpretation. Thus the following sentences have always been cited in the “Holocaust” literature only in their isolated form:

In large labor formations and with a separation of the sexes the Jews will be led into these areas while they are engaged in building roads. During this a large proportion will doubtless drop out as a result of natural reduction. The remnant which is certain to remain in the end will have to be dealt with appropriately since it will doubtless be the most rugged component and since this component, representing a natural selection, wiu probably become the germ of a new Jewish structure after it is released. (Behold the experience of history.) 9

The words “dealt with appropriately” are always interpreted in connection with the term “final solution” (which occurs rather frequently in the Wannsee-Protokoll) to the effect that those Jews who had not already perished by the hardships of their deportation and work were subsequently to be killed. In this way the impression is suggested that from the outset a complete extermination of the deported Jews had been planned.

But an analysis of the entire document shows that at least this part of it must be a forgery. Specifically, one must note that it is not at all in keeping with the rest of the text, appearing rather as a foreign entity in the context in which it occurs. Even the sentence stating that the Jews were to be led into the eastern areas “while they are engaged in building roads,” during which “a large proportion will doubtless drop out as a result of natural reduction” does not make sense, because shortly before it the employment of these Jews as laborers in the eastern areas was given as the objective of their deportation. That is a contradiction in itself. One does not first attempt to exterminate people who are later supposed to work. (Surely they would then be rather inefficient laborers!)

The forgery simply cannot be overlooked, especially when one reads in connection with the quoted passages on page 8 of the record that the “evacuated Jews” of Europe were initially to be brought to so-caged “transit ghettos” in order to be subsequently “transported to the east” from there. A “transportation” of the Jews into the eastern areas is certainly something quite different from leading them thither “while engaged in building roads"not to mention the fact that in any case no such occurrance as the latter has become known. Again on page 14 of the record the “transportation problem” is expressly addressed. Thus in the original, genuine, text of the document the sentences quoted above can scarcely have been present. It must not be assumed that such highly qualified people as the participants in the Wannsee Conference would have decided on such contradictory nonsense.

There are still other points indicating a forgery of the document which, however, I cannot discuss completely here because of limitations of space. I do see the single most convincing evidence of a forgery in the point just discussed.

The anticipated objection that, in the case of a forgery, the “incriminatory” passages about a decision for the extermination of the Jews would have been expressed more directly and concretely, is not valid. Because at the time of the initial presentation of the document during the Wilhelmstrasse Trial there were still too many of the conference participants alive, all-too-crass, obviously bogus statements about the resolutions made there could not be risked. AH of the participants in the conference interrogated by Kempner before the trial could recall only the fact that there was a discussion at the time concerning the employment of the Jews in the east as a labor force. That was also probably discussed in greater detail in the genuine document. I am therefore of the opinion that Kempner had the document brought into its present form only after the interrogations of the participants in the copference (which were, by the way, unsuccessful from his point of view), in order to be able to present it at the upcoming trial as a genuine-sounding proof of his extermination thesis. This is the case because without the few sentences in question the document would have been entirely unusable for the proof of a planned extermination of the Jews.

There is even material evidence of -such hurriedlyaccomplished forgery. Kempner published a reproduction of the 16th copy of the Wannsee-Protokoll in his book Eichmann und Komplizen.10 I based the analysis in my book on this reproduction. In so doing I designated this reproduction as a “facsimile” of the document urged as evidence in Nuremberg. I could so designate it because (as I have found out in tho meantime) Kempner’s reproduction shows no similarity whatsoever, in typeface, to the alleged original of this 16th copy presently kept in the archives of the Bonn Foreign Office! In all probability Kempner presented his reproduction in the Wilhelmstrasse Trial as documentary evidence. Why would he have otherwise had it made up in the first place, and later even published it in his book? The primitiveness of this forgery could be caused by the fact that the time was not sufficient at first for a better job of forgery. The wen-known temper and methods of the time of the Nuremberg trials would indicate that Kempner hardly had to fear a rejection by the court of this primitive forgery.

However, even the 16th copy kept in the archives of the Bonn Foreign Office cannot be the genuine document, although from a purely external point of view this copy might give that impression. It is indeed essentially similar in content to the Kempner reproduction, which is recognizable as a forgery. It must have thus been “doctored” in keeping with the Kempner reproduction, because it was naturally clear to the experts that Kempner’s forgery, produced under tho pressure of time, could not hold up indefinitely before the eyes of historians. The later forgers had time enough. According to information given me by the archives of the Foreign Office, this document was returned by the United States to Bonn in 1959 at the earliest.

There is moreover something else which appears worthy of mention in this connection. I have in my possession a copy of the 16th copy of the Wannsee-Protokoll which apparently originates from a document copy used in the Jerusalem Eichmann Trial. In any event, the heading of individual pages indicates that. Externally and as far as content is concerned, it is completely similar to the document kept in the archives of the Bonn Foreign Office except for the foct that the type size of several pages varies from the rest of the type face. Especially striking is the larger type face of page 8-the very page which contains the second, more important, part of those passages which in my view were manipulated into the genuine document replacing other passages. It may be that these variations originate from the use of various copying machines. But why, then, would various copying machines bave been used for the copying of a single document in the first place? Were the copies of the pages which showed a different type size perhaps even made at another place? And why that? Could, perhaps, the forged parts be copied only at a certain place?

Questions and more questions, to which there are still no answers.

Naturally, it must not be ruled out that the indications enumerated by me of a possible forgery of the document might possibly be attributed to other causes. However, for the historian they should be reason enough finally to demand the long overdue scientific testing of the physical document kept in Bonn. Only such testing could give a certain answer to the question of authenticity. Under the present conditions, to be sure, such an initiative is scarcely to be expected from German historians.

Now I come to the alleged eyewitness accounts concerning the claims of mass gassings in Auschwitz.

Recollections of contemporary witnesses have always been problematic as a historical source. Like all statements by witnesses, they are almost always more or less subjectively colored. Furthermore, with witnesses the question of their own involvements in the happenings plays a very special role. A person who has suffered generally has the inclination to exaggerate his suffering. Rassinier called this the “Odysseus Complex"-in recognition of the legendary fact that travellers returning from long journeys often tell tall tales. The person who has caused the suffering will generally attempt to palliate it or to shift the blame for it onto others (the so-called scapegoat theory). Further problems result from the facts that the human capacities for observation and recollection are quite limited, that witnesses can be influenced, that for particular reasons they knowingly lie, that they knowingly or unknowingly repeat as something that they bave experienced themselves that which in fact they have only heard, and many other factors. Statements and reports of experiences by participants in certain happenings can therefore never serve simply by themselves as an objective portrayal of history.

In addition to this there is the fact that the question of the extermination of the Jews being considered here was from the outset and is burdened with considerable emotions and that officially, even to the present day, statements are allowed to be considered valid only to the extent that they are suitable in some way as support for the claims concerning the extermination of the Jews. My own case, which I described briefly at the beginning of this paper, is a typical example of this, the double-standard.

Now, indeed, those statements and reports which have contributed to the founding of the Auschwitz Myth wiu scarcely appear convincing to the objective historian who is working on a scholarly basis. This is the case because they not only contain contradictions and inconsistencies amongst themselves, but contain in some cases even internal contradictions. I have already mentioned that there is not a single report which even somewhat credibly describes the technical procedure of the mass gassing and of the subsequent destruction without a trace of the bodies. Each of these reports contains such crass impossibilities of a technical and physical nature that it is shown by this alone to be a lie. in this connection I need only call to mind such “eyewitnesses” as Dr. Rudolf Vrba, Miklos Nyiszli, Kitty Hart or Filip Mueller, whose accounts are, in part, simply absurd. We need not waste another word concerning such accounts.

Perhaps for the reason of the self-evident absurdity of so many such accounts, reference is now-at least since the time of the Auschwitz Trial-almost exclusively made by the specialists in recent history (at least in our case in West Germany) to the Cracow memoirs of the commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Hoess, although these are, in part, no less absurd. They are, however, a psychologically relatively skilled mixture of “fiction and truth,” so that an uncritical reader-and most readers do fau into that category-will probably take them on the whole as the authentic life-confession of Rudolf Hoess. Hoess wrote these memoirs, it is alleged, “voluntarily and without coercion” during his incarceration in Poland, before the Polish Supreme Peoples' Court sentenced him to death on 2 April 1947. On 16 April 1947 he died on the gallows at the place of his previous function as commandant, Auschwitz. Strangely, however, these alleged memoirs were not published until 1958, in German, and on the basis only of a photographic copy which the Poles had placed at the disposal of the present director of the Institut fuer Zeitgeschichte, Prof. Dr. Martin Broszat. The question as to why publication did not take place until eleven years after the writing, even though the memoirs are supposed to be an extraordinarily important historical source, has up till now been neither posed nor answered by the advocates of the extermination legend. 11

In spite of their obscure origin there has also been no demand to this day for an examination of the original memoirs as to their authenticity. It indeed appears doubtful that the Poles would even grant such a request. Rassinier pointed out the practical impossibility of an examination of the original document. 12

1 was the first scholar to subject the Hoess memoirs to a detailed critical analysis as to their source. This analysis forms a particularly important aspect of my book. After it there can be no further doubt that in the case of parts which have to do with the mass extermination of the Jews, Hoess was either writing the document under coercion or those parts are a forgery which originated after his death. I am inclined toward the second possibility because, to mention only one reason amongst a number, the publication did not take place until a decade after the alleged writing of the document.

There are numerous indications of forgery in the document which I could not possibly discuss in their totality within the limitations of this paper. But it is particularly striking that in this autobiography there is not one word spent on well-known events which must certainly have brought about considerable problems for Hoess as the commandant of the camp-events such as the great typhus epidemic around the middle of the year 1942 and the construction of the large crematoria in Birkenau. Hoess certainly would not have passed over these things in an otherwise quite detailed autobiography. It thus appears as if the sections in question were removed from the memoirs afterwards by another hand, and in their place inserted an account of the alleged extermination of Jews. Likewise, the separate description of “The Final Solution of the Jewish Problem in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp” possibly originated only after Hoess’s death-despite its being dated November 1946.

1 would like to go into another point in greater detail, which throws a characterizing light on our West German professors of history. On pages 270-72 of the German edition of my book I had called attention to a certain circumstance by pointing out various passages in the text of the Hoess memoirs which have to do with the extermination of Jews. We owe the discovery of this circumstance to our French friend Dr. Robert Faurisson. From these passages in the text it is learned that the so-called special command (Sonderkommando) is supposed to have entered the gas chamber as early as a half-hour after the Zyklon B was thrown into it, in order to take out the “gassed” Jews-entering so soon, however, without gas masks! No gas masks because the men of the special command-and this is the way it is literally put in the memoirs-were “eating and smoking” while in the chamber! That is, as we know, absolutely impossible on account of certain properties of Zyklon B. Dr. Faurisson has repeatedly written about this in the journal of Historical Review. 13

On account of these statements, the expert in recent history who gave testimony in the proceeding5 against my book relative to its being put on the prohibitional index, Prof. Dr. Schemer, made the reproach to me that I had, by means of “evil methods of manipulation,” attempted to confuse the public. He pointed out that the text passages quoted by me originated from various, separate parts of the Hoess memoirs. According to him, I had arbitrarily juxtaposed them and thus had “forged” them with regard to their actual meaning.

In so arguing Dr. Scheffier locked one of his own gates! On the two last pages of the alleged Hoess account, “The Final Solution of the Jewish Problem in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp,” the impossible behavior of the men of the special command is again depicted, this time in one section. It is quite noteworthy that Prof. Broszat left out these two pages in his edition of the Hoess memoirs. Unfortunately, it was only after the appearance of my book that I was able to procure copies of them in a roundabout way. I could now make reference to them.

It is not difficult to imagine why Prof. Broszat failed to include these pages in his edition of Hoess’s memoirs. Prof. Schemer must also have known about these pages!

The guild of the experts on recent history is pronouncing its own sentence.

Now let us turn to the first Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, the preliminary history and course of which I described in detail in the fourth chapter of my book. This trial achieved worldwide fame at the time, and that is indeed what it was supposed to do. It was a matter of a typical show trial after the model of the Nuremberg trials in the second half of the 1940s. At this point I will make some observations about this aspect and only about this aspect.

When I speak of the Auschwitz Trial as a show trial, I do not mean to imply that sentences of the 22 (ultimately 20) defendants had been decided from the outset. That was undoubtedly not the case; three defendants were even found innocent. In contrast to a widespread opinion, a predetermined judgement of the defendants is not the essential criterion of a show trial. Naturally, there are such trials with predetermined judgements, especially in the Communist countries. However, they also pursue an objective which goes beyond merely imposing a sentence on defendants: the objective of influencing or even intimidating the population, in keeping with the intentions of the political power clique which is always standing in back of such trials. In my book I designated this objective as “political demonstration effect.” In my opinion that is the characteristic feature of every show trial. Thus, in a trial with an externally juridical form and always carried out before the broadest possible public, political objectives are pursued which in themselves are foreign to law and justice. The defendants in trials of this sort, then, have only the role of actors with mute parts.

The political demonstration effect of the Auschwitz Trial consisted of making clear to a perhaps still-doubting public once and for all, and with the aid of juridical authority, that Auschwitz was an “extermination camp” in which, according to plan, millions of human beings, Jews in particular, were killed in “gas chambers” and subsequently “destroyed without a trace” by burning. In fact nothing less was involved in this trial than the maintenance of the capacity to extort from the Germans politically and financially. One of the trial’s initiators, the General Secretary of the International Auschwitz Committee in Vienna, Hermann Langbein, thus saw in it a “documentation of Hitler’s largest extermination camp” which was supposed “to offer the possibility of an orientation and material for reflection to future historians, but especially to the young generation in Germany.,,14

The Auschwitz Trial attained its character of a show trial by virtue of the fact that the one contention of which proof should really have been established first of all in this trial, this unique opportunity-proof of the existence of “gas chambers” for the purpose of killing people-was considered by the court and all the trial participants as incontestable to begin with! I went into that matter in detail in my book.

Naturally, witnesses “confirmed” this contention on an assembly-line basis in their statements. Nevertheless, these witnesses would have been shown very quickly to be lying, and the ground removed from under the trial dogma, by depositions from experts concerning the properties and effects of Zyklon B, and the conditions necessary for its use. Al ' so concerning: the efficiency and capacity of crematory installations, the possibility and effectiveness of cremation of corpses in the open, and many other matters of a technical and physical nature important in this connection. Such opinions of technical experts, however, were neither sought nor gathered by the court, even though this was its manifest duty.

The fact itself that the clarification of these pertinent questions was circumvented during the entire course of the trial demonstrates its character as a show trial. Contesting the dogma was not permitted, even though that dogma was the nucleus of the entire presentation, and its confirmation the real purpose of this monstrous trial! It can probably be doubted justifiably even today whether, indeed, the “results” of this embarrassing court trial will even stand the test before the eyes of future historians at a time when, as must be hoped, the study of history will again be free.

Let me finally make a few brief remarks about the consequences brought about in my country by the publication of my book Der Auschwitz Mythos. As far as I was concerned they were quite unexpected. When the book appeared in March 1979 1 granted the publisher of a German monthly periodical an interview. Among the questions I was asked in it was whether, in view of the “Holocaust” hysteria, I did not have to fear “nervous reactions of government offices” or indeed even the book’s confiscation. My exact answer to that question was:

I am not really counting on that. The book is a scholarly undertaking… Since I have also not put out into the world any assertions which cannot be proved, but have simply made a factual investigation of the foundations of the “Auschwitz Myth,” I can really only imagine two kinds of reactions to my book. Either it is going to be killed by silence, like so many things which are not in keeping with the spirit of the times, or there will be a factual discussion of it just as I have done with the arguments of tho opposing side. As a jurist I see no reason at all for its being confiscated. I would not know what criminal law I could have violated with this book. [15]

It turned out that I had great illusions. As early as 28 June 1979 — that is, scarcely three months after the appearance of the book the Bundesprufstelle fuer jugendgefaehrdende Schriften (Federal Office for the Examination of Publications Harmful to Young People) commenced a so-called “indexing procedure” on the basis of the law of 9 June 1953 concerning the distribution of publications harmful to young people. Such procedures may be entered against “publications which are capable of being morally dangerous to children and young people,” as the law is worded. Included in these, according to wording, are “in particular immoral publications which have a brutalizing effect, incite people to a particular violence, crime or racial hatred, as well as those publications which glorify war.” An indexing does not, it is true, have the effect of being a total prohibition of the indexed book, but it certainly does result in limitations of distribution and the prohibition of any advertising of the book. Indexed publications are thus practically excluded from sale on the open book market, which amounts, to a considerable extent, to a prohibition.16

Further, the prosecuting attorney’s office of Stuttgart initiated a preliminary criminal procedure against my publisher and me on 23 July 1979, on account of alleged “distribution of propaganda materials of unconstitutional organizations” (SS86 of the Criminal Code), “incitement of the populace” (SS130 of the Criminal Code), and other provisions of criminal law allegedly violated by the book. 17 These accusations were of course farfetched. Apparently the public prosecutor who was dealing with the case under orders thought likewise and had the courage (which, unfortunately, cannot be taken for granted in the Bundesrepublik) not to bring any indictment. After about eight months he discontinued the litigation. In the meantime the statute of limitations had also taken effect in accordance with press laws.

However, that did not cause the opponents of my book to give up. The prosecutor’s office was now directed by court order to seize the book. By a corresponding petition of the prosecutor’s office and a judgement of 7 May 1982 it was sequestered on 31 July 1980 by the Stuttgart Landgericht (Regional Court), the equipment used for its production seized along with it. The Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Supreme Court) confirmed this action by its decision of 26 January 1983. Fortunately, only seven remaining archival copies were obtained from the publisher by the confiscation and seizure. The other 10,000 copies of the entire printing had already been sold because the indexing could not take place until 11 March 1982, as a result of our delaying procedural tactics.

The mere fact of the unusually long duration, almost three years, of these two proceedings shows how difficult it was for the officials and courts involved to find a-h apparent legal basis for the measures taken. On the other hand, the quite unusual pressure which groups interested in removing the book from the German book trade knew how to, and did, exert also becomes apparent.

From the course of these two proceedings I would like to pick out two aspects which are especially worthy of mention. The one aspect is an expert’s opinion concerning the scholarly value of my book which was given in the indexing procedure. The Bundespruefstelle had assigned Dr. Wolfgang Scheffler to prepare this opinion. This man is an expert on recent history who is well known from his testimony in many concentration camp trials. His expert’s opinion reveals the complete incompetency of these experts in defending the Holocaust Legend against revisionist arguments. I have already demonstrated this by one example. I should also note that Schemer needed no less than one-and-a-half years to prepare his “expert’s opinion"! In spite of this, not much more than nonfactual polemics came out of his effort, which culminated in the assertion that my book is “extremely evil political [!] poisoning of the wells.” In the further proceedings, as a matter of caution no use was made of experts' opinions on recent history, in obvious recognition of their obvious incompetency.

The other aspect is a noteworthy fact with regard to the book-seizure proceeding of the court: after approximately one year, by a threadbare pretext, the court excluded me-the author! -from further participation in the proceeding! Probably the court felt that it was no longer capable of dealing with my arguments. On account of this “refusal of due process,” a protest by me to the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitution Court) is still pending. However, on the basis of all the previous experiences with this court I hardly have any hope for success. (I had already twice tried in vain to obtain my constitutional rights there.) The seizure order will thus probably remain standing.

There was more. On 15 November 1982 the University of Goettingen initiated an academic proceeding against me for the purpose of depriving me of the doctoral degree granted me by the University in 1951. Although it should hardly be considered possible, this proceeding was based on a law signed personally, once upon a time, by Adolf Hitler! 18 The withdrawal of the degree took place by virtue of a resolution of the Council of Deans of the University on 29 March 1983, but it is not yet legally in effect. The clandestine rulers in our country had obviously decided that after the destruction of the “dangerous” book (as the Stuttgart Landgericht put it), its author had also to be discredited and decredited in the eyes of the public, in order to make him seem untrustworthy in a scholarly sense once and for all.

Now, I myself have thus far simply taken all of this as a confirmation of the fact that at present there is no one in the position to refute my work by factual arguments. Naturally, the officials and courts involved in the various proceedings were just not able to do this. They did not even attempt it. The particular bases of the measures taken against me and my book are essentially as similar as one egg is to another. They do not concern themselves with the actual substance of the work at all, but use several of my expressions of opinion at the margin of the matter, or conclusions in the text of the book wrenched from context, in order to put together from these the criminal accusations of “incitement of the populace” (SS130 of the Criminal Code) and “incitement to racial hate” (SSl 31 of the Penal Code). 19 In addition there is naturally no forgetting to mention that the “extermination of millions of Jews” is an “established historical fact.” In a quite fatal manner all this is reminiscent of the practices of the medieval Inquisition, except that a person is no longer burned as a “heretic.” In place of the stake comes today the destruction of a person’s means of making a living, and prison sentences or fines. My case will demonstrate whether in the future personal disgrace by the invalidation, in the case of academic people, of earned academic degrees will be routinely added as a “punishment.”

Now, many of you will ask why all this is the case with we Germans, of all people, since for us, after all, the interest in exonerating our nation from the accusation of genocide would have to be dominant. There are many reasons for this case, of a factual and personal nature. In my view all of them can be summed up in one answer generally valid: We Germans, in spite of the repeated assurances to the contrary of our puppet politicians, are politically and intellectually no longer a sovereign nation since our defeat in the Second World War. Our political subservience, which is apparent in the fact of the breaking up of the Reich and the incorporation of the individual pieces into the extant power blocks of the East and of the West, has had as its consequence a corresponding intellectual subservience. Escape from this intellectual subservience is prevented primarily by the guilt complex inculcated in most Germans through the .,reeducation” instituted in 1945. This guilt complex is based primarily on the Holocaust Legend. Therefore for we Germans the struggle against what I have called the “Auschwitz Myth” is so frightfully important. I believe that this is also being increasingly recognized by the real human beings amongst us.

At this point I would like to express my gratlful recognition of the fact that the German people are finding understanding and support amongst numerous citizens of those countries which were at one 'time enemies of the Reich in the frightful fraternal war of the Aryan nations. As representative of many people I might simply mention here the names Butz, Faurisson, and Irving. Their efforts in favor of historical truth appear to me to be of greater importance in determining their countries' respective national characters than the participation of those countries decades ago in the disgraceful Nuremberg show trials.

I began my paper with a quotation from your great President Lincoln. I want to conclude it with a quotation from my great compatriot, Goethe, as passed on down to us by his secretary, Eckermann. It is as follows:

That which is true must constantly be repeated, because error is constantly being extolled all around us, and to be sure not just by individuals but also by the masses of people. In newspapers and encyclopaedias, at schools and universities, error prevails everywhere and it is well and comfortable in the sentiment of the majority which is on its side.

One must constantly repeat that which is true! Let us all act accordingly!


  1. Because it was forbidden in the German Federal Republic, this booklet has been distributed with a new foreword by me by the Swiss publishing house Courier du Continent, Case Ville 2428, Lausanne, Switzerland. An English edition is available from Liberty Bell Publications, P.O. Box 21, Reedy, W. Va., 25270.
  2. In this connection, see also Alfred Schickel, Zeitgeschichte am Scheideweg [Contemporary History at the Crossroads] (Wuerzburg: Verlag Johann Wilhelm Neumann, 1981), pp. lgff.
  3. Cf. Wilhelm Stäglich, Der Auschwitz Mythos: Legende oder Wirklichkeit? [The Auschwitz Myth: Legend or Reality?] (Tuebingen: Grabert-Verlag, 1979), Appendix 1, pp. 367ff,
  4. Original letter dated 26 January 1977 in the author’s files.
  5. Stäglich, p. 363.
  6. Hellmut Diwald, Geschichte der Deutschen [History of the Germans], 1st ed. (Frankfurt, Berlin, Vienna: Propylaen-Verlag, 1978), p. 165.
  7. Deutsche Strafrechtszeitung [journal of German Penal Law], 1918, col. lggff. The translated title of the article is; “Research in World History in the Court Room.”
  8. See Robert Faurisson: “The Mechanics of Gassing,” Journal of Historical Review Vol- 1, No. 1 (Spring 1980), pp. 23-30; “Confessions of SS Men Who Were at Auschwitz,” JHR Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer 1981)@ pp. 103-36; “The Gas Chambers of Auschwitz Appear to be Physically Inconceivable,” JHR Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter 1981), pp. 31 117; “The Gas Chambers: Truth or Lie?,” JHR Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter 1981), pp. 319-73.
  9. Stäglich. pp. 45-46.
  10. Robert M.W. Kempner, Eichmann und Komplizen [Eichmann and Accomplices] (Zurich, Stuttgart, Vienna: Europa-Verlag, 1961), pp. 133ff.
  11. Rudolf Hoess, Kommandont in Auschwitz: Autobiographische Aufzeichnungen von Rudolf Hdss, with an introduction and commentary by Martin Broszat (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1958). The English edition is Commandant of Auschwitz (London: Weideiifeld and Nicalson, 1963).
  12. Cf. Paul Rassinier: Dus Droma der Juden Europas (Hannover: Hans Pfeiffer Verlag, 1965), pp. 54-55; Was nun, Odysseus? (Wiesbaden: Verlag Karl Heinz Priester, 1960), p. 61. An English edition incor1)oratiiig these two works is Debunking the Genocide Myth (Los Angeles: Noontide Press, 1978).
  13. See note B.
  14. Hermann Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozess: Eine Dokumentation [The Auschwitz Trial: A Documentation], vol. 2 (Frankfurt: Europaische Verlagsanstalt, 1965), pp. 907-08.
  15. Mut: Dos nationaleuropoische Magazin [Courage; The NationalEuropean Magazine] No. 139 (March 1979), pp. 18ff. This magazine is published by Bernhard C. Wintzek at Postfach 1, D-28kk, Asendorf, West Germany.
  16. Bundesgesetzblatt I [Federal Law Record 11, 1953, p. 377. This law was amended in various ways. The version valid at a given time is printed in the cumulative list of materials indexed by the Bundespruefstelle [Federal Examining Office]. This cumulative list is currently being published by the chairman of the Bundespruefstelle, Rudolf Stefen, in the Nomox-Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden.
  17. SS86 of the German Penal Code reads as follows in the part cited here by the prosecutor’s office:

    Any person who …

    1. distributes or produces for distribution, keeps in stock or imports propaganda materials which are intended by their content to continue the activities of a former National Socialist Organization is punishable by imprisonment up to three years or by fine.

    Propaganda materials in keeping with Section 1 are only such publications (SSll, Section 3), the content of which is directed against the free, democratic basic order or the principle of conciliation amongst the nations…

    SS130 reads as follows:

    Any person who attacks the human dignity of others in a manner suited to disturb the public peace by

    1. inciting hatred against parts of the population
    2. demanding violent or arbitrary measures against them or
    3. insulting them, maliciously making them the object of scorn or slandering them shall be punished by a prison sentence of three months to five years.
  18. Law Concerning the Use of Academic Degrees, dated 7 June 1939, published in the Reichsgesetzblatt I, page 985.
  19. SS130 of the Penal Code: see note 17. SS131 of the Penal Code reads in those parts possibly applicable here as follows:

    any person who

    1. distributes,
    2. produces written materials which … incite racial hatred shall be punished by a prison sentence of as much as one year or by a fine…

The 90-minute cassette tape recording of Dr. Stäglich’s conference lecture is available from the IHR at $8.95.

About the author

Wilhelm Stäglich served as an anti-aircraft artillery officer with the German army during World War II. He studied law and political science at the University of Rostock and the University of Göttingen, from where he received his doctorate in law (Dr. jur.) in 1951. He served for 20 years as a judge in Hamburg. He is the author of numerous articles on legal and historical subjects, and of the book Der Auschwitz Mythos, which has been banned from open sale in West Germany.

From The Journal of Historical Review, Spring 1984 (Vol. 5, No. 1), page 47.