The Holocaust Historiography Project

Important [Auschwitz] Documents Found in Moscow Archives

Searching in Russian archives through tens of thousands of long-suppressed documents, two revisionist historians have dug up revealing German documents confiscated by the Soviets and kept secret for decades. Swiss educator Jürgen Graf and Italian author Carlo Mattogno together made two lengthy research visits in Russia in 1995, the second lasting four weeks. Each is the author of several revisionist works dealing with the Holocaust issue, and both spoke at the 12th (1994) IHR Conference.

In the Archives of the Russian Federation, Graf and Mattogno found voluminous records about Auschwitz and other German concentration camps liberated 50 years ago by Soviet forces. These include Russian-language eyewitness reports and investigative documents, and reports by Soviet investigative commissions, as well as some German documents confiscated from various camps (but not Auschwitz). Graf and Mattogno photocopied about 1,000 pages of documents from these Moscow archives, which are now being evaluated and translated.

70,000 Pages Screened

The team carried out much more extensive research at the Central State Special Archives on Viborg street, located in an outer area of the Russian capital. Among the voluminous original German records stored there are tens of thousands of pages from Auschwitz camp alone. Here Graf and Mattogno spent nearly every day of their visit screening an estimated 70,000 pages of Auschwitz records.

Less than five percent of these documents are of relevant interest, Graf estimates. They spent little time, for example, going through the 100-page file of construction records of horse stables at Auschwitz, or the 300 pages concerning the payroll of camp gardeners.

At a cost of one dollar per page, Graf and Mattogno photocopied more than 3,000 pages of Auschwitz documents from these Archives. Their investigations are far more extensive than the modest researches there by Prof. Gerald Fleming and Jean-Claude Pressac, two major anti-revisionist Holocaust researchers. As their signatures on the control sheets show, they saw perhaps 50 of the 650 dossiers there. (It was in this same Viborg street archives where British historian David Irving located the handwritten diaries of Minister Joseph Goebbels for his new biography of the wartime propaganda minister. See “Revelations from Goebbels' Diary,” in the Jan.-Feb. 1995 Journal.)

A Preliminary Evaluation

From the outset Graf and Mattogno assumed that they would probably not find anything of really sensational importance.

Any documents confirming gas chamber killings or an extermination program certainly would have long ago been triumphantly heralded. Similarly, any documents showing clearly that no prisoners were killed in gas chambers, or which disprove the existence of a wartime German extermination program, would probably have been removed or destroyed.

All the same, they did find documents that conflict with the orthodox extermination story. One refers specifically to a “delousing chamber for crematory II” ("Entlausungskammer für ein Krematorium") in Birkenau. This document apparently clarifies the real meaning of one or more of Pressac’s so-called “criminal traces,” as well as of the widely-cited letter of Jan. 29, 1943 that refers to a “gassing cellar” ("Vergasungskeller") in Birkenau crematory II. It is often claimed that this must be a reference to a homicidal gas chamber. (See A. Butz' “Some Thoughts on Pressac’s Opus,” in the May-June 1993 Journal, pp. 27-31, 35 [n. 23].) This long-suppressed German document, which was overlooked by Fleming and Pressac, suggests instead that this “gassing cellar” was installed to save life, by killing typhus-bearing lice.

Also found were documents showing the roster of sick and chronically sick people at Birkenau over extended periods. According to the extermination story, of course, all such persons were immediately put to death as unfit for work. Other documents confirm the strict rules that prohibited SS camp personnel from mistreating Auschwitz prisoners.

Additional documents unearthed by Graf and Mattogno establish that remarkably large numbers of prisoners were released from Auschwitz. (This is in addition to prisoners who were transferred to other camps.) During just a few days in June and July 1944 alone, 186 short-term prisoners were set free. (Over the entire period of the camp’s existence, there must have been thousands.) Most of these were Poles who had been sentenced to “re-education by labor” at Birkenau for terms of four to ten weeks for breaking employment contracts. After serving their sentences, says Graf, these prisoners returned to their factories. Nothing has so far been published anywhere about these large-scale prisoner releases. As Graf notes, if many tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews were actually killed in Auschwitz in May-June 1944, as alleged, the released prisoners could easily have told the world about it.

Numerous valuable documents relating to the Auschwitz crematories were also found, says Mattogno, who is sorting out and evaluating them.

Incidentally, an enormous quantity of confiscated German documents dealing with other areas are also held in the Central State Special Archives. These include, for example, about 9,000 pages of records of the wartime Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Such documents may shed new light on key aspects of Second World War history. Unfortunately, the future of these archival treasures is uncertain.

Not Found

Graf and Mattogno searched in vain for Soviet wartime aerial reconnaissance photographs of the Auschwitz area, including research at the former Soviet military archives in Podolsk, east of Moscow. They similarly failed to turn up records detailing deliveries of coke to the Auschwitz crematories in 1944 — documents that would finally nail down the maximum number of corpses that could have been cremated in the facilities there. Perhaps these records are located in one of the ten or twelve other archives in Europe where scattered Auschwitz documents are stored.

As a result of these two 1995 research visits (which were financed by sympathetic friends), says Graf, “we now know not only what documents are in these two archives, but also what documents are not there. That’s also important.” Carlo Mattogno is working on a detailed study of the German camp crematories, to be published in 1996 in Italy, as well as on a specialized treatment of the “gas chambers,” which he hopes to publish in 1997.