Fact File 4 - Nuremberg Trial Transcripts
- Note: The fact file series is intended to present facts of history, free from the polemics and misinformation so often presented in this medium. Hopefully the facts contained herein will serve the cause of truth in history.
- Note to educators and students: Fact File no. 4 presents actual excerpts from the Nuremberg Trial Transcripts. The Nuremberg Trials documented countless Nazi atrocities including the now infamous gas chambers. What most people do not realize is that many of the claims documented at Nuremberg are no longer accepted by any reasonable historians. Many of these ìatrocitiesî have simply been forgotten about. To many, these claims are nothing but a product of allied war-time propaganda and post-war hysteria. Citations are from the various volumes from the IMT (International Military Tribunal).
"It was common practice to remove the skin from dead prisoners. I was commanded to do this on many occasions. Dr. Rascher and Dr. Wolter in particular asked for this human skin from human backs and chests. It was chemically treated and placed in the sun to dry. After that it was cut into various sizes for use as saddles, riding breeches, gloves, house slippers, and ladies' handbags."IMT V - p.171.
"MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I have certain information, which was placed in my hands, of an experiment which was carried out near Auschwitz and I would like to ask you [Albert Speer] if you heard about it or knew about it. The purpose of the experiment was to find a quick and complete way of destroying people without the delay and trouble of shooting and gassing and burning, as it had been carried out, and this is the experiment, as I am advised. A village, a small village was provisionally erected, with temporary structures, and in it approximately 20,000 Jews were put. By means of this newly invented weapon of destruction, these 20,000 people were eradicated almost instantaneously, and in such a way that there was no trace."IMT XVI - p.529.
"The second building [at Treblinka] consists of three chambers and a boiler-room. The steam generated in the boilers is led by means of pipes to the chambers. There are terracota floors in the chambers which become very slippery when wet ... All victims had to strip off their clothes and shoes, which were collected afterwards, whereupon all victims, women and children first, were driven into the death chambers. Those too slow or too weak to move quickly were driven on by rifle butts, by whipping and kicking ... Many slipped and fell, the next victims pressed forward and stumbled over them. Small children were simply thrown inside. After being filled up to capacity the chambers were hermetically closed and steam was let in. In a few minutes all was over."IMT XXXII - pp. 156-157.
"BALACHOWSKY: I saw SS men come out of Block 2 [at Buchenwald], the Pathological Block, carrying tanned skins under their arms. I know, from my comrades who worked in Pathological Block 2, that there were orders for skins; and these tanned skins were given as gifts to certain guards and to certain visitors, who used them to bind books."IMT VI - p.311.
"In the autumn of 1941, in Katyn Forest, the German occupational authorities carried out mass shootings of the Polish prisoners of war from the above-mentioned camps. The German occupational authorities, with a view to provoking incidents, undertook a whole series of measures to ascribe their own misdeeds to organizations of the Soviet authorities, in order to make mischief between the Russians and the Poles."IMT VII - p.427.
"It was in 1942 [at Belsen] that the special electrical appliances were built in for mass extermination of people. Under the pretext that the people were being led to the bath-house, the doomed were undressed and then driven to the building where the floor was electrified in a special way; there they were killed."IMT VII - p.576-577.
"MR. DODD: No one knew what the purpose was; but after the tattooed prisoners had been examined, the ones with the best and most artistic apecimens were kept in the dispensary and then killed by injections administered by Karl Beigs, a criminal prisoner. The corpses were then turned over to the pathological department where the desired pieces of tattooed skin were detached from the bodies and treated. The finished products were turned over to SS Standartenfuehrer Koch's wife, who had them fashioned into lamp shades and other ornamental household articles."IMT III - p. 515.
"PAUL WALDMANN: In this small room [at Sachsenhausen] there was a slot in the wall, approximately 50 centimeters in length. The prisoner of war stood with the back of his head against the slot and a sniper shot at him from behind the slot. In practice this arrangement did not prove satisfactory, since the sniper often missed the prisoner. After 8 days a new arrangement was made. The prisoner, as before, was placed against the wall; an iron plate was then slowly lowered onto his head. The prisoner was under the impression that he was being measured for height. The iron plate contained a ramrod which shot out suddenly and poleaxed the prisoner with a blow on the back of the head. He dropped dead. The iron plate was operated by a foot lever in a corner of the room."IMT VII - p. 377.
"MORGEN: These places were faked cloakrooms, and the person was given a check at each one so that the people believed that they would get their things back ... When the last one was in, the doors were shut and the gas was let into the room. As soon as death had set in, the ventilators were started. When the air could be breathed again, the doors were opened, and the Jewish workers removed the bodies. By means of a special procedure ... they were burned in the open air without the use of fuel."IMT XX - p. 494.
"SIGMUND MAZUR: I boiled the soap out of the bodies of women and men. The process of boiling alone took several days- from 3 to 7. During two manufacturing processes, in which I directly participated, more than 25 kilograms of soap were produced. The amount of human fat necessary for these two processes was 70 to 80 kilograms collected from some 40 bodies ... I used this human soap for my personal needs, for toilet and for laundering."IMT VII - p. 598.
"RUDOLF HOESS: I commanded Auschwitz until 1 December, 1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease making a total dead of about 3,000,000."IMT XXXIII - p. 276.
"Inside the showerbath [ at Dachau]- the gas vents. On the ceiling- the dummy shower heads. In the engineers' room- the intake and outlet pipes. Push buttons to control inflow and outtake of gas. A hand-valve to regulate pressure. Cyanide powder was used to generate the lethal smoke. From the gas chamber, the bodies were removed to the crematory."IMT XXX - p.470.
"In August 1942 the prisoners were ordered by the German staff of the camp to have all their hair removed from their armpits and around their genitals, as otherwise they would be shot. Not one prisoner received a razor from the Germans, though the Germans knew well that they had none. The prisoners spent the whole of the night plucking out their hair with their hands and assisting one another."IMT VII - p. 433.
"The SS forced [women] to wash the stairs leading from the seven entrances to the four-story house, with their tongues and lips. After those stairways were wased, the same people were forced to collect garbage in the courtyard with their lips. All garbage had to be transferred to one place in the courtyard."IMT VII - p.491.
"They invented the following method of murder: Several Soviet prisoners would be forced to climb a tree and others had to saw it down. The prisoners would fall together with the tree and be killed."IMT VII - p. 582.
FOR FURTHER READING:
Credit for this fact file must be given to the following extensive study of the Nuremberg transcripts:
Carlos Whitlock Porter, ed., Made in Russia: The Holocaust (London: Historical Review Press, 1988).