Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
I am sending you my transcript of the handwritten Aumeier file of 17 pages of 1945.
I have conserved the original text as much as is possible when going from handwritten to typed text.
Aumeier's choice of writing a double m and in one instance a double n by overlining had to be given in a different form. I use [m] and [n]: overlining a single m or n was an accepted variant to indicate double letters. It was not always consistently applied. Aumeier's use is in keeping with usage at that time.
Aumeier's use of hs instead of the sz or the letter ß for the "sharp s" is very peculiar. Since his handwriting is a mixture of Latin and gothic, either sz or ß would have been acceptable, but hs is a choice that one never sees. I have retained Aumeier's spelling.
In view of the fact that a file in which the captors describe Aumeier as "completely uneducated, almost illiterate" the question arises what we can learn from Aumeier's draft by scrutinizing its composition, orthography and handwriting.
I find that the text is sophisticated and well composed. For a supposedly original draft there are remarkably few corrections.
There is excellent flow of logic until we come to page 11, in which Aumeier without introduction begins to write of gassings, of Jewish children being brought up in camp kindergartens by order or Reichsführer-SS and of human hair, skin, gold teeth and executions.
He also discusses the origin of the gassing orders and believes that the Fuehrer must have been asked for their approval (page 14). On page 12 Aumeier states that his superiors had told of a public speech by the Führer announcing the destruction (Vernichtung) of the Jews and reminding the rank and file that they were expected to do their duty.
Starting with page 11 there are subparagraphs numbered 3 through 6. There are no subparagraphs 1 and 2. It may be that these numbers correspond to the numbering of questions given to Aumeier.
Up to page 11 the text was a trite description of camp organization. The explanation for the sudden change is most likely related to the fact that Aumeier had to answer a set of questions and not to his inability to properly change the subject.
I conclude therefore that the draft's outlay contradicts the statement that its author was almost illiterate.
What can we learn from his orthography? There are some errors, but we find few which indicate a lack of education. The few occur in the spelling of the pronoun "ihm" (masculine, dative, 3rd person singular). To err by writing "im" is a serious mistake and not tolerated in pupils beyond the 10th year of age. At times however Aumeier did spell "ihm" correctly.
There are other but minor errors. I have marked all by text enclosed in [...].
For example Aumeier's use of ss and of the "sharp s" is not always correct. There are certain words which are properly spelled with ss, while others use sz or ß.
Making these mistakes is not an indication of poor education. Mixing up s and sz (ß) is bad, but Aumeier never made that mistake.
How about his handwriting?
It is a mixture of Latin and gothic letters which is very common. The writing itself is very fluent and easily readable. It is the writing one would expect to see in an officer of Hauptschule education.
How can we reconcile these findings of a fairly sophisticated exposition, some errors of orthography, good handwriting but a strange way to write the ß (sz) with a supposedly nearly illiterate author.
Well it can't be done. Either the description of Aumeier given by his captors is wrong or if it is correct, we can't consider Aumeier to have been the author.
In the latter case he might have been given a typed text, possibly that taken down by a stenographer during his interrogations. He may have been asked to copy the text in his handwriting. Orthographical errors may have slipped in. He may have somehow misread the letter ß (or sz) and come up with hs instead.
It does not help that we do not know the questions he was answering, that there is no date on the draft and that no witness has cosigned.
Do we have any writing samples of Aumeier which are known to be his? Do we know anything about his schooling?
Yours very truly