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David Hebden has some observations on the real meaning of entries in the controversial diary of the Auschwitz doctor Kremer



Dr Kremer and the word "Sonderaktion"


THE diary of Dr. Johann Paul Kremer [the Auschwitz doctor], and in particular, those entries which record the two months he spent stationed at Auschwitz (Aug 30 - Nov 1, 1942), are considered strong evidence that mass gassings occurred at the Auschwitz camp.

At first sight, several entries do indeed appear incriminating. [See the Nizkor version.]

It contains several seemingly incriminating references to Sonderaktion ["Special Action"], Dante's inferno, anus mundi and the like. Revisionists have responded that the term Sonderaktion ['special action'] could refer to selections or disinfection measures.

Thirteen of the fourteen "special actions" that Kremer attended involved incoming transports. But one, that of September 5 1942, concerned women prisoners only:

"In the morning attended a special action from the women's concentration camp (Muslims*); the most dreadful of horrors. Master-Sergeant Thilo (troop doctor) was right when he said to me that this is the anus mundi. In the evening towards 8:00 attended another special action from Holland. Because of the special rations they get a fifth of a liter of schnapps, 5 cigarettes, 100 g salami and bread, the men all clamor to take part in such actions. Today and tomorrow (Sunday) work."

The importantance of this is this: The deaths of these women, as registered prisoners, should show up in the so-called Death Books.

Although the diary entry does not mention how many women were included, the editors of KL Auschwitz As Seen Through the Eyes Of The SS give, in a footnote, the number as "about 800." I emailed the Auschwitz State Museum to ask where this number came from. The museum replied that it derived from Danuta Czech's Auschwitz Kalendarium [a post-war compilation] which in turn relied on a statement made by Dr. Kremer during his trial in Cracow in 1947.

Having established this, I then emailed the museum again to ask how many deaths were recorded in the relevant Death Book for September 5. Their reply was interesting:

"Searching after date of death as it was noted on Sterbebücher [Death Book] forms is hopeless, since after every major Action prisoner-clerks employed in the camp Standesamt [registrar's office] were obliged to distribute death cases among next several days; in other words, dates of deaths from those documents are not fully credible. In September, as much as 1,654 deaths of female prisoners were listed in the Sterbebücher, 24 only on September 5th."

I asked them to put this hypothesis to the test by providing a breakdown of deaths for the whole month of September and received the following in reply:

"Complying with your request I have checked again daily rates of deaths in the "Sterbebuch" register for September 1942; this was about 20-70 death cases a day, grouped roughly in regular manner.

September 1          86
September 2          43
September 3          40
September 4          48
September 5          24
September 6          19
September 7          38
September 8          63
September 9          12
September 10         68
September 11         19
September 12         12
September 13         73
September 14         78
September 15         23
September 27        127"

Unless I'm missing something obvious, the Death Books therefore do not support a homicidal interpretation of the term Sonderaktion as used by Dr. Kremer.

David Hebden

Letter from the same corersppondent: doubts about the evidence of Pery Broad in the Auschwitz case

 * Website note: Muselmänner was the mocking concentration-camp slang for the most emaciated prisoners.


 Related items on this website:

Ron Jacobson asks about the Kremer diary

Robert Faurisson Confessions of SS Men who were at Auschwitz (IHR Journal)


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