July 17, 1992
David Irving visits the Moscow state
archives on behalf of the Sunday Times,
Gerald Fleming uncovers documents from
those same archives detailing new evidence of
the Nazis' extermination programme
FEBUARY 1990, I received a photocopy of an article
in Izvestia by a special correspondent. E.
Maksimova, in which she referred to SS archives
captured at Auschwitz-Oswiecim
-- and now in Moscow -- that related to the
"technology of construction of a death factory with
special sub-departments, including camps for
gypsies, Jews and Soviet PoWs."
It was clear from the article that these
archives of the Auschwitz Central Building
Administration were very likely to contain
documentary evidence beyond that already lodged at
the Oswiecim Museum and used, in part, at the
1964-65 Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, which
resulted in 20 convictions.
in January, 1945, the Red Army was approaching
Auschwitz-Birkenau, the murder installations
attached to or under the crematoria were dynamited
with each incineration complex, The camp command,
on orders from Berlin, strove to destroy all
evidence of the mass gassing of humans.
Although they succeeded in burning the political
(camp Gestapo) archive, they did not destroy the
archive of the Central Building Administration of
the Waffen-SS and police at Auschwitz. This was
captured by the Red Army largely intact and was
later to become the subject of Maksimova's
In October 1990, following positive responses
from the then Soviet foreign minister, Eduard
Shevardnadze, from the director of the Russian
central archives administration and from the
director of the Second World War "special"
depository, I flew to Moscow to examine the
Over a period of five weeks, I managed to deal
with 800 papers a day and succeeded in locating a
number of entirely unknown criminal indicators in
the correspondence between the SS Central Building
Administration Auschwitz and its immediate
superiors in the SS construction hierarchy, the
Amtsgruppenchef C, headed by SS Brigadeführer
Dr Hans Kammler.
These newly available official communications
within the SS concentration camp empire provide
striking examples of the urgency attached by the SS
leadership to the speedy implementation of Hitler's
On January 29,
1943, when the implementation of the murder
programme had reached a critical state, the
Auschwitz Central Building Administration wrote to
Kammler, who was in charge of all SS-administered
building works and who received his orders directly
from SS and Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler,
regarding the retention of certain named, key SS
personnel for the implementation of "construction
projects which can under no circumstances be
In that same letter, Auschwitz Central Building
Administration chief Karl Bischoff put it to
Kammler that "since the special actions
(Sonderaktionen) to be carried out at
Auschwitz concentration camp may suffer no delay,
the building works required for this purpose cannot
suffer delay either."
The SS staff listed were specifically engaged in
the construction of crematoria II, III, IV and V.
"The completion of the crematoria," said the
letter, "has, on higher order, absolute top
priority," and the work was going on "in two
On May 14, 1943, Bischoff, in an internal
directive, informed his staff that, "on orders from
the Reichsführer SS and subsequent
administrative directive of SS Brigadeführer
Dr Kammler, the special building projects at
Auschwitz must be completed within four weeks."
From other information, it is known that Kammler
was referring specifically to crematorium II ,
which was handed over on June 25, 1943, since unit
II was handed over on March 31, unit IV on March
22, and unit V on April 4.
In Hausverfügung (internal
directive) No. 108, Bischoff warned that the plans
for the crematoria "must be very closely guarded"
and that no plans could be handed over to any work
commandos on the site.
An administrative directive issued at the time
named SS Second Lieutenant Dejaco as
"personally responsible for the proper
registration, in a special book, of all incoming
and outgoing plans [technical
On April 3, 1960, Dejaco told the examining
magistrate at Reutte in Austria that he had got to
know of the purpose of the gas chambers "only after
they had become operative."