Documents obtained from the archives of the former Soviet special state archives (the "trophy") archives.
THE AUSCHWITZ "ZENTRAL-BAULEITUNG" ARCHIVE IN MOSCOW:
A CRITIQUE OF EXTERMINATIONIST METHODOLOGY
BY BRIAN A. RENK
ON 18 FEBRUARY 1990, a very significant article appeared in the widely-read Moscow newspaper Izvestia announcing the existence of the complete Auschwitz concentration camp Central Building Administration (Zentralbauleitung) archive, captured by the Red Army in the final months of the Second World War.
This collection of very important documents is reported to have been transported to Moscow in 1945, where they had been stored, apparently unnoticed, for some 45 years. The Izvestia article, Five Days in a Special Archive, written by Special Correspondent S. Maximova, informed its readers that sometime after the war a military interpreter" had translated "only a small part of the documents', and that the bulk of these materials had never been analyzed by any researcher, Western or Soviet: the list of users of the documents is blank".
The Maximova article was brought to the attention of British linguist and anti-revisionist historian Gerald Fleming, who was evidently captivated by the Russian journalist's assertion that the archive documented "the typical technology of a death factory", and particularly, by the prospect of finding documentary confirmation of homicidal "gassing" in the papers concerning the construction of the Auschwitz-Birkenau crematoria, in which "gas chambers" are alleged to have been located.
Fleming promptly began writing the USSR authorities, including Eduard Sheverdnadze of the Foreign Ministry, requesting permission to research this important historical archive. After several months of correspondence, he was granted unrestricted access to the previously unknown-to-exist cache located at Vyborgskaya ulitsa 3, and flew to Moscow in October, 1991. Fleming claims to have sifted through some 7,000 to 8,000 papers in nine days, this having been roughly 85 per cent of the Auschwitz holding, which was "preserved practically in toto. The University of Surrey lecturer claims that he had hoped to "have analyzed sufficient material to be in a position to add some significant new "criminal traces" [of homicidal gassing] to those thirty-nine established from among already known German war-time documents by Jean-Claude Pressac in his important work Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, published by the Beate Klarsfeld Foundation in New York in 1989."
AN ATTACK ON REVISIONISM The results of Gerald Fleming's research on this matter were first published in an essay in Autumn 1991's The Jewish Quarterly (London, pp. 9-12) entitled simply The Auschwitz Archives in Moscow, and have recently been reprinted, along with an interview, in the widely-read British newspaper Independent on Sunday ("The Files Irving Did Not See....", 12 July 1992, p. F17) amidst the controversy surrounding British "dissident" historian David Irving's transcription of the Goebbels Diaries for London's Sunday Times.
Just as Fleming's most important work of holocaust historiography to date, Hitler and the Final Solution (University of California Press, 1984), was an unabashed attempt to "lay to rest" David Irving's provocative 1977 thesis that Adolf Hitler "was not aware of [and did not order] the extermination of the Jews of Europe, at least until 1943" he admits that the significant advances of holocaust revisionism had compelled him to undertake his latest round of research into the Moscow archives:
"I was mindful of the arrogant and ideologically motivated efforts of a small number of "revisionists' who ... are trying to present the mass gassings of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland as a gigantic Jewish conspiracy or as a British government-inspired war-time propaganda myth with no factual basis."
As it would be inappropriate to dispute Mr. Fleming's heated accusations as to what motivates the revisionists in this paper, let us rather ask a simple question regarding his self-described motivations: since it is understood that his methodology consists entirely of scrutinizing each Zentralbauleitung text with the sole purpose of finding some kind of "criminal trace" of the alleged homicidal "gassing" program at Auschwitz, is it at all possible for him to give us an objective appraisal of the documents he has analyzed? Would not reference to the known measures undertaken by the Germans in order to attempt the preservation and maintenance of human life at Auschwitz-Birkenau (quarantine facility, hospital, housing, shower and bath house construction, disinfestation efforts, etc.) necessarily suffer omission? Is an objective appraisal of information at all possible under the strain of pre-conviction?
It can only be hoped that a more complete assessment of the material development of the camp and its environs will be undertaken in future with consideration for the revisionist points, which have been altogether ignored. For now, we have Gerald Fleming's four-page summary of his investigation into "criminal traces" of homicidal "gassing", a story which is perhaps more remarkable than the controversy in which it is set. What follows is an examination of the content of the Moscow archive as presented in the British exterminationist's most recent articles.
FLEMING ADMITS THAT HE HAS FOUND NO "PROOF" OF "GASSING" The papers of the Auschwitz Zentralbauleitung must contain in their lines the key to an understanding of all construction projects at the notorious concentration camp. In particular, if mass gassings or "extermination" were the main feature of the camp, there must necessarily exist hundreds, if not thousands of incontrovertible proofs of "gassing" in the design, construction, maintenance of, and alterations to the crematory complexes and their environs (since the traditional holocaust literature asserts that the operations were conducted within them), and to the earlier "provisional" sites as well. Direct evidence of a murder program would be chronicled in architectural and administrative papers by the boxful. But Fleming has presented nothing of the sort. He concedes that the Moscow archive simply does not bear any palpable, direct proof of the existence of a single gas chamber, only "criminal traces" to supplement the thirty-nine "traces" alleged to have been presented in the Pressac book. Even worse, he has admitted to a British journalist, Brian Cathcart of the Independent, that "he does not see the Building Administration files as providing confirmation that the mass gassings took place, for he believes no such confirmation is necessary".
THE "ESTABLISHED CRIMINAL TRACES" OF J.C. PRESSAC Revisionists such as the French professor Robert Faurisson have for many years called for a single proof of the existence of one homicidal gas chamber in the German concentration camps. An attempt to provide us with such a proof was undertaken by Fleming's exterminationist colleague Jean-Claude Pressac in his 1989 study. Failing to uncover this much sought-after proof, Pressac gave us what he called "a thirty-nine criminal traces" of the existence of "gassing" appear at Auschwitz. However, the "established" traces of this horrific allegation are for the most part imposture misrepresentations of Zentralbauleitung texts already known to exist, as has been demonstrated by Faurisson in an excellent 80-page critique of the Pressac book.
At best, these "traces" of "proof" can exist in the minds of Fleming and Pressac on account of the very negligible possibility that sinister measures are referred to, but only if the texts are entirely disconnected .from their proper contemporaneous historical or logical context, thereby facilitating a false representation of content. We will show this to be the case with the "indications of proof" in the Fleming articles. The proper modus operandi in which to demonstrate our case is through cross-referencing each text--which we will presume to be authentic--with documents already known to exist (having been presented at the main Nuremberg trial of 1945-46 and elsewhere), and through the application of common-sensical assessment. It will be shown that Fleming omits the assertions of Pressac which do not jibe with his analysis of the documents as well.
INCOMPLETE "BACKGROUND INFORMATION" The "special" Izvestia correspondent E. Mazimova not only announced the existence of the Auschwitz archive, but also divulged a number of its contents, which Fleming reiterates for us. The Russian writer apparently discovered the total budgetary costs of the construction of "Auschwitz-Oswiecim" (sic): 51,797,218.5 Reichsmark. Also, "under the heading "Implementation of Special Treatment", the cost of Crematoria II, III, IV and V then (January 28, 1943) is given as 1,400,000 Reichsmark. Fleming fails to note that the cost of the crematory facilities and their corresponding mortuary cellars, etc., covers only one thirty-seventh of the total Auschwitz-Birkenau construction costs up to 1943, a small percentage of the "budget" indeed (if we accept the veracity of the given figures). Obviously, a substantially larger allocation of funds would have been directed towards "death machinery" were mass murder the raison d'être for Birkenau expansion in 1942-43.
Maximova also presented a Zentralbauleitung document stating the crematory capacity to have been 4,756 bodies incinerated per day. Fleming does not impart to his readers that this document is not a "new find", and he may have been unaware that Pressac himself disregards the veracity of the document: it has "no basis in practice, and probably has to be divided by two or three to arrive at a true figure" [see Pressac, p.244]. Further on, Fleming incomprehensibly writes that 20,000 prisoners were cremated per day (400 per muffle)! He also asserts that Sonderbehandlung (special treatment), emphasized in the heading of the crematory cost document, implies a pre-meditated program of mass murder. More on this latter assertion below.
The Moscow archive paper furnishes its readership with a lavish choice of background information to the Auschwitz "gassing" story, including references to the "first gassing", and to the allegedly "provisional" Bunkers (I and II). Danuta Czech's Calendarium is given as the source of the alleged "first gassing" date -- September 3, 1941. Journal readers know, however, that the various dates, settings. and methods described in existing holocaust literature are a jumble of contradictions. Any serious inquiry into the topic raises the spectre that this "action" never took place at all, since the contradictory testimonies are all we have to go by [see Carlo Mattogno's The First Gassing at Auschwitz: Genesis of a Myth, in JHR, Summer 1989, pp. 193-222]. As for the Bunkers, not a single contemporaneous "proof" exists, and the reader is referred to Pressac for "information" . Once again, the testimonies upon which the legend, and Pressac's enquiry is based are absurd. The "information" provided here is an indication of what to expect from the "disclosures" regarding "gassing" in the Birkenau crematoria, the costs of which alone are already presented as an example of the "typical technology of a death camp" [!].
FLEMING'S "CRIMINAL TRACES" As for "traces of criminality", Fleming is most impressed with, and devotes considerable attention to a correspondence between the Auschwitz Zentralbauleitung and Dr. Kammler, "in charge of all SS administered building works". In a letter to Kammler dated 29 January, 1943, he presents the following sentence:
"... since the 'special actions' [Sonderaktionen] to be carried out at Auschwitz concentration camp [KL Auschwitz] may suffer no delay, the building works required for this purpose cannot suffer delay either."
In the same letter:
". . . at present, the completion of the Crematoria has, on higher order [ie on Himmler's order-- Fleming's note] absolute top priority."
This text is interpreted as follows: The order of "top priority", the reference to Sonderaktionen, and to the undertaking of Sonderbaumassnahmen (special building projects, as described in a letter of 13 January to Kammler), can "only" indicate preparation for an industrial mass-murder by gas.
As outlined in our introduction, the nullification of the received "shrouding of criminality" is brought to the fore when we consider each text in its proper historical and logical context. A document presented by revisionist historians Robert Faurisson and Mark Weber in the JHR (Spring 1991, p. 32 and Fall 1991, p. 377), a radio message of General Richard Glücks to camp Auschwitz on 22 July, 1942, deserves note. The telex describes,
"... a round trip journey from Auschwitz to Dessau by 5- ton truck in order to pick up gas intended for gassing [Gas für Vergasung] the camp to combat the epidemic that has broken out."
Pressac -- but not Fleming, unfortunately -- acknowledges [p. 556] that "a typhus epidemic was in fact raging in the camp (in late 1942]." The urgency of the expansion of Auschwitz-Birkenau crematory handling capacity is also demonstrated in a telex dated 18 December, 1942 (cited by Pressac, p. 210). Therein is stated the interruption of civilian labour undertakings for an emergency delousing and disinfestation, and general quarantining procedure to which all camp inhabitants (including SS) were subjected. Hence, the construction of the Birkenau crematoria was primarily an emergency measure implemented to combat the anticipated spread of epidemics such as typhus and tuberculosis, as well as a hygienic method of disposing of bodies having succumbed to camp rigors and of executions. We must also consider that the delousing facilities were correspondingly expanded with the construction of the massive Zentral Sauna complex and that Heinrich Himmler ordered that all possible measures were to be taken to reduce the death rate in the camps in December, 1942 (Nuremberg document PS-2171), as did Richard Glücks in January 1943. He specifically ordered: "every means must be used to lower the death rate in the camp [Auschwitz]" (Nuremberg doc. NO-1523).
That we have uncovered a more balanced context in which to consider Fleming's alleged "criminal trace" of "gas-murder" preparations is implicitly conceded by J.C. Pressac, who admits that such a massive, "industrial" program of murder would have been impossible to conceal, and he, unlike Fleming, discounts the postulation that a secretive German language code was employed. This alleged usage of euphemism he calls a "myth" [pp. 247, 556] . Fleming's "augmentation of Pressac's findings" thus becomes a surprising transformation (or omission) of the French anti-revisionist's very assertions.
Clearly, the Sonderaktionen ("special actions") to be carried out by the Sonderkommando in the required Sonderbaumassnahmen ("special building projects") are a reference to the reparation for a high mortality rate on account of the large Lumbers of prisoners which were to arrive as a requisite to labour fulfillment as an imposing complication of the already high death rate. Epidemics had been rife in the crowded ghettos from whence expellees had come. Here one recalls the German Foreign office memorandum of 21 August, 1942. describing how "the number of Jews deported in this way [forcibly evacuated] to the east did not suffice to cover the labour needs there" (Nuremberg document NG-2586) .
Fleming finds an additional "criminal trace" in the letter of Chief of the Construction Department, Bischoff, of 14 May, 1943. This memo simply describes the necessity of guarding the Crematorium III building plans. These papers were indeed designated to be Verschluss-Sachen (material to be locked away), but were not deemed worthy of the Geheime Reichssache (state secret) classification, an indication of just how negligible a "trace" we are dealing with. No doubt the camp underground would have cherished such plans for purposes of compiling prospective drafts for what would become the careless and highly imaginative Vrba--Wetzler War Refugee Board report,  or to sabotage whatever revisions had been made to the plans at Nazi expense.
The man responsible for the safe-keeping of these plans, acquitted by an Austrian court in 1972 as a result of insufficient evidence against him, becomes yet another victim of Fleming's scrutiny. Walter Dejaco's draftsmanship discloses yet another perceived "criminal trace" in what was Drawing 2003 of 19 December, 1942. Concerning "the partial rearrangement of the ground floor of the western part of Crematorium II and the junction between Leichenkeller I and II in the basement", the elimination of the Rutsche (corpse chute) has a sinister ring about it to Fleming. His logic is exasperating: without the chute, the victims of the crematory ovens must first walk down the steps into the subterranean Leichenkeller -- they are brought down alive, and do not return. In drawing this conclusion, Fleming necessarily omits the likelihood that, a) another drawing delegated the placement of a Rutsche in an area not of concern to the detailed area of drawing no.2003, or b) that a removable chute to be placed over the extant concrete steps when needed was decided upon. In Fleming's scenario, the dead (victims of what Arno Mayer calls "natural" death, those executed, etc.) must also walk down the steps in the absence of a chute -- an absurdity.
The final "trace" of criminality presented in Fleming's initial paper has already been rebutted in the pages of this journal, and was presented as a prosecution document in the Auschwitz trial in September of 1964. It is a 1942 travel authorization form for the purpose of obtaining "materials for he resettlement of the Jews" . When asked the meaning of this, former Camp Adjutant Mulka testified that Zyklon-B was at issue here. Mark Weber has admirably demonstrated, in a response to Gerald Fleming (see JHR, Fall 1991, pp. 377-78), the actual significance of this document. One needs only to consider the similar, but more specific Glücks radio message of 22 July, 1942 noted above.
A CONTROVERSY ERUPTS Gerald Fleming's research in the Moscow archives had been given scant attention in the media until the "Goebbels diaries controversy" erupted in Summer, 1992. In the forefront of this very substantial historical find is British historian David Irving , who had offered to the Sunday Times extracts from the diaries recently discovered in Moscow. In an article entitled simply The Files Irving Did Not See... (12 July, 1992), Independent On Sunday journalist Brian Cathcart wrote:
"In the same Moscow archive where David Irving has been transcribing the Goebbels diaries there lies another collection of Nazi documents... The files of the SS Central Building Administration at Auschwitz may not be the stuff of serialization, but they have a story to tell, and it is not a story Mr. Irving will want to read ... it is a laborious, bureaucratic and mechanical record of the final solution" .
Cathcart goes on to recount the saga of Gerald Fleming's discovery of the Auschwitz construction archive, quoting at length from his writing on the subject. Walter Dejaco's draftsmanship, live bodies descending stairs in the absence of chutes, etc., are reprinted, along with a "new" find which has it that the term Auskleidekeller ("undressing cellar") replaces the word Leichenkeller ("morgue") on at least one Nazi document: here the prisoners would allegedly disrobe prior to mass execution by gas. However, as several underground rooms existed in the crematoria, there is absolutely no "indication" that such a designation referred to anything but the practice of disrobing (dead) bodies in preparation for autopsy and/or cremation in a separate room. This designation actually fits the revisionist assertion that one underground room was used for the cleaning, disrobing, and preparation of bodies (standard mortuary work), and the other for storage of the potentially diseased corpses prior to preparation for cremation.
The Independent on Sunday also prints two photographs which deserve note -- if only for the complete lack of documenting "the typical technology of a death factory" they are ascribed. On the left is a very poor photographic reproduction of an "architect's plan of one crematorium at Auschwitz" (evidently either Krematorium IV or V. as there is no detail of underground rooms) which does not give us any reference to a "gassing" facility. On the right of the page is a photo purporting to show "civilian Nazis" confronting some fifteen corpses, clothed in prison garb, at war's end (and evidently not undressed or cremated): no indication of gassing" can be gleaned from this material, despite its visual impact.
Fleming is quoted in an interview as accusing David Irving of "ignoring or dismissing evidence accepted by other qualified scholars", a practice which, in this instance, appears to bid him well. Irving informed this author that he "felt no need to respond to the Fleming accusations", since, as he so aptly puts it, "Fleming has done nothing more than prove that crematoria existed at Auschwitz" 
CONCLUSION As we have demonstrated, the documentary fragments presented by Gerald Fleming, supplements to the alleged "thirty-nine traces of criminality" presented by Jean-Claude Pressac in his imprudent and dilettantish 1989 publication, do not necessarily reveal any evidence of mass murder with hydrocyanic acid at Auschwitz.
Brian A. Renk, 3 August, 1992
1. The key documentary "proof" of Auschwitz "gassing" presented in Fleming's Hitler and the Final Solution (University of California Press, 1984) was researched by this author, and found to have been lacking the type of necessary qualities any qualified researcher would expect of an authentic and veracious historical text [see The France-Gricksch Resettlement-Action Report: Anatomy of a Fabrication, in Journal of Historical Review, Fall 1991, pp. 261-279]. Elsewhere, he refers (pp. 47, 72, and 127) to the "confessions" of Commandant Rudolf Hoess, a series of implausible, contradictory, and unverified statements extracted by means of duress and torture after the war (see R. Faurisson. Winter 1986-87 JHR, pp. 389-403: also, W. Stäglich, Auschwitz: A Judge Looks at the Evidence, IHR 1989, pp. 134-42, 174-79. 186- 216, etc.]. [BACK TO TEXT]
2. G. Fleming to author, 30 July, 1992. [BACK TO TEXT]
3. The Jewish Quarterly (London), Autumn 1991, p.11. [BACK TO TEXT]
4. G. Fleming sent photocopies of this article to this author in February, 1992 as a sort of "refutation" of my JHR essay (see note 1). [BACK TO TEXT]
5. To the dismay of Britain's academic "establishment", Irving was quoted as reiterating his personal conviction that "the gas chambers (are] a figment of British propaganda" in July, 1992. [BACK TO TEXT]
6. According to Saul Friedlander in the introduction to Hitler and the Final Solution, p. vii. [BACK TO TEXT]
7. More particularly, Fleming has once again taken up arms against his arch-rival Irving. The Independent on Sunday, in The Files Irving Did Not See.. . (see above) interviewed and paraphrased Mr. Fleming on his Moscow archive researches with a view to attacking Irving. [BACK TO TEXT]
8. Independent on Sunday (ibid.). [BACK TO TEXT]
9. See JHR, Spring 1991, (pp. 46-66) for a shattering evaluation of these "traces". [BACK TO TEXT]
10. Should read: Auschwitz-Birkenau. [BACK TO TEXT]
12. At the retrial of German-Canadian publisher Ernst Zündel, professional crematory manager Ivan Lagace testified that the Birkenau cremation ovens were built to almost the same specifications as those located at Calgary, Canada, which had a burn rate of 1 1/2 to 2 hours per body. Lagace added that the cooling cycle would have been longer due to the use of coal as fuel at Auschwitz [ref: Regina vs Zundel (1988) transcript, vol. 27, pp. 7430, 7432, 7450]. Far less than one million cremations could have taken place. and far, far fewer than 20.000 per day. To assert otherwise is to embrace logical and physical impossibility. [BACK TO TEXT]
13. For a straight-forward assessment of the term Sonderbehandlung in Nazi documents, see W. Stäglich: A Judge Looks at the Evidence (JHR, 1886; pp. 42-3, 319); also Faurisson. in Response to a Paper Historian (JHR, Spring 1986, pp. 25-8). The authors cite contextual variables in usage and denotation of the term. [BACK TO TEXT]
14. See Enrique Aynat, Neither Trace Nor Proof: The Seven Auschwitz "Gassing" Sites, in JHR, Summer 1991, pp. 183-187. [BACK TO TEXT]
15. In Nuremberg Document NI-9912 (Directives for the Use of Prussic Acid [Zyklon] for the Destruction of Vermin [Disinfestation]), an original Degesch instructional fumigation manual, the German word Vergasung is translated, and recognized by the prosecution, as denoting disinfestation. [BACK TO TEXT]
16. See Carlo Mattogno's Jean-Claude Pressac and the War Refugee Board Report in JHR, Winter 1990-91, pp. 461-485. [BACK TO TEXT]
17. D. Irving to author, July 30, 1992. [BACK TO TEXT]