Northern California Jewish Bulletin
April 27, 1990
expert rejects charge that Nazis made soap from Jews
Aviv (JTA) -- Professor Yehuda Bauer, head of the
Hebrew University's Holocaust history department and
regarded as one of the foremost researchers of the
Holocaust, has denied the frequently quoted charge that
the Nazis used the bodies of Jewish death camp victims to
technical possibilities for transforming human fat into
soap were not known as that time, Bauer said Sunday at a
Holocaust memorial meeting for Yom Hashoah.
did enough horrible things during the Holocaust. We do
not have to go on believing untrue stories," Bauer
rumors about the use of bodies of British soldiers to
make soap had circulated during both World War I and
World War II, he said.
Hilberg, professor of political science at the
University of Vermont and a pre-eminent historian of the
Holocaust, agrees that the soap rumor, although
widespread, was probably unfounded.
were all kinds of rumors," he said, noting that a New
York Times article during the war suggested that Jews
were given lethal injections before deportation and
arrived at the extermination camps already
rumors speculated that Jews were killed in the Belzec
camp by electrocution in water; some thought the Jews
were gassed in the trains.
these rumors are untrue, based on nothing at all,"
Hilberg said. "No evidence has turned up" to suggested
that the Nazis used human fat to make soap.
Germany (now Gdansk, Poland), pictures of dead, heavyset
people cut into pieces and a recipe for soap were
discovered in 1945 at the Stutthof camp. "But we don't
know that the bodies were of Jews, or that the pictures
and recipe went together," said Hilberg.
the rumor was being circulated as early as 1942,
according to documentary evidence.
fairly reliable that the story was circulated, but I
can't say whether or not it is true," said Hilberg.