The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz//press/death-books.001

By Laurinda Keys

The Canberra Times
Friday 23 June, 1995

FRANKFURT, Thursday:  The publication yesterday of the _Death Books from
Auschwitz_, the first generally available listing of the names of some of
the people who died at the Nazi death camp, depicts the macabre bureaucracy
of mass murder.

"This publication contains death records of murdered prisoners, based on
the partially preserved original death books which the Auschwitz
concentration camp authorities compiled with incredible meticulousness,"
Poland's Foreign Minister, and Auschwitz survivor,  Wladyslaw Bartoszewski
writes in the foreword.

The Nazis listed 400,000 prisoners as having been in the camp, but more
than one million, most of them Jews, were sent directly from the trains to
the gas chambers, their names never recorded.

The SS commanders did record the details of 69,000 people who died at the
camp.  Specifics of the doomed prisoners' births, home towns, and families
were recorded, along with the death dates.  But then they fudged on the
cause of death.

These records were used in 1964 in the prosecution of war criminals and
then were buried in a KGB archive in Moscow until 1991.

In February of that year, researchers from the Auschwitz Museum got
permission from Soviet authorities to examine the records.  Within a year,
the new Russian authorities had handed over the documents.

Several years of editing, comparison with other data, and research in
Poland, Germany and Israel produced the volumes offered by Publisher K.G.
Saur in English, German and Polish.

Associated Press

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