The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The prosecution also took great care to stress the terrible cruelty of the
gassing operations in Auschwitz, as evinced by the following statement from
former SS-Unterscharfuehrer Richard Boeck: "I simply cannot describe how these
people screamed. That lasted about eight or ten minutes and then everything was
quiet. A short while later, some inmates opened the door and you could still
see a blue fog hanging over the giant tangle of corpses. The corpses were
cramped together in such a way that you could not tell to whom the individual
appendages and body parts belonged. For example, I noticed that one of the
victims had stuck his index finger several centimeters into the eye-socket of
another. This gives you a sense of how indescribably terrible the death throes
of this person must have been. I felt to ill that I almost vomited." The
visceral physicality of this description is immediately striking. These victims
are no mere statistics; they suffered terribly in acute, bodily ways. This
description makes it plain that killing people with gas was not, at its point
of application, a bureaucratic operation conducted with cold detachment but an
excrutiatingly brutal form of murder.

                             Work Cited

Pendas, Devin O. "The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, 1963-1965," New York:
Cambridge University Press, 2006. pp 112-113

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