The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/stutthof/soap.03

From oneb!!!!!!!uunet!mcsun!sun4nl!!paai Sat Sep 25 17:14:57 PDT 1993
Article: 19986 of alt.conspiracy
Xref: oneb alt.conspiracy:19986 soc.history:16932 alt.censorship:13325 alt.revisionism:4084 talk.politics.misc:94847
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,soc.history,alt.censorship,alt.revisionism,talk.politics.misc
Path: oneb!!!!!!!uunet!mcsun!sun4nl!!paai
From: (J.J. Paijmans)
Subject: World war I soap propaganda.
Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 93 11:16:13 GMT
Organization: Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Nntp-Posting-Host: kubix
References: <>  <>
Lines: 164

Below is an OCR of Philip Knightley's "The first casualty". 
It describes how the soap story came into being in WWI and how it lasted
until 1925 until it was revoked by the english.

Knightly, as far as I know, has absolutely nothing to do with
the IHS or Gannon.

Please note also that the story was 'proved' by photographies so that
according to the other side, it therefore must be true. Also note that
a ficticious Nuremberg trial in 1924 could have condemned somebody
to death on this evidence.

The point I want to make is this:

Every student of propaganda will agree with me that there exists
a stock of favorite propaganda stories that in one form or another
seem to come back in every war. The soap story is one, the buckets
filled with weddingrings, molars or eyeballs are another and
medical experiments on prisoners are also reported in many conflicts,
to name but a few.
Indeed I feel a wry amusement observing such stories when looking
at the reports of e.g. the Gulf war or the Balkan conflict.
Sometimes they are just rumours, but sometimes they are given
added credibility by supplying photographs or other materials.
It is generally accepted that the english were past masters of this form 
of propaganda.

The purpose of such actions should be clear. Nobody sends out his
soldiers saying "we have a slight misunderstanding with those other
guys concerning this treaty or that" If you conduct a war, it is a
necessity to de-humanize your opponent, depicting him as a monster
not fit to live on the face of the earth.

The allies had an easy task with the germans of WWII because the rabid
pre-war racism was plain for everybody to see.  This, however, does
not mean that they did not add some propaganda of themselves, just to
make sure. It is my honest conviction that this 'added' horror should
be separated from the real facts.

McVay and Keren seem to hold that everything that is not proved
false, necessarily must be considered as true. I object strongly
against that attitude, because good propaganda is issued in
such a way as to convince people of the reality of what in truth
is a lie. 

Adhering to e.g. the soap story  because there exist photographs 
of soap bars, in my view is a travesty of the science of history.
You don't have to discount the possibility that such things, indeed
happened, but any honest researcher should point out the high
probability that in fact plain propaganda stories crept in here.

Now what is so horrible in thinking like I do? I really am appalled
by the idea that therefore I belong to the IHS-crowd or whatever.
Or is it that many readers of my postings try to shout down
the creeping realization in themselves that some things they
have learned may well be false?

--------------------- cut here --------------------

     Even the most popular atrocity story of all-the German
corpse factory-turned out to be another war correspondents'
invention.  This particular story had a long and highly
successful run.  It had several variations, but basically it was
that close behind their front line the Germans had established
factories for boiling down the corpses of their soldiers, from
which to distill glycerine for munitions.  The Times initiated
the story, on April i6, 19I7, with a suspiciously vague
paragraph that said baldly: "One of the United States consuls,
on leaving Germany in February, stated in Switzerland that the
Germans were distilling glycerine from the bodies of their
dead." The account quickly blossomed.  The Times expanded the
original report by reproducing a dispatch by a German
correspondent, Karl Rosner, in which he referred to the German
army's Kadaververwertungsanstalt, which The Times translated as
"Corpse Exploitation Establishment." Foreign newspapers picked
up the story.  It appeared in LInde'pendance and La Belge, two
Belgian newspapers published in France and Holland.  French
correspondents were instructed by their army authorities to send
dispatches to their newspapers over their own signatures
detailing what was known about the corpse factories.  The matter
came up in the House of Commons on April 30, when the Prime
Minister was asked if he would make the story known as widely as
possible in Egypt, India, and the East generally.  A
corpse-factory cartoon appeared iii Punch, and in general the
affair had world-wide circulation and considerable propaganda

     The Germans protested in vain that the report was
"loathsome and ridiculous" and that The Times had mistranslated
Rosner's report, the word Kadaver not being used for a human
body.  In vain a British MP tried to get the government to
clarify the matter.  He said it was perfectly clear, from
accounts published in the Frankfurter Zeitung and other leading
German papers, that the factories were for boiling down the
corpses of horses and other animals from the battlefield.  Would
the government therefore try to find out whether the story
published in Britain was true or absolutely false? The
government, of course, had no such intention.  Lord Robert
Cecil, Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, replied that the
government knew no more than had been published, but "in view of
other actions by German military authorities there is nothing
incredible in the present charge against them"-a typical case of
appearing to lend substance to the report without the
responsibility of actually doing so.

     Germany had to live with the accusation until I925, when,
according to an American newspaper report, Brigadier-General
Charteris, who had been in charge of British military
intelligence, first admitted that he had been responsible for
starting the canard.  Two photographs captured from German
sources had turned up on his desk.  One showed German corpses
being hauled away for burial behind the lines; the other showed
dead horses on their way to a soap factory.  Charteris, so the
report said, told the guests at a private dinner party in New
York that he had simply interchanged the captions and then,
knowing the reverence of the Chinese for ancestors and the
uncertainty of Chinese opinion towards the Germans, had sent the
photographs to Shanghai for release, hoping the story would @e
"played back" to Europe.  To support the story, what purported
to be the diary of a German soldier had been forged, and it was
planned to feed this to a British war correspondent with a
passion for German diaries.  The plan, General Charteris said,
was never carried out, and the diary was now in the Imperial War
Museum in London.*

     On his return to England, Charteris denied his confession,
which had been reported in the New York Times, and said he had
not altered the captions on any photographs and had not been
responsible for the fictitious diary.  In fact, he said, when
the diary had been submitted to GHQ in France it had been
discovered to be fictitious and had been rejected.  "I should be
as interested as the general public to know what was the true
origin of the Kadaver story."31,

     That the story was untrue was finally admitted officially
on December 2, I925.  A statement in the House of Commons made
it clear that there had never been any foundation for the story,
and Germany was vindicated.  Not that she was entirely innocent
in such propaganda techniques herself.  T'he German press
abounded with stories of hospitals filled with German soldiers
who had had their eyes gouged out.  The Weser Zeitung reported
that a ten-year-old boy had seen "a whole bucketful of soldiers'
eyes," an atrocity story as old as the Crusades.  Die Zeit in
Bild ran an account of a French priest who wore around his neck
a chain of rings taken from fingers he had cut off.  The
Hamburger Fremdenblatt said that Belgians gave German troops
cigars filled with gunpowder.  But these all appear to have been
government-inspired propaganda stories, rather than, like the
Courbeck Loo atrocity, deliberate pieces of invention by war

     The correspondent in question was Captain F. W. Wilson of
the Daily Mail, who was in Brussels when war broke out.  The
first message from his office asked for an article on
atrocities.  Wilson said that he could find no evidence of
atrocities, whereupon his office replied that a piece on
refugees would do.  As Wilson said later:

Philip Knightley: "The first casualty". Harvest books 1976

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.