The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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I quote this passage, as Bikerneksky Forest will be shown in
the documentary film.

   "The latter were situated about 4 kilometres from the
   suburbs of Riga in the Bikerneksky Forest (in the record
   the name of the Bikemeksky Forest was spelled wrong)
   there were about 10,000 or 12,000 corpses. A fresh group
   of fifty or sixty internees was brought there, and in
   the middle of June, 1944, work began on the exhumation
   and burning of corpses in the

                                                  [Page 132]

   same way as I described at the beginning. This work was
   completed by the end of July, 1944. I believe that at
   that period the front was only about 300 kilometres,
   away. The 10,000 to 12,000 corpses were those of men,
   women and children of all ages and had been buried about
   two years ago".

I remind your Honours that the extracts from the Report of
the Extraordinary State Commission, which I quoted,
mentioned the date of the shooting as 1942; and this proves
that these two testimonies concur with each other once
again. I continue the quotation:-

   "The policemen believed that these people had been shot
   by the S.S. However, this was only a supposition. A
   fresh group of fifty to sixty internees were murdered at
   the end of July, 1944."

I omit the following part of the document and will only
quote the conclusion of Gerhard Adamitz's record, page 359,
paragraph 4:-

   "Afterwards, we were of the opinion that the Nazis were
   actually afraid that the mass graves would be discovered
   by the advancing Russians and that these mass killings
   would become known to the civilised world. I believe
   that about 100,000 corpses were exhumed from mass graves
   by the S.D., serving with the Sonderkommando 1005 A and
   1005 B. I believe also that similar Kommandos were
   engaged on the same work, but I do not know how many. If
   I had thought or known that I would ever be compelled to
   carry out this dirty and degrading work I would have
   emigrated somewhere."

I omit the last part; the record concludes with the text of
the oath, signed "Gerhard Adamitz". Before submitting to the
Tribunal evidence of another crime of the Hitlerites, I beg
the Tribunal to allow me to make a few introductory remarks.
The murder of several million people was carried out by the
German fascists from motives dictated by their inhuman,
barbarian "theories" of nazism and of the right of the
"master race" to exterminate peoples. All these murders were
planned in cold blood. All these crimes, unprecedented in
scale, were carried out at exact dates set for this purpose.
Moreover, as I have shown many times before, a special
technique was invented for the mass killings and for the
concealment of the traces of their crimes.

But, besides this, there is another characteristic in the
many crimes committed by the German fascists, which makes
them even more detestable.

In many cases, the Germans, having killed their victims, did
not stop there, but made the corpses objects of jeers and

Mockery of the dead bodies of victims was common practice in
all extermination camps. I remind the Tribunal that the
bones which had not been calcinated were sold by the German
fascists to the firm Strem. The hair of the murdered women
was cut off, packed in sacks, pressed and sent to Germany.

The crimes on which I shall now submit evidence are similar
in character. On numerous occasions, I have already pointed
out that the principal method used to cover up the traces
was to burn the corpses, but the same base, rationalised,
technical S.S. minds which created gas chambers and murder
vans, began devising such methods of complete annihilation
of human bodies, as would not only conceal the traces of
their crimes, but also serve in the manufacture of
certain products.

Anatomical Institute experiments in the production of soap
from human bodies and the tanning of human skin for
industrial purposes were already carried out on a large
scale. I submit to the Tribunal as exhibit USSR 197 the
testimony of one of the direct  participants in the
production of soap from human fat - Sigmund Mazur - who was
a laboratory assistant at the Danzig anatomical institute.

I omit two pages of the statement and turn to Page 363. I
begin the quotation it is rather long, but I think I shall
have the necessary time for the presentation

                                                  [Page 133]

of the evidence and I beg to draw the attention of your
Honours to this quotation:-

  "Q. Tell us how the soap was made out of human fat at the
  Danzig Anatomical Institute.
  A. In the courtyard of the Anatomical Institute a one-
  storey stone building of three rooms was built during the
  summer of 1943. This building was erected for the
  utilisation of human bodies and for the boiling of bones.
  This was officially announced by Professor Spanner. This
  laboratory was called a laboratory for the fabrication of
  skeletons, the burning of meat and unnecessary bones, but
  during the winter of 1943-44 Professor Spanner ordered us
  to collect human fat, and not to throw it away. This
  order was given to Reichert and Borkmann.
  In February, 1944, Professor Spanner gave me the recipe
  for the preparation of soap from human fat. According to
  this recipe 5 kilos of human fat are mixed with 10 litres
  of water and 500 or 1,000 grams of caustic soda. All this
  is boiled two or three hours and then cooled. The soap
  floats to the surface while the water and other sediment
  remain at the bottom. A pinch of salt and soda is added
  to this mixture. Then fresh water is added, and the
  mixture is again boiled for two or three hours. After
  having cooled the soap is poured into moulds ".

I will present to the Tribunal these moulds into which the
soap was poured. Further I shall prove that this half
finished sample of human soap was really discovered in

"The soap had an unpleasant odour. In order to destroy this,
Bilzo was added".

I omit the next part of the quotation, which shows from
where they received this preparation. This is of no
importance at this stage, and I continue the quotation on
Page 364, paragraph 4.

  "The fat of the human bodies was collected by Borkmann
  and Reichert. I boiled the soap from the bodies of women
  and men. The process of boiling alone took from three to
  seven days. During two manufacturing processes, in which
  I directly participated, more than 25 kilograms of soap
  were produced. The amount of human fat necessary for
  these two processes was 70 to 8o kilograms, collected
  from some forty bodies. The finished soap then went to
  Professor Spanner, who kept it personally.
  The work for the production of soap from human bodies
  has, as far as I know, also interested Hitler's
  Government. The Anatomical Institute was visited by the
  Minister of Education, Rust; the Minister for Health,
  Doctor Cort ; the Gauleiter of Danzig, Albert Forster; as
  well as professors from other medical institutes.
  I took 4 kilograms of this soap for my personal needs,
  for toilet and for laundering.

I omit one paragraph and continue the quotation:-

"Reichert, Borkmann, von Bargen, and our chief professor,
Spanner, also personally used this soap".

I omit the following paragraphs and conclude the quotation
on Page 365, from where I shall read one paragraph which
concerns the industrial utilisation of human skin.

  "In the same way as for human fat, Professor Spanner
  ordered us to collect human skin, which after having been
  cleaned of fat was treated with certain chemical
  products. The work on human skin was carried out under
  the direction of the chief assistant, von Bargen and
  Professor Spanner
                                                  [Page 134]
  himself. The 'finished' skin was packed in boxes and used
  for special purposes of which I have no knowledge."

I now submit to the Tribunal as exhibit USSR 196 the copy of
the recipe for soap I produced from the corpses of the
executed. I will not dwell on this recipe, which is
identical to that already described in Mazur's testimony.
But the proof of the fact that this recipe is correct, your
Honours, can be found in Mazur's record, which has already
been submitted to the Tribunal as exhibit USSR 197. I will
not quote this record. In order to prove that the record of
Mazur's interrogation is a true one, I shall now submit to
the Tribunal two documents which have been kindly put at out
disposal; they are records of sworn statements by two
British prisoners of war; in particular that of John R.
Tony, a soldier of the Essex Regiment. The document is
submitted to the Tribunal as exhibit USSR 264. The members
of the Tribunal will find this quotation in paragraph 5,
page 495 of the document book. I quote a very short excerpt
from this record.

This is Page 367:-

   "The corpses were brought to us, seven to eight every
   day. All of them had been decapitated and stripped.
   Sometimes they were brought to us by Red Cross cars, in
   wooden cases, which contained five to six, sometimes
   three to four corpses. Some were brought to us in small

I omit the next sentence.

   "The corpses were usually unloaded as quickly as
   possible and taken down into the cellar, which was
   entered from a side door of the main entrance hall of
   the Institute."

I omit the next sentence.

"They were then put into large metal containers where they
were left for approximately four months."

Continuing the quotation.

   "Owing to the special mixture by which the corpses were
   treated, the tissues separated from the bones very
   easily. The tissue was then put into a boiler about the
   size of a small kitchen table. The liquid obtained after
   the boiling process was put into white vessels about
   twice the size of a sheet of foolscap and some three
   centimetres deep."

These were the moulds which I have already shown the
Tribunal. The daily output was about 3 to 4 moulds.

This witness did not personally see the making of the soap,
but I submit to the Tribunal, as exhibit USSR 272, the
written testimony of a British citizen, William Anderson
Nealey, a corporal of the Royal Signals. The members of the
Tribunal will find this excerpt on Page 498 of the document
book, volume 2.

I begin the quotation:

   "The corpses arrived at the rate of two or three per
   day. All of them were naked and most of them had been
   beheaded. . . .
   The construction of the machine for the preparation of
   soap was completed some time in March or April, 1944.
   The construction of the building for this machine was
   completed in June, 1942. The machine itself was
   installed by a Danzig firm of the name of Arrd, a firm
   not connected with war production. As far as I remember,
   when some kind of acid had been put in this machine, it
   dissolved the bones of corpses.
   This process of dissolution took about twenty-four
   hours. The fat portions of the corpses and particularly
   those of women were put into an enamel vat, heated by a
   couple of petrol burners. Some acids were also used in
                                                  [Page 135]
   process. I believe that one of the acids used was
   caustic soda. Upon the completion of the boiling
   process, the mixture was allowed to cool and was then
   poured into special moulds.
   I cannot estimate exactly the quantity produced but I
   saw it used in Danzig for cleaning tables in the
   dissecting room. The people who used this soap assured
   me that it was the best soap for this purpose."

I submit some semi-finished and some finished soap as
exhibit USSR 393. Here you can see a small piece of finished
soap, which on the outside, after lying about for a few
months, reminds you of ordinary household soap. I hand it to
the Tribunal. In addition I now submit to the Tribunal the
samples of semi-tanned human skin (exhibit USSR 394). These
samples of soap prove that the process of manufacture was
already completely worked out by the Danzig Institute; as to
the skin, it still looks like a semi-finished product. The
skin which resembles most the leather used in manufacture is
the one you see on top at the left. One can say, then, that
the experiments in the industrial fabrication of soap from
human fats were completed in the Danzig Institute, while
experiments on the tanning of human skin were still
incomplete, though only the victorious advance of the Red
Army put an end to this new crime of the Nazis.

Gentlemen, I have now only to submit to you one more piece
of evidence, which is the last among the proofs concerning
war crimes against the peaceful population presented by the
USSR prosecution. Certain witnesses may arrive here from the
Soviet Union to testify to the points which I have
submitted. I will beg the permission of the Tribunal to
examine these witnesses, when further evidence will be
presented by our prosecution.

Before submitting my last proof, I beg the Tribunal to allow
me to make a few conclusive remarks.

The lengthy list of crimes against the peaceful inhabitants
of the temporarily occupied areas of the USSR,
Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Greece, cannot be
completed even in the most detailed statement. One can only
point out a few very typical cases of cruelties, of base and
systematic methods adopted by the major criminals who had
conceived these crimes, as well as those who executed them.
Those who are now in the dock have freed from "the chimera
of the so-called conscience" hundreds of thousands and
millions of criminals. They trained these criminals and
created for them an atmosphere of impunity, and drove these
blood thirsty hounds against peaceful citizens. They mocked
at human conscience and self-respect. But those who were
poisoned in murder vans and gas chambers, those who were
torn to shreds, those whose bodies were burned in the ovens
of crematoria and whose ashes strewn to the winds, appeal to
the conscience of the world. We cannot now name, or even
number many of the burial places where millions of innocent
people were vilely murdered. But on the damp walls of the
gas chambers, in the places of the shootings, in the
extermination camps, on the stones and casemates of the
prisons, we can still read brief messages of the doomed,
full of agony, calling for retribution. Let the living ones
remember these voices of the victims of German fascist
terror, who before dying appealed to the conscience of the
world for justice and for retribution.

As a last proof I submit to the Tribunal the script and the
sworn affidavit of the persons who assembled and made this
documentary film. I beg the Tribunal to accept it as
evidence. It will become exhibit USSR 81. I also beg the
Tribunal to allow, if possible, a short recess of about ten
minutes, for the technical preparation for the

(A recess was taken.)

                                                  [Page 136]

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Your Honour, may I have permission to
present now the documentary evidence?

(The documentary film entitled, " The Atrocities by the
German fascist Aggressors in the USSR" was then projected on
the screen in the Court Room.)

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, have you finished your

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I have finished the presentation of my
evidence, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you inform the Tribunal how much longer
the Soviet Delegation is likely to be?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I find it difficult to give you an answer
to this question. I will ask my colleague, General Rudenko,
to do this.

GENERAL RUDENKO: To-morrow we shall begin the presentation
of evidence on spoliation and pillage of communal and
private property, and we think that the speaker on this
question will conclude it the same day. Then there will be
presented to the Tribunal the evidence as to destruction of
cities, villages, monuments of national culture and art.
That will take approximately a day and a half. In other
words, I mean half of Thursday's or Friday's session, and a
half of the following day's session, taking into account
that on this question we shall also have to present a
documentary film.

Then there will be presented evidence concerning
"Deportation to Slave Labour." This will take approximately
three to four hours. The final presentation deals with
evidence on "Crimes against Humanity." During the
presentation of the evidence in all the sections we shall,
with the permission of the Tribunal, call several witnesses.
I could not present to the Tribunal to-day the names of the
witnesses who will appear, because there are technical
difficulties in bringing them here to Nuremberg. This list
will be formulated to-morrow towards the end of the session.

To sum up, I think that altogether the Soviet prosecution
will have concluded the presentation of evidence by either
Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 2oth February, 1946, at 10.00

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