The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/b/bauer.yehuda/press/jpost.052990

Archive/File: people/b/bauer.yehuda/press/jpost.052990
Last-Modified: 1996/08/12
_Jerusalem Post_, 29 May 1990, p. 4:

To the Editor of the Jerusalem Post:

Sir, - Neil Kuchinsky (letters, May 20) quotes from the Nuremberg 
trial transcripts to show that the Germans made soap from human 
bodies at the Danzig Anatomic Institute, basing himself on the 
testimony of two British PoWs and a German laboratory assistant.  
The facts are correct.  They were quoted in extenso in a Czech-
language book by Ota Kraus and Erich Kulka, and are well-known to 

The reason why no historian has ever claimed that Germans made 
industrial use of human bodies for the production of soap is also 
contained in those very testimonies.  They show that the 
"Institute" was established in the course of 1944 by a Danzig 
Nazi scientist (Dr. Spanner) who invented the method by which 
this could be done, and persuaded an apparently enthusiastic 
Berlin authority (we do not know who it was) to support his 

According to the somewhat contradictory evidence, 25 kg. of 
perhaps more of this horrible substance was made, and one source 
claims that it was used experimentally in Danzig itself.  It 
emerges very clearly that this was a first and unique experiment 
and that it was in its experimental stages.  The bodies used may 
have been those of prisoners of war and forced labourers from the 
immediate vicinity.  It is also clear that had the war continued, 
the Nazis were certainly capable of turning this into another 
mass horror.

There was no industrial production, and the pieces of soap 
inscribed R.I.F. which Jewish victims were told were made of 
human fat were found to contain ordinary non-organic fats (R.I.F. 
means Reichsstelle fuer Industrielle Fettversorgung, or State 
Centre for Supply of Fats, and not Pure Jewish Fat, as the 
victims were told by the Nazis).

The reason why one has to be accurate is that one has to exercise 
tremendous responsibility and deep respect towards the victims 
and their relatives and towards the memory of the millions of 
Jewish dead.  What the Nazis did is horrendous enough; we do not 
need to believe the additional horrors they thought about but did 
not have time to realize.  The Holocaust deniers waiting in the 
wings are eager to pick up any inaccuracies we may inadvertently 
commit, and we should not ease their "work."

Yehuda Bauer

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.