The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: holocaust/germany/press/press.002


Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac - "We didn't know..."
Summary: Press reports cited (1944) which demonstrate German
         public's knowledge of the extermination program; Nuremberg
         testimony from SS General of interest.
Reply-To: kmcvay@oneb.almanac.bc.ca
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: 
Lines: 78

My thanks to Friedrich Berg for his citation of Poliakov's "Harvest of
Hate," which offers the following material relating to the issue of
whether or not the German public knew of the extermination of the
Jews. Perhaps Mr. Berg will now explain the newspaper articles cited
by Poliakov? (For which, unlike his comments related to diesel
engines and the Reinhard camps, he provides original source
citations...)

Archive/File: holocaust/germany/press press.002
Last-Modified: 1994/07/21

   If a few dozen Germans, some hundreds at the most, actually
   observed the last agony of the Jews in the gas chambers, those who
   witnessed their long Calvary were numbered in the hundreds of
   thousands. The SS formations stationed in the camps; the German
   workers, Army units, and officials at the numberous yards and
   factories where the Jewish slaves were used, whom they passed by
   daily; the railway men handling the innumberable transports of
   deportees all over Germany, which they saw coming back empty, if
   they were not loaded with the used clothing which was distributed
   to the needy by all the welfare offices in the country. This is a
   very incomplete list of those who can properly be called
   eyewitnesses. As for the rest of the Germans, the press and radio
   of the Reich undertook to inform them more and more openly of what
   was going on. The time for vague and prophetic impreciations by
   Hitler had passed. The language now sharpens and it is the past
   tense that is employed. "The Jewish population of Poland has been
   neutralized, and the same may be said right now for Hungary. By
   this action five million Jews have been eliminated in these two
   countries," a Danzig newspaper wrote in May 1944.<76> And the next
   day Goebbels' _Der Angriff_ published under the byline of Ley: 
   "Judea must perish that mankind may be saved."<77> The fate of the
   Jews was an example and a warning: "Whosoever imitates the Jew
   desrves the same end: extermination, death," threatened _Der
   Stu"rmer_. The extermination policy thus became a matter of common
   knowledge and enough information filtered through a thousand
   channels for the location of the murder camps and the methods of
   execution to become notorious. A witness states that in the trains
   passing near Auschwitz (where, we will recall) four rail lines
   crossed) "the passengers stood up and leaned out the window to see
   as much as they could."<78>  Another witness, none other than
   Rudolf Diels, the first director of the Prussian Gestapo in
   1933-34, later police prefect of Cologne and administrator of the
   Hermann Goering Works during the war, stated that as far as he
   knew, the expression, "You will go up the chimney," had become
   proverbial in Germany toward the end of the war.<79> Only those who
   did not wish to know might continue to pretend ignorance. During a
   dramatic session at one of the Nuremberg trials, a highly qualified
   witness, SS General Bach-Zelewsky, who was "head of the
   anti-partisan campaign" of the German armies during the war,
   insisted on clarifying the matter.

      For me it is a question of principle. Though imprisoned for
      years, I see that people are still saying: Who knew? Nobody
      wants to be in the position of having known anything. I want to
      establish the truth here, regardless of whether it hurts or
      helps me.... Of all the German generals, I am perhaps the one
      who traveled most all over Europe during the war, since it was
      my job to manage the entire fight against the guerrillas. I
      talked to hundreds of generals and thousands of officers of all
      categories, and it is a fact that exterminations began on the
      first day of the war. This is the truth; anything else is a lie
      and a euphemism.... And anyone who travelled knew from the
      beginning that the Jews were being exterminated in a way that at
      first was not systematic. Later, when the Russian campaign
      began, the extermination of Judaism was an explicit part of the
      aim.<80> (Poliakov, 211-12)

   <76> The _Danziger Vorposten_ of May 13, 1944, article signed
	"Lobsack."
   <77> Der Angriff, May 14, 1944
   <78> Affidavit by SS Rottenfu"hrer Perry Broad. Nuremberg, October
	20, 1947. (NI 11984)
   <79> Affidavit by R. Diels, Nuremberg, October 20, 1947. (NI 11957)
   <80> Deposition of SS Gruppenfu"hrer Bach-Zelewsky, trial of the
	RuSHA (Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt), session of October 24,
	1947.

                            Work Cited

   Poliakov, Leon.  Harvest of Hate: The Nazi Program for the
      Destruction of the Jews of Europe.  Syracuse University Press.,
      1956.

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