Butz 2, Butz Arthur

“Voice of An Auschwitz Survivor”

A Survivor Fights Denials

Including a Media Debate with Arthur Butz and An Account of This
Survivor’s Work in the Auschwitz Crematorium

by Lilli Kopecky

In my monograph, “In the Shadow of the Flames,”<1> I stated in the
preface to Lecture 5<2> that the first comprehensive study dealing
with neo-Nazism and denials of the Holocaust was published to my
knowledge in 1977 by the “Public Committee of Survivors of
Auschwitz and Other Extermination Camps” in Israel, of which I was
SEcretary General until 1988. I wrote there of my conviction that
we, the concentration camp survivors, have the moral obligation and
sacred duty to warn the world so that the tragedy of our past may
not be forgotten and repeated!

In this article, I only want to prove that even ONE person — alone
but unafraid — can and should act in order to be heard.

As I wrote in “In the Shadow of the Flames” (pp. 58-59), one of the
very vicious books in the 1970s, “The Hoax of the Twentieth
Century” by Arthur R. Butz attempts to refute proven facts of the
Holocaust and, indeed, the Holocaust itself.<3> In trying to fill
the gap in historical revisionism, the author reconstructs the
actual evolution of knowledge in the U.S. with regard to the gas
chamber atrocities — knowledge based, in his opinion, solely on
the propaganda of the Nuremberg Trial in 1946, and states that no
German documents from Auschwitz mention a gas chamber. He cites a
document from the construction firm of Topf and Sons in Erfurt
which makes reference to a “Fergasungskeller” (gassing cellar).
However, Butz, with his knowledge of engineering, tries to explain
this as a “gas generation cellar” for igniting the crematoria used
for disposing of those who had died in the camps from presumably
natural cuases. To the great delight of German neo-Nazis, a German
translation of this book is on the market.

On April 30, 1981, I had the singular opportunity of challenging
Butz to his face on the “Freeman Reports,” a television program
carried by Cable News Network (CNN) and broadcast to hundreds of
thousands of viewers. I conversed by phone with him from the
studios of CNN in Hollywood, California. I pointed out to Butz that
his skillfully constructed lies collapse readily in the face of
evidence offered by the following primary sources:

(a) Testimonies of hundreds of former Auschwitz prisoners,
especially “Sonderkommando” survivors, as well as SS officers,
taken during the Auschwitz Trial before the court in Frankfurt am

(b) Notable memoirs by SS offficers, including those of the
Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess, Perry Broad of the SS Political
Department, and the diary of Dr. Kremer.

(c) Published manuscripts of “Sonderkommando” prisoners<4> which
were buried and found on the grounds of the Auschwitz-Birkenau

(d) About two hundred authentic photographs made by the SS
“Erkennungsdienst” (SS photographers) in Auschwitz-Birkenau,
recording the arrivals, selections, and marches towards the gas
chambers of Jews deported in 1944 from Hungary.

(e) Three photos made by the Auschwitz resistance movement showing
“Sonderkommando” members at work.

(f) Reprints of the authentic detailed ground plans of the four
crematoria with eight gas chambers in Birkenau. These plans were
smuggled out of the SS Construction Office in Auschwitz and sent to
the Swiss Consulate in Prague in 1944.<5> Their authenticity is
verified by checks with the gas chamber ruins, now part of the
Polish Museum in Oswiecim (Auschwitz), and against American aerial
reconnaissance photographs from 1944.<6>

I had scarcely finished this list when Butz said, “I don’t want to
hear any more of this.” Pointing my finger at him, I said, “Dr.
Butz, you are a liar. Sue me!” He only answered, “I’m hanging up
now,” and broke off our conversation without responding to the
challenge. I feel that such open and direct confrontation is for
now the best way to expose these fabricators of “facts.”

In the same broadcast, I stated that — except for the
“Sonderkommando” — I am, to my knowledge, the only person to be
brought regularly (in 1943 and 1944) into the old Auschwitz
crematorium. My presence in the crematorium was kept very secret
and I was always threatened with death if I would tell anybody
where I have been. I had to fill — directly from the oversn — the
urns for German inmates (non-Jews) who had died and whose families
had paid for the urns. I was brought there by my boss,
Unterscharfuehrer Albrecht, then head of the Auschwitz crematorium,
from the Registrar’s Office where I worked as a typist. Thus I had
direct knowledge of the gas chamber.

I have been there!


1. Kopecky, Lilli, “In the Shadow of the Flames. Six Lectures
on the Holocaust,” Witness to the Holocaust Project, Emory
University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1982.

2. Ibid. Lecture 5, “Holocaust Denials, Neo-Nazism, Anti-Semitism,
Radicalism and Terrorism.”

3. Butz, Arthur, R. The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. Historical
Review Press: Richmond, England, 1975. 0Butz has a Ph.D. in
electrical engineering and is a tenured professor at Northwestern
University which in the face of many protests over the years has
insisted on retaining him on the basis of “academic freedom.”

4. Sonderkommando (translated Special Detatchment). Its members
had to pull the corpses (after being gassed) out of the gas
chambers and bring them into the overs or, in 1944, when there
was not enough space in the ovens, burn the corpses on the

5. Taken from the office by Vera Foltynova, smuggled by the
underground into Prague to the non-Jewish wife of Ota Kraus and
given to the Swiss Consulate for safekeeping. Source: Erich

6. Central Intelligence Agency, “The Holocaust Revisited; A
Retrospective Analysis of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination
Complex. Prepared by Dino Brugioni and Robert Poirier, February,

Internet on the Holocaust and Genocide – an international information
resource exchange towards understanding, intervention and prevention
of genocide. Published by the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide,
P.O. Box 10311, Jerusalem, Israel. (Telephone and Fax: 972-2-720424)

Issue 48 – April, 1994

Last-Modified: 1994/07/05