KLs in spring 1945

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KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeff_36 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 3:15 am

our resident Chewtoy on Cap Arcona:

Himmler had long been trying to curry favour with with the Swedes as he hoped that himself and other senior SS men would be allowed to surrender to Sweden and receive more favourable treatment than what they could expect from the Americans/Brits/French.


True, but he had also given an order to KL commandants, described by Robert Blatman in The Death Marches, that no KL prisoners were to be turned over to the allies alive.

{Jeff} makes the highly dubious assertion that the nazis planned to drown them anyway, based on nothing more that the say-so of a woman whose husband was on board, and the alleged confessions of two nazis whilst in British custody.


"alleged confessions" LOL, ok, way to admit that you have nothing. And for the record there was far more than "two alleged confessions": Georg-Henning Graf von Bassewitz-Behr, the Gestapo chief of Hamburg testified after the war that the ships were to be scuttled. How could you have not heard of this testimony? I got this not from Wikipedia (which I don't use), but from two literary sources, one of which was a book on the Cap Arcona tragedy. Even without Bassewitz-Behr's testimony, the notion that the Nuengamme prisoners were to be released in Sweden contrasts the orders given by Himmler in regard to KL prisoners, and the conduct of KL commandants towards their prisoners in the last days of the war. Logic entails that the Cap Arcona prisoners were reserved for a similar fate. The ship had very little fuel, which makes a cross-Baltic voyage unlikely, and contained many documents on Nuengamme.

None of this changes what is obvious in regards to Kaindl - he was given an order that very much was in line with orders that other KL commandants were given at the time. As Blatman notes, we must treat his statement with care given his tenancy to put blame on the absent Muller, but the substance is indisputable.

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:08 am

Fallout, a moment of introspection from blake1266666666666666 in DasPrussian's Road to Damascus thread at Rodoh (context: looking at the aerial photos of Kremas II & III per the Black Rabbit's post here, blake first wondered why no one has said this before, then reacting to Hans's links to where it has been done before, finally engaged in this exchange):
blake121666 wrote:
Duke Umeroffen wrote:Poosh will be knocked out when you leave the Revisionist dreck next. As if. As DP says, you don't have the brain power to leave the circus. Or do you?


You might be right about the brain power. Or the time, more likely. I have to first get a much better handle on what is actually claimed and then verify or disprove. Unfortunately, I have a much longer way to go. To my chagrin, I HAVE disproven many of my Revisionist convictions already though. If I end up disproving the important ones, I will. Simple as that. I'm not near that point yet.

BRoI has obviously spent much much more time and effort than I on these questions.

link to blake's post (something sad about blake's post, really, as though he's realizing he hasn't made the effort or lacks to ability to figure out that which he's committed himself to, a dreary place to be)

Hannover: the holes were drawn onto the photos. I kid you not.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby scrmbldggs » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:57 pm

Poor artist? Bad glasses? Empty glasses?

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Balsamo » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:16 pm

Blake 123666 started to at least read his opponents posts...which is a great first step. Now that the Black Rabbit has made his coming out - and shed some emotions on both codoh and rodoh - he might very well go a step further.

I have always said that the Rabbit was at least well documented and that he was more an iconoclast than a hard core denier. The reactions on Codoh clearly shows that this very forum is dying...17 posts from pure Nazis, quite pathetic even if in a good way.

I hereby welcome the Black Rabbit of Inle on this forum.

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby BRoI » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:35 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:our resident Chewtoy on Cap Arcona:

Now you want to chew on me!? You really give me the creeps.


Jeff_36 wrote:
Himmler had long been trying to curry favour with with the Swedes as he hoped that himself and other senior SS men would be allowed to surrender to Sweden and receive more favourable treatment than what they could expect from the Americans/Brits/French.

True, but he had also given an order to KL commandants, described by Robert Blatman in The Death Marches, that no KL prisoners were to be turned over to the allies alive.

I was actually going to start a thread on this soon. I'm in the process of compiling a list of camp staff who claimed that there was such an order and what were their particular reasons for not carrying it out.

My list will be impeccably sourced with quotes from the original docs when possible, and if not, quotes from secondary sources with all their sources listed.


Jeff_36 wrote:
{Jeff} makes the highly dubious assertion that the nazis planned to drown them anyway, based on nothing more that the say-so of a woman whose husband was on board, and the alleged confessions of two nazis whilst in British custody.

"alleged confessions" LOL, ok, way to admit that you have nothing. And for the record there was far more than "two alleged confessions": Georg-Henning Graf von Bassewitz-Behr, the Gestapo chief of Hamburg testified after the war that the ships were to be scuttled. How could you have not heard of this testimony? I got this not from Wikipedia (which I don't use), but from two literary sources, one of which was a book on the Cap Arcona tragedy. Even without Bassewitz-Behr's testimony, the notion that the Nuengamme prisoners were to be released in Sweden contrasts the orders given by Himmler in regard to KL prisoners, and the conduct of KL commandants towards their prisoners in the last days of the war. Logic entails that the Cap Arcona prisoners were reserved for a similar fate. The ship had very little fuel, which makes a cross-Baltic voyage unlikely, and contained many documents on Nuengamme.

I have intercepted German messages from April & May 1945 re what to do with prisoners.

You have wiki, google books search, and a habit of telling stupid lies.


Jeff_36 wrote:None of this changes what is obvious in regards to Kaindl - he was given an order that very much was in line with orders that other KL commandants were given at the time. As Blatman notes, we must treat his statement with care given his tenancy to put blame on the absent Muller, but the substance is indisputable.

Kaindl also denied their was a GC at Sachs.
"... these witnesses would swear to anything if it gets the Germans killed."
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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Balsamo » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:38 pm

BRoI:

I have intercepted German messages from April & May 1945 re what to do with prisoners.


I am interested in that.

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:52 pm

Balsamo wrote:BRoI:

I have intercepted German messages from April & May 1945 re what to do with prisoners.


I am interested in that.


Me, too.

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby BRoI » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:54 pm

Balsamo wrote:Blake 123666 started to at least read his opponents posts...which is a great first step. Now that the Black Rabbit has made his coming out - and shed some emotions on both codoh and rodoh - he might very well go a step further.

I have always said that the Rabbit was at least well documented and that he was more an iconoclast than a hard core denier. The reactions on Codoh clearly shows that this very forum is dying...17 posts from pure Nazis, quite pathetic even if in a good way.

I hereby welcome the Black Rabbit of Inle on this forum.


Thanks Balsamo.
"... these witnesses would swear to anything if it gets the Germans killed."
- Solomon Surowitz, Assistant Prosecutor at the 1947 Buchenwald trial.

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:32 pm

I'm also interested.

I write this not having read the material on evacuations in this thread closely - so kick me if I am repeating what's been written.

My recollection from Blatman, and other reading, is that a) many rumors about orders for a general extermination were rampant among KL prisoners, b) there was no clear order from Himmler that was systematically implemented, let alone for a general extermination, and c) the continuing liquidations came from a more bottoms-up process.

Blatman discusses a Himmler directive of 17 June 1944 (Case A) that came through Glucks to SS commanders and HSSPFs (I can go back to his book, this is from notes). The directive's main intent, according to Blatman, was that prisoners not fall into the hands of the Allies. The directive foresaw HSSPFs assuming control of camps in the emergency situation. Case A wasn't well defined, nor were the guidelines for what officials were to do with prisoners under Case A.There is correspondence from Pohl, focused on improving security, related to Case A. Blatman says that the guideline didn't instruct evacuation - and that different officials understood it differently. For example, Höss understood, mentioning evacuation or surrender to the Allies, that commandants were to make decisions on their own authority. OTOH Walter Bierkamp, Radom SIPO and SD, focused on prisoners not calling into enemy hands "alive." Blatman says that the directive did not however even "hint" that prisoners were to be exterminated - partly because in spring 1944 the prisoners were valued for labor for the war effort.

Blatman cites a January 1945 order from Pohl on evacuating camps in the Ostland and a February 1945 order from Glucks, mentioning a number of camps by name, and giving more detail on what was to happen at Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen - evacuation of prisoners to Buchenwald, Mittelbau-Dora, and Flossenbürg. The evacuation order following on Glucks' order did not clarify the exact handling of prisoners, especially those too sick for evacuation, and commanders were not sure what was expected. Follow-up orders from the WVHA directed shooting of prisoners attempting to escape during evacuations and in at least one case certain prisoners deemed to threaten security. Also, Gestapo Müller issued a broader order for liquidation prisoners posing security-threats.

In April 1945, after the chaotic liberation of Buchenwald, Himmler issued his last order on this - forbidding surrender of the remaining camps and demanding that no prisoner fall into enemy hands. My notes say that this was not the same as an extermination order but could be interpreted variously in different situations. The order itself, according to my notes, was not preserved but is known via war diaries and testimony of both German officials and KL prisoners. Blatman believes that this order, which he says may have been communicated in different versions, clarified "basic principles" to those on the scene. The result, without going through more details and cases, was administrative chaos and decisions at the camp level and below that - and concomitantly variety.

Blatman cautions against the postwar testimonies of SS men as pitched to exonerate them of decisions they likely made on the ground within the context outlined here.

All this fits with what I've read of different camps and their liberation, where rumors gave many prisoners certainty of an extermination order but no systematic, orchestrated mass liquidation was carried out. I take from Blatman that the prisoners' conviction that a systematic slaughter was planned is not proven in the documents and testimonies. That is not to say that the evacuations were not lethal - but that the dynamics were not top-down, based on a clear Himmler order but due to attitude/stereotypes, fear, exigencies, chaos, and experience (and perceptions) of what was permitted.

In any event, given features of the camp evacuations and death marches (Jews were a minority of those we're discussing) and the timing here, any order would have been unrelated to the Final Solution. In fact, Blatman cites evidence that, in the context of his clumsy negotiation efforts, Himmler sent signals not to exterminate the Jewish prisoners at this point, even against the Führer's wishes.

I'll add more as we go along.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby BRoI » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:05 pm

This is from Blatman's Death Marches:

When Hitler learned that Himmler was responsible for the confusion around the evacuation of Buchenwald, he declared furiously that if Himmler was not capable of executing orders to the letter (namely, emptying the camp and leaving no prisoners alive when the enemy entered), he should be relieved of responsibility for the project. [128] In any event, what occurred in were several cases of theft of food from shops or clothes hanging on washing lines, but no atrocities took place. After the liberation, political prisoners in the camp made contact with antifascist civilians in Weimar, mainly in order to organize aid for liberated prisoners and to supply food and clothing to the camp. [129] Yet none of this was truly important to Himmler. The Führer's anger and the web of rumors had made an impact. After the Buchenwald affair, Himmler was much more purposeful in his actions.

On April 14, 1945, Himmler issued his last order regarding the concentration camp prisoners. [130] The tortuous path he had followed in the past year with regard to the fate of the hundreds of thousands of slave laborers in his prison installations had eventually led him to a conclusion that was in line with his outlook and his previous policies:

Surrender is out of the question. The camp must be evacuated immediately. Not a single prisoner must fall alive into enemy hands. The prisoners at Buchenwald have taken action against the civilian population.
(-) Himmler. [131]


This order raised quite a few questions after the war because no clear and unequivocal version existed. It was sent out to the commandants of Dachau and Flossenbürg who had taken in the Buchenwald evacuees. It may well be that on April 14 the order was sent only to Dachau and that a similar order was received at Flossenbürg on April 18 by teleprinter. It is not clear whether Himmler sent it directly or whether Pohl's staff brought it southward when they fled Berlin. [132] In any event, evidence of the existence of the order was found after the war in the diaries and memoirs of prisoners and the depositions of SS officers from Dachau. [133] But even if the circulation of the order was limited and several versions were received, its basic principles were unquestionably plain to wide circles of position-holders in the collapsing SS system and in the concentration camps. To a large extent it set the official seal on instructions transmitted orally, alluded to indirectly or interpreted in this manner owing to fears that incidents such as were said to have taken place at Buchenwald would recur.

[...]

128. Testimony of Oswald Pohl, Pohl trial, minutes, box 223, pp. 1341-1342.
129. Schley, Nachbar Buchenwald, pp. 124-126.
130. Stanislav Zámečník, "'Kein Häftling darf lebend in die Hände des Feindes fallen': Zur Existenz des Himmler-Befehls vom 14/18 April 1945," Dachauer Hefte 1 (December 1985): 219-231; Orth, Das System, p. 311.
131. "Die Übergabe kommt nicht in Frage. Das Lager ist sofort zu evakuieren. Kein Häftling darf lebendig in die Hände des Feindes kommen. Die Häftlinge in Buchenwald haben sich gegen die Zivilbevölkerung benommen. (-) Himmler." See text of Himmler's order in Zämeenik, "Kein Häftling," p. 219.
132. Zámečník, "Kein Häftling," pp. 219-224.
133. Ibid., pp. 220-222; Kupfer-Koberwitz, Dachauer Tagebücher, p. 455.


For lack of a better source to hand; here's a 2007 article in the NYT that says this order was handwritten by Himmler on a piece of plain paper, and presumably couriered to the camp from wherever he was on the 14th April:

"A handover is out of the question. The camp must be evacuated immediately. No prisoner must be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy alive," says a handwritten note on plain paper, apparently referring to Dachau. It is signed by the Gestapo chief, Heinrich Himmler, and dated April 14, 1945.

After the war a copy of Himmler's extraordinary order was delivered from the Dachau concentration camp archive to the International Tracing Service, or ITS, a unit of the International Committee of the Red Cross that manages a vast repository of wartime and postwar German records in the small resort town of Bad Arolsen. [...]

Himmler's April 14 order to abandon Dachau came three days after Buchenwald, one of the largest camps, was liberated by U.S. forces. Prisoners had broken into houses in the nearby town of Weimar. "The prisoners have behaved horribly to the civilian population of Buchenwald," Himmler wrote.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/06/world/europe/06iht-death.4817410.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:15 pm

That all fits well with my notes - except I garbled that an original document doesn't exist - which were clearly based on the Blatman passage. And so it fits with my understanding.

Jeff_36 - I was arsed to read back through the thread. Is this April 1945 order the same order you referred to? Or were you referring to the June 1944 order? I don't think Blatman presented the June order either as an extermination order and his subsequent material proves the case.

Are you referring to a different order? I am guessing the April 1945 order, given the dates being discussed, right? Do you disagree with my notes on Blatman's argument?
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby BRoI » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:12 am

Mauthausen commandant Franz Ziereis is supposed to have told his interrogators [whilst dying from gun-shot wounds] that Himmler ordered that he put all his prisoners in a tunnel and blow up the entrances:

According to an order by Reichsfuehrer Himmler, I was to liquidate all prisoners on the instructions of SS Obergruppenfuehrer Dr. Kaltenbrunner; the prisoners were to be led into the tunnels of the Bergkristall works of Gusen and only one entrance was to be left open. Then I was to blow up this entrance to the tunnels with some explosive and thus cause the death of the prisoners. I refused to carry out this order. This meant the extermination of the prisoners in the so-called 'mother camp' Mauthausen, and in the camps Gusen I and Gusen II. Details of this are known to Herr Wolfram and to SS Obersturmfuehrer Eckermann.

3870-PS, quoted on 12.04.46 at the IMT; vol. 11, p.331.
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/04-12-46.asp



The following two messages were intercepted by the British on 6 April 1945, and the translation were honed by a native German. The beginning and end of the first message wasn't captured by the British. But only Himmler could have given this order, and the message that follows it was by Himmler:

(Beginning of Message not taken)
bestehen keine Bedenken, die Häftlinge an Ort und Stelle dem Feinde zu uberlassen. Für rechtseitige Absetzung der SS. Wachmannschaften ist Sorge zu tragen. Für die Entscheidung über die zu treffende Massnahmen sind ausschliesslich Sie zustandig. Geheim!
Von ??
________________________________

(Beginning of Message not taken)
there are no objections that prisoners be turned over on the spot to the enemy. The timely withdrawal of the SS guard units should be ensured. You are solely responsible for the decision on the measures to be adopted. Secret!
From ??


An SS. Standartenfhr. ZIEREIS
Geheime Reichssache. Ft. vom 4.4.45 erhalten. Auf jeden Fall Rückführung der Häftlinge. Melden Sie laufend weiter.
Von: gez. H. HIMMLER,
________________________________

To SS. Standartenführer. ZIEREIS
State secret. Telex 4.4.45 received. In any case, repatriate the prisoners. Send updates as things progress.
From: H. Himmler,


I queried the meaning of "Rückführung" back then. As this was Mauthausen, which was within the Reich, it couldn't mean repatriate/return the prisoners "into the Reich". The translator said here "Rückführung" means "repatriate/return/remand into the Allies' custody", and added "Rückführung implies a return with a change of jurisdiction", and finally, when I'd annoyed him sufficiently: "IT MEANS GIVE UP THE PRISONERS TO THE ALLIES."

Image
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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:29 am

Thanks, that is in line with Blatman's argument as I recall it. So . . . ok, now I've looked up what Blatman says about Mauthausen, where prisoners were certain that an extermination plan was in play (see below): Blatman has Ziereis first ordering a general liquidation of prisoners (30 April 1945), then rescinding it. Prisoner Hans Marszałek recorded a last letter from Ziereis before he fled, night of 2-3 May 1945. In captivity, and wounded as said above, Ziereis told his interrogators (as mentioned in the Hoax thread, Marszałek wrote the protocol of this testimony) that per an order from Himmler he was to liquidate the camp's prisoners in the tunnels. As Ziereis told it, he refused the order. All this tracks with the above post.

Blatman's comment: "All these testimonies by SS officers after the war were aimed, first and foremost at absolving themselves of at least some of the guilt they had accumulated during the war years, and shifting it to their superiors." That is, Himmler, Kaltenbrunner, and Pohl. Blatman continues that there is evidence that Ziereis considered blowing up the prisoners in the Gusen tunnels (Blatman cites the Pike book I've mentioned in the Hoax thread). Blatman calls this "brainstorming" that never went further, given the rapid collapse of the Germans at the time.

As an aside, the lion's share of Blatman's book is about the Gardelegen massacre; he applies the same framework described in my long post above to the events at Gardelegen.

I think that BRoI and I are making the same basic argument here. I assure Rabbit and all: this cannot happen again!
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:33 am

Are folks ok with my asking Pyrrho to branch this thread starting with Jeff_36's first post on the sinking of Cap Arcona and create a thread entitled "KLs in spring 1945"?
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Balsamo » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:36 am

BRoI wrote:

and finally, when I'd annoyed him sufficiently: "IT MEANS GIVE UP THE PRISONERS TO THE ALLIES."


Well, i don't think it can be given a unique definition. As i understand it, ""Rückführung" can also be understood as transfer somewhere behind the enemy lines or it can be understood as your friend says.
I guess we would need more examples.

OK with Statmec proposition... KL's in spring 1945 sounds good to me

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby BRoI » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:40 am

Yep, good with me too.
"... these witnesses would swear to anything if it gets the Germans killed."
- Solomon Surowitz, Assistant Prosecutor at the 1947 Buchenwald trial.

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:45 am

thanks, I will take that as a quorum :) it would be good not to lose this discussion and to have a place to keep it going
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:15 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Are folks ok with my asking Pyrrho to branch this thread starting with Jeff_36's first post on the sinking of Cap Arcona and create a thread entitled "KLs in spring 1945"?


I'm good with it. This really has nothing to do with RODOH.

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby BRoI » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:17 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I think that BRoI and I are making the same basic argument here. I assure Rabbit and all: this cannot happen again!


lol, unquestionably a first! But probably won't last; I'm getting more suspicious of this "14.04.45" handwritten order.

Blatman's source for this order in an article by the Dachau survivor and historian Stanislav Zamecnik in Dachauer Hefte vol. 1 [1985]. I can get hold of that fairly easily, but in the meantime I do have Zamecnik's 2004 book That Was Dachau 1933-1945.

I was planning to paste the text from his book re this order, but it's a tad long, so I'll just try to summarise it SM style, but with less eloquence, and more typos [the stuff mentioned here is from pages 344-5 and 355-7].

On page 344 he says the order is "often-doubted" and the commonly cited date of 14.04.45 is incorrect. He then quotes what he considered to be a similar order that originated from Himmler: Nuremberg doc 053-L, The 20.07.44 letter by the Commander of the Security Police & SD in Radom passing on orders that all prison [i.e. actual jails] inmates and Jews working in the armament industry are to be transferred to KLs if possible, if not possible due to the situation at the Front, they're to be killed and their bodies cremated [also in IMT 37:486-87].

Several pages later Zamecnik returns to the alleged order and says it wasn't an order for Dachau at all, but for Flossenbuerg. SS-Standartenführer Beecher arrived at Flossenbuerg on 17.04.44 to lead a death march of all its prisoners to Dachau, but after assessing that the camp was in reasonable order he "sent Himmler a radio dispatch to Fuerstenberg" asking if he could hand the camp over to the enemy. Beecher "received a radiogram in reply on the 18 April" saying: "Surrender is out of the question. The camp must be evacuated immediately. No prisoner shall fall into the enemy hands alive. The prisoners have behaved scandalously towards the civilian population in Buchenwald." On the 19 April Beecher received this dispatch signed by Himmler. So, belt and braces from Himmler; presumably this is the handwritten order mentioned in the NYT article above, which Beecher must have carried to Dachau. The Flossenbuerg prisoners began the march for Dachau that day, and the last batch left at about 6pm on the 19th.

So, a bit of a different story than what Blatman claims Zamecnik wrote in his 1985 article.
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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:59 am

Very sorry to report no disagreements on this one, I will do better - I am relying on Blatman and then some individual camp histories and haven't researched this specific topic or compared accounts in depth etc. My first post was to clarify what Blatman argued, good, bad, indifferent. (Although I admit that Blatman shaped my views . . . but that doesn't mean I'd be ruling out many wrinkles along the way as we hear more . . . my view being generally that no clear order for a general extermination of the prisoners was issued, that decision-making on evacuations was local, that where Himmler/Pohl/et al gave directives they were not detailed and often came in response to particular situations, and that confusion about what to do was widespread.) An issue here is how late in the day this Himmler directive came (you say "alleged") and how clear it was.

So, first question that comes to my mind is this: Blatman has it that the order (or similar versions of the order) went to Dachau and Flossenbürg, implying that the text he quoted was the Dachau version and citing Zamecnik. I have neither Zamecnik nor Orth, also referenced by Blatman. Blatman says that even if the order were sent only to these two camps, its basic principles were "plain to wide circles of position-holders." He says, relying I think on Zamecnik and Kupfer-Koberwitz, that the order was mentioned in war diaries and so on, as above. But Zamecnik says the order only reached Flossenbürg, right? Does he mention its being echoed more widely, as Blatman does? Of course, Mauthausen was not evacuated but surrendered. And Blatman, whatever else he says, to my reading didn't pitch this order, assuming something like it was given, as a general extermination order. I read it as implying permission for lethal decisions on the ground. Cf his discussion of Mauthausen. So do we know from Zamecnik or from your sources, referred to earlier, more about what communications reached Mauthausen?

Second question: where did Zamecnik get the text which Blatman quoted from him, and can you see in what you've read where the 14 April date and "sent to Dachau" come from?

(I hope this is clear - I don't have any of Blatman's sources, so I am not sure I'm phrasing my question well . . . )
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:15 am

Waiting to hear more from those who've studied this more, I poked around a bit this morning. Along with Distel et al, The Dachau Concentration Camp, 1933 to 1945 there is a CD, which includes documents facsimiles, testimony excerpts, and documents transcriptions and excerpts. E.g., there's testimony from Bertus Gerdes, NSDAP Gau staff office head, to the Nuremberg Tribunal (20 November 1945) about a Führer order to murder Dachau prisoners (except those from Allied countries) with poison and a brief snippet from Höss's IMT testimony seemingly alluding to the April 1945 order.

PDF 12.1 has a transcription/translation of Himmler's April 1945 order, with yet another date, here described as given to Flossenbürg officials:
3064 “No prisoner is to fall into enemy hands alive”

“Surrender is out of the question. The camp is to be evacuated immediately. No prisoner is to fall into enemy hands alive. The prisoners behaved atrociously towards the civilian population in Buchenwald.”

Answer given by Himmler to the inquiry whether the Flossenbürg concentration camp may be surrendered to the enemy, April 18, 1945. From a report of the special representative Heinrich Schwarz submitted to Oswald Pohl, April 24, 1945

KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau

Another somewhat relevant document mentioned on PDF 12.1 pertained to the General Government and was dated 20 July 1944, days before the Red Army entered Majdanek, where no general extermination of unevacuated prisoners was carried out (1000s of prisoners, commencing in April 1944 IIRC were evacuated to Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and elsewhere - about 1500 were left in the camp, nearly 1000 of these in the POW-hospital "camp"):
3046 Prisoners and Jews are not permitted to fall
 into the hands of the enemy alive

“Given a surprising development of the situation which makes a transport of prisoners impossible, the prison inmates are to be liquidated, whereby those shot must be removed wherever possible (cremation, blowing-up the buildings, inter alia.) ... Under all circumstances it must be avoided that prison inmates or Jews be liberated or fall into the hands of the enemy, whether it be the WB or the Red Army.”

Order issued by the commander of the Security Police and the Security Service (SD) in the General Government, July 20, 1944 (excerpt)

Staatsarchiv Nürnberg
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Jeff_36 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:56 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Are folks ok with my asking Pyrrho to branch this thread starting with Jeff_36's first post on the sinking of Cap Arcona and create a thread entitled "KLs in spring 1945"?


I'd be ok with that.

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Jeff_36 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:22 pm

BRoI wrote:Now you want to chew on me!? You really give me the creeps.


That is the lamest attempt at redirection I have ever seen in my entire life. Cut the BS, my patience is wearing thin.

I was actually going to start a thread on this soon. I'm in the process of compiling a list of camp staff who claimed that there was such an order and what were their particular reasons for not carrying it out.


I am willing to have a constructive discussion on this matter If you cease you use of ad-homs and actually make an argument that I don't feel the need to rip to shreds without so much as a shrug.

You must admit that there were mass executions of prisoners across the board in many places, and most KL commandants reported receiving an order t liquidate some or all inmates. That is called convergence of evidence and it is something you ignore.

I am curious about something, what brought you here? Are you still a revisionist? Are you still a 9/11 truther? What caused your change of heart on AR after so many years? Are you faking this? I admit that the venom and trolling you have thrown at the HC people over the years makes it very difficult for me to not despise you, even now, but these are things I am curious about.

I have intercepted German messages from April & May 1945 re what to do with prisoners.


I have read them and they do not impress me. They deal with one camp and as Statmech pointed out they are well in keeping with what Blatman had to say about Mauthausen.

You have wiki, google books search, and a habit of telling stupid lies.


Everything I have said is based in in depth research into many volumes that I personally own. I have purchased more than $200 in journal articles since you have joined the thread and I plan on purchasing more. You made the absurd claim that Kiaindl's statement was not in keeping with the general consensus among KL commandants at the end of the war and I have called you on it, only for you to refuse to answer.

A bit like this interview that you may have seen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uwlsd8RAoqI


Kaindl also denied their was a GC at Sachs.


It was a defensive statement, as Blatman noted, and on this matter Kaindl is contrasted by a multitude of contemporary sources. Anyway, that is quite irrelevant as we are discussing planned massacres at the end of the war in KL's. If you wish to start a thread on Sachenhausen, be my guest.

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby BRoI » Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:41 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:So, first question that comes to my mind is this: Blatman has it that the order (or similar versions of the order) went to Dachau and Flossenbürg, implying that the text he quoted was the Dachau version and citing Zamecnik. I have neither Zamecnik nor Orth, also referenced by Blatman. Blatman says that even if the order were sent only to these two camps, its basic principles were "plain to wide circles of position-holders." He says, relying I think on Zamecnik and Kupfer-Koberwitz, that the order was mentioned in war diaries and so on, as above. But Zamecnik says the order only reached Flossenbürg, right? Does he mention its being echoed more widely, as Blatman does? Of course, Mauthausen was not evacuated but surrendered. And Blatman, whatever else he says, to my reading didn't pitch this order, assuming something like it was given, as a general extermination order. I read it as implying permission for lethal decisions on the ground. Cf his discussion of Mauthausen. So do we know from Zamecnik or from your sources, referred to earlier, more about what communications reached Mauthausen?

In his 2004 book, Zamecnik says that this order was for Flossenbuerg and not Dachau, but goes onto claim Kaindl, Max Pauly of Neuengamme and Basewitz-Behr all received the order too [or a very similar one—drowning?]. He cites other books as his sources; they no doubt lead to their confessions.

Oddly, Zamecnik cites no sources for the Beecher telex to Himmler on the 17th or Himmler's reply on the 18th, nor the "often-doubted" handwritten Himmler order [with the same message as the telex of the 18th]. However, I went to a couple of libraries today and based on one book in particular, I should be able to find these telex messages on the 17th and 18th between Beecher and Himmler.

I don't want to do Zamecnik a disservice, despite his willingness to accept virtually anything Brits wrangled from nazis. In my first post on his book I was concentrating purely on what he said about this order of the "14.04.45", and how he explains it away as just being the hard-copy of Himmler's telex order to Beecher regarding Flossenbuerg and had nothing to do with Dachau.

Zamecnik does describe the alleged plans to drown Sachs. prisoners; the deal with the IRC regarding Scandinavian prisoners being congregated at NG then being placed on boats and claims a Himmler order similar to the 18.04.45 Flossenbuerg one was received by Max Pauly and Basewitz-Behr [he cites books which probably lead back to confessions]. He mentions the name Ravensbrueck, but doesn't describe any sort of April 1945 Himmler order for that camp. And finally, he says that Himmler's plans/decision for Dachau and Mauthausen prisoners is unclear, but suggests that he may have intended for them to be taken to the "Alpine Redoubt" stronghold he supposedly still though possible. He says the same as Blatman, ie that Himmler ordered Flossenbuerg prisoners be marched to Dachau because of what occurred at Buchenwald, and in the the process broke his deal with the IRC in which he'd promised to leave prisoners in the camps to be liberated by the Allies.


Second question: where did Zamecnik get the text which Blatman quoted from him, and can you see in what you've read where the 14 April date and "sent to Dachau" come from?

(I hope this is clear - I don't have any of Blatman's sources, so I am not sure I'm phrasing my question well . . . )


He doesn't bother citing a source in this book [perhaps he does in that 1985 article which I got today and will post soon] but I understand from Zamecnik, and a few other sources that I also checked today, it supposedly originates from this Himmler telex message of the 18.04.45 to Flossenbuerg. So it appears that *someone* just transcribed it onto a bit of paper and said it was intended for Dachau. A theory Zamecnik tries to dismiss in this book by claiming it was only ever the hard-copy Himmler sent him of the telex. Which sounds very implausible to me.

re: You later post: The Hoess Nuremberg quote re the alleged order after the Buchenwald episode is quoted in Zamecnik 2004 also.

The 20 July 1944 order you mentioned, it's clearly related to the 21.07.44 letter I mentioned earlier re. killing jail inmates and Jews in the armament ind. in Radom if they couldn't be taken to a KL. [Nuremberg doc 053-L]
http://www.ns-archiv.de/imt/l000-l361/053-l.php

I won't be around for a couple of days, but I hope to be able to locate these Himmler/Beecher telexes or 17 + 18 April 1945, as the British apparently did intercept them!

edit: I see I repeat myself there. Sorry, been a long day.
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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:05 pm

Thanks, that thought about the paper with the text of the April order - that it originated from the telex - had occurred to me. Nothing so far is changing my view that this is murky and that evidence for a general liquidation order from Himmler is not good (as opposed to evidence for narrower questions, like who received the April 1945 order, which may be strong if pursued).

Two more thoughts: 1) One source for my framing is Berben's official Dachau history (originally published in 1965, for the Comité International de Dachau), which generally argues the position of the politicals that there was a "firm" intent to liquidate Dachau prisoners who would otherwise fall into the Allies hands. Berben's account includes discussion of the April 1945 order, which he quotes (p 179), and also on a supposed Kaltenbrunner order, which Gerdes (quoted above - no one chuckled about the name, which broke my heart reading subsequent posts) testified about, saying he'd talked Giesler out of following through. On the narrow question of what orders reached Dachau authorities, Berben cites the appendix in Haulot & Kuci, Dachau (this may simply be a transcription of the order) and says that the April order was intended for Dachau. Do you know this source? At any rate, even Berben, when it comes to this order, writes "It appears that after the liberation of Buchenwald Hitler gave Himmler orders not to allow another camp to fall into Allies' hands. Whatever happened, prisoners who could walk were evacuated. This order could not be obeyed exactly. . . ." (p 182) And then, p 184, where he quotes the order, Berben uses says it "appears" that the "initial idea" of mass liquidation wasn't carried out due to practical issues and the leanings of local officials in favor of surrendering the camp; Berben also describes how, even after Himmler's order was given (and he has, as noted above, it coming to Dachau), it wasn't carried out. Prisoners, according to Berben, also citing Haulot & Kuci, had copies of earlier orders for the liquidation of 837 prisoners considered especially dangerous (p 186), but this is a different matter. So, reading this, my feeling was that after stating a firm intent to follow a liquidation order from Himmler, Berben really described something different and more in keeping with Blatman's general scenario.

2) Another source for my "gut feel" is Eric Hunt's friend Peter Black, who wrote a biography of Kaltenbrunner, published in 1984. At the IMT, the prosecution charged Kaltenbrunner with ordering liquidations of labor camps near Dachau and at Gusen I and II. (Testimony from our friend Gerdes was used to support the Dachau charge.) Black concludes that although "the court accepted the prosecution's argument" regarding the Gusen camps, "this evidence is extremely unreliable." He cites the testimony of SS-Gruppenführer Eberstein that the Dachau planning was actually the brainchild of Gauleiter Giesler and an interrogation of Kurt Becher to the effect that on 28 April 1945 Kaltenbrunner had given permission to surrender Dachau. Further, Black explains that insofar as Mauthausen is concerned a Red Cross official testified that the Gusen liquidation plans were hatched by Ziereis himself (this accords with Blatman's warning about such testimonies). (p 251)

You may have all this. I'm simply showing some of the basis for my not accepting that there was a general extermination order from Himmler through Kaltenbrunner or anyone else, one that set a clear policy for the remaining camps. At least that's how I read Blatman as well as other sources, and thus the decision-making was not linear or consistent and it was more local than Reich-wide.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:59 pm

Thanks, Pyrrho!
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby scrmbldggs » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:13 am

Your avatar sure seems ecstatic! :-P

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:33 pm

Further as to Mauthausen. Pike's book clearly doesn't include what BRoI has posted:
BRoI wrote:. . . The following two messages were intercepted by the British on 6 April 1945 . . .
. . . (Beginning of Message not taken)
there are no objections that prisoners be turned over on the spot to the enemy. The timely withdrawal of the SS guard units should be ensured. You are solely responsible for the decision on the measures to be adopted. Secret!
From ??

. . . To SS. Standartenführer. ZIEREIS
State secret. Telex 4.4.45 received. In any case, repatriate the prisoners. Send updates as things progress.
From: H. Himmler,
. . .

In fact, Pike's book (p 198) describes a scenario more like that with Himmler's mid-April so-called Dachau/Flossenbürg reply. First, it has to be said that Pike, in contrast to Blatman, believes clear extermination orders came from Himmler. I think, as I've written, that it's more ambiguous but not morally or legally wonderful for anyone involved. Pike's book is one that confirmed my thinking about the lack of clarity of orders, ambiguity up and down the line, and mostly locally decided actions during these months - in other words, his narrative, like Berben's didn't prove his conclusion to my satisfaction.

But Pike has this - a 14 April 1945 telephone call from Himmler to Ziereis at Mauthausen, that is, 10 days after the telex above and a little more than 2 weeks before Ziereis fled Mauthausen, Himmler told Ziereis, "kein Häftling darf lebendig in die Hände des Feindes fallen" (Google Translate: No prisoner can fall alive into the hands of the enemy - the wording is the same as in Zámečník except for the last word, "fallen" here for "kommen" there). Pike comments, "the telephone recording has been found," citing Dobosiewicz, a 1977 book in Polish, published in Warsaw. Also, Pike says that Himmler repeated this order to Pohl night of 23-24 April (no citation).

This doesn't change my overall view but it's interesting. I wonder if anyone has access to Stanislaw Dobosiewicz, Mauthausen-Gusen, oboz zaglady to check the reference on p 384 to determine whether it support Pike's description of the message.

(also: correcting reference in OP to "Robert" Blatman - s/b Daniel Blatman)
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:29 pm

Jeff_36 wrote:as Statmech pointed out they are well in keeping with what Blatman had to say about Mauthausen.

To be clear, I think that no clear extermination order, once and for all, of general applicability, was given and that, rather, most decision-making was pushed down to the local level. In saying, do what you feel you must, and by the way kill a select number of the most dangerous prisoners, the authorities didn't rule liquidations out, either. Even the Mauthausen case, as seen here and here (Blatman and Black agreeing on the charges against Kaltenbrunner relative to ordering a general liquidation of Mauthausen prisoners), is anything but straightforward.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: RODOH in terminal decline?

Postby nickterry » Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:43 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I wonder if anyone has access to Stanislaw Dobosiewicz, Mauthausen-Gusen, oboz zaglady to check the reference on p 384 to determine whether it support Pike's description of the message.


The German edition (p.310) of Dobosiewicz, which appeared in 2007, cites on this the article by Zamecnik from Dachauer Hefte in 1985 re the "14.4.45" order, quoting it as we see in Blatman, along with a Blatman chapter from Herbert/Dieckmann/Orth's 1998 edited collection of KZ conference papers. Then he quotes Ziereis (pp.310-1). Given the obvious updating based on an article 8 years after the original Polish edition, there's little point tracking down the 1977 edition before checking out Zamecnik's article, which is the one then used by Blatman.

Note that Blatman also cites Kupfer-Koberwitz's Dachauer Tagebuecher, p.455, which is an entry from 1 May 1945, describing the discovery of a torn order from Himmler with the familiar 'no prisoners fall alive into enemy hands' tenor, paraphrased of course. A good, contemporary, indirect source that fits with Zamecnik's discussion of the order in Das war Dachau. Zamecnik's book also cites an earlier entry by Kupfer-Koberwitz from 19.4.45 about putting together transport lists of French prisoners, which he associated with ICRC interventions (p.427-8 of Dachauer Tagebuecher). Zamecnik discusses the countervailing pressures towards evacuation and hostage-trading as well as the 'no prisoners fall alive into enemy hands' order. There were contradictory forces at work here.

Blatman's presentation, emphasising an intervention by Hitler after the liberation of Buchenwald, makes sense - it is also perfectly reconcilable with earlier plans to hand over prisoners. Buchenwald was liberated on April 11-12, Belsen on April 15, an order from Hitler reacting to these events is entirely plausible. Himmler had just given permission for Belsen to be handed over to the Allies intact - he could hardly have evacuated the prisoners due to the typhus epidemic.

Despite this and other examples of his willingness to negotiate and use prisoners as bargaining chips, Himmler was still beholden to Hitler, who had yet to enjoy his final birthday party, and who still had the capacity to issue lunatic orders. By the time Dachau was liberated two weeks later, Dolfy was trapped in his bunker and about to get married, Himmler had been sacked, and there had been an abortive anti-Nazi uprising in Munich (Freiheitsaktion Bayern), which was violently suppressed by Himmler's nominal successor as interior minister, Paul Giesler. For Ziereis to half-plan the actual execution of the kill order then abandon also fits with the progression of events.

The dismemberment of the Reich and twitching of the corpse were not free of either murderous intent or actual violence, as can be seen in the radicalisation of summary courts-martial and willingness of countless local Nazi authorities to execute their own people simply for wanting to give up on a war that was obviously lost. Sven Keller, Volksgemeinschaft am Ende, covers the 1944-45 final phase outside the KZs brilliantly. (He also documents the existence of increasingly radical orders from OKW, Himmler and others regarding summary executions.)

Wachsmann in KL pretty much follows Zamecnik's 1985 article, while citing Orth (System der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager) and Blatman, who also follow Zamecnik; individual authors cite the affidavits of different KL commandants and point to various sources that do point to the existence of this order, but literally everyone points out that the context meant it couldn't be carried out.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:46 pm

I was going to take a look at Wachsman, see what he said. Thanks.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:08 pm

Thanks, Nick, that's clarifying. Blatman's take - "In any event, evidence of the existence of the order was found after the war in the diaries and memoirs of prisoners and the depositions of SS officers from Dachau. [133] But even if the circulation of the order was limited and several versions were received, its basic principles were unquestionably plain to wide circles of position-holders in the collapsing SS system" - points to the complications: an order issued, not clear how widely it was received, and then continued local decision-making in the heat of the collapse. What you've added is very confirming of Blatman's account. And I take Blatman's phrasing to mean that more than just one or two camps certainly received Himmler's instruction. This was really, what 3+ weeks before the last of the camps was taken? And Himmler's relationship with Hitler, as you point out, was deteriorating through this period. Many camps were evacuated during the final period - but options began to be closed off. Which is partly what IIRC Wachsmann said that the order to evacuate also by the end was difficult to carry out, so partial evacuations, with sick/debilitated prisoners left behind, became common. Your point on Ziereis matches to a T all that I've read.

As you say, and as Jeff-36 and I wrote above, large scale killings, both inside camps and on death marches; vicious brutality, and numerous atrocities were carried out during this complex maneuvering. I will check Wachsmann, like Jeffk, when I'm back home later, just so I'm clearer on this (I don’t recall his saying that a clear general extermination order was issued, what I recall was more focused on evacuations – but I have to check again).
Last edited by Statistical Mechanic on Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:22 pm

I'm out right now, I'll check it when I get back.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:24 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I'm out right now, I'll check it when I get back.

Me too - out and will check when back! LOL - Nick's post makes this clearer for me.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:29 pm

The wife gets a little grouchy if I spend too much time on the phone....:lol:

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:32 pm

sitting at a coffee shop with an iPad . . . I cannot type on my phone for {!#%@} . . . and my wife's at the gym which I got out of 'cuz I broke my foot and it is a long time healing :)
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:49 pm

At an amusement park......they do a "Fright Fest" that the kids love.
Sorry about the foot.
I do my visits to the gym during the week, too lazy to go on the weekends.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:50 pm

Watch out for the scary clowns there!
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeff_36 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:39 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:As you say, and as Jeff-36 and I wrote above, large scale killings, both inside camps and on death marches; vicious brutality, and numerous atrocities were carried out during this complex maneuvering. I will check Wachsmann, like Jeffk, when I'm back home later, just so I'm clearer on this (I don’t recall his saying that a clear general extermination order was issued, what I recall was more focused on evacuations – but I have to check again).



Just so were clear, I was aware that the context of the time period basically ensured that no order of that magnitude could be carried out. I was also ware of contrasting forces attempting to fulfill differing agendas in the face of the imminent defeat (look at the South Tyrol case for a good example of this). What I was insistent on was the existence of a formal order to the effect that no prisoners were to be turned over alive. The behaviors of KL camp commandants in the last days of the war, their converging statements on this matter, and at least a few accounts from inside Hitler's HQ point to this. Remember that there were mass executions of Soviet POW's in Stalags during this time. I always assume that the C&C breakdown was what prevented the order from being implemented, as well as a few commandants realizing that the writing was on the wall.

I commend Dr. Terry for his excellent post, one that vindicates Blatman's thesis, and mine by extension. I have not read KL yet, but The Death Marches is by far one of the better scholarly books I have read on this subject. Certainly far superior than some photographs of old insurance policies or whatever.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:27 am

I think that the April order was given, and went beyond one or two camps, whereas I believe BRoI questions its being given. I think I see more confusion and ambiguity than you, Jeff, but maybe not. So let's try this: I just looked through Wachsmann, another author whose coverage of this no doubt shaped my understanding; Wachsmann says that "In the end, evacuation remained the SS default mode." His take on Hitler's mid-April order to Himmler, in the light of the largely "baseless" rumors of "pillaging and raping" committed by prisoners in Weimar, is that, "livid," Hitler "is said to have instructed Himmler that all KL prisoners who could march had to be forced out during evacuations." Wachsmann then says that, "spurred into action," around 15 April Himmler met with Glücks and other officials and "evidently ordered the complete evacuation of the remaining KL." (p 579)

Then, according to Wachsmann's account, on 18 April Himmler "reiterated his hard line in a telex to Flossenbürg, brushing aside any suggestion of leaving prisoners to the Allies." Wachsmann quotes the telex and says that "Similar instructions appear to have reached other main camps at the time." Describing this order as a continuation of Himmler's hard line described on p 579, Wachsmann says that the reports reaching the Allies from the first liberated camps, on Nazi crimes there, also steeled Himmler on this course. By 20-21 April, the reports compromising Himmler further and undermining how he tried presenting himself to the Allies, Himmler was complaining to representatives of the WJC and threatening not to leave prisoners behind any longer.

Wachsmann then describes how local authorities "did not, or could not, implement Himmler's order to the letter." He says only Neuengamme was completely evacuated whilst some prisoners, invalids, were left behind at Flossenbürg, Sachsenhausen, and Ravensbrück." Concluding, Wachsmann writes, "So not all Camp SS men had understood Himmler's instruction - insofar as it reached them - as an automatic order to march all mobile prisoners and kill the rest." (p 580) Wachsmann then describes further evacuations.
"World peace is certainly an ideal worth striving for; in Hitler's opinion it will be realizable only when one power, the racially best one, has attained complete and uncontested supremacy. That can then provide a sort of world police, seeing to it at the same time that the most valuable race is guaranteed the necessary living space. And if no other way is open to them, the lower races will have to restrict themselves accordingly."

- Rudolf Hess, letter, 1927


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