KLs in spring 1945

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:52 am

Wachsman also mentions the SS not wanting to leave prisoners behind because they considered them a risk to the local population.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:17 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote: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.


Sorry, I'm slowly catching up on what everyone is writing on this thread.
I did want to talk about what you said, especially in regards to 1944.
This "prisoners were not to fall into enemy hands alive" was very unevenly applied. The SS might massacre the prisoners of a camp (Kloogna) while marching the others out on extended "death marches" (Auschwitz) and leave the sick and young behind (this didn't necessarily mean everyone was out of the woods, after the main evacuation the SS returned and massacred a group of French prisoners who moved into the SS dining hall).
Most of the danger in April of 1945 (from what I can tell) is from the guards murdering prisoners on marches or leaving them to die in trains and fields.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:51 am

That is in sync with what I was trying to say previously - but am not sure I've been clear about! LOL At any rate the decodes from early April posted by BRoI came 10 days or so prior to Himmler's order and seem to be on one side of the countervailing forces which Nick mentioned. The Himmler order we're discussing seems to have reached Mauthausen by the middle of the month (Himmler phone call to Ziereis on the 14th).
"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 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:11 am

I'm not sure Himmler even knew what he wanted, on the one hand not wanting to give the prisoners up but on the other hand knowing the prisoners had value as bargaining chips.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeff_36 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:03 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I'm not sure Himmler even knew what he wanted, on the one hand not wanting to give the prisoners up but on the other hand knowing the prisoners had value as bargaining chips.


I think we can divide this into three periods

Late March/early April: Himmler actively uses KL prisoners as bargaining chips, approves of the surrender of Bergen-Belsen.

Mid April: Himmler, upon Hitler's urging, changes the pattern and issues an order to more than a few KL commandants to liquidate the prisoners. I speculate that part of the motivation for this was the fact that his attempted prisoner transfers blew up in his face when the allies saw the state of the inmates who had survived. This order is scantly implemented, likely due to collapse of German Command & Control.

Late April/Early May: Himmler on the run, Hitler dead, the Flensberg Government looking to negotiate a conditional surrender, massive German collapse on all fronts, surrender imminent. Most remaining KL commandants know by this point that the game is up and that following the orders of dead men is pointless. There are still attempts to kill prisoners though, including one attempt on high-value political prisoners by SS troops in South Tyrol that was stopped by the Heer of all people.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:13 am

Jeff_36 wrote:Mid April: Himmler, upon Hitler's urging, changes the pattern and issues an order to more than a few KL commandants to liquidate the prisoners. I speculate that part of the motivation for this was the fact that his attempted prisoner transfers blew up in his face when the allies saw the state of the inmates who had survived. This order is scantly implemented, likely due to collapse of German Command & Control.


Also consider Hitler's reaction when he found out about some of the realeases. Hitler and Himmler's relationship was very strained at this point.

Jeff_36 wrote:Late April/Early May: Himmler on the run, Hitler dead, the Flensberg Government looking to negotiate a conditional surrender, massive German collapse on all fronts, surrender imminent. Most remaining KL commandants know by this point that the game is up and that following the orders of dead men is pointless. There are still attempts to kill prisoners though, including one attempt on high-value political prisoners by SS troops in South Tyrol that was stopped by the Heer of all people.


There were definitely kill orders for certain prisoners, Rascher is a good example of this. Kurt von Schuschnigg stated he saw a list with his name on it, US troops saved him from execution.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:24 pm

Marszałek's protocol of the interrogation of Ziereis (3870-PS, IMT Blue Series, vol XXXIII, p 281, quoted above by BRoI) needs to be re-visited in the light of subsequent posts and especially Nick Terry's post. Keep in mind that Black, mentioned upthread, focused on Kaltenbrunner, not on Himmler.

The interrogation protocol didn't directly mention the phone recording of 14 April of Himmler's instruction to Ziereis, which was recounted by Pike. The investigation protocol did, just the same, refer to a Himmler order but in the context of Kaltenbrunner, on whose role Black casts doubt. The protocol says,
Dem Befehl des Reichsfuehrers Himmler nach, sollte ich alle Haeftlinge im Auftrage des SS-Obergruppenfuehrers Dr. Kaltenbrunner liquidieren, und zwar solltendie Haeftlinge In die Stollen des Werkes Bergkristall in Gusen eingefuehrt werden, sodass nur ein Eingang offen blieb. Hierauf sollte ich den Ein- gang in die Stollen mit irgendeinen Sprengstoff sprengen und somit den Tod der Haeftlinge herbeizufuehren. Ich habe verweigert, diesem Befehl Folge zu leisten.)
(translation from BRoI's post: 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.)
"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 BRoI » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:52 pm

As I mentioned Friday I did obtain Zamecnik's article in Dachauer Hefte, but I'm assuming the moderators wouldn't want me posting it in its entirety and breaching copyright laws, so I sent several posters a copy via PM. If anyone else want a copy please PM me.

I also said Friday:
I hope to be able to locate these Himmler/Beecher telexes of 17 + 18 April 1945, as the British apparently did intercept them!

I was jumping the gun a bit there by assuming the the claimed messages were genuine, but I was basing myself on something I saw in Hinsley et al. British Intelligence in the Second War Vol. III, Part 2 [p.736]:
... orders of the 16 April for the transfer to Dachau at all costs of Jewish prisoners at Flossenberg [sic] in Barvaria. [153]

[...]

153. DEFE 3/573, CX/MSS/C 476 of 19 April, sent to the Commands as DEFE 3/568, KO 794 of 19 April.

Conveniently, these two files can be downloaded free on Kew's website.

Here are the two cited documents:
To Senior SS and Police Commander MAIN, SS Ogruf and General der Pol. Dr. Martin from SS Main Economics Admin Office, AMTSGRUPPE D, ORANIENBURG, signed GLUECKS, SS Gruf. and Gen.Ltn. of the Waffen SS, on 16/4 :-

Subject: FLOSSENBUERG concentration camp.

FLOSSENBUERG has fallen into the enemy's hands. In other cases the enemy has turned part of the prisoners (many of them armed) loose on the civilian population.

Please take the necessary measures from your end and on your responsibility. The Jewish prisoners must at all costs be transferred to Concentration Camp DACHAU.

Image
- UK NA: DEFE 3/753, CX/MSS/C.476

TG 35 £ 35 STRICTLY PERSONAL FOR WILLIAMS WM 30 £ 30 STRICTLY PERSONAL FOR SIBERT LF 90 £ 90 STRICTLY PERSONAL FOR HARRISON SH 33 £ 33 STRICTLY PERSONAL FOR STRONG %

SENIOR SUGAR SUGAR AND POLICE COMMANDER MAIN £ MAIN INFORMED SIXTEENTH THAT FLOSSENBUERG £ FLOSSENBUERG PETER THREE THREE CONCENTRATION CAMP WAS IN ALLIED HANDS, IN OTHER CASES ALLIES HAD TURNED PART OF THE PRISONERS (MANY OF THEM ARMED) LOOSE ON CIVILIAN POPULATION. NECESSARY MESURES TO BE TAKEN. JEWISH PRISONERS MUST AT ALL COSTS BE TRANSFERRED TO CONCENTRATION CAMP DACHAU £ DACHAU (YOKE SEVEN SIX)

Image
- UK NA: DEFE 3/568, KC 794

The intercept message from Gluecks to Benno Martin on 16 April proves that the U.S. forces had already captured Flossenbuerg. Which doesn't bode well for the alleged telegrams of Becher to Himmler [17 April], and Himmler to Becher [18 April] and the hardcopy Becher received on the 19th which was transmogrified into a Himmler order dated the 14 April intended for Dachau.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:23 pm

Or that confusing information was circulating. Wachsmann (p 577) gives the standard date of 23 April for the capture of Flossenbürg. Wachsmann doesn't give a description of the evacuation and capture except to note that our mutual chum Muhsfeldt headed the burial detail for one of the Flossenbürg death marches, a role in his wheelhouse.

According to Blatman, as of 14 April there remained at Flossenbürg 45,800 prisoners (p 172). He says that preparations for evacuation began on the 15th and prisoners were called to the parade ground that day, Jews assembling separately. The Jews were evacuated, by train, on the 16th. Another 2000 Flossenbürg prisoners, according to Blatman, left the camp on 17 April. Blatman says (p 174) that the Himmler message (no prisoners to fall into enemy hands) was received by Koegel on the 18th and that
On April 19 Koegel convened a meeting of all the camp staff. Immediately afterward, the hasty evacuation of some 25,000 to 30,000 inmates began
toward Dachau. Then Blatman says that on the 23rd US troops found the 1,527 sick prisoners left behind when they entered Flossenbürg. An inference here is that Wachsmann's point, cited upthread, about how Himmler's message was received and understood, is pertinent.

This description contradicts capture of the Flossenbürg camp on 16 April. I will look more carefully through this later today. What do US Army records say (I do not have a book on Flossenbürg)? Is there other evidence you have supporting capture of the camp on 16 April?
"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 BRoI » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:11 pm

Hinsely et al. also mention [p.736] the April 6th decode I posted the other day from Himmler to Franz Ziereis.

They interpreted it differently; claiming that this short message shows Himmler had ordered the inclusion of Mauthausen prisoners in the withdrawal.

there were two Police decrypts in April 1945 which showed that Himmler had ordered the inclusion of prisoners at Mauthausen in the general German withdrawal and the some action was contemplated in which Germans as well as foreigners were to be subjected to 'special treatment'. [157]

[...]

157. GPD 4068/10, 4085/221.


I could get way off topic here addressing the other points and the second decode he cites here, but it's not really relevant to this discussion at this moment. I'm just posting this to show that they interpreted the message differently when writing their lengthy study.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby BRoI » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:13 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Is there other evidence you have supporting capture of the camp on 16 April?

Nope.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:22 pm

This, this and this seem to buttress the accounts saying that the camp was captured a week after the Glücks to Martin message of the 16th presumed. Again, I don't think I have great sources on this - but I'd want to see something showing where Blatman got it wrong. Until then, I think the conclusion stated in the Glücks message is "noise" rather than signal - not proof against Blatman's chronology.
"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 nickterry » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:37 pm

Stephen Tyas and Peter Witte, Himmler's Diary 1945, covers this entire phase in considerable depth and cite the Decodes posted up-thread by BRoI, as might be expected from a work co-authored by Tyas.

They attribute the no prisoners falling alive into enemy hands order to April 14 (and note that it could have been April 18 in a footnote), and follow Orth plus other authors in citing Hoess, Pister, Pauly and (less directly relevant - confirming part of Hoess's testimony) Suhren on Himmler's apparent change of mind as a result of the early April liberations. Further on they also cite Kurt Becher re a meeting of April 15 - his testimony points to the same wording/sentiments

They cite Orth (System pp.310-1) for her reconstruction of a meeting on 15 or 16 April 1945 in Oranienburg attended by Gluecks, Hoess and Pister, Kaindl and Hoppe, possibly also Pohl; the meeting is based on the testimonies of the same set of KL commandant/WVHA witnesses but with a few additions; e.g. Pister's affidavit NO-254 is used in both cases, whereas Hoppe's interrogation was from 29.12.53 during his investigation by the West Germans.

Tyas/Witte cite the text of the order from TNA WO 309/217, from UNWCC (Research Office), Summary of Information No. 30, 30 June 1945, along with Schnabel, Macht ohne Moral, p.203 (which reproduces only the first two sentences and omits the line about Buchenwald)

Orth presents this last phase as ultimately aiming for evacuations - the southern route and the northern route (two separate sections), which tied into the 'Alpenfestung' and 'Festung Nord' conceptions (p.328ff), these are reflected in a number of sources and were 'real' to the extent that the Nazi regime was capable of rational thinking by mid-April 1945; ambitions that were overtaken by events.

The evidence cited in Tyas/Witte fits with this; there are a plethora of telegrams and decodes through April 1945 regarding the evacuation of KZs, adjusting and reacting to the changed military situation, while the negotiations with the Swiss, Swedes and others are also documented or substantiated by immediate postwar testimonies (eg Schellenberg apropos negotiations with Musy).

Zamecnik's article (thanks, btw, for sharing that around) is cited by everyone. Both Tyas/Witte as well as Orth note that the original of the order has not been found. But the reconstruction from the former inmate sources who published the order, together with the corroboration of multiple SS witnesses regarding a change of policy after the liberation of Buchenwald, confirms it existed - yet it was clearly not carried out on a systematic basis.

So far I've not seen any convincing arguments for a fabrication. The order was evidently not intercepted by Bletchley Park, otherwise Tyas would surely have cited it (since he knows those files intimately). That means relatively little, since there are a number of reasons why it might not have been intercepted or decoded, and so is insufficient to cast doubt on the pile of evidence on the other side.

The Gluecks to HSSPF Martin telex from 16 April 1945 is also not contrary evidence, since the primary aim was evacuation, as stated in the Himmler order, and Gluecks was writing to a different branch of the SS with different responsibilities - an HSSPF rather than a KL commandant. For Himmler to send a direct order to KL commandants and add a twist, overriding or reinforcing a parallel order from lower down the chain of command, is entirely unsurprising, and dare I say it not untypical for how Himmler operated.

Zamecnik's reconstruction is convincing. There are other now lost documents which have been reconstructed purely from oral testimonies - in this case we have enough translations to be sure there was an original text. Medievalists do this sort of thing all the time.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby nickterry » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:01 pm

Some more reflections: the idea that manpower should not fall into enemy hands and that killing the manpower was one way of achieving that goal was already being bandied around in 1943 by Wehrmacht formations during the retreats to the Dnieper river/Panther Line. This was never enshrined in formal orders, but corps-level Denkschriften proposed on the one hand abandoning the unfit and on the other killing military-age males since they would if left behind be instantly recruited into the Red Army.

Subsequent evacuations in 1944-45 indicate a pattern of killings of Marschunfaehige or even larger scale massacres, both in prisons as well as KL-Aussenlager. Evacuation remained the primary goal; depending on the amount of time left then some killings might take place, or they might not, which reflects the increasingly sprawling and decentralised structure of the KZ system along with the varying levels of commitment displayed by different groups of Lager-SS and the guard forces - many of whom were former Wehrmacht garrison troops and hardly "SS" by midwar standards, although some of these newer recruits did act out according to stereotype. Killings on evacuation marches - the death marches - were endemic, widespread and left enough corpses across Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany that they are irrefutable.

It's striking that the really big massacres - Palmnicken, Sonnenburg, Lieberose, Gardelegen - took place before Himmler's April 1945 order. There are smaller massacres during Aussenlager evacuations after mid-April, but the order was not going to have as much effect when authority and power was draining away from virtually every agency in the Reich during the last three weeks of its existence.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:16 pm

Thanks, Nick Terry. I now have a great source on this. What you write, of course, is very confirming of Wachsmann, who as noted upthread hits evacuation very hard, and Blatman. Appreciate your taking the time to summarize and clarify all this.
"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 BRoI » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:58 pm

nickterry wrote:Zamecnik's reconstruction is convincing. There are other now lost documents which have been reconstructed purely from oral testimonies - in this case we have enough translations to be sure there was an original text. Medievalists do this sort of thing all the time.


Sure, but we're not talking about a text written a millennia ago, but a document the US Seventh Army was reported by the AP and UP in newspapers across the US to be in possession of in early May 1945 [several days after the alleged order had been quoted in a Yugoslavian and a Polish publication].

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:25 pm

BRoI wrote:
nickterry wrote:Zamecnik's reconstruction is convincing. There are other now lost documents which have been reconstructed purely from oral testimonies - in this case we have enough translations to be sure there was an original text. Medievalists do this sort of thing all the time.


Sure, but we're not talking about a text written a millennia ago, but a document the US Seventh Army was reported by the AP and UP in newspapers across the US to be in possession of in early May 1945 [several days after the alleged order had been quoted in a Yugoslavian and a Polish publication].

Image


That headline is very misleading.

The reality is it matches what we are seeing down the line, orders for the evacuation, not killing, of the prisoners.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby nickterry » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:07 pm

BRoI wrote:
nickterry wrote:Zamecnik's reconstruction is convincing. There are other now lost documents which have been reconstructed purely from oral testimonies - in this case we have enough translations to be sure there was an original text. Medievalists do this sort of thing all the time.


Sure, but we're not talking about a text written a millennia ago, but a document the US Seventh Army was reported by the AP and UP in newspapers across the US to be in possession of in early May 1945 [several days after the alleged order had been quoted in a Yugoslavian and a Polish publication


But we are talking about a document whose original is now apparently lost. That's why this is reminiscent of what medievalists do. Zamecnik went out of his way to reconstruct a missing original, which is a quintessentially historical thing to do, inferring from traces to the underlying point of origin causing the traces. This is why he concludes that "Himmlers Befehl kann als nachgewiesen gelten".

The contemporary newspaper report via Associated Press (ending up in the NYT on 7.5.45 as well as your newspaper) is another piece of evidence to add to the pile:

    Hauptsturmfuehrer Schwarz's report of 24 April 1945, translated into English and held at the Dachau Museum archive, as cited by Wachsmann and Zamecnik
    a Slovenian version of Schwarz's report of 24 April 1845, as discovered by Zamecnik 1985
    Kupfer-Koberwitz's diary entry from 1 May 1945, cited by Zamecnik 1985 and Blatman
    The Polish version from after 3.5.45, as cited by Zamecnik 1985
    The Slovenian version, of 3.5.45, as cited by Zamecnik 1985
    The Czech version, of 5.5.45, as cited by Zamecnik 1985
    UNWCC summary of 30 June 1945, as cited by Tyas/Witte

Maybe NARA files can clarify whether the US Army war crimes investigators simply had a copy from one of the other sources, or if they preserved something closer to the original - Zamecnik 1985 says as much on p.228. (Note that while the historians who have looked at this phase we've been citing have used some US files, none are American and none went through all possible nooks and crannies to find everything they might have done in NARA. My guess is further research would find other transcriptions and translations rather than a true original.)

But for the time being, the original is lost. Not a unique situation even for 20th Century materials - there are other examples of sources which are only known via translation, such as the 2nd Franke-Gricksch report, nobody has yet found the German original, but the translation is still usable. But it's vastly more common for older manuscript sources to survive in redacted, transcribed form, that's why I mentioned that medievalists face this situation all the time.

In this case we have - adding in the AP report - at least eight sources from April to June 1945 that present the order, with evident variations, but that's to be expected when one is looking at transcriptions/translations. The diary entry by Kupfer-Koberwitz, as well as Zamecnik 1985's account of how news of the order spread through Dachau after liberation, pinpoints the discovery to literally within two days of liberation.

The inclusion in Schwarz's longer account is really the best evidence for the authenticity of the source - Wachsmann rightly took a look when he cited this in KL, and if someone was reinvestigating this phase, then they should go to the Dachau Museum to look at the source as a whole. Hopefully it will be published in one of the final volumes of Verfolgung und Ermordung der europaeischen Juden in full, as it seems to be a very good candidate for that.

I wish that several authors had made it slightly clearer that the original is lost, because that does make a difference. But most of them say so somewhere, or they use probabilistic language to convey the uncertainties (eg over dating), which has the same effect. If new evidence came to light showing that someone had severely monkeyed with Schwarz's report, then that would be the kind of evidence needed to turn the possibility of liberated-inmate-fabrication into a probability or certainty.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:22 pm

My second thought reading the UP story, since it referred to Dachau, was that the 7th Army had possibly gotten hold of the paper mentioned by Kupfer-Koberwitz (Dachauer Tagebuecher, p 455) but, as you point out, there are other possibilities.

Oddly enough, in the light of your comment on clarity in the secondary literature, my notes from Blatman say that there was no original preserved but a number of references from different sources to the order. As I read the thread, I began to doubt myself on that (the NY Times 2007 story on the note held by the ITS).
"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 nickterry » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:32 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:My second thought reading the UP story, since it referred to Dachau, was that the 7th Army had possibly gotten hold of the paper mentioned by Kupfer-Koberwitz (Dachauer Tagebuecher, p 455) but, as you point out, there are other possibilities.

Oddly enough, in the light of your comment on clarity in the secondary literature, my notes from Blatman say that there was no original preserved but a number of references from different sources to the order. As I read the thread, I began to doubt myself on that (the NY Times 2007 story on the note held by the ITS).


Arolsen files would be another place to look for something closer to the original. I'd have thought that the Dachau Museum would have visited NARA to make copies of US files, so my feeling is the original is truly lost, but all it would take is for a document to end up in 7th Army files somewhere other than the obvious places, and it could be overlooked. (Or for someone to grab the doc as a souvenir.)

Note that Zamecnik 1985 cites Teodor Musiol's Dachau, p.271, which is the endnote to the chapter on the final days (I have Musiol as well), and which says that Schwarz sold a transcription (odpis) of his report to inmates for 10,000 Marks, basing this on a Polish inmate's testimony from the 1960s - i.e. another source on provenance.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby scrmbldggs » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:02 pm

Granted, I'm not well versed with all this, but, if I may, would like to make mention of this by nickterry:

a Slovenian version of Schwarz's report of 24 April 1845, as discovered by Zamecnik 1985

and which would be quite an early date. :-P (This other one also seems a bit early, but really don't know anything about it... except that there was, AFAIK, a radiogram Himmler received from 4.4.45?)
The Slovenian version, of 3.4.45, as cited by Zamecnik 1985
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=27435&p=540897#p540892
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby nickterry » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:17 pm

scrmbldggs wrote:Granted, I'm not well versed with all this, but, if I may, would like to make mention of this by nickterry:

a Slovenian version of Schwarz's report of 24 April 1845, as discovered by Zamecnik 1985

and which would be quite an early date. :-P (This other one also seems a bit early, but really don't know anything about it... except that there was, AFAIK, a radiogram Himmler received from 4.4.45?)
The Slovenian version, of 3.4.45, as cited by Zamecnik 1985
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=27435&p=540897#p540892


Typos and missing details., sorry

The Slovenian newspaper of 3 MAY 1945 was followed by a fuller publication of Schwarz's report of 24 April 1945 - the Slovenian translation of the full Schwarz report appeared on 27 May 1945 (Zamecnik 1985 p.227).

The original of Schwarz's report would be a Nazi document dated 24 April 1945; that original is currently lost, but there are two separate translations of it, one into English, the other into Slovenian.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:42 pm

Members of the 97th Infantry, like Blatman and members of the 90th Infantry, are under the impression that US military units captured Flossenbürg on 23 April 1945, not by 16 April 1945.

Glücks' apparent misunderstanding on the 16th may have arisen from the situation at WVHA headquarters at the time he sent his message referencing Flossenbürg. Blatman and Wachsmann describe the utter collapse of communications across Reich leadership including the camp authorities at this juncture, Blatman writing that local SS "could expect no more guidance from their superiors." He also observes that Pohl fled his office in mid-April and that by the 20th or 21st all the staff of WVHA office D, including Glücks, had abandoned the offices. The WVHA headquarters may even have been bombed on the 16th - a time line posted at AHF says that on 16 April 1945 the WVHA offices at Oranienburg were bombed and that "On same day, Glücks and his wife travelled to Ravensbrück by car driven by his chauffeur (named either Piper or Piber)." (IIRC Glücks' movements and final fate after this are not clear; I will try tracking this down later.)

Glücks' message of the 16th still doesn't seem to "prove" anything about the state prevailing at Flossenbürg on that day - and there are rather obvious reasons for why Glücks might have been mistaken about that sort of information at the time.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby BRoI » Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:08 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:Image
That headline is very misleading.

The reality is it matches what we are seeing down the line, orders for the evacuation, not killing, of the prisoners.

It's not misleading at all; it accurately reflects what the alleged Himmler order says: "No prisoners shall be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy".

How can Himmler have ordered the complete evacuation of Dachau on the 14th April if on the 16th Gluecks ordered that Jewish prisoners be evacuated to Dachau? Even if we accept Zamecnik's claim that the order was actually dated the 18th, where were the Dachau prisoners supposed to have been evacuate to?

Furthermore, according to Harold Marcuse in Legacies of Dachau, there were other plans to kill all Dachau inmates that'd we're expected to take seriously:
The Dachau SS drew up a plan for the aerial bombardment of the camp. [p.48]
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:39 am

Not to pick nits, but it was a pain in the ass trying to find this reference in Marcuse - it's on p 49. Footnoted to prisoner sources and Berben with the caveat that what was mentioned by prisoners and described by Berben at this time reflected "conflicting orders and plans."

Berben gives reasons an aerial bombardment was out of the question (p 180), says that he cannot reconstruct the confusing welter of orders in part because documents no longer exist (p 182), concludes that some extermination order did exist (p 182), reviews the Eberstein's IMT testimony against Giesler (pp 182-183; "Giesler said to' me that he, as Reich Defense Commissioner, would see to it that the camp would be bombed to bits by our own forces. I told him that I con- sidered it impossible that any German Air Force commander would be willing to do this. Then Giesler said he would see to it that something would be put into the soup of the prisoners. That is, he threatened to poison them." - IMT, Blue Series, XX, p 307), and says that when he asked Himmler for direction, Himmler told him to surrender the camp (p 183; "I sent a teletype inquiry to the Inspector of Concentration Camps and asked on my own initiative for a speedy decision by Himmler as to what was to be done with the prisoners in case the American troops approached. Shortly afterward the news came that the camps were to be surrendered as a whole to the enemy. I showed that to Giesler. He was very indignant because I had frustrated his plans" - IMT, Blue Series, XX, p 307), and discusses the Gerdes-Kaltenbrunner charges (which we saw upthread called into doubt by Peter Black in his biography of Kaltenbrunner) (p 183).

We're asked to read all this critically and draw conclusions, not to take this or that sentence out of context as the last word. Marcuse's account, read against others, is among those that led me to conclude that there wasn't a general liquidation plan decreed by Himmler or other SS officials but instead fluid consideration of various criminal/inhumane options, with mostly local decisions as described previously in this thread.
"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."

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby BRoI » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:12 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Not to pick nits, but it was a pain in the ass trying to find this reference in Marcuse - it's on p 49.


Image
Admittedly I was technically mistaken to state page 48 instead of 49, but I not prepared to accept it was "a pain in the ass trying to find this reference in Marcuse". The paragraph it's in starts on page 48.

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Footnoted to prisoner sources and Berben with the caveat that the plans mentioned by prisoners and described by Berben at this time reflected "conflicting orders and plans."

Berben gives reasons an aerial bombardment was out of the question (p 180), says that he cannot reconstruct the confusing welter of orders in part because documents no longer exist (p 182), concludes that some extermination order did exist (p 182), reviews the Eberstein's IMT testimony against Giesler (pp 182-183; "Giesler said to' me that he, as Reich Defense Commissioner, would see to it that the camp would be bombed to bits by our own forces. I told him that I con- sidered it impossible that any German Air Force commander would be willing to do this. Then Giesler said he would see to it that something would be put into the soup of the prisoners. That is, he threatened to poison them." - IMT, Blue Series, XX, p 307), and says that when he asked Himmler for direction, Himmler told him to surrender the camp (p 183; "I sent a teletype inquiry to the Inspector of Concentration Camps and asked on my own initiative for a speedy decision by Himmler as to what was to be done with the prisoners in case the American troops approached. Shortly afterward the news came that the camps were to be surrendered as a whole to the enemy. I showed that to Giesler. He was very indignant because I had frustrated his plans" - IMT, Blue Series, XX, p 307), and discusses the Gerdes-Kaltenbrunner charges (which we saw upthread called into doubt by Peter Black in his biography of Kaltenbrunner) (p 183).

We're asked to read all this critically and draw conclusions, not to take this or that sentence out of context as the last word. Marcuse's account, read against others, is among those that led me to conclude that there wasn't a general liquidation plan decreed by Himmler or other SS officials but instead fluid consideration of various criminal/inhumane options, with mostly local decisions as described previously in this thread.


My quotation from the main body of Marcuse's text is not "out of context" just because in his endnote on 416 Marcuse states "For an analysis of the conflicting orders and plans of the responsible Nazis authorities, see Paul Berben, Dachau..."

Seeing as you've accused me of quoting out of context, I'm compelled to response that nowhere does Marcuse say anything along the lines of "We're asked to read all this critically and draw conclusions". Marcuse does not present his readers with any reason to doubt his assertion that the SS planned to have Dachau bombed by the Luftwaffe.

Thanks for the details of the Eberstein testimony, which is highly contradictory to the alleged Himmler order[s] that prisoners should not be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy alive.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:43 pm

BRoI wrote:Admittedly I was technically mistaken to state page 48 instead of 49, but I not prepared to accept it was "a pain in the ass trying to find this reference in Marcuse". The paragraph it's in starts on page 48.

I read p 48 about 4x. Doubting myself each time, as I know you're careful. It got boring. But it is true, I survived and did not suffer terribly. :)

BRoI wrote:Seeing as you've accused me of quoting out of context, I'm compelled to response that nowhere does Marcuse say anything along the lines of "We're asked to read all this critically and draw conclusions".

No, he doesn't, that was my editorializing.

BRoI wrote:Marcuse does not present his readers with any reason to doubt his assertion that the SS planned to have Dachau bombed by the Luftwaffe.

But his footnote exists, cites two prisoners, Haulot and Rost; Berben (as summarized above); and Churchill, who was IIRC also a prisoner. And I focused on how I took Marcuse's account given this and alongside others.

BRoI wrote:Thanks for the details of the Eberstein testimony, which is highly contradictory to the alleged Himmler order[s] that prisoners should not be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy alive.

I do not disagree and have been consistent in arguing against a claim that there were clear, effective orders for mass liquidation of prisoners in the remaining camps - the existence of the Himmler order IMO isn't incompatible with that view.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:29 pm

BRoI wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Image
That headline is very misleading.

The reality is it matches what we are seeing down the line, orders for the evacuation, not killing, of the prisoners.

It's not misleading at all; it accurately reflects what the alleged Himmler order says: "No prisoners shall be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy".

How can Himmler have ordered the complete evacuation of Dachau on the 14th April if on the 16th Gluecks ordered that Jewish prisoners be evacuated to Dachau? Even if we accept Zamecnik's claim that the order was actually dated the 18th, where were the Dachau prisoners supposed to have been evacuate to?

Furthermore, according to Harold Marcuse in Legacies of Dachau, there were other plans to kill all Dachau inmates that'd we're expected to take seriously:
The Dachau SS drew up a plan for the aerial bombardment of the camp. [p.48]


The headline says "Wanted Dachau Inmates Killed," Himmler stated in the article that the inmates were to be evacuated (not killed) though it does state that no prisoners were to fall into enemy hands alive.

I was criticizing the article, not that you posted it.

I find it rather pathetic that the SS drew up plans to bombard the camp, my question is, with what?

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Xcalibur » Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:55 pm

I find it rather pathetic that the SS drew up plans to bombard the camp, my question is, with what?



It certainly wouldn't be a stand-alone example of an order issued from on high flying in the face of the reality at that stage of the war.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:12 am

Xcalibur wrote:
I find it rather pathetic that the SS drew up plans to bombard the camp, my question is, with what?



It certainly wouldn't be a stand-alone example of an order issued from on high flying in the face of the reality at that stage of the war.


Very true.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Balsamo » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:16 am

Sorry for not having the time to get into this subject more deeply.

So, rabbit, i did not look at your files.

But something came up to my mind. I remember that Brayard - in his controversial book we have discussed - speak about a passage in Goebbles diary which states, if i remember correctly, broadly that there would never be a revolution in Germany if appropriate measures are adopted against the enemies of the regime, and mentioning a formal order given by Hitler to Himmler that if the situation would reach a critical point, Himmler's duty would be to kill the criminals of the KL so that they would not be fall upon the German population.

I don't have the exact quote, but if my memory is ok, i think the quote is from the year 1942 or so. ( i will try to check it out). If that is the case, then this would be yet another of those "Führer's wish", long planned...just in case.
Note that the terms "criminals" is not defined.

This might suggest that there could or should have existed such an order, but that would have been a Hitler's order. But then, by april 1945, most of the Nazis elite - outside the Bunker, at least - were clearly in what could be called a "betrayal mood", so it is not evident that even if such an order had been given to Himmler, he would have complied with it.

I did not find the time to get deeply in the subject, and my internet being {!#%@}, still could not download the interception of German communication.

But my attention was caught by one of the telegram order mentioned by Zamecnik, page 220 about Dachau, saying;
" Lager Evakuieren, Revier bleibt, Alles liquidieren, Himmler"

Just like Zamecnick, my first thought was about the term "alles" which normally refers to Things and not persons (it would be "Alle").

It is a tough subject indeed, and i hope to be able to dig into it.
Thanks for this very interesting topic and the excellent contributions, mine is quite poor, but i post it to show that i am interested... ;)

I have read Michel de Bouard two articles on mathausen a couple of weeks ago...i will check my notes on them...

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:18 am

Huh, I forgot about that.
Hhhhhmmmm, I need to pull out Wachsman again....

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Balsamo » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:13 pm

Ok, Just checked the article on Mauthausen from Michel de Bouard, published in Revue d'Histoire de la Deuxieme guerre mondiale, 16, 1954, pp 39-80.

His description of the last months - as i remembered it - does not fit with a global execution order. According to him, page 74:
by february march 45, Zereis gave special orders that Jewish inmates had to be treated better, they were given more comfortable beds in the Sanitätslager.
By march 45, Red Cross parcels were back and distributed, a distribution that "never took place before".
Early April 45, Bouard tells, the archives were burned. By the same time, "it was believed ("On crut savoir") that some Norwegian Inmates had been surrendered to the Swedish Red Cross". Then on Saturday 21st of April, a column of white trucks bearing the red cross were seen closed to the Sanitätslager, and French, Belgian and Dutch women were called up...they left, along with 72 men of the same nationalities, on the Sunday at noon.
During the night of monday 23 and Tuesday 24, a new convoy (Red cross) convoy took all the French and Belgians from block 1 to 15, except those working on "night Kommandos".

Now i am quoting, translation mine:
" Finally, on the saturday 28th, the last French, belgian, Dutch (Inmates) left the camp with a third transport.
Was left the Sanitätslager and the quarantine blocks(...) the last routes to Switzerland hand been cut off by the end of April. The Red Cross could not repatriate them."


Bouard then writes about the International Organization of the Resistance within the camp that prepared itself for three probable outcome: Massive poisoning through the soup served, parachuting of allies troops around the camp, evacuation of the Hafltinge, by foot, to the Austrian mountains, or to Gusen where a extermination through gassing could be attempted. (page 76). The organization had prepared itself. By the end of April, the Standartenführer Zereis transferred his command of KL Mauthausen to Hauptman Kern, of the Supo of Vienna. Right away, the "Organization" sent a delegation of two members of the International Committee to him, Doctor Durmeyer and Hans Marsalek; they obtain from him that no SS guards would enter the inner camp.
A few days later, the SS left the camp, and on the 5th of May, the Americans arrived.

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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby BRoI » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:41 pm

Here's another message intercepted by the British which suggests the alleged mid-April Himmler orders that KL prisoners should all be killed [in one way or another] are simply fabrications:

A message from Keitel dated 5th May 1945 stating that Himmler has ordered that KL prisoners be handed over to the Allies:

No.010012 dated 5/5 from Che[i]f OKW signed KEITEL: —
Subject: Treatmen of PWs.

In agreement with Reichsfuehrer SS, the following is ordered: —

All PWs, foreign workers and persons detained in concentration camps are to be handed over to the enemy under a small guard when areas are evacuated. They may no longer be brought back nor may camps be moved. All orders to the contrary are hereby cancelled.

Image

- UK NA: DEFE 3/573, CX/MSS/C.530



Part of an order issued two days earlier was also decoded by the British:

..... (Some lines torn off) .....

Subject: Measures for the bringing back of personnel.

In agreement with the Chief of the Security Police and the security services, the following orders, in connection with above, are issued for the bringing back of personnel in the military and police areas of command.

(I) In the event of a menacing onslaught of the western enemy the following are to be handed over to the enemy.

(A) Those elements of troops allied to us who are neither employed in fighting nor intended to be so employed.

(B) Foreign workers no longer required.

(C) Soviet Russian P/W.

(D) Other P/W with the exception of those British, American and French P/W who are to be brought along according to special orders under suitable escort, which is to prevent these specified classes of persons from dispersing.

(II) In case of a menacing onslaught by the eastern enemy, the same rules will apply in principle, with the following exception:

If it can be guaranteed that they will be brought back in a formed body under orderly escort, members of forces allied to us as well as those young soldiers fit for active service among the Soviet P/W, are to be transported away, but with the sole object of delivering them by the (fair indications shortest possible) way to the western enemy.

(III) The bringing back of prisoners by the transport columns of the International Red Cross, under agreement for exchange, will not be subject to any limitation by the foregoing decisions.

(IV) In those areas which, in the course of the sighting (smudge) evacuated by the German troops ......

(Rest torn off.)

Image
Image
- UK NA: DEFE 3/573, CX/MSS/C.531
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:16 pm

UK NA: DEFE 3/573, CX/MSS/C.530: except the message is a couple weeks later, in a fluid context, and says explicitly, without however specifying in detail, "All orders to the contrary are hereby cancelled."
"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 BRoI » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:35 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:UK NA: DEFE 3/573, CX/MSS/C.530: except the message is a couple weeks later, in a fluid context, and says explicitly, without however specifying in detail, "All orders to the contrary are hereby cancelled."


Those orders being the ones in the subsequently quoted message of May 3rd, which were not about e.g. drown all your prisoners in the North Sea.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:37 pm

BRoI wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:UK NA: DEFE 3/573, CX/MSS/C.530: except the message is a couple weeks later, in a fluid context, and says explicitly, without however specifying in detail, "All orders to the contrary are hereby cancelled."


Those orders being the ones in the subsequently quoted message of May 3rd, which were not about e.g. drown all your prisoners in the North Sea.

Agree on North Sea (as I did at outset LOL) but not that these messages suggest the mid-April order is a fabrication.
"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 BRoI » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:15 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Agree on North Sea (as I did at outset LOL) but not that these messages suggest the mid-April order is a fabrication.


There's *evidence* of the North Sea drowning order:

Image
Image
UK NA: WO 309/373

How can you justify calling the mid-April *drown 'em in the North Sea* order a fabrication but insist the others—for which there's even less evidence—are genuine?

Unbeknown to atrocity-mongering liberated prisoners and even British War Crimes investigators, was the fact that the British had intercepted numerous messages regarding Himmler's orders for the fate of KL inmates in the final weeks of the war in Europe. So far I've neither learnt of or found any message which substantiates in anyway the alleged Himmler order[s] of April 14th [or maybe the 18th, or even the 19th] that no KL prisoners [or maybe just Dachau's, or/and Flossenbuerg's, or Mauthausen's, or Neuengamme's, or Sachsenhausen's] should fall into the hands of the allies alive.

The fact that the alleged Himmler order[s] are contradicted by every applicable message the British intercepted, and the fact the alleged order has disappeared and no one is even sure of its original German text, strongly suggest that the alleged order was just a fabrication by recently liberated prisoners.
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Re: KLs in spring 1945

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:26 pm

Probably on account of a piss-poor memory or actually not knowing Kaindl's testimony. I recalled Blatman doubting that Himmler's mid-April's order had to do with the drowning . . . I will check later. My main recollection on this is a lack of resolute and consistent decisions/orders, shifts in thinking about how to manage, and plans/counter-plans, with a lot of local decisionmaking, which locals postwar used the Himmler order to "explain." Maybe I am overgeneralizing to "rule out" a specific order . . . my reaction to Jeff_36's OP was that not clear, valid, general order for liquidating the prisoners "governed" the period April-May 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: KLs in spring 1945

Postby BRoI » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:45 pm

Gerald Draper claims Himmler issued the order considerably earlier than mid-April 1944:

Draper wrote:MULLER's order seems to have been the logical sequence of the earlier order issued by HIMMLER sometime about Christmas 1943 to the effect that no political internee of a concentration camp should be allowed to fall into the hands of the Allies alive.
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