Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

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BRoI
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Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby BRoI » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:24 pm

I thought I'd start compiling claims of gassings at these camps. Feel free to add relevant contributions.

First up is a lengthy excerpt from a self-published book, by hobby historians I believe, based on some excellent archival sleuthing.

This excerpt is also applicable to the "KLs in spring 1945" thread as it cites a 03.05.45 message sent to General Bradley amongst others advising that the nazis planned to kill all the prisoners in the Gusen and other Mauthausen subcamps.

In mid-April 1945, three American POWs (Willard Elliot, Olin Brown, and Stanley Vaugn) were being marched from Stalag XV II-B near Krems, Austria through Mauthausen and then St. Georgen. All three report Hungarian Jews being shot by SS 587 Vaughn recalls, "While we were marching along the road near Mauthausen and St. Georgen we passed a group of about 800 Hungarian Jewish Political prisoners who were being marched in the opposite direction along the road. These prisoners were in horrible condition. They were very weak from starvation; their clothes were in rags, and only about one in ten had shoes. They were dressed in black with a yellow star and the word "Jew" over their breasts. As we passed this group of Jewish political prisoners, I saw some of our men throw cigarettes to them. The Jews went crazy to get these cigarettes and their German guards clubbed them to prevent them from picking them up. I saw the bodies of at least fourteen who had been shot and killed. They had been shot in the head and their bodies lay uncovered at the side of the road." [588]

Hungarian Jews working on Vienna's fortifications and in factories there were also marched toward Mauthausen and kept in tents outside the fortress, swelling the number of inmates awaiting liberation by 8,500 - although three thousand would be corpses by the end of April. [589] At Gusen I, Victor Kielich recalls:

"The thousands of prisoners streaming into the Gusen camps in early 1945 from other camps in Austria and from as far away as Auschwitz had little chance of survival. The SS could hardly feed the 23 to 25,000 or so regular Gusen prisoners. Nor could the crematorium cope with the influx of corpses. Pile upon pile of naked bodies lay around the crematorium barracks. At the beginning of April 1945 Camp Commandant Fritz Seidler ordered Barracks-Chiefs Amelung and Liesberg, and Hospital Capo Sommer to execute 700 sick people from the camp hospital by gassing them in Barracks 31 at Gusen I." [590]


This gassing at Gusen I is well documented. Survivor Marius Colin describes it in Exhibit 26 of US Army Major Eugene Cohen's "Report of Investigation of Alleged War Crimes Mauthausen - Gusen - Ebensee." [591] But there are reports of gassings at Gusen II as well. To the end, the SS continued to select only the best "human material." At Gusen II Martin Lax was returning to the hospital barracks from an open air shower (given the prisoners there to counter the threat of typhus) when the tall intern and a committee of SS men stopped him. While others were directed to enter, Lax was sent to another barracks. Hearing screams that night, Lax looked out to see the SS shooting prisoners trying to escape from the windows of the gas-filled hospital barracks. The next day he and five to seven thousand others were marched from CC Gusen II to CC Gunskirchen, another subcamp of Mauthausen/ Gusen. [592] CC Gusen inmate Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso was also sent to Gunskirchen to work in the construction of that new concentration camp. [593] The 71st Infantry Division, Third US Army would arrive, without prior warning, on 4 May. [594]

Image

CC Mauthausen and Gusen I survivor Pierre Serge Choumoff recalls that "800 other inmates were beaten to death in Gusen II. We heard them crying in the night and saw their broken bodies brought to Gusen I to be burned in the Crematorium." [595] Reports of attempted gassings ending in brutal murders with axes are confirmed by two Czech inmates who left CC Mauthausen on April 24 with the ICRC. Their 3 May report, which was forwarded to SHAEF G-5 states, "On the 23rd of April during the extermination of a group of about 100 people by gas, the gas supply ran short and the partially gassed victims were killed by SS men who finished the job using axes." [596] Along with many cases of typhus and "great shortages of medical supplies," the Czech survivors also report:

"At the beginning of April several transports of deportees arrived in the camp and they were exterminated in the gas chambers. On the 22" of April the order was given by the camp commandant to exterminate, in the gas chambers, a further 7,000 inmates and it was the intention to exterminate the remaining inmates before liberation so as to cover all traces of criminal activities." [597]


Inside Gusen II, Littner's civilian foreman was ordered by the SS to select half of the welding command to "go to Switzerland." Littner, disappointed that he was not selected, questioned his supervisor, who assured him he had made the selections "at random."

"My supervisor thought seriously for a while, then said, "You know the existing situation here at Gusen II, but you don't know the situation in the place where the Jews selected are going, do you?" Not really convinced he had done me a favor, I thanked him and left. After the liberation, I heard from Austrian farmers whose fields were along the Danube that barges were dumping corpses in the river. I heard that Jews were thrown below deck, sealed into a small area, gassed and then thrown in the river." [598]


The presence of barges intended for mass murder was confirmed by a Colonel Guivante de St. Gast, who left CC Mauthausen on 22 April, in a phone call received by Wing Commander Dehn of the SHAEF Mission France on 3 May. [599] That same day, Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces, cabled Bradley and Devers as well as the entire SHAEF Division Commands (G-3 included) quoting almost verbatim the transcript of the phone conversation between St. Gast and Dehn and referencing cable FWD-19395 from 18 April 1945:

"There are satellite camps at Gusen, Sement [sic], Linz, Wells [sic], Loeblepass [sic], containing 80,000 PWs and political deportees of mixed nationality, including women. He [French survivor de Gast] stated the Germans then planning to exterminate these completely. Gas, dynamite and barges for drowning had been called forward and received. Massacres had started when officer left the camp. Officer stated that the prisoners had few arms." [600]


Also on 3 May, Brig. General Mickelsen reported that a Colonel Lash from G-3 Plans and Operations told the Senior Commander of G-5 Civil Affairs that "the Third Army had been instructed to slow the pace of its advance toward Linz." [601] Apparently unaware of Eisenhower's cable, Colonel Lash suggested "action for the relief of the concentration camp at Mauthausen should be requested of the Chief of Staff [G-3] by the ACOS of G-5 Division, omitting the usual slow procedure of a staff study." The memo ends with a recommendation that Mickelson's acting chief of staff "confer at once with G-3, with a view of taking such remedial action as is practicable and advisable." [602] But Mickelsen did not wait for Gen. Gasset to act. A note on the memo in what appears to be the same handwriting as Mickelsen's signature reads, "Spoke G.3 (Gen. Whiteley) explains that an operation was considered on 2 May but not put into operation as it was considered that camps would be in our hands before an operation could be staged. 3rd Army ..." [The remaining is scratched out. Emphasis in the original]. [603] British Maj. Gen. J.F.M. Whiteley was the Deputy Chief of Staff for G-3 Planning and Operations. Further research will have to determine what G-3 did in this regard.

588. 9SC-WC-1209, 20 August 1945

589. Horwitz, 144-145 [Gordon Horwitz, In the Shadow of Death, 1990]

590. Kielich and Mills, 69 [Victor Kielich, Jan Ruth Mills, The Way of Thorns, unpublished manuscript]

591. NARA Group 238 World War II War Crimes Records, International Military Tribunal Exhibit 249; Le Chene, 209.

592. Lax and Lax, 119-121 [Martin Lax, Michael Lax, Caraseu: A Holocaust Remembrance, 1996]

593. Lodovico Barbioano di Belgiojoso, Notte, Nebbia - Racconto di Gusen (Parma: Ugo Guanda Editore S.p.A., 1996), 100 ff.

594. Lax and Lax, 121

595. Choumoff, Pierre Serge. Address to the Eleventh Armored Division at Cincinnati on 11 September 1998. The Thunderbolt, Volume 53, December 1998.

596. Letter from Major L. Reiser, Chief Czechoslovak Liaison Officer to SHAEF G-5 Displaced Persons Branch, 3 May 1945, NARA 3311290/7/10/3

597. Ibid.

598. Littner, npag [Karl Littner, Life Hanging by a Spider's Web, unpublished memoir]

599. Transcription of phone call from Lt. de Gast, Signed by Wing Commander Dehn, 3 May 1945, Memo SHAEF G-5/DP/2711/7 Mickelsen to A.C.O.S, G-5 Division, NARA 331/290/1/10/3

600. SHAEF FWD, Signed SCAEF to CG 12 Army Group G-5, 3 May 1945, NARA 331/290/1/10/3

601. Brigadier General S.R. Mickelsen to A.C.O.S., G-5 Division (undated), NARA 331/290/1/10/3

602. Ibid.

603. Ibid.
- Rudolf A. Haunschmied, Jan-Ruth Mills, Siegi VVitzany-Durda, St. Georgen, Gusen, Mauthausen: Concentration Camp Mauthausen Reconsidered, Books on Demand, 2007, pp.211-215.
"... 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: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby Xcalibur » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:47 am

The point of this? I can make reasonable assumptions, speculations, surmises, but I'd really rather a clear statement of purpose straight from the Rabbit's mouth.

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Re: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby Jeff_36 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:30 am

Considering that Mauthausen-Gusen had an at best peripheral role in the FS, such discussion is irrelevant.

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Re: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:46 am

Neue Studien..., 2.Aufl., S. 256.

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Re: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby BRoI » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:06 am

Sergey_Romanov wrote:Neue Studien..., 2.Aufl., S. 256.


And p.254 for the first Gusen I gassing. You relying on just Google Books again?
"... 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: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby BRoI » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:31 am

Franz Ziereis' alleged death bed confession states the following:

I know nothing at all about the last 800 prisoners having been killed at Gusen II with sticks or stones, or by drowning. I did not give orders for them to be killed. Furthermore, I know nothing about 640 prisoners in Ward No. 31 having been gassed at Gusen I by the German prisoners Hegel, Amegong (since deceased) - and Liesborg, the blockmaster from Ward 15, in pursuance of orders by the commandant of the camp (Seidler) and Rapportführer Gillemann [recte: Oberscharfuehrer Hans Michael Killermann], who had threatened the German prisoners that if they failed to execute that order they would never emerge alive.
"... 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: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:24 am

BRoI wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:Neue Studien..., 2.Aufl., S. 256.


And p.254 for the first Gusen I gassing. You relying on just Google Books again?

Pretty sure Google books doesn't have the second edition.

http://i.imgur.com/xdmQleS.png

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Re: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby BRoI » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:59 am

Nice, I hadn't noticed you got cited by van Pelt, although I remember the post.
http://imgur.com/a/WB2xp
"... 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: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:21 am

I was half-hoping for an accusation of photoshop fakery, but (un)luckily you have the same edition. ;)

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Re: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby BRoI » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:59 am

I'd wager that the German text and footnotes in English will be sufficient proof of photoshoppery for Hannover, should someone wish to post the images on codoh.

[update 02.05.17: the following is all wrong.
See: http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=572956#p572956]


Have you responded to Mattogno's criticisms of van Pelt's use of your article [and the article itself]?

German, 2011, pp.138-141: http://holocausthandbuecher.com/dl/25d-sb.pdf
English, 2014, pp.111-114: http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/25-itgc.pdf

He refers to your blog as "a well-known holocaust website", and "the internet source cited by van Pelt".

He must have forgotten all about it when he incorrectly claimed in his 2013 response to the HC white paper:
It’s not much, of course [referring to historians who've cited his works], but it is still more than the recognition obtained, in print, by our aspiring critics, which is . . . nothing.

p.58: http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/28-tecoar-long.pdf
Last edited by BRoI on Tue May 02, 2017 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"... 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: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:24 am

Van Pelt even checked with me if I was ok with the footnote text before sending it off to Astrid Ley. But yes, I didn't expect to find the footnote in its pristine English state when I bought the book (finding it quite by chance at a random Berlin bookstore).

I no longer remember what M wrote about it in ITGC aside from the usual handwaving, will have to check again.

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Re: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:03 pm

BTW the internet website mentioned by M must be a reference to deathcamps, which VP used as his source in the first edn.

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Re: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:46 pm

Glad to see the Google Books question settled . . .
"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: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby BRoI » Tue May 02, 2017 12:33 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:BTW the internet website mentioned by M must be a reference to deathcamps, which VP used as his source in the first edn.

Thanks for clarification.
"... 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: Gassings at Gusen I and Gusen II

Postby BRoI » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:37 pm

How an Austrian delousing company was duped by the SS during March 1942 into gassing prisoners at Gusen I with Zyklon B.

Another defendant at this trial claimed he was forced to sign a false confession.

DEPUTY JUDGE ADVOCATE'S OFFICE
7708 WAR CRIMES GROUP
EUROPEAN COMMAND
APO 407

UNITED STATES
v.
Karl GLAS, et al.
Case No. 000-50-5-31
REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS

I. TRIAL DATA: The accused were tried at Dachau, Germany during the period 28 July - 12 August 1947, before a General Military Government Court.

[...]

4. Alton SLUPETZKY
Nationality: .............. Austrian
Age: .......................... 48
Civilian Status: ........ Business Man
Party Status: ........... Unknown
Military Status: ........ None
Plea: ........................ NG
Findings: ................. G
Sentence: ................ 5 years, commencing 2 August 1945

Evidence for Prosecution: The accused testified that he was the owner of the Anton Slupetzky Delousing Institute in Linz. In his Statement former clerk in the disinfection barracks at Mauthausen stated that the accused's firm assumed responsibility for the disinfection of the whole camp in June 1941; that the form of gas used was "cyclone" (zyklon) B, a cyanide preparation (a form of prussic acid); that cyclone B was very dangerous and seeped into the straw of the mattress; and that it was not safe to return to a place where it had been used for at least 24 hours. A defense witness, a medical officer, testified that cyclone B was poisonous and, if highly concentrated, would kill within a minute. Witness Folger, convicted in another Mauthausen subsequent proceedings, Case No. 000-50-5-42, United States v. Pirner, et al., testified that in February or March 1943 the accused deloused about half the camp. At about 2200 or 2230 hours he heard a few shots. In the morning he visited block 16 and saw 20 or 25 dead inmates, who had strangled and had bitten one another. Some were still lying in bed covered up, others half out of bed or on the floor, and one, who had been trying to get out of the window, hanging inside the window shot dead. The capo who took the bodies away from the block in his cart reported to the witness that there were 136 dead. The witness further testified that he heard that some inmates suffering from fever had been permanently assigned to the block. The block eldest from block 3 told the witness that sick inmates from his block had been taken there specially to be gassed. Another witness stated in his Statement that in the winter of "1942" a rumor spread in Gusen that block 16, which housed about 160 sick Russian prisoners of war, had been gassed. The following morning the witness saw three trucks, with about 25 bodies loaded on each, drive off from the camp. Another witness testified that the accused directed a gassing operation at Gusen I in about February 1942 during which 146 or 174 "probably Russian" inmates were gassed in Block 16; that he learned of the gassing and the number of dead from a crematorium worker, who had been on the clean-up detail. The witness saw the dead in the latrine of block 16. Another witness testified that in March or April 1942, while the accused was directing gassing operations, he overheard him say that the first Russians would be dead in a couple of hours; that next morning he saw a car bringing bodies from block 16 to the crematorium. Another witness testified that the accused disinfected the camp in Gusen about the middle of March 1942; that about 160 Russian prisoners of war were gassed in block 16; that, after the block had been gassed, he saw some of the Inmates shot by an SS sergeant, Becker, to prevent them from escaping through the window; that from a distance of 25 meters from block 16 he saw invalid inmates, among them Poles and French, chased into block 16 before the gassing; that SS Captain Chmielowski, the commanding officer who preceded Seidler, said officially on the roll call square that he would disinfect block 16 of men, lice and fleas; and that after the gassing he, the witness, helped carry bodies of the dead Russians out of block 16 to the crematory .
Witness Geiger testified that in January 1945 at Gusen II 30 inmates, mostly Hungarian Jews, were killed when block 16 was gassed. He saw the corpses which had been taken out of the block after the gassing. He knew only by hearsay of a gassing by the accused which had taken place in block 16 of Gusen I in 1942

Evidence for Defense: The accused testified that in May 1941 he was ordered to delouse all inmate barracks in Mauthausen and Gusen; that the second delousing in Gusen was in March 1942; that on this occasion he was told that it was for an epidemic of typhus; that he and his assistant, Fischer, released the gas in the right side of block 16 which was divided into two large rooms; that, when he protested against the SS driving inmates into the gassed room, he was told that he had gassed inmates already and was shown, through a window, covered corpses in the right room; that no disinfecting was done in 1943, the next disinfecting being done at Gusen in 1944, and later in 1945; that his orders came from the Reichs Commissioner and refusal to obey would have meant a court-martial on a charge of sabotage . One witness, a clerk in the garage at Mauthausen, testified that accused's reputation in camp was good; that he had seen him talking with the camp commander about precautionary measures; and that, during gassings at Mauthausen, he had warned the inmates they should not enter the barracks for one to one and one half hours after they were opened.

Witness Fischer testified that he had worked for the accused since 1939 and had worked in Gusen several times; that in the spring of 1942 ha had assisted accused in gassing 20 to 25 barracks at Gusen including block 16; that, while no special search was made for signs of life in the block, the accused did not know that inmates were inside until after the block had been gassed and that he talked with the accused about it the next day and the accused was very upset.

Sufficiency of Evidence: Austria was a co-belligerent of Germany. The evidence establishes that the accused very substantially participated in the execution of the common design. The Court was warranted, from evidence concerning the extent and nature of the participation, irrespective of his true relationship to the gassing of inmates, in its finding of guilty. The sentence is not excessive.

Petitions: No Petitions for Review nor Petitions for Clemency were filed.

Recommendation: That the findings and sentence be approved.
"... 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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