Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* WASN'T stolen from archive

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Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* WASN'T stolen from archive

Postby BRoI » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:11 pm

edit: the original title of this thread was "Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* stolen from archive". As that claim was entirely incorrect [explained here], I thought the title should be altered. Apologies for misleading anyone.

The remainder of the OP remains unaltered, so contains factually inaccurate claims about the report being absent from the archival file. It isn't missing, it's still there.



Following is a quote from Mattogno's 2018 book Auschwitz: A Three-Quarter Century of Propaganda: Origins, Development and Decline of the “Gas-Chamber” Propaganda Lie [pp.11-13; pdf], although Mattogno has previously quoted the featured report in some of his earlier books:

In June 1944, at Stockholm, an official of the Polish government in exile, a certain Waskiewicz, interrogated a Pole who had fled Poland after spending seven weeks in Auschwitz. On 18 June, Waskiewicz wrote a report in French on the interrogation of the witness,[14] whom he identified by initials only: K.J. The latter was a conscript worker who had been arrested by the Gestapo upon his unauthorized-late return from a few days’ furlough, and sentenced to ten weeks in a concentration camp. He was then interned in Rattwitz camp, in Silesia, for three weeks, after which he was transferred to Auschwitz, where he spent the remaining seven weeks.

In his report on this camp, the witness repeated the fable of the conveyor belt, but in a different context:[15]
At every roll call, a special service carried away all those who had fallen and no longer responded to blows, sending them, without making sure whether they still lived, on a mechanical transporter directly to the cremation furnace, whose capacity, in 1943, was designed for 1,000 persons [at a time].”

But the most fantastic part of the testimony is this:[16]
Section XVIII (Jewish) was equipped with a gas chamber and a factory manufacturing grease for machinery. K.J. declares that it was there that the Germans transformed the bodies of the gassed Jews into grease, then shipped it off in packages labelled ‘SchmierstoffFabrik Auschwitz’ [Auschwitz Lubricant Factory].

Being charged with carrying away the bodies of gassed persons, he had been able to observe the process on a group of 1,500 Polish Jews, ‘shipped’ in May 1943. Upon their arrival, these Jews were not mistreated. Nor did they appear to be particularly ill-nourished. As soon as they arrived, they were made to take a real bath, and were even given soap. Then, afterwards, their clothing was taken away, they were selected, grouped separately into fat ones and thin ones, women and men. Every group was then sent to the gas chambers separately, a vast concrete room which was accessed via a triple door. The victims generally died a few minutes after the doors were closed. The room was then rapidly ventilated, and the inmates in charge of carrying away the bodies had to place them as quickly as possible, before they would become stiff, on special carts which went to the grease factory by means of a special mechanical transporter.

There, by means of chemical processes the nature of which were unknown to K.J., the transformation into a slurry and the extraction of the fat took place. The remains, in the form of a few bones and a shapeless slurry, was carefully burned in the crematorium.

In view of the above, Waskiewicz’s introductory description of the witness, K.J. – a genuine forerunner of the presentday historians, who are always prepared to regurgitate the most hare-brained “eyewitness testimonies” without batting an eye – sounds almost comical:[17]
Of peasant origins, simple and sometimes primitive, [he was] without imagination, but a good and conscientious observer. His truthfulness appears indisputable.”

14. Central Dept. Poland No. 26. 18 June 1944. Political Memorandum. From: Press Reading Bureau, Stockholm. To: Political Intelligence Departement, London. Rapport de M. Waskiewicz sur l’interrogation de K.J. PRO, FO371/39451, pp. 137-140.
15. Ibid., p. 138.
16. Ibid., p. 139.
17. Ibid., p. 137.


The 18 June 1944 report was also cited by Monty Noam Penkower in a 1983 book. He provides information Mattogno didn't: the date the FO received it:

On June 26 the Foreign Office's Central Department received its first eyewitness report on the gassing of Jews there [Birkenau]. Stockholm to London, June 18, 1944, FO 371/39451, PRO.

- Monty Noam Penkower, The Jews Were Expendable: Free World Diplomacy and the Holocaust, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983, endnote 23, p.351.


On 24 October 2013, I photographed the entirety of file FO 371/3945, taking a total of 273 photos. Pages 136 - 143 were no longer in the file. We can tell from the adjacent case files C7973 [pp.133-135] and C8792 [pp.144-146] that two case files are missing: C8526 and C8672, the former would have contained the eyewitness report to gassings at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Mattogno states in his 2013 book [pp.48-49] that he has never visited the "Public Record Office (now within The National Archives), Kew", so he was only ever given a copy or transcription of the report.
Last edited by BRoI on Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
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Re: Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* stolen from archive

Postby BRoI » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:11 pm

As I mentioned, the stolen case file C8526 would have contained the eyewitness report to gassings at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

According to someone on the internet this case file is listed in the 1971/2 four-volume Index to the correspondence of the Foreign Office for the Year 1944, published by Kraus-Thomson

Reported mass killings in gas chambers at Oswiecim concentration camp and subsequent use of the bodies for making fat. C8526/131/55
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* stolen from archive

Postby nickterry » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:39 pm

I examined this file in July 2007 (download date: 29.7.2007) and photographed the Wasowicz interrogation summary, C8526, so this document was there in that year. The date of 18 June 1944 is correct; this was also marked 'Poland No 26' above the date.

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Re: Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* stolen from archive

Postby BRoI » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:17 pm

Interesting, thanks.
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* stolen from archive

Postby BRoI » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:04 pm

Michael Fleming doesn't mention the report in Auschwitz, the Allies and Censorship of the Holocaust [2014], despite citing a couple of documents in FO 371/39451. Considering the report is precisely the sort of thing his book is about, it seems reasonable to assume it was missing when Fleming looked through the file.
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* stolen from archive

Postby nickterry » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:11 pm

BRoI wrote:Michael Fleming doesn't mention the report in Auschwitz, the Allies and Censorship of the Holocaust [2014], despite citing a couple of documents in FO 371/39451. Considering the report is precisely the sort of thing his book is about, it seems reasonable to assume it was missing when Fleming looked through the file.


Since security was properly in place in 2007 at Kew to prevent documents going walkies out of the archive, it's possible the subfolder was misfiled in another file by someone. You said that two C-folders were missing; I only copied C8526 so I don't think I'm to blame for an accidental misfiling.

Fleming may not have had the chance to evaluate the report if the subfolder was missing by the time he looked at the file, but it's a somewhat late and inconsequential source, since by the time the report was filed on June 18, 1944, the Vrba-Wetzler report had pretty much reached Switzerland; whereas K.J. was most likely an Erziehungshaeftling who had zero knowledge of the existence of Birkenau and was clearly repeating hearsay. This certainly isn't the "first eyewitness report on gassing" as it's preceded by Pilecki, Chybinski and other escapee reports in 1943, as well as by many dozen Klodzinski-Cyrankiewicz messages to the Delegatura.

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Re: Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* stolen from archive

Postby BRoI » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:15 am

I was wrong. It was in the file when I photographed it—just in the wrong place. C8526 and its contents consists of pages 136-143 but were misfiled between pages 188 and 189.

You said that two C-folders were missing.

I did: C8526 and C8672. That was because C7973 [pp.133-135] notes the "Next Paper" as "C8526", whilst C8792 [p.144f] notes the "Last Paper" as "C8672", suggesting C8526 and C8672 were both missing/misfiled.

As the misfiled "C8526" consists of pages 136-143, notes "Last Paper" as "C7973" and "Next Paper" as "C8792", it now appears that the noting "C8672" as "Last Paper" on C8792 was an error by someone in the FO. It should state "C8526".

This certainly isn't the "first eyewitness report on gassing" as it's preceded by Pilecki, Chybinski and other escapee reports in 1943, as well as by many dozen Klodzinski-Cyrankiewicz messages to the Delegatura.

Hence the scare-quotes in the character-limited title which references Penkower's 1983 description of it as the "first eyewitness report on the gassing of Jews" at AB received by the FO.

Fleming may not have had the chance to evaluate the report if the subfolder was missing by the time he looked at the file, but it's a somewhat late and inconsequential source, since by the time the report was filed on June 18, 1944, the Vrba-Wetzler report had pretty much reached Switzerland; whereas K.J. was most likely an Erziehungshaeftling who had zero knowledge of the existence of Birkenau and was clearly repeating hearsay.

But it was there when Fleming saw the file—and he cites Penkower's book numerous times. No June 1944 report on gassings at Auschwitz received by the FO should have been irrelevant to Fleming and his study of Allied knowledge of Auschwitz. He features a very lengthy table [Appendix I, pp.282-304] with the self-explanatory title: "Information about Auschwitz to reach the West, November 1942-June 1944", in which he cites two other documents in FO 371/39451.

Fleming asserts that the British either destroyed or are hiding a file on Nazi atrocities compiled by the FO's Roger Allen [p. 261 and 306]. That may well be true, but it makes his omission of this report all the more puzzling considering the following letter by Allen to the UNWCC's Secretary-General about this report:

Image
- FO 371/39451, C8526

Fleming's speculation as to the purpose of Allen's nazi atrocity file suggests he did read that letter:
Fleming, p.261 wrote:News of atrocities, including those at Auschwitz, was collected by Roger Allen. It is likely that news of the camp, including Polish intelligence’s aneks series, was deposited with Allen with a view to postwar war crimes trials.
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* WASN'T stolen from archive

Postby scrmbldggs » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:23 am

Thanks for the correction.
.

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Re: Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* WASN'T stolen from archive

Postby BRoI » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:50 am

NP. Mistakes should be acknowledged and corrected. Unfortunately I now have to do so for another one.

The above letter wasn't written by Roger Allen but by his FO colleague [William] Denis Allen.

The following note, dated 30 June, about sending "this particularly horrible report" to the UNWCC appears on the cover C8526 and was also written by [William] Denis Allen. I think the last sentence reads "Mr. R. Allen first", which is ticked, initialled "RA" with the date 3 July, and would mean Roger Allen did see this report.

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"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Auschwitz: Inconvenient *1st eyewitness report on gassing* WASN'T stolen from archive

Postby nickterry » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:06 am

Thanks for clearing this up, BRoI. Internally misnumbered and misfiled subfolders is a much better outcome than hearing that parts of files are being mixed up in other files or have gone missing entirely.

Thanks also for clearing up the thread title and Penkower's assessment. The 18.6.44 interrogation of K.J. is indeed the first 'eyewitness' account to be found in the files of the FO, judging by Fleming's own work.

I agree that the omission of this report from Fleming's book is strange, especially given the letter of 30.6.44 to the UNWCC representative and his knowledge of Penkower's work. Possibly, he overlooked the misfiled C-folder; he would not be the first researcher to overlook a relevant document in a file or to fail to notice a reference in earlier scholarship to a source.

As for Denis and Roger Allen, they show up in similar places and are very easily confused as a result. I actually had the 30.6.44 letter in my head as R.Allen because R. Allen wrote a covernote on the C-folder, unless I misread *that* as well, in which case point proven about how easy it is to confuse these men.


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