Debunking the Genocide Myth
Chapter Five: Port of Grace; Anteroom of Death
On July 28, 1943, when the first convoy arrived in the beet fields in
front of the Tunnel, there was no question of any Revier. They had sent
only those prisoners from Buchenwald who were supposed to be in good health,
and it was not anticipated that they might fall sick right away: but, should
this happen, the S.S. had orders to pay attention only to serious cases,
to report them by mail, and to wait for instructions. Naturally, the S.S.
never discovered anyone seriously sick; anyone who has been a soldier will
easily understand that.
The weather was beastly that year. It rained and rained. Pneumonia and
pleurisy ran rampant, and made great inroads among those who were weak and
badly treated, who were wet all day long, and who had to sleep at night
in damp caves in the rock. In eight days, those unfortunates were doubled
up with what the S.S. called a little fever, which seemed to worsen, but
they didn't know why. The regulations were that one was not sick unless
one had a temperature of more than 39.5°C. (103°F.), in which case
one could get a Schonung, or work exemption. Until you had such a fever
you had to keep on working, and when you did have such a temperature it
Then there was what we called dysentery, but which was in reality uncontrollable
diarrhea. One fine day, for no clear reason, one was overcome with digestive
troubles which rapidly developed into an inability to tolerate anything.
There was no remedy: one had simply to wait for it to stop, without eating
anything. It lasted eight, ten, fifteen days, depending on the resistance
of the sick man, who got weaker, who finally began to fall down, without
any strength left to move, even to take care of his needs, and who then
succumbed to the fever that accompanied it. This sickness, fortunately easier
to detect than pneumonia or pleurisy, led the S.S. to take steps, with what
means they had available, to check it. They ordered the construction of
a Bud, where, without regard for their temperatures, those with diarrhea
were admitted on showing the proper paper and so long as there was space
The Bud could hold thirty people. Very soon there were fifty, a hundred,
and more, their number ever growing as new convoys arrived from Buchenwald
and as the camp grew larger. Generally, the diarrhetics were sent there
only in the last stages of the illness, and then only to die there. They
were piled together right on the ground, packed like sardines, unmindful
of what was under them; it was an epidemic. It got to such a point that
for health reasons the S.S. had the first H-Fuehrung pick out a Pfleger,
or nurse, to keep order among the sick and help them to keep themselves
clean. The job was given to a "green" (naturally!), a carpenter
by trade. who had been sentenced for murder. A fine job was done ...!
All the day long people were lined up at the entrance to the Bud. The
Pfleger, truncheon in hand, calmed down the impatient ones. From time to
time a corpse was brought out of the stench, and a space was made which
was jumped at. The number of diarrhetics only increased. When the S.S. saw
that the Pfleger was not up to the task, the latter pointed out that he
had a lot of work to do all alone, and he was given an assistant of whom
the S. S. required that he know his business. The job fell to a Dutch doctor
who had been employed, until then, in the work of transporting goods from
the station to the Tunnel. From that moment on the Bud became humanized,
the Pfleger became Kapo, and the Dutchman worked under his orders, exercising
prodigious diplomacy. He managed to save one diarrhetic, whose cure he was
careful to conceal in order to keep him by his side as a nurse. With the
help of a big supply of charcoal, the diarrhea was checked, the S. S. declared
themselves satisfied, and the Bud could be used for something else. The
first Revier was born.
In fact, the Dutchman was able to fix it so that as places were left
available by the diarrhetics, those with pneumonia and pleurisy with temperatures
of 38°C (109°F) and up could be admitted. But, this practice aroused
the resentment of his Kapo! He even began to claim that with a little charcoal
it would be possible to care effectively for the diarrhetics without hospitalizing
them, if they were caught soon enough, and that, therefore, there would
be more room for those with pneumonia and pleurisy. The duel was Homeric.
An S.S. doctor, who had been assigned to the camp and who had arrived in
November along with the officers of a convoy, after having remained indifferent
to this conflict for a long time, ended by backing up the Dutchman. And,
the building of a Block was begun, the Bud having rapidly become too small.
Then it was the turn of those with nephritis. Nephritis was inherent in the life of the camp: under-nourishment, too many hours standing up, the effects of bad weather, pneumonia, pleurisy, the rock salt -- the only kind there was in Germany -- which the cooks used immoderately, and which, it seems, was harmful because it contained no iodine. Cases of edema were legion; everybody had legs more or less swollen.
It goes away, they said, it's the salt that does it. And no more attention
than that was paid to it. When it was an innocuous edema, it did sometimes
disappear! When the edema was the outcome of nephritis, one was carried
away, one fine day, with an attack of uremia. The Dutchman succeeded in
getting those with nephritis hospitalized, too. Another Block had to be
built. Then it was the turn of those with tuberculosis, and so on. The expansion
continued to such an extent that on June 1, 1944, the Revier was composed
of Blocks 16, 17, 38, 39, 126, 127, and 128, grouped around the top of the
hill. Fifteen hundred patients could be put there, at one person per bed,
or a tenth of the camp's population. Each Block was divided into wards,
where related sicknesses were assigned.
Block 16 was the administrative center of the whole structure. The Dutchman
was promoted to the rank of Head Doctor. Meanwhile, the S.S. replaced the
"green" Lageraeltester with a "red" and there was a
great commotion in the H-Fuehrung. The Kapo of the Revier was the first
victim of the new Lageraeltester. A plan was set up to catch him in the
act of stealing the food destined for the sick. He was sent to the Ellrich
camp by way of punishment, and he was replaced by Proell.
Proell was a young German, about 27 or 28 years old. In 1934, he had
intended to take up medicine. But as the son of a Communist and as a Communist
himself, he was arrested when he was still only a child. He spent the next
ten years in various camps.
First he was sent to Dachau where it was due only to his youth that he
survived the rigors of that budding camp. Neither the S.S. nor the adult
prisoners had their knives out for the youngsters: the first because of
a kind of respect for real innocence; the second because of a special tenderness
which nourished in them the hope of seeing the youngsters become affectionate
later. Thanks to these two circumstances. Proell managed to get into the
Revier as a Pfleger and to stay there tor several years. Then, he was sent
to Mauthausen in that capacity. The "green" Haeftlingsfuehrung
of Mauthausen got rid of him by sending him to Auschwitz, where he was included
in the first convoy that was sent to Natzweiler. It was at Natzweiler that
he spent his longest time. There he was promoted to Kapo of the Lagerkommando
and was attached to the Lageraeltester. The few prisoners who knew him in
that camp were unanimous in saying that they never had seen such a brute.
A palace revolution in the H-Fuehrung of Natzweiler caused his removal to
Buchenwald from whence he was sent to Dora as a confidant of the Communists
and Kapo of the Revier.
At Dora, Proell behaved like all the other Kapos -- neither better nor worse. He was intelligent and organized the Revier along the lines laid down by the Dutchman, whom he considered, in spite of everything a valuable assistant because he was competent. To be sure, he did not always follow the moral commandments of medicine. He was brutal, and in making up the army of Pfleger that he needed to carry out the job, he gave preference to the politicals before the professionals. That is how the blacksmith Heinz, who was a Communist and who had managed to get himself into the Revier under the regime of the "green" Kapo as Oberpfleger (head nurse), was completely trusted by him against the advice of all the other medical people. That is also why, to a medical student whose political opinions he knew did not agree with his, he always preferred any lout, German, Czech, Russian or Polish. He had a great admiration for the Russians, and a weakness for the Czechs, who in his eyes had been abandoned to Hitler by the English and the French of whom he was contemptuous. But, he was an organizer of the first order.
In less than a month, the Revier was organized on the lines of the big
hospitals: in Block 16, the administration, admissions and emergencies;
in 17 and 39, general treatment, the kidney cases and those with neuritis;
in 38, surgery; in 126, pneumonia and pleurisy; in 127 and 198 the tubercular.
In each Block there was a doctor in charge, assisted by an Oberpfleger;
in each ward, a Pfleger for nursing and a Kalifaktor for other duties. For
the sick two-bunk beds only, one above the other, with a mattress stuffed
with wood shavings, sheets and blankets. There were three diets: the Hauskost,
or food in every way like that given out in the camp, for those whose digestive
tracts were not affected; the Schleimkost, or thin semolina soup (no bread,
no margarine, no sausage), for those who required a low diet; the Diatkost,
which every day consisted of two soups, one sweetened, and white bread,
margarine and jam, for those who needed building up.
It cannot be said that one was very well taken care of in the Revier.
The S.S.-Fuehrung dispensed very little medicines and drugs, and Proell
filched from the lot all that was necessary for the H-Fuehrung letting only
that which they didn't need filter through to the sick themselves. But,
the beds were clean; one rested; and the food ration, although not of better
quality than for the rest of the camp, was still more abundant. Proell himself
limited his activities as Kapo to one visit which each day was accompanied
with shouts and some generously bestowed blows on the personnel and the
sick who had been caught disobeying Revier regulations. Life there could
have been a contrast to the prevailing conditions in the rest of the camp,
if the Pfleger and Kalifaktor, as much out ot zeal and loyalty to tradition
as out of fear of the Kapo, had not been bent on trying to make it intolerable.
Every night after roll-call, a mob collected at the entrance to Block
16. Block 16 included, aside trom the administration office for the Revier,
an Aussere-Ambulanz and an Innere-Ambulanz. The first took care of the immediate
needs of all those who, sick or having met with an accident, did not meet
the requirements for being hospitalized; the second determined, after examination,
those who should or should not be hospitalized .
Aside from the H-Fuehrung, everyone in the camp was sick, and, under
conditions which prevail in the normal world, everyone would have been hospitalized
without exception and without delay, even if only on account of their extreme
debility. In the camp, the situation was quite the opposite. There, general
debility did not count; only those conditions which exceeded such debility
were taken care of, and then only under certain extra-therapeutic circumstances
or when nothing else could be done. Every prisoner was, therefore, more
or less a candidate for the Revier. They had to make a rule that one could
apply for admission every four days, on an average.
First of all there were the boils. The whole camp had suppurative furunculosis.
the result of the lack of meat and roughage in the food. It was endemic
just like the benign edema and the nephritis. There were the sores on the
hands or feet or both. Finally there were cut fingers, arms or legs broken,
and the like. They made up the patients of the Aussere-Ambulanz and trom
June 1, 1944, were in the hands of the Negro, Johnny, whose incompetence
as a doctor had finally been recognized at the Buchenwald Revier. In spite
of the political pledges that he had given, he was sent to us in a transport,
as a doctor, naturally, but with a note stating that it would be more prudent
to use him as a nurse. Proell thought that he was just right for the Aussere-Ambulanz,
and put him in charge. I learned afterwards that he had been astute enough
to get the protection of Katzenellenbogen, that prisoner who called himself
an American by origin, who was the general physician of the Camp, and who
committed so many extortions that he was considered a war criminal after
Johnny had under him a whole company of Pfleger, Germans, Poles, Czechs
or Russians, who knew nothing whatever of the job they were charged with;
they put on dressings, took them off and put them on again when it struck
their fancy. For boils or wounds, there was only one remedy: ointment. Those
gentlemen had before them pots of ointments of all colors. On the same sore,
they one day put the black salve and another day put the red or the yellow,
and there was no guessing what determined their choice. Luckily, all of
the ointments were antiseptic !
To the Innere-Ambulanz went everybody who hoped to get hospitalized.
Every night there were five or six hundred, each one just as sick as the
other. Sometimes there were ten or fifteen beds available. Put yourself
in the place of the doctor who had to choose which ten or fifteen... The
others were sent back with or without Schonung. They appeared the next day
and every day until they had the luck to be admitted. Uncounted were those
who died before they made it.
I knew prisoners who never went to take a shower because they they were
afraid that gas would come out of the pipes instead of water (1). And, then,
during the weekly inspection by the nurses of the Block, lice were found
on them. Then they had to go through a disinfection treatment that killed
I also knew prisoners who never went to the infirmary. They were afraid
of being used as guinea pigs of some kind in the medical experiments that
rumor had said were being conducted by the S.S. or of being given poison
injections. Consequently, they held out and held out against all advice,
and one evening a Kommando brought their corpses back to the camp .
At Dora, no medical experiments were performed on the prisoners, and
poison injections were not administered, at least not to the common prisoners.
Generally, in all of the camps, injections of poison were not used against
the general run of the prisoners, but they were used on occasion by one
of the two H-Fuehrung cliques against the other; the "greens"
used this method as an elegant means of getting rid of a "red"
whose star they saw was rising in the eyes of the S.S. staff, or the other
A fortunate circumstance allowed me to get into the Revier on April 8,
1944. For fifteen days I had been dragging around the camp with a feverish
body that was visibly swelling.
The swelling had begun in the ankles. "Ich auch, Bloder Hund!"
my Kapo said, "du bist verrueckt! Geh mal zu Revier!" (You you're
crazy! Get on to the Revier!) And, he punctuated this order with several
fist blows. It was April 3rd.
At the Revier I was caught in the mob. After waiting for an hour my turn
came to go before the doctor.
"You have only 37.8° (99°F), impossible to hospitalize you;
three days of Schonung. Rest stretched out in the Block with your legs up,
it will go away. If it doesn't go away, come back again."
As for the rest, for three days I was put at Block cleaning by the merciless
Stubendienst. At the end of the period I presented myself again in a noticeably
Of course you will have to be hospitalized, the doctor said to me, but
there are only three vacant places and there are at least three hundred
of you, some of them worse off than you are. Another three days of Schonung,
then come back...
I began to have a presentiment of the crematory. With resignation, I
went back to the Block where my first parcel was waiting for me, thanks
to which I got the Stubendienst to allow me to stretch out on my bed instead
of making me work.
On April 8, when my turn came, a package of Gauloise cigarettes got me
among the three or four chosen ones. And what was bad about it was that
I saw nothing irregular in the bribe.
Before getting to the bed assigned me, I still had to leave at the entrance
my clothes and my shoes, which were naturally stolen while I was there,
and to go under an individual shower which a Polish Kalifaktor kept just
as cold as he could.
The shower was the last thing that had to be done. It was supposed to
be hot, but when it was not a Czech or a Pole, or a German, the KaIifaktor
swore to heaven that the thing was out of order. The number of those hospitalized
for pneumonia or pleurisy who died of that treatment is incalculable.
I was in the Revier six times: from April 8th to the 27th; from May 5th
to August 30th; from September 7th to October 2nd; from October 10th to
November 3rd;from November 6th to December 23rd; and from March 10, 1945
to the liberation. At the first, I lost track of Fernand, who was sent in
transport to Ellrich were he died. I was sick that fact was quite plain.
In fact. I was gravely ill because I still have not fully recovered. but...
Life in the Revier was regulated in detail. We were up at half past five
every day. one hour later than the reveille of the rest of the camp. Then
came the washing: no matter what the reason was for one's hospitalization,
with a fever of 40°C (104°F.) or 37°C (98.5°F), one had
to get up, go to the sink, wash, and, on returning, one had to make one's
bed. In principle, the Pfleger and the KaIifaktor were supposed to help
those who could not do it themselves, but, with rare exceptions, they simply
got the patients to do the chores themselves. with the help of blows. With
these chores done, the Pfleger took temperatures, while the KaIifaktor washed
down the ward with a hose.
At about seven o'clock, the Block doctor went among the beds. looked
at the temperature charts, heard the comments ot the Pfleger, the complaints
of the sick, said a word to each one , and gave orders for particular treatment
or medicines that were to be administered during the day. If he was not
Polish, German or Czech, the doctor was usually a good and understanding
man. Perhaps, he trusted the Pfleger a little too much, with the latter
treating the sick according to their political views, their nationality
their profession or trade, or their generosity with the parcels that they
received. Nevertheless, the doctor very rarely allowed himself to be influenced
in a bad sense. Rather, his decisions were almost always well intended.
Once in a while someone who was very sick would dare to ask him, "Krematorium?"
The doctor might answer: "Ja, sicher ... Drei, vier Tage". ("Yes,
that's certain ... in three or four days." ) There was a laugh. He
then went on without any consideration of the effect that his reply had
on the one concerned . After he finished with the last bed, he left the
ward; it was all over. He would not be seen again until the next day.
At nine o'clock, the distribution of medicine. It went very fast since
the medicine was generally either rest or diet. From time to time, an aspirin
or pyramidon was given out very parsimoniously .
At eleven, soup. ThePfleger and the KaIifaktor ate heartily, served themselves
at each issuance and gave the remainder to the sick. It wasn't too bad;
there was enough left over to give an honest regulation helping to everyone,
with even a little supplement for one's friends.
In the afternoon, a nap until four o'clock, after which lots of talk
until the temperatures were taken and the lights put out. The conversations
were only interrupted when our attention was drawn to a long line of cadavers
which, right under our windows, the Totenkommando people were carrying to
Some favored ones, of which I was one, received parcels: they were a
little more pilfered than in the camp because they had to go through another
pair of hands before they reached the addressee. The tobacco they contained
was not replaced; that was deposited at the entrance, but the Pfleger were
obliging, and with a good hand-out, a fair share, one could also get one's
tobacco and permission to smoke secretly. In the same way, by sharing the
rest, the Pfleger could be gotten to hike-up the temperature readings, and
one's stay in the Revier was prolonged.
In summer, the afternoon siesta took place in the open air under the
beech trees. The Kommandos working inside the camp looked at us with envy,
and we grew apprehensive of the time when we would be cured and back among
In October 1944, only very rarely were diarrhetics admitted to the Revier.
Every night they came to Block 16, and they were stuffed with charcoal and
sent back. Sometimes the trouble disappeared, but it also persisted beyond
the calculated eight days and was complicated by some kind of a fever, and
then they were hospitalized with all sorts of conjectures as to what it
They were collected in Block 17, Ward 8, whose Pfleger was the Russian,
Ivan, who said that he was a "Docent" on the medical faculty at
Karkhov, and whose KaIifaktor was the Pole, Stadjeck. Ward 8 was the hell
of the Revier. Every day it supplied two, three or four corpses to the crematorium.
For every diarrhetic admitted, the doctor prescribed, in addition to
the charcoal, a supervised diet: very little to eat, if possible nothing
at all, and nothing to drink. He advised Ivan to give nothing the first
day, to divide a quart of soup among two or three the next, and so on; a
return to a normal diet being determined by the disappearance of the sickness.
But Ivan considered that he was there as Pfleger to take care of himself
and not the sick men: to look after them was work too hard for him, and,
in any case, out of place in a concentration camp. He found it simpler to
administer the absolute diet, to divide with Stadjeck the rations of the
patients, to feed themselves amply, and to do some bartering with the rest.
The poor men had nothing to eat. absolutely nothing. On the third day with
very rare exceptions, they were in such a state that they could no longer
get up, and they had to take care of their needs right where they were,
since Stadjeck had other things to do than to bring them the bedpan when
they asked for it. From that moment on they were doomed ...
Stadjeck started to inspect very carefully the bed of the unfortunate
man to whom he had just refused to bring a basin. All of a sudden he got
the smell and went into a rage. He began by giving the offender a good beating,
pulled him out of bed, pushed him to the adjoining lavatory, and there gave
him a good cold shower since the Revier must always be a clean place and
patients who didn't want to wash themselves, well, they had to be washed
.... Then shouting out curses, Stadjeck took off the sheet and cover from
the bed and changed the straw mattress. Hardly stretched out again the patient
would be seized with grips, would ask for the bedpan again which was again
refused, would discharge in the bed, and would be taken once more to the
cold shower, and so on and on. Usually, twenty-four hours later, the patient
From morning to night the cries and pleadings of the poor men who were
put under the cold shower by the Pole, Stadjeck, could be heard. Two or
three times the Kapo or a doctor happened to pass near during this operation.
They opened the door; Stadjeck explained, "Er hat sein Bett ganz beschiessen...
Dieser Bloder Hund ist so faul... Keine Warme Wasser." (He completely
dirtied his bed the stupid dog is so lazy... and there is no warm water.)
The Kapo or the doctor would close the door again and go away without saying
a word. The explanation was, of course, unassailable: those patients unable
to wash themselves had to be washed, and when there was no hot water...
In the Revier one was kept pretty well informed about the way the war
was going. German newspapers, in particular the Volkische Beobachter, were
delivered, and everyone regularly listened to the radio. Of course there
was only official news, but that came rapidly, and that was something.
We also knew what was going on in the other camps; the poor men who had
already been through two or three camps before ending up at Dora, recounted
the whole day long the experiences they had lived through. That was how
we learned about the horrors of Sachsenhausen, Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Oranienburg,
etc. And, that was also how we learned that there were very decent camps.
In August, for ten days, the German, Helmuth, was my bed neighbor. He
had come straight from Lichtenfeld near Berlin. There were 900 in that camp,
and under Wehrmacht guard they carried on the work of clearing the bombed
suburbs: twelve hours of work, as everywhere, but three meals a day, and
three good meals (soup, meat, vegetables, often wine), no Kapos, and no
H-Fuehrung, consequently no beatings. A hard life, but bearable. One day
they asked for specialists: since Helmuth was a fitter, he stood up; he
was sent to the Dora Tunnel, where they put rock drilling equipment in his
hands. Eight days later he was spitting blood.
Before that, I had next to me a prisoner who had spent a month at Wieda,
and who had told me that the 1,500 occupants were not too badly off. Naturally,
they worked and had little to eat, but they led a kind of family life: on
Sunday afternoons, the villagers came to dance at the outskirts of the camp
to the music of the prisoners accordions, exchanged friendly small talk
with them, and even brought them things to eat. It seems that that did not
last; when the S. S. noticed it, Wieda became as hard and as inhuman as
But, most of those who came from other camps had only hair-raising things
to tell, and the accounts of Ellrich were the most horrifying. They were
in an incredible state when they arrived among us, and just one look at
them was enough to prove that they were inventing nothing... In speaking
of bad concentration camps, Buchenwald, Dachau, and Auschwitz are cited,
and that is an injustice: in 1944-1945, it was Ellrich that was the worst
of all. There, one was without a billet, not given clothing, not fed, without
a Revier. and all the work consisted of digging under the supervision of
the scum of the"greens", the "reds", and the S. S.
It was in the Revier that I got acquainted with Jacques Gallier, called
Jacky, clown at Medrano. He was as tough as they came. When anyone complained
of the hardships of camp life, he invariably answered, "Me, you know,
I've done two and a half years at Calvi: I m used to it." And he went
on, "Listen, at Calvi, it was just the same, same work, never enough
food, only we didn't get hit so much, but there were irons and solitary,
Champale, the sailor from the Black Sea who had done five years at Clairvaux,
didn't contradict him, and as for me, who had earlier witnessed the life
of the Joyeux in Africa, I wondered if they weren t right.(3)
On December 23rd I left the Revier with the firm intention never to set
foot there again. Several things had happened.
In July, Proell gave himself a shot in the arm of potassium cyanide.
No one ever found out why, but rumor had it that he had been just about
to be arrested and was in danger of being hanged for conspiracy. He was
replaced by Heinz, the Communist blacksmith.
Heinz was a brute. One day he caught a fever-case, who had been forbidden any water, in the act of moistening his lips, and he beat him up so hard that he died as a result. He was said to be capable of everything: in the surgery Block, he undertook an appendicitis operation -- without the surgeon in charge, the Czech Cespiva, knowing about it. The story was told that in the first days of the Revier, under the rule of the "green" Kapo, he had given his attentions to an Algerian whose arm had been crushed between two carts in the Tunnel: he disjoined the shoulder, just as a butcher does with a ham, and instead of anesthetizing the victim, he first beat him up with his fists... A year later, the whole Revier still resounded with the wails of the unfortunate fellow.
Lots of other things were told, too. The patients never felt safe with him. As far as I was concerned, one day at the end of September, he came near my bed with Cespiva, and he decided that to cure me, the right kidney would have to be removed. I at once begged one of my comrades, who had another disease, to give a urine specimen for me, and thus got a negative analysis, which allowed me, as I had wanted, to be sent back to the Kommando. Being incapable of doing the work, I presented myself at the Revier a few days later -- just time enough for the storm to have passed -- and I got in easily.
Everything went well until December, at which date Heinz was arrested,
in his turn, for conspiracy, like his predecessor, and he was replaced by
a Pole. Caught in the same net by the S.S. were Cespiva, a certain number
of Pfleger, among them the lawyer Boyer from Marseille, and some others
from the camp. We never learned why about this either, but it is probable
that it was for having circulated news about the war which they said they
got from foreign broadcasts, listed to in secret, and which the S.S. considered
With the new Kapo, the Revier was overrun with Poles, and new doctors were put at the head of the Blocks, ours was an illiterate Pole. When he arrived, he decided that nephritis was caused by bad teeth, and gave an order to have all the teeth of all the nephritis cases pulled. The dentist was sent for at once and began to carry out the order without knowing what it was about, but showing his astonishment and protesting. In order to save my teeth, I arranged once more to get out of the Revier with a paper which certified me for leichte Arbeit (light labor). An exceptionally favorable set of circumstances occurred which made it possible for me to serve as the Schwung (batman) to the S.S. Oberscharführer who was in charge of the company of guard dogs which patrolled the perimeter of the camp. I found that the camp had changed considerably when I got back.
- The gas chambers which some of the S.S. denied existed and which others attested to with the logic of Mme Simone de Beauvoir did not exist at Dora. Nor did they exist at Buchenwald. I note in passing that of all those who so minutely described the horrors of this form of execution (which, incidentally, is a perfectly legitimate form of execution in the United States) not one was an eyewitness, as far as I know. The only possible exceptions are Rudolf Höss, Miklos Nyiszli, and Kurt Gerstein. The former was Lagerkommandant at Auschwitz; his testimony is unreliable both on the grounds of the atrocious conditions under which it was written down and of the fantastic circumstances under which it was published, as will be discussed further on in this book The testimony of the latter two is obviously false, a fact which will be discussed in the following chapters.
- For a comparison of prison life in French prisons -- during about the same period -- I have included four descriptions which are found in Appendix A at the end of this book.
- In La Lie de la Terre, Arthur Koestler gives a picture of the life
in a French concentration camp which confirms my point of view. (The first
book in English by Koestler : Scum of the Earth, London, Jonathan Cape,
1941) Another account which also confirms my view is that of Julien Blanc
under the title Joyeux, fais ton fourbi.
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