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May 3, 2010

Prisoners killed by drowning in the pool at Mauthausen?

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:54 am

Just when I thought that I had heard everything about the many cruel ways that the Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, someone e-mailed me about the so-called “bathing to death” that was introduced by SS-Haupsturmfuehrer Karl Chmielwesky at Mauthausen between the Summer of 1941 and January 1942.

This information comes from the Nizkor web site, from which I have quoted below:

Inmates who were sick or un-fit for work were selected, driven to the bathing facilities for prisoners and showered with cold water for half an hour or longer.  The drains of the pools were closed or blocked with victims who were already collapsed so that the water level continued to rise. In most cases death was through acute circulatory collaps (sic) or through downing.  Often the SS-men who stood around the pool accelerated this by pushing the victims under water.  At least 242 inmates were killed this way.

Source: Cp. Gisela Ralitsch: “Das KL Mauthausen” in Studien zur Geschicte der Konzentrationslager, eds: Hans Rothfels und Theordor Eschenberg, Stutthgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1970, pp. 50 – 92, hier pp. 72f.

Swimming pool at Mauthausen is usually called a reservoir

The photo above shows the outside of the Mauthausen concentration camp with what looks like a swimming pool in front of it.  (The stone exterior of Mauthausen reminds me of Folsom prison in the Johnny Cash song.)

I don’t know of any other pool at Mauthausen, so this must be the place where the “bathing to death” took place.

Lt. Commander Jack Taylor, a Navy commando during World War II, was captured and imprisoned at Mauthausen for 35 days before the camp was liberated by American troops in May 1945.  Lt. Cmdr. Taylor testified as a witness for the prosecution at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.

Here is a quote from Lt. Taylor’s Nuremberg testimony about Mauthausen:

Question: “How many ways did they execute them?”

Lt. Cmdr. Jack Taylor: “Five or six ways: by gas, by shooting, by beating, that is beating with clubs, ah, by exposure, that is standing out in the snow, naked, for 48 hours and having cold water put on them, thrown on them in the middle of winter, starvation, dogs, and pushing over a hundred-foot cliff.”

The cliff where prisoners were pushed to their deaths at Mauthausen

Lt. Cmdr. Jack Taylor on the witness stand at Dachau

Lt. Cmdr. Taylor was the first witness for the prosecution in the Mauthausen case, which was brought before an American Military Tribunal at Dachau. When asked by prosecutor Lt. Col. William Denson, on direct examination, how many different forms of killing that he had come in contact with at Mauthausen, Taylor testified as follows:

“Gassing, hanging, shooting, beating. There was one particular group of Dutch Jews who were beaten until they jumped over the cliff into the stone quarry. Some that were not killed on the first fall were taken back up and thrown over to be sure. Then there was exposure. Any new transport coming in was forced to stand out in the open, regardless of the time of the year, practically naked. Other forms of killing included clubbing to death with axes or hammers and so forth, tearing to pieces by dogs specially trained for the purpose, injections into the heart and veins with magnesium chloride or benzene, whippings with a cow-tail to tear the flesh away, mashing in a concrete mixer, forcing them to drink a great quantity of water and jumping on the stomach while the prisoner was lying on his back, freezing half-naked in subzero temperatures, buried alive, red-hot poker down the throat. I remember a very prominent Czech general who was held down in the shower room and had a hose forced down his throat. He drowned that way.”

Lt. Cmdr. Taylor may have been confused about the nationality of the general who allegedly drowned in the shower.  There were similar stories about a Russian general, Lt. Gen. Dmitry Mikhailovich Karbyshev, who was either drowned in the shower or forced to stand outside in freezing weather while water was poured over him on some unknown date in February 1945. A statue of Karbyshev encased in a block of ice stands near the gate into the Mauthausen camp. Taylor could not have “remembered” this incident because it had allegedly happened almost two months before he arrived at the camp.

The photo below shows the statue of General Karbyshev encased in ice; his likeness is carved on the other side of the white block that you see on the left in the photo.

Statue of General is near the entrance to Mauthausen camp

The photo below shows the “garage yard” at Mauthausen. The stories about dying from exposure were based on the fact that the prisoners had to take a shower and then stand naked outside in the garage yard while their clothes and barracks were disinfected in an effort to prevent typhus which is spread by body lice.

Garage yard where incoming prisoners had to stand naked for hours

Note that Lt. Cmdr. Taylor mentioned drowning in the shower room at Mauthausen, but not drowning in the pool at Mauthausen.  But with all these different methods of killing prisoners at Mauthausen, I wouldn’t put anything past those evil Nazis. I am curious about the “bathing to death.”  If anyone knows anything about this, please enlighten us by posting a comment.


  1. I read about their being antidotes for typhus supplied at Bergen Belsen, that were found after it was liberated. The Nazis did not give it to the prisoners there.

    Comment by paolosilv — May 23, 2010 @ 2:00 am

    • The British did not give antidotes for typhus to the SS men at Bergen-Belsen after the liberation of the camp. When the camp was voluntarily turned over to the British on April 15, 1945, there were 80 guards who stayed behind. The British evacuated the prisoners from the barracks and put them into the SS garrison next door to the camp. The 80 guards who stayed behind to help the British were forced to live in the lice infested barracks, and 20 of them died of typhus as a result. The British finally burned down the barracks to get rid of the lice.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 23, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

  2. I think because the vaccine was rather difficult to make compared with the one developed in America:

    “The first typhus vaccine was produced in 1930 by Professor Rudolf Stepfan Weigl of the University of Jan Kazimierz in Poland. Professor Weigl’s vaccine consisted of Rickettsia prowazekii cultivated in the midgut cells (there were no suitable artificial medias for cultivating Rickettsia prowazekii) of live lice and killed with 0.5% phenol. Lice were placed in small wooden cages with screen walls. These wooden cages were tied to a volunteer’s thigh or calf for 45 minutes a day for about 10 days for the lice to grow. Then the lice are dissected. 150 lice intestines made one dose of vaccine.

    Without Weigl’s knowledge, one of Weigl’s assistants, Michal Martynowicz, tested the vaccine on his wife Rozalia with her consent and provided the effectiveness of the vaccine. However the process was painfully slow. In 1938, bacteriologist Herald Rea Cox of the Rocky Mountain Laboratory developed a method to cultivate Rickettsia prowazekii in the yolks of fertile, six-day-old chicken eggs. This process markedly sped up the production of typhus vaccines. ”

    I seem to remember reading one based on serum as well, unfortunately I don’t know the technology of those olden days very well to describe it exactly.

    Comment by littlegreyrabbit — May 5, 2010 @ 1:11 am

  3. The “holocaust” is a grossly obscene misrepresentation of humane German measures to subdue a typhus epidemic and keep people alive, including Jews. That epidemic was only one of many that have ravaged eastern Europe throughout its entire history. Typhus broke out in Poland again at the beginning of WW2 and spread—even to Germany by the end of the war. German measures to keep typhus away from Germany failed by the beginning of 1945. At that time, millions of Germans and many others, including Jews, from eastern Europe fled into Nazi Germany where they overwhelmed German measures of quarantine and hygienic control. German efforts to keep people alive were undermined by the war itself, by paranoia stoked by anti-German propaganda, and especially by the unopposed fury of Anglo-American terror bombing and strafing as the war approached its end. The mortality spiked in the winter months of 1945 following the usual pattern for typhus in times of social chaos when masses pf people huddled together for warmth and protection—peaking in late winter and subsiding with the onset of warm weather when people were more willing and able to change their clothes and wash themselves..There was NO extermination program or policy!

    Friedrich Paul Berg
    Learn the Truth at
    Nazi Gassings Never Happened! NiemAnd wurde vergast!

    Comment by Friedrich Paul Berg — May 3, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

    • Why didn’t Germany use DDT to kill the lice that spreads typhus? Was it because they didn’t have access to it, or was it because they had already discovered that DDT is bad for the environment? The Germans did not have an effective vaccine for typhus, but America did. Millions of lives could have been saved if America had sent vaccine through the Red Cross to all the concentration camps. America did send typhus vaccine booster shots to the American POWs in Germany through the Red Cross.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 3, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

      • Germany did have a typhus vaccine that they used for SS and civilians working in the camp. To the best of my knowledge it was not available to prisoners. I don’t know how good it was. Good enough to use. The Polish resistance used to smuggle in typhus vaccines into Auschwitz also, for reasons unknown they failed to smuggle out concrete information about the gas chambers until May 1944.

        Typhus was a problem in 1942, especially at Auschwitz, but much less than revisionists and some mainstream historians appear to believe. The peak deaths that are recorded for Auschwitz from typhus is 145 in a week in September 1942. However a lot of weeks reporting are missing. But I think it probably gives a rough idea of the scale. A serious matter, but anyone expecting thousands upon thousands of typhus deaths is mistaken.

        The other point where typhus came a major problem was during the end-phase. Given German record keeping had fallen apart and the Allies were working to a propaganda narrative we lack reliable documentation. But I have no doubt it was severe.

        Comment by littlegreyrabbit — May 4, 2010 @ 1:36 am

        • German doctors at Buchenwald were doing medical experiments to develop a typhus vaccine. They were put on trial in the Nuremberg Doctor’s trial for this war crime. If the Germans already had a vaccine, why were they trying to develop another one? There are stories about SS men in the camps having typhus, including Dr. Josef Mengele. If the Germans had a typhus vaccine, surely they would have given it to their officers, particularly to the doctors.

          Twenty out of the 80 SS men and women at Bergen-Belsen died from typhus after the camp was turned over to the British on April 15, 1945. They had obviously not been vaccinated.

          The Polish resistance smuggled out information about the gas chambers in 1942 and the first news about the gas chambers was broadcast by the BBC in June 1942.

          Comment by furtherglory — May 4, 2010 @ 8:56 am

  4. When I visited Sachsenhausen there was a sign in one of the bathrooms saying the SS used to commonly killed Jews by pushing them into the toilet.

    Comment by littlegreyrabbit — May 3, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

    • There were flush toilets at Sachsenhausen, so this was a form of drowning. It would have been much worse if they had been killed by being pushed into a latrine. All the Jews at Sachsenhausen were sent to the East, starting in February 1942, and when the camps in the East were abandoned, the Jews were brought to camps in Western Germany, not to Sachsenhausen. So there couldn’t have been very many Jews who were killed by drowning in a flush toilet.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 3, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

      • No I don’t expect there were very many killed by that method at all.

        If I was to make a wild guess, I would say zero.

        Comment by littlegreyrabbit — May 3, 2010 @ 7:57 pm

        • The first time I visited Sachsenhausen in 2001, I saw a film that had been made by the Soviet Union. As the people in the audience exited from the theater, there was a guy standing outside, handing out a paper which apologized for the propaganda lies told in the film, but said that the propaganda put out by the Soviets after World War II was no worse than the propaganda films done by the Americans and the British.

          When I visited Sachsenhausen the second time, there was no theater in that building; instead, there was a temporary display about one of the Communist heroes who was a prisoner at Sachsenhausen. The previous display had been about a homosexual prisoner at Sachsenhausen.

          Comment by furtherglory — May 4, 2010 @ 9:30 am

  5. Mexicans being inspected at the US border

    The shocking truth is that Nazi procedures at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, and elsewhere were essentially the same as those used by the United States at Ellis Island during periods of peace and great prosperity. The likely introduction of epidemic diseases into the country was a matter of life-and-death, possibly effecting millions of people and had to be taken extremely seriously. If the scene to the left from 1920 of Mexican workers being examined were repeated today (perhaps in Arizona), it would be condemned as deliberate racist humiliation, or worse. In fact, however, it was just one of the measures used by many countries to keep people alive . See the discussion with even more images on

    The lurid quackery of Jewish “scholars” and medical doctors (far too many to be even named here) regarding the “holocaust” is outrageous. Ultimately, the Jews only condemn themselves. In the meantime, however, countless Americans will die fighting in foolish wars far from America “to protect Jews from another holocaust.”

    The arch war criminals were, and still are, the Americans. They have nothing to be proud of!

    Friedrich Paul Berg
    Learn the Truth at
    Nazi Gassings Never Happened! NiemAnd wurde vergast!

    Comment by Friedrich Paul Berg — May 3, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

    • So are you saying that the practice of “bathing to death” at Mauthausen was nothing more than incoming prisoners being bathed to get rid of lice and disease germs? Were they just dipped in a bathtub full of disinfectant? And then given a shower?

      What about the British? Do you consider them to be “arch war criminals”?

      Comment by furtherglory — May 3, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

      • I certainly consider the Brits to be “arch war criminals”. The history of the British Empire is replete with it its inhumanity in Africa and Asia in the 19th century, It was no more “noble” in WW I or WW II.

        Comment by shafarnullifidian — May 6, 2015 @ 5:16 pm

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