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December 21, 2010

SS men prosecuted for gassing prisoners at Mauthausen, but not at Dachau

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:41 am

After World War II, staff members of the concentration camps in Germany and Austria were prosecuted by an American Military Tribunal which was held at Dachau.  The charge against all of the accused in all of the AMT proceedings was that they had participated in a “common plan” to violate the Laws and Usages of War under the Geneva Convention of 1929 and the Hague Convention of 1907.

In all of the proceedings of the AMT, only crimes committed against the Allies during World War II were included.  Since the names and nationality of the prisoners who were allegedly gassed at Dachau were unknown, there could be no testimony, during the proceedings against the Dachau staff, about any citizen of an Allied country, or an Allied soldier, who had been killed in the gas chamber at Dachau.  

In the “Dachau trials” there were no charges of Crimes against Humanity, as at the Nuremberg IMT.  Crimes against Humanity was an ex post facto law that was created specifically for the German war criminals; this new law included crimes against any citizen of any country.

After the first proceedings, against Martin Gottfried Weiss and 39 others at the Dachau camp, ended with the conviction of all of the men, the next proceedings were against 61 men associated in some way with the Mauthausen camp.  In these proceedings, there was testimony that Soviet POWs had been killed in the gas chamber at Mauthausen and American Navy Lt. Jack Taylor testified that American soldiers had also been gassed.

At the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, which started in November 1945, there were sworn affidavits which claimed that prisoners were gassed at Dachau, but these affidavits were not introduced into the proceedings of the American Military Tribunal at Dachau, which also began in November 1945.

The affidavits were signed by James B. Donovan, Lt. Col. Calvin A. Behle of the Judge Advocate General’s Department and Lt. Hugh C. Daly of the 42nd Rainbow Division of the US Seventh Army which liberated Dachau. The affidavits were included in Nuremberg Document 2430-PS which was read in court, but Donovan, Behle and Daly were not present and the defense had no opportunity to cross-examine them.

Donovan, Behle and Daly did not take the stand at the AMT proceedings to testify against the Dachau staff.  If they had testified that prisoners were gassed at Dachau, the defense attorney would have said, “Oh yeah, what were their names?”   At the proceedings against the Mauthausen staff, Lt. Jack Taylor named names, and when he testified at the Nuremberg IMT, he showed the dog tags of the Americans who had been gassed.

Yes, you read that right.  Lt. Jack Taylor had in his possession the dog tags of the Americans who were gassed at Mauthausen.  In fact, Lt. Taylor himself had been scheduled FOUR TIMES to be gassed, but the other prisoners saved him by changing the schedule.  The American liberators arrived just in time to save him from his last scheduled time to be gassed.

Lt. Jack Taylor on the witness stand at Dachau

But it wasn’t just the testimony of Lt. Jack Taylor that convicted the staff at Mauthausen; many of the accused men at the Mauthausen proceedings had signed sworn affidavits in which they confessed that they had been involved in the gassing of prisoners at Mauthausen.

The defense attorney for the Mauthausen SS men noticed that the confessions were remarkably similar.  He was suspicious that the confessions might have been obtained by torture.

Strangely, there were no confessions by Dachau staff members regarding the Dachau gas chamber, although some of the Dachau accused did confess to making leather goods out of human skin and other atrocities. The lack of confessions about the Dachau gas chamber might have been because none of the accused were interrogated about the gassing of prisoners.  What good is a confession if you don’t have the names of the prisoners who were gassed?

If the charges by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau had included Crimes against Humanity, then the Dachau gas chamber could have been put into evidence at the Dachau proceedings because Crimes Against Humanity were crimes against ANY CIVILIAN POPULATION, not necessarily against civilians in countries at war with the German Reich.

Although the American public had been told that there was a gas chamber at Dachau, none of the accused at the American Military Tribunal, held at Dachau, was specifically charged with any crimes involving the Dachau gas chamber. The prosecution did not mention the existence of the gas chamber in its opening statement, nor in its closing statement. Neither was the gas chamber mentioned in the judgment of the Tribunal. None of the accused was asked any questions about the gas chamber.

By the time that the Dachau proceedings began, a small museum had already been set up in the crematorium building by Erich Preuss, a former prisoner, and on the orders of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, as many American soldiers as possible were being brought to view the gas chamber.  As far as I know, none of these soldiers ever said, “Oh yeah, what were their names?”

Now Bradley Smith goes around to colleges and asks for the name of one person who was gassed.  Good luck finding a name, Bradley.


  1. […] was a comment by a reader on a blog post that I did back on December 21, 2010 which you can read here.  The reader was commenting on what Herbert Stolpmann wrote on January 4, 2011, which I have […]

    Pingback by the Zyklon-B gas chutes on the outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber « Scrapbookpages Blog — March 22, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  2. I was taken to see the Dachau KZ by an American GI in 1946, at that time it was not spruced up as a memorial site as it is now. Apart from that I lived up to 1956 in the old Hospital Barracks Hs.No 52,still have the German ID to this date and met an old inmate the Communist secretarry of Lower Bavaria, an reliable source of info within the Camp.I would like to make it quite clear, that the Gas Chamber was never operational. As a matter of fact the so called chutes to push cyclon pallets into the system had been added later on after the liberation to lend the myth of gassing some measure of authenticity. The name of my friend and former inmate is Josef Weichart and has most likly passed away by now. I had no recent contact with him
    HK Stolpmann-Auckland New Zealand 05.01.2011

    Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — January 4, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

    • Can you estimate the date that the chutes were put on the wall of the gas chamber building? Where were the Hospital Barracks located? Were they inside the Dachau camp?

      Comment by furtherglory — January 5, 2011 @ 7:08 am

      • Sorry, but I can only estimate that it was done sometime during 1947. In those days a young Polish inmate had set up some grotesque SS-mannequins to tell stories of the brutal treatment of prisoners to American GIs in exchange for cigarets etc but had to remove his set-up later on as he was not factual.To what extent he and Kurt Lange were instrumental in having the chutes installed I do not know.
        The Hospital complex was located behind the coal bunker (where the massacre took place) and was only used for wounded SS solders as well as others where they recuperated in buildings 2, 3, and 4B and then transferred to light guard duty within the Camp before being sent back to their own Units.
        The Hospital Barracks were demolished by the Americans in 1952.
        I am able to scan a plan to you of the entire complex if you wish.

        Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — January 5, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

        • In 1947, there would have been prisoners in the former Dachau concentration camp who were German “war criminals.” Dachau was “War Crimes Enclosure No. 1” from July 1945 to August 1948. There have been rumors for some time that German soldiers from the War Crimes Enclosure were forced to do the construction on the bins, so 1947 sounds about right. The construction looks particularly sloppy; maybe this was the soldiers’ way of protesting against being forced to create false evidence of gassing.

          Comment by furtherglory — January 6, 2011 @ 6:50 am

          • I do not think that the war criminals were made to work during their trials, however SS-POWs had been kept for a longer term within the concentration camp and used as work teams within the camp. Although I knew a number of them after their release by 1948, they were reluctant to talk about the gaschambers or the clean-up they had to do what is now the memorial site. The general answer I received was<Dont listen to that shit these Amis are telling you. Exuse my French.
            Herbert Stolpmann
            PS As a general note due to the cold war slowly hotting up, their was a tit for tat with the Russians, who were accused for keeping millions of POWs as slave labour behind, the American Military did in theory have no German POWs would give you the official Discharge Paper, but kept them until certain projeects had been completed.(Read also written in German

            Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — January 13, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

            • Corection, last sentence should be “read also written in German”

              Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — January 13, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

    • This is a pretty startling piece of information that the chutes were added later. Here is an article about the Dachau gas chamber:

      Is this picture of a bin/chute you are referring to?:

      There are total of 4 pictures on that site of the bin/chutes.

      The article does try to explain that these chutes are more evidence of the gas chambers to be homicidal. Can you try to elaborate more on the construction of these chutes? What I would like to see is a formal recognition that these chutes were in fact added later. Perhaps even email the author of the article I linked and have him acknowledge these fake chutes similar to the fake gas chambers at Auschwitz.

      Comment by Kageki — March 22, 2011 @ 4:31 am

      • Ok I realize the chutes have been talked about and Further even has a page about it, but I got excited to hear about this from someone that was actually there. Something like this shouldn’t just be sitting around in the comment section. Should make an article or “testimony” or something like that.

        Comment by Kageki — March 22, 2011 @ 4:47 am

  3. Interesting. Thanks.

    Comment by Budham — December 21, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

  4. “The affidavits were signed by James B. Donovan,…” –you should mention that he was an OSS agent. The source being “Justice At Nuremberg” by Robert E. Conot” footnote on page 197, which is the first page of chapter 26.

    Jack Taylor. I’ve seen footage where he says “believe it or not I’m from Hollywood, California.”

    Comment by Budham — December 21, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

    • Thanks for pointing this out. I checked page 197 in my copy of “Justice at Nuremberg” and found that it actually says James G. Donovan, not James B. Donovan. I did some further checking on the Internet and found this web site which explains the mistake: and even shows the page in the book.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 21, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

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