Pierre-Serge Choumoff was a former prisoner at the Gusen sub-camp of Mauthausen who wrote a book that was intended to prove that there was a gas chamber at Mauthausen. Choumoff was an engineer who had a post-graduate degree in mathematics; he was the author of numerous scientific articles. During the time that he was a prisoner at Gusen, Choumoff was assigned to work in the arms factories of Rüstung Steyr, Daimler and Puch, which were in the immediate vicinity of the Gusen camp. He also served as an interpreter and a secretary at the Gusen camp. In the last week of World War II, Choumoff was one of the Gusen prisoners who were evacuated to the Mauthausen main camp where a gas chamber was allegedly located.
Choumoff did not use his scientific knowledge to determine that there was a gas chamber at Mauthausen. Nor did he do any tests. He did no research at all. So on what did he base his book? His book about the Mauthausen gas chambers is based solely on the testimony of the SS officers at Mauthausen, which he obtained from the trial testimony, given at an American Military Tribunal held in 1946. This testimony was published in Rome in 1970.
I have not read Choumoff’s book, but I have read The 186 Steps by Christian Bernadac which quotes extensively from Choumoff’s book.
Pierre-Serge Choumoff was a “Nacht und Nebel” prisoner which means that his family was not told where he was. “Nacht and Nebel” prisoners were typically Resistance fighters; with his French name, we can deduce that he was sent to Gusen after he was captured while fighting as an illegal combatant in the French Resistance. As a member of the French Resistance, he would have had a motive to make the Germans into evil monsters who gassed innocent prisoners, so I don’t consider him to be an objective witness.
In one of his books, Choumoff wrote that the gas chamber at Mauthausen was put into operation in either March or May of 1942 and that 3,455 prisoners were gassed in it. He also wrote that the SS guards had removed the gassing equipment from the chamber on April 29, 1945 the day that Commandant Franz Ziereis turned the camp over to the Vienna police. A sign in the gas chamber confirms that the gassing apparatus was removed on April 29, 1945.
So Choumoff didn’t know when the gas chamber was put into operation, but he knew the exact number of prisoners that were gassed? He knew the exact date that the gassing apparatus was removed, although he was not at Mauthausen on that date.
Choumoff gave the following statistics for the gassings at Mauthausen and Gusen, as quoted in The 186 Steps by Christian Bernadac:
For the installed gas chamber at Mauthausen: 4000; for the mobile gas chamber (Sauer truck): 1,560; Hartheim: 28,000 to 30,000 of which 4,600 to 8,000 came from Gusen or Mauthausen; finally occasional gassings in Gusen: 800. Total 34,000. At least 11,000 of these 34,000 were registered at Mauthausen or Gusen.
In his book, Christian Bernadac included the statements of several former prisoners which were gathered by Pierre-Serge Choumoff.
I am writing about Choumoff because his name came up in a blog post which you can read here. The title of the blog post is “The latest effort to combat denial, i.e. Holocaust revisionism.”
This quote is from the blog post:
Lastly, we have the actual Introduction by Messrs. Morsch and Perz. They began by informing us that in 1983, concentration camp survivors Eugen Kogon and Hermann Langbein — along with the head of Ludwigsburg Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes, Adalbert Rückerl, as well as others — published the book Nationalsozialistische Massentötung durch Giftgas. This was published on the initiative of two Mauthausen survivors, Pierre-Serge Choumoff and Jean Gavard. All of this resulted from a meeting with officials of the centre for political education who discussed the increase in Revisionist debates about NS mass murder in the 1970s.
In my humble opinion, the writings of Pierre-Serge Choumoff should not be used to combat Holocaust denial. He had no way of knowing what went on at Mauthausen because he was only there for one week. The testimony of the SS men at the proceedings of the American Military Tribunal, which he included in his book, is not believable because it was obviously obtained by torture.