Scrapbookpages Blog

June 7, 2013

New film “searches for the root of the myth that Germans used the bodies of Jews to manufacture soap”

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

A new documentary film, entitled Soaps, has recently been made by Eyal Ballas.  You can read the full story at

This quote is from the very end of the article:

At the climax of the film, people who have believed for their entire lives that the soaps are made of Jewish fat are confronted with the overwhelming historiographic consensus that they are not. Even when the believers are told that Yad Vashem has declared the soap myth baseless, they stubbornly refuse to change their minds, arguing that the studies which disprove it were paid for by Germans. Israeli poet Yisrael Har, who is interviewed in the film, says the refutations of the soap myth come from Holocaust deniers and Wikipedia.

As everyone, who wasn’t literally born yesterday, knows, the Nazis DID make soap out of Jewish fat. This well-known fact was proved by the Soviet prosecutor at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal in 1945.  Well, maybe not PROVED, but soap was shown at Nuremberg and the Soviets claimed that it was made from Jewish fat.

There was no need to prove anything at the Nuremberg IMT because the Allies had made up new rules: anything that was “common knowledge” did not have to be proved in court.

Article 21. [of the IMT rules]: The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof.

The judges at the Nuremberg IMT took judicial notice that the soap shown in the photo below was made from Jewish fat.

Soap made from Jewish fat was entered into the Nuremberg IMT as evidence

Soap made from Jewish fat was entered into the Nuremberg IMT as evidence of Nazi war crimes

I have actually seen soap being made; I explained the process of soap making in this blog post.

So what WAS the root of the soap myth?

The article about the new film Soaps explains, in this quote, about how the soap myth got started:

During World War II, SS guards often tormented concentration camp prisoners by threatening to turn them into soap. The rumor gained further credence when at the end of the war the Soviet Red Army discovered a horrifying laboratory near Gdansk, Poland, with body parts alongside soap made from humans.

Did the SS guards really threaten to turn the prisoners into soap?  Or is that just another lie told by Holocaust survivors?

Did the Soviets test the soap, to determine that it was made from human fat, before bringing it into the courtroom at Nuremberg?  No, there was no need to test the soap.  It had been known since World War I that the Nazis had been making soap out of human fat, while they weren’t busy “cutting the hands off babies in Belgium” or engaging in other atrocities, which were claimed by British propaganda.

This quote is from the Haaretz article:

“Soaps” shows that one thing that contributed to the myth was confusion over the markings on some bars of soap. Certain German soaps produced in the Third Reich had the initial “RIF” imprinted on them, which was thought to stand for “Reichs Juden Fett,” which means “State Jewish Fat.” In fact, RIF stands for “Reichsstelle fur industrielle Fettversorgung, or “National Center for Industrial Fat Provisioning,” the German government agency responsible for the wartime production and distribution of soap and washing products. RIF soap contained no fat at all, human or vegetable. The Holocaust Museum in Bat Yam exhibits an RIF soap bar donated by a Holocaust survivor, though the museum’s director, Prof. Yuri Lyakhovitsky, does not claim to be sure it is made from Jewish fat. He says the charismatic personality of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal influenced the development of the myth.

Yad Vashem has sent mixed signals about the soap myth. On one hand, the center has released chemical analyses of soaps and vehemently denied the claims that they are made from the bodies of Jews – thereby helping to dispel the myth. On the other hand, three photographs of soap burials appear on its website. One of them has the caption, “In this grave is buried soap made from pure Jewish fat … A silent testimony to the Holocaust and the brutality of the Germans.”