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September 9, 2013

The daughter of Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss says he “did it because he had to”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 1:08 pm
Rudolf Hoess at the Nuremberg IMT

Rudolf Hoess at his trial

The caption on the photo above, which is included in a New York Daily News article, reads: “Rudolf Höss on the first day of his trial for war crimes committed at Auschwitz.”  Höss was put on trial in Poland, but not at Nuremberg.  He was a defense witness for Ernst Kaltenbrunner at Nuremberg. You can read the confession of Rudolf Höss at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/the-confession-of-rudolf-hoess-the-commandant-of-auschwitz/

I previously blogged about Rudolf Hoess and the reason that he confessed here: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/why-did-the-commandant-of-auschwitz-confess-to-the-gassing-of-millions-of-jews/

Rudolf Hoess, photographed at the Auschwitz camp

Rudolf Hoess, photographed at Auschwitz

Rudolf Höss was a handsome man before he was tortured, to within an inch of his life, in order to force him to confess to the gassing of Jews at Auschwitz. In the photo above, he looks like a nice man, who wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Update, Sept. 13, 2013:

An alert reader of my blog wrote this in a comment:

[Brigitte Höss] did not give an interview to the New York Daily News. [The story] was just picked up by them from her interview with a nephew of the man who captured her father, who has written a book about it. Thomas Harding [the nephew] found [Brigitte] and so she agreed to talk to him. [The interview] was published in the Washington Post Magazine.

Continue reading my original post:

This quote is from a news article in the online New York Daily News about 80-year-old Brigitte Höss, the daughter of Rudolf Höss, the Commandant of Auschwitz, who is shown in the photo above:

Höss is convinced her father was a good man, despite the atrocities he committed.

“He had to do it,” she said. “His family was threatened. We were threatened if he didn’t. And he was one of many in the SS. There were others as well who would do it if he didn’t.”

Very clever.  David Boroff, who wrote this article which was published on Sept. 9, 2013, has implied that the father of Brigitte Höss “had to [ gas the Jews]” and that she admits that he did it.

Did Rudolf Höss have to gas prisoners to death at Auschwitz because his family was threatened if he didn’t?  Or did he have to give a fake confession because his family was threatened if he didn’t?

There were “others as well who would do it if he didn’t”?  DO WHAT?  Confess to the gassing of prisoners at Auschwitz?

This quote is also from the article, written by David Boroff in the online New York Daily News:

A Nazi monster who admitted killing one million Jews “was the nicest man in the world,” his daughter said in a revealing interview published this weekend.

Brigitte Höss, who lived in comfort at three different concentration camps while innocents were getting slaughtered just yards away, still hides her real identity from the public while living in northern Virginia with her son.

Affidavit signed by Rudolf Hoess on May 14, 1946

Affidavit signed by Rudolf Hoess on May 14, 1946

On May 14, 1946, the former Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rudolf Höß, also known as Rudolf Hoess, signed a sworn affidavit in which he stated that two million Jews had been gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1941 and 1943 while he was the Commandant. This did not include the period, during which Hoess was not the Commandant, when over 300,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed during a period of 10 weeks in the Summer of 1944, according to the Auschwitz Museum.

The English translation of the German text in the affidavit, shown above, reads:

“I declare herewith under oath that in the years 1941 to 1943 during my tenure in office as commandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp 2 million Jews were put to death by gassing and a 1/2 million by other means. Rudolf Hoess. May 14, 1946.”

The confession was signed by Hoess and by Josef Maier of the US Chief of Counsel’s office.

The Confession of Rudolf Hoess is displayed at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC

The Confession of Rudolf Hoess is displayed at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC

The original affidavit, signed by Rudolf Hoess, is displayed in a glass case in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The photo that is displayed, along with the affidavit, shows Hungarian Jewish women and children walking to one of the four gas chambers in the Birkenau death camp on May 26, 1944, carrying their hand baggage in sacks. Brigitte Höss objects to having a Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.  The Holocaust didn’t happen in America and was not perpetrated by Americans, so why should there be a Holocaust Museum in the capital of the United States of America?

The caption underneath the photo above, which hangs in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, reads:

On May 14, 1946, Rudolf Hoess, the former commandant of Auschwitz, signed a declaration stating that during his tenure in office, 2 million Jews had been gassed at Auschwitz and another 500,000 killed in other ways. Hoess overestimated the number of Jews gassed by about 1 million.

There have been allegations that this confession was obtained from Rudolf Hoess by means of torture. Rupert Butler wrote in his book entitled Legions of Death, published by Arrow Books in London in 1983, that Hoess had been beaten for three days by a British team of torturers under the command of Jewish interrogator Bernard Clarke.

Rudolf Höss  gave several confessions in which he admitted to “killing Jews.”  The first confession signed by Höss was labeled by the Allies as Nuremberg Document No-1210. It was an 8-page typewritten document written in German. Höss wrote the date 14.3.1946 2:30 (March 14, 1946 2:30 a.m.) next to his signature. This date was three days after his capture on March 11, 1946. Höss had been beaten half to death; alcohol had been poured down his throat, and he had been kept awake for three days and nights before he finally signed this confession at 2:30 in the morning.

A second affidavit signed by Rudolf Höss on April 5, 1946 was labeled by the Allies at the Nuremberg IMT as document PS-3868. It was a typewritten document, about 2 and a quarter pages long, written in English. A second document, also labeled PS-3868, was purported to be the English translation of the original deposition given by Höss in German. The second document was the one that was entered into the proceedings of the Nuremberg IMT.

During his cross-examination of Rudolf Höss at the Nuremberg IMT, American prosecutor Col. Harlan Amen quoted from the second affidavit which was alleged to be the English translation of a deposition given by Höss in German. After reading each statement made by Höss in his affidavit, Col Amen asked Höss if this was what he had said and Höss answered “Jawohl.”

In 1946, Rudolf Höss was put on trial in Poland; he was charged with the murder of “around 300,000 people held at the camp as prisoners and entered into the camp’s records and around 4,000,000 people, mainly Jews, who were brought to the camp in transports from other European countries for immediate extermination and thus not listed in the camp’s records.” During his trial, Höss changed the figure in his confession to a total of 1,130,000 Jews that were gassed but declared “During my tenure at Auschwitz, millions of people died, whose exact number I cannot determine.”

Rudolf Höss wrote in his autobiography that Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann and his deputy were the only ones who knew the total number of Jews that were gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau because Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had ordered the records to be burned after every special action. The Nazis always used code words when talking about the genocide of the Jews: a mass gassing was called a “special action.”

In the last days of World War II, shortly before Berlin was surrounded by Soviet troops, Eichmann told Höss that 2.5 million Jews had been murdered at Auschwitz Birkenau. Eichmann was an SS Lt. Col. who was the head of Department IV, B-4, the section of the Reich Central Security Office (RSHA) in Berlin, which was responsible for deporting the Jews. It was Adolf Eichmann who was in charge of deporting the Jews on the trains to the death camps.

According to the Auschwitz Museum, no records of the number of prisoners who died at Auschwitz-Birkenau have ever been found. In an article on the official Auschwitz website, Franciszek Piper wrote the following:

When the Soviet army entered the camp on January 27, 1945, they did not find any German documents there giving the number of victims, or any that could be used as a basis for calculating this number. Such documents (transport lists, notifications of the arrival of transports, reports about the outcome of selection) had been destroyed before liberation. For this reason, the Soviet commission investigating the crimes committed in Auschwitz Concentration Camp had to make estimates. […]

The absence of the most important of the statistical sources that the Germans kept in Auschwitz made it practically impossible for historians to research the issue of the number of victims. The reluctance to research this issue also resulted from a conviction of the impossibility of drawing up a full list of transports reflecting the total number of deportees, and above all of the people who were consumed by the gas chambers and crematoria with no registration or records.

In his book entitled IBM and the Holocaust, Edwin Black wrote that the Nazis tracked the prisoners by using IBM Hollerith machines which sorted punch cards that were coded with information about each prisoner. The numbers on the tattoos that were put on the arms of the Auschwitz prisoners, starting in 1943, were originally the prisoner’s code number on his Hollerith card.

The following is a quote from the book IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black:

It was not just people who were counted and marshaled for deportation. Box cars, locomotives and intricate train time tables were scheduled across battle-scared borders – all while a war was being fought on two fronts. The technology had enabled Nazi Germany to orchestrate the death of millions without skipping a note.

According to Edwin Black, the prisoners were not tracked with an IBM punch card until they were registered in a camp, so there are no records of those who arrived at Auschwitz, but were not registered. Of the millions of Hollerith punch cards used by the Nazis, only around 100,000 survived the war, according to Edwin Black.

The generally accepted figure of 1.3 million who were deported to Auschwitz is not based on the train records kept by the Germans, but rather an estimate made by Franciszek Piper, the former head of the Auschwitz Memorial Site, who wrote the following in his article on the official Auschwitz web site:

After an overall analysis of the original sources and findings on deportation to Auschwitz, I concluded that a total of at least 1,300,000 people were deported there, and that 1,100,000 of them perished. Approximately 200,000 people were deported from Auschwitz to other camps as part of the redistribution of labor resources and the final liquidation of the camp.

One of the most distinguished Holocaust researchers, Raul Hilberg, published a separate work (Auschwitz and the Final Solution) on the number of Auschwitz victims. His findings reaffirmed both the figure of 1,000,000 Jewish Auschwitz victims that he had arrived at as long ago as 1961, as well as my own conclusions.

The IBM Hollerith punch cards kept by the Germans for the  Jews, Russians and Gypsies, who were registered in the camp and later killed in the gas chambers, were coded as F-6 for “special treatment” or as “evacuations” according to Edwin Black, the author of IBM and the Holocaust. The code for “execution” was D-4.

In 2002, Edwin Black wrote the following in an article regarding the IBM Hollerith punch card machines in Krakow which were used by the Nazis to keep track of the Auschwitz prisoners:

The machines almost certainly did not maintain extermination totals, which were calculated as “evacuations” by the Hollerith Gruppe in Krakow.

On April 12, 1947, just before his execution, Rudolf Höss signed the following Final Statement, in which he admitted his shame for committing Crimes Against Humanity and for participating in the genocide perpetrated by the Third Reich:

My conscience is forcing me to make also the following assertion: In the isolation prison I have reached the bitter understanding of the terrible crimes I have committed against humanity. As a Kommandant of the extermination camp at Auschwitz, I have realized my part in the monstrous genocide plans of the Third Reich. By this means I caused humanity and mankind the greatest harm, and brought unspeakable suffering, particularly to the Polish nation. For my responsibility, I am now paying with my life. Oh, that God would forgive me my deeds! People of Poland, I beg you to forgive me! Just now in the Polish prisons have I recognized what humanity really is. In spite of everything that happened I have been treated humanely, which I had never expected, and this has made me feel deeply ashamed. Would to God…that the fact of disclosing and confirming those monstrous crimes against mankind and humanity may prevent for all future ages even the premises leading to such horrible events.

Was Rudolf Höss also forced to write the above quote?  Did he write the above quote because he was tortured again?

I previously blogged about the son of another child of Rudolf Höss at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/the-grandson-of-rudolf-hoess-is-still-bothered-by-the-shame-associated-with-his-family-name/