Scrapbookpages Blog

September 28, 2013

Rudolf Höss was tasked by Himmler to perfect the techniques of mass execution

The title of my blog post today comes from a line in a news article in the British newspaper Express:

In May 1940 [Rudolf Höss] was made commandant of Auschwitz where he was eventually tasked by Heinrich Himmler with perfecting the techniques of mass execution that were the key element in Hitler’s murderous “final solution”.

What experience did Rudolf Höss have that qualified him for the job of “perfecting the techniques of mass execution”?  Himmler should have called in a gas chamber expert from Jefferson City, Missouri, which had one of the very few gas chambers at that time, although it was not a gas chamber for mass murder.  There were no gas chambers for mass murder anywhere in the world.  Rudolf Höss, a man with no experience in mass murder, and no experience with gas chambers, was given the job of “perfecting the techniques” of mass execution.

Rudolf Höss is quoted in this part of the news article in the Express:

“You could dispose of 2,000 head in half an hour but it was the burning that took all the time,” he explained later. “The killing was easy. You didn’t even need guards to drive them into the chambers. They just went in expecting to take showers and instead of water we turned on poison gas. The whole thing went very quickly.” He related all of this in a quiet, apathetic matter-of-fact tone of voice.

Wait a minute!  “…we turned on poison gas“?  No, no, no.  The poison gas was in the form of pellets, which came in a can.  Hoess should have said: “We opened a can of Zyklon-B and poured the poisoned pellets through a hole in the roof of the gas chamber.”

Empty cans that had been used to hold Zylon-B poison gas pellets

Empty cans that had been used to hold Zylon-B poison gas pellets

Hole in ceiling of Auschwitz gas chamber through which the poison pellets were poured

Hole in ceiling of Auschwitz gas chamber through which the poison pellets were poured

I recognized the alleged quote from Rudolf Höss as a quote from the book entitled Nuremberg Diary by G.M. Gilbert. It is on page 250.

The quote from page 250 of Gilbert’s book continues with this:

I was interested in finding out how the order had actually been given and what his reactions were.  He related it as follows: “In the summer of 1941, Himmler called for me and explained: “The Führer has ordered the Endlösung [final solution] of the Jewish question — and we have to carry out this task. For reasons of transportation and isolation, I have picked Auschwitz for this.  You now have the hard job of carrying this out.” As a reason for this he said that it would have to be done at this time, because if it was not done now, then the Jew would later exterminate the German people — or words to that effect.

So an American Jew, with a degree in Psychology from Columbia University, (home of The Frankfurt School) was sent in to get a confession out of Rudolf Höss?  Perfect.  Who better?

Note that Rudolf Höss supposedly said “it would have to be done at this time, because if it was not done now, then the Jew would later exterminate the German people — or words to that effect.”  Where did that come from?

Heinrich Himmler actually did say “words to that effect.”  The following quote is from a speech made by Heinrich Himmler:

As to the Jewish women and children, I did not believe I had a right to let these children grow up to become avengers who would kill our fathers and grandchildren. That, I thought, would be cowardly. Thus the problem was solved without half-measures.

So who was G.M. Gilbert and why should we believe anything he wrote?  This quote is from Wikipedia:

Gustave Gilbert was born in the state of New York in 1911,the son of Jewish-Austrian immigrants. He won a scholarship from the School for Ethical Culture at the College Town Center in New York. In 1939, Gilbert obtained his Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University. Gilbert also held a diploma from the American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology.

During World War II Gilbert was commissioned as a military psychologist with the rank of First Lieutenant. Because of his knowledge of the German language, he was sent overseas as a military intelligence officer.

So a Jewish psychologist, who got his education from the home of the Frankfurt School, was able to get a confession out of Rudolf Höss.

Did Höss deliberately make mistakes, in his numerous confessions to the Allies, as a way of signaling to future generations that he was lying? No, I don’t believe that Höss was that clever, nor that devious.  I believe that he made mistakes in describing the gas chambers because he knew absolutely nothing about gas chambers.  And he couldn’t take any more of the torture, done by the Jews who beat the confessions out of him.

You can read more about the confessions (plural) of Rudolf Höss on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/RudolfHoess.html